Somvanshi VS, Viswanathan P, Jacobs JL, Mulks MH, Sundin GW, Ciche TA
The Type 2 Secretion Pseudopilin, gspJ, Is Required for Multihost Pathogenicity of Burkholderia cenocepacia AU1054.
Infect Immun. 2010 Oct;78(10):4110-21
Authors: Somvanshi VS, Viswanathan P, Jacobs JL, Mulks MH, Sundin GW, Ciche TA
Burkholderia cenocepacia AU1054 is an opportunistic pathogen isolated from the blood of a person with cystic fibrosis. AU1054 is a multihost pathogen causing rapid pathogenicity to Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes. Within 24 h, AU1054 causes greater than 50% mortality, reduced growth, emaciated body, distended intestinal lumen, rectal swelling, and prolific infection of the nematode intestine. To determine virulence mechanisms, 3,000 transposon mutants were screened for attenuated virulence in nematodes. Fourteen virulence-attenuated mutants were isolated, and the mutant genes were identified. These genes included paaA, previously identified as being required for full virulence of B. cenocepacia K56-2. Six mutants were restored in virulence by complementation with their respective wild-type gene. One of these contained an insertion in gspJ, predicted to encode a pseudopilin component of the type 2 secretion system (T2SS). Nematodes infected with AU1054 gspJ had fewer bacteria present in the intestine than those infected with the wild type but still showed rectal swelling. The gspJ mutant was also defective in pathogenicity to onion and in degradation of polygalacturonic acid and casein. This result differs from previous studies where no or little role was found for T2SS in Burkholderia virulence, although virulence factors such as zinc metalloproteases and polygalacturonase are known to be secreted by the T2SS. This study highlights strain specific differences in B. cenocepacia virulence mechanisms important for understanding what enables environmental microbes to function as opportunistic pathogens.
PMID: 20660607 [PubMed - in process]