Bacillus anthracis is a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A priority pathogen and the causative agent of the deadly disease anthrax. We applied a transposon mutagenesis system to screen for novel chromosomally encoded B. anthracis virulence factors. This approach identified ClpX, the regulatory ATPase subunit of the ClpXP protease, as essential for both the hemolytic and proteolytic phenotypes surrounding colonies of B. anthracis grown on blood or casein agar media, respectively. Deletion of clpX attenuated lethality of B. anthracis Sterne in murine subcutaneous and inhalation infection models, and markedly reduced in vivo survival of the fully virulent B. anthracis Ames upon intraperitoneal challenge in guinea pigs. The extracellular proteolytic activity dependent upon ClpX function was linked to degradation of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides, a front-line effector of innate host defense. B. anthracis lacking ClpX were rapidly killed by cathelicidin and α-defensin antimicrobial peptides and lysozyme in vitro. In turn, mice lacking cathelicidin proved hyper-susceptible to lethal infection with wild-type B. anthracis Sterne, confirming cathelicidin to be a critical element of innate defense against the pathogen. We conclude that ClpX is an important factor allowing B. anthracis to subvert host immune clearance mechanisms, and thus represents a novel therapeutic target for prevention or therapy of anthrax, a foremost biodefense concern.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.