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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38925. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038925. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

The type III secreted protein BspR regulates the virulence genes in Bordetella bronchiseptica.

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Laboratory of Bacterial Infection, Graduate School of Infection Control Sciences, Kitasato University, Tokyo, Japan.


Bordetella bronchiseptica is closely related with B. pertussis and B. parapertussis, the causative agents of whooping cough. These pathogenic species share a number of virulence genes, including the gene locus for the type III secretion system (T3SS) that delivers effector proteins. To identify unknown type III effectors in Bordetella, secreted proteins in the bacterial culture supernatants of wild-type B. bronchiseptica and an isogenic T3SS-deficient mutant were compared with iTRAQ-based, quantitative proteomic analysis method. BB1639, annotated as a hypothetical protein, was identified as a novel type III secreted protein and was designated BspR (Bordetella secreted protein regulator). The virulence of a BspR mutant (ΔbspR) in B. bronchiseptica was significantly attenuated in a mouse infection model. BspR was also highly conserved in B. pertussis and B. parapertussis, suggesting that BspR is an essential virulence factor in these three Bordetella species. Interestingly, the BspR-deficient strain showed hyper-secretion of T3SS-related proteins. Furthermore, T3SS-dependent host cell cytotoxicity and hemolytic activity were also enhanced in the absence of BspR. By contrast, the expression of filamentous hemagglutinin, pertactin, and adenylate cyclase toxin was completely abolished in the BspR-deficient strain. Finally, we demonstrated that BspR is involved in the iron-responsive regulation of T3SS. Thus, Bordetella virulence factors are coordinately but inversely controlled by BspR, which functions as a regulator in response to iron starvation.

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