Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE

Montevideo, Uruguay

Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE

Montevideo, Uruguay
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Antunez K.,Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE | Arredondo D.,Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE | Anido M.,Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE | Zunino P.,Institute Investigaciones Biolo gicas Clemente Estable IIBCE
Microbiology | Year: 2011

American foulbrood is a bacterial disease of worldwide distribution that affects larvae of the honeybee Apis mellifera. The causative agent is the Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. Several authors have proposed that P. larvae secretes metalloproteases that are involved in the larval degradation that occurs after infection. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the production of a metalloprotease by P. larvae during larval infection. First, the complete gene encoding a metalloprotease was identified in the P. larvae genome and its distribution was evaluated by PCR in a collection of P. larvae isolates from different geographical regions. Then, the complete gene was amplified, cloned and overexpressed, and the recombinant metalloprotease was purified and used to generate anti-metalloprotease antibodies. Metalloprotease production was evaluated by immunofluorescence and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The gene encoding a P. larvae metalloprotease was widely distributed in isolates from different geographical origins in Uruguay and Argentina. Metalloprotease was detected inside P. larvae vegetative cells, on the surface of P. larvae spores and secreted to the external growth medium. Its production was also confirmed in vivo, during the infection of honeybee larvae. This protein was able to hydrolyse milk proteins as described for P. larvae, suggesting that could be involved in larval degradation. This work contributes to the knowledge of the pathogenicity mechanisms of a bacterium of great economic significance and is one step in the characterization of potential P. larvae virulence factors. © 2011 SGM Printed in Great Britain.

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