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1.  Evaluation of Reduced Susceptibility to Quaternary Ammonium Compounds and Bisbiguanides in Clinical Isolates and Laboratory-Generated Mutants of Staphylococcus aureus 
The MICs and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) for the biocides benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine were determined against 1,602 clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus. Both compounds showed unimodal MIC and MBC distributions (2 and 4 or 8 mg/liter, respectively) with no apparent subpopulation with reduced susceptibility. To investigate further, all isolates were screened for qac genes, and 39 of these also had the promoter region of the NorA multidrug-resistant (MDR) efflux pump sequenced. The presence of qacA, qacB, qacC, and qacG genes increased the mode MIC, but not MBC, to benzalkonium chloride, while only qacA and qacB increased the chlorhexidine mode MIC. Isolates with a wild-type norA promoter or mutations in the norA promoter had similar biocide MIC distributions; notably, not all clinical isolates with norA mutations were resistant to fluoroquinolones. In vitro efflux mutants could be readily selected with ethidium bromide and acriflavine. Multiple passages were necessary to select mutants with biocides, but these mutants showed phenotypes comparable to those of mutants selected by dyes. All mutants showed changes in the promoter region of norA, but these were distinct from this region of the clinical isolates. Still, none of the in vitro mutants displayed fitness defects in a killing assay in Galleria mellonella larvae. In conclusion, our data provide an in-depth comparative overview on efflux in S. aureus mutants and clinical isolates, showing also that plasmid-encoded efflux pumps did not affect bactericidal activity of biocides. In addition, current in vitro tests appear not to be suitable for predicting levels of resistance that are clinically relevant.
PMCID: PMC3719693  PMID: 23669380
2.  Draft Genome Sequence of Chromate-Resistant and Biofilm-Producing Strain Pseudomonas alcaliphila 34 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(1):e00125-12.
We report the draft genome sequence of Pseudomonas alcaliphila 34, a Cr(VI)-hyperresistant and biofilm-producing bacterium that might be used for the bioremediation of chromate-polluted soils. The genome sequence might be helpful in exploring the mechanisms involved in chromium resistance and biofilm formation.
PMCID: PMC3587930  PMID: 23469336
3.  Filling gaps in PPAR-alpha signaling through comparative nutrigenomics analysis 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:596.
The application of high-throughput genomic tools in nutrition research is a widespread practice. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the outcome of individual expression studies is insufficient for the comprehensive understanding of such a complex field. Currently, the availability of the large amounts of expression data in public repositories has opened up new challenges on microarray data analyses. We have focused on PPARα, a ligand-activated transcription factor functioning as fatty acid sensor controlling the gene expression regulation of a large set of genes in various metabolic organs such as liver, small intestine or heart. The function of PPARα is strictly connected to the function of its target genes and, although many of these have already been identified, major elements of its physiological function remain to be uncovered. To further investigate the function of PPARα, we have applied a cross-species meta-analysis approach to integrate sixteen microarray datasets studying high fat diet and PPARα signal perturbations in different organisms.
We identified 164 genes (MDEGs) that were differentially expressed in a constant way in response to a high fat diet or to perturbations in PPARs signalling. In particular, we found five genes in yeast which were highly conserved and homologous of PPARα targets in mammals, potential candidates to be used as models for the equivalent mammalian genes. Moreover, a screening of the MDEGs for all known transcription factor binding sites and the comparison with a human genome-wide screening of Peroxisome Proliferating Response Elements (PPRE), enabled us to identify, 20 new potential candidate genes that show, both binding site, both change in expression in the condition studied. Lastly, we found a non random localization of the differentially expressed genes in the genome.
The results presented are potentially of great interest to resume the currently available expression data, exploiting the power of in silico analysis filtered by evolutionary conservation. The analysis enabled us to indicate potential gene candidates that could fill in the gaps with regards to the signalling of PPARα and, moreover, the non-random localization of the differentially expressed genes in the genome, suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are of importance in the regulation of the transcription operated by PPARα.
PMCID: PMC2801700  PMID: 20003344

Results 1-3 (3)