1887

Abstract

genome sequencing projects have revealed six intact uncharacterized chaperone/usher systems with the potential to play roles in plague pathogenesis. We cloned each locus and expressed them in the Δ strain AAEC185 to test the assembled surface structures for various activities. Expression of each chaperone/usher locus gave rise to specific novel fibrillar structures on the surface of . One locus, , was able to mediate attachment to human epithelial cells (HEp-2) and human macrophages (THP-1) but not mouse macrophages (RAW264.7), while several loci were able to facilitate biofilm formation. When each chaperone/usher locus was deleted in , only deletion of the previously described pH 6 antigen (Psa) chaperone/usher system resulted in decreased adhesion and biofilm formation. Quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed low expression levels for each novel chaperone/usher system as well as in mouse tissues following intravenous infection. However, a mutant in the chaperone/usher locus was attenuated for virulence in mice via the intravenous route of infection, suggesting that expression of this locus is, at some stage, sufficient to affect the outcome of a plague infection. qRT-PCR experiments also indicated that expression of the chaperone/usher-dependent capsule locus, , was influenced by oxygen availability and that the well-described chaperone/usher-dependent pilus, Psa, was strongly induced in minimal medium even at 28 °C rather than 37 °C, a temperature previously believed to be required for Psa expression. These data indicate several potential roles for the novel chaperone/usher systems of in pathogenesis and infection-related functions such as cell adhesion and biofilm formation.

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2011-03-01
2021-03-04
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