Virulence factors in Proteus bacteria from biofilm communities of catheter-associated urinary tract infections

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2012 Jul;65(2):343-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2012.00976.x. Epub 2012 May 21.


More than 40% of nosocomial infections are those of the urinary tract, most of these occurring in catheterized patients. Bacterial colonization of the urinary tract and catheters results not only in infection, but also various complications, such as blockage of catheters with crystalline deposits of bacterial origin, generation of gravels and pyelonephritis. The diversity of the biofilm microbial community increases with duration of catheter emplacement. One of the most important pathogens in this regard is Proteus mirabilis. The aims of this study were to identify and assess particular virulence factors present in catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) isolates, their correlation and linkages: three types of motility (swarming, swimming and twitching), the ability to swarm over urinary catheters, biofilm production in two types of media, urease production and adherence of bacterial cells to various types of urinary tract catheters. We examined 102 CAUTI isolates and 50 isolates taken from stool samples of healthy people. Among the microorganisms isolated from urinary catheters, significant differences were found in biofilm-forming ability and the swarming motility. In comparison with the control group, the microorganisms isolated from urinary catheters showed a wider spectrum of virulence factors. The virulence factors (twitching motility, swimming motility, swarming over various types of catheters and biofilm formation) were also more intensively expressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Locomotion
  • Proteus Infections / microbiology*
  • Proteus mirabilis / isolation & purification
  • Proteus mirabilis / pathogenicity*
  • Proteus mirabilis / physiology*
  • Urease / metabolism
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Virulence Factors
  • Urease