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Open Access Research article

Transcriptional profiling of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae during the acute phase of a natural infection in pigs

Vincent Deslandes12, Martine Denicourt13, Christiane Girard4, Josée Harel12, John HE Nash56 and Mario Jacques12*

Author Affiliations

1 Groupe de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses du Porc, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, Canada

2 Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie Porcine, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, Canada

3 Département de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, Canada

4 Département de pathologie et microbiologie, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, Canada

5 Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

6 Current address: Office of Biotechnology, Genomics and Population Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-98

Published: 8 February 2010

Abstract

Background

Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the etiological agent of porcine pleuropneumonia, a respiratory disease which causes great economic losses worldwide. Many virulence factors are involved in the pathogenesis, namely capsular polysaccharides, RTX toxins, LPS and many iron acquisition systems. In order to identify genes that are expressed in vivo during a natural infection, we undertook transcript profiling experiments with an A. pleuropneumoniae DNA microarray, after recovery of bacterial mRNAs from serotype 5b-infected porcine lungs. AppChip2 contains 2033 PCR amplicons based on the genomic sequence of App serotype 5b strain L20, representing more than 95% of ORFs greater than 160 bp in length.

Results

Transcriptional profiling of A. pleuropneumoniae recovered from the lung of a pig suffering from a natural infection or following growth of the bacterial isolate in BHI medium was performed. An RNA extraction protocol combining beadbeating and hot-acid-phenol was developed in order to maximize bacterial mRNA yields and quality following total RNA extraction from lung lesions. Nearly all A. pleuropneumoniae transcripts could be detected on our microarrays, and 150 genes were deemed differentially expressed in vivo during the acute phase of the infection. Our results indicate that, for example, gene apxIVA from an operon coding for RTX toxin ApxIV is highly up-regulated in vivo, and that two genes from the operon coding for type IV fimbriae (APL_0878 and APL_0879) were also up-regulated. These transcriptional profiling data, combined with previous comparative genomic hybridizations performed by our group, revealed that 66 out of the 72 up-regulated genes are conserved amongst all serotypes and that 3 of them code for products that are predicted outer membrane proteins (genes irp and APL_0959, predicted to code for a TonB-dependent receptor and a filamentous hemagglutinin/adhesin respectively) or lipoproteins (gene APL_0920). Only 4 of 72 up-regulated genes had previously been identified in controled experimental infections.

Conclusions

These genes that we have identified as up-regulated in vivo, conserved across serotypes and coding for potential outer membrane proteins represent potential candidates for the development of a cross-protective vaccine against porcine pleuropneumonia.