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J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan;169(1):112-8.

The presence of K54 capsular polysaccharide increases the pathogenicity of Escherichia coli in vivo.

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Bacterial Pathogenesis Unit, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Proven isogenic capsule-negative derivatives (CP9.29, CP9.108, CP9.137, CP9.171, CP9.443, and CP9.C56), generated from an O4/K54/H5 blood isolate (CP9) of Escherichia coli by IS50L::phoA (TnphoA)-mediated transposon mutagenesis, were used to assess the function of a non-K1 capsule in three animal models. Intraperitoneal injection of CP9 (K54+) into mice resulted in an LD50 at 24 h of 5.5 x 10(6) cfu compared with LD50s of 2.6 x 10(7) cfu and 3.8 x 10(7) cfu for CP9.108 (K54-) and CP9.C56 (K54-) (P < .001). CP9 was cleared less rapidly from the bloodstream, after intravascular injection, than was CP9.108 (P < .01). In the rat granuloma pouch model, CP9 could proliferate from starting inocula as low as 1.0 x 10(3) cfu/mL. In contrast, capsule-deficient derivatives underwent transient log kills with starting inocula as high as 1.0 x 10(6) cfu/mL. Because proven isogenic strains were evaluated, a clear contribution of the K54 capsular polysaccharide to virulence in vivo is demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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