Contribution of hly homologs to the hemolytic activity of Prevotella intermedia.

PMID 22554902


Prevotella intermedia is a periodontal pathogen that requires iron for its growth. Although this organism has hemolytic activity, the precise nature of its hemolytic substances and their associated hemolytic actions are yet to be fully determined. In the present study, we identified and characterized several putative hly genes in P. intermedia ATCC25611 which appear to encode hemolysins. Six hly genes (hlyA, B, C, D, E, and hlyI) of P. intermedia were identified by comparing their nucleotide sequences to those of known hly genes of Bacteroides fragilis NCTC9343. The hlyA-E, and hlyI genes were overexpressed individually in the non-hemolytic Escherichia coli strain JW5181 and examined its contribution to the hemolytic activity on sheep blood agar plates. E. coli cells expressing the hlyA and hlyI genes exhibited hemolytic activity under anaerobic conditions. On the other hand, only E. coli cells stably expressing the hlyA gene were able to lyse the red blood cells when cultured under aerobic conditions. In addition, expression of the hlyA and hlyI genes was significantly upregulated in the presence of red blood cells. Furthermore, we found that the growth of P. intermedia was similar in an iron-limited medium supplemented with either red blood cells or heme. Taken together, our results indicate that the hlyA and hlyI genes of P. intermedia encode putative hemolysins that appear to be involved in the lysis of red blood cells, and suggest that these hemolysins might play important roles in the iron-dependent growth of this organism.

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