The Acidic Stress Response of Brucella melitensis: New Insights from a Transcriptome Analysis
David Kornspan* and Mali Salmon-Divon
Corresponding Author: David Kornspan, Department of Bacteriology, Kimron Veterinary Institute, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
Accepted: November 23rd, 2020 Available Online: December 2, 2020
Citation: Kornspan D & Salmon-Divon M (2020) The Acidic Stress Response of Brucella melitensis: New Insights from a Transcriptome Analysis.J Immunol Res Ther, 5(S1): 03.
Copyrights: ©2020 Kornspan D & Salmon-Divon M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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The intracellular pathogenic bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella must cope with acidic stress as they penetrate the host via the gastro intestinal route, and again during the initial stages of intracellular infection. Following their uptake by the host cell, Brucella replicate inside a membrane-bound compartment-the Brucella-containing vacuole-whose acidification is essential for the survival of the pathogen. Therefore, identifying the genes that contribute to the survival of Brucella in acidic environments will greatly assist our understanding of its molecular pathogenic mechanisms. In a comparative transcriptomic analysis of the attenuated vaccine Brucella melitensis strain Rev.1 against the virulent strain 16M in cultures grown under either neutral or acidic conditions, we found 403 genes that respond differently to acidic conditions in the two strains (FDR<0.05, fold change ≥ 2), involved in crucial cellular processes, including metabolic, biosynthetic, and transport processes (Salmon-Divon et al., Front Microbiol. 2019). Further analysis of the RNA-seq data of 16M by comparing it to published transcriptomic data of this strain from both an in cellulo and an in vivo model, revealed 588 genes that were exclusively differentially expressed in 16M grown under acidic versus neutral pH conditions, including 286 upregulated genes and 302 downregulated genes that were not differentially expressed in either the in cellulo or the in vivo model. Among them we detected 13 key genes that are known to be associated with a bacterial response to acidic stress and were highly upregulated under acidic conditions in our study (Kornspan et al., Genes. 2020). These genes provide new molecular insights into the mechanisms underlying the acid-resistance of Brucella within its host and may facilitate the design of new and improved brucellosis vaccines.

Keywords:  Brucella melitensis, Acid stress, RNA-Seq, Transcriptomic analyses, Virulence