Urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli are very common health problem in the developed countries. The virulence of the uropathogenic E. coli Dr(+) IH11128 is determined by Dr fimbriae, which are homopolymeric structures composed of DraE subunits with the DraD protein capping the fiber. In this study, we have analyzed the structural and biochemical properties of biofilms developed by E. coli strains expressing Dr fimbriae with or without the DraD tip subunit and the surface-exposed DraD protein. We have also demonstrated that these E. coli strains form biofilms on an abiotic surface in a nutrient-dependent fashion. We present evidence that Dr fimbriae are necessary during the first stage of bacterial interaction with the abiotic surface. In addition, we reveal that the DraD alone is also sufficient for the initial surface attachment at an even higher level than Dr fimbriae and that chloramphenicol is able to reduce the normal attachment of the analyzed E. coli. The action of chloramphenicol also shows that protein synthesis is required for the early events of biofilm formation. Additionally, we have identified reduced exopolysaccharide coverage in E. coli that express only Dr fimbrial polyadhesins at the cell surface with or without the DraD capping subunit.
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