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J Med Microbiol. 2013 Apr;62(Pt 4):514-24. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.052175-0. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Adhesin genes and serum resistance in Haemophilus influenzae type f isolates.

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Divison of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA.


The incidence of invasive infections due to Haemophilus influenzae has decreased significantly in developed countries with high rates of vaccination against H. influenzae serotype b (Hib). This vaccine provides no protection against H. influenzae serotype f (Hif), typically associated with invasive infections in adults with chronic disease and/or immunodeficiency, and rarely in otherwise healthy adults and children. The specific properties of Hif associated with virulence remain largely uncharacterized. A panel of 26 Hif strains consisting of both invasive disease-associated and mucosal surface non-invasive disease-associated isolates was surveyed by DNA fingerprinting, biotyping and PCR detection of hmw1, hmw2, hsf, the hif fimbrial locus and the lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) biosynthetic island, and assessment of β-lactamase expression and determination of resistance to the bactericidal activity of normal adult human serum. Repetitive sequence-based PCR fingerprinting differentiated the 26 strains into three clusters, with the majority of isolates (22/26, 84.6 %) clustered into a single indistinguishable group. Most isolates (24/26, 92.3 %) were of biotype I and two isolates produced β-lactamase with detection of a conjugative plasmid, and the isolates displayed a range of resistances to the bactericidal activity of human serum. All 26 isolates carried the adhesin hsf, 21 carried a partial hif fimbrial operon and 4 had the adhesin genes hmw1/2. A LOS biosynthetic island was detected in 20 isolates consisting of the genes lic2BC. It was concluded that Hif has many recognized virulence properties and comprises a relatively homogeneous group independent of the anatomical source from which it was isolated.

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