• Role of glucose and CcpA in capsule expression and virulence of Streptococcus suis.

      Willenborg, J; Fulde, M; de Greeff, A; Rohde, Manfred; Smith, H E; Valentin-Weigand, P; Goethe, R; Institute for Microbiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany. (2011-06)
      Streptococcus suis is one of the most important pathogens in pigs and is also an emerging zoonotic agent. After crossing the epithelial barrier, S. suis causes bacteraemia, resulting in meningitis, endocarditis and bronchopneumonia. Since the host environment seems to be an important regulatory component for virulence, we related expression of virulence determinants of S. suis to glucose availability during growth and to the sugar metabolism regulator catabolite control protein A (CcpA). We found that expression of the virulence-associated genes arcB, representing arcABC operon expression, cps2A, representing capsular locus expression, as well as sly, ofs, sao and epf, differed significantly between exponential and early stationary growth of a highly virulent serotype 2 strain. Deletion of ccpA altered the expression of the surface-associated virulence factors arcB, sao and eno, as well as the two currently proven virulence factors in pigs, ofs and cps2A, in early exponential growth. Global expression analysis using a cDNA expression array revealed 259 differentially expressed genes in early exponential growth, of which 141 were more highly expressed in the CcpA mutant strain 10ΔccpA and 118 were expressed to a lower extent. Interestingly, among the latter genes, 18 could be related to capsule and cell wall synthesis. Correspondingly, electron microscopy characterization of strain 10ΔccpA revealed a markedly reduced thickness of the capsule. This phenotype correlated with enhanced binding to porcine plasma proteins and a reduced resistance to killing by porcine neutrophils. Taken together, our data demonstrate that CcpA has a significant effect on the capsule synthesis and virulence properties of S. suis.
    • Virulence gene pool detected in bovine group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae isolates by use of a group A S. pyogenes virulence microarray.

      Rato, Márcia G; Nerlich, Andreas; Bergmann, René; Bexiga, Ricardo; Nunes, Sandro F; Vilela, Cristina L; Santos-Sanches, Ilda; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal. (2011-07)
      A custom-designed microarray containing 220 virulence genes of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) was used to test group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae (GCS) field strains causing bovine mastitis and group C or group G Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (GCS/GGS) isolates from human infections, with the latter being used for comparative purposes, for the presence of virulence genes. All bovine and all human isolates carried a fraction of the 220 genes (23% and 39%, respectively). The virulence genes encoding streptolysin S, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the plasminogen-binding M-like protein PAM, and the collagen-like protein SclB were detected in the majority of both bovine and human isolates (94 to 100%). Virulence factors, usually carried by human beta-hemolytic streptococcal pathogens, such as streptokinase, laminin-binding protein, and the C5a peptidase precursor, were detected in all human isolates but not in bovine isolates. Additionally, GAS bacteriophage-associated virulence genes encoding superantigens, DNase, and/or streptodornase were detected in bovine isolates (72%) but not in the human isolates. Determinants located in non-bacteriophage-related mobile elements, such as the gene encoding R28, were detected in all bovine and human isolates. Several virulence genes, including genes of bacteriophage origin, were shown to be expressed by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Phylogenetic analysis of superantigen gene sequences revealed a high level (>98%) of identity among genes of bovine GCS, of the horse pathogen Streptococcus equi subsp. equi, and of the human pathogen GAS. Our findings indicate that alpha-hemolytic bovine GCS, an important mastitis pathogen and considered to be a nonhuman pathogen, carries important virulence factors responsible for virulence and pathogenesis in humans.