Bartonella quintana deploys host and vector temperature-specific transcriptomes.

PloS one

PubMedID: 23554923

Abromaitis S, Nelson CS, Previte D, Yoon KS, Clark JM, Derisi JL, Koehler JE. Bartonella quintana deploys host and vector temperature-specific transcriptomes. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(3):e58773.
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 10(5) colony-forming units [CFU]/ml) and vector (more than 10(8) CFU/ml). Using a novel custom microarray platform, we analyzed bacterial transcription at temperatures corresponding to the host (37°C) and vector (28°C), 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.