The O-antigen of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is required for virulence in Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O:8. Here we evaluated the importance of controlling the O-antigen biosynthesis using an in vivo rabbit model of infection. Y. enterocolitica O:8 wild-type strain was compared to three mutants differing in the O-antigen phenotype: (i) the rough strain completely devoid of the O-antigen, (ii) the wzy strain that lacks the O-antigen polymerase (Wzy protein) and expresses LPS with only one repeat unit, and (iii) the wzz strain that lacks the O-antigen chain length determinant (Wzz protein) and expresses LPS without modal distribution of O-antigen chain lengths. The most attenuated strain was the wzz mutant. The wzz bacteria were cleared from the tissues by day 30, the blood parameters were least dramatic and histologically only immunomorphological findings were seen. The level of attenuation of the rough and the wzy strain bacteria was between the wild-type and the wzz strain. Wild-type bacteria were highly resistant to killing by polymorphonuclear leukocytes, the wzz strain bacteria were most sensitive and the rough and wzy strain bacteria were intermediate resistant. These results clearly demonstrated that the presence of O-antigen on the bacterial surface is not alone sufficient for full virulence, but also there is a requirement for its controlled chain length.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|