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Escherichia coli O157:H7 F9 Fimbriae Recognize Plant Xyloglucan and Elicit a Response in Arabidopsis thaliana

Lookup NU author(s): Professor William WillatsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Fresh produce is often a source of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreaks. Fimbriae are extracellular structures involved in cell-to-cell attachment and surface colonisation. F9 (Fml) fimbriae have been shown to be expressed at temperatures lower than 37 °C, implying a function beyond the mammalian host. We demonstrate that F9 fimbriae recognize plant cell wall hemicellulose, specifically galactosylated side chains of xyloglucan, using glycan arrays. E. coli expressing F9 fimbriae had a positive advantage for adherence to spinach hemicellulose extract and tissues, which have galactosylated oligosaccharides as recognized by LM24 and LM25 antibodies. As fimbriae are multimeric structures with a molecular pattern, we investigated whether F9 fimbriae could induce a transcriptional response in model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, compared with flagella and another fimbrial type, E. coli common pilus (ECP), using DNA microarrays. F9 induced the differential expression of 435 genes, including genes involved in the plant defence response. The expression of F9 at environmentally relevant temperatures and its recognition of plant xyloglucan adds to the suite of adhesins EHEC has available to exploit the plant niche.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmes A, Rossez Y, Wright KM, Hedley PE, Morris J, Willats WGT, Holden NJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Year: 2020

Volume: 21

Issue: 24

Online publication date: 19/12/2020

Acceptance date: 14/12/2020

Date deposited: 25/02/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1422-0067

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/ijms21249720

PubMed id: 33352760


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