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Infect Immun. 1990 Apr;58(4):1120-3.

Construction of a urease-negative mutant of Proteus mirabilis: analysis of virulence in a mouse model of ascending urinary tract infection.

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


Proteus mirabilis, a urease-producing uropathogen, causes serious urinary tract infections in humans. To specifically evaluate the contribution of urease to virulence, a mutation was introduced into P. mirabilis HI4320 by homologous recombination. Virulence was assessed in the CBA mouse model of ascending urinary tract infection. Twenty mice each were challenged transurethrally with P. mirabilis HI4320 and its urease-negative derivative (1 x 10(9) to 2 x 10(9) CFU). At 48 h animals were sacrificed and the mean log10 CFU per milliliter of urine (parent, 6.23; mutant, 4.19; P = 0.0014) or per gram of bladder (parent, 6.29; mutant, 4.28; P = 0.0002), left kidney (parent, 4.11; mutant, 1.02; P = 0.00009), and right kidney (parent, 4.11; mutant, 2.43; P = 0.036) were all shown to be significantly different. These data demonstrate a role for urease as a critical virulence determinant for uropathogenic P. mirabilis.

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