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Infect Immun. 2000 Oct;68(10):5716-23.

Identification and characterization of the Brucella abortus phosphoglucomutase gene: role of lipopolysaccharide in virulence and intracellular multiplication.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas-Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús, Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Smooth lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Brucella abortus has been reported to be an important virulence factor, although its precise role in pathogenesis is not yet clear. While the protective properties of LPS against complement are well accepted, there is still some controversy about the capacity of rough mutants to replicate intracellularly. The B. abortus phosphoglucomutase gene (pgm) was cloned, sequenced, and disrupted. The gene has a high index of identity to Agrobacterium tumefaciens pgm but is not part of the glycogen operon. A B. abortus null mutant lacks LPS O antigen but has an LPS core with an electrophoretic profile undistinguishable from that of the wild-type core, suggesting that glucose, galactose, or a derivative of these sugars may be part of the linkage between the core and the O antigen. This mutant is unable to survive in mice but replicates in HeLa cells, indicating that the complete LPS is not essential either for invasion or for intracellular multiplication. This behavior suggests that the LPS may play a role in extracellular survival in the animal, probably protecting the cell against complement-mediated lysis, but is not involved in intracellular survival.

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