is a heterogeneous species that is a primary pathogen of many different vertebrates. This Gram-negative bacterium can cause a range of diseases, including fowl cholera in birds, haemorrhagic septicaemia in ungulates, atrophic rhinitis in swine, and lower respiratory tract infections in cattle and pigs. One of the primary virulence factors of P. multocida
is lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Recent work has shown that this crucial surface molecule shows significant structural variability across different P. multocida
strains, with many producing LPS structures that are highly similar to the carbohydrate component of host glycoproteins. It is likely that this LPS mimicry of host molecules plays a major role in the survival of P. multocida
in certain host niches. P. multocida
LPS also plays a significant role in resisting the action of chicken cathelicidins, and is a strong stimulator of host immune responses. The inflammatory response to the endotoxic lipid A component is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of certain infections. Recent work has shown that vaccines containing killed bacteria give protection only against other strains with identical, or nearly identical, surface LPS structures. Conversely, live attenuated vaccines give protection that is broadly protective, and their efficacy is independent of LPS structure.
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