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J Med Microbiol. 1982 Feb;15(1):23-30.

The role of alpha haemolysin in the virulence of Escherichia coli for mice.


Transfer of an Hly plasmid determining production of alpha haemolysin to a non-haemolytic strain of Escherichia coli increased the virulence of the strain for mice. Injections of non-toxic amounts of alpha haemolysin, phenylhydrazine, haemoglobin, iron or manganese salts simulated the effect of the Hly plasmid by stimulating bacterial growth. Active or passive immunisation against alpha haemolysin protected mice on challenge with haemolytic E. coli by inhibiting in-vivo proliferation of the strain. Protection was eliminated by administration of iron salts at the time of challenge. The Hly plasmid probably acts as a virulence factor by enabling haemolytic strains of E. coli to obtain iron for growth from the lysed erythrocytes of infected animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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