Human enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) produces a plasmid-encoded type IV pilus termed longus (for long pilus). Regardless of the geographic origins of ETEC strains, the longus structural gene lngA was found to have the highest level of association with ETEC producing colonization factor antigen (CFA) CFA/II, followed by ETEC producing CFA/I and CFA/IV. ETEC bearing the less prevalent CFA/III and putative colonization factors and ETEC negative for CFA and putative colonization factor also contained lngA- related sequences. lngA was found in a considerable number of ETEC serotypes and was more often associated with ETEC producing heat-stable enterotoxins than with ETEC producing both heat-labile and heat-stable enterotoxins or heat-labile enterotoxin alone. lngA was found more often in strains isolated from children with diarrhea than in strains from healthy children, suggesting on association with intestinal disease. We conclude that longus is a widely distributed antigenic determinant in ETEC that is highly associated with known plasmid-encoded virulence factors, namely, CFAs and enterotoxins. A longus-specific probe may be a helpful epidemiological tool to assist in the identification of ETEC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases