The capsule plays an important role in Escherichia coli K1 interactions with Acanthamoeba

Suk Yul Jung, Abdul Matin, Kwang Sik Kim, Naveed Ahmed Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Escherichia coli K1 is shown to bind to, associate with, invade and survive inside Acanthamoeba, but the precise mechanisms associated with these events are unclear. We have previously shown that outer membrane protein A and lipopolysaccharide are critical bacterial determinants involved in E. coli K1 interactions with Acanthamoeba. Using an isogenic K1 capsule-deletion mutant (lacking the neuDB genes cluster that is necessary for the production of cytoplasmic precursors to the exopolysaccharide capsule), we observed that the capsule modulates and enhances E. coli K1 association and survival inside Acanthamoeba. The capsule-deletion mutant exhibited significantly reduced association compared with the wild type strain, E44. Similarly, the K1 capsule-deletion mutant exhibited limited ability for invasion/uptake by and survival inside Acanthamoeba. Next, we determined whether E. coli K1 survive inside Acanthamoeba during the encystment process and that viable bacteria can be isolated from the mature cysts. Using encystment assays, our findings revealed that E. coli K1, but not its capsule-deletion mutant, exhibit survival inside Acanthamoeba cysts. We believe this is the first demonstration that the K1 capsule plays an important role in E. coli K1 interactions with Acanthamoeba.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Adhesion
  • Encystment
  • Escherichia coli
  • K1 capsule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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