Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The extracellularly secreted endopeptidase elastase (LasB) is regarded as an important virulence factor of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It has also been implicated in the processing of LasA which enhances elastolytic activity of LasB. In order to Investigate the role of LasB in virulence and LasA processing, a LasB-negative mutant, PA01E, was constructed by insertional mutagenesis of the LasB structural gene, lasB, in P. aeruginosa PAO. An Internal 636 bp lasB fragment of the plasmid pRB1803 was ligated into a derivative of the mobilization vector pSUP201–1. The resulting plasmid, pBRMOB-LasB, was transformed into Escherichia coli and transferred by filter matings to the LasB-positive P. aeruginosa strain, PA01. Plasmid integration in the lasB site of the chromosome was confirmed by Southern blot analysis. Radioimmunoassay and immunoblotting of PA01E supernatant fluids yielded no detectable LasB (〈1 ng ml-1 LasB). The absence of LasB in PA01E was further proven by the inability of its culture supernatant fluid to cleave transferrin or rabbit immunogiobulin G (IgG) after a 72 h incubation. The residual proteolytic activity of PA01E culture supernatant fluid was attributed to alkaline proteinase (Apr), since it was totally inhibited by specific antibodies against Apr. Residual elastolytic activity in culture supernatant fluid of PAO1E was due to the LasA fragment and to the combined action of the LasA fragment with Apr on elastin. The sizes of purified LasA from PA01 and PA01E were identical (22 kDa). These results show that, besides LasB and the LasA fragment, Apr may also act on elastin in the presence of the LasA fragment and that the proteolytic processing of LasA in P. aeruginosa is independent of LasB.
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