Correlation between Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying pLVPK-derived loci and abscess formation

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2010 Jun;29(6):689-98. doi: 10.1007/s10096-010-0915-1. Epub 2010 Apr 11.


Klebsiella pneumoniae-caused liver abscess (KLA) is an emerging infectious disease. However, factors other than K1-specific loci that contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease have not been identified. pLVPK is a 219,385-bp plasmid of K. pneumoniae CG43, an invasive K2 strain associated with KLA. We aimed in this study to evaluate the involvement of pLVPK in K. pneumoniae virulence and its clinical significance in abscess formation. A pLVPK-cured CG43 was isolated and its virulence was examined in a mouse model. The prevalence of pLVPK-derived loci terW, iutA, rmpA, silS, and repA was investigated in 207 clinical isolates by screening with specific primers. Loss of pLVPK abolished the ability of K. pneumoniae to disseminate into extraintestinal sites and, consequently, attenuated abscess formation in mice. Primary K. pneumoniae abscess isolates (n = 94) were more likely to be terW (+)-iutA (+)-rmpA (+)-silS (+) than those related to non-abscess infections (n = 113) (62% vs. 27%; p < 0.0001). Logistic regression analysis indicated that the presence of the terW-rmpA-iutA-silS loci was a significant risk factor (odds ratio, 4.12; 95% confidence interval, 2.02-8.4; p < 0.0001) for abscess formation. pLVPK is a determinant for K. pneumoniae virulence and infection with strains carrying the pLVPK-derived terW-rmpA-iutA-silS loci may predispose patients to abscess formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella Infections / microbiology*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / pathogenicity*
  • Liver Abscess / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmids / analysis*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Virulence Factors