Riemerella anatipestifer is the causative agent of septicemia anserum exsudativa in ducks. Its pathogenesis and virulence factors are still unclear. The glycolytic enzyme, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), an anchorless and multifunctional protein on the surface of several pathogenic microorganisms, is involved in virulence and adhesion. Whether homologs of GAPDH exist, and display similar characteristics in R. anatipestifer (RaGAPDH) has not been determined. In our research, the RaGAPDH activity from various R. anatipestifer isolates was confirmed. Twenty-two gapdh genes from genomic DNA of R. anatipestifer isolates were cloned and sequenced for phylogenetic analysis. The distribution of RaGAPDH in R. anatipestifer CZ2 strain was confirmed by antisera to recombinant RaGAPDH. The ability of purified RaGAPDH to bind host proteins was analyzed by solid-phase ligand-binding assay. Results revealed that all R. anatipestifer isolates showed different levels of GAPDH activity except four strains, which contained a gapdh-like gene. The gapdh of R. anatipestifer, which is located phylogenetically in the same branch as enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), belonged to class I GAPDH, and encoded a 36.7-kDa protein. All RaGAPDH-encoding gene sequences from field isolates of R. anatipestifer displayed 100% homology. The RaGAPDH localized on the extracellular membrane of several R. anatipestifer strains. Further, it was released into the culture medium, and exhibited GAPDH enzyme activity. We also confirmed the binding of RaGAPDH to plasminogen and fibrinogen. These results demonstrated that GAPDH was present in R. anatipestifer, although not in all strains, and that RaGAPDH might contribute to the microorganism's virulence.
Keywords: Extracellular protein; Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH); Riemerella anatipestifer.