Investigation of the role of type IV Aeromonas pilus (Tap) in the pathogenesis of Aeromonas gastrointestinal infection
Kirov, SM and Barnett, TC and Pepe, CM and Strom, MS and Albert, JM, Investigation of the role of type IV Aeromonas pilus (Tap) in the pathogenesis of Aeromonas gastrointestinal infection, Infection and Immunity, 68, (7) pp. 4040-4048. ISSN 0019-9567 (2000) [Refereed Article]
Although there is substantial evidence that type IV pili purified from diarrhea-associated Aeromonas species (designated Bfp for bundle-forming pilus) are intestinal colonization factors (S. M. Kirov, L. A. O'Donovan, and K. Sanderson, Infect. Immun. 67:5447-5454, 1999), nothing is known regarding the function of a second family of Aeromonas type IV pili (designated Tap for type IV Aeromonas pilus), identified following the cloning of a pilus biogenesis gene cluster tapABCD. Related pilus gene clusters are widely conserved among gram-negative bacteria, but their significance for virulence has been controversial. To investigate the role of Tap pili in Aeromonas pathogenesis, mutants of Aeromonas strains (a fish isolate of A. hydrophila and a human dysenteric isolate of A. veronii bv. sobria) were prepared by insertional inactivation of the tapA gene which encodes the type IV pilus subunit protein, TapA. Exotoxic activities were unaffected by the mutation in tapA. Inactivation of tapA had no effect on the bacterial adherence of these two isolates to HEp-2 cells. For the A. veronii bv. sobria isolate, adhesion to Henle 407 intestinal cells and to human intestinal tissue was also unaffected. There was no significant effect on the duration of colonization or incidence of diarrhea when the A. veronii bv. sobria strain was tested in the removable intestinal tie adult rabbit diarrhea model or on its ability to colonize infant mice. Evidence was obtained that demonstrated that TapA was expressed by both Aeromonas species and was present on the cell surface, although if assembled into pill this pilus type appears to be an uncommon one under standard bacterial growth conditions. Further studies into factors which may influence Tap expression are required, but the present study suggests that Tap pili may not be as significant as Bfp pili for Aeromonas intestinal colonization.