Escherichia coli is a major cause of urinary tract infections, bacteraemia and sepsis. CFT073 is a well-studied, prototypic urosepsis isolate. This laboratory has previously shown that strain CFT073 is serum-resistant, with resistance being imparted by factors including capsule and extracellular polysaccharides inter alia. It has become apparent that not all CFT073 strains are identical, some harbour a 5 bp insertion in the rpoS gene which results in a truncated, non-functional RpoS. In this study, we compare CFT073 wild-type and an rpoS mutant. The gene sequence of rpoS in each isolate was verified. Next, the sensitivity of the bacteria to hydrogen peroxide was determined. Finally, wild-type and mutant strains were rendered bioluminescent. Bioluminescence permits the real-time detection of viability. The contribution of RpoS to serum resistance was examined by bioluminescence.

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