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Microb Pathog. 2010 Sep;49(3):116-21. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2010.05.006. Epub 2010 May 25.

Effect of Leptospira interrogans outer membrane proteins LipL32 on HUVEC.

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Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, West-China Center of Preclinical and Forensic Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


Leptospira cause disease through a toxin-mediated process by inducing vascular injury, particularly a small-vessel vasculitis. Breakdown of vessel endothelial cell integrity may increase vessel permeability which is correlated with the changes of tight junction and/or apoptosis in vessel endothelial cells. The specific toxin responsible remains unidentified. In this study, we amplified outer membrane protein LipL32 from the genome of Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai, and it was subcloned in pET32a(+) vector to express thioredoxin(Trx)-LipL32 fusion protein in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3). The protein was expressed and purified, and Trx-LipL32 was administered to culture with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) to elucidate the role of leptospiral outer membrane proteins in vessel endothelial cell. The purified recombinant protein was capable to increase the permeability of HUVECs. And the protein was able to decrease the expression of ZO-1 and induce F-actin in HUVECs display thickening and clustering. Moreover, apoptosis of HUVEC was significantly accelerated. But the fusion partner had no effect in these regards. It is possible that LipL32 is involved in the vessel lesions.

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