We aimed to identify virulence-associated genes of Serratia liquefaciens FK01 against Bombyx mori. Among 1,200 transconjugants from a transposon library, 4 (ET0234, ET0373, ET0418, and ET0964) showed decreased virulence towards B. mori. Southern hybridization revealed that the transposon was inserted at a single site of the S. liquefaciens genome. The flanking sequences of the transposon indicated that it disrupted the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis gene in all mutants. The complemented strain restored virulence completely or partially. Thus, LPS contributes to the virulence of S. liquefaciens against B. mori. Serum killing assays indicated that the bacterium was probably killed by the complement system. Since the innate immunity of a host is triggered by bacterial recognition, LPS might inhibit recognition by modifying the bacterial surface in B. mori.
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