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The genus Brucella consists of bacterial pathogens that cause brucellosis, a major zoonotic disease characterized by undulant fever and neurological disorders in humans. Among the different Brucella species, Brucella melitensis is considered the most virulent. Despite successful use in animals, the vaccine strains remain infectious for humans. To understand the mechanism of virulence in B. melitensis, the proteome of vaccine strain Rev 1 was analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and compared to that of virulent strain 16M. The two strains were grown under identical laboratory conditions. Computer-assisted analysis of the two B. melitensis proteomes revealed proteins expressed in either 16M or Rev 1, as well as up- or down-regulation of proteins specific for each of these strains. These proteins were identified by peptide mass fingerprinting. It was found that certain metabolic pathways may be deregulated in Rev 1. Expression of an immunogenic 31-kDa outer membrane protein, proteins utilized for iron acquisition, and those that play a role in sugar binding, lipid degradation, and amino acid binding was altered in Rev 1.

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Journal of Bacteriology

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