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1.  Biological Cost of Different Mechanisms of Colistin Resistance and Their Impact on Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii 
Two mechanisms of resistance to colistin have been described in Acinetobacter baumannii. One involves complete loss of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), resulting from mutations in lpxA, lpxC, or lpxD, and the second is associated with phosphoethanolamine addition to LPS, mediated through mutations in pmrAB. In order to assess the clinical impacts of both resistance mechanisms, A. baumannii ATCC 19606 and its isogenic derivatives, AL1851 ΔlpxA, AL1852 ΔlpxD, AL1842 ΔlpxC, and ATCC 19606 pmrB, were analyzed for in vitro growth rate, in vitro and in vivo competitive growth, infection of A549 respiratory alveolar epithelial cells, virulence in the Caenorhabditis elegans model, and virulence in a systemic mouse infection model. The in vitro growth rate of the lpx mutants was clearly diminished; furthermore, in vitro and in vivo competitive-growth experiments revealed a reduction in fitness for both mutant types. Infection of A549 cells with ATCC 19606 or the pmrB mutant resulted in greater loss of viability than with lpx mutants. Finally, the lpx mutants were highly attenuated in both the C. elegans and mouse infection models, while the pmrB mutant was attenuated only in the C. elegans model. In summary, while colistin resistance in A. baumannii confers a clear selective advantage in the presence of colistin treatment, it causes a noticeable cost in terms of overall fitness and virulence, with a more striking reduction associated with LPS loss than with phosphoethanolamine addition. Therefore, we hypothesize that colistin resistance mediated by changes in pmrAB will be more likely to arise in clinical settings in patients treated with colistin.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01597-13
PMCID: PMC3910726  PMID: 24189257
2.  Pasteurella multocida Heddleston Serovar 3 and 4 Strains Share a Common Lipopolysaccharide Biosynthesis Locus but Display both Inter- and Intrastrain Lipopolysaccharide Heterogeneity 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(21):4854-4864.
Pasteurella multocida is a Gram-negative multispecies pathogen and the causative agent of fowl cholera, a serious disease of poultry which can present in both acute and chronic forms. The major outer membrane component lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is both an important virulence factor and a major immunogen. Our previous studies determined the LPS structures expressed by different P. multocida strains and revealed that a number of strains belonging to different serovars contain the same LPS biosynthesis locus but express different LPS structures due to mutations within glycosyltransferase genes. In this study, we report the full LPS structure of the serovar 4 type strain, P1662, and reveal that it shares the same LPS outer core biosynthesis locus, L3, with the serovar 3 strains P1059 and Pm70. Using directed mutagenesis, the role of each glycosyltransferase gene in LPS outer core assembly was determined. LPS structural analysis of 23 Australian field isolates that contain the L3 locus revealed that at least six different LPS outer core structures can be produced as a result of mutations within the LPS glycosyltransferase genes. Moreover, some field isolates produce multiple but related LPS glycoforms simultaneously, and three LPS outer core structures are remarkably similar to the globo series of vertebrate glycosphingolipids. Our in-depth analysis showing the genetics and full range of P. multocida lipopolysaccharide structures will facilitate the improvement of typing systems and the prediction of the protective efficacy of vaccines.
doi:10.1128/JB.00779-13
PMCID: PMC3807493  PMID: 23974032
3.  Cell surface hydrophobicity of colistin-susceptible versus -resistant Acinetobacter baumannii determined by contact angles: methodological considerations and implications 
Journal of applied microbiology  2012;113(4):940-951.
AIMS
Contact angle analysis of cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) describes the tendency of a water droplet to spread across a lawn of filtered bacterial cells. Colistin-induced disruption of the Gram-negative outer membrane necessitates hydrophobic contacts with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We aimed to characterize the CSH of Acinetobacter baumannii using contact angles, to provide insight into the mechanism of colistin resistance.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Contact angles were analysed for five paired colistin-susceptible and -resistant A. baumannii strains. Drainage of the water droplet through bacterial layers was demonstrated to influence results. Consequently, measurements were performed 0.66-sec after droplet deposition. Colistin-resistant cells exhibited lower contact angles (38.8±2.8° to 46.8±1.3°) compared to their paired-susceptible strains (40.7±3.0° to 48.0±1.4°; ANOVA; p<0.05). Contact angles increased at stationary phase (50.3±2.9° to 61.5±2.5° and 47.4±2.0° to 50.8±3.2°, susceptible and resistant, respectively, ANOVA; p<0.05), and in response to colistin 32-mgL−1 exposure (44.5±1.5° to 50.6±2.8° and 43.5±2.2° to 48.0±2.2°, susceptible and resistant, respectively; ANOVA; p<0.05). Analysis of complemented strains constructed with an intact lpxA gene, or empty vector, highlighted the contribution of LPS to CSH.
CONCLUSIONS
Compositional outer-membrane variations likely account for CSH differences between A. baumannii phenotypes, which influence the hydrophobic colistin-bacterium interaction.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF STUDY
Important insight into the mechanism of colistin resistance has been provided. Greater consideration of contact angle mehodology is nescessary to ensure accurate analyses are performed.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05337.x
PMCID: PMC3434258  PMID: 22574702
Antimicrobials; Lipopolysaccharide; Mechanism of Action
4.  Lipopolysaccharide-Deficient Acinetobacter baumannii Shows Altered Signaling through Host Toll-Like Receptors and Increased Susceptibility to the Host Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(3):684-689.
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii have emerged as a serious global health problem. We have shown previously that A. baumannii can become resistant to the last-line antibiotic colistin via the loss of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), including the lipid A anchor, from the outer membrane (J. H. Moffatt, M. Harper, P. Harrison, J. D. Hale, E. Vinogradov, T. Seemann, R. Henry, B. Crane, F. St. Michael, A. D. Cox, B. Adler, R. L. Nation, J. Li, and J. D. Boyce, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971–4977, 2010). Here, we show how these LPS-deficient bacteria interact with components of the host innate immune system. LPS-deficient A. baumannii stimulated 2- to 4-fold lower levels of NF-κB activation and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion from immortalized murine macrophages, but it still elicited low levels of TNF-α secretion via a Toll-like receptor 2-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, we show that while LPS-deficient A. baumannii was not altered in its resistance to human serum, it showed increased susceptibility to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Thus, LPS-deficient, colistin-resistant A. baumannii shows significantly altered activation of the host innate immune inflammatory response.
doi:10.1128/IAI.01362-12
PMCID: PMC3584870  PMID: 23250952
5.  Effect of colistin exposure and growth phase on the surface properties of live Acinetobacter baumannii cells examined by atomic force microscopy 
The diminishing antimicrobial development pipeline has forced the revival of colistin as a last line of defence against infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ such as Acinetobacter baumannii. The complete loss of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mediates colistin resistance in some A. baumannii strains. Atomic force microscopy was used to examine the surface properties of colistin-susceptible and -resistant A. baumannii strains at mid-logarithmic and stationary growth phases in liquid and in response to colistin treatment. The contribution of LPS to surface properties was investigated using A. baumannii strains constructed with and without the lpxA gene. Bacterial spring constant measurements revealed that colistin-susceptible cells were significantly stiffer than colistin-resistant cells at both growth phases (P < 0.01), whilst colistin treatment at high concentrations (32 mg/L) resulted in more rigid surfaces for both phenotypes. Multiple, large adhesive peaks frequently noted in force curves captured on colistin-susceptible cells were not evident for colistin-resistant cells. Adhesion events were markedly reduced following colistin exposure. The cell membranes of strains of both phenotypes remained intact following colistin treatment, although fine topographical details were illustrated. These studies, conducted for the first time on live A. baumannii cells in liquid, have contributed to our understanding of the action of colistin in this problematic pathogen.
doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2011.07.014
PMCID: PMC3433558  PMID: 21925844
Atomic force microscopy; Colistin; Acinetobacter baumannii; Morphology; Surface properties
6.  Colistin-Resistant, Lipopolysaccharide-Deficient Acinetobacter baumannii Responds to Lipopolysaccharide Loss through Increased Expression of Genes Involved in the Synthesis and Transport of Lipoproteins, Phospholipids, and Poly-β-1,6-N-Acetylglucosamine 
We recently demonstrated that colistin resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii can result from mutational inactivation of genes essential for lipid A biosynthesis (Moffatt JH, et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971–4977). Consequently, strains harboring these mutations are unable to produce the major Gram-negative bacterial surface component, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To understand how A. baumannii compensates for the lack of LPS, we compared the transcriptional profile of the A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 to that of an isogenic, LPS-deficient, lpxA mutant strain. The analysis of the expression profiles indicated that the LPS-deficient strain showed increased expression of many genes involved in cell envelope and membrane biogenesis. In particular, upregulated genes included those involved in the Lol lipoprotein transport system and the Mla-retrograde phospholipid transport system. In addition, genes involved in the synthesis and transport of poly-β-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) also were upregulated, and a corresponding increase in PNAG production was observed. The LPS-deficient strain also exhibited the reduced expression of genes predicted to encode the fimbrial subunit FimA and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). The reduced expression of genes involved in T6SS correlated with the detection of the T6SS-effector protein AssC in culture supernatants of the A. baumannii wild-type strain but not in the LPS-deficient strain. Taken together, these data show that, in response to total LPS loss, A. baumannii alters the expression of critical transport and biosynthesis systems associated with modulating the composition and structure of the bacterial surface.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05191-11
PMCID: PMC3256090  PMID: 22024825
7.  Different surface charge of colistin-susceptible and -resistant Acinetobacter baumannii cells measured with zeta potential as a function of growth phase and colistin treatment 
Objectives
Electrostatic forces mediate the initial interaction between cationic colistin and Gram-negative bacterial cells. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) loss mediates colistin resistance in some A. baumannii strains. Our aim was to determine the surface charge of colistin-susceptible and –resistant A. baumannii as a function of growth phase and in response to polymyxin treatment.
Methods
The zeta potential of A. baumannii ATCC 19606 and 10 clinical multidrug-resistant strains (MICs 0.5–2 mg/L) was assessed. Colistin-resistant derivatives (MIC >128 mg/L) of wild-type strains were selected in the presence of 10 mg/L colistin, including the LPS-deficient lpxA mutant, ATCC 19606R. To determine the contribution of LPS to surface charge, two complemented ATCC 19606R derivatives were examined, namely ATCC 19606R + lpxA (containing an intact lpxA gene) and ATCC 19606R + V (containing empty vector). Investigations were conducted as a function of growth phase and polymyxin treatment (1, 4 and 8 mg/L).
Results
Wild-type cells exhibited a greater negative charge (−60.5 ± 2.36 to −26.2 ± 2.56 mV) thancolistin-resistant cells (−49.2 ± 3.09 to −19.1 ± 2.80 mV) at mid-log phase (ANOVA, P < 0.05). Opposing growth-phase trends were observed for both phenotypes: wild-type cells displayed reduced negative charge and colistin-resistant cells displayed increased negative charge at stationary compared with mid-logarithmic phase. Polymyxin exposure resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in zeta potential. Examination of ATCC 19606R and complemented strains supported the importance of LPS in determining surface charge, suggesting a potential mechanism of colistin resistance.
Conclusions
Zeta potential differences between A. baumannii phenotypes probably reflect compositional outer-membrane variations that impact the electrostatic component of colistin activity.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkq422
PMCID: PMC3001852  PMID: 21081544
physicochemical properties; Gram-negative; polymyxin
8.  Insertion Sequence ISAba11 Is Involved in Colistin Resistance and Loss of Lipopolysaccharide in Acinetobacter baumannii▿ 
Infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii are of increasing concern, largely due to the multidrug resistance of many strains. Here we show that insertion sequence ISAba11 movement can result in inactivation of the A. baumannii lipid A biosynthesis genes lpxA and lpxC, resulting in the complete loss of lipopolysaccharide production and high-level colistin resistance.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01732-10
PMCID: PMC3101452  PMID: 21402838
9.  Colistin Resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii Is Mediated by Complete Loss of Lipopolysaccharide Production ▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(12):4971-4977.
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria represent a major global health problem. Polymyxin antibiotics such as colistin have resurfaced as effective last-resort antimicrobials for use against MDR Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii. Here we show that A. baumannii can rapidly develop resistance to polymyxin antibiotics by complete loss of the initial binding target, the lipid A component of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which has long been considered to be essential for the viability of Gram-negative bacteria. We characterized 13 independent colistin-resistant derivatives of A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 and showed that all contained mutations within one of the first three genes of the lipid A biosynthesis pathway: lpxA, lpxC, and lpxD. All of these mutations resulted in the complete loss of LPS production. Furthermore, we showed that loss of LPS occurs in a colistin-resistant clinical isolate of A. baumannii. This is the first report of a spontaneously occurring, lipopolysaccharide-deficient, Gram-negative bacterium.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00834-10
PMCID: PMC2981238  PMID: 20855724
10.  Natural Selection in the Chicken Host Identifies 3-Deoxy-d-manno- Octulosonic Acid Kinase Residues Essential for Phosphorylation of Pasteurella multocida Lipopolysaccharide▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(9):3669-3677.
Pasteurella multocida is the causative agent of a number of diseases in animals, including fowl cholera. P. multocida strains simultaneously express two lipopolysaccharide (LPS) glycoforms (glycoforms A and B) that differ only in their inner core structure. Glycoform A contains a single 3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) residue that is phosphorylated by the Kdo kinase, KdkA, whereas glycoform B contains two unphosphorylated Kdo residues. We have previously shown that P. multocida mutants lacking the heptosyltransferase, HptA, produce full-length glycoform B LPS and a large amount of truncated glycoform A LPS, as they cannot add heptose to the glycoform A inner core. These hptA mutants were attenuated in chickens because the truncated LPS made them vulnerable to host defense mechanisms, including antimicrobial peptides. However, here we show that birds inoculated with high doses of the hptA mutant developed fowl cholera and the P. multocida isolates recovered from diseased birds no longer expressed truncated LPS. Sequencing analysis revealed that the in vivo-derived isolates had mutations in kdkA, thereby suppressing the production of glycoform A LPS. Interestingly, a number of the spontaneous KdkA mutant strains produced KdkA with a single amino acid substitution (A112V, R123P, H168Y, or D193N). LPS structural analysis showed that complementation of a P. multocida kdkA mutant with wild-type kdkA restored expression of glycoform A to wild-type levels, whereas complementation with any of the mutated kdkA genes did not. We conclude that in P. multocida KdkA, the amino acids A112, R123, H168, and D193 are critical for Kdo kinase function and therefore for glycoform A LPS assembly.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00457-10
PMCID: PMC2937434  PMID: 20566690
11.  Structural and Genetic Basis for the Serological Differentiation of Pasteurella multocida Heddleston Serotypes 2 and 5 ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(22):6950-6959.
Pasteurella multocida is classified into 16 serotypes according to the Heddleston typing scheme. As part of a comprehensive study to define the structural and genetic basis of this scheme, we have determined the structure of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced by P. multocida strains M1404 (B:2) and P1702 (E:5), the type strains for serotypes 2 and 5, respectively. The only difference between the LPS structures made by these two strains was the absence of a phosphoethanolamine (PEtn) moiety at the 3 position of the second heptose (Hep II) in M1404. Analysis of the lpt-3 gene, required for the addition of this PEtn residue, revealed that the gene was intact in P1702 but contained a nonsense mutation in M1404. Expression of an intact copy of lpt-3 in M1404 resulted in the attachment of a PEtn residue to the 3 position of the Hep II residue, generating an LPS structure identical to that produced by P1702. We identified and characterized each of the glycosyltransferase genes required for assembly of the serotype 2 and 5 LPS outer core. Monoclonal antibodies raised against serotype 2 LPS recognized the serotype 2/5-specific outer core LPS structure, but recognition of this structure was inhibited by the PEtn residue on Hep II. These data indicate that the serological classification of strains into Heddleston serotypes 2 and 5 is dependent on the presence or absence of PEtn on Hep II.
doi:10.1128/JB.00787-09
PMCID: PMC2772478  PMID: 19767423
12.  Fis Is Essential for Capsule Production in Pasteurella multocida and Regulates Expression of Other Important Virulence Factors 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(2):e1000750.
P. multocida is the causative agent of a wide range of diseases of animals, including fowl cholera in poultry and wild birds. Fowl cholera isolates of P. multocida generally express a capsular polysaccharide composed of hyaluronic acid. There have been reports of spontaneous capsule loss in P. multocida, but the mechanism by which this occurs has not been determined. In this study, we identified three independent strains that had spontaneously lost the ability to produce capsular polysaccharide. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that these strains had significantly reduced transcription of the capsule biosynthetic genes, but DNA sequence analysis identified no mutations within the capsule biosynthetic locus. However, whole-genome sequencing of paired capsulated and acapsular strains identified a single point mutation within the fis gene in the acapsular strain. Sequencing of fis from two independently derived spontaneous acapsular strains showed that each contained a mutation within fis. Complementation of these strains with an intact copy of fis, predicted to encode a transcriptional regulator, returned capsule expression to all strains. Therefore, expression of a functional Fis protein is essential for capsule expression in P. multocida. DNA microarray analysis of one of the spontaneous fis mutants identified approximately 30 genes as down-regulated in the mutant, including pfhB_2, which encodes a filamentous hemagglutinin, a known P. multocida virulence factor, and plpE, which encodes the cross protective surface antigen PlpE. Therefore these experiments define for the first time a mechanism for spontaneous capsule loss in P. multocida and identify Fis as a critical regulator of capsule expression. Furthermore, Fis is involved in the regulation of a range of other P. multocida genes including important virulence factors.
Author Summary
Pasteurella multocida is an animal pathogen of worldwide economic significance. It causes fowl cholera in wild birds and poultry, hemorrhagic septicemia in ungulates, and atrophic rhinitis in swine. The major virulence factor in fowl cholera-causing isolates is the polysaccharide capsule, which is composed of hyaluronic acid. Although there have been reports of spontaneous capsule loss in some strains, to date there has been no systematic investigation into the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon. In this study, we describe for the first time the underlying transcriptional mechanisms required for the expression of capsule in P. multocida, and identify a transcriptional regulator required for capsule production.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000750
PMCID: PMC2816674  PMID: 20140235
13.  Identification of Novel Glycosyltransferases Required for Assembly of the Pasteurella multocida A:1 Lipopolysaccharide and Their Involvement in Virulence▿ †  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(4):1532-1542.
We previously determined the structure of the Pasteurella multocida Heddleston type 1 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) molecule and characterized some of the transferases essential for LPS biosynthesis. We also showed that P. multocida strains expressing truncated LPS display reduced virulence. Here, we have identified all of the remaining glycosyltransferases required for synthesis of the oligosaccharide extension of the P. multocida Heddleston type 1 LPS, including a novel α-1,6 glucosyltransferase, a β-1,4 glucosyltransferase, a putative bifunctional galactosyltransferase, and two heptosyltransferases. In addition, we identified a novel oligosaccharide extension expressed only in a heptosyltransferase (hptE) mutant background. All of the analyzed mutants expressing LPS with a truncated main oligosaccharide extension displayed reduced virulence, but those expressing LPS with an intact heptose side chain were able to persist for long periods in muscle tissue. The hptC mutant, which expressed LPS with the shortest oligosaccharide extension and no heptose side chain, was unable to persist on the muscle or cause any disease. Furthermore, all of the mutants displayed increased sensitivity to the chicken antimicrobial peptide fowlicidin 1, with mutants expressing highly truncated LPS being the most sensitive.
doi:10.1128/IAI.01144-08
PMCID: PMC2663145  PMID: 19168738
14.  Decoration of Pasteurella multocida Lipopolysaccharide with Phosphocholine Is Important for Virulence▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(20):7384-7391.
Phosphocholine (PCho) is an important substituent of surface structures expressed by a number of bacterial pathogens. Its role in virulence has been investigated in several species, in which it has been shown to play a role in bacterial adhesion to mucosal surfaces, in resistance to antimicrobial peptides, or in sensitivity to complement-mediated killing. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) structure of Pasteurella multocida strain Pm70, whose genome sequence is known, has recently been determined and does not contain PCho. However, LPS structures from the closely related, virulent P. multocida strains VP161 and X-73 were shown to contain PCho on their terminal galactose sugar residues. To determine if PCho was involved in the virulence of P. multocida, we used subtractive hybridization of the VP161 genome against the Pm70 genome to identify a four-gene locus (designated pcgDABC) which we show is required for the addition of the PCho residues to LPS. The proteins predicted to be encoded by pcgABC showed identity to proteins involved in choline uptake, phosphorylation, and nucleotide sugar activation of PCho. We constructed a P. multocida VP161 pcgC mutant and demonstrated that this strain produces LPS that lacks PCho on the terminal galactose residues. This pcgC mutant displayed reduced in vivo growth in a chicken infection model and was more sensitive to the chicken antimicrobial peptide fowlicidin-1 than the wild-type P. multocida strain.
doi:10.1128/JB.00948-07
PMCID: PMC2168462  PMID: 17704225
15.  Pasteurella multocida Expresses Two Lipopolysaccharide Glycoforms Simultaneously, but Only a Single Form Is Required for Virulence: Identification of Two Acceptor-Specific Heptosyl I Transferases▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(8):3885-3893.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a critical virulence determinant in Pasteurella multocida and a major antigen responsible for host protective immunity. In other mucosal pathogens, variation in LPS or lipooligosaccharide structure typically occurs in the outer core oligosaccharide regions due to phase variation. P. multocida elaborates a conserved oligosaccharide extension attached to two different, simultaneously expressed inner core structures, one containing a single phosphorylated 3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) residue and the other containing two Kdo residues. We demonstrate that two heptosyltransferases, HptA and HptB, add the first heptose molecule to the Kdo1 residue and that each exclusively recognizes different acceptor molecules. HptA is specific for the glycoform containing a single, phosphorylated Kdo residue (glycoform A), while HptB is specific for the glycoform containing two Kdo residues (glycoform B). In addition, KdkA was identified as a Kdo kinase, required for phosphorylation of the first Kdo molecule. Importantly, virulence data obtained from infected chickens showed that while wild-type P. multocida expresses both LPS glycoforms in vivo, bacterial mutants that produced only glycoform B were fully virulent, demonstrating for the first time that expression of a single LPS form is sufficient for P. multocida survival in vivo. We conclude that the ability of P. multocida to elaborate alternative inner core LPS structures is due to the simultaneous expression of two different heptosyltransferases that add the first heptose residue to the nascent LPS molecule and to the expression of both a bifunctional Kdo transferase and a Kdo kinase, which results in the initial assembly of two inner core structures.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00212-07
PMCID: PMC1952014  PMID: 17517879
16.  A Heptosyltransferase Mutant of Pasteurella multocida Produces a Truncated Lipopolysaccharide Structure and Is Attenuated in Virulence  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(6):3436-3443.
Pasteurella multocida is the causative agent of fowl cholera in birds. In a previous study using signature-tagged mutagenesis, we identified a mutant, AL251, which was attenuated for virulence in mice and in the natural chicken host. Sequence analysis indicated that AL251 had an insertional inactivation of the gene waaQPM, encoding a putative heptosyl transferase, required for the addition of heptose to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (M. Harper, J. D. Boyce, I. W. Wilkie, and B. Adler, Infect. Immun. 71:5440-5446, 2003). In the present study, using mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance, we have confirmed the identity of the enzyme encoded by waaQPM as a heptosyl transferase III and demonstrated that the predominant LPS glycoforms isolated from this mutant are severely truncated. Complementation experiments demonstrated that providing a functional waaQPM gene in trans can restore both the LPS to its full length and growth in mice to wild-type levels. Furthermore, we have shown that mutant AL251 is unable to cause fowl cholera in chickens and that the attenuation observed is not due to increased serum sensitivity.
doi:10.1128/IAI.72.6.3436-3443.2004
PMCID: PMC415681  PMID: 15155650
17.  Signature-Tagged Mutagenesis of Pasteurella multocida Identifies Mutants Displaying Differential Virulence Characteristics in Mice and Chickens  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(9):5440-5446.
Pasteurella multocida is the causative agent of fowl cholera in birds. Signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) was used to identify potential virulence factors in a mouse septicemia disease model and a chicken fowl cholera model. A library of P. multocida mutants was constructed with a modified Tn916 and screened for attenuation in both animal models. Mutants identified by the STM screening were confirmed as attenuated by competitive growth assays in both chickens and mice. Of the 15 mutants identified in the chicken model, only 5 were also attenuated in mice, showing for the first time the presence of host-specific virulence factors and indicating the importance of screening for attenuation in the natural host.
doi:10.1128/IAI.71.9.5440-5446.2003
PMCID: PMC187344  PMID: 12933901
18.  Genomic Scale Analysis of Pasteurella multocida Gene Expression during Growth within the Natural Chicken Host  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(12):6871-6879.
Little is known about the genomic-scale transcriptional responses of bacteria during natural infections. We used whole-genome microarray analysis to assess the transcriptional state of the gram-negative pathogen Pasteurella multocida, the causative agent of fowl cholera, during infection in the natural chicken host. We compared the expression profiles of bacteria harvested from the blood of septicemic chickens experiencing late-stage fowl cholera with those from bacteria grown in rich medium. Independent analysis of bacterial expression profiles from the infection of three individual chickens indicated that 40 genes were differentially expressed in all three individuals, 126 were differentially expressed in two of the three individuals, and another 372 were differentially expressed in one individual. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays were used to confirm the expression ratios for a number of genes. Of the 40 genes differentially expressed in all three individuals, 17 were up-regulated and 23 were down-regulated in the host compared with those grown in rich medium. The majority (10 of 17) of the up-regulated genes were involved in amino acid transport and metabolism and energy production and conversion, clearly indicating how P. multocida alters its biosynthetic and energy production pathways to cope with the host environment. In contrast, the majority (15 of 23) of down-regulated genes were of unknown or poorly characterized functions. There were clear differences in gene expression between the bacteria isolated from each of the three chickens, a finding consistent with individual host variation being an important factor in determining pathogen gene expression. Interestingly, bacteria from only two of the three infected animals had a gene expression profile highly similar to that observed during growth under iron-limiting conditions, suggesting that severe iron starvation may not always occur during P. multocida infection.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.12.6871-6879.2002
PMCID: PMC133079  PMID: 12438364

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