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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei O-antigen serotypes in near-neighbor species

Joshua K Stone1, Mark Mayo2, Stephanie A Grasso1, Jennifer L Ginther1, Stephanie D Warrington1, Christopher J Allender1, Adina Doyle1, Shalamar Georgia1, Mirjam Kaestli2, Stacey M Broomall3, Mark A Karavis3, Joseph M Insalaco3, Kyle S Hubbard3, Lauren A McNew3, Henry S Gibbons3, Bart J Currie2, Paul Keim1 and Apichai Tuanyok1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

2 Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, NT, Australia

3 BioSciences Division, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:250  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-250

Published: 5 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Burkholderia pseudomallei is the etiological agent of melioidosis and a CDC category B select agent with no available effective vaccine. Previous immunizations in mice have utilized the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a potential vaccine target because it is known as one of the most important antigenic epitopes in B. pseudomallei. Complicating this strategy are the four different B. pseudomallei LPS O-antigen types: A, B, B2, and rough. Sero-crossreactivity is common among O-antigens of Burkholderia species. Here, we identified the presence of multiple B. pseudomallei O-antigen types and sero-crossreactivity in its near-neighbor species.

Results

PCR screening of O-antigen biosynthesis genes, phenotypic characterization using SDS-PAGE, and immunoblot analysis showed that majority of B. mallei and B. thailandensis strains contained the typical O-antigen type A. In contrast, most of B. ubonensis and B. thailandensis-like strains expressed the atypical O-antigen types B and B2, respectively. Most B. oklahomensis strains expressed a distinct and non-seroreactive O-antigen type, except strain E0147 which expressed O-antigen type A. O-antigen type B2 was also detected in B. thailandensis 82172, B. ubonensis MSMB108, and Burkholderia sp. MSMB175. Interestingly, B. thailandensis-like MSMB43 contained a novel serotype B positive O-antigen.

Conclusions

This study expands the number of species which express B. pseudomallei O-antigen types. Further work is required to elucidate the full structures and how closely these are to the B. pseudomallei O-antigens, which will ultimately determine the efficacy of the near-neighbor B serotypes for vaccine development.