Author(s): Vemulapalli TH, Vemulapalli R, Schurig GG, Boyle SM, Sriranganathan N
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Abstract Brucella abortus is a facultative, intracellular zoonotic pathogen which can cause undulant fever in humans and abortions in cattle. A 14-kDa protein of B. abortus was previously identified to be immunogenic in animals infected with Brucella spp. In this study, we discovered that the 14-kDa protein possessed immunoglobulin binding and hemagglutination properties that appeared to be based on the protein's lectin-like properties. Hemagglutination inhibition experiments suggested that the 14-kDa protein has affinity towards mannose. Disruption of the gene encoding the 14-kDa protein in virulent B. abortus strain 2308 induced a rough-like phenotype with an altered smooth lipopolysaccharide (LPS) immunoblot profile and a significant reduction in the bacterium's ability to replicate in mouse spleens. However, the mutant strain was stably maintained in mouse spleens at 2.0 to 2.6 log(10) CFU/spleen from day 1 to week 6 after intraperitoneal inoculation with 4.65 log(10) CFU. In contrast to the case for the smooth virulent strain 2308, in the rough attenuated strain RB51 disruption of the 14-kDa protein's gene had no effect on the mouse clearance pattern. These findings indicate that the 14-kDa protein of B. abortus possesses lectin-like properties and is essential for the virulence of the species, probably because of its direct or indirect role in the synthesis of smooth LPS.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense