Genes related to long polar fimbriae of pathogenic Escherichia coli strains as reliable markers to identify virulent isolates

Alfredo G. Torres, Miguel Blanco, Patricio Valenzuela, Terry M. Slater, Shilpa D. Patel, Ghizlane Dahbi, Cecilia López, Ximena Fernández Barriga, Jesús E. Blanco, Tânia A.T. Gomes, Roberto Vidal, Jorge Blanco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Lpf (stands for long polar fimbriae) is one of the few adhesive factors of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with colonization of the intestine. E. coli O157:H7 strains possess two lpf loci encoding highly regulated fimbrial structures. Database analysis of the genes encoding the major fimbrial subunits demonstrated that they are present in commensal as well as pathogenic (both intestinal and extraintestinal) E. coli strains and in Salmonella strains and that the lpfA1 and lpfA2 genes are highly prevalent among LEE (locus of enterocyte effacement)-positive E. coli strains associated with severe and/or epidemic disease. Further DNA sequence analysis of the lpfA1 and lpfA2 genes from different attaching-and-effacing E. coli strains has led us to the identification of several polymorphisms and the classification of the major fimbrial subunits into distinct variants. Using collections of pathogenic E. coli isolates from Europe and Latin America, we demonstrated that the different lpfA types are associated with the presence of specific intimin (eae) adhesin variants and, most importantly, that they are found in specific E. coli pathotypes. Our results showed that the use of these fimbrial genes as markers, in combination with the different intimin types, resulted in a specific test for the identification of E. coli O157:H7, distinguishing it from other pathogenic E. coli strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2442-2451
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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