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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 May 15;186(2):281-6.

Investigation into the role of the serine protease HtrA in Yersinia pestis pathogenesis.

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Pathogen Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Unit, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, UK.


The HtrA stress response protein has been shown to play a role in the virulence of a number of pathogens. For some organisms, htrA mutants are attenuated in the animal model and can be used as live vaccines. A Yersinia pestis htrA orthologue was identified, cloned and sequenced, showing 86% and 87% similarity to Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium HtrAs. An isogenic Y. pestis htrA mutant was constructed using a reverse genetics approach. In contrast to the wild-type strain, the mutant failed to grow at an elevated temperature of 39 degrees C, but showed only a small increase in sensitivity to oxidative stress and was only partially attenuated in the animal model. However, the mutant exhibited a different protein expression profile to that of the wild-type strain when grown at 28 degrees C to simulate growth in the flea.

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