The organization of P fimbrial gene clusters of 13 -hybridizing strains isolated from poultry with colisepticaemia, five P-fimbriae-expressing (P-positive) and eight P-fimbriae-non-expressing (P-negative), were examined by PCR and by Southern blot hybridization using primers or gene probes specific to the or genes. The absence of P fimbrial expression was associated with lack of PCR amplification of one or more of these genes, most commonly the gene. Restriction endonuclease RI, HI or digests of genomic DNA from all strains hybridized with each of the gene probes and demonstrated polymorphisms between P-positive and P-negative strains. tl digests of DNA from 12 of the 13 strains, when hybridized with the gene probe, demonstrated a 0.1 kb fragment specific to the gene which encodes the major structural protein of F11 fimbriae. Hence, only the P-positive strains contained complete copies of -related gene clusters. In contrast, most of the -hybridizing P-negative strains contained partial or divergent P fimbrial gene clusters, which explains the lack of P fimbrial expression by these strains.


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