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The Myf fibrillae of Yersinia enterocolitica

Authors

  • Maite Iriarte,

    1. Microbial Pathogenesis Unit, international institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP) and Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL 54.90 B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
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  • Jean-Claude Vanooteghem,

    1. Microbial Pathogenesis Unit, international institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP) and Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL 54.90 B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
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  • Isabelle Delor,

    1. Microbial Pathogenesis Unit, international institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP) and Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL 54.90 B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
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  • Ramon Diaz,

    1. Departamento Interfacultativo de Microbiologia, Universidad de Navarra, 31080 Pamptona, Spain.
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  • Stuart Knutton,

    1. Institute of Child Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham 816 8ET, UK.
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  • Guy R. Cornelis

    Corresponding author
    1. Microbial Pathogenesis Unit, international institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP) and Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL 54.90 B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
    • *For correspondence. ICP, 54 Avenue Hippocrate, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. Tel. (2) 764 54 89: Fax (2) 764 54 81; Cornells@mipa.ucl.ac.be.

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Summary

The Myf antigen produced by Yersinia enterocolitica appeared as a proteic polymer composed of 21 kDa subunits. By transposon mutagenesis we isolated Myf-defective mutants. Those allowed us to clone and sequence a 4.4 kb chromosomal locus involved in Myf production. This region was found to contain three genes that we called myfA, myfB and myfC. Genes myfB and myfC encode an assembly machine related to those involved in the synthesis of many fimbriae; MyfB, the putative chaperone, possesses the consensus residues of the PapD family and MyfC encodes a putative outer-membrane protein. MyfA, the major subunit, was found to be 44% identical to the pH 6 antigen of Y.pestis. Myf is thus the K enterocolitica counterpart of this antigen, but it is by far not so well conserved as the other virulence determinants such as the Yops, suggesting that Myf and pH 6 antigen do not necessarily play the same role in Y. enterocolitica and Y. pestis. The study of the prevalence of myfA in various species of Yersinia reveaied that, like the yst enterotoxin gene, its presence is restricted to the pathogenic serotypes of Y. enterocolitica. By immuno-gold labelling, Myf appeared as a layer of extracellular material extending locally 2μm from the bacterial surface, indicative of a fibrillar structure.

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