Similar Requirements of a Plant Symbiont and a Mammalian Pathogen for Prolonged Intracellular Survival

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Science  31 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5462, pp. 2492-2493
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5462.2492

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Brucella abortus, a mammalian pathogen, andRhizobium meliloti, a phylogenetically related plant symbiont, establish chronic infections in their respective hosts. Here a highly conserved B. abortus homolog of the R. meliloti bacA gene, which encodes a putative cytoplasmic membrane transport protein required for symbiosis, was identified. An isogenicB. abortus bacA mutant exhibited decreased survival in macrophages and greatly accelerated clearance from experimentally infected mice compared to the virulent parental strain. Thus, thebacA gene product is critical for the maintenance of two very diverse host-bacterial relationships.

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