Production of Cellulose and Curli Fimbriae by Members of the Family Enterobacteriaceae Isolated from the Human Gastrointestinal Tract
Citrobacter spp., Enterobacter spp., and Klebsiella spp. isolated from the human gut were investigated for the biosynthesis of cellulose and curli fimbriae (csg). While Citrobacter spp. produced curli fimbriae and cellulose and Enterobacter spp. produced cellulose with various temperature-regulatory programs, Klebsiella spp. did not show pronounced expression of those extracellular matrix components. Investigation of multicellular behavior in two Citrobacter species and Enterobacter sakazakii showed an extracellular matrix, cell clumping, pellicle formation, and biofilm formation associated with the expression of cellulose and curli fimbriae. In those three strains, the csgD-csgBA region and the cellulose synthase gene bcsA were conserved. PCR screening for the presence of csgD, csgA and bcsA revealed that besides Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca, all species investigated harbored the genetic information for expression of curli fimbriae and cellulose. Since Citrobacter spp., Enterobacter spp., and Klebsiella spp. are frequently found to cause biofilm-related infections such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the human gut could serve as a reservoir for dissemination of biofilm-forming isolates.