Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28809156
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) 2017 Sep;163(9):1364-1368
Bordetella pertussis, a human pathogenic bacterium, produces either one or two types of serologically distinct fimbriae, Fim2 and Fim3, as virulence factors. The expression of fim2 and fim3 is regulated by the BvgAS two-component system and the length of poly(C) stretches in Pfim promoters. In the Bvg+ phase, B. pertussis virulence-activated genes (vags) are up-regulated and virulence-repressed genes (vrgs) are down-regulated. Previous studies have shown that fim2 is a vag, but there is no consensus on fim3 regulation. We examined the regulation of fimbrial expression in B. pertussis clinical isolates. Our findings indicate that fim2 is a vag, while fim3 is a vag when Pfim3 poly(C)>13C, and a vrg when poly(C)≤13C. Although increased fim3 expression was observed in the Bvg- phase in isolates with Pfim3 poly(C)≤13C, Fim3 production was not detected, suggesting post-transcriptional regulation of fim3 expression. These findings provide an insight into the regulation of fimbrial expression in B. pertussis.