Bovine respiratory disease: study of bacterial outer membrane proteins

Scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are studying outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of bacteria commonly associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD) to identify unique proteins that can be used for future interventions against the disease.

In a study published in Genome, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center microbiologist Emily Wynn and molecular biologist Mike Clawson examined DNA sequences of Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica, and Pasteurella multocida.

Within M. haemolytica, two major genotypes are commonly found in cattle (1 and 2). Genotype 2 strains are isolated from diseased lungs much more frequently than genotype 1 strains. It is thought that OMPs of H. somni, P. multocida, and genotype 2 M. haemolytica may be important factors for acquired host immunity.

“Part of our research aims to use very high precision in targeting unique proteins, or antigens, in the outer membrane of the BRD-causing bacteria. These antigens induce an immune response and can protect the animal. We anticipate these proteins can be used in future preventative measures without disrupting other ‘good’ microorganisms coexisting within the same environment or host.” said Wynn. “One of the most exciting discoveries in this study was to find the outer membrane protein W, or OmpW, in all three harmful bacteria but not in the type 1 M. haemolytica. We look forward to investigating that further.”

Wynn and Clawson found other proteins present in the outer membrane of all the bacteria, giving them additional potential preventative targets.

The research was funded by USDA ARS in support of research project 3040-32000-034-00D, “Genomic intervention strategies to prevent and/or treat respiratory diseases of ruminants”

Article: Wynn, E. L., Clawson, M. (2021). Differences between Predicted Outer Membrane Proteins of Pasteurella multocida, Histophilus somni, and Genotype 1 and 2 Mannheimia haemolytica Strains Isolated from Cattle. Genome, 10.1139/gen-2021-0038. Advance online publication, doi: 10.1139/gen-2021-0038