Title The Effect of Transformation on the Virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae
Author Xue-Mei Zhang, Yi-Bing Yin*, Dan Zhu, Bao-De Chen, Jin-Yong Luo, Yi-Ping Deng, Ming-Fang Liu, Shu-Hui Chen, Jiang-Ping Meng, Kai Lan, Yuan-Shuai Huang, and Ge-Fei Kang
Address Faculty of Laboratory Medicine, Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, Chongqing, 400016 P.R. China
Bibliography Journal of Microbiology, 43(4),337-344, 2005,
Key Words Streptococcus pneumoniae, transformation, virulence
Abstract Although pneumococcus is one of the most frequently encountered opportunistic pathogen in the world, the mechanisms responsible for its infectiveness have not yet been fully understood. In this paper, we have attempted to characterize the effects of pneumococcal transformation on the pathogenesis of the organism. We constructed three transformation-deficient pneumococcal strains, which were designated as Nos. 1d, 2d, and 22d. The construction of these altered strains was achieved via the insertion of the inactivated gene, comE, to strains 1, 2 and 22. We then conducted a comparison between the virulence of the transformation-deficient strains and that of the wild-type strains, via an evaluation of the ability of each strain to adhere to endothelial cells, and also assessed psaA mRNA expression, and the survival of hosts after bacterial challenge. Compared to what was observed with the wild-type strains, our results indicated that the ability of all of the transformation-deficient strains to adhere to the ECV304 cells had been significantly reduced (p < 0.05), the expression of psaA mRNA was reduced significantly (p < 0.05) in strains 2d and 22d, and the median survival time of mice infected with strains 1d and 2d was increased significantly after intraperitoneal bacterial challenge (p < 0.05). The results of our study also clearly indicated that transformation exerts significant effects on the virulence characteristics of S. pneumoniae, although the degree to which this effect is noted appears to depend primarily on the genetic background of the bacteria.
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