Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems
Medical Subject Headings
Animals; Culture Media; Female; Gene Knockout Techniques; Haemophilus Infections; Haemophilus influenzae; Lung; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Microbial Viability; Mutagenesis, Insertional; Pneumonia, Bacterial; Protein Binding; Virulence; Virulence Factors; Zinc
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Microbiology | Physiology
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is a Gram-negative bacterial pathogen that causes upper and lower respiratory infections. Factors required for pulmonary infection by NTHI are not well understood. Previously, using high-throughput insertion tracking by deep sequencing (HITS), putative lung colonization factors were identified. Also, previous research indicates that secreted disulfide-dependent factors are important for virulence of H. influenzae. In the present study, HITS data were compared with an informatics-based list of putative substrates of the periplasmic oxidoreductase DsbA to find and characterize secreted virulence factors. This analysis resulted in identification of the "zinc binding essential for virulence" (zev) locus consisting of zevA (HI1249) and zevB (HI1248). NTHI mutants of zevA and zevB grew normally in rich medium but were defective for colonization in a mouse lung model. Mutants also exhibited severe growth defects in medium containing EDTA and were rescued by supplementation with zinc. Additionally, purified recombinant ZevA was found to bind to zinc with high affinity. Together, these data demonstrate that zevAB is a novel virulence factor important for zinc utilization of H. influenzae under conditions where zinc is limiting. Furthermore, evidence presented here suggests that zinc limitation is likely an important mechanism for host defense against pathogens during lung infection.
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Citation: Infect Immun. 2011 Aug;79(8):3366-76. Epub 2011 May 16. Link to article on publisher's website