The role of the Klebsiella pneumoniae capsular polysaccharide (K antigen) during colonization of the mouse large intestine was assessed with mild-type K. pneumoniae LM21 and its isogenic capsule-defective mutant. When bacterial strains were fed alone to mice, the capsulated bacteria persisted in the intestinal tract at levels of 10(8) CFU/g of feces while the capsule-defective strain colonized at low levels, 10(4) CFU/g of feces. In mixed-infection experiments, the mutant was rapidly outcompeted by the wild type. In situ hybridization on colonic sections revealed that bacterial cells of both strains were evenly distributed in the mucus layer at day 1 after infection, while at day 20 the wild type remained dispersed and the capsule-defective strain was seen in clusters in the mucus layer. These results suggest that capsular polysaccharide plays an important role in the gut colonization ability of K. pneumoniae.
|Journal||Infection and Immunity|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|