Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) are diarrhoeal pathogens that adhere to the intestinal mucosa in a thick biofilm that may mediate their persistence in the human intestine, but the mechanisms involved in the adhesion have been unclear. In November 1 Journal of Clinical Investigation, Jalaluddin Sheikh and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, show that aap encodes a secreted protein that coats the bacterial surface and promotes dispersal of the bacteria on the intestinal mucosa (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 110:1329-1337, November 1, 2002).
Sheikh et al. generated a variety of recombinant E. coli and observed that EAEC aap mutants aggregated more intensely than wild-type cells and formed larger aggregates, but containing fewer individual bacteria. In addition, they showed that the aspU locus — which lies immediately upstream of aggR in EAEC 042 — encodes a secreted low molecular weight protein, named...
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!