Vibrio vulnificus is an opportunistic human pathogen causing wound infections and septicemia, characterized by hemorrhagic and edematous damage to the skin. This human pathogen secretes a metalioprotease (V. vulnificus protease [VVP]) as an important virulence determinant. When several bacterial metalioproteases including VVP were injected intradermally into dorsal skin, VVP showed the greatest hemorrhagic activity. The level of the in vivo hemorrhagic activity of the bacterial metalloproteases was significantly correlated with that of the in vitro proteolytic activity for the reconstituted basement membrane gel. Of two major basement membrane components (laminin and type IV collagen), only type IV collagen was easily digested by VVP. Additionally, the immunoglobulin G antibody against type IV collagen, but not against laminin, showed sufficient protection against the hemorrhagic reaction caused by VVP. Capillary vessels are known to be stabilized by binding of the basal surface of vascular endothelial cells to the basement membrane. Therefore, specific degradation of type IV collagen may cause destruction of the basement membrane, breakdown of capillary vessels, and leakage of blood components including erythrocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases