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Infect Immun 2012 Mar;80(3):1025-36

Phenotypic Modulation of the Virulent Bvg Phase Is Not Required for Pathogenesis and Transmission of Bordetella bronchiseptica in Swine.

Nicholson TL, Brockmeier SL, Loving CL, Register KB, Kehrli ME Jr, Stibitz SE, Shore SM


The majority of virulence gene expression in Bordetella is regulated by a two-component sensory transduction system encoded by the bvg locus. In response to environmental cues, the BvgAS regulatory system controls expression of a spectrum of phenotypic phases, transitioning between a virulent (Bvg(+)) phase and a nonvirulent (Bvg(-)) phase, a process referred to as phenotypic modulation. We hypothesized that the ability of Bordetella bronchiseptica to undergo phenotypic modulation is required at one or more points during the infectious cycle in swine. To investigate the Bvg phase-dependent contribution to pathogenesis of B. bronchiseptica in swine, we constructed a series of isogenic mutants in a virulent B. bronchiseptica swine isolate and compared each mutant to the wild-type isolate for its ability to colonize and cause disease. We additionally tested whether a BvgAS system capable of modulation is required for direct or indirect transmission. The Bvg(-) phase-locked mutant was never recovered from any respiratory tract site at any time point examined. An intermediate phase-locked mutant (Bvg(i)) was found in numbers lower than the wild type at all respiratory tract sites and time points examined and caused limited to no disease. In contrast, colonization of the respiratory tract and disease caused by the Bvg(+) phase-locked mutant and the wild-type strain were indistinguishable. The Bvg(+) phase-locked mutant transmitted to naive pigs by both direct and indirect contact with efficiency equal to that of the wild-type isolate. These results indicate that while full activation of the BvgAS regulatory system is required for colonization and severe disease, it is not deleterious to direct and indirect transmission. Overall, our results demonstrate that the Bvg(+) phase is sufficient for respiratory infection and host-to-host transmission of B. bronchiseptica in swine.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #22158743 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.06016-11
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2012-03-21 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29