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Bordetella bronchiseptica promotes adherence, colonization, and cytotoxicity of Streptococcus suis in a porcine precision-cut lung slice model.Bordetella (B.) bronchiseptica and Streptococcus (S.) suis are major pathogens in pigs, which are frequently isolated from co-infections in the respiratory tract and contribute to the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC). Despite the high impact of co-infections on respiratory diseases of swine (and other hosts), very little is known about pathogen-pathogen-host interactions and the mechanisms of pathogenesis. In the present study, we established a porcine precision-cut lung slice (PCLS) model to analyze the effects of B. bronchiseptica infection on adherence, colonization, and cytotoxic effects of S. suis. We hypothesized that induction of ciliostasis by a clinical isolate of B. bronchiseptica may promote subsequent infection with a virulent S. suis serotype 2 strain. To investigate this theory, we monitored the ciliary activity by light microscopy, measured the release of lactate dehydrogenase, and calculated the number of PCLS-associated bacteria. To study the role of the pore-forming toxin suilysin (SLY) in S. suis-induced cytotoxicity, we included a SLY-negative isogenic mutant and the complemented mutant strain. Furthermore, we analyzed infected PCLS by histopathology, immunofluorescence microscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscopy. Our results showed that pre-infection with B. bronchiseptica promoted adherence, colonization, and, as a consequence of the increased colonization, the cytotoxic effects of S. suis, probably by reduction of the ciliary activity. Moreover, cytotoxicity induced by S. suis is strictly dependent on the presence of SLY. Though the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be fully clarified, our results clearly support the hypothesis that B. bronchiseptica paves the way for S. suis infection.
Homophilic protein interactions facilitate bacterial aggregation and IgG-dependent complex formation by the Streptococcus canis M protein SCM.Streptococcus canis is a zoonotic agent that causes serious invasive diseases in domestic animals and humans, but knowledge about its pathogenic potential and underlying virulence mechanisms is limited. Here, we report on the ability of certain S. canis isolates to form large bacterial aggregates when grown in liquid broth. Bacterial aggregation was attributed to the presence and the self-binding activity of SCM, the M protein of S. canis, as evaluated by bacterial sedimentation assays, immunofluorescence- and electron microscopic approaches. Using a variety of truncated recombinant SCM fragments, we demonstrated that homophilic SCM interactions occur via the N-terminal, but not the C-terminal part, of the mature M protein. Interestingly, when incubated in human plasma, SCM forms soluble protein complexes comprising its known ligands, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and plasminogen (Plg). Co-incubation studies with purified host proteins revealed that SCM-mediated complex formation is based on the interaction of SCM with itself and with IgG, but not with Plg or fibrinogen (Fbg), well-established constituents of M protein-mediated protein complexes in human-associated streptococci. Notably, these soluble, SCM-mediated plasma complexes harbored complement factor C1q, which can induce complement breakdown in the periphery and therefore represent another immune evasion mechanism of SCM.
IgM cleavage by Streptococcus suis reduces IgM bound to the bacterial surface and is a novel complement evasion mechanism.Streptococcus suis (S. suis) causes meningitis, arthritis and endocarditis in piglets. The aim of this study was to characterize the IgM degrading enzyme of S. suis (IdeSsuis) and to investigate the role of IgM cleavage in evasion of the classical complement pathway and pathogenesis. Targeted mutagenesis of a cysteine in the putative active center of IdeSsuis abrogated IgM cleavage completely. In contrast to wt rIdeSsuis, point mutated rIdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce complement-mediated hemolysis indicating that complement inhibition by rIdeSsuis depends on the IgM proteolytic activity. A S. suis mutant expressing IdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce IgM labeling, whereas the wt and complemented mutant showed less IgM F(ab')2 and IgM Fc antigen on the surface. IgM cleavage increased survival of S. suis in porcine blood ex vivo and mediated complement evasion as demonstrated by blood survival and C3 deposition assays including the comparative addition of rIdeSsuis and rIdeSsuis_C195S. However, experimental infection of piglets disclosed no significant differences in virulence between S. suis wt and isogenic mutants without IgM cleavage activity. This work revealed for the first time in vivo labeling of S. suis with IgM in the cerebrospinal fluid of piglets with meningitis. In conclusion, this study classifies IdeSsuis as a cysteine protease and emphasizes the role of IgM cleavage for bacterial survival in porcine blood and complement evasion though IgM cleavage is not crucial for the pathogenesis of serotype 2 meningitis.