Mutational analysis of the putative leukotoxin transport genes in actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans

Janet M. Guthmiller, David Kolodrubetz, Ellen Kraig

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Abstract

The periodontal pathogen, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, produces leukotoxin, a protein that specifically lyses host defense cells. The leukotoxin is similar in sequence and operon organization to theEscherichia coliα-hemolysin and other members of the RTX family of toxins. However, unlike the other RTX toxins, theA. actinomycetemcomitansleukotoxin is not secreted from the cell and instead remains associated with the outer membrane. Nonetheless, theA. actinomycetemcomitans lktoperon contains two genes, lktBandlktD, that appear analagous to the toxin localization genes found in the other Gram-negative bacteria. Thus, to determine the roles of these putative transport genes inA. actinomycetemcomitans, we have used insertional mutagenesis to generate mutant strains lacking functional LktB and/or LktD. When eitherlktDor bothlktBandlktDwere inactivated, the level of detectable leukotoxin protein in the cell decreased significantly. However, thelktBandlktDmutations had no effect on the levels of leukotoxin RNA. Thus, the lack of LktB and LktD proteins must affect LktA synthesis post-transcriptionally. It is proposed that this is an indirect effect of leukotoxin mislocalization inlktB-andlktD-mutants. Finally, analysis of the mutants revealed that LktB and LktD are not essential for the formation of extracellular membrane vesicles inA. actinomycetemcomitans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-321
Number of pages15
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1995

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Keywords

  • A. actinomycetemcomitans
  • IktB
  • IktD
  • Insertional mutagenesis
  • Leukotoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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