Author(s): Yang X, Becker T, Walters N, Pascual DW
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Abstract znuA is known to be an important factor for survival and normal growth under low Zn(2+) concentrations for Escherichia coli, Haemophilus spp., Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Pasteurella multocida. We hypothesized that the znuA gene present in Brucella melitensis 16 M would be similar to znuA in B. abortus and questioned whether it may also be an important factor for growth and virulence of Brucella abortus. Using the B. melitensis 16 M genome sequence, primers were designed to construct a B. abortus deletion mutant. A znuA knockout mutation in B. abortus 2308 (DeltaznuA) was constructed and found to be lethal in low-Zn(2+) medium. When used to infect macrophages, DeltaznuA B. abortus showed minimal growth. Further study with DeltaznuA B. abortus showed that its virulence in BALB/c mice was attenuated, and most of the bacteria were cleared from the spleen within 8 weeks. Protection studies confirmed the DeltaznuA mutant as a potential live vaccine, since protection against wild-type B. abortus 2308 challenge was as effective as that obtained with the RB51 or S19 vaccine strain.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense