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Microbiology. 2010 Feb;156(Pt 2):543-54. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.028365-0. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

The novel polysaccharide deacetylase homologue Pdi contributes to virulence of the aquatic pathogen Streptococcus iniae.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0687, La Jolla, CA 92093-0687, USA.


The aquatic zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus iniae represents a threat to the worldwide aquaculture industry and poses a risk to humans who handle raw fish. Because little is known about the mechanisms of S. iniae pathogenesis or virulence factors, we established a high-throughput system combining whole-genome pyrosequencing and transposon mutagenesis that allowed us to identify virulence proteins, including Pdi, the polysaccharide deacetylase of S. iniae, that we describe here. Using bioinformatics tools, we identified a highly conserved signature motif in Pdi that is also conserved in the peptidoglycan deacetylase PgdA protein family. A Deltapdi mutant was attenuated for virulence in the hybrid striped bass model and for survival in whole fish blood. Moreover, Pdi was found to promote bacterial resistance to lysozyme killing and the ability to adhere to and invade epithelial cells. On the other hand, there was no difference in the autolytic potential, resistance to oxidative killing or resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides between S. iniae wild-type and Deltapdi. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that pdi is involved in S. iniae adherence and invasion, lysozyme resistance and survival in fish blood, and have shown that pdi plays a role in the pathogenesis of S. iniae. Identification of Pdi and other S. iniae virulence proteins is a necessary initial step towards the development of appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures against diseases and economic losses caused by this pathogen.

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