is an invasive enteric pathogen. The present study determined the prevalence of invasive ability in strains isolated in São Paulo, Brazil, mainly from patients with diarrhoea. Invasion of HeLa cells was found in 17 (42%) of 41 strains studied. Most (88%) of the invasive strains were isolated from diarrhoeal stools. The invasive property was identified in 50% of strains isolated as pure cultures or from stool samples where no other enteropathogen was identified. All the invasive strains caused actin condensation in infected cells. Plasmid profile analysis showed the presence of plasmids of 35.8-180 kb in 70% of the strains regardless of their invasive ability, suggesting that invasiveness in is not plasmid related. No homology with a probe for gene sequences for invasion of enteroinvasive and strains was identified in colony hybridisation assays. The invasive property of was confirmed in the present study, but this characteristic did not predominate among strains isolated from patients with diarrhoea in São Paulo City. The presence of other virulence mechanisms and the role of non-invasive strains as a cause of diarrhoea remain to be established.


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