The Bacterial Amyloid Curli Is Associated with Urinary Source Bloodstream Infection

Hung, Chia; Marschall, Jonas; Burnham, Carey-Ann D.; Byun, Albert S.; Henderson, Jeffrey P.; Chakravortty, Dipshikha (2014). The Bacterial Amyloid Curli Is Associated with Urinary Source Bloodstream Infection. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e86009. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0086009

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Urinary tract infections are the most common cause of E. coli bloodstream infections (BSI) but the mechanism of bloodstream invasion is poorly understood. Some clinical isolates have been observed to shield themselves with extracellular amyloid fibers called curli at physiologic temperature. We hypothesize that curli fiber assembly at 37 °C promotes bacteremic progression by urinary E. coli strains. Curli expression by cultured E. coli isolates from bacteriuric patients in the presence and absence of bacteremia were compared using Western blotting following amyloid fiber disruption with hexafluoroisopropanol. At 37 °C, urinary isolates from bacteremic patients were more likely to express curli than those from non-bacteremic patients [16/22 (73%) vs. 7/21 (33%); p = 0.01]. No significant difference in curli expression was observed at 30 °C [86% (19/22) vs. 76% (16/21); p = 0.5]. Isolates were clonally diverse between patients, indicating that this phenotype is distributed across multiple lineages. Most same-patient urine and blood isolates were highly related, consistent with direct invasion of urinary bacteria into the bloodstream. 37 °C curli expression was associated with bacteremic progression of urinary E. coli isolates in this population. These findings suggest new future diagnostic and virulence-targeting therapeutic approaches

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Marschall, Jonas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Annelies Luginbühl

Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2014 16:59

Last Modified:

20 Dec 2014 05:00

Publisher DOI:





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