Summary: The gene encoding a protein that reacted with antibodies specific for macrophage infectivity potentiator (LpMip) was cloned from the obligate intracellular rickettsia that causes Q fever in humans. Nucleotide sequencing analysis revealed an ORF encoding a gene product of 230 amino acids with a molecular mass of 25-5 kDa and a predicted pI of 10-7. The predicted amino acid sequence from the ORF shows similarity with Mip/Mip-like proteins of (46%) and (30%). Moreover, like LpMip, the amino acid sequence of the C terminus of this protein has over 35% identity to prokaryotic and eukaryotic FK506-binding proteins (FKBPs) that belong to a superfamily of immunophilins and are peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPlases). When overproduced in the protein also exhibited PPlase activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate that encodes a Mip analogue (CbMip). A putative leader peptide at the N terminus of CbMip was detected by computer analysis. Furthermore, Tn mutagenesis demonstrated that in CbMip was secreted. In view of the role of Mip/Mip-like proteins in the pathogenesis of , CbMip may be a virulence factor.


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