The enteropathogenicity of strains that showed mannose-resistant adhesion to INT407 cells was evaluated by infecting Caco-2 cells and observing them by light and electronmicroscopy. Five of six strains adhered in large numbers to Caco-2 cells in the presence of mannose and caused cytopathic effects. Two strains of spp. seemed to invade Caco-2 cells, as membrane-bound bacteria were seen within the cytoplasm of these cells; however, staining by acridine orange-crystal violet appeared to show intracellular fluorescent bacteria in three strains. Fimbriae did not appear to play an important role in adhesion because fimbrial structures were not seen by transmission electronmicroscopy. Adhesion of four strains was inhibited by the addition of -fucose. The strains were negative in the fluorescence actin staining test, which in enteropathogenic strains correlates with the ability to attach and efface intestinal microvilli. The DNA of the strains did not hybridise with the and B probes, associated with attaching and effacing ability and invasion, respectively. These results give support to the enteropathogenicity of adhesive strains of spp., although the mechanisms of adhesion, and possibly invasion, remain to be elucidated.


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