© 2018 Roux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Burkholderia dolosa caused an outbreak in the cystic fibrosis clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital and was associated with high mortality in these patients. This species is part of a larger complex of opportunistic pathogens known as the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc). Compared to other species in the Bcc, B. dolosa is highly transmissible; thus understanding its virulence mechanisms is important for preventing future outbreaks. The genome of one of the outbreak strains, AU0158, revealed a homolog of the lafA gene encoding a putative lateral flagellin, which, in other non-Bcc species, is used for movement on solid surfaces, attachment to host cells, or movement inside host cells. Here, we analyzed the conservation of the lafA gene and protein sequences, which are distinct from those of the polar flagella, and found lafA homologs to be present in numerous ß-proteobacteria but notably absent from most other Bcc species. A lafA deletion mutant in B. dolosa showed a greater swimming motility than wild-type due to an increase in the number of polar flagella, but did not appear to contribute to biofilm formation, host cell invasion, or murine lung colonization or persistence over time. However, the lafA gene was important for cytokine production in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, suggesting it may have a role in recognition by the human immune response.
Roux, D., Schaefers, M., Clark, B. S., Weatherholt, M., Renaud, D., Scott, D., … Yoder-Himes, D. R. (2018). A putative lateral flagella of the cystic fibrosis pathogen Burkholderia dolosa regulates swimming motility and host cytokine production. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189810