Novel molecular variants of allele I of the Escherichia coli P fimbrial adhesin gene papG

J. R. Johnson, A. L. Stell, N. Kaster, C. Fasching, T. T. O'Bryan

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20 Scopus citations


P fimbriae of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli mediate digalactoside-specific adherence via the tip adhesin molecule PapG, which occurs in three known variants (I to III), which are encoded by the corresponding three alleles of papG. In the present study, newly discovered variants of papG allele I and the respective wild-type source strains were characterized. One of the new papG allele I variants conferred a unique agglutination phenotype that combined the phenotypes associated with papG alleles I, II, and III. Comparative hydrophilicity analysis of predicted PapG peptides revealed regions that might explain the observed phenotypic similarities and differences between the PapG variants. The new papG allele I variants occurred either as the sole papG allele or together with both papG alleles II and III, rather than with only papG allele III, as in archetypal strains J96 and CP9. They also occurred in the absence of the usual F13 papA allele. One of the new papG allele I variants occurred in a serogroup O6 strain that, according to random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis, was phylogenetically distant from the "J96-like" clonal group of E. coli O4:H5, which includes all previously identified examples of papG allele I. Cluster analysis of nucleotide and predicted peptide sequences suggested that papG allele I represents the earliest evolutionary branch from a common papG ancestor. These results demonstrate unexpected diversity within papG allele I and, together with previous findings, suggest that the J96-like clonal group of E. coli O4:H5 may represent the original source of papG within the species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2318-2327
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


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