1887

Abstract

Non-typable (NTPn) strains are typically isolated from nasopharyngeal carriage or from conjunctivitis. Since the isolation of NTPn from invasive disease is rare, we characterized the genetic basis of the non-typability of two isolates obtained in Italy from two cases of bacteraemic pneumonia. MLST revealed that both NTPn belonged to ST191, which, according to the MLST database, is associated with serotype 7F. Sequencing of the capsular locus () confirmed the presence of a 7F in both strains and revealed the existence of distinct single point mutations in the gene (a glycosyltransferase), both leading to the translation of proteins truncated at the C terminus. To verify that these mutations were responsible for the non-typability of the isolates, a functional 7F WchA was overexpressed in both NTPn. The two NTPn along with their WchA-overexpressing derivatives were analysed by transmission electron microscopy and by high-resolution magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy. Both NTPn were devoid of a polysaccharide capsule, and WchA overexpression was sufficient to restore the assembly of a serotype 7F capsule on the surface of the two NTPn. In conclusion, we identified two new naturally occurring point mutations that lead to non-typability in the pneumococcus, and demonstrated that WchA is essential for the biosynthesis of the serotype 7F capsule.

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2012-02-01
2019-12-11
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