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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Nov;10(11):743-54. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2890. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Merging mythology and morphology: the multifaceted lifestyle of Proteus mirabilis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, 1150 West Medical Center Drive, 5641 Medical Science Building II, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Proteus mirabilis, named for the Greek god who changed shape to avoid capture, has fascinated microbiologists for more than a century with its unique swarming differentiation, Dienes line formation and potent urease activity. Transcriptome profiling during both host infection and swarming motility, coupled with the availability of the complete genome sequence for P. mirabilis, has revealed the occurrence of interbacterial competition and killing through a type VI secretion system, and the reciprocal regulation of adhesion and motility, as well as the intimate connections between metabolism, swarming and virulence. This Review addresses some of the unique and recently described aspects of P. mirabilis biology and pathogenesis, and emphasizes the potential role of this bacterium in single-species and polymicrobial urinary tract infections.

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