1887

Abstract

has an absolute growth requirement for a porphyrin source, which can be supplied by haem, haemoglobin, or the haemoglobin–haptoglobin, haem–haemopexin and haem–albumin complexes. Utilization of the haem–haemopexin complex is known to be mediated by the products of the gene cluster. It was demonstrated that , but not or , is also essential for the utilization of haem from haem–albumin complexes. Mutants of the type b strain E1a lacking genes in the gene cluster were examined for their ability to cause bacteraemia in rat models of invasive disease. In 5-day-old rats, mutants in the genes yielded a significantly reduced bacteraemic titre compared to the wild-type strain. In addition, 5-day-old rats infected with the mutant strains exhibited significantly improved survival rates compared to those infected with the wild-type strain. Mutations in the haemoglobin/haemoglobin–haptoglobin-binding protein genes (s), either alone or in combination with the mutations, had no impact on virulence in 5-day-old rats. In 30-day-old rats infected with either the mutants or the wild-type strains, there was no significant difference in the ability to establish bacteraemia although bacterial titres were lower in rats infected with the mutants than in those infected with the wild-type strain. These age-related differences in the impact of mutations in the gene cluster may be related to changes in levels of host haem-binding proteins during development of the rat.

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2007-01-01
2020-08-14
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