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1.  A straightforward and efficient analytical pipeline for metaproteome characterization 
Microbiome  2014;2(1):49.
The massive characterization of host-associated and environmental microbial communities has represented a real breakthrough in the life sciences in the last years. In this context, metaproteomics specifically enables the transition from assessing the genomic potential to actually measuring the functional expression of a microbiome. However, significant research efforts are still required to develop analysis pipelines optimized for metaproteome characterization.
This work presents an efficient analytical pipeline for shotgun metaproteomic analysis, combining bead-beating/freeze-thawing for protein extraction, filter-aided sample preparation for cleanup and digestion, and single-run liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for peptide separation and identification. The overall procedure is more time-effective and less labor-intensive when compared to state-of-the-art metaproteomic techniques. The pipeline was first evaluated using mock microbial mixtures containing different types of bacteria and yeasts, enabling the identification of up to over 15,000 non-redundant peptide sequences per run with a linear dynamic range from 104 to 108 colony-forming units. The pipeline was then applied to the mouse fecal metaproteome, leading to the overall identification of over 13,000 non-redundant microbial peptides with a false discovery rate of <1%, belonging to over 600 different microbial species and 250 functionally relevant protein families. An extensive mapping of the main microbial metabolic pathways actively functioning in the gut microbiome was also achieved.
The analytical pipeline presented here may be successfully used for the in-depth and time-effective characterization of complex microbial communities, such as the gut microbiome, and represents a useful tool for the microbiome research community.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40168-014-0049-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4266899  PMID: 25516796
Gut microbiota; Microbial community; Mouse; Metaproteomics; Protein extraction; Proteomic methods; Shotgun proteomics; Mass spectrometry; LC-MS/MS; Single-run liquid chromatography
2.  Impact of three commercial feed formulations on farmed gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata, L.) metabolism as inferred from liver and blood serum proteomics 
Proteome Science  2014;12(1):44.
The zootechnical performance of three different commercial feeds and their impact on liver and serum proteins of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata, L.) were assessed in a 12 week feeding trial. The three feeds, named A, B, and C, were subjected to lipid and protein characterization by gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), respectively.
Feed B was higher in fish-derived lipids and proteins, while feeds C and A were higher in vegetable components, although the largest proportion of feed C proteins was represented by pig hemoglobin. According to biometric measurements, the feeds had significantly different impacts on fish growth, producing a higher average weight gain and a lower liver somatic index in feed B over feeds A and C, respectively. 2D DIGE/MS analysis of liver tissue and Ingenuity pathways analysis (IPA) highlighted differential changes in proteins involved in key metabolic pathways of liver, spanning carbohydrate, lipid, protein, and oxidative metabolism. In addition, serum proteomics revealed interesting changes in apolipoproteins, transferrin, warm temperature acclimation-related 65 kDa protein (Wap65), fibrinogen, F-type lectin, and alpha-1-antitrypsin.
This study highlights the contribution of proteomics for understanding and improving the metabolic compatibility of feeds for marine aquaculture, and opens new perspectives for its monitoring with serological tests.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12953-014-0044-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4200174  PMID: 25342931
Gilthead sea bream; Aquaculture; Fish feed; Farmed fish; Liver proteins; Serum proteins; 2D DIGE; Mass spectrometry; Ingenuity pathway analysis; Proteomics
3.  An Easy and Efficient Method for Native and Immunoreactive Echinococcus granulosus Antigen 5 Enrichment from Hydatid Cyst Fluid 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104962.
Currently, the serodiagnosis of cystic echinococcosis relies mostly on crude Echinococcus granulosus hydatid cyst fluid as the antigen. Consequently, available immunodiagnostic tests lack standardization of the target antigen and, in turn, this is reflected on poor sensitivity and specificity of the serological diagnosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here, a chromatographic method enabling the generation of highly enriched Antigen 5 (Ag5) is described. The procedure is very easy, efficient and reproducible, since different hydatid cyst fluid (HCF) sources produced very similar chromatograms, notwithstanding the clearly evident and extreme heterogeneity of the starting material. In addition, the performance of the antigen preparation in immunological assays was preliminarily assessed by western immunoblotting and ELISA on a limited panel of cystic echinococcosis patients and healthy controls. Following western immunoblotting and ELISA experiments, a high reactivity of patient sera was seen, with unambiguous and highly specific results.
The methods and results reported open interesting perspectives for the development of sensitive diagnostic tools to enable the timely and unambiguous detection of cystic echinococcosis antibodies in patient sera.
PMCID: PMC4132071  PMID: 25119821
4.  Critical comparison of sample preparation strategies for shotgun proteomic analysis of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples: insights from liver tissue 
Clinical Proteomics  2014;11(1):28.
The growing field of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue proteomics holds promise for improving translational research. Direct tissue trypsinization (DT) and protein extraction followed by in solution digestion (ISD) or filter-aided sample preparation (FASP) are the most common workflows for shotgun analysis of FFPE samples, but a critical comparison of the different methods is currently lacking.
Experimental design
DT, FASP and ISD workflows were compared by subjecting to the same label-free quantitative approach three independent technical replicates of each method applied to FFPE liver tissue. Data were evaluated in terms of method reproducibility and protein/peptide distribution according to localization, MW, pI and hydrophobicity.
DT showed lower reproducibility, good preservation of high-MW proteins, a general bias towards hydrophilic and acidic proteins, much lower keratin contamination, as well as higher abundance of non-tryptic peptides. Conversely, FASP and ISD proteomes were depleted in high-MW proteins and enriched in hydrophobic and membrane proteins; FASP provided higher identification yields, while ISD exhibited higher reproducibility.
These results highlight that diverse sample preparation strategies provide significantly different proteomic information, and present typical biases that should be taken into account when dealing with FFPE samples. When a sufficient amount of tissue is available, the complementary use of different methods is suggested to increase proteome coverage and depth.
PMCID: PMC4115481  PMID: 25097466
Archival tissues; FASP; FFPE; LC-MS/MS; Protein extraction
5.  Production and Release of Antimicrobial and Immune Defense Proteins by Mammary Epithelial Cells following Streptococcus uberis Infection of Sheep 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(9):3182-3197.
Investigating the innate immune response mediators released in milk has manifold implications, spanning from elucidation of the role played by mammary epithelial cells (MECs) in fighting microbial infections to the discovery of novel diagnostic markers for monitoring udder health in dairy animals. Here, we investigated the mammary gland response following a two-step experimental infection of lactating sheep with the mastitis-associated bacterium Streptococcus uberis. The establishment of infection was confirmed both clinically and by molecular methods, including PCR and fluorescent in situ hybridization of mammary tissues. Proteomic investigation of the milk fat globule (MFG), a complex vesicle released by lactating MECs, enabled detection of enrichment of several proteins involved in inflammation, chemotaxis of immune cells, and antimicrobial defense, including cathelicidins and calprotectin (S100A8/S100A9), in infected animals, suggesting the consistent involvement of MECs in the innate immune response to pathogens. The ability of MECs to produce and release antimicrobial and immune defense proteins was then demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and confocal immunomicroscopy of cathelicidin and the calprotectin subunit S100A9 on mammary tissues. The time course of their release in milk was also assessed by Western immunoblotting along the course of the experimental infection, revealing the rapid increase of these proteins in the MFG fraction in response to the presence of bacteria. Our results support an active role of MECs in the innate immune response of the mammary gland and provide new potential for the development of novel and more sensitive tools for monitoring mastitis in dairy animals.
PMCID: PMC3754230  PMID: 23774600
6.  Evaluating the Impact of Different Sequence Databases on Metaproteome Analysis: Insights from a Lab-Assembled Microbial Mixture 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82981.
Metaproteomics enables the investigation of the protein repertoire expressed by complex microbial communities. However, to unleash its full potential, refinements in bioinformatic approaches for data analysis are still needed. In this context, sequence databases selection represents a major challenge.
This work assessed the impact of different databases in metaproteomic investigations by using a mock microbial mixture including nine diverse bacterial and eukaryotic species, which was subjected to shotgun metaproteomic analysis. Then, both the microbial mixture and the single microorganisms were subjected to next generation sequencing to obtain experimental metagenomic- and genomic-derived databases, which were used along with public databases (namely, NCBI, UniProtKB/SwissProt and UniProtKB/TrEMBL, parsed at different taxonomic levels) to analyze the metaproteomic dataset. First, a quantitative comparison in terms of number and overlap of peptide identifications was carried out among all databases. As a result, only 35% of peptides were common to all database classes; moreover, genus/species-specific databases provided up to 17% more identifications compared to databases with generic taxonomy, while the metagenomic database enabled a slight increment in respect to public databases. Then, database behavior in terms of false discovery rate and peptide degeneracy was critically evaluated. Public databases with generic taxonomy exhibited a markedly different trend compared to the counterparts. Finally, the reliability of taxonomic attribution according to the lowest common ancestor approach (using MEGAN and Unipept software) was assessed. The level of misassignments varied among the different databases, and specific thresholds based on the number of taxon-specific peptides were established to minimize false positives. This study confirms that database selection has a significant impact in metaproteomics, and provides critical indications for improving depth and reliability of metaproteomic results. Specifically, the use of iterative searches and of suitable filters for taxonomic assignments is proposed with the aim of increasing coverage and trustworthiness of metaproteomic data.
PMCID: PMC3857319  PMID: 24349410
7.  Mycoplasma agalactiae MAG_5040 is a Mg2+-Dependent, Sugar-Nonspecific SNase Recognised by the Host Humoral Response during Natural Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57775.
In this study the enzymatic activity of Mycoplasma agalactiae MAG_5040, a magnesium-dependent nuclease homologue to the staphylococcal SNase was characterized and its antigenicity during natural infections was established. A UGA corrected version of MAG_5040, lacking the region encoding the signal peptide, was expressed in Escherichia coli as a GST fusion protein. Recombinant GST-MAG_5040 exhibits nuclease activity similar to typical sugar-nonspecific endo- and exonucleases, with DNA as the preferred substrate and optimal activity in the presence of 20 mM MgCl2 at temperatures ranging from 37 to 45°C. According to in silico analyses, the position of the gene encoding MAG_5040 is consistently located upstream an ABC transporter, in most sequenced mycoplasmas belonging to the Mycoplasma hominis group. In M. agalactiae, MAG_5040 is transcribed in a polycistronic RNA together with the ABC transporter components and with MAG_5030, which is predicted to be a sugar solute binding protein by 3D modeling and homology search. In a natural model of sheep and goats infection, anti-MAG_5040 antibodies were detected up to 9 months post infection. Taking into account its enzymatic activity, MAG_5040 could play a key role in Mycoplasma agalactiae survival into the host, contributing to host pathogenicity. The identification of MAG_5040 opens new perspectives for the development of suitable tools for the control of contagious agalactia in small ruminants.
PMCID: PMC3585158  PMID: 23469065
8.  Proteomics and Pathway Analyses of the Milk Fat Globule in Sheep Naturally Infected by Mycoplasma agalactiae Provide Indications of the In Vivo Response of the Mammary Epithelium to Bacterial Infection ▿ ‡  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(9):3833-3845.
Milk fat globules (MFGs) are vesicles released in milk as fat droplets surrounded by the endoplasmic reticulum and apical cell membranes. During formation and apocrine secretion by lactocytes, various amounts of cytoplasmic crescents remain trapped within the released vesicle, making MFGs a natural sampling mechanism of the lactating cell contents. With the aim of investigating the events occurring in the mammary epithelium during bacterial infection, the MFG proteome was characterized by two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE), SDS-PAGE followed by shotgun liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GeLC-MS/MS), label-free quantification by the normalized spectral abundance factor (NSAF) approach, Western blotting, and pathway analysis, using sheep naturally infected by Mycoplasma agalactiae. A number of protein classes were found to increase in MFGs upon infection, including proteins involved in inflammation and host defense, cortical cytoskeleton proteins, heat shock proteins, and proteins related to oxidative stress. Conversely, a strikingly lower abundance was observed for proteins devoted to MFG metabolism and secretion. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing proteomic changes occurring in MFGs during sheep infectious mastitis. The results presented here offer new insights into the in vivo response of mammary epithelial cells to bacterial infection and open the way to the discovery of protein biomarkers for monitoring clinical and subclinical mastitis.
PMCID: PMC3165467  PMID: 21690237
9.  A Genome-Wide Association Scan on the Levels of Markers of Inflammation in Sardinians Reveals Associations That Underpin Its Complex Regulation 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(1):e1002480.
Identifying the genes that influence levels of pro-inflammatory molecules can help to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this process. We first conducted a two-stage genome-wide association scan (GWAS) for the key inflammatory biomarkers Interleukin-6 (IL-6), the general measure of inflammation erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in a large cohort of individuals from the founder population of Sardinia. By analysing 731,213 autosomal or X chromosome SNPs and an additional ∼1.9 million imputed variants in 4,694 individuals, we identified several SNPs associated with the selected quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and replicated all the top signals in an independent sample of 1,392 individuals from the same population. Next, to increase power to detect and resolve associations, we further genotyped the whole cohort (6,145 individuals) for 293,875 variants included on the ImmunoChip and MetaboChip custom arrays. Overall, our combined approach led to the identification of 9 genome-wide significant novel independent signals—5 of which were identified only with the custom arrays—and provided confirmatory evidence for an additional 7. Novel signals include: for IL-6, in the ABO gene (rs657152, p = 2.13×10−29); for ESR, at the HBB (rs4910472, p = 2.31×10−11) and UCN119B/SPPL3 (rs11829037, p = 8.91×10−10) loci; for MCP-1, near its receptor CCR2 (rs17141006, p = 7.53×10−13) and in CADM3 (rs3026968, p = 7.63×10−13); for hsCRP, within the CRP gene (rs3093077, p = 5.73×10−21), near DARC (rs3845624, p = 1.43×10−10), UNC119B/SPPL3 (rs11829037, p = 1.50×10−14), and ICOSLG/AIRE (rs113459440, p = 1.54×10−08) loci. Confirmatory evidence was found for IL-6 in the IL-6R gene (rs4129267); for ESR at CR1 (rs12567990) and TMEM57 (rs10903129); for MCP-1 at DARC (rs12075); and for hsCRP at CRP (rs1205), HNF1A (rs225918), and APOC-I (rs4420638). Our results improve the current knowledge of genetic variants underlying inflammation and provide novel clues for the understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating this complex process.
Author Summary
Inflammation is a protective response of our organism to harmful stimuli—such as germs, damaged cells, or irritants—and to initiate the healing process. It has also been implicated, with both protective and predisposing effects, in a number of different diseases; but many important details of this complex phenomenon are still unknown. Identifying the genes that influence levels of pro-inflammatory molecules can help to elucidate the factors and mechanisms underlying inflammation and their consequence on health. Genome-wide association scans (GWAS) have proved successful in revealing robust associations in both common diseases and quantitative traits. Here, we thus performed a multistage GWAS in a large cohort of individuals from Sardinia to examine the role of common genetic variants on the key inflammatory biomarkers Interleukin-6, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Our work identified new genetic determinants associated with the quantitative levels of these inflammatory biomarkers and confirmed known ones. Overall, the data highlight an intricate regulation of this complex biological phenomenon and reveal proteins and mechanisms that can now be followed up with adequate functional studies.
PMCID: PMC3266885  PMID: 22291609
10.  Novel docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles based on poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide-co-caprolactone) for prostate cancer treatment: formulation, characterization, and cytotoxicity studies 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):260.
Docetaxel (Dtx) chemotherapy is the optional treatment in patients with hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer, and Dtx-loaded polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) have the potential to induce durable clinical responses. However, alternative formulations are needed to overcome the serious side effects, also due to the adjuvant used, and to improve the clinical efficacy of the drug.
In the present study, two novel biodegradable block-copolymers, poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLA-PCL) and poly(lactide-co-caprolactone-co-glycolide) (PLGA-PCL), were explored for the formulation of Dtx-loaded NPs and compared with PLA- and PLGA-NPs. The nanosystems were prepared by an original nanoprecipitation method, using Pluronic F-127 as surfactant agent, and were characterized in terms of morphology, size distribution, encapsulation efficiency, crystalline structure, and in vitro release. To evaluate the potential anticancer efficacy of a nanoparticulate system, in vitro cytotoxicity studies on human prostate cancer cell line (PC3) were carried out. NPs were found to be of spherical shape with an average diameter in the range of 100 to 200 nm and a unimodal particle size distribution. Dtx was incorporated into the PLGA-PCL NPs with higher (p < 0.05) encapsulation efficiency than that of other polymers. Differential scanning calorimetry suggested that Dtx was molecularly dispersed in the polymeric matrices. In vitro drug release study showed that release profiles of Dtx varied on the bases of characteristics of polymers used for formulation. PLA-PCL and PLGA-PCL drug loaded NPs shared an overlapping release profiles, and are able to release about 90% of drug within 6 h, when compared with PLA- and PLGA-NPs. Moreover, cytotoxicity studies demonstrated advantages of the Dtx-loaded PLGA-PCL NPs over pure Dtx in both time- and concentration-dependent manner. In particular, an increase of 20% of PC3 growth inhibition was determined by PLGA-PCL NPs with respect to free drug after 72 h incubation and at all tested Dtx concentration. In summary, PLGA-PCL copolymer may be considered as an attractive and promising polymeric material for the formulation of Dtx NPs as delivery system for prostate cancer treatment, and can also be pursued as a validated system in a more large context.
PMCID: PMC3211323  PMID: 21711774
11.  Influence of Moraxella sp. colonization on the kidney proteome of farmed gilthead sea breams (Sparus aurata, L.) 
Proteome Science  2010;8:50.
Currently, presence of Moraxella sp. in internal organs of fish is not considered detrimental for fish farming. However, bacterial colonization of internal organs can affect fish wellness and decrease growth rate, stress resistance, and immune response. Recently, there have been reports by farmers concerning slow growth, poor feed conversion, and low average weight increase of fish farmed in offshore floating sea cages, often associated with internal organ colonization by Moraxella sp. Therefore, presence of these opportunistic bacteria deserves further investigations for elucidating incidence and impact on fish metabolism.
A total of 960 gilthead sea breams (Sparus aurata, L.), collected along 17 months from four offshore sea cage plants and two natural lagoons in Sardinia, were subjected to routine microbiological examination of internal organs throughout the production cycle. Thirteen subjects (1.35%) were found positive for Moraxella sp. in the kidney (7), brain (3), eye (1), spleen (1), and perivisceral fat (1). In order to investigate the influence of Moraxella sp. colonization, positive and negative kidney samples were subjected to a differential proteomics study by means of 2-D PAGE and mass spectrometry. Interestingly, Moraxella sp. infected kidneys displayed a concerted upregulation of several mitochondrial enzymes compared to negative tissues, reinforcing previous observations following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge in fish.
Presence of Moraxella sp. in farmed sea bream kidney is able to induce proteome alterations similar to those described following LPS challenge in other fish species. This study revealed that Moraxella sp. might be causing metabolic alterations in fish, and provided indications on proteins that could be investigated as markers of infection by Gram-negative bacteria within farming plants.
PMCID: PMC2964643  PMID: 20939867
12.  The liposoluble proteome of Mycoplasma agalactiae: an insight into the minimal protein complement of a bacterial membrane 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:225.
Mycoplasmas are the simplest bacteria capable of autonomous replication. Their evolution proceeded from gram-positive bacteria, with the loss of many biosynthetic pathways and of the cell wall. In this work, the liposoluble protein complement of Mycoplasma agalactiae, a minimal bacterial pathogen causing mastitis, polyarthritis, keratoconjunctivitis, and abortion in small ruminants, was subjected to systematic characterization in order to gain insights into its membrane proteome composition.
The selective enrichment for M. agalactiae PG2T liposoluble proteins was accomplished by means of Triton X-114 fractionation. Liposoluble proteins were subjected to 2-D PAGE-MS, leading to the identification of 40 unique proteins and to the generation of a reference 2D map of the M. agalactiae liposoluble proteome. Liposoluble proteins from the type strain PG2 and two field isolates were then compared by means of 2D DIGE, revealing reproducible differences in protein expression among isolates. An in-depth analysis was then performed by GeLC-MS/MS in order to achieve a higher coverage of the liposoluble proteome. Using this approach, a total of 194 unique proteins were identified, corresponding to 26% of all M. agalactiae PG2T genes. A gene ontology analysis and classification for localization and function was also carried out on all protein identifications. Interestingly, the 11.5% of expressed membrane proteins derived from putative horizontal gene transfer events.
This study led to the in-depth systematic characterization of the M. agalactiae liposoluble protein component, providing useful insights into its membrane organization.
PMCID: PMC2941501  PMID: 20738845
13.  Spontaneous feline mammary intraepithelial lesions as a model for human estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-negative breast lesions 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:156.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. Intraepithelial lesions (IELs), such as usual ductal hyperplasia (UH), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are risk factors that predict a woman's chance of developing invasive breast cancer. Therefore, a comparative study that establishes an animal model of pre-invasive lesions is needed for the development of preventative measures and effective treatment for both mammary IELs and tumors. The purpose of this study was to characterize the histologic and molecular features of feline mammary IELs and compare them with those in women.
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens (n = 205) from 203 female cats with clinical mammary disease were retrieved from the archives of the Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and Veterinary Teaching Hospital (West Lafayette, IN), and the Department of Pathology and Veterinary Clinic, School of Veterinary Medicine (Sassari, Italy). Histologic sections, stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE), were evaluated for the presence of IELs in tissue adjacent to excised mammary tumors. Lesions were compared to those of humans. Immunohistochemistry for estrogen receptor (ER-alpha), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) and Ki-67 was performed in IELs and adjacent tumor tissues.
Intraepithelial lesions were found in 57 of 203 (28%) feline mammary specimens and were categorized as UH (27%), ADH (29%), and DCIS (44%). Most IELs with atypia (ADH and DCIS) were associated with mammary cancer (91%), whereas UH was associated with benign lesions in 53% of cases. Feline IELs were remarkably similar to human IELs. No ER or PR immunoreactivity was detected in intermediate-grade or high-grade DCIS or their associated malignant tumors. HER-2 protein overexpression was found in 27% of IELs.
The remarkable similarity of feline mammary IELs to those of humans, with the tendency to lose hormone receptor expression in atypical IELs, supports the cat as a possible model to study ER- and PR-negative breast lesions.
PMCID: PMC2873946  PMID: 20412586
14.  Virulence Attenuation and Live Vaccine Potential of aroA, crp cdt cya, and Plasmid-Cured Mutants of Salmonella enterica Serovar Abortusovis in Mice and Sheep  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(7):4302-4308.
Three live vaccine candidates of Salmonella enterica subspecies I serotype Abortusovis (aroA, cya crp cdt, and plasmid-cured strains) have been developed, and their efficacies in inducing humoral antibodies and protecting against abortion after challenge with wild-type strain SS44 were evaluated in sheep. Following estrus synchronization, animals were immunized 3 weeks after fertilization and boosted once 3 weeks later. Following challenge with wild-type SS44, pregnancy failure of vaccinated ewes was reduced compared to that of nonimmunized controls. Attenuation of each vaccine was also assessed in challenge experiments with nonimmunized pregnant ewes and in BALB/c mice. All three vaccine candidates appear to be safe for use in sheep and provide a model for the development of live vaccine candidates against naturally occurring ovine salmonellosis.
PMCID: PMC1168578  PMID: 15972523
15.  Transposition of the Heat-Stable Toxin astA Gene into a Gifsy-2-Related Prophage of Salmonella enterica Serovar Abortusovis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(14):4568-4574.
The horizontal transfer and acquisition of virulence genes via mobile genetic elements have been a major driving force in the evolution of Salmonella pathogenicity. Serovars of Salmonella enterica carry variable assortments of phage-encoded virulence genes, suggesting that temperate phages play a pivotal role in this process. Epidemic isolates of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium are consistently lysogenic for two lambdoid phages, Gifsy-1 and Gifsy-2, carrying known virulence genes. Other serovars of S. enterica, including serovars Dublin, Gallinarum, Enteritidis, and Hadar, carry distinct prophages with similarity to the Gifsy phages. In this study, we analyzed Gifsy-related loci from S. enterica serovar Abortusovis, a pathogen associated exclusively with ovine infection. A cryptic prophage, closely related to serovar Typhimurium phage Gifsy-2, was identified. This element, named Gifsy-2AO, was shown to contribute to serovar Abortusovis systemic infection in lambs. Sequence analysis of the prophage b region showed a large deletion which covers genes encoding phage tail fiber proteins and putative virulence factors, including type III secreted effector protein SseI (GtgB, SrfH). This deletion was identified in most of the serovar Abortusovis isolates tested and might be dependent on the replicative transposition of an adjacent insertion sequence, IS1414, previously identified in pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. IS1414 encodes heat-stable toxin EAST1 (astA) and showed multiple genomic copies in isolates of serovar Abortusovis. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of intergeneric transfer of virulence genes via insertion sequence elements in Salmonella. The acquisition of IS1414 (EAST1) and its frequent transposition within the chromosome might improve the fitness of serovar Abortusovis within its narrow ecological niche.
PMCID: PMC438552  PMID: 15231789
16.  Identification of GtgE, a Novel Virulence Factor Encoded on the Gifsy-2 Bacteriophage of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(19):5234-5239.
The Gifsy-2 temperate bacteriophage of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium contributes significantly to the pathogenicity of strains that carry it as a prophage. Previous studies have shown that Gifsy-2 encodes SodCI, a periplasmic Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, and at least one additional virulence factor. Gifsy-2 encodes a Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 type III secreted effector protein. Sequence analysis of the Gifsy-2 genome also identifies several open reading frames with homology to those of known virulence genes. However, we found that null mutations in these genes did not individually have a significant effect on the ability of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium to establish a systemic infection in mice. Using deletion analysis, we have identified a gene, gtgE, which is necessary for the full virulence of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium Gifsy-2 lysogens. Together, GtgE and SodCI account for the contribution of Gifsy-2 to S. enterica serovar Typhimurium virulence in the murine model.
PMCID: PMC135366  PMID: 12218008
17.  Salmonella enterica Serovar-Host Specificity Does Not Correlate with the Magnitude of Intestinal Invasion in Sheep 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(5):3092-3099.
The colonization of intestinal and systemic tissues by Salmonella enterica serovars with different host specificities was determined 7 days after inoculation of 1 to 2-month-old lambs. Following oral inoculation, S. enterica serovars Abortusovis, Dublin, and Gallinarum were recovered in comparable numbers from the intestinal mucosa, but serovar Gallinarum was recovered in lower numbers than the other serovars from systemic sites. The pattern of bacterial recovery from systemic sites following intravenous inoculation was similar. The magnitude of intestinal invasion was evaluated in ovine ligated ileal loops in vivo. Serovars Dublin and Gallinarum and the broad-host-range Salmonella serovar Typhimurium were recovered in comparable numbers from ileal mucosa 3 h after loop inoculation, whereas the recovery of serovar Abortusovis was approximately 10-fold lower. Microscopic analysis of intestinal mucosae infected with serovars Typhimurium and Dublin showed dramatic morphological changes and infiltration of inflammatory cells, whereas mucosae infected with serovars Abortusovis and Gallinarum were indistinguishable from uninfected mucosae. Together these data suggest that Salmonella serovar specificity in sheep correlates with bacterial persistence at systemic sites. Intestinal invasion and avoidance of the host's intestinal inflammatory response may contribute to but do not determine the specificity of serovar Abortosovis for sheep. Intestinal invasion by serovar Abortusovis was significantly reduced after mutation of invH but was not reduced following curing of the virulence plasmid, suggesting that the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 influences but the virulence plasmid genes do not influence the ability of serovar Abortusovis to invade the intestinal mucosa in sheep.
PMCID: PMC98264  PMID: 11292728
18.  Zonula Occludens Toxin Is a Powerful Mucosal Adjuvant for Intranasally Delivered Antigens 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(3):1287-1291.
Zonula occludens toxin (Zot) is produced by toxigenic strains of Vibrio cholerae and has the ability to reversibly alter intestinal epithelial tight junctions, allowing the passage of macromolecules through the mucosal barrier. In the present study, we investigated whether Zot could be exploited to deliver soluble antigens through the nasal mucosa for the induction of antigen-specific systemic and mucosal immune responses. Intranasal immunization of mice with ovalbumin (Ova) and recombinant Zot, either fused to the maltose-binding protein (MBP-Zot) or with a hexahistidine tag (His-Zot), induced anti-Ova serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers that were approximately 40-fold higher than those induced by immunization with antigen alone. Interestingly, Zot also stimulated high anti-Ova IgA titers in serum, as well as in vaginal and intestinal secretions. A comparison with Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) revealed that the adjuvant activity of Zot was only sevenfold lower than that of LT. Moreover, Zot and LT induced similar patterns of Ova-specific IgG subclasses. The subtypes IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b were all stimulated, with a predominance of IgG1 and IgG2b. In conclusion, our results highlight Zot as a novel potent mucosal adjuvant of microbial origin.
PMCID: PMC96458  PMID: 10024572

Results 1-18 (18)