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Cell surface properties of two differently virulent strains of Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from a patient

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The aim of this study was to unravel, by focusing on cell surface properties, the underlying virulence factors contributing to the difference in the pathogenicity observed in two Acinetobacter baumannii strains isolated from the same patient. The two strains were phenotypically different: (i) a mucoid strain (AB-M), highly virulent in a mouse model of pneumonia, and (ii) a nonmucoid strain (AB-NM), moderately virulent in the same model. The study of the cell surface properties included the microbial adhesion to solvents method, the measurement of the electrophoretic mobility of bacteria, the analysis of biofilm formation by calcofluor white staining, the adherence to silicone catheters, and scanning electron microscopy. The AB-NM strain was more hydrophobic, more adherent to silicone catheters, and produced more biofilm than the AB-M strain. Scanning electron microscopy showed bacterial cells with a rough surface and the formation of large cell clusters for AB-NM whereas the AB-M strain had a smooth surface and formed only a few cell clusters. Contrary to the results of most previous studies, cell surface properties were not correlated to the virulence described in our experimental model, indicating that mechanisms other than adherence may be involved in the expression of A. baumannii virulence.

Keywords: Acinetobacter baumannii; adherence; adhérence; capsule; cell-surface properties; mucoid phenotype; phénotype mucoïde; propriétés de la surface cellulaire; virulence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Groupe d’étude des interactions hôte–pathogène, UPRES EA 3142, Université d’Angers, France. 2: Service commun d’imageries et d’analyses microscopiques, Université d’Angers, France. 3: INSERM U646, Ingénierie de la vectorisation particulaire, Angers, France. 4: Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University of Cologne Köln, Germany.

Publication date: 2012-03-17

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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