Variable virulence factors in Burkholderia pseudomallei (Melioidosis) associated with human disease

Derek Sarovich, Erin Price, Jessica Webb, Linda Ward, Marcos Voutsinos, Apichai Tuanyok, Mark Mayo, Mirjam Kaestli, Bart Currie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative environmental bacterium that causes melioidosis, a potentially life-threatening infectious disease affecting mammals, including humans. Melioidosis symptoms are both protean and diverse, ranging from mild, localized skin infections to more severe and often fatal presentations including pneumonia, septic shock with multiple internal abscesses and occasionally neurological involvement. Several ubiquitous virulence determinants in B. pseudomallei have already been discovered. However, the molecular basis for differential pathogenesis has, until now, remained elusive. Using clinical data from 556 Australian melioidosis cases spanning more than 20 years, we identified a Burkholderia mallei-like actin polymerization bimABm gene that is strongly associated with neurological disease. We also report that a filamentous hemagglutinin gene, fhaB3, is associated with positive blood cultures but is negatively correlated with localized skin lesions without sepsis. We show, for the first time, that variably present virulence factors play an important role in the pathogenesis of melioidosis. Collectively, our study provides a framework for assessing other non-ubiquitous bacterial virulence factors and their association with disease, such as candidate loci identified from large-scale microbial genome-wide association studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere91682
    Pages (from-to)e91682
    Number of pages4
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume9
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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