The cif Virulence Factor Gene Is Present in Isolates From Patients With Pseudomonas aeruginosa Keratitis

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To determine whether the cif gene is present in pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from patients with bacterial keratitis at Aravind Eye Hospital, a referral eye care center in southern India, and from corresponding environmental isolates.


Polymerase chain reaction amplification was performed on strains of P. aeruginosa isolated from ocular infections and environmental soil samples were collected from the area surrounding Aravind Eye Hospital. DNA sequencing of 16S ribosomal DNA amplicons was performed to verify strain identity.


We determined that 45 of 48 patient isolates carry a genomic copy of cif. Analysis of a catalog of environmental strains previously isolated from the surrounding area revealed that only 4 of 10 P. aeruginosa strains and 1 of 14 strains of related species carry the cif gene.


This is the first study to show that P. aeruginosa strains with ocular pathogenicity carry the cif gene and that the presence of this gene may be enriched over its prevalence in the environment. Taken together, these results suggest a potential role for Cif in acute bacterial keratitis.

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