There are a paucity of data concerning gene products that could contribute to the ability of Moraxella catarrhalis to colonize the human nasopharynx. Inactivation of a gene (mesR) encoding a predicted response regulator of a two-component signal transduction system in M. catarrhalis yielded a mutant unable to grow in liquid media. This mesR mutant also exhibited increased sensitivity to certain stressors, including polymyxin B, SDS, and hydrogen peroxide. Inactivation of the gene (mesS) encoding the predicted cognate sensor (histidine) kinase yielded a mutant with the same inability to grow in liquid media as the mesR mutant. DNA microarray and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR analyses indicated that several genes previously shown to be involved in the ability of M. catarrhalis to persist in the chinchilla nasopharynx were upregulated in the mesR mutant. Two other open reading frames upregulated in the mesR mutant were shown to encode small proteins (LipA and LipB) that had amino acid sequence homology to bacterial adhesins and structural homology to bacterial lysozyme inhibitors. Inactivation of both lipA and lipB did not affect the ability of M. catarrhalis O35E to attach to a human bronchial epithelial cell line in vitro. Purified recombinant LipA and LipB fusion proteins were each shown to inhibit human lysozyme activity in vitro and in saliva. A lipA lipB deletion mutant was more sensitive than the wild-type parent strain to killing by human lysozyme in the presence of human apolactoferrin. This is the first report of the production of lysozyme inhibitors by M. catarrhalis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases