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Infect Immun. 1997 Nov;65(11):4431-5.

Evaluation of the virulence of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae lipooligosaccharide htrB and rfaD mutants in the chinchilla model of otitis media.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Considerable evidence has implicated nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) lipooligosaccharide (LOS) in the pathogenesis of otitis media (OM); however, its exact role has not been conclusively established. Recently, two NTHi LOS-deficient mutants have been created and described. Strain 2019-DK1, an rfaD gene mutant, expresses a truncated LOS consisting of only three deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid residues, a single heptose, and lipid A. Strain 2019-B29, an isogenic htrB mutant, possesses an altered oligosaccharide core and an altered lipid A. Each strain's ability to colonize the nasopharynx and to induce OM subsequent to transbullar inoculation was evaluated in the chinchilla model. Nasopharyngeal colonization data indicate that the parent strain and both mutants are able to colonize the nasopharynx and exhibit comparable clearance kinetics. Compared with the parent and each other, however, the mutants demonstrated marked differences in virulence regarding their relative abilities to induce OM and persist in the middle ear post-transbullar inoculation. Strain B29 required a 3-log-greater dose to induce OM than the parent strain and did not exhibit evidence of sustained multiplication but persisted for the same duration as the parent. Conversely, strain-DK1, even when inoculated at a dose 4 logs greater than the parent dose, was eliminated from the middle ear 72 h after challenge. A comparison of the relative pathogenicities of these isolates provides the opportunity to address fundamental questions regarding the contribution of LOS to pathogenesis issues at the molecular level. Specifically, the impact of these LOS gene disruptions on OM pathogenesis can be defined and may thus provide potential new targets for future protection and intervention strategies.

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