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 Y. Hsu, Long Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 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 - 04 2011
Externally publishedYes


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