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Comparative analysis and mutation effects of fpp2-fpp1 tandem genes encoding proteolytic extracellular enzymes of Flavobacterium psychrophilum

Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Biología Funcional, Facultad de Medicina, IUBA, Universidad de Oviedo, 33006 Oviedo, Spain.
Microbiology (Impact Factor: 2.84). 02/2011; 157(Pt 4):1196-204. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.046938-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Flavobacterium psychrophilum is a very significant fish pathogen that secretes two biochemically characterized extracellular proteolytic enzymes, Fpp1 and Fpp2. The genes encoding these enzymes are organized as an fpp2-fpp1 tandem in the genome of strain F. psychrophilum THC02/90. Analysis of the corresponding encoded proteins showed that they belong to two different protease families. For gene function analysis, new genetic tools were developed in F. psychrophilum by constructing stable isogenic fpp1 and fpp2 mutants via single-crossover homologous recombination. RT-PCR analysis of wild-type and mutant strains suggested that both genes are transcribed as a single mRNA from the promoter located upstream of the fpp2 gene. Phenotypic characterization of the fpp2 mutant showed lack of caseinolytic activity and higher colony spreading compared with the wild-type strain. Both characteristics were recovered in the complemented strain. One objective of this work was to assess the contribution to virulence of these proteolytic enzymes. LD(50) experiments using the wild-type strain and mutants showed no significant differences in virulence in a rainbow trout challenge model, suggesting instead a possible nutritional role. The gene disruption procedure developed in this work, together with the knowledge of the complete genome sequence of F. psychrophilum, open new perspectives for the study of gene function in this bacterium.

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