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Infect Immun. 1990 Oct;58(10):3445-7.

Adenylate cyclase toxin is critical for colonization and pertussis toxin is critical for lethal infection by Bordetella pertussis in infant mice.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298.


Proliferation of Bordetella pertussis in the lungs of infant mice challenged by the intranasal route was examined. The bacteria rapidly proliferated in the lungs of mice challenged with a sublethal dose of a wild-type strain (BP338) or a filamentous hemagglutinin mutant (BPM409) from 500 at day 0 to 10(7) at day 15. The infection cleared in about 40 days. Pertussis toxin-deficient mutant BP357 gave a similar profile; however, the number of bacteria recovered was slightly reduced, suggesting that pertussis toxin is not essential for bacterial growth in the lungs. In contrast, adenylate cyclase toxin mutant BP348 was rapidly cleared from the lungs, with no viable bacteria remaining 10 days postchallenge, suggesting that the adenylate cyclase toxin is a colonization factor required for the bacteria to initiate infection.

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