Bartonella quintana Deploys Host and Vector Temperature-Specific Transcriptomes
Stephanie Abromaitis, Christopher S. Nelson, Domenic Previte, Kyong S. Yoon, J. Marshall Clark, Joseph L. DeRisi, Jane E. KoehlerPLos One 2013Abstract:
The bacterial pathogen Bartonella quintana is passed between humans by body lice. B. quintana has adapted to both the
human host and body louse vector niches, producing persistent infection with high titer bacterial loads in both the host (up
to 105 colony-forming units [CFU]/ml) and vector (more than 108 CFU/ml). Using a novel custom microarray platform, we
analyzed bacterial transcription at temperatures corresponding to the host (37uC) and vector (28uC), to probe for
temperature-specific and growth phase-specific transcriptomes. We observed that transcription of 7% (93 genes) of the B.
quintana genome is modified in response to change in growth phase, and that 5% (68 genes) of the genome is
temperature-responsive. Among these transcriptional changes in response to temperature shift and growth phase was the
induction of known B. quintana virulence genes and several previously unannotated genes. Hemin binding proteins,
secretion systems, response regulators, and genes for invasion and cell attachment were prominent among the
differentially-regulated B. quintana genes. This study represents the first analysis of global transcriptional responses by B.
quintana. In addition, the in vivo experiments provide novel insight into the B. quintana transcriptional program within the
body louse environment. These data and approaches will facilitate study of the adaptation mechanisms employed by
Bartonella during the transition between human host and arthropod vector.