Behaviour of a high-temperature-requirement a (HtrA) deletion mutant of Brucella abortus in goats

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Previous studies have shown that high-temperature-requirement A (HtrA) mutants of Brucella abortus are more sensitive to oxidative killing in vitro, are less able to survive in cultured murine macrophages and are attenuated in BALB/c mice. To measure the effect of an HtrA mutation on the virulence of B abortus in ruminants, pregnant goats in late gestation were exposed to infection by the conjunctival route with B abortus 2308 or an isogenic htrA mutant, PHE1. Infection with either 2308 or PHE1 resulted in abortion, but the serological responses to infection were consistent with 2308 but variable with PHE1. Strain 2308 was recovered post mortem both from aborted fetuses and infected dams, whereas PHE1 was recovered from neither. Nevertheless, short term studies revealed that PHE1 could be recovered from infected goats for up to two weeks after infection, suggesting that although the HtrA mutation may change the colonising ability of B abortus, the virulence of the mutant in pregnant goats is not reduced.

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Research in Veterinary Science

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