By using a mini-transposon, we obtained two mutated strains of a diarrheal isolate, SSU, of Aeromonas hydrophila that exhibited a 50 to 53% reduction in the hemolytic activity and 83 to 87% less cytotoxic activity associated with the cytotoxic enterotoxin (Act). Act is a potent virulence factor of A. hydrophila and has been shown to contribute significantly to the development of both diarrhea and septicemia in animal models. Subsequent cloning and DNA sequence analysis revealed that transposon insertion occurred at different locations in these two mutants within the same 1,890-bp open reading frame for the glucose-inhibited division gene (gidA). A similar reduction in hemolytic (46%) and cytotoxic (81%) activity, of Act was noted in the gidA isogenic mutant of A. hydrophila that was generated by marker exchange mutagenesis. Northern blot analysis revealed that the transcription of the cytotoxic enterotoxin gene (act) was not altered in the gidA transposon and isogenic mutants. However, by generating a chromosomal act::alkaline phosphatase gene (phoA) reporter construct, we demonstrated significantly reduced phosphatase activity in these mutants, indicating the effect of glucose-inhibited division (GidA) protein in modulating act gene expression at the translational level. The biological effects of Act in gidA mutants were restored by complementation. The virulence of the gidA mutants in mice was dramatically reduced compared to the those of the wild-type (WT) and complemented strains of A. hydrophila. The histopathological examination of lungs, in particular, indicated severe congestion, alveolar hemorrhage, and acute inflammatory infiltrate in the interstitial compartment and the alveolar spaces when mice were infected with the WT and complemented strains. Minimal-to-mild changes were noted in the lungs with the gidA mutants. Taken together, our data indicate for the first time that GidA regulates the most-potent virulence factor of A. hydrophila, Act.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases