Burkholderia cepacia is an opportunistic pathogen that causes serious pulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Although several potential virulence factors—a protease, lipase, and two phospholipases C (one hemolytic and one nonhemolytic)—have been identified, only two, the protease and the lipase, have been described in detail. The goal of this study was to purify and characterize a nonhemolytic phospholipase C secreted by B. cepacia strain Pc224c. The enzyme was concentrated from culture supernatants and purified by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The 54-kDa protein was stable in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (up to 10%) and at 4°, 22°, and 37°C; it was, however, inactivated at 100°C. The enzyme bound to glass, chromatography matrices, and polyvinylidene difluoride and cellulose membranes, suggesting that it is hydrophobic. In a genetic approach, primers based on conserved sequences of a B. cepacia Pc69 hemolytic phospholipase C and both the Pseudomonas aeruginosa hemolytic and nonhemolytic proteins were designed to identify the Pc224c nonhemolytic phospholipase C gene. One polymerase chain reaction product was identified; it was sequenced and the sequence compared with sequences in the BLAST database. The best match was the Pseudomonas aeruginosa hemolytic phospholipase C. Ten additional B. cepacia strains were screened for the gene by Southern hybridization; five had the 4-kb band, suggesting that these strains have a similar form of the PLC gene. Nine of the ten strains reacted with the probe, suggesting that similar sequences were present, but in another form.
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