Fragmentation of Escherichia coli type 1 fimbriae exposes cryptic D-mannose-binding sites.


Journal Article

Cells of the gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli are able to attach to various host cells by means of a mannose-specific adhesin associated with type 1 fimbriae. Here we show that fragmentation of type 1 fimbriae by freezing and thawing results in increased mannose-binding activity as demonstrated by increased hemagglutination, increased stimulation of human lymphocyte proliferation, and increased binding of the mannose-containing enzyme horseradish peroxidase. Increased activity in all three assays was mannose sensitive and was not exhibited by FimH- mutant type 1 fimbriae lacking the adhesin. Scatchard analysis of the data from peroxidase binding assays showed that unfrozen and frozen fimbriae contain binding sites displaying two classes of affinity. Frozen and thawed fimbriae expressed an increase in the number of high-affinity binding sites. These results show that fragmentation of the fimbrial structure exposes cryptic mannose-binding activity associated with type 1 fimbriae, presumably that of internally located adhesin molecules. Our data support earlier observations that adhesin moieties of type 1 fimbriae are located both at the tips and at intervals along the length of the fimbriae. In addition, our data suggest that only the adhesin moieties that are located at the fimbrial tips are functional in binding mannose. Adhesins located along the length of the fimbriae have their mannose-binding activity buried within the fimbrial structure and hence are not functional. We propose an updated model for the structure of type 1 fimbriae that is in agreement with the above observations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ponniah, S; Endres, RO; Hasty, DL; Abraham, SN

Published Date

  • July 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 173 / 13

Start / End Page

  • 4195 - 4202

PubMed ID

  • 1676398

Pubmed Central ID

  • 1676398

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9193

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/jb.173.13.4195-4202.1991


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States