An unexplained and intriguing aspect of sialometabolism in H inf

An unexplained and intriguing aspect of sialometabolism in H. influenzae is the potential role for the HI0148 protein. The HI0148 protein contains Kelch motifs and recent studies in E. coli have shown that a homologue of the HI0148 protein, NanM, functions as a Neu5Ac mutarotase [35]. This mutarotase converts α-Neu5Ac to the β- form and vice versa. In solution, free Neu5Ac will tend to spontaneously shift towards the β-form. It is an interesting possibility that HI1048 could provide the

correct anomer of Neu5Ac for uptake, or perhaps for catabolism or regulation. The function selleck chemicals of NanM in H. influenzae is currently under investigation. The crucial role of sialylation of LPS in the pathogenesis of H. influenzae infection has been demonstrated in a chinchilla model of OM [3]. Sialylation of NTHi LPS interferes with the binding, activation and immune clearance of H. influenzae effected by complement components [5]. Mutant strains in which the Neu5Ac TRAP uptake system has been disrupted (e.g. siaP mutants) are deficient in LPS sialylation and we show here that these mutants are attenuated, although the degree of attenuation was greater for strains 486 and Rd than for 375. This finding emphasises the complexity

of the mechanisms affecting host immune clearance but are broadly consistent with the relatively decreased LPS sialylation of strain 375 when compared to strain 486 [2]. Disruption learn more of the TRAP transport system in P. multocida similarly attenuated bacterial virulence in the mouse [34] and turkey [36] PI3K inhibitor models of systemic infection. In contrast to the attenuation

of siaP mutants in each of three H. influenzae strains tested, mutation of the genes encoding both the regulatory proteins fantofarone SiaR and Crp showed no or little effect on virulence over the course of a 19 day infection in the chinchilla. We have shown that LPS remains sialylated in each of these mutant strains. Analysis of the sialylation profiles of the LPS isolated directly from bacteria taken from the middle ears of animals infected with these mutant strains could provide critical supportive in vivo evidence of LPS sialylation. Future studies should use an ascending model of infection in which infection is initiated through inoculation of the nasopharynx. The more relevant selection pressures contributing to the evolution of LPS sialylation and its regulation are likely to be a function of H. influenzae fitness for carriage and transmission rather than its role in disease. An understanding of the role of sialic acid, provided by the host, to the commensal and virulence lifestyles of H. influenzae would provide valuable insights into an aspect of host microbial interaction that might provide novel targets for intervention in disease caused by this bacterium. Conclusion Expression of a set of genes required for sialometabolism in H. influenzae is altered through growth of the bacteria in the presence of sialic acid.

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