Posted: 2021-09-28 19:00:00
Infections caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae have become a major health problem worldwide because of their high morbidity and mortality rates, especially in developing countries. This microorganism colonizes the human upper respiratory tract and becomes pathogenic under certain circumstances, which are not well known. In the interaction with the host, bacterial surface structures and proteins play major roles. To gain knowledge into gradual changes and adaptive mechanisms that this pathogen undergoes from when it enters the host, we mimicked several in vivo situations representing interaction with epithelial and macrophage cells, as well as a condition of presence in blood. Then, we analyzed, in four pneumococcal strains, two major surface structures, the capsule and extracellular vesicles produced by the pneumococci, as well as surface proteins by proteomics, using the "shaving" approach, followed by LC-MS/MS. We found important differences in both surface ultrastructures and proteins among the culture conditions and strains used. Thus, this work provides insights into physiological adaptations of the pneumococcus when it interacts with the host, which may be useful for the design of strategies to combat infections caused by this pathogen. Keywords: capsule; host-pathogen interaction; membrane vesicles; proteomics; surface proteins.
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