Switches, cross-talk and memory in Escherichia coli adherence

Nicola J Holden, David Gally

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Escherichia coli is a successful commensal and pathogen. Its pathogenic diversity stems from the acquisition and expression of multiple virulence-associated loci. Many of the key virulence factors are surface structures involved in adherence and motility. These are important antigens and their expression is limited by phase-variable genetic switches that are considered to act randomly. This review considers the possibility that such stochastic expression within a bacterial population belies sequential or co-ordinate control at the level of the individual bacterium. Co-ordinated expression or cross-talk between virulence loci can lead to a programmed set of events within a bacterium analogous to a simple form of electronic memory that is of benefit during infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-93
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adhesins, Bacterial/genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial/physiology
  • Adhesins, Bacterial/biosynthesis
  • Escherichia coli/genetics
  • Escherichia coli/pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli/physiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections/microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins/biosynthesis
  • Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial/genetics
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial/Physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Virulence Factors/genetics
  • Virulence Factors/physiology


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