[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, a Gram-positive, catalase-negative member of the family Streptococcaceae is an important environmental pathogen responsible for a significant proportion of subclinical and clinical bovine intramammary infections. Currently, the genome of only a single reference strain (0140J) has been described. Here we present a comparative analysis of complete draft genome sequences of an additional twelve S. uberis strains.
Pan and core genome analysis revealed the core genome common to all strains to be 1,550 genes in 1,509 orthologous clusters, complemented by 115-246 accessory genes present in one or more S. uberis strains but absent in the reference strain 0140J. Most of the previously predicted virulent genes were present in the core genome of all 13 strains but gene gain/loss was observed between the isolates in CDS associated with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs), prophage and bacteriocin production. Experimental challenge experiments confirmed strain EF20 as non-virulent; only able to infect in a transient manner that did not result in clinical mastitis. Comparison of the genome sequence of EF20 with the validated virulent strain 0140J identified genes associated with virulence, however these did not relate clearly with clinical/non-clinical status of infection.
The gain/loss of mobile genetic elements such as CRISPRs and prophage are a potential driving force for evolutionary change. This first "whole-genome" comparison of strains isolated from clinical vs non-clinical intramammary infections including the type virulent vs non-virulent strains. This comparison did not identify simple gene gain/loss rules that readily explain, or be confidently associated with, differences in virulence. This suggests that a more complex dynamic determines infection potential and clinical outcome not simply gene content.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies have found variation within the complement factor H gene family links to host susceptibility to meningococcal disease caused by infection with Neisseria meningitidis (Davila et al., 2010). Mechanistic insights have been challenging since variation within this locus is complex and biological roles of the factor H-related proteins, unlike factor H, are incompletely understood. N. meningitidis subverts immune responses by hijacking a host-immune regulator, complement factor H (CFH), to the bacterial surface (Schneider et al., 2006; Madico et al., 2007; Schneider et al., 2009). We demonstrate that complement factor-H related 3 (CFHR3) promotes immune activation by acting as an antagonist of CFH. Conserved sequences between CFH and CFHR3 mean that the bacterium cannot sufficiently distinguish between these two serum proteins to allow it to hijack the regulator alone. The level of protection from complement attack achieved by circulating N. meningitidis therefore depends on the relative levels of CFH and CFHR3 in serum. These data may explain the association between genetic variation in both CFH and CFHR3 and susceptibility to meningococcal disease. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04008.001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neisseria meningitis remains a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis, and vaccines are required to prevent infections by this important human pathogen. Factor H binding protein (fHbp) is a key antigen that elicits protective immunity against the meningococcus and recruits the host complement regulator, fH. As the high affinity interaction between fHbp and fH could impair immune responses, we sought to identify non-functional fHbps that could act as effective immunogens. This was achieved by alanine substitution of fHbps from all three variant groups (V1, V2 and V3 fHbp) of the protein; while some residues affected fH binding in each variant group, the distribution of key amino underlying the interaction with fH differed between the V1, V2 and V3 proteins. The atomic structure of V3 fHbp in complex with fH and of the C-terminal barrel of V2 fHbp provide explanations to the differences in the precise nature of their interactions with fH, and the instability of the V2 protein. To develop transgenic models to assess the efficacy of non-functional fHbps, we determined the structural basis of the low level of interaction between fHbp and murine fH; in addition to changes in amino acids in the fHbp binding site, murine fH has a distinct conformation compared with the human protein that would sterically inhibit binding to fHbp. Non-functional V1 fHbps were further characterised by binding and structural studies, and shown in non-transgenic and transgenic mice (expressing chimeric fH that binds fHbp and precisely regulates complement system) to retain their immunogenicity. Our findings provide a catalogue of non-functional fHbps from all variant groups that can be included in new generation meningococcal vaccines, and establish proof-in-principle for clinical studies to compare their efficacy with wild-type fHbps.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The regulation and control of gene expression in response to differing environmental stimuli is crucial for successful pathogen adaptation and persistence. The regulatory gene vru of Streptococcus uberis encodes a stand-alone response regulator with similarity to the Mga of group A Streptococcus. Mga controls expression of a number of important virulence determinants. Experimental intramammary challenge of dairy cattle with a mutant of S. uberis carrying an inactivating lesion in vru showed reduced ability to colonize the mammary gland and an inability to induce clinical signs of mastitis compared with the wild-type strain. Analysis of transcriptional differences of gene expression in the mutant, determined by microarray analysis, identified a number of coding sequences with altered expression in the absence of Vru. These consisted of known and putative virulence determinants, including Lbp (Sub0145), SclB (Sub1095), PauA (Sub1785) and hasA (Sub1696).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, strain 0140J, contains a single copy sortase A (srtA), encoding a transamidase capable of covalently anchoring specific proteins to peptidoglycan. Unlike the wild-type, an isogenic mutant carrying an inactivating ISS1 insertion within srtA was only able to infect the bovine mammary gland in a transient fashion. For the first 24 h post challenge, the srtA mutant colonised at a similar rate and number to the wild type strain, but unlike the wild type did not subsequently colonise in higher numbers. Similar levels of host cell infiltration were detected in response to infection with both strains, but only in those mammary quarters infected with the wild type strain were clinical signs of disease evident. Mutants that failed to express individual sortase substrate proteins (sub0135, sub0145, sub0207, sub0241, sub0826, sub0888, sub1095, sub1154, sub1370, and sub1730) were isolated and their virulence determined in the same challenge model. This revealed that mutants lacking sub0145, sub1095 and sub1154 were attenuated in cattle. These data demonstrate that a number of sortase anchored proteins each play a distinct, non-redundant and important role in pathogenesis of S. uberis infection within the lactating bovine mammary gland.
Veterinary Research 09/2010; 41(5):63. DOI:10.1051/vetres/2010036 · 2.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sortase (a transamidase) has been shown to be responsible for the covalent attachment of proteins to the bacterial cell wall. Anchoring is effected on secreted proteins containing a specific cell wall motif toward their C-terminus; that for sortase A (SrtA) in Gram-positive bacteria often incorporates the sequence LPXTG. Such surface proteins are often characterized as virulence determinants and play important roles during the establishment and persistence of infection. Intramammary infection with Streptococcus uberis is a common cause of bovine mastitis, which impacts on animal health and welfare and the economics of milk production. Comparison of stringently produced cell wall fractions from S. uberis and an isogenic mutant strain lacking SrtA permitted identification of 9 proteins likely to be covalently anchored at the cell surface. Analysis of these sequences implied the presence of two anchoring motifs for S. uberis, the classical LPXTG motif and an additional LPXXXD motif.
Journal of Proteome Research 02/2010; 9(2):1088-95. DOI:10.1021/pr901025w · 4.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus suis is a zoonotic pathogen that infects pigs and can occasionally cause serious infections in humans. S. suis infections occur sporadically in human Europe and North America, but a recent major outbreak has been described in China with high levels of mortality. The mechanisms of S. suis pathogenesis in humans and pigs are poorly understood.
The sequencing of whole genomes of S. suis isolates provides opportunities to investigate the genetic basis of infection. Here we describe whole genome sequences of three S. suis strains from the same lineage: one from European pigs, and two from human cases from China and Vietnam. Comparative genomic analysis was used to investigate the variability of these strains. S. suis is phylogenetically distinct from other Streptococcus species for which genome sequences are currently available. Accordingly, approximately 40% of the approximately 2 Mb genome is unique in comparison to other Streptococcus species. Finer genomic comparisons within the species showed a high level of sequence conservation; virtually all of the genome is common to the S. suis strains. The only exceptions are three approximately 90 kb regions, present in the two isolates from humans, composed of integrative conjugative elements and transposons. Carried in these regions are coding sequences associated with drug resistance. In addition, small-scale sequence variation has generated pseudogenes in putative virulence and colonization factors.
The genomic inventories of genetically related S. suis strains, isolated from distinct hosts and diseases, exhibit high levels of conservation. However, the genomes provide evidence that horizontal gene transfer has contributed to the evolution of drug resistance.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6072. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0006072 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, a Gram positive bacterial pathogen responsible for a significant proportion of bovine mastitis in commercial dairy herds, colonises multiple body sites of the cow including the gut, genital tract and mammary gland. Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequence of S. uberis strain 0140J was undertaken to help elucidate the biology of this effective bovine pathogen.
The genome revealed 1,825 predicted coding sequences (CDSs) of which 62 were identified as pseudogenes or gene fragments. Comparisons with related pyogenic streptococci identified a conserved core (40%) of orthologous CDSs. Intriguingly, S. uberis 0140J displayed a lower number of mobile genetic elements when compared with other pyogenic streptococci, however bacteriophage-derived islands and a putative genomic island were identified. Comparative genomics analysis revealed most similarity to the genomes of Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus. In contrast, streptococcal orthologs were not identified for 11% of the CDSs, indicating either unique retention of ancestral sequence, or acquisition of sequence from alternative sources. Functions including transport, catabolism, regulation and CDSs encoding cell envelope proteins were over-represented in this unique gene set; a limited array of putative virulence CDSs were identified.
S. uberis utilises nutritional flexibility derived from a diversity of metabolic options to successfully occupy a discrete ecological niche. The features observed in S. uberis are strongly suggestive of an opportunistic pathogen adapted to challenging and changing environmental parameters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The characteristics of a streptococcal plasminogen activator (PA) displaying specificity for ruminant plasminogen (Plg) were defined using molecular approaches. The 16-kDa secreted protein PadA was found to be prevalent in Streptococcus dysgalactiae subspecies dysgalactiae isolated from cases of bovine mastitis and septic arthritis in lambs. PadA was able to activate bovine, ovine and caprine Plg, but not human Plg. Amino acid sequence analysis identified a limited level of homology to other streptococcal PAs, including streptokinase; however, PadA was found to align well with and match in size the staphylococcal PA, staphylokinase. Recombinant PadA was used to investigate interaction with bovine Plg, leading to formation of an activator complex that was capable of recruiting and converting further substrate Plg into plasmin. Individual non-overlapping peptides of PadA or bovine microplasminogen were found to block the interaction between PadA and bovine Plg, preventing the formation of the activation complex. Homology modelling based upon structures of staphylokinase complexed with human microplasminogen supported these findings by placing critical residues in close proximity to the plasmin component of the activation complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus (S.) uberis is a common cause of mastitis in cattle. A protein (PauA) secreted by this bacterium is capable of activating plasminogen from sheep and cattle. The PauA first binds to bovine plasminogen (b-plg) to form a PauA-plasminogen complex that subsequently binds to and activates b-plg to form plasmin. We have identified several linear epitopes of PauA that are recognized by murine monoclonal antibodies to PauA. Two of the monoclonal antibodies which neutralized the enzymatic activity of PauA, EC3 and 2.22, recognized common linear peptide sequences with similar charge and spacing patterns. These neutralization epitopes are located in the predicted alpha-domain of the PauA molecule. Further, these same epitopes are in critical structure/function domains identified in other studies. These characterizations may facilitate the design of an efficacious vaccine for streptococcal mastitis in the dairy cow.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interactions between bovine plasminogen and the streptococcal plasminogen activator PauA that culminate in the generation of plasmin are not fully understood. Formation of an equimolar activation complex comprising PauA and plasminogen by non-proteolytic means is a prerequisite to the recruitment of substrate plasminogen; however the determinants that facilitate these interactions have yet to be defined. A mutagenesis strategy comprising nested deletions and random point substitutions indicated roles for both amino and carboxyl-terminal regions of PauA and identified further essential residues within the alpha domain of the plasminogen activator. A critical region within the alpha domain was identified using non-overlapping PauA peptides to block the interaction between PauA and bovine plasminogen, preventing formation of the activation complex. Homology modelling of the activation complex based upon the known structures of streptokinase complexed with human plasmin supported these findings by placing critical residues in close proximity to the plasmin component of the activation complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite much success in the control of mastitis in dairy cattle, intramammary infection with Streptococcus uberis remains a threat to herd health. This organism is a frequent cause of mastitis worldwide. Recent advances in the ability to genetically manipulate this bacterium, coupled to the determination of a representative genome sequence have already enabled the investigation of certain aspects of disease pathogenesis. Further use of such technology coupled to reliable models of disease and post-genomic analysis will permit the elucidation of further interactions between pathogen and host. This additional information can be usefully targeted at identification of candidates for inclusion in effective vaccines. This communication reviews the current, reported progress using this technology for S. uberis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococci produce a diverse range of secreted plasminogen activators capable of converting mammalian plasminogen to plasmin in a species-specific manner. In all examples to date, the host animal's plasminogen and that of a number of additional species have been shown to interact with these molecules leading to the conclusion that the pathogenesis of streptococci is in some way dependent upon activation of host plasminogen. PauA was the first plasminogen activator described from Streptococcus uberis, a pathogen frequently isolated from cases of bovine mastitis. Recently, a second S. uberis plasminogen activator (PauB) was identified from a Danish mastitis isolate. Interestingly, the pauB open reading frame occupied the locus normally filled by pauA. In the present study a genetic screen of streptococcal and field isolates frequently associated with mastitis was undertaken to assess the distribution, chromosomal location and sequence variation of these putative virulence factors.
Southern analysis of a diverse panel of streptococci and additional bacterial isolates frequently associated with bovine mastitis was performed using pauA and pauB probes. Sequence variation of PauA was assessed at the protein level following nucleotide sequence analysis of pauA alleles amplified from isolates picked from different geographical locations.
We observed plasminogen activators to be universally distributed amongst S. uberis. A pauA allele was identified in all but one strain of S. uberis. This strain had a pauB allele substituted for pauA at the same locus. The remarkably low level of sequence variation demonstrated by PauA was further restricted to a limited number of residues within the molecule.
The high prevalence of PauA alleles in field isolates of S.uberis supported the observation that plasminogen activators are likely to confer an advantage with respect to colonization and growth. The findings of the present study support the theory that PauA plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of S. uberis.
The Indian Journal of Medical Research 05/2004; 119 Suppl:136-40. · 1.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A mutant of Streptococcus uberis carrying a single copy of ISS1 within pauA was unable to activate bovine plasminogen. Contrary to a hypothesis postulated previously, this mutation did not alter the ability of the bacterium to grow in milk or to infect the lactating bovine mammary gland.
Infection and Immunity 01/2004; 71(12):7193-6. DOI:10.1128/IAI.71.12.7193-7196.2003 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A mutant strain of Streptococcus uberis (AJS001) that was unable to grow in bovine milk was isolated following random insertional mutagenesis. The level of growth
in milk was restored to that of the parental strain (strain 0140J) following addition of MnSO4 but not following addition of other metal ions. The mutant contained a single insertion within mtuA, a homologue of mtsA and psaA, which encode metal-binding proteins in Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae, respectively. Strain AJS001 was unable to infect any of eight quarters on four dairy cows following intramammary challenge
with 105 CFU. Bacteria were never recovered directly from milk of these animals but were detected following enrichment in Todd-Hewitt
broth in three of eight milk samples obtained within 24 h of challenge. The animals showed no inflammatory response and no
signs of mastitis. Three mammary quarters on two different animals simultaneously challenged with 600 CFU of the parental
strain, strain 0140J, became colonized, shed high numbers of S. uberis organisms in milk, displayed a marked inflammatory response to infection, and showed overt signs of mastitis. These data
indicate that mtuA was required for efficient uptake of Mn2+ during growth in bovine milk and infection of the lactating bovine mammary gland.
Infection and Immunity 10/2003; 71(9):4842-9. DOI:10.1128/IAI.71.9.4842-4849.2003 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The frequency at which the genes responsible for capsule biosynthesis occurred in field isolates of Streptococcus uberis was determined. Of the two genotypes detected (hasABC and hasC), the capsular genotype (hasABC) was more common. This genotype was present at a higher frequency in a population isolated from mastitis cases than in a
population isolated from cattle bedding. The virulence of a mutant strain of S. uberis (TRF0-6) that lacked the ability to produce a hyaluronic acid capsule due to an insertion within its single copy of hasA (P. N. Ward, T. R. Field, W. G. F. Ditcham, E. Maguin, and J. A. Leigh, Infect. Immun. 69:392-399, 2001) was compared to that of the capsular parental strain (0140J). Strains TRF0-6 and 0140J infected all mammary
gland quarters following experimental challenge. The wild type and the mutant induced overt signs of disease in four out of
four and in six out of eight mammary gland quarters, respectively. Both the wild type and the hasA mutant were resistant to killing by bovine neutrophils following cultivation in bovine milk. The ability to withstand the
bactericidal action of neutrophils following growth in milk was therefore independent of the capsule and coincided with the
ability of supernatants from such cultures to prevent the bactericidal action of neutrophils. This investigation revealed
that, in the absence of the capsule, S. uberis is able to withstand the bactericidal effect of bovine neutrophils and induce mastitis in dairy cows.
Infection and Immunity 02/2003; 71(1):132-9. DOI:10.1128/IAI.71.1.132-139.2003 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A bovine plasminogen activator of atypical molecular mass (∼45 kDa) from Streptococcus uberis strain SK880 had been identified previously (L. B. Johnsen, K. Poulsen, M. Kilian, and T. E. Petersen. Infect. Immun. 67:1072–1078,
1999). The strain was isolated from a clinical case of bovine mastitis. The isolate was found not to secrete PauA, a bovine
plasminogen activator expressed by the majority of S. uberis strains. Analysis of the locus normally occupied by pauA revealed an absence of the pauA open reading frame. However, an alternative open reading frame was identified within the same locus. Sequence analysis of
the putative gene suggested limited but significant homology to other plasminogen activators. A candidate signal peptide sequence
and cleavage site were also identified. Expression cloning of DNA encoding the predicted mature protein (lacking signal peptide)
confirmed that the open reading frame encoded a plasminogen activator of the expected size, which we have named PauB. Both
native and recombinant forms of PauB displayed an unexpectedly broad specificity profile for bovine, ovine, equine, caprine,
porcine, rabbit, and human plasminogen. Clinical and nonclinical field isolates from nine United Kingdom sites were screened
for the pauB gene and none were identified as carrying it. Similarly, clinical isolates from 20 Danish herds were all found to encode
PauA and not PauB. Therefore, PauB represents a novel but rare bacterial plasminogen activator which displays very broad specificity.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/2002; 184(1):119-25. DOI:10.1128/JB.184.1.119-125.2002 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A defined allelic-replacement mutant of the sly gene, encoding a thiol-activated cytolysin, from a European isolate of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 was generated and characterized. Unlike the parental strain, it is nonhemolytic, noncytotoxic for cultured macrophage-like cells, avirulent in a mouse infection model, yet only slightly attenuated in a porcine model of systemic infection.
Infection and Immunity 05/2001; 69(4). DOI:10.1128/IAI.69.4.2732-2735.2001 · 3.73 Impact Factor