Cytotoxic and pathogenic properties of Klebsiella oxytoca isolated from laboratory animals.

Darby A, Lertpiriyapong K, Sarkar U, Seneviratne U, Park DS, Gamazon ER, Batchelder C, Cheung C, Buckley EM, Taylor NS, Shen Z, Tannenbaum SR, Wishnok JS, Fox JG
PLoS One. 2014 9 (7): e100542

PMID: 25057966 · PMCID: PMC4109914 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100542

Klebsiella oxytoca is an opportunistic pathogen implicated in various clinical diseases in animals and humans. Studies suggest that in humans K. oxytoca exerts its pathogenicity in part through a cytotoxin. However, cytotoxin production in animal isolates of K. oxytoca and its pathogenic properties have not been characterized. Furthermore, neither the identity of the toxin nor a complete repertoire of genes involved in K. oxytoca pathogenesis have been fully elucidated. Here, we showed that several animal isolates of K. oxytoca, including the clinical isolates, produced secreted products in bacterial culture supernatant that display cytotoxicity on HEp-2 and HeLa cells, indicating the ability to produce cytotoxin. Cytotoxin production appears to be regulated by the environment, and soy based product was found to have a strong toxin induction property. The toxin was identified, by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy, as low molecular weight heat labile benzodiazepine, tilivalline, previously shown to cause cytotoxicity in several cell lines, including mouse L1210 leukemic cells. Genome sequencing and analyses of a cytotoxin positive K. oxytoca strain isolated from an abscess of a mouse, identified genes previously shown to promote pathogenesis in other enteric bacterial pathogens including ecotin, several genes encoding for type IV and type VI secretion systems, and proteins that show sequence similarity to known bacterial toxins including cholera toxin. To our knowledge, these results demonstrate for the first time, that animal isolates of K. oxytoca, produces a cytotoxin, and that cytotoxin production is under strict environmental regulation. We also confirmed tilivalline as the cytotoxin present in animal K. oxytoca strains. These findings, along with the discovery of a repertoire of genes with virulence potential, provide important insights into the pathogenesis of K. oxytoca. As a novel diagnostic tool, tilivalline may serve as a biomarker for K oxytoca-induced cytotoxicity in humans and animals through detection in various samples from food to diseased samples using LC-MS/MS. Induction of K. oxytoca cytotoxin by consumption of soy may be in part involved in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal disease.

MeSH Terms (17)

Animals Bacterial Secretion Systems Bacterial Toxins Benzodiazepinones Cell Death Cell Line Cell Survival Haplorhini HeLa Cells Humans Klebsiella Infections Klebsiella oxytoca Mice Plant Extracts Rats Soybeans Swine

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