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Molecular characterization and adhesive properties of CF29K, an adhesin of Klebsiella pneumoniae strains involved in nosocomial infections.

  • P Di Martino
  • Y Bertin
  • J P Girardeau
  • V Livrelli
  • B Joly
  • A Darfeuille-Michaud
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1995
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


We previously described a CS31A-related protein, CF29K, expressed by Klebsiella pneumoniae strains involved in nosocomial infections. In this study, we cloned and sequenced cf29A, the structural gene of the CF29K protein, and showed that CF29K is an antigenic subtype of CS31A. The CF29K protein was found to be identical to the CS31A-L protein on the basis of biochemical and immunological properties. In contrast, the CS31A-H protein presented a different apparent molecular mass during sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, a different limited degradation pattern with endopeptidase V8, and a specific conformational epitope. We cloned and sequenced the CS31A-L structural gene and confirmed that CF29K and CS31A-L are identical, but their major subunits differ from ClpG (the CS31A-H subtype major subunit) by one amino acid at position 89 of the mature protein, which is a lysine in CF29K instead of the asparagine in ClpG. Site-directed mutagenesis experiments demonstrated that the biochemical and immunological differences between CS31A-H and CF29K or CS31A-L were dependent only on the amino acid at position 89 of the mature protein. To study the adhesive properties of CS31A-H and CF29K in the same Escherichia coli reference strain, we performed transcomplementation experiments with the cloned CS31A major-subunit structural genes or cloned cf29A gene and the clp accessory genes of the CS31A operon. We showed that CS31A-L, CF29K, and CS31A-H were involved in adhesion to Caco-2 and Int-407 cells but not to HEp-2 cells. Nevertheless, K. pneumoniae strains and corresponding E. coli transconjugants producing CF29K adhered to cultured Caco-2, Int-407, and HEp-2 cells, indicating the expression of another R-plasmid-encoded adhesin that mediated adhesion to HEp-2 cells. The carbohydrate part of the eucaryotic receptor of CF29K and CS31A-H adhesins was investigated by adhesion inhibition experiments with Int-407 cells. Although CS31A and CF29K belong to the K88 adhesin family, the receptor does not contain N-acetyl-D-galactosamine residues but contains N-acetylneuraminic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine.

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