Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) commonly colonize the mucosal surfaces of the human upper respiratory tract. For the most part, this species resides in that environment in a benign (symbiotic?) relationship with the human host. With pathophysiologic changes (obstruction of outflow ducts, loss of the mucociliary elevator, viral infection, etc.) in the airway anatomy and mucosal surface, NTHi can cause human upper and lower tract respiratory infections. The serum resistant phenotype appears to be a prerequisite for NTHi to initiate systemic infection (acute bronchitis, otitis media, etc). Studies from our laboratory and others have shown that sialic acid is important in the biology of many NTHi strains. Sialylation of LOS increases resistance to the bactericidal effect of normal human serum and is an important constituent of the NTHi biofilm. NTHi cannot synthesize sialic acid and must acquire it from its environment. Free sialic acid is quite limited in the human respiratory tract while sialoglycoproteins, such as mucin, are abundant. In our progress report, we have demonstrated that NTHi can remove sialic acid from mucin and incorporate this sugar into its LOS. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is unknown. Analysis of the 13 annotated NTHi genomes indicate that there are no genes homologous to any known eukaryotic or prokaryotic neuraminidase. We have also found that about 40% of NTHi strains do not incorporate sialic acid into their LOS. The factors determining NTHi LOS-based serum resistance and sensitivity are poorly defined. Better definition may lead to novel vaccines approaches. We have recently performed an NTHi human colonization experiment with NTHi 2019strR. The NTHi 2019strR strains recovered from 4 patients six days after infection demonstrated genomic changes after 454 pyrosequencing of these strains and NTHI 2019strR. The hypotheses underlying the studies in this proposal are: A) NTHi can scavenge sialic acid from human mucin by a unique glycosidase system, B) the LOS is a major determinant of serum resistance in NTHi including strains which do not sialylate their LOS, C) NTHi residence in the human nasopharynx selects for specific LOS phase variants and D) the transformability of NTHi allows introduction of foreign DNA into the NTHi genome. The following specific aims are proposed to resolve these hypotheses: 1) Identification of the mechanism by which sialic acid is removed from human mucin, 2) Comparative analysis of the LOS of selected serum resistant NTHi and serum sensitive NTHi strains which cannot sialylate their LOS to determine if specific LOS glycoforms are the basis of serum sensitivity and 3) Analysis of the phase-variation state of genes involved in LPS biosynthesis and the uptake and expression of foreign DNA in NTHi strain 2019strR recovered from patients during human colonization experiments.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal describes studies which will elucidate the mechanism(s) by which nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) scavenges sialic acid from airway glycoproteins. Studies are also proposed which will elucidate the role of the non-sialylated lipooligosaccaride in resistance to serum bactericidal activity. Finally, studies of isolates from human subjects colonized with NTHi 2019strR will examine the role of phase variation on LOS structure and determine if foreign DNA is acquired by NTHi during colonization.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AI024616-25
Application #
8607495
Study Section
Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases Study Section (CRFS)
Program Officer
Taylor, Christopher E,
Project Start
1988-03-01
Project End
2015-02-28
Budget Start
2014-03-01
Budget End
2015-02-28
Support Year
25
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$633,704
Indirect Cost
$147,238
Name
University of Iowa
Department
Microbiology/Immun/Virology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
062761671
City
Iowa City
State
IA
Country
United States
Zip Code
52242
Post, Deborah M B; Ketterer, Margaret R; Coffin, Jeremy E et al. (2016) Comparative Analyses of the Lipooligosaccharides from Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Haemophilus haemolyticus Show Differences in Sialic Acid and Phosphorylcholine Modifications. Infect Immun 84:765-74
Hartwig, Stacey M; Ketterer, Margaret; Apicella, Michael A et al. (2016) Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protects human airway epithelial cells from a subsequent respiratory syncytial virus challenge. Virology 498:128-35
Trombley, Michael P; Post, Deborah M B; Rinker, Sherri D et al. (2015) Phosphoethanolamine Transferase LptA in Haemophilus ducreyi Modifies Lipid A and Contributes to Human Defensin Resistance In Vitro. PLoS One 10:e0124373
Cho, Christine; Chande, Aroon; Gakhar, Lokesh et al. (2015) Role of the nuclease of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in dispersal of organisms from biofilms. Infect Immun 83:950-7
Day, Christopher J; Tran, Elizabeth N; Semchenko, Evgeny A et al. (2015) Glycan:glycan interactions: High affinity biomolecular interactions that can mediate binding of pathogenic bacteria to host cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:E7266-75
Schilling, Birgit; Hunt, Jason; Gibson, Bradford W et al. (2014) Site-specific acylation changes in the lipid A of Escherichia coli lpxL mutants grown at high temperatures. Innate Immun 20:269-82
Post, Deborah M B; Held, Jason M; Ketterer, Margaret R et al. (2014) Comparative analyses of proteins from Haemophilus influenzae biofilm and planktonic populations using metabolic labeling and mass spectrometry. BMC Microbiol 14:329
Gangi Setty, Thanuja; Cho, Christine; Govindappa, Sowmya et al. (2014) Bacterial periplasmic sialic acid-binding proteins exhibit a conserved binding site. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 70:1801-11
Apicella, Michael A (2014) Lipid a is more than acyl chains. Infect Immun 82:2160-1
Poole, Jessica; Foster, Eric; Chaloner, Kathryn et al. (2013) Analysis of nontypeable haemophilus influenzae phase-variable genes during experimental human nasopharyngeal colonization. J Infect Dis 208:720-7

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