Extended-spectrum β-lactamase production is associated with an increase in cell invasion and expression of fimbrial adhesins in Klebsiella pneumoniae

H. Sahly*, S. Navon-Venezia, L. Roesler, A. Hay, Y. Carmeli, R. Podschun, C. Hennequin, C. Forestier, I. Ofek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains are suggested to possess higher pathogenic potential than non-ESBL producers. Microbial adherence to and invasion of host cells are critical steps in the infection process, so we examined the expression of type 1 and 3 fimbrial adhesins by 58 ESBL-producing and 152 nonproducing isolates of K. pneumoniae and their abilities to invade ileocecal and bladder epithelial cells. Mannose-sensitive hemagglutination of guinea pig erythrocytes and mannose-resistant hemagglutination of ox erythrocytes were evaluated to determine the strains' abilities to express type 1 and type 3 fimbriae, respectively. Bacterial adhesion to and invasion of epithelial cells were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and imipenem killing assay, respectively. The adherence of ESBL- and non-ESBL-producing strains to epithelial cells did not differ significantly (P > 0.05). In contrast, the proportion of strains capable of invading (>5% relative invasion) ileocecal and bladder epithelial cells was significantly higher among ESBL producers (81%, n = 47/58, and 27.6%, n = 16/58, respectively) than among non-ESBL producers (61%, n = 93/152, and 10%, n = 15/152, respectively) (P = 0.0084, odds ratio [OR] = 2.711, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.302 to 5.643 and P = 0.0021, OR = 4.79, 95% CI = 1.587 to 7.627). The mean invasion by ESBL producers (5.5% ± 2.8% and 3.3% ± 2.7%, respectively) was significantly higher than that by non-ESBL producers (2.9% ± 2.6% and 1.8% ± 2%, respectively) (P < 0.0001). Likewise, the proportion of ESBL producers coexpressing both fimbrial adhesins was significantly higher (793%; n = 46/58) than that of non-ESBL producers (61.8%; n = 94/152) (P = 0.0214; OR = 2,365; 95% CI = 1.157 to 4.834). Upon acquisition of SHV-12-encoding plasmids, two transconjugants switched on to produce type 3 fimbriae while expression of type 1 fimbriae was not affected. The acquisition of an ESBL plasmid appeared to upregulate the phenotypic expression of one or more genes, resulting in greater invasion ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3029-3034
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


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