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Bacteria; Proteobacteria; Gammaproteobacteria; Pasteurellales; Pasteurellaceae; Pasteurella; Pasteurella multocida; Pasteurella multocida subsp. multocida
Chromosome: 2,257,487 bp
Organisms of the genus Pasteurella are Gram-negative, non-motile, facultatively anaerobic coccobacilli belonging to the gamma division of proteobacteria.
Pasteurella multocida, named after Louis Pasteur for his early work on attenuated bacteria as vaccines is a multi-species pathogen which causes serious diseases in animals and humans. This bacterium is the causative agent of fowl cholera in chickens and turkeys, hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle, atrophic rhinitis in pigs, and infections in humans from dog and cat bites.
This agent is responsible for annual losses of several hundred million dollars to animal production. Furthermore, this pathogen is estimated to infect approximately 20-50% of the 1 to 2 million Americans (primarily children) who are bitten by dogs and cats each year. Patients tend to exhibit swelling, cellulitis and bloody drainage at the wound site. Infection may move to nearby joints where it can cause swelling and arthritis.
Researchers have identified two Pm proteins which resemble the filamentous hemagglutinin (fha) genes found in the whooping cough bacterium, Bordella pertussis. These proteins are components of the whooping cough vaccine and may prove useful for preventing infections caused by Pm. The fha proteins help the pertussis bacterium grab onto the host cell, and the Pm versions of these proteins may play similar roles, making them promising vaccine targets.
In spite of the important economic impact due to P. multocida infections in food animals and the large numbers of people infected each year worldwide, very little is known about the genetic basis for the virulence of this organism and it still remains unclear how the organism is able to colonize, evade the immune system, and become established in a wide variety of hosts.
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
May BJ, Zhang Q, Li LL, Paustian ML, Whittam TS, Kapur V., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98(6):3460-5 (2001 Mar 13).