Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAggEC) is a distinct category of diarrheal pathogen implicated as the cause of persistent diarrhea. The pathogen exhibits a characteristic 'stacked-brick' pattern of aggregation when incubated with HEp-2 cells. The outer membrane protein (OMP) profile of a prototype EAggEC strain (F03) reflected the presence of one major 30-kDa protein. The OMP is expressed in the presence of the 60-MDa plasmid that the strain harbors. Antibodies were raised against the OMP by injecting the protein into a rabbit. The manifestation of an adherence phenotype on HEp-2 cells was observed for F03 and other strains that express OMP in the presence and absence of anti-OMP serum. Clumps of bacteria forming an aggregative pattern were observed in the HEp-2 cell assay in the absence of OMP antibodies, whereas a few bacteria attached to the cells in the presence of OMP antibodies. Mannose-resistant hemagglutination of human erythrocytes observed in the presence of EAggEC strains was inhibited in the presence of anti-OMP serum. Sequence analysis of a peptide generated by protease digestion of OMP exhibited 90% homology to a peptide of flagellin protein encoded by the hag gene of Serratia marcescens. Immunolabeling of the outer membrane by colloidal gold confirmed the protein to be an OMP. Our results suggest that the OMP of EAggEC have common antigenic properties. Antibodies raised against the protein can prevent adherence in vitro and could potentially interrupt the natural disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases