Identification of immune genes and proteins involved in the response of bovine mammary tissue to Staphylococcus aureus infection

Strandberg Lutzow, Ylva C., Donaldson, Laurelea, Gray, Christian P., Vuocolo, Tony, Pearson, Roger D., Reverter, Antonio, Byrne, Keren A., Sheehy, Paul A., Windon, Ross and Tellam, Ross L. (2008) Identification of immune genes and proteins involved in the response of bovine mammary tissue to Staphylococcus aureus infection. BMC veterinary research, 4 Article: 18. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-4-18

Author Strandberg Lutzow, Ylva C.
Donaldson, Laurelea
Gray, Christian P.
Vuocolo, Tony
Pearson, Roger D.
Reverter, Antonio
Byrne, Keren A.
Sheehy, Paul A.
Windon, Ross
Tellam, Ross L.
Title Identification of immune genes and proteins involved in the response of bovine mammary tissue to Staphylococcus aureus infection
Journal name BMC veterinary research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1746-6148
Publication date 2008-06-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1746-6148-4-18
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Start page Article: 18
Total pages 24
Place of publication London, England
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Subject 06 Biological Sciences
Abstract Background Mastitis in dairy cattle results from infection of mammary tissue by a range of micro-organisms but principally coliform bacteria and Gram positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. The former species are often acquired by environmental contamination while S. aureus is particularly problematic due to its resistance to antibiotic treatments and ability to reside within mammary tissue in a chronic, subclinical state. The transcriptional responses within bovine mammary epithelial tissue subjected to intramammary challenge with S. aureus are poorly characterised, particularly at the earliest stages of infection. Moreover, the effect of infection on the presence of bioactive innate immune proteins in milk is also unclear. The nature of these responses may determine the susceptibility of the tissue and its ability to resolve the infection. Results Transcriptional profiling was employed to measure changes in gene expression occurring in bovine mammary tissues sampled from three dairy cows after brief and graded intramammary challenges with S. aureus. These limited challenges had no significant effect on the expression pattern of the gene encoding β-casein but caused coordinated up-regulation of a number of cytokines and chemokines involved in pro-inflammatory responses. In addition, the enhanced expression of two genes, S100 calcium-binding protein A12 (S100A12) and Pentraxin-3 (PTX3) corresponded with significantly increased levels of their proteins in milk from infected udders. Both genes were shown to be expressed by mammary epithelial cells grown in culture after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide. There was also a strong correlation between somatic cell count, a widely used measure of mastitis, and the level of S100A12 in milk from a herd of dairy cows. Recombinant S100A12 inhibited growth of Escherichia coli in vitro and recombinant PTX3 bound to E. coli as well as C1q, a subunit of the first component of the complement cascade. Conclusion The transcriptional responses in infected bovine mammary tissue, even at low doses of bacteria and short periods of infection, probably reflect the combined contributions of gene expression changes resulting from the activation of mammary epithelial cells and infiltrating immune cells. The secretion of a number of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines from mammary epithelial cells stimulated by the bacteria serves to trigger the recruitment and activation of neutrophils in mammary tissue. The presence of S100A12 and PTX3 in milk from infected udder quarters may increase the anti-bacterial properties of milk thereby helping to resolve the mammary tissue infection as well as potentially contributing to the maturation of the newborn calf epithelium and establishment of the newborn gut microbial population.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes 2008 Lutzow et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Created: Mon, 30 Mar 2009, 21:47:57 EST by Ms Lynette Adams on behalf of School of Veterinary Science