Abstract / Description of output
Streptococcus pneumoniae diseases are a rare but increasingly recognized trigger of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in young children and associated with a higher mortality rate than diarrhoea-associated HUS. This study aimed to determine the importance of neuraminidase A (NanA) and genomic diversity in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal HUS (pHUS). We investigated the nanA gene sequence, gene expression, neuraminidase activity and comparative genomic hybridization of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) isolates from patients with pHUS and control strains matched by serotype and sequence type (ST), isolated from patients with IPD but not pHUS. The nanA sequence of 33 isolates was determined and mutations at 142 aa positions were identified. High levels of diversity were observed within the NanA protein, with mosaic blocks, insertions and repeat regions present. When comparing nanA allelic diversity with ST and disease profile in the isolates tested, nanA alleles clustered mostly by ST. No particular nanA allele was associated with pHUS. There was no significant difference in overall neuraminidase activity between pHUS isolates and controls when induced/uninduced with N-acetylneuraminic acid. Comparative genomic hybridization showed little difference in genetic content between the pHUS isolates and the controls. Results of gene expression studies identified 12 genes differentially regulated in all pHUS isolates compared with the control. Although neuraminidase enzyme activity may be important in pHUS progression and contribute to pathogenesis, the lack of a distinction between pHUS isolates and controls suggests that host factors, such as acquired abnormalities of the alternative complement cascade in young children, may play a more significant role in the outcome of pHUS.