Uchida K, Nakahira K, Mimura K, Shimizu T, De Seta F, Wakimoto T, Kawai Y, Nomiyama M, Kuwano K, Guaschino S, Yanagihara I.
Ureaplasma spp. are members of the family Mycoplasmataceae and have been considered to be associated with chorioamnionitis and preterm delivery. However, it is unclear whether Ureaplasma spp. have virulence factors related to these manifestations. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the immunogenic protein multiple-banded antigen (MBA) from Ureaplasma parvum is a virulence factor for preterm delivery. We partially purified MBA from a type strain and clinical isolates of U. parvum, and also synthesized a diacylated lipopeptide derived from U. parvum, UPM-1. Using luciferase assays, both MBA-rich fraction MRF and UPM-1 activated the NF-κB pathway via TLR2. UPM-1 upregulated IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12p35, TNF-α, MIP2, LIX, and iNOS in mouse peritoneal macrophage. MRF or UPM-1 was injected into uteri on day 15 of gestation on pregnant C3H/HeN mice. The intrauterine MRF injection group had a significantly higher incidence of intrauterine fetal death (IUFD; 38.5%) than the control group (14.0%). Interestingly, intrauterine injection of UPM-1 caused preterm deliveries at high concentration (80.0%). In contrast, a low concentration of UPM-1 induced a significantly higher rate of fetal deaths (55.2%) than the control group (14.0%). The placentas of the UPM-1 injection group showed neutrophil infiltration and increased iNOS protein expression. Our data indicate that MBA from the clinical isolate of U. parvum is a potential virulence factor for IUFD and preterm delivery in mice and that the N-terminal diacylated lipopeptide is essential for the initiation of inflammation.