Role of an extracellular neutral protease in infection against nematodes by Brevibacillus laterosporus strain G4
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Proteases have been proposed as virulence factors in microbial pathogenicity against nematodes. However, what kinds of extracellular proteases from these pathogens and how they contribute to the pathogenesis of infections against nematode in vivo remain largely unknown. A previous analysis using a strain with a deletion in an extracellular alkaline protease BLG4 gene from Brevibacillus laterosporus demonstrated that BLG4 was responsible for the majority of nematicidal activity by destroying host’s cuticle. In recent studies, a neutral protease NPE-4, purified from the mutant BLG4–6, was found to be responsible for the majority of the remaining EDTA-inhibited protease activity. However, the purified NPE-4 and recombinant NPE-4 in a related species Bacillus subtilis showed little nematicidal activity in vitro and were unable to degrade the intact cuticle of the host. It is interesting to note that the addition of NPE-4 improved the pathogenicity of crude enzyme extract from wild-type B. laterosporus but had no effect on the BLG4-deficient mutant. This result suggests that NPE-4 functions in the presence of protease BLG4. Moreover, NPE-4 could degrade proteins from the inner layer of purified cuticles from nematode Panagrellus redivivus in vitro. These results indicated that the two different bacterial extracellular proteases might play differential roles at different stages of infection or a synthetic role in penetration of nematode cuticle in B. laterosporus. This is among the first reports to systematically evaluate and define the roles of different bacterial extracellular proteases in infection against nematodes.
KeywordsBrevibacillus laterosporus Proteases Pathogenic factor Infection of nematode
We thank Drs. Xiaowei Huang, Chenggang Zhou, Minghe Mo, and Lemin Zhang, Ms. Qiuhong Niu, and Junwei Liu for their help and advice in our experimentation and in preparing this manuscript. We thank Zhou Wei for her invaluable help in facilitating the work. This work was funded by projects from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (approved numbers 30630003 and 30500338) and the Department of Science and Technology of Yunnan Province (approved numbers 2005NG03, 2005NG05, and 2004C0001Z).
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