Phospholipase B

Phospholipase B (PLB) is a secreted protein that is found in all Cn serotypes (Chen et al., 1997; Wright et al., 2004). This enzyme removes acyl chains from phospholi-pids. The mechanism of action of PLB in virulence could involve damage to host tissues, nutrient acquisition, and immune modulation through alteration of lipid signaling molecules. Infection of mice with plb mutant strains shows that PLB is necessary for dissemination but not survival in the lungs (Noverr et al., 2003). The inflammatory response is also reduced in the lungs of mice infected with the mutant strain. Additionally, lower levels of eicosanoids are found in the lungs of mice infected with the plb mutants compared to WT. These lipids are known to modulate the immune system, suggesting that PLB contributes to virulence by reducing the host immune response (Noverr et al., 2003). The failure of plb mutants to disseminate from the lungs is described in other studies. When mice are infected with Cn by the endotracheal route, plb mutants are found in interstitial lung and alveolar macrophages, but not peripheral blood monocytes, brain or lymph nodes. However, in an adoptive transfer experiment with infected monocytes, PLB is not required for infection of the central nervous system (CNS), further supporting a role for PLB in dissemination from the lungs by default (Santangelo et al., 2004).

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