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Molecular, antigenic, and functional analyses of Omp2b porin size variants of Brucella spp.

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy LakeyORCiD


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Omp2a and Omp2b are highly homologous porins present in the outer membrane of the bacteria from the genus Brucella, a facultative intracellular pathogen. The genes coding for these proteins are closely linked in the Brucella genome and oriented in opposite directions. In this work, we present the cloning, purification, and characterization of four Omp2b size variants found in various Brucella species, and we compare their antigenic and functional properties to the Omp2a and Omp2b porins of Brucella melitensis reference strain 16M. The variation of the Omp2a and Omp2b porin sequences among the various strains of the genus Brucella seems to result mostly from multiple gene conversions between the two highly homologous genes. As shown in this study, this phenomenon has led to the creation of natural Omp2a and Omp2b chimeric proteins in Omp2b porin size variants. The comparison by liposome swelling assay of the porins sugar permeability suggested a possible functional differences between Omp2a and Omp2b, with Omp2a showing a more efficient pore in sugar diffusion. The sequence variability in the Omp2b size variants was located in the predicted external loops of the porin. Several epitopes recognized by anti-Omp2b monoclonal antibodies were mapped by comparison of the Omp2b size variants antigenicity, and two of them were located in the most exposed surface loops. However, since variations are mostly driven by simple exchanges of conserved motifs between the two genes (except for an Omp2b version from an atypical strain of Brucella suis biovar 3), the porin variability does not result in major antigenic variability of the Brucella surface that could help the bacteria during the reinfection of a host. Porin variation in Brucella seems to result mainly in porin conductivity modifications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lakey JH; Paquet JY; Diaz MA; Genevrois S; Grayon M; Verger JM; de Bolle X; Letesson JJ; Cloeckaert A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Bacteriology

Year: 2001

Volume: 183

Issue: 16

Pages: 4839-4847

ISSN (print): 0021-9193

ISSN (electronic): 1098-5530

Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


DOI: 10.1128/JB.183.16.4839-4847.2001


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