Induction of Gene Expression in Escherichia coli After Pilus-Mediated Adherence

Science  30 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5279, pp. 1234-1236
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5279.1234


The induction of cascades of virulence factors after contact between bacteria and host cells was investigated. P-pili mediate the binding of uropathogenic Escherichia coli to its host cell receptor. After P-pili binding there was transcriptional activation of a sensor-regulator protein that is essential for the bacterial iron-starvation response. An insertion mutation of the sensor-regulator gene eliminated the ability of uropathogenic E. coli to produce siderophores and their iron-regulated membrane receptors, thereby abolishing their ability to grow in urine. These results suggest that P-pilus-mediated attachment may be an important part of the sensor-regulatory process involved in uropathogenic E. coli urinary tract infection.

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