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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Susceptibility of porcine intestine to pilus-mediated adhesion by some isolates of piliated enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli increases with age.

Two porcine isolates of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) (serogroup O157 and O141) derived from fatal cases of postweaning diarrhea and lacking K88, K99, F41, and 987P pili (4P- ETEC) were tested for adhesiveness to small-intestinal epithelia of pigs of different ages. Neither strain adhered to isolated intestinal brush borders of newborn (1-day-old) pigs in the presence of mannose. However, mannose-resistant adhesion occurred when brush borders from 10-day- and 3- and 6-week-old pigs were used. Electron microscopy revealed that both strains produced fine (3.5-nm) and type 1 pili at 37 degrees C but only type 1 pili at 18 degrees C. Mannose-resistant in vitro adhesion to brush borders of older pigs correlated with the presence of fine pili. These strains produced predominantly fine pili in ligated intestinal loops of both older and newborn pigs, but adherence was greater in loops in older pigs. Immunoelectron microscopic studies, using antiserum raised against piliated bacteria and absorbed with nonpiliated bacteria, of samples from brush border adherence studies revealed labelled appendages between adherent bacteria and intestinal microvilli. Orogastric inoculation of pigs weaned at 10 and 21 days of age indicated significantly (P less than 0.001) higher levels of adhesion by the ETEC to the ileal epithelia of older pigs than to that of younger ones. We suggest that small-intestinal adhesion and colonization by these ETEC isolates is dependent on receptors that develop progressively with age during the first 3 weeks after birth. Furthermore, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the fine pili described mediate intestinal adhesion by the 4P- ETEC strains studied.[1]


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