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Keywords:

  • Escherichia coli;
  • Mutator;
  • Virulence;
  • Urinary tract infection

Abstract

It has been suggested that mutator phenotype could be associated with an increase in virulence, but to date experimental evidences are lacking. Epidemiological studies have revealed that urinary tract infection isolates encompass the highest proportion of mutator strains within the Escherichia coli species. Using the uropathogenic strain CFT073 and its mutS+ mutator mutant, we show that the mutator strain is selected in vitro in urine and in the late stages of infection in a mouse model having urinary tract infection. Thus, we report that, under specific conditions, i.e., urinary tract infection, the mutator phenotype may confer an advantage in pathogenesis.