Identification of genes transcribed by Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus in infected porcine lung.
Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (SS2) is an important zoonotic pathogen for swine and humans. Previous research about the mechanism of SS2 infection was largely established on in vitro or ex vivo models. In this study, we focused on the identification of SS2 genes preferentially expressed in vivo during natural infection in pigs. Eighty SS2 genes were identified to be up-regulated in the porcine brains and lungs by selective capture of transcribed sequences (SCOTS) and comparative dot blot analysis, followed by quantitative RT-PCR validation. These genes could be classified into 5 functional categories: metabolism, cell wall associated proteins, transporters, cell replication, and function unknown. Some of these genes may contribute to the survival and pathogenesis of SS2 in the host via the following strategies. First, SS2 evades the host innate immune clearance through modifying its metabolism and cell wall composition as indicated by the up-regulation of the corresponding gene ldh and pbp2A, respectively. Secondly, SS2 adapts to the in vivo conditions by inducing the expression of the two-component signal transduction system VicKR which may function on the target genes such as pcsB involved in stress response and cell wall biosynthesis. Thirdly, SS2 enhances its virulence in vivo by up-regulating the virulence genes, such as sly, pdgA, ssp, gidA, gcp and hp1311. Further study of these in vivo up-regulated genes will contribute to understanding the in vivo survival mechanism and pathogenesis of SS2.