The major outer membrane protein (OmpP2) of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) has been shown to vary markedly with respect to both size and the presence of specific surface-exposed epitopes among strains of this unencapsulated pathogen. In contrast, the OmpP2 proteins of H. influenzae type b (Hib) strains are well conserved at the level of primary protein structure and have in common several surface-exposed antigenic determinants that have not been detected in NTHI strains. The availability of an isogenic, avirulent Hib ompP2 mutant made it possible to investigate whether an NTHI OmpP2 protein could function properly in the Hib outer membrane. A plasmid shuttle vector (pGJB103) was used to clone the ompP2 gene from NTHI TN106 into a recombination-deficient H. influenzae strain in which expression of the NTHI OmpP2 protein was detected by means of an NTHI TN106 OmpP2-specific monoclonal antibody. The amino acid sequence of this NTHI OmpP2 protein, as deduced from the nucleotide sequence of the NTHI TN106 ompP2 gene, was determined to be 83% identical to that of the Hib OmpP2 protein. Transformation of this cloned NTHI ompP2 gene into the Hib ompP2 mutant yielded a Hib transformant strain that expressed the NTHI OmpP2 protein. Expression of this NTHI OmpP2 protein allowed the Hib ompP2 mutant, which normally grows poorly in vitro, to grow in a manner indistinguishable from that of the wild-type Hib strain. More importantly, the introduction of this functional NTHI ompP2 gene into the avirulent Hib ompP2 mutant restored the virulence of this strain to wild-type levels. These results indicate that an NTHI OmpP2 protein can be expressed and function properly in the Hib outer membrane.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Infection and immunity|
|State||Published - 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases