Virulence phenotypes of Legionella pneumophila associated with noncoding RNA lpr0035

Deepak Jayakumar, Julie V. Early, Howard M. Steinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Philadelphia-1 strain of Legionella pneumophila, the causative organism of Legionnaires' disease, contains a recently discovered noncoding RNA, lpr0035. lpr0035 straddles the 5' chromosomal junction of a 45-kbp mobile genetic element, pLP45, which can exist as an episome or integrated in the bacterial chromosome. A 121-bp deletion was introduced in strain JR32, a Philadelphia-1 derivative. The deletion inactivated lpr0035, removed the 49-bp direct repeat at the 5' junction of pLP45, and locked pLP45 in the chromosome. Intracellular multiplication of the deletion mutant was decreased by nearly 3 orders of magnitude in Acanthamoeba castellanii amoebae and nearly 2 orders of magnitude in J774 mouse macrophages. Entry of the deletion mutant into amoebae and macrophages was decreased by>70%. The level of entry in both hosts was restored to that in strain JR32 by plasmid copies of two open reading frames immediately downstream of the 5' junction and plasmid lpr0035 driven by its endogenous promoter. When induced from a tac promoter, plasmid lpr0035 completely reversed the intracellular multiplication defect in macrophages but was without effect in amoebae. These data are the first evidence of a role for noncoding RNA lpr0035, which has homologs in six other Legionella genomes, in entry of L. pneumophila into amoebae and macrophages and in host-specific intracellular multiplication. The data also demonstrate that deletion of a direct-repeat sequence restricts the mobility of pLP45 and is a means of studying the role of pLP45 mobility in Legionella virulence phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4143-4153
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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