Genetics of Histone-Like Protein H-NS/H1 and Regulation of Virulence Determinants in Enterobacteria
Isolates of E. coli associated with intestinal or with extraintestinal disease are often characterized by their ability to express different properties thought to contribute to bacterial virulence. Examples of such properties are the synthesis of various types of adhesins, production of different kinds of cytotoxins (e.g. enterotoxins and hemolysins), ability to invade host tissue cells, and expression of certain capsule- and O-antigens. Changes in growth conditions may profoundly affect how different virulence-associated properties are expressed. The type of growth substrate, osmolarity, and growth temperature are examples of environmental factors found to influence the phenotypic expression of some of the virulence associated properties monitored under laboratory conditions. We have studied the expression of E. coli adhesins typically produced by many isolates from urinary tract infections in man. The P-specific adhesins are fimbrial adhesins, also referred to as pili, and they mediate binding to α-D-Gal-(1–4)-β-D-Gal-containing glycolipid structures. Genetic studies of the pap gene cluster have revealed functions of several of the gene products required for biogenesis of this type of adhesin (see Tennent et al., 1990 for a recent review).
KeywordsSerratia Marcescens Virulence Determinant lacZ Fusion Swedish Natural Science Research Council Extraintestinal Disease
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