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J Vet Med Sci. 2004 Sep;66(9):1059-63.

Zinc uptake system (znuA locus) of Brucella abortus is essential for intracellular survival and virulence in mice.

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Department of Applied Veterinary Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido, Japan.


Brucella spp. are facultative intracellular pathogens that have the ability to survive and multiply in professional and nonprofessional phagocytes, and cause abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. The mechanism and factors of virulence are not fully understood. High-affinity zinc uptake system protein mutant (znuA mutant) showed reduced growth in zinc chelated medium, and failed to replicate in HeLa cells and mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages. Transformation of znuA mutant with a shuttle vector pBBR1MCS-4 containing znuA gene restored the growth in zinc chelated medium and intracellular replication in HeLa cells and macrophages to a level comparable to that of wild-type strain. Bacterial internalization into HeLa cells and macrophages and co-localization with either late endosomes or lysosomes of znuA mutant were not different from those of wild-type strain. These results suggest that znuA does not contribute to intracellular trafficking of B. abortus, but contributes to utilization of zinc required for intracellular growth.

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