Attenuated virulence and protective efficacy of a Burkholderia pseudomallei bsa type III secretion mutant in murine models of melioidosis

M P Stevens, A Haque, T Atkins, J Hill, M W Wood, A Easton, M Nelson, C Underwood-Fowler, R W Titball, G J Bancroft, E E Galyov

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Melioidosis is a severe infectious disease of animals and humans caused by the Gram-negative intracellular pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei. An Inv/Mxi-Spa-like type III protein secretion apparatus, encoded by the B. pseudomallei bsa locus, facilitates bacterial invasion of epithelial cells, escape from endocytic vesicles and intracellular survival. This study investigated the role of the Bsa type III secretion system in the pathogenesis of melioidosis in murine models. B. pseudomallei bipD mutants, lacking a component of the translocation apparatus, were found to be significantly attenuated following intraperitoneal or intranasal challenge of BALB/c mice. Furthermore, a bipD mutant was attenuated in C57BL/6 IL-12 p40(-/-) mice, which are highly susceptible to B. pseudomallei infection. Mutation of bipD impaired bacterial replication in the liver and spleen of BALB/c mice in the early stages of infection. B. pseudomallei mutants lacking either the type III secreted guanine nucleotide exchange factor BopE or the putative effectors BopA or BopB exhibited varying degrees of attenuation, with mutations in bopA and bopB causing a significant delay in median time to death. This indicates that bsa-encoded type III secreted proteins may act in concert to determine the outcome of B. pseudomallei infection in mice. Mice inoculated with the B. pseudomallei bipD mutant were partially protected against subsequent challenge with wild-type B. pseudomallei. However, immunization of mice with purified BipD protein was not protective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2676
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

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