Genetic characterization of a Tn5-disrupted glycosyltransferase gene homolog in Brucella abortus and its effect on lipopolysaccharide composition and virulence. Academic Article uri icon


  • We constructed a rough mutant of Brucella abortus 2308 by transposon (Tn5) mutagenesis. Neither whole cells nor extracted lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from this mutant, designated RA1, reacted with a Brucella O-side-chain-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb), Bru-38, indicating the absence of O-side-chain synthesis. Compositional analyses of LPS from strain RA1 showed reduced levels of quinovosamine and mannose relative to the levels in the parental, wild-type strain, 2308. We isolated DNA flanking the Tn5 insertion in strain RA1 by cloning a 25-kb XbaI genomic fragment into pGEM-3Z to create plasmid pJM6. Allelic exchange of genomic DNA in B. abortus 2308 mediated by electroporation of pJM6 produced kanamycin-resistant clones that were not reactive with MAb Bru-38. Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA from these rough clones revealed Tn5 in a 25-kb XbaI genomic fragment. A homology search with the deduced amino acid sequence of the open reading frame disrupted by Tn5 revealed limited homology with various glycosyltransferases. This B. abortus gene has been named wboA. Transformation of strain RA1 with a broad-host-range plasmid bearing the wild-type B. abortus wboA gene resulted in the restoration of O-side-chain synthesis and the smooth phenotype. B. abortus RA1 was attenuated for survival in mice. However, strain RA1 persisted in mice spleens for a longer time than the B. abortus vaccine strain RB51, but as expected, neither strain induced antibodies specific for the O side chain.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • McQuiston, J. R., Vemulapalli, R., Inzana, T. J., Schurig, G. G., Sriranganathan, N., Fritzinger, D., ... Boyle, S. M.

citation count

  • 67

complete list of authors

  • McQuiston, JR||Vemulapalli, R||Inzana, TJ||Schurig, GG||Sriranganathan, N||Fritzinger, D||Hadfield, TL||Warren, RA||Lindler, LE||Snellings, N||Hoover, D||Halling, SM||Boyle, SM

editor list (cited editors)

  • Barbieri, J. T.

publication date

  • August 1999