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1.  Kinetic properties of Serratia marcescens adenosine 5'-diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1976;127(1):193-203.
The regulatory properties of partially purified adenosine 5'-diphosphate-(ADP) glucose pyrophosphorylase from two Serratia marcescens strains (ATCC 274 and ATCC 15365) have been studied. Slight or negligible activation by fructose-P2, pyridoxal-phosphate, or reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) was observed. These compounds were previously shown to be potent activators of the ADPglucose pyrophosphorylases from the enterics, Salmonella typhimurium, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter freundii, Escherichia aurescens, Shigella dysenteriae, and Escherichia coli. Phosphoenolpyruvate stimulated the rate of ADPglucose synthesis catalyzed by Serratia ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase about 1.5- to 2-fold but did not affect the S0.5 values (concentration of substrate required for 50% maximal stimulation) of the substrates, alpha-glucose-1-phosphate, and adenosine 5'-triphosphate. Adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP), a potent inhibitor of the enteric ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase, is an effective inhibitor of the S. marcescens enzyme. ADP also inhibits but is not as effective as AMP. Activators of the enteric enzyme counteract the inhibition caused by AMP. This is in contrast to what is observed for the S. marcescens enzyme. Neither phosphoenolpyruvate, fructose-diphosphate, pyridoxal-phosphate, NADPH, 3-phosphoglycerate, fructose-6-phosphate, nor pyruvate effect the inhibition caused by AMP. The properties of the S. marcescens HY strain and Serratia liquefaciens ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase were found to be similar to the above two S. marcescens enzymes with respect to activation and inhibition. These observations provide another example where the properties of an enzyme found in the genus Serratia have been found to be different from the properties of the same enzyme present in the enteric genera Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Citrobacter, and Enterobacter.
PMCID: PMC233051  PMID: 6432
Journal of Bacteriology  1963;85(4):918-926.
Bateman, J. B. (U.S. Army Biological Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.) and F. Elizabeth White. Effect of relative humidity on the survival of Serratia marcescens in concentrated glycerol and sucrose solutions. J. Bacteriol. 85:918–926. 1963.—The effects of sucrose and glycerol upon the ability of Serratia marcescens to grow when restored to a normal medium after exposure to solutions of these substances were examined, with special attention to the prevailing thermodynamic activity of water in these solutions as a factor of supposed primary importance in influencing survival or death of cells. The data were notable for the absence of any zones of instability such as those found when the water activity is changed by exposure of washed cells to water vapor at controlled relative humidities (RH). The cells survived indefinitely at room temperature in concentrated sucrose solutions; in glycerol solutions of equilibrium RH values from 20 to 90, the first-order decay constants were about 0.03 to 0.1 hr−1. These results, considered together with the contrasting phenomenon of narrow lethal humidity zones found in vapor-phrase equilibration experiments, were explained generally in terms of competitive interactions involving concentrated intrinsic and adventitious solutes, the cell water, and the organized structures of the cell, whose integrity was considered to depend ultimately upon the net effect of these various interactions.
PMCID: PMC278245  PMID: 14044963
3.  Growth and survival of Serratia marcescens under aerobic and anaerobic conditions in the presence of materials from blood bags. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1993;31(7):1826-1830.
Several patients receiving blood transfusions during the summer of 1991 developed bacteremia after the transfusion. In all cases, the infection was caused by Serratia marcescens. The same strain of Serratia marcescens was isolated from the patients and from the outer surface of unfilled blood bags. The transport containers for the blood bags were made anoxic by using a catalyst in order to prevent microbial growth. The survival and growth of S. marcescens K202, which was isolated from the blood bags, was studied at different oxygen concentrations in deionized water containing materials derived from the blood bags. The rate of survival and growth of S. marcescens was highest under anaerobic conditions, in which growth occurred with all materials and even in deionized water alone. In contrast, S. marcescens did not survive in control cultures under semi-anaerobic and aerobic conditions. Growth was observed, however, under both aerobic and semi-anaerobic conditions in the presence of each of the tested blood bag materials. These findings indicate that the conditions in the transport containers for the blood bags were favorable for the survival and growth of S. marcescens.
PMCID: PMC265640  PMID: 8349760
4.  Relative Humidity and the Killing of Bacteria 
Applied Microbiology  1961;9(6):567-571.
The viability of washed moist cells of Serratia marcescens after storage has been measured in relation to variations in the prior treatment of the cells and in conditions of storage. The factors considered were: (i) water content during storage; (ii) method of arriving at water content (partial drying in vacuum or freeze-drying and addition of water); (iii) presence or absence of air during storage.
Increasingly rapid decay occurs as the water content at which the cells are stored is diminished from above 90% to 20 or 30% (“critical” water content). It occurs in presence or absence of air and it occurs whether the final water content is approached by removal of water from wet cells or by addition of water to freeze-dried cells.
The rate of decay during storage at 20 to 30% water is somewhat diminished by the presence of air (“protective” effect of air).
As the water content is further reduced to less than 10%, the stability of cells stored in a vacuum approaches that of wet cells. In presence of air the reverse is true: the stability decreases until at less than 1% water, the decay rate is about as great as at the “critical” water content (“toxic” effect of air).
Particularly rapid decay of S. marcescens at the “critical” water content has escaped attention in aerosol studies because accurate control of relative humidity (RH) in this region, RH 94 to 99%, is virtually impossible in such studies. On the other hand, values of decay rates referred to measured water contents are quite unreliable in the 20 to 80% RH zone because the corresponding variation of water content is too small to measure reliably. Thus data of the kind reported in this paper cannot be directly compared to the published results of studies of air-borne bacteria, although they are relevant to the practical question of air-borne infection in humid atmospheres.
PMCID: PMC1057789  PMID: 13865722
5.  Survival of Airborne Bacteria in a High Urban Concentration of Carbon Monoxide1 
Applied Microbiology  1973;25(1):86-91.
Vegetative cells of Serratia marcescens 8UK, Sarcina lutea, and spores of Bacillus subtilus var. niger were held in aerosols, with and without an urban concentration of CO (85 μliters per liter or ppm), for up to 6 hr at 15 C and a relative humidity (RH) of approximately 0, 25, 50, 75, and 95%. It was found that CO enhanced the death rate of S. marcescens 8UK at least four- to sevenfold at low RH (ca. 1 to 25%), but protected the cells at high RH (ca. 90%). Death rates of S. lutea, with or without added CO, were comparatively low over the entire RH range. However, in the first hour, airborne S. lutea held in CO-containing air were more stable than those in air without added CO (i.e., CO protection). A marked increase in the death rate (up to 70-fold) occurred in the subsequent 5 hr within the RH range of approximately 0 to 75%. Statistical analysis indicated that aerosol decay rates of B. subtilus var. niger spores decreased significantly, when held in a CO-containing as compared to a non-CO-containing atmosphere, in the 0 to 85% RH range. Thus, the data presented indicate that CO in the urban environment may have a protective or lethal effect on airborne bacteria, dependent upon at least the microbial species, aerosol age, and relative humidity. A mechanism for CO death enhancement and protection of airborne S. marcescens 8UK is suggested to involve CO uncoupling of an energy-requiring death mechanism and an energy-requiring maintenance mechanism at high and low RH, respectively.
PMCID: PMC380740  PMID: 4631439
6.  Kinetic Analysis of Growth Rate, ATP, and Pigmentation Suggests an Energy-Spilling Function for the Pigment Prodigiosin of Serratia marcescens▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(22):7453-7463.
Serratia marcescens is a gram-negative environmental bacterium and opportunistic pathogen. S. marcescens expresses prodigiosin, a bright red and cell-associated pigment which has no known biological function for producing cells. We present here a kinetic model relating cell, ATP, and prodigiosin concentration changes for S. marcescens during cultivation in batch culture. Cells were grown in a variety of complex broth media at temperatures which either promoted or essentially prevented pigmentation. High growth rates were accompanied by large decreases in cellular prodigiosin concentration; low growth rates were associated with rapid pigmentation. Prodigiosin was induced most strongly during limited growth as the population transitioned to stationary phase, suggesting a negative effect of this pigment on biomass production. Mathematically, the combined rate of formation of biomass and bioenergy (as ATP) was shown to be equivalent to the rate of prodigiosin production. Studies with cyanide inhibition of both oxidative phosphorylation and pigment production indicated that rates of biomass and net ATP synthesis were actually higher in the presence of cyanide, further suggesting a negative regulatory role for prodigiosin in cell and energy production under aerobic growth conditions. Considered in the context of the literature, these results suggest that prodigiosin reduces ATP production by a process termed energy spilling. This process may protect the cell by limiting production of reactive oxygen compounds. Other possible functions for prodigiosin as a mediator of cell death at population stationary phase are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2576671  PMID: 18805986
7.  Serum bactericidal activity and postantibiotic effect in serum of patients with urinary tract infection receiving high-dose amikacin. 
Ten patients received a 30-min infusion of amikacin (30 mg/kg) on day 1 and 15 mg/kg on day 2. Mean serum creatinine was 1.1 +/- 0.3 (standard deviation) mg/dl before and 1.0 +/- 0.3 mg/dl 3 days after the second infusion. Mean serum amikacin concentrations before, at the end of infusion, and 1, 6, 12, and 24 h after 30 and 15 mg/kg were 0, 157, 79, 31, 16, 5, 5, 85, 51, 19, 12, and 5 mg/liter, respectively. Five strains each of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis susceptible and resistant to oxacillin, Streptococcus (Enterococcus) faecalis, corynebacterium sp. strain JK, Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium fortuitum (three strains), Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were tested. Serum bactericidal activities (SBAs) were greater than or equal to 1:8 in greater than or equal to 80% of the sera 1 and 6 h after 30 mg/kg and in greater than or equal to 60% of the sera 1 and 6 h after 15 mg/kg against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis susceptible to oxacillin, A. calcoaceticus, and K. pneumoniae. L. monocytogenes, Serratia marcescens, and P. aeruginosa had lower SBAs. Very low or no activity was observed against oxacillin-resistant staphylococci and Streptococcus faecalis. The study of the killing rate in serum confirmed these results. Postantibiotic effect was studied by incubating a strain from each species in serum samples obtained 1 and 6 h after both regimens for 0.5, 1, or 2 h. The duration of postantibiotic effect depended on the duration of contact and the concentration of amikacin for the following organisms: oxacillin-susceptible staphylococci, L. monocytogenes, P. aeruginosa, A. calcoaceticus, K. pneumoniae, and Serratia marcescens. M. fortuitum was killed after 30 min of contact. No postantibiotic effect was observed with Streptococcus faecalis, Corynebacterium sp. strain JK, or oxacillin-resistant staphylococci. Amikacin at 30 mg/kg provided high levels and SBAs against susceptible pathogens. Prolonged postantibiotic effects were observed. No signs of nephrotoxicity occurred.
PMCID: PMC174872  PMID: 3116918
8.  Value of microbiology study in congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction 
Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology  2012;26(2):223-228.
Evaluation of the effect of different microorganisms on congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO) tightness and whether probing or silastic intubation is likely to fail in a particular microorganism infection.
The culture and sensitivity results of lacrimal drainage system (LDS) discharge samples from patients with CNLDO were reviewed. Different microorganisms were correlated with the severity of nasolacrimal duct (NLD) obstruction observed during surgical intervention. The success rates of probing and silastic intubation as a primary procedure for each identifiable microorganism were documented. Statistical analysis was conducted to correlate the type of microorganism with the tightness of CNLDO and treatment failure.
Out of 181 specimens, 22 had no growth (12.1%). LDS with positive culture had 76.6% successful probing (n = 49) and 82.1% successful silastic intubation (n = 78). Gram-positive and Gram-negative species were almost equally detected. The most prevalent organisms were Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hemophilus influenzae (48.1% and 39.2%, respectively). Tight CNLDO was more prevalent in Serratia marcescens (n = 2; 100%) and Staphylococcus aureus (n = 4; 33.3%) infections with a 7.75 Odds ratio [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.67–34.63]. Staphylococcus aureus had 37.5% successful probing; however, success was achieved in all cases with silastic intubation. Serratia marcescens infections had 100% successful silastic intubation.
Microbiology study can predict tight CNLDO and helps in choosing the most successful treatment option. CNLDO with Staphylococcus infection and Serratia marcescens were likely to have tight NLD obstruction and silastic intubation had better outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3729323  PMID: 23960996
Microbiology; Congenital; Nasolacrimal duct; Obstruction
9.  Relationship Between Atmospheric Temperature and Survival of Airborne Bacteria 
Applied Microbiology  1970;19(2):245-249.
Effects of temperatures ranging from −40 to 49 C on the behavior of airborne Serratia marcescens, Escherichia coli, and Bacillus subtilis var. niger were investigated. Aerosol decay rates of B. subtilis spores were not significantly affected by the temperature and remained approximately constant within the temperature range studied. The survival of airborne S. marcescens and E. coli was closely related to the temperature. An increase in temperature from −18 to 49 C resulted in a progressive increase of the biological death rate, and the relationship between the biological death rate and the temperature appeared to be linear. An increase in temperature from 24 to 49 C resulted in significantly reduced aerosol recoveries of the two vegetative organisms. At −40 C, the aerosol recovery of all three agents was consistently lower than at −18 to 24 C.
PMCID: PMC376659  PMID: 4985428
10.  Evaluation of RapID onE system for identification of 379 strains in the family Enterobacteriaceae and oxidase-negative, gram-negative nonfermenters. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1994;32(4):931-934.
The ability of the RapID onE system (Innovative Diagnostic Systems, Inc., Norcross, Ga.) to identify 364 strains in the family Enterobacteriaceae and 15 oxidase-negative, gram-negative, nonfermentative rods was evaluated. Kits were inoculated with no. 2 McFarland standard suspensions, and reactions were interpreted after 4 h of incubation at 35 degrees C. Overall, the method correctly identified (to the species level or to the genus level for salmonellas and non-Shigella sonnei Shigella species) 363 strains (95.8%) without additional tests. For four strains (1.0%), additional tests were required to delineate the correct identification from a range of two or more possibilities; these included one Serratia liquefaciens (Serratia marcescens or Serratia liquefaciens), one Serratia rubidaea (Serratia rubidaea or Serratia odorifera), one Salmonella typhi (Leminorella richardii or Salmonella sp.) and one Yersinia enterocolitica (Yersinia frederiksenii, Yersinia intermedia, or Yersinia enterocolitica). Twelve strains (3.2%) were misidentified or yielded codes with no identification; these comprised one Citrobacter amalonaticus (no identification), three Enterobacter hormaechei (not in the RapID onE database; two Enterobacter amnigenus, one Enterobacter sp.), one Serratia liquefaciens (Enterobacter cloacae), one Serratia rubidaea (no identification), four Serratia fonticola (not in RapID onE database; two Enterobacter aerogenes, one Serratia marcescens, one not identified), one Proteus mirabilis (Proteus penneri), and one Proteus vulgaris (Providencia rustigianii). If the seven strains not included in the database had been excluded, correct identification rates would have risen to 97.6% without additional tests and 98.7% with additional tests, with misidentification rates dropping to 1.3%. The RapID onE system is easy to set up and the results are easy to read, and the system provides an accurate, nonautomated commercially available method for the same-day identification of members of the family Enterobacteriaceae and oxidase-negative, gram-negative nonfermenters.
PMCID: PMC263165  PMID: 8027345
11.  Size and UV Germicidal Irradiation Susceptibility of Serratia marcescens when Aerosolized from Different Suspending Media 
Experimental systems have been built in laboratories worldwide to investigate the influence of various environmental parameters on the efficacy of UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) for deactivating airborne microorganisms. It is generally recognized that data from different laboratories might vary significantly due to differences in systems and experimental conditions. In this study we looked at the effect of the composition of the suspending medium on the size and UVGI susceptibility of Serratia marcescens in an experimental system built in our laboratory. S. marcescens was suspended in (i) distilled water, (ii) phosphate buffer, (iii) 10% fetal calf serum, (iv) phosphate-buffered saline (saline, 0.8% sodium chloride), and (v) synthetic saliva (phosphate-buffered saline with 10% fetal calf serum). At low humidity (36%), S. marcescens suspended in water-only medium was the most susceptible to UVGI, followed by those in serum-only medium. The count median diameters (CMDs) for culturable particles from water-only and serum-only media were 0.88 and 0.95 μm, respectively, with the measurements based on their aerodynamic behavior. The bacteria suspended in phosphate buffer, synthetic saliva, and phosphate-buffered saline had similar UVGI susceptibility and CMD at 1.0, 1.4, and 1.5 μm, respectively. At high humidity (68%) the CMD of the particles increased by 6 to 16%, and at the same time UVGI susceptibility decreased, with the magnitude of decrease related to the type of suspending medium. In conclusion, the choice of suspending medium influenced both size and UVGI susceptibility of S. marcescens. These data are valuable for making comparisons and deciding on the use of an appropriate medium for various applications.
PMCID: PMC383042  PMID: 15066792
12.  Serratia marcescens outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit: crucial role of implementing hand hygiene among external consultants 
Serratia marcescens represents an important pathogen involved in hospital acquired infections. Outbreaks are frequently reported and are difficult to eradicate. The aim of this study is to describe an outbreak of Serratia marcescens occurred from May to November 2012 in a neonatal intensive care unit, to discuss the control measures adopted, addressing the role of molecular biology in routine investigations during the outbreak.
After an outbreak of Serratia marcescens involving 14 neonates, all admitted patients were screened for rectal and ocular carriage every two weeks. Extensive environmental sampling procedure and hand sampling of the staff were performed. Antimicrobial susceptibility pattern and molecular analysis of isolates were carried out. Effective hand hygiene measures involving all the external consultants has been implemented. Colonized and infected babies were cohorted. Dedicated staff was established to care for the colonized or infected babies.
During the surveillance, 65 newborns were sampled obtaining 297 ocular and rectal swabs in five times. Thirty-four Serratia marcescens isolates were collected: 11 out of 34 strains were isolated from eyes, being the remaining 23 isolated from rectal swabs. Two patients presented symptomatic conjunctivitis. Environmental and hand sampling resulted negative. During the fifth sampling procedure no colonized or infected patients have been identified. Two different clones have been identified.
Ocular and rectal colonization played an important role in spread of infections. Implementation of infection control measures, involving also external specialists, allowed to control a serious Serratia marcescens outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit.
PMCID: PMC4301457  PMID: 25582674
Serratia marcescens; Outbreak; Neonatal intensive care unit; Molecular epidemiology; Ocular colonization; Rectal colonization; Hand hygiene
13.  Case‐control analysis of endemic Serratia marcescens bacteremia in a neonatal intensive care unit 
Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic gram‐negative rod which typically infects compromised hosts.
To identify risk factors, signs, and outcomes associated with non‐epidemic S marcescens bacteremia in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The records of infants with S marcescens bacteremia while in the Yale‐New Haven Hospital NICU from 1980–2004 were reviewed. A matched case‐control study was performed by comparing each case of S marcescens to 2 uninfected controls and 2 cases of Escherichia coli bacteremia.
Twenty‐five sporadic cases of S marcescens bacteremia were identified. Eleven available isolates were determined to be different strains by pulse field gel electrophoresis. Infants with S marcescens bacteremia had median gestational age and birth weight of 28 weeks and 1235 grams, respectively. Compared to matched, uninfected controls, infants with S marcescens bacteremia were more likely to have had a central vascular catheter (OR = 4.33; 95% CI (1.41 to 13.36)) and surgery (OR = 5.67; 95% CI (1.81 to 17.37)), and had a higher overall mortality (44% vs 2%; OR = 38.50; 95% CI (4.57 to 324.47)). Compared to E coli matched controls, infants with S marcescens bacteremia had later onset of infection (median of 33 days of life vs 10; p<0.001), prolonged intubation (OR = 5.76; 95% CI (1.80 to 18.42)), and a higher rate of CVC (OR = 7.77; 95% CI (2.48 to 24.31)) use at the time of infection. A higher rate of meningitis (24% vs 7%; OR = 3.98; 95% CI (1.09 to 14.50)) was observed with S marcescens bacteremia compared to E coli.
S marcescens bacteremia occurs sporadically in the NICU, primarily in premature infants requiring support apparatus late in their hospital course. Associated meningitis is common and mortality high.
PMCID: PMC2675455  PMID: 17088342
14.  Development of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Assays for Detection and Quantification of Surrogate Biological Warfare Agents in Building Debris and Leachate▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(20):6557-6565.
Evaluation of the fate and transport of biological warfare (BW) agents in landfills requires the development of specific and sensitive detection assays. The objective of the current study was to develop and validate SYBR green quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR) assays for the specific detection and quantification of surrogate BW agents in synthetic building debris (SBD) and leachate. Bacillus atrophaeus (vegetative cells and spores) and Serratia marcescens were used as surrogates for Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) and Yersinia pestis (plague), respectively. The targets for SYBR green Q-PCR assays were the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) region and recA gene for B. atrophaeus and the gyrB, wzm, and recA genes for S. marcescens. All assays showed high specificity when tested against 5 ng of closely related Bacillus and Serratia nontarget DNA from 21 organisms. Several spore lysis methods that include a combination of one or more of freeze-thaw cycles, chemical lysis, hot detergent treatment, bead beat homogenization, and sonication were evaluated. All methods tested showed similar threshold cycle values. The limit of detection of the developed Q-PCR assays was determined using DNA extracted from a pure bacterial culture and DNA extracted from sterile water, leachate, and SBD samples spiked with increasing quantities of surrogates. The limit of detection for B. atrophaeus genomic DNA using the ITS and B. atrophaeus recA Q-PCR assays was 7.5 fg per PCR. The limits of detection of S. marcescens genomic DNA using the gyrB, wzm, and S. marcescens recA Q-PCR assays were 7.5 fg, 75 fg, and 7.5 fg per PCR, respectively. Quantification of B. atrophaeus vegetative cells and spores was linear (R2 > 0.98) over a 7-log-unit dynamic range down to 101 B. atrophaeus cells or spores. Quantification of S. marcescens (R2 > 0.98) was linear over a 6-log-unit dynamic range down to 102 S. marcescens cells. The developed Q-PCR assays are highly specific and sensitive and can be used for monitoring the fate and transport of the BW surrogates B. atrophaeus and S. marcescens in building debris and leachate.
PMCID: PMC2075066  PMID: 17720820
15.  Iron transport systems of Serratia marcescens. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(4):1378-1387.
Serratia marcescens W225 expresses an unconventional iron(III) transport system. Uptake of Fe3+ occurs in the absence of an iron(III)-solubilizing siderophore, of an outer membrane receptor protein, and of the TonB and ExbBD proteins involved in outer membrane transport. The three SfuABC proteins found to catalyze iron(III) transport exhibit the typical features of periplasmic binding-protein-dependent systems for transport across the cytoplasmic membrane. In support of these conclusions, the periplasmic SfuA protein bound iron chloride and iron citrate but not ferrichrome, as shown by protection experiments against degradation by added V8 protease. The cloned sfuABC genes conferred upon an Escherichia coli aroB mutant unable to synthesize its own enterochelin siderophore the ability to grow under iron-limiting conditions (in the presence of 0.2 mM 2.2'-dipyridyl). Under extreme iron deficiency (0.4 mM 2.2'-dipyridyl), however, the entry rate of iron across the outer membrane was no longer sufficient for growth. Citrate had to be added in order for iron(III) to be translocated as an iron citrate complex in a FecA- and TonB-dependent manner through the outer membrane and via SfuABC across the cytoplasmic membrane. FecA- and TonB-dependent iron transport across the outer membrane could be clearly correlated with a very low concentration of iron in the medium. Expression of the sfuABC genes in E. coli was controlled by the Fur iron repressor gene. S. marcescens W225 was able to synthesize enterochelin and take up iron(III) enterochelin. It contained an iron(III) aerobactin transport system but lacked aerobactin synthesis. This strain was able to utilize the hydroxamate siderophores ferrichrome, coprogen, ferrioxamine B, rhodotorulic acid, and schizokinen as sole iron sources and grew on iron citrate as well. In contrast to E. coli K-12, S. marcescens could utilize heme. DNA fragments of the E. coli fhuA, iut, exbB, and fur genes hybridized with chromosomal S. marcescens DNA fragments, whereas no hybridization was obtained between S. marcescens chromosomal DNA and E. coli fecA, fhuE, and tonB gene fragments. The presence of multiple iron transport systems was also indicated by the increased synthesis of at least five outer membrane proteins (in the molecular weight range of 72,000 to 87,000) after growth in low-iron media. Serratia liquefaciens and Serratia ficaria produced aerobactin, showing that this siderophore also occurs in the genus Serratia.
PMCID: PMC206435  PMID: 1531225
16.  The characterization of upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in inactivating airborne microorganisms. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2002;110(1):95-101.
In this study, we explored the efficacy of upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) in reducing the concentration of Serratia marcescens and Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) aerosols in enclosed places. We constructed a facility (4.5 m x 3 m x 2.9 m) in which both ceiling- and wall-mounted UV fixtures (UV output: 10W and 5W respectively) were installed. The use of ceiling- and wall-mounted UV fixtures (total UV output: 15W) without mixing fan reduced the concentration of S. marcescens aerosols by 46% (range: 22-80%) at 2 air changes per hour (ACH) and 53% (range: 40-68%) at 6 ACH. The use of ceiling- and wall-mounted UV fixtures with mixing fan increased the UV effectiveness in inactivating S. marcescens aerosols to 62% (range: 50-78%) at 2 ACH and to 86% (81-89%) at 6 ACH. For BCG aerosols, UV effectiveness in inactivating BCG aerosols at 6 ACH were 52% (range: 11-69%) by ceiling-mounted UV fixture only (total UV output: 10W) and 64% (51-83%) by both ceiling- and wall-mounted UV fixtures (total UV output: 15W). Our results indicated that the equivalent ventilation rate attributable to upper-room UVGI for BCG aerosols ranged from 1 ACH to 22 ACH for ceiling-mounted UV fixtures and from 6.4 ACH to 28.5 ACH for ceiling- and wall-mounted UV fixtures. Both generalized linear and generalized additive models were fitted to all our data. The regression results indicated that the number of UV fixtures, use of mixing fan, and air exchange rate significantly affected UV effectiveness (p < 0.01, 0.01, 0.01 respectively). However, the strain difference (S. marcescens vs. BCG) appeared less important in UV effectiveness (p = 0.26). Our results also indicated that UV effectiveness increased at higher temperature ((italic)p(/italic) < 0.01), lower dry-bulb temperature ((italic)p(/italic) = 0.21), and colder air from a supply grill located near the ceiling (p = 0.22).
PMCID: PMC1240698  PMID: 11781170
Journal of Bacteriology  1962;84(6):1297-1302.
Zimmerman, Leonard (U.S. Army Biological Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.). Survival of Serratia marcescens after freeze-drying or aerosolization at unfavorable humidity. I. Effects of sugars. J. Bacteriol. 84:1297–1302. 1962.—Suspensions of Serratia marcescens were subjected to freeze-drying or to aerosolization at unfavorable humidity levels. The survival of the cells during one or the other of these treatments was markedly improved in the presence of common sugars, but no one sugar stabilized the cells against both stresses. The protective effects of the sugars were correlated with their penetrability into cells; minimally penetrable sugars stabilized cells against aerosolization, and freely penetrable sugars stabilized cells during freeze-drying. These results were attributed to the modifications of intracellular water content induced by the presence of the sugars in the cell suspensions.
PMCID: PMC278062  PMID: 14003706
18.  Use of Quantitative Real-Time PCR for Direct Detection of Serratia marcescens in Marine and Other Aquatic Environments 
Serratia marcescens is the etiological agent of acroporid serratiosis, a distinct form of white pox disease in the threatened coral Acropora palmata. The pathogen is commonly found in untreated human waste in the Florida Keys, which may contaminate both nearshore and offshore waters. Currently there is no direct method for detection of this bacterium in the aquatic or reef environment, and culture-based techniques may underestimate its abundance in marine waters. A quantitative real-time PCR assay was developed to detect S. marcescens directly from environmental samples, including marine water, coral mucus, sponge tissue, and wastewater. The assay targeted the luxS gene and was able to distinguish S. marcescens from other Serratia species with a reliable quantitative limit of detection of 10 cell equivalents (CE) per reaction. The method could routinely discern the presence of S. marcescens for as few as 3 CE per reaction, but it could not be reliably quantified at this level. The assay detected environmental S. marcescens in complex sewage influent samples at up to 761 CE ml−1 and in septic system-impacted residential canals in the Florida Keys at up to 4.1 CE ml−1. This detection assay provided rapid quantitative abilities and good sensitivity and specificity, which should offer an important tool for monitoring this ubiquitous pathogen that can potentially impact both human health and coral health.
PMCID: PMC3957607  PMID: 24375136
19.  Effects of Lipid Emulsion and Multivitamins on the Growth of Microorganisms in Peripheral Parenteral Nutrition Solutions 
Background: Blood stream infections caused by Bacillus cereus or Serratia marcescens in patients receiving peripheral parenteral nutrition (PPN) have occasionally been reported in Japan, but these microorganisms are not major causes of blood stream infections in patients receiving total parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter. In Japan, commercially available PPN solutions contain amino acids, glucose, and electrolytes, but not contain lipid emulsion (LE) and multivitamins (MV). In this study, the effects of LE and MV on the growth of microorganisms such as Bacillus cereus, Serratia marcescens, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans in PPN solutions were investigated. Methods: A commercial 3% amino acid and 7.5% glucose solution with electrolytes (AF) was used as the base solution to prepare test solutions (LAF, AFV, and LAFV) containing LE, MV, or both. Specifically, 20% LE was added to AF in a ratio of 1:9 to prepare LAF. MV was added to AF and LAF to prepare AFV and LAFV, respectively. A specified number of each microorganism was added to each 100 mL of AF, LAF, AFV, and LAFV in sterile plastic flasks, and all flasks were allowed to stand at room temperature. The number of colony forming units per mL of each microorganism was counted at 0, 24, and 48 hours after the addition of each microorganism. Results: Both Bacillus cereus and Serratia marcescens increased rapidly in AF as well as in LAF, AFV, and LAFV. Staphylococcus aureus did not increased in AF, but increased slightly in LAF and increased rapidly in AFV and LAFV. Candida albicans increased slightly in AF and increased rapidly in LAF, AFV, and LAFV. Conclusions: The results suggest the followings: if microbial contamination occurs, 1) Bacillus cereus and Serratia marcescens can grow rapidly in PPN solutions consisting of amino acids, glucose and electrolytes; 2) Staphylococcus aureus cannot grow without LE and MV, but can grow rapidly with MV; 3) Candida albicans can grow slowly without LE and MV, and the addition of LE or MV accelerates its growth.
PMCID: PMC3714382  PMID: 23869182
microbial growth; parenteral nutrition; lipid emulsion; multivitamins; PPN; BSI.
20.  Genetic Dissection of Anopheles gambiae Gut Epithelial Responses to Serratia marcescens 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(3):e1003897.
Genetic variation in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae profoundly influences its ability to transmit malaria. Mosquito gut bacteria are shown to influence the outcome of infections with Plasmodium parasites and are also thought to exert a strong drive on genetic variation through natural selection; however, a link between antibacterial effects and genetic variation is yet to emerge. Here, we combined SNP genotyping and expression profiling with phenotypic analyses of candidate genes by RNAi-mediated silencing and 454 pyrosequencing to investigate this intricate biological system. We identified 138 An. gambiae genes to be genetically associated with the outcome of Serratia marcescens infection, including the peptidoglycan recognition receptor PGRPLC that triggers activation of the antibacterial IMD/REL2 pathway and the epidermal growth factor receptor EGFR. Silencing of three genes encoding type III fibronectin domain proteins (FN3Ds) increased the Serratia load and altered the gut microbiota composition in favor of Enterobacteriaceae. These data suggest that natural genetic variation in immune-related genes can shape the bacterial population structure of the mosquito gut with high specificity. Importantly, FN3D2 encodes a homolog of the hypervariable pattern recognition receptor Dscam, suggesting that pathogen-specific recognition may involve a broader family of immune factors. Additionally, we showed that silencing the gene encoding the gustatory receptor Gr9 that is also associated with the Serratia infection phenotype drastically increased Serratia levels. The Gr9 antibacterial activity appears to be related to mosquito feeding behavior and to mostly rely on changes of neuropeptide F expression, together suggesting a behavioral immune response following Serratia infection. Our findings reveal that the mosquito response to oral Serratia infection comprises both an epithelial and a behavioral immune component.
Author Summary
In malaria vector mosquitoes, the presence of bacteria and malaria parasites is tightly linked. Bacteria that are part of the mosquito gut ecosystem are critical modulators of the immune response elicited during infection with malaria parasites. Furthermore, responses against oral bacterial infections can affect malaria parasites. Here, we combined mosquito gut infections with the enterobacterium Serratia marcescens with genome-wide discovery and phenotypic analysis of genes involved in antibacterial responses to characterize molecular processes that control gut bacterial infections thus possibly affecting the mosquito susceptibility to infection by malaria parasites. Our data reveal complex genetic networks controlling the gut bacterial infection load and ecosystem homeostasis. These networks appear to exhibit much higher specificity toward specific classes of bacteria than previously thought and include behavioral response circuits involved in antibacterial immunity.
PMCID: PMC3946313  PMID: 24603764
21.  Effects of Oxygen on Aerosolized Serratia marcescens 
Applied Microbiology  1965;13(5):781-787.
Suspensions of Serratia marcescens (ATCC strain 14041) in water were aerosolized in a rotating drum in the presence of various concentrations of oxygen. The colony-forming ability of aerosolized organisms was rapidly destroyed by contact with 0.25% or more oxygen at 40% relative humidity (RH) and 25 C, but was almost unimpaired for at least 5 hr in nitrogen containing not more than 10 ppm of oxygen. Completely hydrated organisms were insensitive to oxygen at pressures up to 100 psi for 4 hr. No loss in viability occurred in aerosols of washed cells in air at 97% RH. It is proposed that dehydration of the aerosolized cell results in sensitization to lethal effects of oxygen, but is not the primary cause of death. Mn++, Co++, glycerol, and thiourea enhanced the biological stability of aerosols in air. Numerous similarities between the effects of oxygen in this system and in systems using freeze-dried or irradiated organisms or cell-free enzymes support the hypothesis that closely related mechanisms are involved.
PMCID: PMC1058343  PMID: 5325941
22.  The Opportunistic Pathogen Serratia marcescens Utilizes Type VI Secretion To Target Bacterial Competitors ▿† 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(21):6057-6069.
The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is the most recently described and least understood of the protein secretion systems of Gram-negative bacteria. It is widely distributed and has been implicated in the virulence of various pathogens, but its mechanism and exact mode of action remain to be defined. Additionally there have been several very recent reports that some T6SSs can target bacteria rather than eukaryotic cells. Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic enteric pathogen, a class of bacteria responsible for a significant proportion of hospital-acquired infections. We describe the identification of a functional T6SS in S. marcescens strain Db10, the first report of type VI secretion by an opportunist enteric bacterium. The T6SS of S. marcescens Db10 is active, with secretion of Hcp to the culture medium readily detected, and is expressed constitutively under normal growth conditions from a large transcriptional unit. Expression of the T6SS genes did not appear to be dependent on the integrity of the T6SS. The S. marcescens Db10 T6SS is not required for virulence in three nonmammalian virulence models. It does, however, exhibit dramatic antibacterial killing activity against several other bacterial species and is required for S. marcescens to persist in a mixed culture with another opportunist pathogen, Enterobacter cloacae. Importantly, this antibacterial killing activity is highly strain specific, with the S. marcescens Db10 T6SS being highly effective against another strain of S. marcescens with a very similar and active T6SS. We conclude that type VI secretion plays a crucial role in the competitiveness, and thus indirectly the virulence, of S. marcescens and other opportunistic bacterial pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3194891  PMID: 21890705
23.  Spheroplast induction in clinical isolates of Serratia marcescens in the presence of Ca2+ or Mg2+. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1987;25(11):2154-2158.
Serratia marcescens was easily induced to form spheroplasts by beta-lactam antibiotics in the presence of Ca2+ or Mg2+ without an osmotic stabilizer such as sucrose. The spheroplasts grew in volume, although they could not divide. They were stable for more than 10 h at 37 degrees C in a medium containing a high concentration of antibiotic, and they had the ability to revert to the original bacillary form. Ca2+ was more effective in spheroplast induction than Mg2+. The effect was proportional to the concentration of cations. In 40% of 180 clinical isolates of S. marcescens, more than 40% of the original bacterial cells were induced to form spheroplasts by ceftizoxime in a medium supplemented with 40 mM Ca2+. A high spheroplast induction rate was observed even in medium with 10 mM Ca2+. Few isolates that were supersusceptible to ceftizoxime (MIC, less than 0.2 microgram/ml) were induced to form spheroplasts at a high rate. No difference in spheroplast induction rate or extent between antibiotic-resistant strains and relatively susceptible strains (MIC, greater than 0.2 microgram/ml) was found. The serotype of S. marcescens had no effect on the spheroplast induction rate. Monocations (Na+ and K+) had little effect on spheroplast induction.
PMCID: PMC269431  PMID: 3320083
24.  Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim-Polymyxin Therapy of Serious Multiply Drug-Resistant Serratia Infections 
Nonpigmented multiply drug-resistant Serratia marcescens caused an extensive outbreak of infection at the Nashville Veterans Administration Hospital. Isolates were of one serotype resistant to all currently available antimicrobial agents for therapy of systemic infections except for occasional susceptibility to chloramphenicol and kanamycin. Frequently strains were susceptible to nalidixic acid, and all were susceptible to amikacin (BB-K8). Drug-resistant strains caused 130 infections, 12 bacteremias, and 7 infection-associated deaths. Combinations of antimicrobial agents were evaluated for synergism against Serratia strains from infected patients. “Checkerboard” isobolograms indicated in vitro static synergism between sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, and polymyxin (STP). Killing curves using clinically achievable concentrations of STP verified the bactericidal effect of STP against these strains. In a daily dosage of 1,600 mg of sulfamethoxazole and 320 mg of trimethoprim orally in combination with 100 to 300 mg of colistimethate parenterally, serum cidal levels at 1:8 or greater were achieved in five of six patients. Clinical improvement or microbiological cure was effected in four of six patients. STP may be potentially useful for selected Serratia infections for which single agents are unavailable or ineffective.
PMCID: PMC429504  PMID: 178273
25.  Outbreak of a Cluster with Epidemic Behavior Due to Serratia marcescens after Colistin Administration in a Hospital Setting 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2295-2302.
Serratia marcescens causes health care-associated infections with important morbidity and mortality. Particularly, outbreaks produced by multidrug-resistant isolates of this species, which is already naturally resistant to several antibiotics, including colistin, are usually described with high rates of fatal outcomes throughout the world. Thus, it is important to survey factors associated with increasing frequency and/or emergence of multidrug-resistant S. marcescens nosocomial infections. We report the investigation and control of an outbreak with 40% mortality due to multidrug-resistant S. marcescens infections that happened from November 2007 to April 2008 after treatment with colistin for Acinetobacter baumannii meningitis was started at hospital H1 in 2005. Since that year, the epidemiological pattern of frequently recovered species has changed, with an increase of S. marcescens and Proteus mirabilis infections in 2006 in concordance with a significant decrease of the numbers of P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii isolates. A single pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) cluster of S. marcescens isolates was identified during the outbreak. When this cluster was compared with S. marcescens strains (n = 21) from 10 other hospitals (1997 to 2010), it was also identified in both sporadic and outbreak isolates circulating in 4 hospitals in Argentina. In132::ISCR1::blaCTX-M-2 was associated with the multidrug-resistant cluster with epidemic behavior when isolated from outbreaks. Standard infection control interventions interrupted transmission of this cluster even when treatment with colistin continued in several wards of hospital H1 until now. Optimizing use of colistin should be achieved simultaneously with improved infection control to prevent the emergence of species naturally resistant to colistin, such as S. marcescens and P. mirabilis.
PMCID: PMC3697717  PMID: 23698525

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