Bundle-forming pilus locus of Aeromonas veronii bv. Sobria

Nahal Hadi, Qin Yang, Timothy C. Barnett, S. Mohammed B. Tabei, Sylvia M. Kirov, Jonathan G. Shaw

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Little is known about the colonization mechanisms of Aeromonas spp. Previous work has suggested that the type IV bundle-forming pilus (Bfp) is an aeromonad intestinal colonization factor. This study provides the first genetic characterization of this structure. To define the role of Bfp in Aeromonas veronii bv. Sobria adherence, a 22-kb locus encoding the bundle-forming pilus was isolated; this contained 17 pilus-related genes similar to the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) of Vibrio cholerae. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) demonstrated that the locus had two major transcriptional units, mshI to mshF and mshB to mshQ. Transcriptional fusion experiments demonstrated the presence of two strong promoters upstream of mshI and mshB. The locus encoded four putative prepilin proteins, one of which (MshA) corresponded to the N-terminal sequence of the previously isolated major pilin protein. All the pilin genes were inactivated, mutation of each minor or major pilin gene greatly reduced the bacterium's ability to adhere and form biofilms, and complementation of each mutant in trans rescued this phenotype. Mutation of the major pilin MshA and MshB, a minor pilin, resulted in their loss. The position of the mshH gene is conserved within a number of bacteria, and we have shown it is not transcriptionally linked to the other msh genes; moreover, its mutation did not have a dramatic effect on either adhesion or biofilm formation. Weconclude that the bundle-forming pilus is required for A. veronii bv. Sobria adherence and biofilm formation; furthermore, both the major and minor pilin proteins are essential for this process.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1351-1360
    Number of pages10
    JournalInfection and Immunity
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


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