Given the need to understand the virulence profile of Proteus mirabilis isolates from cellulitis in broiler chickens and their ability to cause lesions, the present study aimed to characterize genotypically and phenotypically the virulence profiles of two strains of P. mirabilis isolated from cellulitis in broilers, as well as to evaluate their ability to experimentally reproduce the lesions in vivo. The strain with the highest virulence potential (LBUEL-A33) possessed mrpA, pmfA, ucaA, atfA (fimbriae), zapA, ptA (proteases), hpmA (hemolysin), and ireA (siderophore) genes, formed a very strong biofilm, and expressed the pattern of aggregative adhesion and cytotoxicity in Vero cells. The strain with the lowest virulence potential (LBUEL-A34) did not present the pmfA and ucaA genes, but expressed the pattern of aggregative adhesion, formed a strong biofilm, and did not show cytotoxicity. Both strains developed cellulitis in an animal model within 24 h post-inoculation (PI), and the degree of lesions was not significantly altered up to 120 h PI. The LBUEL-A33 strain was also inoculated in combination with an avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC 046), and the lesions showed no significant changes from the individual inoculation of these two strains. Histological analysis showed that the LBUEL-A33 strain developed characteristic cellulitis lesions. Thus, both strains of P. mirabilis isolated in our study have several virulence factors and the ability to develop cellulitis in broilers.
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We thank the State University of Londrina and the Laboratory of Virology of the State University of Londrina for the supply of the cell lines used in this study.
This study was financed by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.
All procedures reported here are in accordance with the ethical principles of animal experimentation adopted by the Ethics Committee on Animal Use (CEUA) of the State University of Londrina (CEUA/ UEL—protocol 25523.2017.93).
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Sanches, M.S., Baptista, A.A.S., de Souza, M. et al. Proteus mirabilis causing cellulitis in broiler chickens. Braz J Microbiol 51, 1353–1362 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42770-020-00240-1