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Abstract

Sphingomyelinases produced by the pathogenic members of the genus are implicated in the haemorrhagic manifestations seen in the severe form of leptospirosis. With multiple sphingomyelinase genes present in the genome of pathogenic , much remains to be understood about these molecules. They include factors regulating their expression, post-translational modifications, and release of the biologically active forms of these molecules. In this study, serovar Pomona was chosen as it is reported to express high levels of sphingomyelinase that explained the haemolytic activity seen in experimental animals infected with this pathogen. Here, we demonstrate the cytotoxicity of a 42 kDa sphingomyelinase secreted by serovar Pomona strain Pomona upon infecting Vero cells. This sphingomyelinase detected using specific anti-sphingomyelinase antibodies, exhibited haemolytic and sphingomyelinase activities that caused host-cell damage evident from the confocal images and scanning electron micrographs. The implications of these findings and the detection of a 42 kDa sphingomyelinase in the urine of human patients with leptospirosis in our earlier study is discussed with an emphasis on the potential of these sphingomyelinases as candidate markers for the early diagnosis of leptospirosis.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Indian Council of Medical Research
    • Principle Award Recipient: Manjula Sritharan
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/content/journal/micro/10.1099/mic.0.000976
2020-09-28
2021-08-02
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