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Evidence that the 36kb plasmid of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae contributes to virulence

La, T., Phillips, N.D., Wanchanthuek, P., Bellgard, M.I., O'Hara, A.J. and Hampson, D.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-7729-0427 (2011) Evidence that the 36kb plasmid of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae contributes to virulence. Veterinary Microbiology, 153 (1-2). pp. 150-155.

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Swine dysentery (SD) results from infection of the porcine large intestine with the anaerobic intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. Recently the genome of virulent Australian B. hyodysenteriae strain WA1 was sequenced, and a 36. kilobase (kb) circular plasmid was identified. The plasmid contained 31 genes including six rfb genes that were predicted to be involved with rhamnose biosynthesis, and others associated with glycosylation. In the current study a set of PCRs was developed to amplify portions of nine of the plasmid genes. When used with DNA extracted from virulent strain B204, PCR products were generated, but no products were generated with DNA from avirulent strain A1. Analysis of the DNA using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) identified a plasmid band in strains WA1 and B204, but not in strain A1. These results demonstrate that strain A1 does not contain the plasmid, and suggests that lack of the plasmid may explain why this strain is avirulent. To determine how commonly strains lacking plasmids occur, DNA was extracted from 264 Australian field isolates of B. hyodysenteriae and subjected to PCRs for three of the plasmid genes. Only one isolate (WA400) that lacked the plasmid was identified, and this absence was confirmed by PFGE analysis of DNA from the isolate and further PCR testing. To assess its virulence, 24 pigs were experimentally challenged with cultures of WA400, and 12 control pigs were challenged with virulent strain WA1 under the same conditions. Significantly fewer (P= 0.03) of the pigs challenged with WA400 became colonised and developed SD (13/24; 54%) compared to the pigs infected with WA1 (11/12; 92%). Gross lesions in the pigs colonised with WA400 tended to be less extensive than those in pigs colonised with WA1, although there were no obvious differences at the microscopic level. The results support the likelihood that plasmid-encoded genes of B. hyodysenteriae are involved in colonisation and/or disease expression.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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