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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Leptospira interrogans Catalase Is Required for Resistance to H2O2 and for Virulence

Eshghi, Azad; Lourdault, Kristel; Murray, Gerald L.; Bartpho, Thanatchaporn; Sermswan, Rasana W.; Picardeau, Mathieu; Adler, Ben; Snarr, Brendan; Zuerner, Richard; Cameron, Caroline E.


Pathogenic Leptospira spp. are likely to encounter higher concentrations of reactive oxygen species induced by the host innate immune response. In this study, we characterized Leptospira interrogans catalase (KatE), the only annotated catalase found within pathogenic Leptospira species, by assessing its role in resistance to H2O2-induced oxidative stress and during infection in hamsters. Pathogenic L. interrogans bacteria had a 50-fold-higher survival rate under H2O2-induced oxidative stress than did saprophytic L. biflexa bacteria, and this was predominantly catalase dependent. We also characterized KatE, the only annotated catalase found within pathogenic Leptospira species. Catalase assays performed with recombinant KatE confirmed specific catalase activity, while protein fractionation experiments localized KatE to the bacterial periplasmic space. The insertional inactivation of katE in pathogenic Leptospira bacteria drastically diminished leptospiral viability in the presence of extracellular H2O2 and reduced virulence in an acute-infection model. Combined, these results suggest that L. interrogans KatE confers in vivo resistance to reactive oxygen species induced by the host innate immune response.

Published in

Infection and Immunity
2012, volume: 80, number: 11, pages: 3892-3899

Authors' information

Eshghi, Azad
University of Victoria, Canada
Lourdault, Kristel
Institut Pasteur
Murray, Gerald L.
Monash University
Bartpho, Thanatchaporn
Khon Kaen University
Sermswan, Rasana W.
Khon Kaen University
Picardeau, Mathieu
Institut Pasteur
Adler, Ben
Monash University
Snarr, Brendan
University of Victoria, Canada
Zuerner, Richard
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health
Cameron, Caroline E.
University of Victoria, Canada

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