March 1996
Volume 37, Issue 4
Free
Articles  |   March 1996
Pseudomonas keratitis. The role of an uncharacterized exoprotein, protease IV, in corneal virulence.
Author Affiliations
  • R J O'Callaghan
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
  • L S Engel
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
  • J A Hobden
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
  • M C Callegan
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
  • L C Green
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
  • J M Hill
    Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans, 70112-1393, USA.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 1996, Vol.37, 534-543. doi:
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      R J O'Callaghan, L S Engel, J A Hobden, M C Callegan, L C Green, J M Hill; Pseudomonas keratitis. The role of an uncharacterized exoprotein, protease IV, in corneal virulence.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1996;37(4):534-543.

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Abstract

PURPOSE: The role of exoproteins in the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis was investigated in three animal models by assessing the relationship between corneal virulence and the activities of exotoxin A, elastase, alkaline protease, and an uncharacterized protease, protease IV. METHODS: The four Pseudomonal strains tested included a prototype strain (ATCC 27853) producing exotoxin A, elastase, and alkaline protease; a parent strain (PA103) producing only exotoxin A and protease IV; a mutant (PA103-29) producing only protease IV; and a mutant (PA103-AP1) producing exotoxin A and having only approximately 5% of the protease IV activity of its parent. Corneal virulence was evaluated in the mouse scratch, rabbit scratch, and rabbit intrastromal models in terms of clinical signs (slit lamp examination, slit lamp examination), and viable bacteria. RESULTS: Protease IV, the only protease produced by PA103 and PA103-29, was found to produce a unique band on zymograms (120 kDa) and to react distinctively with a synthetic substrate. Evidence for the role of protease IV in corneal virulence included two findings: PA103-29,which produced protease IV but not the other exoproteins, caused infections that were as severe as those caused by the prototype strain (ATCC 27853) in all three models (P>0.24); and PA103-AP1, the strain deficient in 95% of the parent protease IV activity, mediated infections characterized by slit lamp examination scores significantly lower than those of infections caused by the parent (PA103) or the prototype strain (ATCC 27853) in the rabbit and mouse scratch models (P<0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Protease IV was found to be a novel Pseudomonas protease contributing to corneal virulence in rabbits and mice when infections were initiated at the corneal surface. Furthermore, production of protease IV in low quantities was sufficient for virulence when the topical stages of keratitis were bypassed by an intrastromal injection of Pseudomonas.

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