Fimbrial adhesins from extraintestinal Escherichia coli


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Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) represent an important subclass of E. coli that cause a wide spectrum of diseases in human and animal hosts. Fimbriae are key virulence factors of ExPEC strains. These long surface located rod-shaped organelles mediate receptor-specific attachment to host tissue surfaces (tissue tropism). Some ExPEC fimbriae have additional functions such as the promotion of biofilm formation, cell aggregation and adherence to abiotic surfaces. Here we review the structure, function and contribution to virulence of fimbriae associated with ExPEC strains.