Enhancement of capsular hypermucoviscosity in Klebsiella pneumoniae by Acanthamoeba

Jian Ming Huang, Ko Chiang Sung, Wei Chen Lin, Hong Yue Lai, Yu Jen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Acanthamoeba and Klebsiella pneumoniae are both environmental commensals. Recently, clinical harm caused by hypermucoviscous K. pneumoniae has been observed. However, the interaction between these microbes and the origin of hypermucoviscous K. pneumoniae have not been reported Methodology/Principal findings Here, we report that the bacterial capsule is enlarged when co-cultured with Acanthamoeba using India ink staining, and this effect depends on the number of parasites present. This interaction results in an enhancement of capsular polysaccharide production in the subsequent generations of K. pneumoniae, even without co-culturing with Acanthamoeba. The hypermucoviscosity of the capsule was examined using the sedimentation assay and string test. We also screened other K. pneumoniae serotypes, including K1, K2, K5, and K20, for interaction with Acanthamoeba using India ink staining, and found the same interaction effect Conclusions/Significance These findings suggest that the interaction between Acanthamoeba and K. pneumoniae could lead to harmful consequences in public health and nosocomial disease control, particularly hypermucoviscous K. pneumoniae infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0011541
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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