We have identified two extremely large open reading frames (ORFs) in Haemophilus ducreyi 35000, lspA1 and lspA2, each of which encodes a predicted protein product whose N-terminal half is approximately 43% similar to the N- terminal half of Bordetella pertussis filamentous hemagglutinin (FhaB). To the best of our knowledge, lspA1 (12,500 nucleotides [nt]) and lspA2 (14,800 nt) are among the largest prokaryotic ORFs identified to date. The predicted proteins, LspA1 and LspA2, are 86% identical overall to each other and also have limited amino acid sequence similarity at their N termini to other secreted bacterial proteins, including certain hemolysins. Southern blot analysis indicated that lspA1 and lspA2 sequences were present in 15 other geographically diverse H. ducreyi strains. Reverse transcriptase PCR analysis of total RNA isolated from H. ducreyi 35000 grown in liquid medium, grown on solid agar medium, and isolated from lesions of H. ducreyi-infected rabbits indicated that lspA1 and lspA2 were transcribed both in vitro and in vivo. A 260-kDa protein present in culture supernatant from eight virulent H. ducreyi strains reacted with both polyclonal serum from rabbits infected with H. ducreyi 35000 and a monoclonal antibody predicted to bind both LspA1 and LspA2. This 260-kDa protein in H. ducreyi 35000 culture supernatant was shown to be the protein product of the lspA1 ORF based on its reactivity with a monoclonal antibody specific for LspA1. Four H. ducreyi strains, previously shown to be avirulent in the temperature-dependent rabbit model for chancroid, did not produce either LspA1 or LspA2 in vitro. This finding raised the possibility that LspA1, LspA2, or both may be involved in the ability of H. ducreyi to cause lesions in this animal model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology