date:Catholic Univ Louvain, Lab Physiol & Immunol Domest Anim, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium; Vet & Agrochem Res Ctr, Small Stock Dis, B-1180 Brussels, Belgium; State Univ Ghent, Fac Med Vet, Dept Virol Parasitol & Immunol, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) are often found in poultry and are responsible for a set of diseases, commonly referred to as avian colibacillosis. One of the important virulence factors is adhesion to different epithelial surfaces, which is mediated by pili. P pili are thought to play a role by means of their PapG adhesin, which occurs in three molecular variants: PapGI, PapGII and PapGIII. This study is the first to determine and analyse the distribution of the different papG alleles in APEC. Our results show a significant predominance of the papGII allele above all other alleles or allele combinations. No statistically significant associations could be found between papG allele distribution and the type of bird, organ of isolation and O serogroup. Finally, the papGII and papGIII sequences showed high homology with mammalian (including human) source papG sequences. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.