Identification of virulence genes in a pathogenic strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by representational difference analysis.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.
Journal of Bacteriology (Impact Factor: 2.69). 03/2002; 184(4):952-61. DOI: 10.1128/jb.184.4.952-961.2002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that may cause severe infections in humans and other vertebrates. In addition, a human clinical isolate of P. aeruginosa, strain PA14, also causes disease in a variety of nonvertebrate hosts, including plants, Caenorhabditis elegans, and the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. This has led to the development of a multihost pathogenesis system in which plants, nematodes, and insects have been used as adjuncts to animal models for the identification of P. aeruginosa virulence factors. Another approach to identifying virulence genes in bacteria is to take advantage of the natural differences in pathogenicity between isolates of the same species and to use a subtractive hybridization technique to recover relevant genomic differences. The sequenced strain of P. aeruginosa, strain PAO1, has substantial differences in virulence from strain PA14 in several of the multihost models of pathogenicity, and we have utilized the technique of representational difference analysis (RDA) to directly identify genomic differences between P. aeruginosa strains PA14 and PAO1. We have found that the pilC, pilA, and uvrD genes in strain PA14 differ substantially from their counterparts in strain PAO1. In addition, we have recovered a gene homologous to the ybtQ gene from Yersinia, which is specifically present in strain PA14 but absent in strain PAO1. Mutation of the ybtQ homolog in P. aeruginosa strain PA14 significantly attenuates the virulence of this strain in both G. mellonella and a burned mouse model of sepsis to levels comparable to those seen with PAO1. This suggests that the increased virulence of P. aeruginosa strain PA14 compared to PAO1 may relate to specific genomic differences identifiable by RDA.

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