GtxA is a virulence factor that promotes a Th2-like response during Gallibacterium anatis infection in laying hens
GtxA, a leukotoxic RTX-toxin, has been proposed a main virulence factor of Gallibacterium anatis. To evaluate the impact of GtxA during infection, we experimentally infected laying hens with a G. anatis wild-type (WT) strain and its isogenic gtxA deletion mutant (ΔgtxA), respectively, and monitored the birds during a 6 day period. Birds inoculated with ΔgtxA had significantly reduced gross lesions and microscopic changes compared to the birds inoculated with the WT strain. To assess the host
... assess the host response further, we quantified the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and apoptosis genes by RT-qPCR. In the ovarian tissue, the expression levels of IL-4 and TNF-α were significantly lower in the ΔgtxA group compared to the WT group, while IL-6 and IL-10 levels appeared similar in the two groups. In the spleen tissue of ΔgtxA infected chickens, IL-4 expression was also lower compared to the WT infected chickens. The results indicated that GtxA plays a key role in an acute cytokine-mediated Th2-like response against G. anatis infection in the ovary tissue. The pro-inflammatory response in the ovary tissue of birds inoculated with ΔgtxA mutant was thus significantly lower than the wild-type response. This was, at least partly, supported by the apoptosis gene expression levels, which were significantly higher in the ΔgtxA mutant compared to the wild-type infected chickens. In conclusion, GtxA clearly plays an important role in the pathogenesis of G. anatis infections in laying hens. Further investigations into the specific factors regulating the host response is however needed to provide a more complete understanding of the bacteria-host interaction.