A major contributor to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in Gram-positive bacterial pathogens is the expansion of acquired, inducible genetic elements. Although acquired, inducible antibiotic resistance is not new, the interest in its molecular basis has been accelerated by the widening distribution and often ‘silent’ spread of the elements responsible, the diagnostic challenges of such resistance and the mounting limitations of available agents to treat Gram-positive infections. Acquired, inducible antibiotic resistance elements belong to the accessory genome of a species and are horizontally acquired by transformation/recombination or through the transfer of mobile DNA elements. The two key, but mechanistically very different, induction mechanisms are: ribosome-sensed induction, characteristic of the macrolide–lincosamide–streptogramin B antibiotics and tetracycline resistance, leading to ribosomal modifications or efflux pump activation; and resistance by cell surface-associated sensing of β-lactams (e.g., oxacillin), glycopeptides (e.g., vancomycin) and the polypeptide bacitracin, leading to drug inactivation or resistance due to cell wall alterations.
antimicrobial resistance; Gram-positive bacteria; inducible resistance; mobile genetic elements; ribosomal stalling; transposon
Many microtubule motors have been shown to couple to endosomal membranes. These motors include dynein in addition to many different kinesin family members. Sorting nexins (SNXs) are central to the organization and function of endosomes. These proteins can actively shape endosomal membranes and couple directly or indirectly to the minus-end microtubule motor dynein. Motor proteins acting on endosomes drive their motility, dictate their morphology and affect cargo segregation. We have used well-characterized members of the SNX family to elucidate motor coupling using high-resolution light microscopy coupled with depletion of specific microtubule motors. Endosomal domains labelled with SNX1, SNX4 and SNX8 couple to discrete combinations of dynein and kinesin motors. These specific combinations govern the structure and motility of each SNX-coated membrane in addition to the segregation of distinct functional endosomal subdomains. Taken together, our data show that these key features of endosome dynamics are governed by the same set of opposing microtubule motors. Thus, microtubule motors help to define the mosaic layout of endosomes that underpins cargo sorting.
Microtubule motor; Endosome; Cargo sorting; Tubulation
Pathogenic Neisseria meningitidis isolates contain a polysaccharide capsule that is the main virulence determinant for this bacterium. Thirteen capsular polysaccharides have been described, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy has enabled determination of the structure of capsular polysaccharides responsible for serogroup specificity. Molecular mechanisms involved in N. meningitidis capsule biosynthesis have also been identified, and genes involved in this process and in cell surface translocation are clustered at a single chromosomal locus termed cps. The use of multiple names for some of the genes involved in capsule synthesis, combined with the need for rapid diagnosis of serogroups commonly associated with invasive meningococcal disease, prompted a requirement for a consistent approach to the nomenclature of capsule genes. In this report, a comprehensive description of all N. meningitidis serogroups is provided, along with a proposed nomenclature, which was presented at the 2012 XVIIIth International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference.
Neisseria meningitidis; capsule; serogroup; bacteria; nomenclature
The microtubule motor complex cytoplasmic dynein is known to be involved in multiple processes including endomembrane organization and trafficking, mitosis, and microtubule organization. The majority of studies of cytoplasmic dynein have focussed on the form of the motor that is built around the dynein-1 heavy chain. A second isoform, dynein heavy chain-2, and its specifically associated light intermediate chain, LIC3 (D2LIC), are known to be involved in the formation and function of primary cilia. We have used RNAi in human epithelial cells to define the cytoplasmic dynein subunits that function with dynein heavy chain 2 in primary cilia. We identify the dynein light chain Tctex-1 as a key modulator of cilia length control; depletion of Tctex-1 results in longer cilia as defined by both acetylated tubulin labelling of the axoneme and Rab8a labelling of the cilia membrane. Suppression of dynein heavy chain-2 causes concomitant loss of Tctex-1 and this correlates with an increase in cilia length. Compared to individual depletions, double siRNA depletion of DHC2 and Tctex-1 causes an even greater increase in cilia length. Our data show that Tctex-1 is a key regulator of cilia length and most likely functions as part of dynein-2.
Cells package proteins into vesicles for secretion to the extracellular milieu. A study shows that an enzyme modifies the packaging machinery to encapsulate unusually large proteins such as collagen.
We compared exemplar strains from two hypervirulent clonal complexes, strain NMB-CDC from ST-8/11 cc and strain MC58 from ST-32/269 cc, in host cell attachment and invasion. Strain NMB-CDC attached to and invaded host cells at a significantly greater frequency than strain MC58. Type IV pili retained the primary role for initial attachment to host cells for both isolates regardless of pilin class and glycosylation pattern. In strain MC58, the serogroup B capsule was the major inhibitory determinant affecting both bacterial attachment to and invasion of host cells. Removal of terminal sialylation of lipooligosaccharide (LOS) in the presence of capsule did not influence rates of attachment or invasion for strain MC58. However, removal of either serogroup B capsule or LOS sialylation in strain NMB-CDC increased bacterial attachment to host cells to the same extent. Although the level of inhibition of attachment by capsule was different between these strains, the regulation of the capsule synthesis locus by the two-component response regulator MisR, and the level of surface capsule determined by flow cytometry were not significantly different. However, the diplococci of strain NMB-CDC were shown to have a 1.89-fold greater surface area than strain MC58 by flow cytometry. It was proposed that the increase in surface area without changing the amount of anchored glycolipid capsule in the outer membrane would result in a sparser capsule and increase surface hydrophobicity. Strain NMB-CDC was shown to be more hydrophobic than strain MC58 using hydrophobicity interaction chromatography and microbial adhesion-to-solvents assays. In conclusion, improved levels of adherence of strain NMB-CDC to cell lines was associated with increased bacterial cell surface and surface hydrophobicity. This study shows that there is diversity in bacterial cell surface area and surface hydrophobicity within N. meningitidis which influence steps in meningococcal pathogenesis.
ER-to-Golgi transport of proteins destined for the extracellular space or intracellular compartments depends on the COPII vesicle coat and is constitutive in all translationally active cells. Nevertheless, there is emerging evidence that this process is regulated on a cell- and tissue-specific basis, which means that components of the COPII coat will be of differential importance to certain cell types. The COPII coat consists of an inner layer, Sec23/24 and an outer shell, Sec13/31. We have shown previously that knock-down of Sec13 results in concomitant loss of Sec31. In zebrafish and cultured human cells this leads to impaired trafficking of large cargo, namely procollagens, and is causative for defects in craniofacial and gut development. It is now widely accepted that the outer COPII coat is key to the architecture and stability of ER export vesicles containing large, unusual cargo proteins. Here, we investigate zebrafish eye development following Sec13 depletion. We find that photoreceptors degenerate or fail to develop from the onset. Impaired collagen trafficking from the retinal pigment epithelium and defects in overall retinal lamination also seen in Sec13-depleted zebrafish might have been caused by increased apoptosis and reduced topical proliferation in the retina. Our data show that the outer layer of the COPII coat is also necessary for the transport of large amounts of cargo proteins, in this case rhodopsin, rather than just large cargo as previously thought.
COPII; Rhodopsin; ER export; Zebrafish; Eye
Human genetic studies have suggested that polymorphisms of the GABRA2 gene encoding the GABAA α2-subunit are associated with ethanol dependence. Variations in this gene also convey sensitivity to the subjective effects of ethanol, indicating a role in mediating ethanol-related behaviours. We therefore investigated the consequences of deleting the α2-subunit on the ataxic and rewarding properties of ethanol in mice. Ataxic and sedative effects of ethanol were explored in GABAA α2-subunit wildtype (WT) and knockout (KO) mice using a Rotarod apparatus, wire hang and the duration of loss of righting reflex. Following training, KO mice showed shorter latencies to fall than WT littermates under ethanol (2 g/kg i.p.) in both Rotarod and wire hang tests. After administration of ethanol (3.5 g/kg i.p.), KO mice took longer to regain the righting reflex than WT mice. To ensure the acute effects are not due to the gabra2 deletion affecting pharmacokinetics, blood ethanol concentrations were measured at 20 minute intervals after acute administration (2 g/kg i.p.), and did not differ between genotypes. To investigate ethanol’s rewarding properties, WT and KO mice were trained to lever press to receive increasing concentrations of ethanol on an FR4 schedule of reinforcement. Both WT and KO mice self-administered ethanol at similar rates, with no differences in the numbers of reinforcers earned. These data indicate a protective role for α2-subunits, against the acute sedative and ataxic effects of ethanol. However, no change was observed in ethanol self administration, suggesting the rewarding effects of ethanol remain unchanged.
Phylodynamic analysis and epidemiologic data identified 3 patterns of spread of primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection (PHI) among men who have sex with men (2001–2009): 420 unique PHIs, 102 small clusters (2–4 PHIs per cluster, n = 280), and 46 large clusters (5–31 PHIs per cluster, n = 450). Large clusters disproportionately increased from 25.2% of PHIs in 2005 to 39.1% in 2009 (χ2 = 33.9, P < .001). Scalar expansion of large clusters over 11 months (interquartile range, 3.5–25.5 months) correlated with cluster membership size (r2 = 0.174, F = 4.424, P = .047). PHI cohort data revealed variations in social networks and risk behaviors among the 3 groups, suggesting the need for tailored prevention measures.
The human bacterial pathogen Neisseria meningitidis remains a serious worldwide health threat, but progress is being made toward the control of meningococcal infections. This review summarizes current knowledge of the global epidemiology and the pathophysiology of meningococcal disease, as well as recent advances in prevention by new vaccines. Meningococcal disease patterns and incidence can vary dramatically, both geographically and over time in populations, influenced by differences in invasive meningococcal capsular serogroups and specific genotypes designated as ST clonal complexes. Serogroup A (ST-5, ST-7), B (ST-41/44, ST-32, ST-18, ST-269, ST-8, ST-35), C (ST-11), Y (ST-23, ST-167), W-135 (ST-11) and X (ST-181) meningococci currently cause almost all invasive disease. Serogroups B, C, and Y are responsible for the majority of cases in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania; serogroup A has been associated with the highest incidence (up to 1000 per 100,000 cases) and large outbreaks of meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa and previously Asia; and serogroups W-135 and X have emerged to cause major disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. Significant declines in meningococcal disease have occurred in the last decade in many developed countries. In part, the decline is related to the introduction of new meningococcal vaccines. Serogroup C polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines were introduced over a decade ago, first in the UK in a mass vaccination campaign, and are now widely used; multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines containing serogroups A, C, W-135, and/or Y were first used for adolescents in the US in 2005 and have now expanded indications for infants and young children, and a new serogroup A conjugate vaccine has recently been introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. The effectiveness of these conjugate vaccines has been enhanced by the prevention of person-to-person transmission and herd immunity. In addition, progress has been made in serogroup B-specific vaccines based on conserved proteins and outer membrane vesicles. However, continued global surveillance is essential in understanding and predicting the dynamic changes in the epidemiology and biological basis of meningococcal disease and to influence the recommendations for current and future vaccines or other prevention strategies.
Neisseria meningitidis; meningococcal disease; conjugate vaccines; meningococcal vaccines
Alcoholic patients who have undergone multiple detoxifications/relapses show altered processing of emotional signals. We performed functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of implicit and explicit versions of a task in which subjects were presented with morphs of fearful facial emotional expressions. Participants were abstaining, multiply detoxified (MDTx; n=12) or singly detoxified patients (SDTx; n=17), and social drinker controls (n=31). Alcoholic patients were less able than controls to recognize fearful expressions, and showed lower activation in prefrontal areas, including orbitofrontal cortex and insula, which mediate emotional processing. The decrease in activation was greater in MDTx patients who also showed decreased connectivity between insula and prefrontal areas, and between amygdala and globus pallidus. In the explicit condition, the strength of connectivity between insula and areas involved in regulation of emotion (inferior frontal cortex and frontal pole) was negatively correlated with both the number of detoxifications and dependency (measured by the severity of alcohol dependency (SADQ) and control over drinking score (Impaired Control questionnaire, ICQ)). In contrast, increased connectivity was found between insula and the colliculus neuronal cluster, and between amygdala and stria terminalis bed nucleus. In the implicit condition, number of detoxifications and ICQ score correlated positively with connectivity between amygdala and prefrontal cortical areas involved in attentional and executive processes. Repeated episodes of detoxification from alcohol are associated with altered function both in fear perception pathways and in cortical modulation of emotions. Such changes may confer increased sensitivity to emotional stress and impaired social competence, contributing to relapse.
fMRI; fearful facial expression; detoxification; amygdala; insula; prefrontal cortex; Alcohol & Alcoholism; amygdala; Biological Psychiatry; detoxification; fearful facial expression; fMRI; Imaging; Clinical or Preclinical; insula; Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Streptococcus pneumoniae type 2 pili are recently identified fimbrial structures extending from the bacterial surface and formed by polymers of the structural protein PitB. Intramolecular isopeptide bonds are a characteristic of the related pilus backbone protein Spy0128 of group A streptococci. Based on the identification of conserved residues in PitB, we predicted two intramolecular isopeptide bonds in PitB. Using a combination of tandem mass spectrometry and Edman sequencing, we show that these bonds were formed between Lys63-Asn214 and Lys243-Asn372 in PitB. Mutant proteins lacking the intramolecular isopeptide bonds retained the proteolytic stability observed with the wild type protein. However, absence of these bonds substantially decreased the melting temperature of the PitB-derivatives, indicating a stabilizing function of these bonds in PitB of the pneumococcal type 2 pilus.
fimbrial protein; intramolecular cross-link; proteolytic stability; thermal stability; mass spectrometry
There is considerable interest in cell biology in determining whether, and to what extent, the spatial arrangement of nuclear objects affects nuclear function. A common approach to address this issue involves analyzing a collection of images produced using some form of fluorescence microscopy. We assume that these images have been successfully pre-processed and a spatial point pattern representation of the objects of interest within the nuclear boundary is available. Typically in these scenarios, the number of objects per nucleus is low, which has consequences on the ability of standard analysis procedures to demonstrate the existence of spatial preference in the pattern. There are broadly two common approaches to look for structure in these spatial point patterns. First a spatial point pattern for each image is analyzed individually, or second a simple normalization is performed and the patterns are aggregated. In this paper we demonstrate using synthetic spatial point patterns drawn from predefined point processes how difficult it is to distinguish a pattern from complete spatial randomness using these techniques and hence how easy it is to miss interesting spatial preferences in the arrangement of nuclear objects. The impact of this problem is also illustrated on data related to the configuration of PML nuclear bodies in mammalian fibroblast cells.
The antimicrobial efflux system encoded by the operon mef(E)-mel on the mobile genetic element MEGA in Streptococcus pneumoniae and other Gram-positive bacteria is inducible by macrolide antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides. Induction may affect the clinical response to the use of macrolides. We developed mef(E) reporter constructs and a disk diffusion induction and resistance assay to determine the kinetics and basis of mef(E)-mel induction. Induction occurred rapidly, with a >15-fold increase in transcription within 1 h of exposure to subinhibitory concentrations of erythromycin. A spectrum of environmental conditions, including competence and nonmacrolide antibiotics with distinct cellular targets, did not induce mef(E). Using 16 different structurally defined macrolides, induction was correlated with the amino sugar attached to C-5 of the macrolide lactone ring, not with the size (e.g., 14-, 15- or 16-member) of the ring or with the presence of the neutral sugar cladinose at C-3. Macrolides with a monosaccharide attached to C-5, known to block exit of the nascent peptide from the ribosome after the incorporation of up to eight amino acids, induced mef(E) expression. Macrolides with a C-5 disaccharide, which extends the macrolide into the ribosomal exit tunnel, disrupting peptidyl transferase activity, did not induce it. The induction of mef(E) did not require macrolide efflux, but the affinity of macrolides for the ribosome determined the availability for efflux and pneumococcal susceptibility. The induction of mef(E)-mel expression by inducing macrolides appears to be based on specific interactions of the macrolide C-5 saccharide with the ribosome that alleviate transcriptional attenuation of mef(E)-mel.
Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus mitis, and Streptococcus sanguinis are members of the Mitis group of streptococci and agents of oral biofilm, dental plaque and infective endocarditis, disease processes that involve bacteria-bacteria and bacteria-host interactions. Their close relative, the human pathogen S. pneumoniae uses pilus-islet 2 (PI-2)-encoded pili to facilitate adhesion to eukaryotic cells.
PI-2 pilus-encoding genetic islets were identified in S. oralis, S. mitis, and S. sanguinis, but were absent from other isolates of these species. The PI-2 islets resembled the genetic organization of the PI-2 islet of S. pneumoniae, but differed in the genes encoding the structural pilus proteins PitA and PitB. Two and three variants of pitA (a pseudogene in S. pneumoniae) and pitB, respectively, were identified that showed ≈20% difference in nucleotide as well as corresponding protein sequence. Species-independent combinations of pitA and pitB variants indicated prior intra- and interspecies horizontal gene transfer events. Polyclonal antisera developed against PitA and PitB of S. oralis type strain ATCC35037 revealed that PI-2 pili in oral streptococci were composed of PitA and PitB. Electronmicrographs showed pilus structures radiating >700 nm from the bacterial surface in the wild type strain, but not in an isogenic PI-2 deletion mutant. Anti-PitB-antiserum only reacted with pili containing the same PitB variant, whereas anti-PitA antiserum was cross-reactive with the other PitA variant. Electronic multilocus sequence analysis revealed that all PI-2-encoding oral streptococci were closely-related and cluster with non-PI-2-encoding S. oralis strains.
This is the first identification of PI-2 pili in Mitis group oral streptococci. The findings provide a striking example of intra- and interspecies horizontal gene transfer. The PI-2 pilus diversity provides a possible key to link strain-specific bacterial interactions and/or tissue tropisms with pathogenic traits in the Mitis group streptococci.
The ability to abstain from drinking, despite incentives to imbibe, is essential to recovery from alcoholism.
We used an incentive conflict task to investigate ability to abstain from responding during presentations of incentive cues. Both alcoholic (n = 23) and healthy subjects (n = 22) were required to withhold responding during the simultaneous presentation of two visual stimuli in which the individual presentation allowed responding for monetary reward. Brain structures activated during performance of the task were studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy volunteers (n = 8), and changes in gray matter volume were studied in a separate group of patients (n = 29) compared with control subjects (n = 31) in regions of interest identified on functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Abstinent alcoholic patients were severely impaired on the incentive conflict task. The impairment was greater in patients with experience of several versus a single detoxification. Healthy volunteers, during the same incentive conflict task, showed distinct patterns of brain activation (including gyrus rectus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and superior frontal gyrus). Reduction of gray matter volume in ventromedial prefrontal cortex and superior frontal gyrus of patients was more extensive in those with multiple detoxifications.
Performance deficits in alcoholics are associated with withdrawal-induced impairments in prefrontal subfields, which are exacerbated following repeated episodes of detoxification. Detoxification thus compromises functional and structural integrity of prefrontal cortex and may thus impair the ability to control future drinking. Performance in the incentive conflict task is a sensitive biomarker for such deficits.
Compulsivity; fMRI; impulsivity; negative patterning; orbitofrontal cortex; reward
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) represents the entry point into the secretory pathway and from here newly synthesized proteins and lipids are delivered to the Golgi. The selective cargo export from the ER is mediated by COPII-assembly at specific sites of the ER, the so-called transitional ER (tER). The peripheral membrane protein Sec16, first identified in yeast, localizes to transitional ER and plays a key role in organization of these sites. Sec16 defines the tER and is thought to act as a scaffold for the COPII coat assembly. In humans two isoforms of Sec16 are present, the larger Sec16A and the smaller Sec16B. Nevertheless, the functional differences between the two isoforms are ill-defined. Here we describe characterization of the localization and dynamics of Sec16B relative to Sec16A, provide evidence that Sec16B is likely a minor or perhaps specialized form of Sec16, and that it is not functionally redundant with Sec16A.
Alpha-synuclein is implicated in the pathology of Parkinson disease (PD) and is involved in synaptic function, particularly in presynaptic events in dopamine (DA) synapses. Recently, a role for alpha-synuclein in reward and addiction, especially in alcoholism, has been reported. Since PD and alcohol dependence present a strong comorbidity with anxiety disorders, a role for alpha-synuclein in anxiety has been proposed. The aim of the present investigation was to study the involvement of alpha-synuclein in anxiety by testing alpha-synuclein knock out and wild type mice in three different emotionality tests: the open field, the elevated plus maze and the light-dark box. Alpha-synuclein knock out mice and wild type controls displayed consistently similar emotionality profiles in all the tests, suggesting a lack of involvement of alpha-synuclein in unconditioned anxiety in mice.
Alpha-synuclein; anxiety; mice; open field; elevated plus maze; light-dark box
An environmental stimulus paired with reward (a conditioned stimulus; CS) can acquire predictive properties that signal reward availability and may also acquire incentive motivational properties that enable the CS to influence appetitive behaviors. The neural mechanisms involved in the acquisition and expression of these CS properties are not fully understood. The metabotropic glutamate receptor, mGluR5, contributes to synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory processes. We examined the role of mGluR5 in the acquisition and expression of learning that enables a CS to predict reward (goal-tracking) and acquire incentive properties (conditioned reinforcement). Mice were injected with vehicle or the mGluR5 antagonist, MTEP (3 or 10 mg/kg), before each Pavlovian conditioning session in which a stimulus (CS+) was paired with food delivery. Subsequently, in the absence of the primary food reward, we determined whether the CS+ could reinforce a novel instrumental response (conditioned reinforcement) and direct behavior toward the place of reward delivery (goal-tracking). MTEP did not affect performance during the conditioning phase, or the ability of the CS+ to elicit a goal-tracking response. In contrast, 10 mg/kg MTEP given before each conditioning session prevented the subsequent expression of conditioned reinforcement. This dose of MTEP did not affect conditioned reinforcement when administered before the test, in mice that had received vehicle before conditioning sessions. Thus, mGluR5 has a critical role in the acquisition of incentive properties by a CS, but is not required for the expression of incentive learning, or for the CS to acquire predictive properties that signal reward availability.
conditioned reinforcement; goal-tracking; associative learning; Pavlovian conditioning; glutamate; Glutamate; Learning & Memory; Psychopharmacology; Plasticity; conditioning; associative learning; conditioned reinforcement; goal tracking; mglur5
Capsule expression in Neisseria meningitidis is encoded by the cps locus comprised of genes required for biosynthesis and surface translocation. Located adjacent to the gene encoding the polysialyltransferase in serogroups expressing sialic acid-containing capsule, NMB0065 is likely a member of the cps locus, but it is not found in serogroups A or X that express non-sialic acid capsules. To further understand its role in CPS expression, NMB0065 mutants were created in the serogroups B, C and Y strains. The mutants were as sensitive as unencapsulated strains to killing by normal human serum, despite producing near wild-type levels of CPS. Absence of surface expression of capsule was suggested by increased surface hydrophobicity and confirmed by immunogold electron microscopy, which revealed the presence of large vacuoles containing CPS within the cell. GC-MS and NMR analyses of purified capsule from the mutant revealed no apparent changes in polymer structures and lipid anchors. Mutants of NMB0065 homologues in other sialic acid CPS expressing meningococcal serogroups had similar phenotypes. Thus, NMB0065 (CtrG) is not involved in biosynthesis or lipidation of sialic acid-containing capsule but encodes a protein required for proper coupling of the assembly complex to the membrane transport complex allowing surface expression of CPS.
CAPSULE; SIALIC ACID; CAPSULAR POLYSACCHARIDE; NEISSERIA MENINGITIDIS
Real-time PCR (rt-PCR) is a widely used molecular method for detection of
Neisseria meningitidis (Nm). Several rt-PCR assays for Nm
target the capsule transport gene, ctrA. However, over
16% of meningococcal carriage isolates lack ctrA,
rendering this target gene ineffective at identification of this sub-population
of meningococcal isolates. The Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase gene,
sodC, is found in Nm but not in other
Neisseria species. To better identify Nm, regardless of
capsule genotype or expression status, a sodC-based TaqMan
rt-PCR assay was developed and validated. Standard curves revealed an average
lower limit of detection of 73 genomes per reaction at cycle threshold
(Ct) value of 35, with 100% average reaction efficiency
and an average R2 of 0.9925. 99.7% (624/626) of Nm isolates
tested were sodC-positive, with a range of average
Ct values from 13.0 to 29.5. The mean sodC
Ct value of these Nm isolates was 17.6±2.2 (±SD).
Of the 626 Nm tested, 178 were nongroupable (NG) ctrA-negative
Nm isolates, and 98.9% (176/178) of these were detected by
sodC rt-PCR. The assay was 100% specific, with all
244 non-Nm isolates testing negative. Of 157 clinical specimens tested,
sodC detected 25/157 Nm or 4 additional specimens compared
to ctrA and 24 more than culture. Among 582 carriage specimens,
sodC detected Nm in 1 more than ctrA and
in 4 more than culture. This sodC rt-PCR assay is a highly
sensitive and specific method for detection of Nm, especially in carriage
studies where many meningococcal isolates lack capsule genes.
A quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) was licensed in the United States in 2005; no serogroup B vaccine is available. Neisseria meningitidis changes its capsular phenotype through capsular switching, which has implications for vaccines that do not protect against all serogroups.
Meningococcal isolates from 10 Active Bacterial Core Surveillance sites from 2000–2005 were analyzed so that changes following MCV4 licensure can be identified. Isolates were characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and outer membrane protein gene sequencing. Isolates expressing capsular polysaccharide different from that associated with the MLST lineage were considered to demonstrate capsule switching.
Among 1,160 isolates, the most common genetic lineages were the ST-23, ST-32, ST-11, and ST-41/44 clonal complexes. Of serogroup B and Y isolates, 8 (1.5%) and 3 (0.9%), respectively, demonstrated capsular switching, compared to 36 (12.9%) for serogroup C (p <0.0001); most serogroup C switches were from virulent serogroup B and/or serogroup Y lineages.
A limited number of genetic lineages caused the majority of invasive meningococcal infections. A substantial proportion of isolates had evidence of capsular switching. The high prevalence of capsular switching requires surveillance to detect changes in meningococcal population structure that may impact effectiveness of meningococcal vaccines.
Neisseria meningitidis; meningococcus, meningococcal; population structure; multilocus sequence typing; DNA sequencing; outer membrane proteins; fetA; porA; porB; molecular epidemiology; capsular switching
There is only modest overlap in the most common alcohol consumption phenotypes measured in animal studies and those typically studied in humans. To address this issue, we identified a number of alcohol consumption phenotypes of importance to the field that have potential for consilience between human and animal models. These phenotypes can be broken down into three categories: 1) abstinence/the decision to drink or abstain; 2) the actual amount of alcohol consumed and 3) heavy drinking. A number of suggestions for human and animal researchers are made in order to address these phenotypes and enhance consilience. Laboratory studies of the decision to drink or abstain are needed in both human and animal research. In human laboratory studies, heavy or binge drinking that meets cut-offs used in epidemiological and clinical trials should be reported. Greater attention to patterns of drinking over time is needed in both animal and human studies. Individual differences pertaining to all consumption phenotypes should be addressed in animal research. Lastly, improved biomarkers need to be developed in future research for use with both humans and animals. Greater precision in estimating blood alcohol levels in the field together with consistent measurement of breath/blood alcohol levels in human laboratory and animal studies provides one means of achieving greater consilience of alcohol consumption phenotypes.
alcohol; animal models; biomarkers; genetics; heavy drinking; human laboratory models