Identification of a novel trimeric autotransporter adhesin in the cryptic genospecies of Haemophilus.
Haemophilus biotype IV strains belonging to the recently recognized Haemophilus cryptic genospecies are an important cause of maternal genital tract and neonatal systemic infections and initiate infection by colonizing the genital or respiratory epithelium. To gain insight into the mechanism of Haemophilus cryptic genospecies colonization, we began by examining prototype strain 1595 and three other strains for adherence to genital and respiratory epithelial cell lines. Strain 1595 and two of the three other strains demonstrated efficient adherence to all of the cell lines tested. With a stably adherent variant of strain 1595, we generated a Mariner transposon library and identified 16 nonadherent mutants. All of these mutants lacked surface fibers and contained an insertion in the same open reading frame, which encodes a 157-kDa protein designated Cha for cryptic haemophilus adhesin. Analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence of Cha revealed the presence of an N-terminal signal peptide and a C-terminal domain bearing homology to YadA-like and Hia-like trimeric autotransporters. Examination of the C-terminal 120 amino acids of Cha demonstrated mobility as a trimer on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the capacity to present the passenger domain of the Hia trimeric autotransporter on the bacterial surface. Southern analysis revealed that the gene that encodes Cha is conserved among clinical isolates of the Haemophilus cryptic genospecies and is absent from the closely related species Haemophilus influenzae. We speculate that Cha is important in the pathogenesis of disease due to the Haemophilus cryptic genospecies and is in part responsible for the apparent tissue tropism of this organism.
Sheets, AJ; Grass, SA; Miller, SE; St Geme, JW
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