Role of the type III secretion system in a hypervirulent lineage of Bordetella bronchiseptica

Anne M. Buboltz, Tracy L. Nicholson, Laura S. Weyrich, Eric T. Harvill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Despite the fact that closely related bacteria can cause different levels of disease, the genetic changes that cause some isolates to be more pathogenic than others are generally not well understood. We use a combination of approaches to determine which factors contribute to the increased virulence of a Bordetella bronchiseptica lineage. A strain isolated from a host with B. bronchiseptica-induced disease, strain 1289, was 60-fold more virulent in mice than one isolated from an asymptomatically infected host, strain RB50. Transcriptome analysis and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that the type III secretion system (TTSS) genes were more highly expressed by strain 1289 than strain RB50. Compared to strain RB50, strain 1289 exhibited greater TTSS-mediated cytotoxicity of a mammalian cell line. Additionally, we show that the increase in virulence of strain 1289 compared to that of RB50 was partially attributable to the TTSS. Using multilocus sequence typing, we identified another strain from the same lineage as strain 1289. Similar to strain 1289, we implicate the TTSS in the increased virulence of this strain. Together, our data suggest that the TTSS is involved in the increased virulence of a B. bronchiseptica lineage which appears to be disproportionately associated with disease. These data are consistent with the view that B. bronchiseptica lineages can have different levels of virulence, which may contribute to this species' ability to cause different severities of respiratory disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3969-3977
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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