Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces a number of proteases that are associated with virulence and disease progression. A substrate able to detect P. aeruginosa-specific proteolytic activity could help to rapidly alert clinicians to the virulence potential of individual P. aeruginosa strains. For this purpose we designed a set of P. aeruginosa-specific fluorogenic substrates, comprising fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-labeled peptides, and evaluated their applicability to P. aeruginosa virulence in a range of clinical isolates. A FRET-peptide comprising three glycines (3xGly) was found to be specific for the detection of P. aeruginosa proteases. Further screening of 97 P. aeruginosa clinical isolates showed a wide variation in 3xGly cleavage activity. The absence of 3xGly degradation by a lasI knock out strain indicated that 3xGly cleavage by P. aeruginosa could be quorum sensing (QS)-related, a hypothesis strengthened by the observation of a strong correlation between 3xGly cleavage, LasA staphylolytic activity and pyocyanin production. Additionally, isolates able to cleave 3xGly were more susceptible to the QS inhibiting antibiotic azithromycin (AZM). In conclusion, we designed and evaluated a 3xGly substrate possibly useful as a simple tool to predict virulence and AZM susceptibility.
Antimicrobial peptides are a promising alternative to conventional antibiotics. Plants are an important source of such peptides; their pharmacological properties are known since antiquity. Access to relevant information, however, is not straightforward, as there are practically no major repositories of experimentally validated and/or predicted plant antimicrobial peptides. PhytAMP is the only database dedicated to plant peptides with confirmed antimicrobial action, holding 273 entries. Data on such peptides can be otherwise retrieved from generic repositories.
We present C-PAmP, a database of computationally predicted plant antimicrobial peptides. C-PAmP contains 15,174,905 peptides, 5–100 amino acids long, derived from 33,877 proteins of 2,112 plant species in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot. Its web interface allows queries based on peptide/protein sequence, protein accession number and species. Users can view the corresponding predicted peptides along with their probability score, their classification according to the Collection of Anti-Microbial Peptides (CAMP), and their PhytAMP id where applicable. Moreover, users can visualise protein regions with a high concentration of predicted antimicrobial peptides. In order to identify potential antimicrobial peptides we used a classification algorithm, based on a modified version of the pseudo amino acid concept. The classifier tested all subsequences ranging from 5 to 100 amino acids of the plant proteins in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot and stored those classified as antimicrobial with a high probability score (>90%). Its performance measures across a 10-fold cross-validation are more than satisfactory (accuracy: 0.91, sensitivity: 0.93, specificity: 0.90) and it succeeded in classifying 99.5% of the PhytAMP peptides correctly.
We have compiled a major repository of predicted plant antimicrobial peptides using a highly performing classification algorithm. Our repository is accessible from the web and supports multiple querying options to optimise data retrieval. We hope it will greatly benefit drug design research by significantly limiting the range of plant peptides to be experimentally tested for antimicrobial activity.
The current global spread of multi-resistant Gram-negatives, particularly extended spectrum β-lactamases expressing bacteria, increases the likelihood of inappropriate empiric treatment of critically ill patients with subsequently increased mortality. From a clinical perspective, fast detection of resistant pathogens would allow a pre-emptive correction of an initially inappropriate treatment. Here we present diagnostic amplification-sequencing approach as proof of principal based on the fast molecular detection and correct discrimination of CTX-M-β-lactamases, the most frequent ESBL family. The workflow consists of the isolation of total mRNA and CTX-M-specific reverse transcription (RT), amplification and pyrosequencing. Due to the high variability of the CTX-M-β-lactamase-genes, degenerated primers for RT, qRT as well as for pyrosequencing, were used and the suitability and discriminatory performance of two conserved positions within the CTX-M genes were analyzed, using one protocol for all isolates and positions, respectively. Using this approach, no information regarding the expected CTX-M variant is needed since all sequences are covered by these degenerated primers. The presented workflow can be conducted within eight hours and has the potential to be expanded to other β-lactamase families.
This work describes the characterization of plasmid-mediated quinolone-resistance (PMQR) genes from a multicenter study of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae pediatric clinical isolates in Mexico. The PMQR gene-positive isolates were characterized with respect to ESBLs, and mutations in the GyrA and ParC proteins were determined. The phylogenetic relationship was established by PFGE and the transfer of PMQR genes was determined by mating assays. The prevalence of the PMQR genes was 32.1%, and the rate of qnr-positive isolates was 15.1%; 93.3% of the latter were qnrB and 6.4% were qnrA1. The distribution of isolates in terms of bacterial species was as follows: 23.5% (4/17) corresponded to E. cloacae, 13.7% (7/51) to K. pneumoniae, and 13.6% (6/44) to E. coli. In addition, the prevalence of aac(6’)-Ib-cr and qepA was 15.1% and 1.7%, respectively. The molecular characteristics of qnr- and qepA-positive isolates pointed to extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) CTX-M-15 as the most prevalent one (70.5%), and to SHV-12 in the case of aac(6’)-Ib-cr-positive isolates. GyrA mutations at codons Ser-83 and Asp-87, and ParC mutations at codons Ser-80 were observed in 41.1% and 35.2% of the qnr-positive isolates, respectively. The analysis of the transconjugants revealed a co-transmission of blaCTX-M-15 with the qnrB alleles. In general, the prevalence of PMQR genes (qnr and aac(6’)-Ib-cr) presented in this work was much lower in the pediatric isolates, in comparison to the adult isolates in Mexico. Also, ESBL CTX-M-15 was the main ESBL identified in the pediatric isolates, whereas in the adult ones, ESBLs corresponded to the CTX-M and the SHV families. In comparison with other studies, among the PMQR-genes identified in this study, the qnrB-alleles and the aac(6’)-Ib-cr gene were the most prevalent, whereas the qnrS1, qnrA1 and qnrB-like alleles were the most prevalent in China and Uruguay.
Analysis of the metaproteome of microbial communities is important to provide an insight of community physiology and pathogenicity. This study evaluated the metaproteome of endodontic infections associated with acute apical abscesses and asymptomatic apical periodontitis lesions. Proteins persisting or expressed after root canal treatment were also evaluated. Finally, human proteins associated with these infections were identified. Samples were taken from root canals of teeth with asymptomatic apical periodontitis before and after chemomechanical treatment using either NaOCl or chlorhexidine as the irrigant. Samples from abscesses were taken by aspiration of the purulent exudate. Clinical samples were processed for analysis of the exoproteome by using two complementary mass spectrometry platforms: nanoflow liquid chromatography coupled with linear ion trap quadrupole Velos Orbitrap and liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight. A total of 308 proteins of microbial origin were identified. The number of proteins in abscesses was higher than in asymptomatic cases. In canals irrigated with chlorhexidine, the number of identified proteins decreased substantially, while in the NaOCl group the number of proteins increased. The large majority of microbial proteins found in endodontic samples were related to metabolic and housekeeping processes, including protein synthesis, energy metabolism and DNA processes. Moreover, several other proteins related to pathogenicity and resistance/survival were found, including proteins involved with adhesion, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance, stress proteins, exotoxins, invasins, proteases and endopeptidases (mostly in abscesses), and an archaeal protein linked to methane production. The majority of human proteins detected were related to cellular processes and metabolism, as well as immune defense. Interrogation of the metaproteome of endodontic microbial communities provides information on the physiology and pathogenicity of the community at the time of sampling. There is a growing need for expanded and more curated protein databases that permit more accurate identifications of proteins in metaproteomic studies.
Bacterial biofilm formation can cause serious problems in clinical and industrial settings, which drives the development or screening of biofilm inhibitors. Some biofilm inhibitors have been screened from natural products or modified from natural compounds. Ginger has been used as a medicinal herb to treat infectious diseases for thousands of years, which leads to the hypothesis that it may contain chemicals inhibiting biofilm formation. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated ginger’s ability to inhibit Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 biofilm formation. A static biofilm assay demonstrated that biofilm development was reduced by 39–56% when ginger extract was added to the culture. In addition, various phenotypes were altered after ginger addition of PA14. Ginger extract decreased production of extracellular polymeric substances. This finding was confirmed by chemical analysis and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Furthermore, ginger extract formed noticeably less rugose colonies on agar plates containing Congo red and facilitated swarming motility on soft agar plates. The inhibition of biofilm formation and the altered phenotypes appear to be linked to a reduced level of a second messenger, bis-(3′-5′)-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate. Importantly, ginger extract inhibited biofilm formation in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Also, surface biofilm cells formed with ginger extract detached more easily with surfactant than did those without ginger extract. Taken together, these findings provide a foundation for the possible discovery of a broad spectrum biofilm inhibitor.
The objective of this study was to produce phage display-derived binders with the ability to distinguish Listeria monocytogenes from other Listeria spp., which may have potential utility to enhance detection of Listeria monocytogenes. To obtain binders with the desired binding specificity a series of surface and solution phage-display biopannings were performed. Initially, three rounds of surface biopanning against gamma-irradiated L. monocytogenes serovar 4b cells were performed followed by an additional surface biopanning round against L. monocytogenes 4b which included prior subtraction biopanning against gamma-irradiated L. innocua cells. In an attempt to further enhance binder specificity for L. monocytogenes 4b two rounds of solution biopanning were performed, both rounds included initial subtraction solution biopanning against L. innocua. Subsequent evaluations were performed on the phage clones by phage binding ELISA. All phage clones tested from the second round of solution biopanning had higher specificity for L. monocytogenes 4b than for L. innocua and three other foodborne pathogens (Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli and Campylobacter jejuni). Further evaluation with five other Listeria spp. revealed that one phage clone in particular, expressing peptide GRIADLPPLKPN, was highly specific for L. monocytogenes with at least 43-fold more binding capability to L. monocytogenes 4b than to any other Listeria sp. This proof-of-principle study demonstrates how a combination of surface, solution and subtractive biopanning was used to maximise binder specificity. L. monocytogenes-specific binders were obtained which could have potential application in novel detection tests for L. monocytogenes, benefiting both the food and medical industries.
In this study we sought to determine the contribution of microbial translocation to febrile episodes with no attributable microbiological cause (Fever of Unknown Origin, FUO) in an adult febrile neutropaenic cohort. Endotoxin concentrations were measured with the chromogenic Limulus Amoebocyte Assay and used as a direct measure of bacterial products whilst soluble CD14 (sCD14), measured with ELISA was selected as an indicator of the early host response to endotoxins. Endotoxin concentrations in this cohort were generally elevated but did not differ with the presentation of fever. Further stratification of the febrile episodes based on the microbiological findings revealed significantly (p = 0.0077) elevated endotoxin concentrations in FUO episodes compared with episodes with documented bacterial and viral findings. sCD14 concentrations were however, elevated in febrile episodes (p = 0.0066) and no association was observed between sCD14 concentration and microbiological findings. However, FUO episodes and episodes with Gram-negative bacteraemia were associated with higher median sCD14 concentrations than episodes with Gram-positive bacteraemia (p = 0.030). In conclusion, our findings suggest that in the absence of microbiological findings, microbial translocation could contribute to febrile episodes in an adult neutropaenic cohort. We further observed an association between prophylactic antibiotic use and increased plasma endotoxin concentrations (p = 0.0212).
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a Gram-negative pathogen with emerging nosocomial incidence. Little is known about its pathogenesis and the genomic diversity exhibited by clinical isolates complicates the study of pathogenicity and virulence factors. Here, we present a strategy to identify such factors in new clinical isolates of S. maltophilia, incorporating an adult-zebrafish model of S. maltophilia infection to evaluate relative virulence coupled to 2D difference gel electrophoresis to explore underlying differences in protein expression. In this study we report upon three recent clinical isolates and use the collection strain ATCC13637 as a reference. The adult-zebrafish model shows discrimination capacity, i.e. from very low to very high mortality rates, with clinical symptoms very similar to those observed in natural S. maltophilia infections in fish. Strain virulence correlates with resistance to human serum, in agreement with previous studies in mouse and rat and therefore supporting zebrafish as a replacement model. Despite its clinical origin, the collection strain ATCC13637 showed obvious signs of attenuation in zebrafish, with null mortality. Multilocus-sequence-typing analysis revealed that the most virulent strains, UV74 and M30, exhibit the strongest genetic similitude. Differential proteomic analysis led to the identification of 38 proteins with significantly different abundance in the three clinical strains relative to the reference strain. Orthologs of several of these proteins have been already reported to have a role in pathogenesis, virulence or resistance mechanisms thus supporting our strategy. Proof of concept is further provided by protein Ax21, whose abundance is shown here to be directly proportional to mortality in the zebrafish infection model. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that this protein is a quorum-sensing-related virulence factor.
Background and Objectives
The cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) is a highly conserved exotoxin that are produced by a number of Gram negative bacteria, including Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, and affects mammalian cells by inhibiting cell division and causing apoptosis. A complete cdt-operon is present in the majority of A. actinomycetemcomitans, but the proportion of isolates that lack cdt-encoding genes (A, B and C) varies according to the population studied. The objectives of this study were to examine serotype, Cdt-genotype, and Cdt-activity in isolates of A. actinomycetemcomitans collected from an adolescent West African population and to examine the association between the carrier status of A. actinomycetemcomitans and the progression of attachment loss (AL).
Materials and Methods
A total of 249 A. actinomycetemcomitans isolates from 200 Ghanaian adolescents were examined for serotype and cdt-genotype by PCR. The activity of the Cdt-toxin was examined by DNA-staining of exposed cultured cells and documented with flow cytometry. The periodontal status of the participants was examined at baseline and at a two-year follow-up.
Presence of all three cdt-encoding genes was detected in 79% of the examined A. actinomycetemcomitans isolates. All these isolates showed a substantial Cdt-activity. The two different cdt-genotypes (with and without presence of all three cdt-encoding genes) showed a serotype-dependent distribution pattern. Presence of A. actinomycetemcomitans was significantly associated with progression of AL (OR = 5.126; 95% CI = [2.994–8.779], p<0.001).
A. actinomycetemcomitans isolated from the Ghanaian adolescents showed a distribution of serotype and cdt-genotype in line with results based on other previously studied populations. Presence of A. actinomycetemcomitans was significantly associated with disease progression, in particular the b serotype, whereas the association with disease progression was not particularly related to cdt-genotype, and Cdt-activity.
The presence of adhesins is arguably an important determinant of pathogenicity for Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). Antimicrobial susceptibilities were tested by agar dilution method, fifteen adhesin genes were detected by polymerase chain reaction, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was analyzed in 70 UPEC isolates and 41 commensal E. coli strains. Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) was determined with confirmatory test. The prevalence of ESBL-producers in UPEC (53%, 37/70) was higher than the commensal intestinal isolates (7%, 3/41), and 97% (36/37) of the ESBL-producing UPEC harbored blaCTX-M genes. afa was present in 36% (10/28) UPEC isolates from recurrent lower urinary tract infection (UTI), and none in the acute pyelonephritis, acute uncomplicated cystitis or commensal strains (P<0.0001). papG was detected in 28% (20/70) of UPEC isolates, while 5% (2/41) of the commensal strains were papG positive (P = 0.0025), and the prevalence of papG was significantly higher in acute pyelonephritis group (71%) than the other two UTI groups (P<0.0001). The prevalence of flu, yqi, yadN and ygiL was significantly higher in UPEC isolates than in the commensal strains. ESBL-producing UPEC showed a lower prevalence of adhesin genes compared with non-ESBL-producing strains. The MLST profiles were different between UPEC and commensal strains, with ST131 (19%, 13/70) and ST10 (20%, 8/41) being the most common MLSTs, respectively. This study demonstrated that several adhesin genes were more prevalent in UPEC isolates than in commensal E. coli, and afa may be associated with recurrent lower UTI whereas papG is more frequently associated with acute pyelonephritis.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by elevations in total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc). Development of FH can result in the increase of risk for premature cardiovascular diseases (CVD). FH is primarily caused by genetic variations in Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor (LDLR), Apolipoprotein B (APOB) or Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin type 9 (PCSK9) genes. Although FH has been extensively studied in the Caucasian population, there are limited reports of FH mutations in the Asian population. We investigated the association of previously reported genetic variants that are involved in lipid regulation in our study cohort. A total of 1536 polymorphisms previously implicated in FH were evaluated in 141 consecutive patients with clinical FH (defined by the Dutch Lipid Clinic Network criteria) and 111 unrelated control subjects without FH using high throughput microarray genotyping platform. Fourteen Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) were found to be significantly associated with FH, eleven with increased FH risk and three with decreased FH risk. Of the eleven SNPs associated with an increased risk of FH, only one SNP was found in the LDLR gene, seven in the APOB gene and three in the PCSK9 gene. SNP rs12720762 in APOB gene is associated with the highest risk of FH (odds ratio 14.78, p<0.001). Amongst the FH cases, 108 out of 141 (76.60%) have had at least one significant risk-associated SNP. Our study adds new information and knowledge on the genetic polymorphisms amongst Asians with FH, which may serve as potential markers in risk prediction and disease management.
Cratoxylum arborescens (Vahl) Blume is an Asian herbal medicine with versatile ethnobiological properties including treatment of gastric ulcer. This study evaluated the antiulcerogenic mechanism(s) of α-mangostin (AM) in a rat model of ulcer. AM is a prenylated xanthone derived through biologically guided fractionation of C. arborescens. Rats were orally pretreated with AM and subsequently exposed to acute gastric lesions induced by ethanol. Following treatment, ulcer index, gastric juice acidity, mucus content, histological and immunohistochemical analyses, glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), and nonprotein sulfhydryl groups (NP-SH) were evaluated. The anti-Helicobacter pylori, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitory effect, and antioxidant activity of AM were also investigated in vitro. AM (10 and 30 mg/kg) inhibited significantly (P < 0.05) ethanol-induced gastric lesions by 66.04% and 74.39 %, respectively. The compound induces the expression of Hsp70, restores GSH levels, decreases lipid peroxidation, and inhibits COX-2 activity. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of AM showed an effective in vitro anti-H. pylori activity. The efficacy of the AM was accomplished safely without presenting any toxicological parameters. The results of the present study indicate that the antioxidant properties and the potent anti-H. pylori, in addition to activation of Hsp70 protein, may contribute to the gastroprotective activity of α-mangostin.
The persistent colonization of paranasal sinus mucosa by microbial biofilms is a major factor in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Control of microorganisms within biofilms is hampered by the presence of viscous extracellular polymers of host or microbial origin, including nucleic acids. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of extracellular DNA in biofilm formation by bacteria associated with CRS.
Obstructive mucin was collected from patients during functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Examination of the mucous by transmission electron microscopy revealed an acellular matrix punctuated occasionally with host cells in varying states of degradation. Bacteria were observed in biofilms on mucosal biopsies, and between two and six different species were isolated from each of 20 different patient samples. In total, 16 different bacterial genera were isolated, of which the most commonly identified organisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus and α-haemolytic streptococci. Twenty-four fresh clinical isolates were selected for investigation of biofilm formation in vitro using a microplate model system. Biofilms formed by 14 strains, including all 9 extracellular nuclease-producing bacteria, were significantly disrupted by treatment with a novel bacterial deoxyribonuclease, NucB, isolated from a marine strain of Bacillus licheniformis. Extracellular biofilm matrix was observed in untreated samples but not in those treated with NucB and extracellular DNA was purified from in vitro biofilms.
Our data demonstrate that bacteria associated with CRS form robust biofilms which can be reduced by treatment with matrix-degrading enzymes such as NucB. The dispersal of bacterial biofilms with NucB may offer an additional therapeutic target for CRS sufferers.
The objective of this study was to assess the possible modifications due to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (AMC) treatment on total bacteria and on Bifidobacterium species balance in human colonic microbiota. Eighteen healthy volunteers (19 to 36 years old) were given a 875/125 mg dose of AMC twice a day for 5 days. Fecal samples were obtained before and after antibiotic exposure. After total DNA extraction, total bacteria and bifidobacteria were specifically quantified using real-time PCR. Dominant species were monitored over time using bacterial and bifidobacterial Temporal Temperature Gradient gel Electrophoresis (TTGE). At the end of AMC exposure, total bacterial concentrations as well as bifidobacteria concentrations were significantly reduced compared to before AMC exposure:10.7±0.1 log10 16S rRNA gene copies/g vs 11.1±0.1 log10 (p = 0.003) and 8.1±0.5 log10 16S rRNA gene copies/g vs 9.4±0.3 log10 (p = 0.003), respectively. At the same time, the mean similarity percentages of TTGE bacteria and TTGE bifidobacteria profiles were significantly reduced compared to before AMC exposure: 51.6%±3.5% vs 81.4%±2.1% and 55.8%±7.6% vs 84.5%±4.1%, respectively. Occurrence of B. adolescentis, B. bifidum and B. pseudocatenulatum/B. catenulatum species significantly decreased. Occurrence of B. longum remained stable. Moreover, the number of distinct Bifidobacterium species per sample significantly decreased (1.5±0.3 vs 2.3±0.3; p = 0.01). Two months after AMC exposure, the mean similarity percentage of TTGE profiles was 55.6% for bacteria and 62.3% for bifidobacteria. These results clearly demonstrated that a common antibiotic treatment may qualitatively alter the colonic microbiota. Such modifications may have potential long-term physiological consequences.
An easier assessment model would be helpful for high-throughput screening of Aeromonas virulence. The previous study indicated the potential of Tetrahymena as a permissive model to examine virulence of Aeromonas hydrophila. Here our aim was to assess virulence of Aeromonas spp. using two model hosts, a zebrafish assay and Tetrahymena-Aeromonas co-culture, and to examine whether data from the Tetrahymena thermophila model reflects infections in the well-established animal model. First, virulence of 39 Aeromonas strains was assessed by determining the 50% lethal dose (LD50) in zebrafish. LD50 values ranging from 1.3×102 to 3.0×107 indicated that these strains represent a high to moderate degree of virulence and could be useful to assess virulence in the Tetrahymena model. In Tetrahymena-Aeromonas co-culture, we evaluated the virulence of Aeromonas by detecting relative survival of Aeromonas and Tetrahymena. An Aeromonas isolate was considered virulent when its relative survival was greater than 60%, while the Aeromonas isolate was considered avirulent if its relative survival was below 40%. When relative survival of T. thermophila was lower than 40% after co-culture with an Aeromonas isolate, the bacterial strain was regarded as virulent. In contrast, the strain was classified as avirulent if relative survival of T. thermophila was greater than 50%. Encouragingly, data from the 39 Aeromonas strains showed good correlation in zebrafish and Tetrahymena-Aeromonas co-culture models. The results provide sufficient data to demonstrate that Tetrahymena can be a comparable alternative to zebrafish for determining the virulence of Aeromonas isolates.
Following the discovery of synergistic action between oxacillin and manuka honey against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, this study was undertaken to search for further synergistic combinations of antibiotics and honey that might have potential in treating wounds. Fifteen antibiotics were tested with and without sublethal concentrations of manuka honey against each of MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa using disc diffusion, broth dilution, E strip, chequerboard titration and growth curves. Five novel antibiotic and manuka honey combinations were found that improved antibacterial effectiveness in vitro and these offer a new avenue of future topical treatments for wound infections caused by these two important pathogens.
Bacteria exist, in most environments, as complex, organised communities of sessile cells embedded within a matrix of self-produced, hydrated extracellular polymeric substances known as biofilms. Bacterial biofilms represent a ubiquitous and predominant cause of both chronic infections and infections associated with the use of indwelling medical devices such as catheters and prostheses. Such infections typically exhibit significantly enhanced tolerance to antimicrobial, biocidal and immunological challenge. This renders them difficult, sometimes impossible, to treat using conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Effective alternative approaches for prevention and eradication of biofilm associated chronic and device-associated infections are therefore urgently required. Atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasmas are gaining increasing attention as a potential approach for the eradication and control of bacterial infection and contamination. To date, however, the majority of studies have been conducted with reference to planktonic bacteria and rather less attention has been directed towards bacteria in the biofilm mode of growth. In this study, the activity of a kilohertz-driven atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma jet, operated in a helium oxygen mixture, against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vitro biofilms was evaluated. Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms exhibit marked susceptibility to exposure of the plasma jet effluent, following even relatively short (∼10′s s) exposure times. Manipulation of plasma operating conditions, for example, plasma operating frequency, had a significant effect on the bacterial inactivation rate. Survival curves exhibit a rapid decline in the number of surviving cells in the first 60 seconds followed by slower rate of cell number reduction. Excellent anti-biofilm activity of the plasma jet was also demonstrated by both confocal scanning laser microscopy and metabolism of the tetrazolium salt, XTT, a measure of bactericidal activity.
The extracellular proteome (secretome) of periodontitis-associated bacteria may constitute a major link between periodontitis and systemic diseases. To obtain an overview of the virulence potential of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, an oral and systemic human pathogen implicated in aggressive periodontitis, we used a combined LC-MS/MS and bioinformatics approach to characterize the secretome and protein secretion pathways of the rough-colony serotype a strain D7S. LC-MS/MS revealed 179 proteins secreted during biofilm growth. Further to confirming the release of established virulence factors (e.g. cytolethal distending toxin [CDT], and leukotoxin [LtxA]), we identified additional putative virulence determinants in the secretome. These included DegQ, fHbp, LppC, Macrophage infectivity protein (MIP), NlpB, Pcp, PotD, TolB, and TolC. This finding indicates that the number of extracellular virulence-related proteins is much larger than previously demonstrated, which was also supported by in silico analysis of the strain D7S genome. Moreover, our LC-MS/MS and in silico data revealed that at least Type I, II, and V secretion are actively used to excrete proteins directly into the extracellular space, or via two-step pathways involving the Sec/Tat systems for transport across the inner membrane, and outer membrane factors, secretins and auto-transporters, respectively for delivery across the outer membrane. Taken together, our results provide a molecular basis for further elucidating the role of A. actinomycetemcomitans in periodontal and systemic diseases.
Consortia of microorganisms, commonly known as biofilms, are attracting much attention from the scientific community due to their impact in human activity. As biofilm research grows to be a data-intensive discipline, the need for suitable bioinformatics approaches becomes compelling to manage and validate individual experiments, and also execute inter-laboratory large-scale comparisons. However, biofilm data is widespread across ad hoc, non-standardized individual files and, thus, data interchange among researchers, or any attempt of cross-laboratory experimentation or analysis, is hardly possible or even attempted.
This paper presents BiofOmics, the first publicly accessible Web platform specialized in the management and analysis of data derived from biofilm high-throughput studies. The aim is to promote data interchange across laboratories, implementing collaborative experiments, and enable the development of bioinformatics tools in support of the processing and analysis of the increasing volumes of experimental biofilm data that are being generated. BiofOmics’ data deposition facility enforces data structuring and standardization, supported by controlled vocabulary. Researchers are responsible for the description of the experiments, their results and conclusions. BiofOmics’ curators interact with submitters only to enforce data structuring and the use of controlled vocabulary. Then, BiofOmics’ search facility makes publicly available the profile and data associated with a submitted study so that any researcher can profit from these standardization efforts to compare similar studies, generate new hypotheses to be tested or even extend the conditions experimented in the study.
BiofOmics’ novelty lies in its support to standardized data deposition, the availability of computerizable data files and the free-of-charge dissemination of biofilm studies across the community. Hopefully, this will open promising research possibilities, namely the comparison of results between different laboratories, the reproducibility of methods within and between laboratories, and the development of guidelines and standardized protocols for biofilm formation operating procedures and analytical methods.
The incidence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) has been increasing worldwide, but screening criteria for detection of ESBLs are not standardized for AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae such as Enterobacter species. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of ESBLs and/or AmpC β-lactamases in Japanese clinical isolates of Enterobacter spp. and the association of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) determinants with ESBL producers. A total of 364 clinical isolates of Enterobacter spp. collected throughout Japan between November 2009 and January 2010 were studied. ESBL-producing strains were assessed by the CLSI confirmatory test and the boronic acid disk test. PCR and sequencing were performed to detect CTX-M, TEM, and SHV type ESBLs and PMQR determinants. For ESBL-producing Enterobacter spp., pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed using XbaI restriction enzyme. Of the 364 isolates, 22 (6.0%) were ESBL producers. Seven isolates of Enterobacter cloacae produced CTX-M-3, followed by two isolates producing SHV-12. Two isolates of Enterobacter aerogenes produced CTX-M-2. Of the 22 ESBL producers, 21 had the AmpC enzyme, and six met the criteria for ESBL production in the boronic acid test. We found a significant association of qnrS with CTX-M-3-producing E. cloacae. The 11 ESBL-producing Enterobacter spp. possessing blaCTX-M, blaSHV, or blaTEM were divided into six unique PFGE types. This is the first report about the prevalence of qnr determinants among ESBL-producing Enterobacter spp. from Japan. Our results suggest that ESBL-producing Enterobacter spp. with qnr determinants are spreading in Japan.
The resistance-nodulation-division (RND) efflux systems are ubiquitous transporters that function in antimicrobial resistance. Recent studies showed that RND systems were required for virulence factor production in Vibrio cholerae. The V. cholerae genome encodes six RND efflux systems. Three of the RND systems (VexB, VexD, and VexK) were previously shown to be redundant for in vitro resistance to bile acids and detergents. A mutant lacking the VexB, VexD, and VexK RND pumps produced wild-type levels of cholera toxin (CT) and the toxin co-regulated pilus (TCP) and was moderately attenuated for intestinal colonization. In contrast, a RND negative mutant produced significantly reduced amounts of CT and TCP and displayed a severe colonization defect. This suggested that one or more of the three uncharacterized RND efflux systems (i.e. VexF, VexH, and VexM) were required for pathogenesis. In this study, a genetic approach was used to generate a panel of V. cholerae RND efflux pump mutants in order to determine the function of VexH in antimicrobial resistance, virulence factor production, and intestinal colonization. VexH contributed to in vitro antimicrobial resistance and exhibited a broad substrate specificity that was redundant with the VexB, VexD, and VexK RND efflux pumps. These four efflux pumps were responsible for in vitro antimicrobial resistance and were required for virulence factor production and intestinal colonization. Mutation of the VexF and/or VexM efflux pumps did not affect in vitro antimicrobial resistance, but did negatively affect CT and TCP production. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the V. cholerae RND efflux pumps have redundant functions in antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor production. This suggests that the RND efflux systems contribute to V. cholerae pathogenesis by providing the bacterium with protection against antimicrobial compounds that are present in the host and by contributing to the regulated expression of virulence factors.
Burkholderia cenocepacia causes chronic and life-threatening respiratory infections in immunocompromized people. The B. cenocepacia N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent quorum sensing system relies on the production of AHLs by the synthases CepI and CciI while CepR, CciR and CepR2 control expression of many genes important for pathogenesis. Downstream from, and co-transcribed with cepI, lies BCAM1871 encoding a hypothetical protein that was uncharacterized prior to this study. Orthologs of B. cenocepacia BCAM1871 are uniquely found in Burkholderia spp and are conserved in their genomic locations in pathogenic Burkholderia. We observed significant effects on AHL activity upon mutation or overexpression of BCAM1871, although these effects were more subtle than those observed for CepI indicating BCAM1871 acts as an enhancer of AHL activity. Transcription of cepI, cepR and cciIR was significantly reduced in the BCAM1871 mutant. Swimming and swarming motilities as well as transcription of fliC, encoding flagellin, were significantly reduced in the BCAM1871 mutant. Protease activity and transcription of zmpA and zmpB, encoding extracellular zinc metalloproteases, were undetectable in the BCAM1871 mutant indicating a more significant effect of mutating BCAM1871 than cepI. Exogenous addition of OHL restored cepI, cepR and fliC transcription but had no effect on motility, protease activity or zmpA or zmpB transcription suggesting AHL-independent effects. The BCAM1871 mutant exhibited significantly reduced virulence in rat chronic respiratory and nematode infection models. Gene expression and phenotypic assays as well as vertebrate and invertebrate infection models showed that BCAM1871 significantly contributes to pathogenesis in B. cenocepacia.
Chronic infections resulting from biofilm formation are difficult to eradicate with current antimicrobial agents and consequently new therapies are needed. This work demonstrates that the carbon monoxide-releasing molecule CORM-2, previously shown to kill planktonic bacteria, also attenuates surface-associated growth of the Gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa by both preventing biofilm maturation and killing bacteria within the established biofilm. CORM-2 treatment has an additive effect when combined with tobramycin, a drug commonly used to treat P. aeruginosa lung infections. CORM-2 inhibited biofilm formation and planktonic growth of the majority of clinical P. aeruginosa isolates tested, for both mucoid and non-mucoid strains. While CORM-2 treatment increased the production of reactive oxygen species by P. aeruginosa biofilms, this increase did not correlate with bacterial death. These data demonstrate that CO-RMs possess potential novel therapeutic properties against a subset of P. aeruginosa biofilm related infections.