Endotoxin is recognized as one of the virulence factors of the Bordetella avium bird pathogen, and characterization of its structure and corresponding genomic features are important for an understanding of its role in pathogenicity and for an improved general knowledge of Bordetella spp virulence factors. The structure of the biologically active part of B. avium LPS, lipid A, is described and compared to those of another bird pathogen, opportunistic in humans, Bordetella hinzii, and to that of Bordetella trematum, a human pathogen. Sequence analyses showed that the three strains have homologues of acyl-chain modifying enzymes PagL, PagP and LpxO, of the 1-phosphatase LpxE, in addition to LgmA, LgmB and LgmC, which are required for the glucosamine modification. MALDI mass spectrometry identified a high amount of glucosamine substituting the phosphate groups of B. avium lipid A; this modification was absent from B. hinzii and B. trematum. The acylation patterns of the three lipid As were similar, but they differed from those of Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis. They were also found to be close to the lipid A structure of Bordetella bronchiseptica, a mammalian pathogen, only differing from the latter by the degree of hydroxylation of the branched fatty acid.
Keywords: Bordetella avium; Bordetella hinzii; Bordetella trematum; LPS; MALDI-MS; endotoxin; genomic sequence analyses; glucosamine modifications; lipid A.
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