Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli adhesins

Brian D. McWilliams, Alfredo G. Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Adhesins are a group of proteins in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) that are involved in the attachment or colonization of this pathogen to abiotic (plastic or steel) and biological surfaces, such as those found in bovine and human intestines. This review provides the most up-to-date information on these essential adhesion factors, summarizing important historical discoveries and analyzing the current and future state of this research. In doing so, the proteins intimin and Tir are discussed in depth, especially regarding their role in the development of attaching and effacing lesions and in EHEC virulence. Further, a series of fimbrial proteins (Lpf1, Lpf2, curli, ECP, F9, ELF, Sfp, HCP, and type 1 fimbria) are also described, emphasizing their various contributions to adherence and colonization of different surfaces and their potential use as genetic markers in detection and classification of different EHEC serotypes. This review also discusses the role of several autotransporter proteins (EhaA-D, EspP, Saa and Sab, and Cah), as well as other proteins associated with adherence, such as flagella, EibG, Iha, and OmpA. While these proteins have all been studied to varying degrees, all of the adhesins summarized in this article have been linked to different stages of the EHEC life cycle, making them good targets for the development of more effective diagnostics and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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