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Infect Immun. 1984 May;44(2):508-13.

Role of lipopolysaccharide in virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


The role of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was studied. The virulence of several P. aeruginosa strains for burned mice was found to be directly related to the dispersion of LPS into either the phenol or the water phase after extraction. Virulence decreased as the proportion of LPS recovered from the phenol phase increased. No similar correlation was observed when several other strain characteristics were investigated. This phenomenon was studied in greater detail by using the "smooth"-specific phage E79 to select mutants altered in LPS structure. One such mutant, PA220-R2, was extensively characterized. LPS isolated from PA220-R2 was found to be completely deficient in high-molecular-weight polysaccharide material. This alteration rendered the strain serum sensitive and dramatically changed the reaction with O-specific typing sera and sensitivity to typing phages. However, motility, toxin A and elastase production, and 22 metabolic functions remained unchanged. PA220-R2 was found to be comparatively nonvirulent, with a 50% lethal dose more than 1,000-fold higher than that of its parent for burned mice. This was due to the inability of PA220-R2 to establish an infection in burned skin.

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