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Title: RNA thermosensors facilitate Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae immune evasion
Authors: Eichner, Hannes
Karlsson, Jens
Spelmink, Laura
Pathak, Anuj
Sham, Lok-To
Henriques-Normark, Birgitta
Loh, Edmund
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Eichner, H., Karlsson, J., Spelmink, L., Pathak, A., Sham, L., Henriques-Normark, B. & Loh, E. (2021). RNA thermosensors facilitate Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae immune evasion. PLOS Pathogens, 17(4), e1009513-.
Journal: PLOS Pathogens 
Abstract: Bacterial meningitis is a major cause of death and disability in children worldwide. Two human restricted respiratory pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, are the major causative agents of bacterial meningitis, attributing to 200,000 deaths annually. These pathogens are often part of the nasopharyngeal microflora of healthy carriers. However, what factors elicit them to disseminate and cause invasive diseases, remain unknown. Elevated temperature and fever are hallmarks of inflammation triggered by infections and can act as warning signals to pathogens. Here, we investigate whether these respiratory pathogens can sense environmental temperature to evade host complement-mediated killing. We show that productions of two vital virulence factors and vaccine components, the polysaccharide capsules and factor H binding proteins, are temperature dependent, thus influencing serum/opsonophagocytic killing of the bacteria. We identify and characterise four novel RNA thermosensors in S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae, responsible for capsular biosynthesis and production of factor H binding proteins. Our data suggest that these bacteria might have independently co-evolved thermosensing abilities with different RNA sequences but distinct secondary structures to evade the immune system.
ISSN: 1553-7366
DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009513
Rights: © 2021 Eichner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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