Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) is the causal agent of a high-morbidity/mortality disease syndrome known as melioidosis. This syndrome can range from acute fulminate disease to chronic, local, and disseminated infections that are often difficult to treat because Bp exhibits resistance to many antibiotics. Bp is a prime candidate for use in biologic warfare/terrorism and is classified as a Tier-1 select agent by HHS and APHIS. It is known that inbred mouse strains display a range of susceptibility to Bp and that the murine infection model is ideal for studying acute melioidosis. Here, we exploit a powerful mouse genetics resource that consists of a large family of BXD-type recombinant inbred strains, to perform genome-wide linkage analysis of the weight loss phenotype following pneumonic infection with Bp. We infected parental mice and 32 BXD strains with 50–100 CFU of Bp (strain 1026b) and monitored weight retention each day over an eleven-day time course. Using the computational tools in GeneNetwork, we performed genome-wide linkage analysis to identify an interval on chromosome 12 that appears to control the weight retention trait. We then analyzed and ranked positional candidate genes in this interval, several of which have intriguing connections with innate immunity, calcium homeostasis, lipid transport, host cell growth and development, and autophagy.
Genome-wide linkage analysis was used to identify host genetic loci that control variable weight loss kinetics of distinct inbred strains of mice following pneumonic Burkholderia pseudomallei infection.