Structural and mechanical properties of Klebsiella pneumoniae type 3 fimbriae

Feng Jung Chen, Chia Han Chan, Ying Jung Huang, Kuo Liang Liu, Hwei-Ling Peng, Hwan You Chang, Gunn Guang Liou, Tri Rung Yew, Cheng Hsien Liu, Ken-Yuh Hsu, Long Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study investigated the structural and mechanical properties of Klebsiella pneumoniae type 3 fimbriae, which constitute a known virulence factor for the bacterium. Transmission electron microscopy and optical tweezers were used to understand the ability of the bacterium to survive flushes. An individual K. pneumoniae type 3 fimbria exhibited a helix-like structure with a pitch of 4.1 nm and a three-phase force-extension curve. The fimbria was first nonlinearly stretched with increasing force. Then, it started to uncoil and extended several micrometers at a fixed force of 66 ± 4 pN (n = 22). Finally, the extension of the fimbria shifted to the third phase, with a characteristic force of 102 ± 9 pN (n = 14) at the inflection point. Compared with the P fimbriae and type 1 fimbriae of uropathogenic Escherichia coli, K. pneumoniae type 3 fimbriae have a larger pitch in the helix-like structure and stronger uncoiling and characteristic forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1718-1725
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011

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