Long polar fimbriae and tissue tropism in Escherichia coli O157:H7

Robert Fitzhenry, Sivan Dahan, Alfredo G. Torres, Yuwen Chong, Robert Heuschkel, Simon H. Murch, Mike Thomson, James B. Kaper, Gad Frankel, Alan D. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In vitro organ culture has demonstrated the human intestinal tropism of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 for follicle associated epithelium overlying Peyer's patches of the terminal ileum. Long polar (LP) fimbriae are considered to mediate the attachment of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to Peyer's patch epithelium and, as homologous genes have been identified in O157:H7, we hypothesised that LP fimbriae in O157:H7 may perform the same function. However, mutation of LP fimbriae in O157:H7 strain 85/170 resulted in the novel phenotype of proximal and distal small intestinal colonisation with attaching/effacing lesion formation, while retaining adhesion to follicle associated epithelium. Application of whole genome DNA array technology did not identify changes in known fimbrial genes that could explain the change in tropism, but highlighted several genes that require further investigation. LP fimbrial genes are the first genes to be identified outside the locus of enterocyte effacement pathogenicity island that influence O157:H7 human intestinal tissue tropism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1741-1749
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Fimbriae
  • Intestine
  • O157:H7
  • Organ culture
  • Tropism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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