Nucleotide sequencing of a region downstream from the 1244 pilin structural gene, , revealed an ORF potentially able to code for a protein of 50862. This ORF, called , was flanked by a tRNA gene, which was followed by a transcriptional termination sequence. The tRNA gene and the termination sequence were nearly identical to sequences found immediately adjacent to the gene of several strains. A 2200 base mRNA strand, which contained both the and transcripts, was produced from this region, while a 650 base transcript containing only was present in a 100-fold excess over the longer transcript. Hyperexpression of the gene in a PilO strain resulted in normal pilus-specific phage sensitivity and twitching motility. The pilin produced by this strain had a lower apparent and a more neutral pI compared to that produced by a strain containing a functional gene. This pilin failed to react with a sugar-specific reagent which recognized pilin produced by the strain containing a functional gene.


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