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Microb Pathog. 1996 Nov;21(5):379-94.

Molecular analysis of the bvg-repressed urease of Bordetella bronchiseptica.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, N.S.W., Australia.


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a ureolytic mammalian respiratory pathogen. We have investigated the regulation of urease in B. bronchiseptica and the potential role of this enzyme in eukaryotic invasion and intracellular survival. Our results indicate urease is a bordetella virulence repressed gene. Urease activity in virulent B. bronchiseptica BB7865 is up-regulated from basal levels by 5 gl1 magnesium sulphate at 37 degrees C. At 30 degrees C, urease activity remained at basal levels, even in the presence on magnesium sulphate, suggesting a second temperature dependent mechanism of urease regulation was also operating. Urease was not inducible by 10 mM urea nor up-regulated in nitrogen limiting conditions. To evaluate the role of urease in intracellular invasion and survival urease-negative mutants of B. bronchiseptica BB7865 and B. bronchiseptica BB7866 were created by transposon mutagenesis, and compared to the urease-positive parental strains in a HeLa cell invasion assay. We demonstrate that increasing the concentration of urea in the assay increased survival of the urease-positive but not urease-negative strains after 24 h, suggesting that urease does have a role in intracellular survival. Partial DNA sequence analysis of an 11.0 kb EcoRI DNA fragment encoding urease activity revealed an open reading frame containing 50%, 45%, 45%, and 41% homology to the UreA urease subunit protein of Klebsiella aerogenes, Proteus vulgaris, Helicobacter pylori and Proteus mirabilis respectively. We also show Bordetella pertussis to contain sequences homologous with a DNA probe containing the gene encoding UreA of B. bronchiseptica indicating the possible presence of cryptic urease genes in this species.

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