The utilization of available substrates, the metabolic potential and the growth rates of bacteria can play significant roles in their pathogenicity. This study concentrates on Mycoplasma agalactiae, which causes significant economic losses through its contribution to contagious agalactia in small ruminants by as yet unknown mechanisms. This lack of knowledge is primarily due to its fastidious growth requirements and the scarcity of genetic tools available for its manipulation and analysis. Transposon mutagenesis of M. agalactiae type strain PG2 resulted in several disruptions throughout the genome. A mutant defective in growth in vitro was found to have a transposon insertion in the pdhB gene, which encodes a component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. This growth difference was quite significant during the actively dividing logarithmic phase but a gradual recovery was observed as the cells approached stationary phase. The mutant also exhibited a different and smaller colony morphology compared to the wild type strain PG2. For complementation, pdhAB was cloned downstream of a strong vpma promoter and upstream of a lacZ reporter gene in a newly constructed complementation vector. When transformed with this vector the pdhBmutant recovered its normal growth and colony morphology. Interestingly, the pdhB mutant also had significantly reduced invasiveness in HeLa cells, as revealed by double immunofluorescence staining. This deficiency was recovered in the complemented strain, which had invasiveness comparable to that of PG2. Taken together, these data indicate that pyruvate dehydrogenase might be an important player in infection with and colonization by M. agalactiae.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)