Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology


Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of whooping cough, a serious respiratory illness affecting children and adults, associated with prolonged cough and potential mortality. Whooping cough has reemerged in recent years, emphasizing a need for increased knowledge of basic mechanisms of B. pertussis growth and pathogenicity. While previous studies have provided insight into in vitro gene essentiality of this organism, very little is known about in vivo gene essentiality, a critical gap in knowledge, since B. pertussis has no previously identified environmental reservoir and is isolated from human respiratory tract samples. We hypothesize that the metabolic capabilities of B. pertussis are especially tailored to the respiratory tract and that many of the genes involved in B. pertussis metabolism would be required to establish infection in vivo. In this study, we generated a diverse library of transposon mutants and then used it to probe gene essentiality in vivo in a murine model of infection. Using the CON-ARTIST pipeline, 117 genes were identified as conditionally essential at 1 day postinfection, and 169 genes were identified as conditionally essential at 3 days postinfection. Most of the identified genes were associated with metabolism, and we utilized two existing genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions to probe the effects of individual essential genes on biomass synthesis. This analysis suggested a critical role for glucose metabolism and lipooligosaccharide biosynthesis in vivo. This is the first genome-wide evaluation of in vivo gene essentiality in B. pertussis and provides tools for future exploration. IMPORTANCE Our study describes the first in vivo transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) analysis of B. pertussis and identifies genes predicted to be essential for in vivo growth in a murine model of intranasal infection, generating key resources for future investigations into B. pertussis pathogenesis and vaccine design.

Source Citation

Gonyar, L. A., Gelbach, P. E., McDuffie, D. G., Koeppel, A. F., Chen, Q., Lee, G., Temple, L. M., Stibitz, S., Hewlett, E. L., Papin, J. A., Damron, F. H., & Eby, J. C. (2019). In Vivo Gene Essentiality and Metabolism in Bordetella pertussis. mSphere, 4(3).


© 2019 Gonyar et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.



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