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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology


Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei, classified as category B priority pathogens, are significant human and animal pathogens that are highly infectious and broad-spectrum antibiotic resistant. Currently, the pathogenicity mechanisms utilized by Burkholderia are not fully understood, and correct diagnosis of B. pseudomallei and B. mallei infection remains a challenge due to limited detection methods. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of a set of 13 novel Burkholderia collagen-like proteins (Bucl) that were identified among B. pseudomallei and B. mallei select agents. We infer that several Bucl proteins participate in pathogenesis based on their noncollagenous domains that are associated with the components of a type III secretion apparatus and membrane transport systems. Homology modeling of the outer membrane efflux domain of Bucl8 points to a role in multi-drug resistance. We determined that bucl genes are widespread in B. pseudomallei and B. mallei; Fischer’s exact test and Cramer’s V2 values indicate that the majority of bucl genes are highly associated with these pathogenic species versus nonpathogenic B. thailandensis. We designed a bucl-based quantitative PCR assay which was able to detect B. pseudomallei infection in a mouse with a detection limit of 50 CFU. Finally, chromosomal mapping and phylogenetic analysis of bucl loci revealed considerable genomic plasticity and adaptation of Burkholderia spp. to host and environmental niches. In this study, we identified a large set of phylogenetically unrelated buclgenes commonly found in Burkholderia select agents, encoding predicted pathogenicity factors, detection targets, and vaccine candidates.

Source Citation

Bachert BA, Choi SJ, Snyder AK, Rio RVM, Durney BC, Holland LA, et al. (2015) A Unique Set of the Burkholderia Collagen-Like Proteins Provides Insight into Pathogenesis, Genome Evolution and Niche Adaptation, and Infection Detection. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0137578.


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