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Communication

Active Human and Porcine Serum Induce Competence for Genetic Transformation in the Emerging Zoonotic Pathogen Streptococcus suis

Host-Microbe Interactomics, Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, 6708 WD Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors contributed equally as co-first authors.
Pathogens 2021, 10(2), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020156
Received: 13 December 2020 / Revised: 27 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 3 February 2021
The acquisition of novel genetic traits through natural competence is a strategy used by bacteria in microbe-rich environments where microbial competition, antibiotics, and host immune defenses threaten their survival. Here, we show that virulent strains of Streptococcus suis, an important zoonotic agent and porcine pathogen, become competent for genetic transformation with plasmid or linear DNA when cultured in active porcine and human serum. Competence was not induced in active fetal bovine serum, which contains less complement factors and immunoglobulins than adult serum and was strongly reduced in heat-treated or low-molecular weight fractions of active porcine serum. Late competence genes, encoding the uptake machinery for environmental DNA, were upregulated in the active serum. Competence development was independent of the early competence regulatory switch involving XIP and ComR, as well as sigma factor ComX, suggesting the presence of an alternative stress-induced pathway for regulation of the late competence genes required for DNA uptake. View Full-Text
Keywords: Streptococcus suis; natural competence; DNA transformation; virulence; transformasome; serum complement Streptococcus suis; natural competence; DNA transformation; virulence; transformasome; serum complement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ferrando, M.L.; Gussak, A.; Mentink, S.; Gutierrez, M.F.; van Baarlen, P.; Wells, J.M. Active Human and Porcine Serum Induce Competence for Genetic Transformation in the Emerging Zoonotic Pathogen Streptococcus suis. Pathogens 2021, 10, 156. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020156

AMA Style

Ferrando ML, Gussak A, Mentink S, Gutierrez MF, van Baarlen P, Wells JM. Active Human and Porcine Serum Induce Competence for Genetic Transformation in the Emerging Zoonotic Pathogen Streptococcus suis. Pathogens. 2021; 10(2):156. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020156

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ferrando, Maria Laura, Alex Gussak, Saskia Mentink, Marcela Fernandez Gutierrez, Peter van Baarlen, and Jerry Mark Wells. 2021. "Active Human and Porcine Serum Induce Competence for Genetic Transformation in the Emerging Zoonotic Pathogen Streptococcus suis" Pathogens 10, no. 2: 156. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020156

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