In this report the first example of functional expression of a fimbrial gene cluster of a non-enteric human pathogen in Escherichia coli is described. This is shown for Haemophilus influenzae fibriae which mediate adherence to oropharyngeal epithelial cells. A genomic library of H. influenzae type b, strain 770235f+b0, was constructed using a cosmid vector and screened with a synthetic oligonucleotide probe derived from the N-terminal sequence of the fimbrial subunit of H. influenzae. Four cosmid clones were found which hybridized to this oligonucleotide probe. Escherichia coli strains harbouring these clones expressed the H. influenzae fimbriae at their cell surface, as was demonstrate in a whole-cell ELISA and by immunogold electron microscopy using a monoclonal antibody specific for the H. influenzae fimbriae. Surface expression could be maintained during subcloning until a minimal H. influenzae DNA insert of ~8.1 kb was obtained. Escherichia coli strains harbouring the 8.1 kb H. influenzae DNA able to cause a mannose-resistant adherence to oropharyngeal epithelial cells and a mannose-resistant haemagglutination of human AnWj-positive erythrocytes. The nucleotide sequence of hifA, the gene encoding the major fimbrial subunit, was determined. The predicted amino acid sequence shows a significant homology with a number of E. coli fimbrial subunits.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1989|