Mutant Hydrogenase Bacteria for Use against Enteric Pathogens
Hydrogenase enzyme deficient bacterial strains that may be used as vaccines or attenuating agents for enteropathogenic diseases.
Enteric pathogens are responsible for an estimated two million deaths annually and cause millions more cases of diarrheal illness even in developed countries. When an individual contracts an enteric pathogen such as S. typhimurium, the infected individual will continue to shed the pathogen for up to three months and in some cases a year after initial symptoms present. Live, attenuated (non-disease causing) bacteria carrying mutations in key virulence pathways represent a robust means to prevent or treat infections via vaccination. Intestinal disease inducing bacteria often rely on hydrogenase enzymes for survival in low pH environments such as found in the stomach. This fact provides a microbial "Achilles' heel" for researching preventative measures.
Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. John Gunn, have patented Ni-Fe deficient bacterial strains that may be used as vaccines or attenuating agents for enteropathogenic diseases. Pathogenic Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter species all bear Ni-Fe hydrogenase enzymes thought to be critical to their survival and pathogenesis within a host. Since these enzymes are common to nearly all intestinal disease causing bacteria, this invention can also have broad use as an attenuating mutation.