Colonization of pig ileum by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli that were enteropathogenic for pigs but that lacked K88 antigen (K88-) resulted in morphological characteristics similar to those reported for K88+ strains. Strains of enterotoxigenic E. coli from three different K88- serotypes adhered to the villous epithelium. In sections examined by transmission electron microscopy, adherent bacteria were separated from each other and from epithelial microvilli by peribacterial electron-lucent regions. The enterotoxigenic E. coli had appendages that extended into these regions. The appendages were morphologically characteristic for each strain. It is possible that these appendages were pili, polysaccharide K antigens, or structures resulting from some interaction between pili and polysaccharide. Certain pili or pilus-like structures may be virulence attributes that facilitate adhesion of enterotoxigenic E. coli to the intestinal epithelium.
|Journal of Infectious Diseases
|Published - Dec 1 1977