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Infect Immun. 2010 Nov;78(11):4551-9. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00461-10. Epub 2010 Sep 7.

Development of two animal models to study the function of Vibrio parahaemolyticus type III secretion systems.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA.


Vibrio parahaemolyticus is an emerging food- and waterborne pathogen that encodes two type III secretion systems (T3SSs). Previous studies have linked type III secretion system 1 (T3SS1) to cytotoxicity and T3SS2 to intestinal fluid accumulation, but animal challenge models needed to study these phenomena are limited. In this study we evaluated the roles of the T3SSs during infection using two novel animal models: a model in which piglets were inoculated orogastrically and a model in which mice were inoculated in their lungs (intrapulmonarily). The bacterial strains employed in this study had equivalent growth rates and beta-hemolytic activity based on in vitro assays. Inoculation of 48-h-old conventional piglets with 10(11) CFU of the wild-type strain (NY-4) or T3SS1 deletion mutant strains resulted in acute, self-limiting diarrhea, whereas inoculation with a T3SS2 deletion mutant strain failed to produce any clinical symptoms. Intrapulmonary inoculation of C57BL/6 mice with the wild-type strain and T3SS2 deletion mutant strains (5 × 10(5) CFU) induced mortality or a moribund state within 12 h (80 to 100% mortality), whereas inoculation with a T3SS1 deletion mutant or a T3SS1 T3SS2 double deletion mutant produced no mortality. Bacteria were recovered from multiple organs regardless of the strain used in the mouse model, indicating that the mice were capable of clearing the lung infection in the absence of a functional T3SS1. Because all strains had a similar beta-hemolysin phenotype, we surmise that thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) plays a limited role in these models. The two models introduced herein produce robust results and provide a means to determine how different T3SS1 and T3SS2 effector proteins contribute to pathogenesis of V. parahaemolyticus infection.

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