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Type: Journal article
Title: Role of Streptococcus pneumoniae OM001 operon in capsular polysaccharide production, virulence and survival in human saliva
Author: Ahmad, Z.
Harvey, R.
Paton, J.
Standish, A.
Morona, R.
Citation: PLoS ONE, 2018; 13(1):1-15
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1932-6203
Statement of
Zuleeza Ahmad, Richard M. Harvey, James C. Paton, Alistair J. Standish, Renato Morona
Abstract: Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of community-acquired pneumonia in all ages worldwide, and with ever-increasing antibiotic resistance, the understanding of its pathogenesis and spread is as important as ever. Recently, we reported the presence of a Low Molecular Weight Tyrosine Phosphatase (LMWPTP) Spd1837 in the pneumococcus. This protein is encoded in an operon, OM001 with two other genes, with previous work implicating this operon as important for pneumococcal virulence. Thus, we set out to investigate the role of the individual genes in the operon during pneumococcal pathogenesis. As LMWPTPs play a major role in capsular polysaccharide (CPS) biosynthesis in many bacteria, we tested the effect of mutating spd1837 and its adjacent genes, spd1836 and spd1838 on CPS levels. Our results suggest that individual deletion of the genes, including the LMWPTP, did not modulate CPS levels, in multiple conditions, and in different strain backgrounds. Following in vivo studies, Spd1836 was identified as a novel virulence factor during pneumococcal invasive disease, in both the lungs and blood, with this protein alone responsible for the effects of operon's role in virulence. We also showed that a deletion in spd1836, spd1838 or the overall OM001 operon reduced survival in human saliva during the conditions that mimic transmission compared to the wildtype strain. With studies suggesting that survival in human saliva may be important for transmission, this study identifies Spd1836 and Spd1838 as transmission factors, potentially facilitating the spread of the pneumococcus from person to person. Overall, this study hopes to further our understanding of the bacterial transmission that precedes disease and outbreaks.
Keywords: Saliva; Animals; Humans; Mice; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Polysaccharides; Virulence Factors; Blotting, Western; Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel; Virulence; Genes, Bacterial; Operon; Female
Rights: © 2018 Ahmad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 0030079768
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190402
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Appears in Collections:Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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