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Adherence is often an essential step in bacterial pathogenesis or infection, required for colonizing a new host.[1] To effectively adhere to host surfaces, many bacteria produce multiple adherence factors called adhesins. For example, nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae expresses the adhesins Hia, Hap, Oap and a hemagglutinating pili.

Adhesins are attractive vaccine candidates because they are often essential to infection and are surface-located, making them readily accessible to antibodies.

The effectiveness of anti-adhesin antibodies is illustrated by studies with FimH, the adhesin of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). In animal models, passive immunization with anti FimH-antibodies and vaccination with the protein significantly reduced colonization by UPEC.[2] Moreover, the Bordetella pertussis adhesins FHA and pertactin are components of 3 of the 4 acellular pertussis vaccines currently licensed for use in the U.S.


  1. Coutte L, Alonso S, Reveneau N, Willery E, Quatannens B, Locht C, Jacob-Dubuisson F (2003). "Role of adhesin release for mucosal colonization by a bacterial pathogen". J Exp Med. 197 (6): 735–42. PMID 12629063.
  2. Langermann S, Möllby R, Burlein J, Palaszynski S, Auguste C, DeFusco A, Strouse R, Schenerman M, Hultgren S, Pinkner J, Winberg J, Guldevall L, Söderhäll M, Ishikawa K, Normark S, Koenig S (2000). "Vaccination with FimH adhesin protects cynomolgus monkeys from colonization and infection by uropathogenic Escherichia coli". J Infect Dis. 181 (2): 774–8. PMID 10669375.

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