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Vet Microbiol. 2003 Oct 17;96(2):189-202.

A search for virulence genes of Haemophilus parasuis using differential display RT-PCR.

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Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., Canada N1G 2W1.


Although Haemophilus parasuis is an important bacterial pathogen of swine, little is known about its pathogenesis or why some strains seem to be more virulent than others. Therefore, we used differential display reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (DDRT-PCR) to search for virulence-associated genes in a pathogenic serotype 5 strain, H. parasuis 1185. Gene expression was evaluated following growth in conditions chosen to begin to approximate those found in the upper respiratory tract and those encountered by the organism during acute infection. Seven different differentially expressed gene fragments were identified in cells grown at 40 degrees C in both the presence and absence of swine serum. Based on the deduced amino acid sequences, the most strongly up-regulated genes were homologs of fadD (a fatty acyl-CoA synthetase), apaH (diadenosine tetraphosphatase), pstI (enzyme I of the phosphoenolpyruvate-protein phosphotransferase system), and cysK (cysteine synthetase). Homologs of Std (Na(+)- and Cl(-)-dependent ion transporter), HSPG (a mammalian basement membrane-specific heparin sulphate core protein precursor) and PntB (pyridine nucleotide transhydrogenase) were also up-regulated, but to a much lower extent. Sequences homologous to all of the differentially expressed genes were detected in the reference strains of all 15 H. parasuis serotypes. This is the first report of a global search for virulence factors of H. parasuis.

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