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1.  Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans arcB influences hydrophobic properties, biofilm formation and adhesion to hydroxyapatite 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2009;40(3):550-562.
The regulation of gene expression in the oral pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is still not fully elucidated. ArcAB is a two-component system which allows facultative anaerobic bacteria to sense various respiratory growth conditions and adapt their gene expression accordingly.This study investigated in A. actinomycetemcomitans the role of ArcB on the regulation of biofilm formation, adhesion to saliva coated hydroxyapatite (SHA) and the hydrophobic properties of the cell. These phenotypic traits were determined for an A. actinomycetemcomitans arcB deficient type and a wild type strain. Differences in hydrophobic properties were shown at early and late exponential growth phases under microaerobic incubation and at late exponential phase under anaerobiosis.The arcB mutant formed less biofilm than the wild type strain when grown under anaerobic incubation, but displayed higher biofilm formation activity under microaerobic conditions. The adherence to SHA was significantly lower in the mutant when compared with the wild type strain. These results suggest that the transmembrane sensor kinase ArcB, in A. actinomycetemcomitans, senses redox growth conditions and regulates the expression of surface components of the bacterial cell related to biofilm formation and adhesion to saliva coated surfaces.
PMCID: PMC3768537  PMID: 24031399
two component system; gene regulation; adherence; colonization
2.  Invasion of epithelial cells by Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans: a dynamic, multistep process. 
Infection and Immunity  1996;64(8):2988-2997.
The invasion process of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a periodontopathogen, was studied with microscopy and viable quantitative assays using both KB and Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. Microscopy revealed that the events associated with the A. actinomycetemcomitans invasion process occurred rapidly. Scanning electron micrographs revealed A. actinomycetemcomitans associated with craters on the KB cell surface and others entering the KB cells through apertures with lip-like rims within 30 min of infection. Both transmission electron and immunofluorescence micrographs demonstrated that by this time some bacteria had, in fact, already entered, replicated, and exited host cells. Scanning electron micrographs revealed that infected KB cells exhibited fibrillar protrusions which contained bulges with the conformation of bacteria. Some protrusions formed intercellular connections between KB cells. Immunofluorescence micrographs revealed protrusions which harbored A. actinomycetemcomitans. The spread of internalized A. actinomycetemcomitans from one MDCK epithelial cell monolayer to another was demonstrated using a sandwich assay developed in our laboratory. Transcytosis of A. actinomycetemcomitans through polarized MDCK cells was also demonstrated. This study indicates that soon after entry of A. actinomycetemcomitans bacteria into epithelial cells, they undergo rapid multiplication and may subsequently be found in protrusions which sometimes extend between neighboring epithelial cells. The protrusions are thought to mediate the cell-to-cell spread of A. actinomycetemcomitans. Cell-to-cell spread may also occur by the endocytosis of A. actinomycetemcomitans bacteria which have been released into the medium via rudimentary protrusions which do not interconnect epithelial cells. The finding that the A. actinomycetemcomitans invasion process is so dynamic sheds significant new light on the interaction of this periodontopathogen with mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC174179  PMID: 8757825
3.  FimA, a major virulence factor associated with Streptococcus parasanguis endocarditis. 
Infection and Immunity  1995;63(12):4669-4674.
Adherence of microorganisms to damaged heart tissue is a crucial event in the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis. In the present study, we investigated the role of the FimA protein as a potential virulence factor associated with Streptococcus parasanguis endocarditis. FimA is a 36-kDa surface protein that is a recognized adhesin in the oral cavity where it mediates adherence to the salivary pellicle. An insertion mutant and a deletion mutant of S. parasanguis were employed in the rat model of endocarditis to determine the relevance of FimA in endocarditis pathogenesis. Catheterized rats were infected with either the fimA deletion mutant VT929, the fimA insertion mutant VT930, or the isogenic, wild-type S. parasanguis FW213. Rats inoculated with FW213 developed endocarditis more frequently (50.9%) than animals inoculated with either the deletion mutant (2.7%) or the insertion mutant (7.6%) (P < 0.001). A series of in vitro assays were performed to explore the mechanism(s) by which FimA enhanced the infectivity of S. parasanguis. FimA did not inhibit the uptake or the subsequent killing of S. parasanguis by phagocytic granulocytes. Similarly, FimA did not play a role in the adherence to or the aggregation of platelets. Significant differences were noted between FW213 and VT929 (P < 0.05) and FW213 and VT930 (P < 0.001) in their abilities to bind to fibrin monolayers. The mean percent adherence of FW213 to fibrin monolayers (2.1%) was greater than those of VT929 (0.5%) and VT930 (0.12%). Taken together, these results indicate that FimA is a major virulence determinant associated with S. parasanguis endocarditis and further suggest that its role is associated with initial colonization of damaged heart tissue.
PMCID: PMC173670  PMID: 7591121
4.  Identification of an immunoglobulin Fc receptor of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(10):4500-4505.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans expresses proteins that bind to the Fc portion of immunoglobulins. The immunoglobulin Fc receptors on the surface of A. actinomycetemcomitans were detected by the binding of biotinylated human or murine Fc molecules to strain SUNY 465 adsorbed to the bottom of microtiter wells. Biotinylated Fc binding was inhibited by unlabeled Fc molecules and human plasma. Fc receptors were identified by the binding of biotinylated Fc molecules to bacterial membrane proteins separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and transferred to nitrocellulose. Multiple bands were identified, and the major Fc-binding protein was determined to be a heat-modifiable protein. This protein migrated with approximate molecular weights of 25,000 and 32,000 (unheated and heated, respectively). Amino-terminal sequence analysis of this protein revealed a sequence identical to the heat-modifiable protein described for A. actinomycetemcomitans ATCC 43718. This protein sequence exhibits significant homology with the N termini of outer membrane protein A (OmpA) of Escherichia coli and related OmpA-like proteins from other gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC303136  PMID: 7927715
5.  Adhesion of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans to a human oral cell line. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(9):3672-3678.
Two quantitative, rapid assays were developed to study the adhesion of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, an oral bacterium associated with periodontal disease, to human epithelial cells. The human oral carcinoma cell line KB was grown in microtiter plates, and adherent bacteria were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with purified anti-A. actinomycetemcomitans serum and horseradish peroxidase-conjugated secondary antibody or [3H]thymidine-labeled bacteria. Adhesion was found to be time dependent and increased linearly with increasing numbers of bacteria added. Variation in the level of adhesion was noted among strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans. Adhesion was not significantly altered by changes in pH (from pH 5 to 9) but was sensitive to sodium chloride concentrations greater than 0.15 M. Pooled human saliva was inhibitory for adhesion when bacteria were pretreated with saliva before being added to the cells. Pretreatment of the KB cells with saliva did not inhibit adhesion. Protease treatment of A. actinomycetemcomitans reduced adhesion of the bacteria to KB cells. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that a protein(s) is required for bacterial adhesion and that host components may play a role in modulating adhesion to epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC303017  PMID: 8063383
6.  Characteristics of adherence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans to epithelial cells. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(3):928-935.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans smooth variants [SUNY 75(S), SUNY 465, 652] were investigated for their ability to adhere to KB epithelial cells. Both the type of medium (broth versus agar) and anaerobicity influenced adherence levels and cell surface characteristics. Optimal adherence was observed with all three strains after growth of the bacterial cells in broth under anaerobic conditions, a condition which was associated with extracellular microvesicles. Adherence of SUNY 75(S) also was correlated with extracellular amorphous material, whereas adherence of SUNY 465 was also associated with fimbriation which accompanied a smooth to rough phenotype shift. The relationship between adherence and extracellular vesicles, extracellular amorphous material, and fimbriation suggests that all of these components may function in A. actinomycetemcomitans adherence to epithelial cells. The phenotype shift observed in SUNY 465 cells is further evidence that A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 465 is predisposed to variant shifts which are associated with changes in adherence and invasion properties.
PMCID: PMC186205  PMID: 8112865
7.  Evidence that extracellular components function in adherence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans to epithelial cells. 
Infection and Immunity  1993;61(11):4933-4936.
Extracellular microvesicles and a highly proteinaceous polymer associated with a leukotoxin-producing strain, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 75, were shown to increase adherence of other weakly adherent A. actinomycetemcomitans strains to KB epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC281260  PMID: 8406899
8.  Requirements for invasion of epithelial cells by Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. 
Infection and Immunity  1993;61(4):1239-1245.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, an oral bacterium implicated in human periodontal disease, was recently demonstrated to invade cultured epithelial cells (D. H. Meyer, P. K. Sreenivasan, and P. M. Fives-Taylor, Infect. Immun. 59:2719-2726, 1991). This report characterizes the requirements for invasion of KB cells by A. actinomycetemcomitans. The roles of bacterial and host factors were investigated by using selective agents that influence specific bacterial or host cell functions. Inhibition of bacterial protein synthesis decreased invasion, suggesting the absence of a preformed pool of proteins involved in A. actinomycetemcomitans invasion. Inhibition of bacterial and eukaryotic energy synthesis also decreased invasion, confirming that A. actinomycetemcomitans invasion is an active process. Bacterial adherence to KB cells was indicated by scanning electron microscopy of infected KB cells. Further, the addition of A. actinomycetemcomitans-specific serum to the bacterial inoculum reduced invasion substantially, suggesting a role for bacterial attachment in invasion. Many of the adherent bacteria invaded the epithelial cells under optimal conditions. Inhibitors of receptor-mediated endocytosis inhibited invasion by A. actinomycetemcomitans. Like that of many facultatively intracellular bacteria, A. actinomycetemcomitans invasion was not affected by eukaryotic endosomal acidification. These are the first published observations describing the requirements for epithelial cell invasion by a periodontopathogen. They demonstrate that A. actinomycetemcomitans utilizes a mechanism similar to those used by many but not all invasive bacteria to gain entry into eukaryotic cells.
PMCID: PMC281353  PMID: 8454326
9.  Overexpression and purification of a fimbria-associated adhesin of Streptococcus parasanguis. 
Infection and Immunity  1993;61(3):1016-1022.
A Streptococcus parasanguis adhesin that blocks the attachment of S. parasanguis FW213 to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite (SCHA) has been purified. Previous work demonstrated that the attachment of FW213 to SCHA is mediated by fimbriae and that one component associated with fimbriae is a 36-kDa protein (FimA) that reacts with antifimbria serum in Western blots (immunoblots) and is not present in afimbriated mutants. To obtain amounts of FimA sufficient for adhesion blocking assays, we cloned the gene coding for FimA into an Escherichia coli T7 overexpression system. The resulting strain produced large amounts of FimA, as much as 50% of the total cell protein. FimA was purified by elution from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels, and its native conformation was reestablished by sodium dodecyl sulfate removal, resolubilization in guanidine hydrochloride, and 50-fold dilution. Some refolded FimA aggregated into dimers and trimers. Preincubation of SCHA with 100 micrograms of purified, renatured FimA per ml blocked 85% of the binding of FW213. The FimA-SCHA complex was quite stable and could be washed continuously for at least 2 h with only a slight loss of FimA blocking activity. When FimA was added to preformed bacterium-SCHA complexes, it displaced 40% of the bacteria already bound to SCHA. The results suggest that FimA is an adhesin with a high substrate affinity and may prove useful in the development of a therapeutic agent for the prevention of plaque formation and endocarditis initiated by the sanguis streptococci.
PMCID: PMC302833  PMID: 8094376
10.  Transformation of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans by electroporation, utilizing constructed shuttle plasmids. 
Infection and Immunity  1991;59(12):4621-4627.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a periodontal pathogen, has been strongly implicated in human periodontal disease. Advances in the molecular analysis of A. actinomycetemcomitans virulence factors have been limited due to the unavailability of systems for genetic transfer, transposon mutagenesis, and gene complementation. Slow progress can be traced almost exclusively to the lack of gene vector systems and methods for the introduction of DNA into A. actinomycetemcomitans. An electrotransformation system that allowed at least five strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans to be transformed with stable shuttle plasmids which efficiently replicated in both Escherichia coli and A. actinomycetemcomitans was developed. One plasmid, a potential shuttle vector designated pDL282, is 5.7 kb in size, has several unique restriction enzyme sites, and codes for resistance to spectinomycin and ampicillin. E. coli and A. actinomycetemcomitans were transformed with equal efficiencies of approximately 10(5) transformants per micrograms of DNA. Similar transformation efficiencies were obtained whether the plasmid DNA was isolated from A. actinomycetemcomitans or E. coli. In addition, frozen competent cells of A. actinomycetemcomitans yielded comparable efficiencies of transformation. Restriction enzyme analysis of pDL282 isolated after transformation confirmed the presence of intact donor plasmids. A plasmid isolated from A. pleuropneumoniae was also capable of transforming some isolates of A. actinomycetemcomitans, although generally at a lower frequency. The availability of these shuttle plasmids and an efficient transformation procedure should significantly facilitate the molecular analysis of virulence factors of A. actinomycetemcomitans.
PMCID: PMC259087  PMID: 1937823
11.  Evidence for invasion of a human oral cell line by Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. 
Infection and Immunity  1991;59(8):2719-2726.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, an oral bacterial species associated with periodontal disease, was found to invade human cell lines. Invasion was demonstrated by recovery of viable organisms from gentamicin-treated KB cell monolayers and by light and electron microscopy. Internalization occurred through a cytochalasin D-sensitive process. Invasion efficiencies of some A. actinomycetemcomitans strains were comparable to those of invasive members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Differences in invasiveness were correlated with bacterial colonial morphology. Smooth variants invaded more proficiently than rough variants. A. actinomycetemcomitans can undergo a smooth-to-rough colonial morphology shift which results in the loss of invasiveness. Coordinated regulation of genes involved in the rough-to-smooth phenotypic transitions may play a role in the episodic nature of periodontal disease.
PMCID: PMC258078  PMID: 1855989
12.  Nucleotide sequence analysis of a type 1 fimbrial gene of Streptococcus sanguis FW213. 
Infection and Immunity  1989;57(11):3527-3533.
A structural gene for type 1 fimbriae of Streptococcus sanguis FW213 was located within a 6-kilobase fragment cloned in Escherichia coli. A 1.6-kilobase internal fragment contains an open reading frame of 927 bases coding for an immunoreactive peptide of 34,349 daltons, which corresponds in size with an observed cytoplasmic form of fimbrial peptide (P. M. Fives-Taylor, F. L. Macrina, T. J. Pritchard, and S. J. Peene, Infect. Immun. 55:123-128, 1987). Disruption of the reading frame by insertional mutagenesis results in loss of immunoreactivity. Consensus sequences for initiation of transcription and translation were identified 5' to the coding region. Transcription terminator-like sequences were found downstream of the coding region. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cloned fimbrial peptide shows a strongly hydrophobic signal sequence at the amino terminus. The carboxyl-terminal region does not include a hydrophobic membrane anchor sequence such as has been reported for other gram-positive surface structures. A hydrophobic region of 12 to 14 amino acids downstream from the putative signal sequence cleavage site exhibits homology with the Streptococcus pyogenes type 6 M protein repetitive region A (S. K. Hollingshead, V. A. Fischetti, and J. R. Scott, J. Biol. Chem., 261:1677-1686, 1986). Functional homology at the level of protein secondary structure with Actinomyces viscosus T14V type 1 fimbriae (M. K. Yeung, B. M. Chassy, and J. O. Cisar, J. Bacteriol., 169:1678-1683, 1987) is proposed.
PMCID: PMC259863  PMID: 2572555
13.  Expression of Streptococcus sanguis antigens in Escherichia coli: cloning of a structural gene for adhesion fimbriae. 
Infection and Immunity  1987;55(1):123-128.
Chromosomal DNA from Streptococcus sanguis FW213 was partially digested with EcoRI and ligated into the positive-selection cloning vector pOP203(A2+). The ligation mixture was used to transform Escherichia coli K-12, and 4,500 transformants were examined. The tetracycline-resistant colonies had inserts averaging 3.2 kilobases. The entire colony bank was screened by colony immunoassay with polyclonal rabbit serum raised against S. sanguis FW213 whole cells. Thirty recombinant colonies produced stable positive reactions of various intensities, indicating that S. sanguis antigens could be expressed in E. coli. Restriction endonuclease digestion of these clones suggested that 26 of the clones were unique. Only two clones, VT616 and VT618, gave positive reactions with fimbria-specific antisera. That the gene coding for the antigen was located on the plasmid was confirmed by demonstrating that the presence of the plasmid was linked to antigen production. Western immunoblot analyses of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels showed that both clones produced a fimbrial peptide of Mr 30,000. The two recombinant plasmids were shown by Southern analysis and restriction mapping to contain the same 6-kilobase EcoRI fragment inserted in opposite orientations. Southern hybridization confirmed that this fragment is present in S. sanguis genomic DNA. The Mr 30,000 protein gene was expressed in both orientations, suggesting that the fimbrial promoter is located on the 6-kilobase fragment. These results show that at least one streptococcal fimbrial gene can be cloned and expressed in E. coli.
PMCID: PMC260289  PMID: 2878882
14.  Characterization of monoclonal antibodies specific for adhesion: isolation of an adhesin of Streptococcus sanguis FW213. 
Infection and Immunity  1986;54(2):421-427.
Monoclonal antibodies reactive to an adhesive strain of Streptococcus sanguis (FW213) and nonreactive to a nonadhesive mutant (JL7) were derived from the fusion of myeloma line X63Ag8.653 and spleen cells from BALB/c mice immunized with live S. sanguis cells. Five cell lines, belonging to subclasses of immunoglobulin G, produced monoclonal antibodies specifically directed against the adhesive strain. All five antibodies also failed to react with five additional, independently isolated, nonadhesive mutants. A spontaneous mutant of FW213 (VT508) that no longer reacted with monoclonal antibody F51 (MAbF51) was isolated by serial agglutination with the antibody. Langmuir adsorption isotherms of VT508 indicated that this mutant also had altered ability to adhere to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite further confirming the specificity of MAbF51 for adhesion. Electron microscopy revealed that VT508 had lost the peritrichous fimbriae associated with the adhesion of FW213. MAbF51 was used to purify the adhesin from lysozyme cell extracts by using an affinity column of MAbF51 linked to Sephacryl S1000. Purity was suggested by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and crossed immunoelectrophoresis (CIEP). The adhesin had a molecular weight greater than 150,000 and was not denatured in sodium dodecyl sulfate reducing gels. Two peaks of near electrophoretic mobility were detected in CIEP when the purified material was run against polyclonal antibody to the whole cell. Tandem CIEP analysis and immunoprecipitation provided evidence that the two peaks represented the same antigen in two different forms.
PMCID: PMC260178  PMID: 3770949
15.  Antibodies that bind to fimbriae block adhesion of Streptococcus sanguis to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. 
Infection and Immunity  1985;48(3):617-624.
Antibodies raised against a fimbriated, adhesive strain of Streptococcus sanguis (FW213) were found to block the adhesion of this organism to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. Antibodies were made specific for adhesion antigens by adsorption with isogenic, nonadhesive mutants (for rabbit polyclonal adsorbed antibody) or selection based on nonreactivity with two nonadhesive mutants (for monoclonal antibody). Rabbit antibody raised against isogenic, nonfimbriated nonadhesive mutants served as a control for antibodies present, but not related to fimbriation. Adsorbed antibody and monoclonal antibody were shown to be specific for fimbriae (antigen 1), since both antibodies could be seen by immune electron microscopy to bind 3.6-nm fimbriae, reacted only with the fimbriated parent and not the mutants in a whole bacterial cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and could immunoprecipitate fimbriae from fimbrial extracts of FW213. Antibodies isolated from preimmune and mutant sera did not react with fimbriae in any of the above assays. Only adsorbed antibody and monoclonal antibody were capable of blocking the adhesion of FW213 to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. Adsorbed antibody, purified to immunoglobulin G (IgG), was an effective inhibitor of adhesion without causing interfering cellular aggregation. Monoclonal IgG, papain-cleaved to Fab fragments to prohibit cell-to-cell cross-linking, was also a potent inhibitor of S. sanguis FW213 adhesion. Both IgG from mutant sera and Fab fragments from normal mouse IgG could not be shown to block adhesion. These data further support the hypothesis that S. sanguis fimbriae are involved in adhesion.
PMCID: PMC261206  PMID: 2860066
16.  Surface properties of Streptococcus sanguis FW213 mutants nonadherent to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. 
Infection and Immunity  1985;47(3):752-759.
Seventeen mutants of Streptococcus sanguis FW213 nonadherent to saliva-coated spheroidal hydroxyapatite were isolated after mutagenesis with ethyl methanesulfonate, nitrosoguanidine, nitrous acid, hydroxylamine, or 2-aminopurine. Enrichment for nonadherent mutants was accomplished by successive adsorptions of the adherent strains to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. After enrichment, variant colonial morphology on tryptic agar was used as a screening technique for selection of nonadherent mutants, with loss of colonial opacity frequently associated with loss of adherence ability. These mutants were further characterized for additional surface properties, including twitching motility, saliva-induced aggregation, coaggregation with Actinomyces species, surface hydrophobicity, and presence of fimbriae. Results from these assays indicated that the nonadherent mutants fell into six phenotypic groups. A correlation between the loss of adherence ability, a decrease in cell fimbriation, and a decrease in surface hydrophobicity is apparent.
PMCID: PMC261379  PMID: 2857684
17.  Whole-bacterial cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Streptococcus sanguis fimbrial antigens. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1982;16(1):141-144.
A whole-bacterial cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (bactELISA) was developed for detecting fimbrial antigens on Streptococcus sanguis. In this assay, S. sanguis cells were directly adhered to polystyrene or polyvinyl via drying. Use of the assay indicated that consistently high and uniform optical densities could be obtained from well to well. In addition, radioactive assaying indicated increased adsorption to the polystyrene wells over polyvinyl, suggesting that polystyrene may prove superior in the gram-positive bactELISA. Use of the bactELISA may prove valuable to both the clinical and research laboratory involved in the study of bacterial cell surface components or in the evaluation of antisera directed against bacterial antigens, which are difficult to prepare as purified derivatives.
PMCID: PMC272310  PMID: 6125528
18.  Defective F pili and other characteristics of Flac and Hfr Escherichia coli mutants resistant to bacteriophage R17. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1979;140(2):525-531.
Mutants resistant to the donor-specific bacteriophage R17 were isolated from Hfr and Flac-containing strains of Escherichia coli K-12. Thirty-five mutants were examined for the presence of F pili by electron microscopy. The pilus morphology was studied, as were the abilities of the cells to retract their pili and to synthesize new pili. Measurements were made of the efficiency of the conjugal deoxyribonucleic acid transfer and of M13 and R17 phage infection. All mutants had noticeable defects in pilus production, structure, or function. Mutants were found which produced unusually long pili, displayed wide variations in the number of pili per cell, and were deficient in pilus retraction and synthesis. Evidence is presented that there may be two pathways of pilus retraction.
PMCID: PMC216678  PMID: 40959
19.  Effects of high temperature on Escherichia coli F pili. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1978;133(2):459-464.
The effects of high temperatures (46 to 50 degrees C) on the production of F pili by Escherichia coli were studied by electron microscopy. Attached F pili rapidly disappeared at 48 and 50 degrees C but not at 46 degrees C. Free pili were not denatured at these temperatures. The pili that disappeared from the cells at 50 degrees C did not appear as free pili in the culture supernatant fluid, indicating that the pili had retracted to the cell surface or into the cell. The adsorption of either R17 phage or F pili antibody to the sides of pili prevented retraction. The disappearance of pili was accompanied by a loss in the ability to adsorb R17 phage but not M13 phage, suggesting that the tip of a pilus remains exposed after retraction.
PMCID: PMC222045  PMID: 342492
20.  Evidence for the involvement of ribonucleic acid in the production of F pili. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1976;125(2):540-544.
The effects of rifampin and streptolydigin, inhibitors of ribonucleic acid (RNA) synthesis, on the production of F pili by Escherichia coli were studied by electron microscopy. The inhibition of RNA synthesis reduces the number of new pili produced by depiliated cells, but does not affect their length or the number of pili present at the time of inhibition or the retraction of pili. We suggest that the rifampin-sensitive step may be linked to the establishement of a site for pili production. Evidence is provided that chloramphenicol inhibits retraction. We suggest that retraction requires some protein whose pool size is limited.
PMCID: PMC236113  PMID: 1107325

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