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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28485. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028485. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Deep-sequencing analysis of the mouse transcriptome response to infection with Brucella melitensis strains of differing virulence.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology and Zoonosis Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin, Heilongjiang, People's Republic of China.


Brucella melitensis is an important zoonotic pathogen that causes brucellosis, a disease that affects sheep, cattle and occasionally humans. B. melitensis strain M5-90, a live attenuated vaccine cultured from B. melitensis strain M28, has been used as an effective tool in the control of brucellosis in goats and sheep in China. However, the molecular changes leading to attenuated virulence and pathogenicity in B. melitensis remain poorly understood. In this study we employed the Illumina Genome Analyzer platform to perform genome-wide digital gene expression (DGE) analysis of mouse peritoneal macrophage responses to B. melitensis infection. Many parallel changes in gene expression profiles were observed in M28- and M5-90-infected macrophages, suggesting that they employ similar survival strategies, notably the induction of anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic factors. Moreover, 1019 differentially expressed macrophage transcripts were identified 4 h after infection with the different B. melitensis strains, and these differential transcripts notably identified genes involved in the lysosome and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. Further analysis employed gene ontology (GO) analysis: high-enrichment GOs identified endocytosis, inflammatory, apoptosis, and transport pathways. Path-Net and Signal-Net analysis highlighted the MAPK pathway as the key regulatory pathway. Moreover, the key differentially expressed genes of the significant pathways were apoptosis-related. These findings demonstrate previously unrecognized changes in gene transcription that are associated with B. melitensis infection of macrophages, and the central signaling pathways identified here merit further investigation. Our data provide new insights into the molecular attenuation mechanism of strain M5-90 and will facilitate the generation of new attenuated vaccine strains with enhanced efficacy.

© 2011 Wang et al.

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