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Infect Immun. 1998 Aug;66(8):3941-51.

Phospholipase A of Yersinia enterocolitica contributes to pathogenesis in a mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Some isolates of Yersinia enterocolitica exhibit phospholipase activity, which has been linked to lecithin-dependent hemolysis (M. Tsubokura, K. Otsoki, I. Shimohira, and H. Yamamoto, Infect. Immun. 25:939-942, 1979). A gene encoding Y. enterocolitica phospholipase was identified, and analysis of the nucleotide sequence revealed two tandemly transcribed open reading frames. The first, yplA, has 74% identity and 85% similarity to the phospholipase A found in Serratia liquefaciens. Though the other, yplB, was less similar to the downstream accessory protein found in S. liquefaciens, the organization in both species is similar. Subsequently, a yplA-null Y. enterocolitica strain, YEDS10, was constructed and demonstrated to be phospholipase negative by plate and spectrophotometric assays. To ascertain whether the phospholipase has a role in pathogenesis, YEDS10 was tested in the mouse model. In experiments with perorally infected BALB/c mice, fewer YEDS10 organisms were recovered from the mesenteric lymph nodes and Peyer's patches (PP) than the parental strain at 3 or 5 days postinfection. Furthermore, bowel tissue and PP infected with YEDS10 appeared to be less inflamed than those infected with the parental strain. When extremely high doses of both the parental and YEDS10 strains were given, similar numbers of viable bacteria were recovered from the PP and mesenteric lymph nodes on day 3. However, the numbers of foci and the extent of inflammation and necrosis within them were noticeably less for YEDS10 compared to the parental strain. Together these findings suggest that Y. enterocolitica produces a phospholipase A which has a role in pathogenesis.

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