Identification and characterization of NanH2 and NanH3, enzymes responsible for sialidase activity in the vaginal bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis

Lloyd S. Robinson, Jane Schwebke, Warren G. Lewis, Amanda L. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gardnerella vaginalis is abundant in bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition associated with adverse reproductive health. Sialidase activity is a diagnostic feature of BV and is produced by a subset of G. vaginalis strains. Although its genetic basis has not been formally identified, sialidase activity is presumed to derive from the sialidase A gene, named here nanH1. In this study, BLAST searches predicted two additional G. vaginalis sialidases, NanH2 and NanH3. When expressed in Escherichia coli, NanH2 and NanH3 both displayed broad abilities to cleave sialic acids from 2-3- and 2-6-linked N- and O-linked sialoglycans, including relevant mucosal substrates. In contrast, recombinant NanH1 had limited activity against synthetic and mucosal substrates under the conditions tested. Recombinant NanH2 was much more effective thanNanH3 in cleaving sialic acids bearing a 9-O-acetyl ester. Similarly, G. vaginalis strains encoding NanH2 cleaved and foraged significantly more Neu5,9Ac2 than strains encoding only NanH3. Among a collection of 34 G. vaginalis isolates, nanH2, nanH3, or both were present in all 15 sialidase-positive strains but absent from all 19 sialidase-negative isolates, including 16 strains that werenanH1-positive.We concludethatNanH2 andNanH3 arethe primary sources of sialidase activity in G. vaginalis and that these two enzymes can account for the previously described substrate breadth cleaved by sialidases in human vaginal specimens of women with BV. Finally, PCRs of nanH2 or nanH3 from human vaginal specimenshad 81% sensitivity and 78% specificityindistinguishing between Lactobacillus dominance and BV, as determined by Nugent scoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5230-5245
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume294
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 5 2019

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