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The development of methods to investigate the mechanisms underlying serum resistance of Ureaplasma species

Aboklaish, Ali F. 2014. The development of methods to investigate the mechanisms underlying serum resistance of Ureaplasma species. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The human Ureaplasma species are among the smallest and simplest self-replicating bacteria known to date. These microbes cause infection in humans, particularly in the upper genital tract during pregnancy, leading to several adverse outcomes including preterm birth, chorioamnionitis, and respiratory diseases of neonates. Little is known about the pathogenesis of Ureaplasma and mechanisms by which they avoid recognition and killing by the complement system. In this thesis, some mechanisms underlying serum resistance of Ureaplasma spp. were investigated. This goal was achieved by creating serum-resistant models of serum-sensitive laboratory Ureaplasma strains and developing and using some proteomic and molecular biology methods to study the role of potential factors, which mediate serum resistance and play a role in pathogenesis of Ureaplasma. My original contribution to the knowledge in this work was the development of transposon mutagenesis method that can now be used to study virulence genes of Ureaplasma. This method will also allow genetic manipulation of Ureaplasma for future studies. Monitoring and investigating induced serum-resistant strains using immunoblot analysis and proteomics revealed significant changes in two candidate proteins coincident with serum resistance. The first was the elongation factor Tu protein that found to be immunogenic and had altered pI isoforms. The observed change in this protein was consistent in all serum-resistant strains, which suggests a possible role in mechanism of serum resistance, possibly as a mediator for binding complement regulators, such as factor H and C4BP, at the cell surface of Ureaplasma. The second candidate protein was a novel 41 kDa protein that was uniquely expressed in all induced serum-resistant strains. Expression of this protein in all resistant strains strongly indicates its involvement in mechanism(s) of serum resistance of Ureaplasma. The possible gene that encodes for this 41 kDa protein has putatively been identified as UUR10_0137 in the genome of U. urealyticum serovar 10 (strain ATCC 33699) using the transposon mutagenesis method developed in this study. Although the gene product of UUR10_0137 gene is not known (hypothetical protein), this protein is now identified and proposed to have a role in serum resistance of Ureaplasma. The product of the UUR10_0137 gene could function as a complement regulator or inhibitor that prevents the activation of complement system, protecting Ureaplasma from the complement attack. The contribution of the multiple- banded antigen, MBA, was proven to be unimportant to serum resistance. Sole antigenic variations in this major surface antigen of Ureaplasma did not play any role in mediating serum resistance. Confirmation of a gene that mediates complement resistance would dramatically increase our understanding of Ureaplasma pathogenicity and provide a target for future human studies with preterm birth and Ureaplasma infection.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2018 14:33
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/70797

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