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Urea Utilization by Leptospira

By Solomon Kadis and William L. Pugh

Abstract

One representative of each of five different pathogenic serotypes of Leptospira as well as one saprophytic strain were capable of growing on medium containing urea in place of an ammonium salt as a nitrogen source. Growth of all of the organisms tested on 1% urea was substantial, but only those that exhibited strong urease activity could grow to any appreciable extent on urea at a concentration as high as 2%. Intact urea-grown cells of the pathogenic serotypes tested (grippotyphosa and icterohaemorrhagiae) exhibited urease activity, with the level of activity of the former being considerably greater. No urease could be detected in cells of the saprophytic strain. When the pathogenic leptospires were sonicated or treated with toluene, the urease activity was greatly enhanced. When cultivated on NH(4)Cl, neither intact nor disrupted cells of any of the strains tested exhibited any urease activity. Cells of the grippotyphosa and icterohaemorrhagiae strains exhibited diauxic growth when cultivated in the presence of both NH(4)Cl and urea, whereas only monophasic growth could be detected for the saprophytic test strain. The experimental data on urea utilization and urease activity, when considered in the light of previously reported findings on leptospiral pathology, renal physiology, and the role of urease in other bacterial infections, suggests a significant role for leptospiral urease (in addition to other factors) in determining localization of the organism in the kidney and contributing to the resultant kidney pathology

Topics: Bacterial and Mycotic Infections
Year: 1974
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:423024
Provided by: PubMed Central
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