Genetic analysis of a plasmid encoding haemocin production in Haemophilus paragallinarum
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The full sequence of plasmid p250, isolated from Haemophilus paragallinarum strain HP250, has been obtained. The plasmid contains seven ORFs: a putative integrase, a putative replication protein (repB) and five ORFs similar to those from the haemocin (bacteriocin) hmcDCBAI operon from Haemophilus influenzae. Of 19 other non-plasmid-containing H. paragallinarum strains screened (11 serovar reference strains and 8 field isolates), 17 strains produced haemocin and were resistant to killing by strain HP250. These strains, unlike strain HP250, have a chromosomally encoded haemocin operon. A number of other members of the family Pasteurellaceae were tested for haemocin sensitivity. Pasteurella avium, Pasteurella volantium and Pasteurella species A, all non-pathogenic bacteria found in the respiratory tract of chickens suffering from respiratory diseases, were sensitive to H. paragallinarum haemocin. However, amongst the pathogenic Pasteurellaceae, 50 % of P. multocida isolates and all five isolates of Pasteurella haemolytica tested were sensitive to the haemocin. Given the prevalence of haemocin production in H. paragallinarum strains, it may play a role in aiding colonization by inhibiting other Gram-negative bacteria that are associated with the respiratory tract in chickens. The origin of replication from plasmid p250 has been used to generate an Escherichia coli-H. paragallinarum shuttle vector which may be useful in genetically manipulating H. paragallinarum.