High Adhesion and Increased Cell Death Contribute to Strong Biofilm Formation in Klebsiella pneumoniae

Pathogens. 2019 Dec 1;8(4):277. doi: 10.3390/pathogens8040277.


Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kp), is a frequent cause of hospital and community-acquired infections and WHO had declared it as a "priority pathogen". Biofilm is a major virulence factor of Kp and yet the mechanism of strong biofilm formation in Kp is unclear. A key objective of the present study is to investigate the differences between strong and weak biofilms formed by clinical isolates of Kp on various catheters and in different media conditions and to identify constituents contributing to strong biofilm formation. Quantification of matrix components (extracellular DNA (eDNA), protein, exopolysaccharides (EPS), and bacterial cells), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM) and flow-cytometry analysis were performed to compare strong and weak biofilm matrix. Our results suggest increased biofilm formation on latex catheters compared to silicone and silicone-coated latex catheters. Higher amounts of eDNA, protein, EPS, and dead cells were observed in the strong biofilm of Kp. High adhesion capacity and cell death seem to play a major role in formation of strong Kp biofilms. The enhanced eDNA, EPS, and protein in the biofilm matrix appear as a consequence of increased cell death.

Keywords: Klebsiella; adhesion; biofilms; catheter; cell death; eDNA.