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Proteus mirabilis

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A gram-negative facultative anaerobe and motile bacterium involved in urinary tract infections in humans.


Proteus mirabilis is part of the normal flora of human gastrointestinal tract and found as free living in water and soil. It is typified by its swarming motility, its inability to ferment lactose and its capacity to ferment maltose as well as the aptitude to elongate itself and secrete polysaccharide when attached to the solid surfaces making it enormously motile particularly in medical equipment.

Proteus mirabilis is crucial to its motility a characteristic that helps to colonize and form biofilms aiding resistance to the host defenses and relies on its pili for attachment to avoid being flushed out of the urinary tract system. It is normally found in water, soil and human intestinal tract.

Proteus mirabilis is implicated in urinary tract infections and the formation of stones wherein these bacteria move to the urethra and urinary bladder manifested by frequent urination, presence of white blob cells in urine, bladder infections, back pain and suprapubic pain.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Bacteria

Phylum: Proteobacteria

Class: Gamma Proteobacteria

Order: Enterobacteriales

Family: Enterobacteriaceae

Genus: Proteus

Species: Proteus mirabilis

See also:

• Bacteria

• Urinary tract infections