The analysis of the intramacrophagic virulome of Brucella suis deciphers the environment encountered by the pathogen inside the macrophage host cell.
The pathogen Brucella suis resides and multiplies within a phagocytic vacuole of its host cell, the macrophage. The resulting complex relationship has been investigated by the analysis of the set of genes required for virulence, which we call intramacrophagic virulome. Ten thousand two hundred and seventy-two miniTn5 mutants of B. suis constitutively expressing gfp were screened by fluorescence microscopy for lack of intracellular multiplication in human macrophages. One hundred thirty-one such mutants affected in 59 different genes could be isolated, and a function was ascribed to 53 of them. We identified genes involved in (i) global adaptation to the intracellular environment, (ii) amino acid, and (iii) nucleotide synthesis, (iv) sugar metabolism, (v) oxidoreduction, (vi) nitrogen metabolism, (vii) regulation, (viii) disulphide bond formation, and (ix) lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Results led to the conclusion that the replicative compartment of B. suis is poor in nutrients and characterized by low oxygen tension, and that nitrate may be used for anaerobic respiration. Intramacrophagic virulome analysis hence allowed the description of the nature of the replicative vacuole of the pathogen in the macrophage and extended our understanding of the niche in which B. suis resides. We propose calling this specific compartment "brucellosome." (+info)
Role of the Brucella suis lipopolysaccharide O antigen in phagosomal genesis and in inhibition of phagosome-lysosome fusion in murine macrophages.
Brucella species are gram-negative, facultative intracellular bacteria that infect humans and animals. These organisms can survive and replicate within a membrane-bound compartment inside professional and nonprofessional phagocytic cells. Inhibition of phagosome-lysosome fusion has been proposed as a mechanism for intracellular survival in both cell types. However, the molecular mechanisms and the microbial factors involved are poorly understood. Smooth lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Brucella has been reported to be an important virulence factor, although its precise role in pathogenesis is not yet clear. In this study, we show that the LPS O side chain is involved in inhibition of the early fusion between Brucella suis-containing phagosomes and lysosomes in murine macrophages. In contrast, the phagosomes containing rough mutants, which fail to express the O antigen, rapidly fuse with lysosomes. In addition, we show that rough mutants do not enter host cells by using lipid rafts, contrary to smooth strains. Thus, we propose that the LPS O chain might be a major factor that governs the early behavior of bacteria inside macrophages. (+info)
Subversion and utilization of the host cell cyclic adenosine 5'-monophosphate/protein kinase A pathway by Brucella during macrophage infection.
Brucella spp. are intramacrophage pathogens that induce chronic infections in a wide range of mammals, including domestic animals and humans. Therefore, the macrophage response to infection has important consequences for both the survival of phagocytosed bacteria and the further development of host immunity. However, very little is known about the macrophage cell signaling pathways initiated upon infection and the virulence strategy that Brucella use to counteract these responses and secure their survival. In a previous study, we have shown that macrophages activated by SR141716A, a ligand of the cannabinoid receptor CB1, acquired the capacity to control Brucella and observed that the CB1 receptor-triggering engages the microbicidal activity of phagocytes. To analyze the perturbation of cell signaling pathway during macrophage infection by Brucella, we hypothesized that SR141716A provides cell signaling that interferes with the bacterial message leading to inhibition of macrophage functions. As CB1 receptor belongs to the family of G protein-linked receptors, we explored the cAMP signaling pathway. In this study, we show that the CB1 ligand inhibited the bacteria-induced cell signaling. Taking advantage of this result, we then demonstrated that Brucella infection elicited a rapid activation of the cAMP/protein kinase A pathway. This activation resulted in a prolonged phosphorylation of the transcription factor CREB. We finally demonstrate that the activation of the cAMP/protein kinase A pathway is crucial for the survival and establishment of Brucella within macrophages. For the first time in phagocytes, we thus characterized a primordial virulence strategy of Brucella involving the host signaling pathway, a novel point of immune intervention of this virulent pathogen. (+info)
Epitope mapping of the Brucella melitensis BP26 immunogenic protein: usefulness for diagnosis of sheep brucellosis.
Sequencing of bp26, the gene encoding the Brucella sp. immunogenic BP26 periplasmic protein, was performed in the reference strains of Brucella abortus, B. suis, and B. ovis. The three bp26 sequences were almost identical to that published for B. melitensis 16M bp26, and only minor nucleotide substitutions, without modifying the amino acid sequence, were observed between species. The bp26 genes of the seven B. abortus biovar reference strains and B. abortus S19 and RB51 vaccine strains were also sequenced. Again, only minor differences were found. Surprisingly, the bp26 nucleotide sequence for B. abortus S19 was almost identical to that found for B. melitensis 16M and differed from the sequence described previously by others (O. L. Rossetti, A. I. Arese, M. L. Boschiroli, and S. L. Cravero, J. Clin. Microbiol. 34:165-169, 1996) for the same B. abortus strain. The epitope mapping of BP26, performed by using a panel of monoclonal antibodies and recombinant DNA techniques, allowed the identification of an immunodominant region of the protein interesting for the diagnosis of B. melitensis and B. ovis infection in sheep. A recombinant fusion protein containing this region of BP26 reacted indeed, in Western blotting, as the entire recombinant BP26 against sera from B. melitensis- or B. ovis-infected sheep while it avoided false-positive reactions observed with sera from Brucella-free sheep when using the entire recombinant BP26. Thus, use of this recombinant fusion protein instead the entire recombinant BP26 could improve the specific serological diagnosis of B. melitensis or B. ovis infection in sheep. (+info)
Characterization of new members of the group 3 outer membrane protein family of Brucella spp.
Impairment of the omp25 gene in Brucella spp. leads to attenuated strains and confers protection to the host. Omp25 and Omp31, whose functions remain unknown, were the first characterized members of group 3 outer membrane proteins (Omps) (25 to 34 kDa). Recently, genomic and proteomic approaches identified five new putative members of this family, some of which are produced in B. melitensis or B. abortus. In the present study, using protein microsequencing, we identified new members of group 3 Omps proteins produced in B. suis. Since several monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against Omp25 cross-reacted with other members of group 3 Omps, we also performed Western immunoblotting to compare wild-type B. suis with mutants systematically having B. suis omp25-related genes knocked out. We demonstrate the production of three paralogs of Omp31 and/or Omp25 in B. suis, and the existence of a common site of signal peptide cleavage (AXAAD), which is very similar to that present in the five homologous Omps of Bartonella quintana. The seven group 3 Omps were classified in four-subgroups on the basis of percentage amino acid sequence identities: Omp25 alone, the Omp25b-Omp25c-Omp25d cluster, the Omp31/31b subgroup, and the less related Omp22 protein (also called Omp3b). Together with previous data, our results demonstrate that all new members of group 3 Omps are produced in B. suis or in other Brucella species and we propose a nomenclature that integrates all of these proteins to facilitate the understanding of future Brucella interspecies study results. (+info)
VirB1 orthologs from Brucella suis and pKM101 complement defects of the lytic transglycosylase required for efficient type IV secretion from Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
Type IV secretion systems mediate conjugative plasmid transfer as well as the translocation of virulence factors from various gram-negative pathogens to eukaryotic host cells. The translocation apparatus consists of 9 to 12 components, and the components from different organisms are believed to have similar functions. However, orthologs to proteins of the prototypical type IV system, VirB of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, typically share only 15 to 30% identical amino acids, and functional complementation between components of different type IV secretion systems has not been achieved. We here report a heterologous complementation in the case of A. tumefaciens virB1 defects with its orthologs from Brucella suis (VirB1s) and the IncN plasmid pKM101 (TraL). In contrast, expression of the genes encoding the VirB1 orthologs from the IncF plasmid (open reading frame 169) and from the Helicobacter pylori cag pathogenicity island (HP0523) did not complement VirB1 functions. The complementation of VirB1 activity was assessed by T-pilus formation, by tumor formation on wounded plants, by IncQ plasmid transfer, and by IncQ plasmid recipient assay. Replacement of the key active-site Glu residue by Ala abolished the complementation by VirB1 from B. suis and by TraL, demonstrating that heterologous complementation requires an intact lytic transglycosylase active site. In contrast, the VirB1 active-site mutant from A. tumefaciens retained considerable residual activity in various activity assays, implying that this protein exerts additional effects during the type IV secretion process. (+info)
Impairment of intramacrophagic Brucella suis multiplication by human natural killer cells through a contact-dependent mechanism.
Brucella spp. are facultative intracellular bacteria that can establish themselves and cause chronic disease in humans and animals. NK cells play a key role in host defense. They are implicated in an early immune response to a variety of pathogens. However, it was shown that they do not control Brucella infection in mice. On the other hand, NK cell activity is impaired in patients with acute brucellosis, and recently it was demonstrated that human NK cells mediate the killing of intramacrophagic Mycobacterium tuberculosis in in vitro infection. Therefore, we have analyzed the behavior of Brucella suis infecting isolated human macrophages in the presence of syngeneic NK cells. We show that (i) NK cells impair the intramacrophagic development of B. suis, a phenomenon enhanced by NK cell activators, such as interleukin-2; (ii) NK cells cultured in the presence of infected macrophages are highly activated and secrete gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha; (iii) impairment of bacterial multiplication inside infected cells is marginally associated with the cytokines produced during the early phase of macrophage-NK cell cocultures; (iv) direct cell-to-cell contact is required for NK cells to mediate the inhibition of B. suis development; and (v) inhibition of B. suis development results from an induction of NK cell cytotoxicity against infected macrophages. Altogether, these findings show that NK cells could participate early in controlling the intramacrophagic development of B. suis in humans. It seems thus reasonable to hypothesize a role for NK cells in the control of human brucellosis. However, by impairing the activity of these cells in the acute phase of the illness, the pathogen should avoid this control. (+info)
Different responses of macrophages to smooth and rough Brucella spp.: relationship to virulence.
By comparing smooth wild-type Brucella strains to their rough mutants, we show that the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O side chain of pathogenic Brucella has a dramatic impact on macrophage activation. It favors the development of virulent Brucella by preventing the synthesis of immune mediators, important for host defense. We conclude that this O chain property is firmly linked to Brucella virulence. (+info)