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Infect Immun. 2000 Feb;68(2):921-4.

Evaluation of the virulence of a Streptococcus pneumoniae neuraminidase-deficient mutant in nasopharyngeal colonization and development of otitis media in the chinchilla model.

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  • 1Division of Otologic Research, College of Medicine and Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Considerable evidence has implicated Streptococcus pneumoniae neuraminidase in the pathogenesis of otitis media (OM); however, its exact role has not been conclusively established. Recently, an S. pneumoniae neuraminidase-deficient mutant, DeltaNA1, has been constructed by insertion-duplication mutagenesis of the nanA gene of S. pneumoniae strain D39. The relative ability of DeltaNA1 and the D39 parent strain to colonize the nasopharynx and to induce OM subsequent to intranasal inoculation and to survive in the middle ear cleft after direct challenge of the middle ear were evaluated in the chinchilla model. Nasopharyngeal colonization data indicate a significant difference in the ability of the DeltaNA1 mutant to colonize as well as to persist in the nasopharynx. The neuraminidase-deficient mutant was eliminated from the nasopharynx 2 weeks earlier than the D39 parent strain. Both the parent and the mutant exhibited similar virulence levels and kinetics during the first week after direct inoculation of the middle ear. The DeltaNA1 neuraminidase-deficient mutant, however, was then completely eliminated from the middle ear by day 10 postchallenge, 11 days before the D39 parent strain. Data from this study indicate that products of the nanA gene have an impact on the ability of S. pneumoniae to colonize and persist in the nasopharynx as well as the middle ear.

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