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Infect Immun. Jan 1984; 43(1): 149–155.
PMCID: PMC263402

P-fimbriated clones among uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains.


A total of 237 Escherichia coli strains isolated from the urine of patients with various forms of urinary tract infection or from feces of healthy children were analyzed for O group, possession of K1 capsule, type 1 fimbriae, P fimbriae, X adhesin, and production of hemolysin. Some of the strains were also analyzed for K and H antigens, outer membrane protein pattern, and plasmid content. P fimbriation, hemolysin production, and certain O groups were found to be significantly correlated with pyelonephritogenicity. Possession of type 1 fimbriae or of K1 capsule or plasmid content did not significantly correlate with virulence. Outer membrane protein patterns in 139 strains of the more common O groups were analyzed. Only one to three patterns, which varied between serotypes, were usually found within any one O group. Distinctive groups (clones) were found when the strains were grouped according to complete serotype, fimbriation, hemolysin production, and outer membrane protein pattern; also, the mean number of plasmids was typical of the strains in a given clone. Seven clones associated with pyelonephritis were found; together they accounted for 57% of the O serotypable strains from the pyelonephritis patients. The seven clones were P fimbriated but differed in their serotypes as follows: O1:K1:H7, O4:K12:H1, O4:K12:H5, O6:K2:H1, O16:K1:H6, or O18ac:K5:H7. All O1:K1:H7 strains observed fell into two clones according to the presence or absence of type 1 fimbriae and hemolysin production. One clone associated with cystitis was also found; this consisted of O6:K13:H1 strains lacking P fimbriae. Not a single representative of these eight clones was found among the fecal strains from the healthy children. They are proposed to represent virulent clones with special ability to cause human urinary tract infection.

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