Virulence factors of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae involved in colonization, persistence and induction of lesions in its porcine host.
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the causative agent of porcine pleuropneumonia. The virulence factors of this microorganism involved in colonization and the induction of lung lesions have been thoroughly studied and some have been well characterized. A. pleuropneumoniae binds preferentially to cells of the lower respiratory tract in a process involving different adhesins and probably biofilm formation. Apx toxins and lipopolysaccharides exert pathogenic effects on several host cells, resulting in typical lung lesions. Lysis of host cells is essential for the bacterium to obtain nutrients from the environment and A. pleuropneumoniae has developed several uptake mechanisms for these nutrients. In addition to persistence in lung lesions, colonization of the upper respiratory tract - and of the tonsils in particular - may also be important for long-term persistent asymptomatic infection. Information on virulence factors involved in tonsillar and nasal cavity colonization and persistence is scarce, but it can be speculated that similar features as demonstrated for the lung may play a role.