The K15 capsule determinant of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain 536 (O6:K15:H31) is part of a novel 79.6-kb pathogenicity island (PAI) designated PAI V536 that is absent from the genome of nonpathogenic E. coli K-12 strain MG1655. PAI V536 shows typical characteristics of a composite PAI that is associated with the pheV tRNA gene and contains the pix fimbriae determinant as well as genes coding for a putative phosphoglycerate transport system, an autotransporter protein, and hypothetical open reading frames. A gene cluster coding for a putative general secretion pathway system, together with a kpsK15 determinant, is localized downstream of a truncated pheV gene ('pheV) also present in this chromosomal region. The distribution of genes present on PAI V536 was studied by PCR in different pathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli isolates of various sources. Analysis of the 20-kb kps locus revealed a so far unknown genetic organization. Generally, the kps K15 gene cluster resembles that of group 2 and 3 capsules, where two conserved regions (regions 1 and 3) are located up- or downstream of a highly variable serotype-specific region (region 2). Interestingly, recombination of a group 2 and 3 determinant may have been involved in the evolution of the K15 capsule-encoding gene cluster. Expression of the K15 capsule is important for virulence in a murine model of ascending urinary tract infection but not for serum resistance of E. coli strain 536.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases