Expression of a cloned 987P adhesion-antigen fimbrial determinant in Escherichia coli K-12 strain HB101

Pierre M. Morrissey, Gordon Dougan

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The properties of three independent enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolates known to express 987P adhesion fimbriae in a manner subject to phase variation were examined. Phase variation could not be correlated with any major changes in the plasmid DNA content of these strains or with readily detectable changes in any other tested phenotypic markers. The 987P genetic determinant from one of these strains, E. coli 987, was cloned into the non-fimbriated E. coli K-12 strains HB101, and expressed, using the cosmid vector system. 987P fimbriae produced by cells harbouring these recombinant plasmids (987P+ phenotype) could not be distinguished from 987P fimbriae produced by strain 987. Expression of 987P fimbriae from some recombinant plasmids was unstable but none of the recombinants exhibited the phase variation phenotype displayed by the parental strain. One recombinant plasmid, pPM200, contained an insert of strain 987 DNA of ca. 33 kb. The HB101[pPM200] displayed a rather stable 987P+ phenotype, but this was not true for several hosts, since pPM200 acquired approx. 20-kb deletions following transformations of E. coli K-12 strains other than HB101. The deletions mapped to the same region of pPM200 irrespective of the host strain transformed. Cells harbouring the deleted plasmids did not express 987P fimbriae (987P- phenotype).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmid vector
  • deletion
  • phase variation
  • plasmid
  • porcine enterocytes
  • Recombinant DNA

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