A Brucella melitensis high-temperature-requirement A (htrA) deletion mutant is attenuated in goats and protects against abortion

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It has been previously demonstrated that a Brucella melitensis high-temperature-requirement A (hrtA) deletion mutant is more susceptible to oxidative killing in vitro than the parental strain and is attenuated in mice. To evaluate the contribution of the B melitensis HtrA protease to virulence in ruminants, the capacity of the B melitensis htrA mutant RWP5 to produce abortion in goats was compared to that of the virulent parental strain 16M. Experimental infection with strain 16M caused abortion in eight of 12 pregnant nannies, while none of the 12 nannies inoculated with RWP5 aborted. Furthermore, intramuscular injection of fetuses in utero with RWP5 led to colonisation of the fetus with subsequent colonisation of the nanny, but no abortion was observed. Nannies vaccinated with RWP5 showed complete protection against abortion when challenged with 16M during the third trimester of pregnancy. However, these animals were not protected from colonisation by 16M. The results presented here clearly indicate that the B melitensis htrA gene product contributes to pathogenesis in goats, but the utility of B melitensis htrA mutants as vaccines in this host appears to be limited.

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Research in Veterinary Science

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