Kdo Hydrolase Is Required for Francisella tularensis Virulence and Evasion of TLR2-Mediated Innate Immunity
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CitationOkan, Nihal A., Sabina Chalabaev, Tae-Hyun Kim, Avner Fink, Robin A. Ross, and Dennis L. Kasper. 2013. Kdo hydrolase is required for francisella tularensis virulence and evasion of tlr2-mediated innate immunity. mBio 4(1): e00638-12.
AbstractABSTRACT The highly virulent Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis has been classified as a category A bioterrorism agent. A live vaccine strain (LVS) has been developed but remains unlicensed in the United States because of an incomplete understanding of its attenuation. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) modification is a common strategy employed by bacterial pathogens to avoid innate immunity. A novel modification enzyme has recently been identified in F. tularensis and Helicobacter pylori. This enzyme, a two-component Kdo (3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonic acid) hydrolase, catalyzes the removal of a side chain Kdo sugar from LPS precursors. The biological significance of this modification has not yet been studied. To address the role of the two-component Kdo hydrolase KdhAB in F. tularensis pathogenesis, a ΔkdhAB deletion mutant was constructed from the LVS strain. In intranasal infection of mice, the ΔkdhAB mutant strain had a 50% lethal dose (LD50) 2 log10 units higher than that of the parental LVS strain. The levels of the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were significantly higher (2-fold) in mice infected with the ΔkdhAB mutant than in mice infected with LVS. In vitro stimulation of bone marrow-derived macrophages with the ΔkdhAB mutant induced higher levels of TNF-α and IL-1β in a TLR2-dependent manner. In addition, TLR2−/− mice were more susceptible than wild-type mice to ΔkdhAB bacterial infection. Finally, immunization of mice with ΔkdhAB bacteria elicited a high level of protection against the highly virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis strain Schu S4. These findings suggest an important role for the Francisella Kdo hydrolase system in virulence and offer a novel mutant as a candidate vaccine.
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