BMC microbiology

Genome-wide analysis of an avirulent strain that induces protective immunity against challenge with virulent Streptococcus suis serotype 2.

PMID 28292261


It was previously reported in China that two recent large-scale outbreaks of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (S. suis 2) infections in human were caused by two highly virulent S. suis 2 strains, from which a novel genomic island (GEI), associated with disease onset and progression and designated 89 K, was identified. Here, an avirulent strain, 05HAS68, was isolated from a clinically healthy pig. By comparing the genomes of this avirulent strain with virulent strains, it was found that massive genomic rearrangements occurred, resulting in alterations in gene expression that caused enormous single gene gain and loss. Important virulent genes were lost, such as extracellular protein factor (ef) and suilysin (sly) and larger mutants, such as muramidase-released protein (mrp). Piglets vaccinated with the avirulent strain, 05HAS68, had increased TNF-α and IFN-γ levels in the peripheral blood and were fully protected from challenge infection with the most virulent S. suis 2 strain, 05ZYH33. Transfusion of T cells and plasma from vaccinated pigs resulted in protection of recipient animals against the 05ZYH33 challenge. These results suggest that analysis genome of the avirulent strains are instrumental in the development of vaccines and for the functional characterization of important of genetic determinants.