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J Bacteriol. 2005 Dec;187(23):7977-84.

Identification and characterization of a novel outer membrane protein (OMP J) of Moraxella catarrhalis that exists in two major forms.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Moraxella catarrhalis is a common commensal of the human respiratory tract that has been associated with a number of disease states, including acute otitis media in children and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults. During studies to investigate the outer membrane proteins of this bacterium, two novel major proteins, of approximately 19 kDa and 16 kDa (named OMP J1 and OMP J2, respectively), were identified. Further analysis indicated that these two proteins possessed almost identical gene sequences, apart from two insertion/deletion events in predicted external loops present within the putative barrel-like structure of the proteins. The development of a PCR screening strategy found a 100% (96/96) incidence for the genes encoding the OMP J1 and OMP J2 proteins within a set of geographically diverse M. catarrhalis isolates, as well as a significant association of OMP J1/OMP J2 with both the genetic lineage and the complement resistance phenotype (Fisher's exact test; P < 0.01). Experiments using two DeltaompJ2 mutants (one complement resistant and the other complement sensitive) indicated that both were less easily cleared from the lungs of mice than were their isogenic wild-type counterparts, with a significant difference in bacterial clearance being observed for the complement-resistant isolate but not for its isogenic DeltaompJ2 mutant (unpaired Student's t test; P < 0.001 and P = 0.32). In this publication, we characterize a novel outer membrane protein of Moraxella catarrhalis which exists in two variant forms associated with particular genetic lineages, and both forms are suggested to contribute to bacterial clearance from the lungs.

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