Albumin, in the Presence of Calcium, Elicits a Massive Increase in Extracellular Bordetella Adenylate Cyclase Toxin.

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Infect Immun 2017 Jun; 85(6):e00198-17






Pertussis (whooping cough), caused by Bordetella pertussis, is resurging in the United States and worldwide. Adenylate cyclase toxin (ACT) is a critical factor in establishing infection with B. pertussis and acts by specifically inhibiting the response of myeloid leukocytes to the pathogen. We report here that serum components, as discovered during growth in fetal bovine serum (FBS), elicit a robust increase in the amount of ACT, and ≥90% of this ACT is localized to the supernatant, unlike growth without FBS, in which ≥90% is associated with the bacterium. We have found that albumin, in the presence of physiological concentrations of calcium, acts specifically to enhance the amount of ACT and its localization to the supernatant. Respiratory secretions, which contain albumin, promote an increase in amount and localization of active ACT that is comparable to that elicited by serum and albumin. The response to albumin is not mediated through regulation of ACT at the transcriptional level or activation of the Bvg two-component system. As further illustration of the specificity of this phenomenon, serum collected from mice that lack albumin does not stimulate an increase in ACT. These data, demonstrating that albumin and calcium act synergistically in the host environment to increase production and release of ACT, strongly suggest that this phenomenon reflects a novel host-pathogen interaction that is central to infection with B. pertussis and other Bordetella species. Infect Immun 2017 Jun; 85(6):e00198-17

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