Capsule impedes adhesion to and invasion of epithelial cells by Klebsiella pneumoniae

Hany Sahly*, Rainer Podschun, Tobias A. Oelschlaeger, Michael Greiwe, Haralambos Parolis, David Hasty, JÖRN Kekow, Uwe Ullmann, Itzhak Ofek, Shlomo Sela

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The adhesion of K21a, K26, K36, and K50 capsulated Klebsiella strains to ileocecal (HCT-8) and bladder (T24) epithelial cell lines was significantly lower than that of their corresponding spontaneous noncapsulated variants K21a/3, K26/1, K36/3, and K50/3, respectively. Internalization of the bacteria by both epithelial cell lines was also significantly reduced. Similarly, a capsule-switched derivative, K2(K36), that exhibited a morphologically larger K36 capsule and formed more capsular material invaded the ileocecal epithelial cell line poorly compared to the corresponding K2 parent strain. None of the capsulated strains exhibited significant mannose-sensitive type 1 fimbriae, whereas two of the noncapsulated variants K21a/3 and K50/3 exhibited potent mannose-sensitive hemagglutinating activity. Although hemagglutinating activity that could be attributed to mannose-resistant Klebsiella type 3 fimbriae was weak in all strains, in several cases the encapsulated parent strains exhibited lower titers than their corresponding noncapsulated variants. Although the level of adhesion to the ileocecal cells is not different from adhesion to bladder cells, bacterial internalization by bladder cells was significantly lower than internalization by ileocecal cells, suggesting that bladder cells lack components required for the internalization of Klebsiella.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6744-6749
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000


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