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J Infect Dis. 1990 Mar;161(3):525-30.

Hemagglutinin, urease, and hemolysin production by Proteus mirabilis from clinical sources.

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Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201.


Proteus mirabilis, a common cause of urinary tract infection, can lead to serious complications including pyelonephritis. Adherence factors, urease, and hemolysin may be virulence determinants. These factors were compared for bacteria cultured from 16 patients with acute pyelonephritis and 35 with catheter-associated bacteriuria and for 20 fecal isolates. Pyelonephritis isolates were more likely (P less than .05) to express the mannose-resistant/Proteus-like (MR/P) hemagglutinin in the absence of mannose-resistant/Klebsiella-like (MR/K) hemagglutinin than were catheter-associated or fecal isolates. Pyelonephritis isolates produced urease activity of 63 +/- 27 (mean +/- SD) mumol of NH3/min/mg of protein, not significantly different from catheter-associated or fecal isolates. Hybridization of Southern blots of P. mirabilis chromosomal DNA with two urease gene probes demonstrated that urease gene sequences were conserved in all isolates. Geometric mean of reciprocal hemolytic titers for pyelonephritis isolates was 27.9; for urinary catheter isolates, 18.0; and for fecal isolates, 55.7 (not significantly different, P greater than .1). Although in vivo expression of urease and hemolysin may not be reliable indexes of virulence, MR/P hemagglutination in the absence of MR/K hemagglutination may be necessary for development of pyelonephritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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