The two Dps ofEdwardsiella tardaare involved in resistance against oxidative stress and host infection

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Abstract

DNA-binding protein from starved cells (Dps) is a member of ferritin-like proteins that exhibit properties of nonspecific DNA binding and iron oxidation and storage. Although studies of Dps from many bacterial species have been reported, no investigations on Dps from fish pathogens have been documented. In this study, we examined the biological function of two Dps proteins, Dps1 and Dps2, from Edwardsiella tarda, an important fish bacterial pathogen that can also infect humans. Dps1 and Dps2 are, respectively, 163- and 174-residue in length and each contains the conserved ferroxidase center of Dps. Expression of dps1 and dps2 was growth phase-dependent and reached high levels in stationary phase. Purified recombinant Dps1 and Dps2 were able to mediate iron oxidation by H2O2 and bind DNA. Compared to the wild type strain, (i) the dps1 mutant (TXDps1) and the dps2 mutant (TXDps2) were unaffected in growth, while the dps2 mutant with interfered dps1 expression (TXDps2RI) exhibited a prolonged lag phase; (ii) TXDps1, TXDps2, and especially TXDps2RI were significantly reduced in H2O2 and UV tolerance and impaired in the capacity to invade into host tissues and replicate in head kidney macrophages; (iii) TXDps1, TXDps2, and TXDps2RI induced stronger macrophage respiratory burst activity and thus were defective in the ability to block the bactericidal response of macrophages. Taken together, these results indicate that Dps1 and Dps2 are functional analogues that possess ferroxidase activity and DNA binding capacity and are required for optimum oxidative stress resistance and full bacterial virulence.

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