Deciphering the roles of outer membrane protein A extracellular loops in the pathogenesis of Escherichia coli K1 meningitis

Rahul Mittal, Subramanian Krishnan, Ignacio Gonzalez-Gomez, Nemani V. Prasadarao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Outer membrane protein A (OmpA) has been implicated as an important virulence factor in several Gram-negative bacterial infections such as Escherichia coli K1, a leading cause of neonatal meningitis associated with significant mortality and morbidity. In this study, we generated E. coli K1 mutants that express OmpA in which three or four amino acids from various extracellular loops were changed to alanines, and we examined their ability to survive in several immune cells. We observed that loop regions 1 and 2 play an important role in the survival of E. coli K1 inside neutrophils and dendritic cells, and loop regions 1 and 3 are needed for survival in macrophages. Concomitantly, E. coli K1 mutants expressing loop 1 and 2 mutations were unable to cause meningitis in a newborn mouse model. Of note, mutations in loop 4 of OmpA enhance the severity of the pathogenesis by allowing the pathogen to survive better in circulation and to produce high bacteremia levels. These results demonstrate, for the first time, the roles played by different regions of extracellular loops of OmpA of E. coli K1 in the pathogenesis of meningitis and may help in designing effective preventive strategies against this deadly disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2183-2193
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume286
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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