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Vet Microbiol. 2002 Aug 2;88(1):59-74.

Characterization of the in vitro adhesion of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae to swine alveolar epithelial cells.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B 9820, Merelbeke, Belgium.


Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae biovar 1 serotypes 2, 5a, 9 and 10 strains were tested for their ability to adhere to alveolar epithelial cells in culture. For the serotypes 5a, 9 and 10 strains, optimal adherence was observed after growth of bacterial cells in a NAD-restricted medium (0.001% NAD). This condition was also associated with the expression of a 55 kDa outer membrane protein (OMP) and of fimbriae. For the serotype 2 strain, adherence and expression of fimbriae and a 55 kDa OMP was less influenced by the growth conditions. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 55 kDa OMP had no homology with any known sequence, suggesting that it is an as yet unknown protein. Adherence capabilities were significantly reduced following treatment of the bacteria with proteolytic enzymes or heat. These findings suggest that proteins are involved in adhesion. The hydrophobic bond-breaking agent tetramethylurea was unable to inhibit the adherence of A. pleuropneumoniae to alveolar epithelial cells. Treatment of the bacteria with sodium metaperiodate resulted in lower adhesion scores for the serotypes 2 and 9 strains but the inhibition of adhesion was clearly lower than after treatment with proteolytic enzymes. This indicates that, besides proteins, carbohydrates might also be involved in adhesion of A. pleuropneumoniae to alveolar epithelial cells. The finding that inhibition of adhesion was very high when bacteria were treated with a combination of sodium metaperiodate and pronase also suggests that more than one adhesin is involved.

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