Enterotoxigenic (ETEC) of serogroup O166 gave mannose-resistant haemagglutination (MRHA) with bovine and human erythrocytes. The strains did not react with antisera prepared against the known colonization factors CFA/I, CFA/II, CFA/III, CFA/IV and PCFO159:H4. Strain E7476 of serotype O166:H27, which produced heat-stable enterotoxin (ST), was examined initially. It produced fimbriae about 7 nm in diameter. On SDS-PAGE two possible fimbrial polypeptides of molecular mass 15·5 and 17·0 kDa were seen. When variants of strain E7476 were isolated, loss of ST and MRHA together was associated with loss of a 98 MDa plasmid, while loss of ST alone correlated with plasmid deletion. An absorbed anti-strain E7476 antiserum reacted specifically with the 15·5 and 17·0 kDa polypeptides in Western immunoblotting and bound to the intact fimbriae by immuno-electron microscopy. When this antiserum was used in an ELISA to examine other strains of serogroup O166, a positive reaction was obtained with all the ST- and MRHA-positive strains. One strain of serotype O71:H27 and two strains of serotype O98:H also reacted with the absorbed anti-strain E7476 antiserum. The antiserum did not react with ETEC carrying known colonization factors. K12 and a number of of different serotypes carrying a plasmid coding for ST transferred from strain E7476, all gave MRHA and reacted with the absorbed anti-strain E7476 antiserum. The term putative colonization factor O166 (PCFO166) is proposed to describe the adhesive factor(s) on ETEC of serogroup O166 because of the similarity of properties with those of known colonization factors.


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