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1.  Lack of efflux mediated quinolone resistance in Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A 
Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A isolates from human patients in France displaying different levels of resistance to quinolones or fluoroquinolones were studied for resistance mechanisms to these antimicrobial agents. All resistant isolates carried either single or multiple target gene mutations (i.e., in gyrA, gyrB, or parC) correlating with the resistance levels observed. Active efflux, through upregulation of multipartite efflux systems, has also been previously reported as contributing mechanism for other serovars. Therefore, we investigated also the occurrence of non-target gene mutations in regulatory regions affecting efflux pump expression. However, no mutation was detected in these regions in both Typhi and Paratyphi isolates of this study. Besides, no overexpression of the major efflux systems was observed for these isolates. Nevertheless, a large deletion of 2334 bp was identified in the acrS-acrE region of all S. Typhi strains but which did not affect the resistance phenotype. As being specific to S. Typhi, this deletion could be used for specific molecular detection purposes. In conclusion, the different levels of quinolone or FQ resistance in both S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A seem to rely only on target modifications.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00012
PMCID: PMC3902205  PMID: 24478769
Salmonella; ciprofloxacin; transcriptional regulatory genes; acrS; efflux pumps
2.  Mutants in the lipopolysaccharide of Brucella ovis are attenuated and protect against B. ovis infection in mice 
Veterinary Research  2014;45(1):72.
Brucella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria that behave as facultative intracellular parasites of a variety of mammals. This genus includes smooth (S) and rough (R) species that carry S and R lipopolysaccharides (LPS), respectively. S-LPS is a virulence factor, and mutants affected in the S-LPS O-polysaccharide (R mutants), core oligosaccharide or both show attenuation. However, B. ovis is naturally R and is virulent in sheep. We studied the role of B. ovis LPS in virulence by mutating the orthologues of wadA, wadB and wadC, three genes known to encode LPS core glycosyltransferases in S brucellae. When mapped with antibodies to outer membrane proteins (Omps) and R-LPS, wadB and wadC mutants displayed defects in LPS structure and outer membrane topology but inactivation of wadA had little or no effect. Consistent with these observations, the wadB and wadC but not the wadA mutants were attenuated in mice. When tested as vaccines, the wadB and wadC mutants protected mice against B. ovis challenge. The results demonstrate that the LPS core is a structure essential for survival in vivo not only of S brucellae but also of a naturally R Brucella pathogenic species, and they confirm our previous hypothesis that the Brucella LPS core is a target for vaccine development. Since vaccine B. melitensis Rev 1 is S and thus interferes in serological testing for S brucellae, wadB mutant represents a candidate vaccine to be evaluated against B. ovis infection of sheep suitable for areas free of B. melitensis.
doi:10.1186/s13567-014-0072-0
PMCID: PMC4107470  PMID: 25029920
3.  The global establishment of a highly-fluoroquinolone resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Kentucky ST198 strain 
While the spread of Salmonella enterica serotype Kentucky resistant to ciprofloxacin across Africa and the Middle-East has been described recently, the presence of this strain in humans, food, various animal species (livestock, pets, and wildlife) and in environment is suspected in other countries of different continents. Here, we report results of an in-depth molecular epidemiological study on a global human and non-human collection of S. Kentucky (n = 70). We performed XbaI-pulsed field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing, assessed mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions, detected β-lactam resistance mechanisms, and screened the presence of the Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1). In this study, we highlight the rapid and extensive worldwide dissemination of the ciprofloxacin-resistant S. Kentucky ST198-X1-SGI1 strain since the mid-2000s in an increasingly large number of contaminated sources, including the environment. This strain has accumulated an increasing number of chromosomal and plasmid resistance determinants and has been identified in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Europe since 2010. The second substitution at position 87 in GyrA (replacing the amino acid Asp) appeared helpful for epidemiological studies to track the origin of contamination. This global study provides evidence leading to the conclusion that high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin in S. Kentucky is a simple microbiological trait that facilitates the identification of the epidemic clone of interest, ST198-X1-SGI1. Taking this into account is essential in order to detect and monitor it easily and to take rapid measures in livestock to ensure control of this infection.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00395
PMCID: PMC3866546  PMID: 24385975
S. Kentucky; ST198; SGI1; QRDR; MDR Salmonella dissemination; poultry
4.  ramR mutations affecting fluoroquinolone susceptibility in epidemic multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky ST198 
A screening for non-target mutations affecting fluoroquinolone susceptibility was conducted in epidemic multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky ST198. Among a panel of representative isolates (n = 27), covering the epidemic, only three showed distinct mutations in ramR resulting in enhanced expression of genes encoding the AcrAB-TolC efflux system and low increase in ciprofloxacin MIC. No mutations were detected in other regulatory regions of this efflux system. Ciprofloxacin resistance in serovar Kentucky ST198 is thus currently mainly due to multiple target gene mutations.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00213
PMCID: PMC3728480  PMID: 23914184
Salmonella; ciprofloxacin resistance; efflux pump; regulation; ram
5.  Early Strains of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Kentucky Sequence Type 198 from Southeast Asia Harbor Salmonella Genomic Island 1-J Variants with a Novel Insertion Sequence 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(10):5096-5102.
Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) is a 43-kb integrative mobilizable element that harbors a great diversity of multidrug resistance gene clusters described in numerous Salmonella enterica serovars and also in Proteus mirabilis. The majority of SGI1 variants contain an In104-derivative complex class 1 integron inserted between resolvase gene res and open reading frame (ORF) S044 in SGI1. Recently, the international spread of ciprofloxacin-resistant S. enterica serovar Kentucky sequence type 198 (ST198) containing SGI1-K variants has been reported. A retrospective study was undertaken to characterize ST198 S. Kentucky strains isolated before the spread of the epidemic ST198-SGI1-K population in Africa and the Middle East. Here, we characterized 12 ST198 S. Kentucky strains isolated between 1969 and 1999, mainly from humans returning from Southeast Asia (n = 10 strains) or Israel (n = 1 strain) or from meat in Egypt (n = 1 strain). All these ST198 S. Kentucky strains did not belong to the XbaI pulsotype X1 associated with the African epidemic clone but to pulsotype X2. SGI1-J subgroup variants containing different complex integrons with a partial transposition module and inserted within ORF S023 of SGI1 were detected in six strains. The SGI1-J4 variant containing a partially deleted class 1 integron and thus showing a narrow resistance phenotype to sulfonamides was identified in two epidemiologically unrelated strains from Indonesia. The four remaining strains harbored a novel SGI1-J variant, named SGI1-J6, which contained aadA2, floR2, tetR(G)-tetA(G), and sul1 resistance genes within its complex integron. Moreover, in all these S. Kentucky isolates, a novel insertion sequence related to the IS630 family and named ISSen5 was found inserted upstream of the SGI1 complex integron in ORF S023. Thus, two subpopulations of S. Kentucky ST198 independently and exclusively acquired the SGI1 during the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike the ST198-X1 African epidemic subpopulation, the ST198-X2 subpopulation mainly from Asia harbors variants of the SGI1-J subgroup that are encountered mainly in the Far East, as previously described for S. enterica serovars Emek and Virchow.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00732-12
PMCID: PMC3457378  PMID: 22802251
6.  Lipopolysaccharide Heterogeneity in the Atypical Group of Novel Emerging Brucella Species 
Recently, novel Brucella strains with phenotypic characteristics that were atypical for strains belonging to the genus Brucella have been reported. Phenotypically many of these strains were initially misidentified as Ochrobactrum spp. Two novel species have been described so far for these strains, i.e., B. microti and B. inopinata, and other strains genetically related to B. inopinata may constitute other novel species as well. In this study, we analyzed the lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (smooth LPS [S-LPS] and rough LPS [R-LPS]) of these atypical strains using different methods and a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against several epitopes of the Brucella O-polysaccharide (O-PS) and R-LPS. Among the most striking results, Brucella sp. strain BO2, isolated from a patient with chronic destructive pneumonia, showed a completely distinct S-LPS profile in silver stain gels that looked more similar to that of enterobacterial S-LPS. This strain also failed to react with MAbs against Brucella O-PS epitopes and showed weak reactivity with anti-R-LPS MAbs. B. inopinata reference strain BO1 displayed an M-dominant S-LPS type with some heterogeneity relative to the classical M-dominant Brucella S-LPS type. Australian wild rodent strains belonging also to the B. inopinata group showed a classical A-dominant S-LPS but lacked the O-PS common (C) epitopes, as previously reported for B. suis biovar 2 strains. Interestingly, some strains also failed to react with anti-R-LPS MAbs, such as the B. microti reference strain and B. inopinata BO1, suggesting modifications in the core-lipid A moieties of these strains. These results have several implications for serological typing and serological diagnosis and underline the need for novel tools for detection and correct identification of such novel emerging Brucella spp.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00300-12
PMCID: PMC3428386  PMID: 22761298
7.  The Epitopic and Structural Characterization of Brucella suis Biovar 2 O-Polysaccharide Demonstrates the Existence of a New M-Negative C-Negative Smooth Brucella Serovar 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53941.
The brucellae are Gram-negative bacteria that cause an important zoonosis. Studies with the main Brucella species have shown that the O-antigens of the Brucella smooth lipopolysaccharide are α-(1→2) and α-(1→3)-linked N-formyl-perosamine polysaccharides that carry M, A and C (A = M, A>M and AA) and M specificities. However, the biovar 2 O-antigen bound monoclonal antibodies to the Brucella A epitope, and to the C/Y epitope shared by brucellae and Yersinia enterocolitica O:9, a bacterium that carries an N-formyl-perosamine O-antigen in exclusively α-(1→2)-linkages. By 13C NMR spectroscopy, B. suis biovar 1 but not B. suis biovar 2 or Y. enterocolitica O:9 polysaccharide showed the signal characteristic of α-(1→3)-linked N-formyl-perosamine, indicating that biovar 2 may altogether lack this linkage. Taken together, the NMR spectroscopy and monoclonal antibody analyses strongly suggest a role for α-(1→3)-linked N-formyl-perosamine in the C (A = M) and C (M>A) epitopes. Moreover, they indicate that B. suis biovar 2 O-antigen lacks some lipopolysaccharide epitopes previously thought to be present in all smooth brucellae, thus representing a new brucella serovar that is M-negative, C-negative. Serologically and structurally this new serovar is more similar to Y. enterocolitica O:9 than to other brucellae.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053941
PMCID: PMC3545991  PMID: 23335981
8.  Intraspecies Biodiversity of the Genetically Homologous Species Brucella microti 
Brucellosis is one of the major bacterial zoonoses worldwide. In the past decade, an increasing number of atypical Brucella strains and species have been described. Brucella microti in particular has attracted attention, because this species not only infects mammalian hosts but also persists in soil. An environmental reservoir may pose a new public health risk, leading to the reemergence of brucellosis. In a polyphasic approach, comprising conventional microbiological techniques and extensive biochemical and molecular techniques, all currently available Brucella microti strains were characterized. While differing in their natural habitats and host preferences, B. microti isolates were found to possess identical 16S rRNA, recA, omp2a, and omp2b gene sequences and identical multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) profiles at 21 different genomic loci. Only highly variable microsatellite markers of multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis comprising 16 loci (MLVA-16) showed intraspecies discriminatory power. In contrast, biotyping demonstrated striking differences within the genetically homologous species. The majority of the mammalian isolates agglutinated only with monospecific anti-M serum, whereas soil isolates agglutinated with anti-A, anti-M, and anti-R sera. Bacteria isolated from animal sources were lysed by phages F1, F25, Tb, BK2, Iz, and Wb, whereas soil isolates usually were not. Rough strains of environmental origin were lysed only by phage R/C. B. microti exhibited high metabolic activities similar to those of closely related soil organisms, such as Ochrobactrum spp. Each strain was tested with 93 different substrates and showed an individual metabolic profile. In summary, the adaptation of Brucella microti to a specific habitat or host seems to be a matter of gene regulation rather than a matter of gene configuration.
doi:10.1128/AEM.06351-11
PMCID: PMC3294491  PMID: 22210211
9.  Binding of the RamR Repressor to Wild-Type and Mutated Promoters of the ramA Gene Involved in Efflux-Mediated Multidrug Resistance in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium 
The transcriptional activator RamA is involved in multidrug resistance (MDR) by increasing expression of the AcrAB-TolC RND-type efflux system in several pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae. In Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), ramA expression is negatively regulated at the local level by RamR, a transcriptional repressor of the TetR family. We here studied the DNA-binding activity of the RamR repressor with the ramA promoter (PramA). As determined by high-resolution footprinting, the 28-bp-long RamR binding site covers essential features of PramA, including the −10 conserved region, the transcriptional start site of ramA, and two 7-bp inverted repeats. Based on the RamR footprint and on electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), we propose that RamR interacts with PramA as a dimer of dimers, in a fashion that is structurally similar to the QacR-DNA binding model. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) measurements indicated that RamR has a 3-fold-lower affinity (KD [equilibrium dissociation constant] = 191 nM) for the 2-bp-deleted PramA of an MDR S. Typhimurium clinical isolate than for the wild-type PramA (KD = 66 nM). These results confirm the direct regulatory role of RamR in the repression of ramA transcription and precisely define how an alteration of its binding site can give rise to an MDR phenotype.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05444-11
PMCID: PMC3264254  PMID: 22123696
10.  Novel IS711 Chromosomal Location Useful for Identification of Marine Mammal Brucella Genotype ST27, Which Is Associated with Zoonotic Infection ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(11):3954-3959.
We report a novel IS711 chromosomal location that is specific for the Brucella genotype ST27 previously associated with Pacific marine mammals and human zoonotic infection in New Zealand and Peru. Our data support the previous observation that this peculiar genotype is distinct from those commonly isolated from the Atlantic and currently classified within the species B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis.
doi:10.1128/JCM.05238-11
PMCID: PMC3209094  PMID: 21880970
11.  The genome sequence of Brucella pinnipedialis B2/94 sheds light on the evolutionary history of the genus Brucella 
Background
Since the discovery of the Malta fever agent, Brucella melitensis, in the 19th century, six terrestrial mammal-associated Brucella species were recognized over the next century. More recently the number of novel Brucella species has increased and among them, isolation of species B. pinnipedialis and B. ceti from marine mammals raised many questions about their origin as well as on the evolutionary history of the whole genus.
Results
We report here on the first complete genome sequence of a Brucella strain isolated from marine mammals, Brucella pinnipedialis strain B2/94. A whole gene-based phylogenetic analysis shows that five main groups of host-associated Brucella species rapidly diverged from a likely free-living ancestor close to the recently isolated B. microti. However, this tree lacks the resolution required to resolve the order of divergence of those groups. Comparative analyses focusing on a) genome segments unshared between B. microti and B. pinnipedialis, b) gene deletion/fusion events and c) positions and numbers of Brucella specific IS711 elements in the available Brucella genomes provided enough information to propose a branching order for those five groups.
Conclusions
In this study, it appears that the closest relatives of marine mammal Brucella sp. are B. ovis and Brucella sp. NVSL 07-0026 isolated from a baboon, followed by B. melitensis and B. abortus strains, and finally the group consisting of B. suis strains, including B. canis and the group consisting of the single B. neotomae species. We were not able, however, to resolve the order of divergence of the two latter groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-200
PMCID: PMC3146883  PMID: 21745361
Brucella; Bacterial Genome Evolution; Comparative Genomics
12.  IncI1 Plasmid Carrying Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase Gene blaCTX-M-1 in Salmonella enterica Isolates from Poultry and Humans in France, 2003 to 2008 ▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4484-4486.
We report the dissemination of a conjugative IncI1 plasmid carrying blaCTX-M-1, conferring resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, in Salmonella enterica isolates from poultry and humans in France from 2003 to 2008. By IncI1 plasmid subtyping, this plasmid was shown to be genetically related to that found in Escherichia coli isolates from healthy poultry in France.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00460-10
PMCID: PMC2944622  PMID: 20643895
13.  Novel IS711-Specific Chromosomal Locations Useful for Identification and Classification of Marine Mammal Brucella Strains ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(10):3765-3769.
We report five new IS711 chromosomal locations that are specific for marine mammal Brucella groups of strains and useful for their identification and classification. Our data support their current classification into two species, Brucella ceti and B. pinnipedialis, with subgroups in each, but also the possibility of additional species.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01069-10
PMCID: PMC2953108  PMID: 20702670
14.  The Salmonella Genomic Island 1 Is Specifically Mobilized In Trans by the IncA/C Multidrug Resistance Plasmid Family 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15302.
Background
The Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) is a Salmonella enterica-derived integrative mobilizable element (IME) containing various complex multiple resistance integrons identified in several S. enterica serovars and in Proteus mirabilis. Previous studies have shown that SGI1 transfers horizontally by in trans mobilization in the presence of the IncA/C conjugative helper plasmid pR55.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here, we report the ability of different prevalent multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmids including extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) gene-carrying plasmids to mobilize the multidrug resistance genomic island SGI1. Through conjugation experiments, none of the 24 conjugative plasmids tested of the IncFI, FII, HI2, I1, L/M, N, P incompatibility groups were able to mobilize SGI1 at a detectable level (transfer frequency <10−9). In our collection, ESBL gene-carrying plasmids were mainly from the IncHI2 and I1 groups and thus were unable to mobilize SGI1. However, the horizontal transfer of SGI1 was shown to be specifically mediated by conjugative helper plasmids of the broad-host-range IncA/C incompatibility group. Several conjugative IncA/C MDR plasmids as well as the sequenced IncA/C reference plasmid pRA1 of 143,963 bp were shown to mobilize in trans SGI1 from a S. enterica donor to the Escherichia coli recipient strain. Depending on the IncA/C plasmid used, the conjugative transfer of SGI1 occurred at frequencies ranging from 10−3 to 10−6 transconjugants per donor. Of particular concern, some large IncA/C MDR plasmids carrying the extended-spectrum cephalosporinase blaCMY-2 gene were shown to mobilize in trans SGI1.
Conclusions/Significance
The ability of the IncA/C MDR plasmid family to mobilize SGI1 could contribute to its spread by horizontal transfer among enteric pathogens. Moreover, the increasing prevalence of IncA/C plasmids in MDR S. enterica isolates worldwide has potential implications for the epidemic success of the antibiotic resistance genomic island SGI1 and its close derivatives.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015302
PMCID: PMC3004903  PMID: 21187963
15.  Genomic comparisons of Brucella spp. and closely related bacteria using base compositional and proteome based methods 
Background
Classification of bacteria within the genus Brucella has been difficult due in part to considerable genomic homogeneity between the different species and biovars, in spite of clear differences in phenotypes. Therefore, many different methods have been used to assess Brucella taxonomy. In the current work, we examine 32 sequenced genomes from genus Brucella representing the six classical species, as well as more recently described species, using bioinformatical methods. Comparisons were made at the level of genomic DNA using oligonucleotide based methods (Markov chain based genomic signatures, genomic codon and amino acid frequencies based comparisons) and proteomes (all-against-all BLAST protein comparisons and pan-genomic analyses).
Results
We found that the oligonucleotide based methods gave different results compared to that of the proteome based methods. Differences were also found between the oligonucleotide based methods used. Whilst the Markov chain based genomic signatures grouped the different species in genus Brucella according to host preference, the codon and amino acid frequencies based methods reflected small differences between the Brucella species. Only minor differences could be detected between all genera included in this study using the codon and amino acid frequencies based methods.
Proteome comparisons were found to be in strong accordance with current Brucella taxonomy indicating a remarkable association between gene gain or loss on one hand and mutations in marker genes on the other. The proteome based methods found greater similarity between Brucella species and Ochrobactrum species than between species within genus Agrobacterium compared to each other. In other words, proteome comparisons of species within genus Agrobacterium were found to be more diverse than proteome comparisons between species in genus Brucella and genus Ochrobactrum. Pan-genomic analyses indicated that uptake of DNA from outside genus Brucella appears to be limited.
Conclusions
While both the proteome based methods and the Markov chain based genomic signatures were able to reflect environmental diversity between the different species and strains of genus Brucella, the genomic codon and amino acid frequencies based comparisons were not found adequate for such comparisons. The proteome comparison based phylogenies of the species in genus Brucella showed a surprising consistency with current Brucella taxonomy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-249
PMCID: PMC2928237  PMID: 20707916
16.  Novel Plasmid-Encoded Ceftazidime-Hydrolyzing CTX-M-53 Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase from Salmonella enterica Serotypes Westhampton and Senftenberg▿  
We describe the characterization of a novel CTX-M β-lactamase from Salmonella enterica. Four S. enterica isolates (three of serotype Westhampton and one of serotype Senftenberg) resistant to extended-spectrum cephalosporins (cefotaxime and ceftazidime) were recovered in 2004 from living cockles in three supermarkets located in distant geographic areas in France, which got their supplies from the same fishery. The isolates were found to produce a novel extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) belonging to the CTX-M-1 phylogenetic group and named CTX-M-53. The CTX-M-53 β-lactamase harbored the substitution Asp240Gly, like the CTX-M-15 enzyme, which is specifically implicated in a higher catalytic efficiency against ceftazidime. The blaCTX-M-53 gene was located on a mobilizable 11-kb plasmid, pWES-1. The complete sequence of pWES-1 revealed the presence of a novel insertion sequence, ISSen2, and an IS26 element upstream and downstream of the blaCTX-M-53 gene, respectively; however, transposition assays of the blaCTX-M-53 gene were unsuccessful. IS26 elements may have contributed to the acquisition of the blaCTX-M-53 gene. Interestingly, the mobilization module of the pWES-1 plasmid was similar to that of quinolone resistance plasmids (carrying the qnrS2 gene) from aquatic sources. Although belonging to two serotypes differentiated on the basis of the O-antigen structure (E1 or E4 groups), the isolates were found to be genetically indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Multilocus sequence typing showed that the isolates of serotype Westhampton had a sequence type, ST14, common among isolates of serotype Senftenberg. This is the first characterization of the CTX-M-53 ESBL, which represents an additional ceftazidime-hydrolyzing CTX-M enzyme.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01581-08
PMCID: PMC2681554  PMID: 19273683
17.  Truncated tni Module Adjacent to the Complex Integron of Salmonella Genomic Island 1 in Salmonella enterica Serovar Virchow ▿  
Salmonella genomic island 1 was identified for the first time in Salmonella enterica serovar Virchow isolated from humans in Taiwan. The complex class 1 integron conferring multidrug resistance was shown to be inserted within open reading frame (ORF) S023 and contains for the first time a partial transpositional module. The 5-bp target duplication flanking the complex integron suggests that its insertion in ORF S023 was by transposition.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01015-08
PMCID: PMC2630650  PMID: 19015337
18.  MLVA-16 typing of 295 marine mammal Brucella isolates from different animal and geographic origins identifies 7 major groups within Brucella ceti and Brucella pinnipedialis 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:145.
Background
Since 1994, Brucella strains have been isolated from a wide range of marine mammals. They are currently recognized as two new Brucella species, B. pinnipedialis for the pinniped isolates and B. ceti for the cetacean isolates in agreement with host preference and specific phenotypic and molecular markers. In order to investigate the genetic relationships within the marine mammal Brucella isolates and with reference to terrestrial mammal Brucella isolates, we applied in this study the Multiple Loci VNTR (Variable Number of Tandem Repeats) Analysis (MLVA) approach. A previously published assay comprising 16 loci (MLVA-16) that has been shown to be highly relevant and efficient for typing and clustering Brucella strains from animal and human origin was used.
Results
294 marine mammal Brucella strains collected in European waters from 173 animals and a human isolate from New Zealand presumably from marine origin were investigated by MLVA-16. Marine mammal Brucella isolates were shown to be different from the recognized terrestrial mammal Brucella species and biovars and corresponded to 3 major related groups, one specific of the B. ceti strains, one of the B. pinnipedialis strains and the last composed of the human isolate. In the B. ceti group, 3 subclusters were identified, distinguishing a cluster of dolphin, minke whale and porpoise isolates and two clusters mostly composed of dolphin isolates. These results were in accordance with published analyses using other phenotypic or molecular approaches, or different panels of VNTR loci. The B. pinnipedialis group could be similarly subdivided in 3 subclusters, one composed exclusively of isolates from hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) and the two others comprising other seal species isolates.
Conclusion
The clustering analysis of a large collection of marine mammal Brucella isolates from European waters significantly strengthens the current view of the population structure of these two species, and their relative position with respect to the rest of the Brucella genus. MLVA-16 is confirmed as being a rapid, highly discriminatory and reproducible method to classify Brucella strains including the marine mammal isolates. The Brucella2009 MLVA-16 genotyping database available at http://mlva.u-psud.fr/ is providing a detailed coverage of all 9 currently recognized Brucella species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-145
PMCID: PMC2719651  PMID: 19619320
19.  DNA polymorphism analysis of Brucella lipopolysaccharide genes reveals marked differences in O-polysaccharide biosynthetic genes between smooth and rough Brucella species and novel species-specific markers 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:92.
Background
The lipopolysaccharide is a major antigen and virulence factor of Brucella, an important bacterial pathogen. In smooth brucellae, lipopolysaccharide is made of lipid A-core oligosaccharide and N-formylperosamine O-polysaccharide. B. ovis and B. canis (rough species) lack the O-polysaccharide.
Results
The polymorphism of O-polysaccharide genes wbkE, manAO-Ag, manBO-Ag, manCO-Ag, wbkF and wbkD) and wbo (wboA and wboB), and core genes manBcore and wa** was analyzed. Although most genes were highly conserved, species- and biovar-specific restriction patterns were found. There were no significant differences in putative N-formylperosamyl transferase genes, suggesting that Brucella A and M serotypes are not related to specific genes. In B. pinnipedialis and B. ceti (both smooth), manBO-Ag carried an IS711, confirming its dispensability for perosamine synthesis. Significant differences between smooth and rough species were found in wbkF and wbkD, two adjacent genes putatively related to bactoprenol priming for O-polysaccharide polymerization. B. ovis wbkF carried a frame-shift and B. canis had a long deletion partially encompassing both genes. In smooth brucellae, this region contains two direct repeats suggesting the deletion mechanism.
Conclusion
The results define species and biovar markers, confirm the dispensability of manBO-Ag for O-polysaccharide synthesis and contribute to explain the lipopolysaccharide structure of rough and smooth Brucella species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-92
PMCID: PMC2698832  PMID: 19439075
20.  Novel Insertion Sequence- and Transposon-Mediated Genetic Rearrangements in Genomic Island SGI1 of Salmonella enterica Serovar Kentucky▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2008;52(10):3745-3754.
Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) is an integrative mobilizable element that harbors a multidrug resistance (MDR) gene cluster. Since its identification in epidemic Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 strains, variant SGI1 MDR gene clusters conferring different MDR phenotypes have been identified in several S. enterica serovars and classified as SGI1-A to -O. A study was undertaken to characterize SGI1 from serovar Kentucky strains isolated from travelers returning from Africa. Several strains tested were found to contain the partially characterized variant SGI1-K, recently described in a serovar Kentucky strain isolated in Australia. This variant contained only one cassette array, aac(3)-Id-aadA7, and an adjacent mercury resistance module. Here, the uncharacterized part of SGI1-K was sequenced. Downstream of the mer module similar to that found in Tn21, a mosaic genetic structure was found, comprising (i) part of Tn1721 containing the tetracycline resistance genes tetR and tet(A); (ii) part of Tn5393 containing the streptomycin resistance genes strAB, IS1133, and a truncated tnpR gene; and (iii) a Tn3-like region containing the tnpR gene and the β-lactamase blaTEM-1 gene flanked by two IS26 elements in opposite orientations. The rightmost IS26 element was shown to be inserted into the S044 open reading frame of the SGI1 backbone. This variant MDR region was named SGI1-K1 according to the previously described variant SGI1-K. Other SGI1-K MDR regions due to different IS26 locations, inversion, and partial deletions were characterized and named SGI1-K2 to -K5. Two new SGI1 variants named SGI1-P1 and -P2 contained only the Tn3-like region comprising the β-lactamase blaTEM-1 gene flanked by the two IS26 elements inserted into the SGI1 backbone. Three other new variants harbored only one IS26 element inserted in place of the MDR region of SGI1 and were named SGI1-Q1 to -Q3. Thus, in serovar Kentucky, the SGI1 MDR region undergoes recombinational and insertional events of transposon and insertion sequences, resulting in a higher diversity of MDR gene clusters than previously reported and consequently a higher diversity of MDR phenotypes.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00525-08
PMCID: PMC2565918  PMID: 18676889
22.  ramR Mutations Involved in Efflux-Mediated Multidrug Resistance in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium▿  
In the sequenced genome of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain LT2, an open reading frame (STM0580) coding for a putative regulatory protein of the TetR family is found upstream of the ramA gene. Overexpression of ramA results in increased expression of the AcrAB efflux pump and, consequently, multidrug resistance (MDR) in several bacterial species. The inactivation of the putative regulatory protein gene upstream of ramA in a susceptible serovar Typhimurium strain resulted in an MDR phenotype with fourfold increases in the MICs of unrelated antibiotics, such as quinolones/fluoroquinolones, phenicols, and tetracycline. The inactivation of this gene also resulted in a fourfold increase in the expression of ramA and a fourfold increase in the expression of the AcrAB efflux pump. These results indicated that the gene encodes a local repressor of ramA and was thus named ramR. In contrast, the inactivation of marR, marA, soxR, and soxS did not affect the susceptibilities of the strain. In quinolone- or fluoroquinolone-resistant strains of serovar Typhimurium overexpressing AcrAB, several point mutations which resulted in amino acid changes or an in-frame shift were identified in ramR; in addition, mutations interrupting ramR with an IS1 element were identified in high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant serovar Typhimurium DT204 strains. One serovar Typhimurium DT104 isolate had a 2-nucleotide deletion in the putative RamR binding site found upstream of ramA. These mutations were confirmed to play a role in the MDR phenotype by complementing the isolates with an intact ramR gene or by inactivating their respective ramA gene. No mutations in the mar or sox region were found in the strains studied. In conclusion, mutations in ramR appear to play a major role in the upregulation of RamA and AcrAB and, consequently, in the efflux-mediated MDR phenotype of serovar Typhimurium.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00084-08
PMCID: PMC2443889  PMID: 18443112
23.  Salmonella Genomic Island 1 (SGI1), Variant SGI1-I, and New Variant SGI1-O in Proteus mirabilis Clinical and Food Isolates from China▿  
Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) and variants (SGI1-I and the new variant SGI1-O) were mapped in five strains of Proteus mirabilis isolated from humans and food in China. Sequencing showed that SGI1 and variants were integrated at the 3′ end of the chromosomal thdF gene as previously described for Salmonella strains.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00902-07
PMCID: PMC2223879  PMID: 18025121
24.  Secondary Chromosomal Attachment Site and Tandem Integration of the Mobilizable Salmonella Genomic Island 1 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(4):e2060.
Background
The Salmonella genomic island 1 is an integrative mobilizable element (IME) originally identified in epidemic multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) DT104. SGI1 contains a complex integron, which confers various multidrug resistance phenotypes due to its genetic plasticity. Previous studies have shown that SGI1 integrates site-specifically into the S. enterica, Escherichia coli, or Proteus mirabilis chromosome at the 3′ end of thdF gene (attB site).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here, we report the transfer of SGI1 to a ΔthdF mutant of S. Typhimurium LT2. In the absence of thdF, the frequency of transconjugant formation was reduced by around thirty times of magnitude. Through DNA sequencing SGI1 was shown to integrate specifically into a secondary attachment site (2nd attB), which is located in the intergenic region between the chromosomal sodB and purR genes. At this 2nd attB site, we found that a significant fraction of SGI1 transconjugants (43% of wild type and 100% of ΔthdF mutant) contained tandem SGI1 arrays. Moreover, in wild type S. Typhimurium LT2 transconjugants, SGI1 integrated into both attachment sites, i.e., thdF and sodB-purR. The formation of SGI1 tandem arrays occurred in both specific attB sites. There was heterogeneity in the size of the SGI1 tandem arrays detected in single transconjugant colonies. Some arrays consisted as far as six SGI1s arranged in tandem. These tandem arrays were shown to persist during serial passages with or without antibiotic selection pressure.
Conclusions/Significance
The ability of integration into two distinct chromosomal sites and tandem array formation of SGI1 could contribute to its spread and persistence. The existence of a secondary attachment site in the Salmonella chromosome has potential implications for the mobility of SGI1, which may integrate in other attachment sites of other bacterial pathogens that do not possess the 1st or 2nd specific SGI1 attB sites of Salmonella.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002060
PMCID: PMC2297512  PMID: 18446190
25.  Comparative Analysis of IncHI2 Plasmids Carrying blaCTX-M-2 or blaCTX-M-9 from Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica Strains Isolated from Poultry and Humans▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2007;51(11):4177-4180.
Salmonella enterica blaCTX-M-2 and blaCTX-M-9 plasmid backbones from isolates from Belgium and France were analyzed. The blaCTX-M-2-plasmids from both human and poultry isolates were related to the IncHI2 pAPEC-O1-R plasmid, previously identified in the United States in avian Escherichia coli strains; the blaCTX-M-9 plasmids were closely related to the IncHI2 R478 plasmid.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00603-07
PMCID: PMC2151457  PMID: 17698627

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