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Infection with a Nonencapsulated Bacillus anthracis Strain in Rabbits—The Role of Bacterial Adhesion and the Potential for a Safe Live Attenuated Vaccine

Department of Infectious Diseases, Israel Institute for Biological Research, P.O. Box 19, Ness Ziona 74100, Israel
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Toxins 2018, 10(12), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120506
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Nonencapsulated (∆pXO2) Bacillus anthracis strains are commonly used as vaccines and for anthrax research, mainly in the mouse model. Previously, we demonstrated that the infection of rabbits, intranasally or subcutaneously, with the spores of a fully virulent strain results in the systemic dissemination of the bacteria, meningitis, and death, whereas ∆pXO2 strains are fully attenuated in this animal model. We used the intravenous inoculation of rabbits to study the pathogenicity of the ∆pXO2 strain infection. Bacteremia, brain bacterial burden, and pathology were used as criteria to compare the Vollum∆pXO2 disease to the wild type Vollum infection. To test the role of adhesion in the virulence of Vollum∆pXO2, we deleted the major adhesion protein BslA and tested the virulence and immunogenicity of this mutant. We found that 50% of the rabbits succumb to Vollum∆pXO2 strain following i.v. infection, a death that was accompanied with significant neurological symptoms. Pathology revealed severe brain infection coupled with an atypical massive bacterial growth into the parenchyma. Contrary to the Vollum strain, deletion of the bslA gene fully attenuated the ∆pXO2 strain. Though the Vollum∆pXO2 cannot serve as a model for B. anthracis pathogenicity in rabbits, deletion of the bslA gene prevents central nervous system (CNS) infections, possibly leading to the generation of a safer vaccine. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bacillus anthacis; vaccine strain; BslA; cell adherence; encephalitis; CNS infection Bacillus anthacis; vaccine strain; BslA; cell adherence; encephalitis; CNS infection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Glinert, I.; Weiss, S.; Sittner, A.; Bar-David, E.; Ben-Shmuel, A.; Schlomovitz, J.; Kobiler, D.; Levy, H. Infection with a Nonencapsulated Bacillus anthracis Strain in Rabbits—The Role of Bacterial Adhesion and the Potential for a Safe Live Attenuated Vaccine. Toxins 2018, 10, 506. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120506

AMA Style

Glinert I, Weiss S, Sittner A, Bar-David E, Ben-Shmuel A, Schlomovitz J, Kobiler D, Levy H. Infection with a Nonencapsulated Bacillus anthracis Strain in Rabbits—The Role of Bacterial Adhesion and the Potential for a Safe Live Attenuated Vaccine. Toxins. 2018; 10(12):506. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120506

Chicago/Turabian Style

Glinert, Itai, Shay Weiss, Assa Sittner, Elad Bar-David, Amir Ben-Shmuel, Josef Schlomovitz, David Kobiler, and Haim Levy. 2018. "Infection with a Nonencapsulated Bacillus anthracis Strain in Rabbits—The Role of Bacterial Adhesion and the Potential for a Safe Live Attenuated Vaccine" Toxins 10, no. 12: 506. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120506

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