Identification of conditionally essential genes for Streptococcus suis infection in pigs

Jesús Arenas*, Aldert Zomer, Jose Harders-Westerveen, Hester J. Bootsma, Marien I. De Jonge, Norbert Stockhofe-Zurwieden, Hilde E. Smith, Astrid De Greeff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Streptococcus suis is a Gram-positive bacterium and zoonotic pathogen that causes meningitis and sepsis in pigs and humans. The aim of this study was to identify genes required for S. suis infection. We created Tn-Seq libraries in a virulent S. suis strain 10, which was used to inoculate pigs in an intrathecal experimental infection. Comparative analysis of the relative abundance of mutants recovered from different sites of infection (blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and meninges of the brain) identified 361 conditionally essential genes, i.e. required for infection, which is about 18% of the genome. The conditionally essential genes were primarily involved in metabolic and transport processes, regulation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis, transcription, and cell wall membrane and envelope biogenesis, stress defenses, and immune evasion. Directed mutants were created in a set of 10 genes of different genetic ontologies and their role was determined in ex vivo models. Mutants showed different levels of sensitivity to survival in whole blood, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, thermic shock, and stress conditions, as compared to the wild type. Additionally, the role of three selected mutants was validated in co-infection experiments in which pigs were infected with both wild type and isogenic mutant strains. The genetic determinants of infection identified in this work contribute to novel insights in S. suis pathogenesis and could serve as targets for novel vaccines or antimicrobial drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-464
Number of pages19
JournalVirulence
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020

Keywords

  • infection
  • pathogenesis
  • Streptococcus suis
  • Tn-Seq
  • transposon mutagenesis
  • zoonotic pathogen

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