B. melitensis 16M genome analysis revealed the presence of six putative sigma factor-encoding genes: rpoD, rpoH1, rpoH2, rpoE1, rpoE2, and rpoN. We mutated all these genes except rpoD. Phenotypic analysis of the mutants reveals that a strain carrying an rpoH2 null mutation (DeltarpoH2) is impaired for growth at 21 and 42 degrees C and shows increased sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide. Compared to the wild-type strain, the DeltarpoH2 mutant is attenuated in all virulence models tested. Three other null mutants (DeltarpoH1, DeltarpoE1, and DeltarpoE2 mutants) are also defective for survival in mice at 4 weeks postinfection. We also demonstrated that rpoH2 deletion strongly reduces the expression of two major virulence factors in B. melitensis, the type IV secretion system and the flagellum.
Xavier De Bolle (Manager)Technological Platform: Biological Security Laboratory Level 3
Facility/equipment: Technological Platform