Proteus (bacterium)
Overview
 
Proteus is a genus of Gram-negative
Gram-negative
Gram-negative bacteria are bacteria that do not retain crystal violet dye in the Gram staining protocol. In a Gram stain test, a counterstain is added after the crystal violet, coloring all Gram-negative bacteria with a red or pink color...

 Proteobacteria
Proteobacteria
The Proteobacteria are a major group of bacteria. They include a wide variety of pathogens, such as Escherichia, Salmonella, Vibrio, Helicobacter, and many other notable genera....

.
Three species—P. vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris is a rod-shaped, Gram negative bacterium that inhabits the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. It can be found in soil, water and fecal matter. It is grouped with the enterobacteriaceae and is an opportunistic pathogen of humans...

, P. mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium. It shows swarming motility, and urease activity. P. mirabilis causes 90% of all Proteus infections in humans.-Diagnosis:...

, and P. penneri
Proteus penneri
Proteus penneri is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium. The species was formerly called Proteus vulgaris indole negative or P. vulgaris biogroup 1 but was found to be genetically distinct from P. vulgaris. P. penneri is a cause of nosocomial...

—are opportunistic
Opportunistic infection
An opportunistic infection is an infection caused by pathogens, particularly opportunistic pathogens—those that take advantage of certain situations—such as bacterial, viral, fungal or protozoan infections that usually do not cause disease in a healthy host, one with a healthy immune system...

 human pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s. Proteus includes pathogens responsible for many human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli...

s. P. mirabilis causes wound and urinary tract infections. Most strains of P. mirabilis are sensitive to ampicillin
Ampicillin
Ampicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic that has been used extensively to treat bacterial infections since 1961. Until the introduction of ampicillin by the British company Beecham, penicillin therapies had only been effective against Gram-positive organisms such as staphylococci and streptococci...

 and cephalosporin
Cephalosporin
The cephalosporins are a class of β-lactam antibiotics originally derived from Acremonium, which was previously known as "Cephalosporium".Together with cephamycins they constitute a subgroup of β-lactam antibiotics called cephems.-Medical use:...

s. P. vulgaris is not sensitive to these antibiotics. However, this organism is isolated less often in the laboratory and usually only targets immunosuppressed individuals.
Encyclopedia
Proteus is a genus of Gram-negative
Gram-negative
Gram-negative bacteria are bacteria that do not retain crystal violet dye in the Gram staining protocol. In a Gram stain test, a counterstain is added after the crystal violet, coloring all Gram-negative bacteria with a red or pink color...

 Proteobacteria
Proteobacteria
The Proteobacteria are a major group of bacteria. They include a wide variety of pathogens, such as Escherichia, Salmonella, Vibrio, Helicobacter, and many other notable genera....

.

Clinical significance

Three species—P. vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris is a rod-shaped, Gram negative bacterium that inhabits the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. It can be found in soil, water and fecal matter. It is grouped with the enterobacteriaceae and is an opportunistic pathogen of humans...

, P. mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium. It shows swarming motility, and urease activity. P. mirabilis causes 90% of all Proteus infections in humans.-Diagnosis:...

, and P. penneri
Proteus penneri
Proteus penneri is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium. The species was formerly called Proteus vulgaris indole negative or P. vulgaris biogroup 1 but was found to be genetically distinct from P. vulgaris. P. penneri is a cause of nosocomial...

—are opportunistic
Opportunistic infection
An opportunistic infection is an infection caused by pathogens, particularly opportunistic pathogens—those that take advantage of certain situations—such as bacterial, viral, fungal or protozoan infections that usually do not cause disease in a healthy host, one with a healthy immune system...

 human pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s. Proteus includes pathogens responsible for many human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli...

s. P. mirabilis causes wound and urinary tract infections. Most strains of P. mirabilis are sensitive to ampicillin
Ampicillin
Ampicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic that has been used extensively to treat bacterial infections since 1961. Until the introduction of ampicillin by the British company Beecham, penicillin therapies had only been effective against Gram-positive organisms such as staphylococci and streptococci...

 and cephalosporin
Cephalosporin
The cephalosporins are a class of β-lactam antibiotics originally derived from Acremonium, which was previously known as "Cephalosporium".Together with cephamycins they constitute a subgroup of β-lactam antibiotics called cephems.-Medical use:...

s. P. vulgaris is not sensitive to these antibiotics. However, this organism is isolated less often in the laboratory and usually only targets immunosuppressed individuals. P. vulgaris occurs naturally in the intestines of humans and a wide variety of animals; also manure, soil and polluted waters. P. mirabilis, once attached to urinary tract, infects the kidney more commonly than E. coli. P. mirabilis are often found as free-living organisms in soil and water.

Identification

Proteus species do not usually ferment lactose
Lactose
Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk , although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from or , the Latin word for milk,...

, but have shown to be capable lactose fermenters depending on the species in a triple sugar iron (TSI
TSI slant
thumb|right|250px|TSI agar slant results: preinoculated ,[[Pseudomonas aeruginosa|P. aeruginosa]], [[Escherichia coli|E...

) test.

Since it belongs to the family of Enterobacteriaceae
Enterobacteriaceae
The Enterobacteriaceae is a large family of bacteria that includes many of the more familiar pathogens, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella and Shigella. This family is the only representative in the order Enterobacteriales of the class Gammaproteobacteria in the...

, general characters are applied on this genus: It is oxidase
Oxidase test
The oxidase test is a test used in microbiology to determine if a bacterium produces certain cytochrome c oxidases. It uses disks impregnated with a reagent such as N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine or N,N-Dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine , which is also a redox indicator...

-negative, but catalase- and nitrase-positive. Specific tests include positive urease
Urease
Urease is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia. The reaction occurs as follows:In 1926, James Sumner showed that urease is a protein. Urease is found in bacteria, yeast, and several higher plants. The structure of urease was first solved by P.A...

 (which is the fundamental test to differentiate Proteus from Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

) and phenylalanine deaminase tests.

On the species level, indole
Indole
Indole is an aromatic heterocyclic organic compound. It has a bicyclic structure, consisting of a six-membered benzene ring fused to a five-membered nitrogen-containing pyrrole ring. Indole is a popular component of fragrances and the precursor to many pharmaceuticals. Compounds that contain an...

 is considered reliable, as it is positive for Proteus vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris
Proteus vulgaris is a rod-shaped, Gram negative bacterium that inhabits the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. It can be found in soil, water and fecal matter. It is grouped with the enterobacteriaceae and is an opportunistic pathogen of humans...

but negative for Proteus mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium. It shows swarming motility, and urease activity. P. mirabilis causes 90% of all Proteus infections in humans.-Diagnosis:...

.

Some species are motile
Motility
Motility is a biological term which refers to the ability to move spontaneously and actively, consuming energy in the process. Most animals are motile but the term applies to single-celled and simple multicellular organisms, as well as to some mechanisms of fluid flow in multicellular organs, in...

.

It has a characteristic "swarming
Swarming motility
Swarming motility is a rapid and coordinated translocation of a bacterial population across solid or semi-solid surfaces. This type of motility is an example of an emerging concept in microbiology : bacterial multicellularity...

" pattern.
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