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Arch Pediatr. 2012 Nov;19 Suppl 3:S80-92. doi: 10.1016/S0929-693X(12)71279-4.

[Virulence factors and pathophysiology of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli].

[Article in French]

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Univ Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, EA 3105, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Hôpital Robert-Debré, Paris, France.


Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) causing urinary tract infections, bacteraemia or meningitis are characterized by a particular genetic background (phylogenetic group B2 and D) and the presence, within genetic pathogenicity islands (PAI) or plasmids, of genes encoding virulence factors involved in adhesion to epithelia, crossing of the body barriers (digestive, kidney, bloodbrain), iron uptake and resistance to the immune system. Among the many virulence factors described, two are particularly linked with a pathophysiological process: type P pili PapGII adhesin is linked with acute pyelonephritis, in the absence of abnormal flow of urine, and the K1 capsule is linked with neonatal meningitis. However, if the adhesin PapGII appears as the key factor of pyelonephritis, such that its absence in strain causing the infection is predictive of malformation or a vesico-ureteral reflux, the meningeal virulence of E. coli can not be reduced to a single virulence factor, but results from a combination of factors unique to each clone, and an imbalance between the immune defenses of the host and bacterial virulence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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