The prevalence of the Moraxella catarrhalis immunoglobulin D (IgD)-binding outer membrane protein MID and its gene was determined in 91 clinical isolates and in 7 culture collection strains. Eighty-four percent of the clinical Moraxella strains expressed MID-dependent IgD binding. The mid gene was detected in all strains as revealed by homology of the signal peptide sequence and a conserved area in the 3' end of the gene. When MID proteins from five different strains were compared, an identity of 65.3 to 85.0% and a similarity of 71.2 to 89.1% were detected. Gene analyses showed several amino acid repeat motifs in the open reading frames, and MID could be called a putative autotransport protein. Interestingly, homopolymeric [polyguanine [poly(G)]] tracts were detected at the 5' ends within the open reading frames. By flow cytometry, using human IgD and fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated anti-IgD polyclonal antibodies, most strains showed two peaks: one high- and one low-intensity peak. All isolates expressing high levels of MID had 1, 2, or 3 triplets of G's in their poly(G) tracts, while strains not expressing MID had 4, 7, 8, or 10 G's in their poly(G) tracts or point mutations causing a putative preterminated translation. Northern blot analysis revealed that the mid gene was regulated at the transcriptional level. Experiments with nonclumping variants of M. catarrhalis proved that bacteria lost their MID expression by removing a G in their poly(G) tracts. Moraxella strains isolated from the nasopharynx or from blood and sputum specimens expressed MID at approximately the same frequency. In addition, no variation was observed between strains of different geographical origins (Australia, Europe, Japan, or the United States). MID and the mid gene were found solely in M. catarrhalis, whereas related Neisseria and Moraxella species did not express MID. Taken together, MID appears to be a conserved protein that can be found in essentially all M. catarrhalis strains. Furthermore, MID is governed by poly(G) tracts when bacteria undergo phase variation.
- Biologi (106)