Iron content differs between Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis and subspecies holarctica strains and correlates to their susceptibility to H(2)O(2)-induced killing
2011 (English)In: Infection and Immunity, ISSN 0019-9567, E-ISSN 1098-5522, Vol. 79, no 3, 1218-1224 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is one of the most infectious bacterial pathogens known and is classified as a category A select agent and a facultative intracellular bacterium. Why F. tularensis subsp. tularensis causes a more severe form of tularemia than F. tularensis subsp. holarctica does is not known. In this study, we have identified prominent phenotypic differences between the subspecies, since we found that F. tularensis subsp. tularensis strains contained less iron than F. tularensis subsp. holarctica strains. Moreover, strain SCHU S4 of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis was less susceptible than FSC200 and the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica to H(2)O(2)-induced killing. The activity of the H(2)O(2)-degrading enzyme catalase was similar between the strains, whereas the iron content affected their susceptibility to H(2)O(2), since iron starvation rendered F. tularensis subsp. holarctica strains more resistant to H(2)O(2). Complementing LVS with fupA, which encodes an important virulence factor that regulates iron uptake, reduced its iron content and increased the resistance to H(2)O(2)-mediated killing. By real-time PCR, it was demonstrated that FSC200 and LVS expressed higher levels of gene transcripts related to iron uptake and storage than SCHU S4 did, and this likely explained their high iron content. Together, the results suggest that F. tularensis subsp. tularensis strains have restricted iron uptake and storage, which is beneficial for their resistance to H(2)O(2)-induced killing. This may be an important factor for the higher virulence of this subspecies of F. tularensis, as reactive oxygen species, such as H(2)O(2), are important bactericidal components during tularemia.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 79, no 3, 1218-1224 p.
Catalase, metabolism, Virulence
Microbiology in the medical area
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43210DOI: 10.1128/IAI.01116-10ISI: 000287700200024PubMedID: 21189323OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43210DiVA: diva2:412379