Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Short Report

Probing of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae ApxIIIA toxin-dependent cytotoxicity towards mammalian peripheral blood mononucleated cells

Philippe GAC Vanden Bergh, Laurent LM Zecchinon, Thomas Fett and Daniel Desmecht*

Author Affiliations

Pathology Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege, Colonster Boulevard 20 B43, B-4000 Liege, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2008, 1:121  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-1-121

Published: 1 December 2008



Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, the causative bacterial agent of porcine pleuropneumonia, produces Apx toxins which belong to RTX toxin family and are recognized as the major virulence factors. So far, their target receptor(s) has not been identified and the disease cytopathogenesis remains poorly understood. Production of an active Apx toxin and characterization of its toxic activity constitute the premises necessary to the description of its interaction with a potential receptor. From this point of view, we produced an active recombinant ApxIIIA toxin in order to characterize its toxicity on peripheral blood mononucleated cells (PBMCs) isolated from several species.


Toxin preparation exercises a strong cytotoxic action on porcine PBMCs which is directly related to recombinant ApxIIIA since preincubation with polymyxin B does not modify the cytotoxicity rate while preincubation with a monospecific polyclonal antiserum directed against ApxIIIA does. The cell death process triggered by ApxIIIA is extremely fast, the maximum rate of toxicity being already reached after 20 minutes of incubation. Moreover, ApxIIIA cytotoxicity is species-specific because llama, human, dog, rat and mouse PBMCs are resistant. Interestingly, bovine and caprine PBMCs are slightly sensitive to ApxIIIA toxin too. Finally, ApxIIIA cytotoxicity is cell type-specific as porcine epithelial cells are resistant.


We have produced an active recombinant ApxIIIA toxin and characterized its specific cytotoxicity on porcine PBMCs which will allow us to get new insights on porcine pleuropneumonia pathogenesis in the future.