Role of DnaK in in vitro and in vivo expression of virulence factors of Vibrio cholerae. (1/14670)

The dnaK gene of Vibrio cholerae was cloned, sequenced, and used to construct a dnaK insertion mutant which was then used to examine the role of DnaK in expression of the major virulence factors of this important human pathogen. The central regulator of several virulence genes of V. cholerae is ToxR, a transmembrane DNA binding protein. The V. cholerae dnaK mutant grown in standard laboratory medium exhibited phenotypes characteristic of cells deficient in ToxR activity. Using Northern blot analysis and toxR transcriptional fusions, we demonstrated a reduction in expression of the toxR gene in the dnaK mutant strain together with a concomitant increase in expression of a htpG-like heat shock gene that is located immediately upstream and is divergently transcribed from toxR. This may be due to increased heat shock induction in the dnaK mutant. In vivo, however, although expression from heat shock promoters in the dnaK mutant was similar to that observed in vitro, expression of both toxR and htpG was comparable to that by the parental strain. In both strains, in vivo expression of toxR was significantly higher than that observed in vitro, but no reciprocal decrease in htpG expression was observed. These results suggest that the modulation of toxR expression in vivo may be different from that observed in vitro.  (+info)

Alpha-toxin and gamma-toxin jointly promote Staphylococcus aureus virulence in murine septic arthritis. (2/14670)

Septic arthritis is a common and feared complication of staphylococcal infections. Staphylococcus aureus produces a number of potential virulence factors including certain adhesins and enterotoxins. In this study we have assessed the roles of cytolytic toxins in the development of septic arthritis by inoculating mice with S. aureus wild-type strain 8325-4 or isogenic mutants differing in the expression of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-toxin production patterns. Mice inoculated with either an alpha- or beta-toxin mutant showed degrees of inflammation, joint damage, and weight decrease similar to wild-type-inoculated mice. In contrast, mice inoculated with either double (alpha- and gamma-toxin-deficient)- or triple (alpha-, beta-, and gamma-toxin-deficient)-mutant S. aureus strains showed lower frequency and severity of arthritis, measured both clinically and histologically, than mice inoculated with the wild-type strain. We conclude that simultaneous production of alpha- and gamma-toxin is a virulence factor in S. aureus arthritis.  (+info)

Role of antibodies against Bordetella pertussis virulence factors in adherence of Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis to human bronchial epithelial cells. (3/14670)

Immunization with whole-cell pertussis vaccines (WCV) containing heat-killed Bordetella pertussis cells and with acellular vaccines containing genetically or chemically detoxified pertussis toxin (PT) in combination with filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), pertactin (Prn), or fimbriae confers protection in humans and animals against B. pertussis infection. In an earlier study we demonstrated that FHA is involved in the adherence of these bacteria to human bronchial epithelial cells. In the present study we investigated whether mouse antibodies directed against B. pertussis FHA, PTg, Prn, and fimbriae, or against two other surface molecules, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the 40-kDa outer membrane porin protein (OMP), that are not involved in bacterial adherence, were able to block adherence of B. pertussis and B. parapertussis to human bronchial epithelial cells. All antibodies studied inhibited the adherence of B. pertussis to these epithelial cells and were equally effective in this respect. Only antibodies against LPS and 40-kDa OMP affected the adherence of B. parapertussis to epithelial cells. We conclude that antibodies which recognize surface structures on B. pertussis or on B. parapertussis can inhibit adherence of the bacteria to bronchial epithelial cells, irrespective whether these structures play a role in adherence of the bacteria to these cells.  (+info)

Role of Bordetella pertussis virulence factors in adherence to epithelial cell lines derived from the human respiratory tract. (4/14670)

During colonization of the respiratory tract by Bordetella pertussis, virulence factors contribute to adherence of the bacterium to the respiratory tract epithelium. In the present study, we examined the roles of the virulence factors filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), fimbriae, pertactin (Prn), and pertussis toxin (PT) in the adherence of B. pertussis to cells of the human bronchial epithelial cell line NCI-H292 and of the laryngeal epithelial cell line HEp-2. Using B. pertussis mutant strains and purified FHA, fimbriae, Prn, and PT, we demonstrated that both fimbriae and FHA are involved in the adhesion of B. pertussis to laryngeal epithelial cells, whereas only FHA is involved in the adherence to bronchial epithelial cells. For PT and Prn, no role as adhesion factor was found. However, purified PT bound to both bronchial and laryngeal cells and as such reduced the adherence of B. pertussis to these cells. These data may imply that fimbriae play a role in infection of only the laryngeal mucosa, while FHA is the major factor in colonization of the entire respiratory tract.  (+info)

Virulence of a spaP mutant of Streptococcus mutans in a gnotobiotic rat model. (5/14670)

Streptococcus mutans, the principal etiologic agent of dental caries in humans, possesses a variety of virulence traits that enable it to establish itself in the oral cavity and initiate disease. A 185-kDa cell surface-localized protein known variously as antigen I/II, antigen B, PAc, and P1 has been postulated to be a virulence factor in S. mutans. We showed previously that P1 expression is necessary for in vitro adherence of S. mutans to salivary agglutinin-coated hydroxyapatite as well as for fluid-phase aggregation. Since adherence of the organism is a necessary first step toward colonization of the tooth surface, we sought to determine what effect deletion of the gene for P1, spaP, has on the colonization and subsequent cariogenicity of this organism in vivo. Germ-free Fischer rats fed a diet containing 5% sucrose were infected with either S. mutans NG8 or an NG8-derived spaP mutant strain, PC3370, which had been constructed by allelic exchange mutagenesis. At 1-week intervals for 6 weeks after infection, total organisms recovered from mandibles were enumerated. At week 6, caries lesions also were scored. A significantly lower number of enamel and dentinal carious lesions was observed for the mutant-infected rats, although there was no difference between parent and mutant in the number of organisms recovered from teeth through 6 weeks postinfection. Coinfection of animals with both parent and mutant strains resulted in an increasing predominance of the mutant strain being recovered over time, suggesting that P1 is not a necessary prerequisite for colonization. These data do, however, suggest a role for P1 in the virulence of S. mutans, as reflected by a decrease in the cariogenicity of bacteria lacking this surface protein.  (+info)

Identification of a cytolethal distending toxin gene locus and features of a virulence-associated region in Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. (6/14670)

A genetic locus for a cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) was identified in a polymorphic region of the chromosome of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a predominant oral pathogen. The locus was comprised of three open reading frames (ORFs) that had significant amino acid sequence similarity and more than 90% sequence identity to the cdtABC genes of some pathogenic Escherichia coli strains and Haemophilus ducreyi, respectively. Sonic extracts from recombinant E. coli, containing the A. actinomycetemcomitans ORFs, caused the distension and killing of Chinese hamster ovary cells characteristic of a CDT. Monoclonal antibodies made reactive with the CdtA, CdtB, and CdtC proteins of H. ducreyi recognized the corresponding gene products from the recombinant strain. CDT-like activities were no longer expressed by the recombinant strain when an OmegaKan-2 interposon was inserted into the cdtA and cdtB genes. Expression of the CDT-like activities in A. actinomycetemcomitans was strain specific. Naturally occurring expression-negative strains had large deletions within the region of the cdt locus. The cdtABC genes were flanked by an ORF (virulence plasmid protein), a partial ORF (integrase), and DNA sequences (bacteriophage integration site) characteristic of virulence-associated regions. These results provide evidence for a functional CDT in a human oral pathogen.  (+info)

Complete nucleotide sequence of the 27-kilobase virulence related locus (vrl) of Dichelobacter nodosus: evidence for extrachromosomal origin. (7/14670)

The vrl locus is preferentially associated with virulent isolates of the ovine footrot pathogen, Dichelobacter nodosus. The complete nucleotide sequence of this 27.1-kb region has now been determined. The data reveal that the locus has a G+C content much higher than the rest of the D. nodosus chromosome and contains 22 open reading frames (ORFs) encoding products including a putative adenine-specific methylase, two potential DEAH ATP-dependent helicases, and two products with sequence similarity to a bacteriophage resistance system. These ORFs are all in the same orientation, and most are either overlapping or separated by only a few nucleotides, suggesting that they comprise an operon and are translationally coupled. Expression vector studies have led to the identification of proteins that correspond to many of these ORFs. These data, in combination with evidence of insertion of vrl into the 3' end of an ssrA gene, are consistent with the hypothesis that the vrl locus was derived from the insertion of a bacteriophage or plasmid into the D. nodosus genome.  (+info)

Expression of the plague plasminogen activator in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Escherichia coli. (8/14670)

Enteropathogenic yersiniae (Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Yersinia enterocolitica) typically cause chronic disease as opposed to the closely related Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of bubonic plague. It is established that this difference reflects, in part, carriage by Y. pestis of a unique 9.6-kb pesticin or Pst plasmid (pPCP) encoding plasminogen activator (Pla) rather than distinctions between shared approximately 70-kb low-calcium-response, or Lcr, plasmids (pCD in Y. pestis and pYV in enteropathogenic yersiniae) encoding cytotoxic Yops and anti-inflammatory V antigen. Pla is known to exist as a combination of 32.6-kDa (alpha-Pla) and slightly smaller (beta-Pla) outer membrane proteins, of which at least one promotes bacterial dissemination in vivo and degradation of Yops in vitro. We show here that only alpha-Pla accumulates in Escherichia coli LE392/pPCP1 cultivated in enriched medium and that either autolysis or extraction of this isolate with 1.0 M NaCl results in release of soluble alpha and beta forms possessing biological activity. This process also converted cell-bound alpha-Pla to beta-Pla and smaller forms in Y. pestis KIM/pPCP1 and Y. pseudotuberculosis PB1/+/pPCP1 but did not promote solubilization. Pla-mediated posttranslational hydrolysis of pulse-labeled Yops in Y. pseudotuberculosis PB1/+/pPCP1 occurred more slowly than that in Y. pestis but was otherwise similar except for accumulation of stable degradation products of YadA, a pYV-mediated fibrillar adhesin not encoded in frame by pCD. Carriage of pPCP by Y. pseudotuberculosis did not significantly influence virulence in mice.  (+info)