Fluoroquinolone prophylaxis in patients with neutropenia and hematological malignancies is said to be effective on febrile netropenia (FN)-related infection and mortality; however, the emergence of antibiotic resistance has become a concern. Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin prophylaxis are most commonly recommended. A significant increase in the rate of quinolone-resistant Escherichia coli in fecal flora has been reported following ciprofloxacin prophylaxis. The acquisition of quinolone-resistant E. coli after levofloxacin use has not been evaluated.
We prospectively examined the incidence of quinolone-resistant E. coli isolates recovered from stool cultures before and after levofloxacin prophylaxis in patients with neutropenia from August 2011 to May 2013. Some patients received chemotherapy multiple times.
In this trial, 68 patients were registered. Levofloxacin-resistant E. coli isolates were detected from 11 and 13 of all patients before and after the prophylaxis, respectively. However, this was not statistically significant (P = 0.65). Multiple prophylaxis for sequential chemotherapy did not induce additional quinolone resistance among E. coli isolates. Interestingly, quinolone-resistant E. coli, most of which were extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producers, were already detected in approximately 20% of all patients before the initiation of prophylaxis. FN-related bacteremia developed in 2 patients, accompanied by a good prognosis.
Levofloxacin prophylaxis for neutropenia did not result in a significant acquisition of quinolone-resistant E. coli. However, we detected previous colonization of quinolone-resistant E. coli before prophylaxis, which possibly reflects the spread of ESBL. The epidemic spread of resistant E. coli as a local factor may influence strategies toward the use of quinolone prophylaxis.
In this study, we evaluated the effect of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) on in vitro antimicrobial activity of tigecycline against several species of clinical pathogens. Clinical non-duplicate isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and three species of Enterobacteriaceae (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and Enterobacter cloacae) were collected from a tertiary hospital and their MICs of tigecycline alone and in combination with PPIs (omeprazole, lansoprazole and pantoprazole) were determined. With one randomly selected isolate of each bacterial species, an in vitro time–kill study was performed for the confirmation of the effect of PPIs on tigecycline activity. The MIC changes after PPIs addition correlated with the PPIs concentrations in the test media. Compared with tigecycline alone, the addition of 5 mg/L PPIs could increase the MICs of tigecycline by 0 to 2-fold and the addition of 50 mg/L PPIs could increase the MICs of tigecycline by 4 to >128-fold. The time–kill study confirmed that the addition of PPIs could affect the in vitro activity of tigecycline. Even at low concentration (5 mg/L) of omeprazole and pantoprazole, antagonistic effect could be observed in E. cloacae and E. faecalis strains. We conclude that In vitro activity of tigecycline can be influenced by the presence of PPIs in a concentration-dependent manner.
Dicer, an RNase III-type endonuclease, is the key enzyme involved in RNA interference and microRNA pathways. Aberrant expression of Dicer is reported in several human cancers. Our aim was to assess the prognostic role of Dicer in breast cancer.
The entire series comprised 666 invasive breast cancers (IBCs), 480 DCIS cases (397 associated with IBC and 83 pure DCIS) and 305 lymph node metastases. Cytoplasmic Dicer expression by immunohistochemistry was scored as negative (no staining) and positive (weak, moderate or strong staining).
Dicer staining was assessable in 446 IBC, 128 DCIS and 101 lymph node metastases. Expression of Dicer was observed in 33% (145/446) of IBCs, 34% (44/128) of DCIS and 57% (58/101) of lymph node metastases. Dicer expression was increased in nodal metastases compared to primary tumours (p<0.001); and was associated with ER negativity (p<0.001), HER2 positivity (p<0.001), high Ki67 labeling index (p<0.001) and expression of basal-like biomarkers (p = 0.002). Dicer positivity was more frequent in the HER2 overexpressing (p<0.001) and basal-like (p = 0.002) subtypes compared to luminal A subtype. Dicer expression was associated with reduced overall survival (OS) on univariate analysis (p = 0.058) and remained an independent predictor of OS on multivariate analysis (HR 2.84, 95% CI 1.43–5.62, p = 0.003), with nodal status (HR 2.61, 95% CI 1.18–5.80, p = 0.018) and PR (HR 0.28, 95% CI 0.13–0.59, p = 0.001). Further, moderate or strong expression of Dicer was associated with improved disease-free survival in the HER2-overexpressing subtype compared to negative or weak expression (p = 0.038).
Deregulated Dicer expression is associated with aggressive tumour characteristics and is an independent prognostic factor for OS. Our findings suggest that Dicer is an important prognostic marker in breast cancer and that its prognostic role may be subtype specific.
The biofilm life style helps bacteria resist oxidative stress, desiccation, antibiotic treatment, and starvation. Biofilm formation involves a complex regulatory gene network controlled by various environmental signals. It was previously shown that prophage insertions in mlrA and heterogeneous mutations in rpoS constituted major obstacles limiting biofilm formation and the expression of extracellular curli fibers in strains of Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7. The purpose of this study was to test strains from other important serotypes of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) (O26, O45, O103, O111, O113, O121, and O145) for similar regulatory restrictions. In a small but diverse collection of biofilm-forming and non-forming strains, mlrA prophage insertions were identified in only 4 of the 19 strains (serotypes O103, O113, and O145). Only the STEC O103 and O113 strains could be complemented by a trans-copy of mlrA to restore curli production and Congo red (CR) dye affinity. RpoS mutations were found in 5 strains (4 serotypes), each with low CR affinity, and the defects were moderately restored by a wild-type copy of rpoS in 2 of the 3 strains attempted. Fourteen strains in this study showed no or weak biofilm formation, of which 9 could be explained by prophage insertions or rpoS mutations. However, each of the remaining five biofilm-deficient strains, as well as the two O145 strains that could not be complemented by mlrA, showed complete or nearly complete lack of motility. This study indicates that mlrA prophage insertions and rpoS mutations do limit biofilm and curli expression in the non-serotype O157:H7 STEC but prophage insertions may not be as common as in serotype O157:H7 strains. The results also suggest that lack of motility provides a third major factor limiting biofilm formation in the non-O157:H7 STEC. Understanding biofilm regulatory mechanisms will prove beneficial in reducing pathogen survival and enhancing food safety.
Biofilm formation is a phenomenon occurring almost wherever microorganisms and surfaces exist in close proximity. This study aimed to evaluate the possible influence of bacterial interactions on the ability of Listeria monocytogenes and Pseudomonas putida to develop a dual-species biofilm community on stainless steel (SS), as well as on the subsequent resistance of their sessile cells to benzalkonium chloride (BC) used in inadequate (sub-lethal) concentration (50 ppm). The possible progressive adaptability of mixed-culture biofilms to BC was also investigated. To accomplish these, 3 strains per species were left to develop mixed-culture biofilms on SS coupons, incubated in daily renewable growth medium for a total period of 10 days, under either mono- or dual-species conditions. Each day, biofilm cells were exposed to disinfection treatment. Results revealed that the simultaneous presence of L. monocytogenes strongly increased the resistance of P. putida biofilm cells to BC, while culture conditions (mono-/dual-species) did not seem to significantly influence the resistance of L. monocytogenes biofilm cells. BC mainly killed L. monocytogenes cells when this was applied against the dual-species sessile community during the whole incubation period, despite the fact that from the 2nd day this community was mainly composed (>90%) of P. putida cells. No obvious adaptation to BC was observed in either L. monocytogenes or P. putida biofilm cells. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis showed that the different strains behaved differently with regard to biofilm formation and antimicrobial resistance. Such knowledge on the physiological behavior of mixed-culture biofilms could provide the information necessary to control their formation.
The ability of a bacterial population to survive in different niches, as well as in stressful and rapidly changing environmental conditions, depends greatly on its genetic content. To survive such fluctuating conditions, bacteria have evolved different mechanisms to modulate phenotypic variations and related strategies to produce high levels of genetic diversity. Laboratories working in microbiological diagnosis have shown that Citrobacter freundii is very versatile in its colony morphology, as well as in its biochemical, antigenic and pathogenic behaviours. This phenotypic versatility has made C. freundii difficult to identify and it is frequently confused with both Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli. In order to determine the genomic events and to explain the mechanisms involved in this plasticity, six C. freundii isolates were selected from a phenotypic variation study. An I-CeuI genomic cleavage map was created and eight housekeeping genes, including 16S rRNA, were sequenced. In general, the results showed a range of both phenotypes and genotypes among the isolates with some revealing a greater similarity to C. freundii and some to S. enterica, while others were identified as phenotypic and genotypic intermediary states between the two species. The occurrence of these events in natural populations may have important implications for genomic diversification in bacterial evolution, especially when considering bacterial species boundaries. In addition, such events may have a profound impact on medical science in terms of treatment, course and outcomes of infectious diseases, evading the immune response, and understanding host-pathogen interactions.
In China, overuse and/or abuse of antimicrobials are common in stockbreeding, which possess high risks of antimicrobial-resistant contaminations. The serogroups, major virulence genes, and antimicrobial resistant patterns of the antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) were investigated in the feces of diarrheic farm-raised sika deer from 50 farms in three Northeastern provinces of China. A total of 220 E. coli isolates were obtained and characterized. Twenty-eight O serogroups were identified from the obtained E. coli isolates with O2, O26, O128, O142 and O154 being dominant. Nearly all the isolates were resistant to at least four of the tested antimicrobials. More than 90% of the E. coli isolates carried at least one of the tested virulence genes. About 85% of the E. coli isolates carried one or more antimicrobial-resistant genes responsible for resistant phenotypes of sulfonamides, streptomycin/spectionomycin or tetracycline. The antimicrobial resistant level and pathogenic group occurrences of the obtained E. coli isolates were higher than that of livestock and wild animals reported in some developed countries. Thus, the fecal-carrying antimicrobial-resistant E. coli from the farm-raised sika deer is potentially a significant contamination source for freshwater systems and food chain, and may pose great health risks for human and animals in Northeastern China.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and synthetic analogues thereof target conserved structures of bacterial cell envelopes and hence, development of resistance has been considered an unlikely event. However, recently bacterial resistance to AMPs has been observed, and the aim of the present study was to determine whether bacterial resistance may also evolve against synthetic AMP analogues, e.g. α-peptide/β-peptoid peptidomimetics. E. coli ATCC 25922 was exposed to increasing concentrations of a peptidomimetic (10 lineages), polymyxin B (10 lineages), or MilliQ water (4 lineages) in a re-inoculation culturing setup covering approx. 500 generations. All 10 lineages exposed to the peptidomimetic adapted to 32×MIC while this occurred for 8 out of 10 of the polymyxin B-exposed lineages. All lineages exposed to 32×MIC of either the peptidomimetic or polymyxin B had a significantly increased MIC (16–32×) to the selection agent. Five transfers (∼35 generations) in unsupplemented media did not abolish resistance indicating that resistance was heritable. Single isolates from peptidomimetic-exposed lineage populations displayed MICs against the peptidomimetic from wild-type MIC to 32×MIC revealing heterogeneous populations. Resistant isolates showed no cross-resistance against a panel of membrane-active AMPs. These isolates were highly susceptible to blood plasma antibacterial activity and were killed when plasma concentrations exceeded ∼30%. Notably, MIC of the peptidomimetic against resistant isolates returned to wild-type level upon addition of 25% plasma. Whole-genome sequencing of twenty isolates from four resistant lineages revealed mutations, in murein transglycosylase D (mltD) and outer-membrane proteins, which were conserved within and between lineages. However, no common resistance-conferring mutation was identified. We hypothesise that alterations in cell envelope structure result in peptidomimetic resistance, and that this may occur via several distinct mechanisms. Interestingly, this type of resistance result in a concomitant high susceptibility towards plasma, and therefore the present study does not infer additional concern for peptidomimetics as future therapeutics.
In view of the world wide prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection, its potentially serious consequences, and the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistant H. pylori strains there is an urgent need for the development of alternative strategies to combat the infection. In this study it has been demonstrated that polyethyleneimine (PEI) functionalized zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) inhibit the growth of a metronidazole-resistant strain of H. pylori and the molecular basis of the anti-bacterial activity of ZnO-PEI NP has been investigated. The ZnO-PEI NP was synthesized using a wet chemical method with a core size of approximately 3–7 nm. Internalization and distribution of ZnO-PEI NP without agglomeration was observed in H. pylori cytosol by electron microscopy. Several lines of evidence including scanning electron microscopy, propidium iodide uptake and ATP assay indicate severe membrane damage in ZnO-PEI NP treated H. pylori. Intracellular ROS generation increased rapidly following the treatment of H. pylori with ZnO-PEI NP and extensive degradation of 16S and 23S rRNA was observed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR. Finally, considerable synergy between ZnO-PEI NP and antibiotics was observed and it has been demonstrated that the concentration of ZnO-PEI NP (20 µg/ml) that is non-toxic to human cells could be used in combination with sub-inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics for the inhibition of H. pylori growth.
The phage-shock protein PspE and GlpE of the glycerol 3-phosphate regulon of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium are predicted to belong to the class of thiosulfate sulfurtransferases, enzymes that traffic sulfur between molecules. In the present study we demonstrated that the two genes contribute to S. Typhimurium virulence, as a glpE and pspE double deletion strain showed significantly decreased virulence in a mouse model of systemic infection. However, challenge of cultured epithelial cells and macrophages did not reveal any virulence-associated phenotypes. We hypothesized that their contribution to virulence could be in sulfur metabolism or by contributing to resistance to nitric oxide, oxidative stress, or cyanide detoxification. In vitro studies demonstrated that glpE but not pspE was important for resistance to H2O2. Since the double mutant, which was the one affected in virulence, was not affected in this assay, we concluded that resistance to oxidative stress and the virulence phenotype was most likely not linked. The two genes did not contribute to nitric oxid stress, to synthesis of essential sulfur containing amino acids, nor to detoxification of cyanide. Currently, the precise mechanism by which they contribute to virulence remains elusive.
Bacterial DNA is maintained in a supercoiled state controlled by the action of topoisomerases. Alterations in supercoiling affect fundamental cellular processes, including transcription. Here, we show that substitution at position 87 of GyrA of Salmonella influences sensitivity to antibiotics, including nonquinolone drugs, alters global supercoiling, and results in an altered transcriptome with increased expression of stress response pathways. Decreased susceptibility to multiple antibiotics seen with a GyrA Asp87Gly mutant was not a result of increased efflux activity or reduced reactive-oxygen production. These data show that a frequently observed and clinically relevant substitution within GyrA results in altered expression of numerous genes, including those important in bacterial survival of stress, suggesting that GyrA mutants may have a selective advantage under specific conditions. Our findings help contextualize the high rate of quinolone resistance in pathogenic strains of bacteria and may partly explain why such mutant strains are evolutionarily successful.
Fluoroquinolones are a powerful group of antibiotics that target bacterial enzymes involved in helping bacteria maintain the conformation of their chromosome. Mutations in the target enzymes allow bacteria to become resistant to these antibiotics, and fluoroquinolone resistance is common. We show here that these mutations also provide protection against a broad range of other antimicrobials by triggering a defensive stress response in the cell. This work suggests that fluoroquinolone resistance mutations may be beneficial under a range of conditions.
Since its introduction to the market in the 1970s, the synthetic biocide triclosan has had widespread use in household and medical products. Although decreased triclosan susceptibility has been observed for several bacterial species, when exposed under laboratory settings, no in vivo studies have associated triclosan use with decreased triclosan susceptibility or cross-resistance to antibiotics. One major challenge of such studies is the lack of strains that with certainty have not been exposed to triclosan. Here we have overcome this challenge by comparing current isolates of the human opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus epidermidis with isolates collected in the 1960s prior to introduction of triclosan to the market. Of 64 current S. epidermidis isolates 12.5% were found to have tolerance towards triclosan defined as MIC≥0.25 mg/l compared to none of 34 isolates obtained in the 1960s. When passaged in the laboratory in the presence of triclosan, old and current susceptible isolates could be adapted to the same triclosan MIC level as found in current tolerant isolates. DNA sequence analysis revealed that laboratory-adapted strains carried mutations in fabI encoding the enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase isoform, FabI, that is the target of triclosan, and the expression of fabI was also increased. However, the majority of the tolerant current isolates carried no mutations in fabI or the putative promoter region. Thus, this study indicates that the widespread use of triclosan has resulted in the occurrence of S. epidermidis with tolerance towards triclosan and that the adaptation involves FabI as well as other factors. We suggest increased caution in the general application of triclosan as triclosan has not shown efficacy in reducing infections and is toxic to aquatic organisms.
Active efflux of antimicrobial agents is a primary mechanism by which bacterial pathogens can become multidrug resistant. The combined use of efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) with pump substrates is under exploration to overcome efflux-mediated multidrug resistance. Phenylalanine-arginine β-naphthylamide (PAβN) is a well-studied EPI that is routinely combined with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, but few studies have assessed its utility in combination with β-lactam antibiotics. The initial goal of this study was to assess the efficacy of β-lactams in combination with PAβN against the opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PAβN reduced the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of several β-lactam antibiotics against P. aeruginosa; however, the susceptibility changes were not due entirely to efflux inhibition. Upon PAβN treatment, intracellular levels of the chromosomally-encoded AmpC β-lactamase that inactivates β-lactam antibiotics were significantly reduced and AmpC levels in supernatants correspondingly increased, potentially due to permeabilization of the outer membrane. PAβN treatment caused a significant increase in uptake of 8-anilino-1-naphthylenesulfonic acid, a fluorescent hydrophobic probe, and sensitized P. aeruginosa to bulky antibiotics (e.g. vancomycin) that are normally incapable of crossing the outer membrane, as well as to detergent-like bile salts. Supplementation of growth media with magnesium to stabilize the outer membrane increased MICs in the presence of PAβN and restored resistance to vancomycin. Thus, PAβN permeabilizes bacterial membranes in a concentration-dependent manner at levels below those typically used in combination studies, and this additional mode of action should be considered when using PAβN as a control for efflux studies.
Multidrug efflux pumps play an important role as a self-defense system in bacteria. Bacterial multidrug efflux pumps are classified into five families based on structure and coupling energy: resistance−nodulation−cell division (RND), small multidrug resistance (SMR), major facilitator (MF), ATP binding cassette (ABC), and multidrug and toxic compounds extrusion (MATE). We cloned a gene encoding a MATE-type multidrug efflux pump from Streptococcus pneumoniae R6, and designated it pdrM. PdrM showed sequence similarity with NorM from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, YdhE from Escherichia coli, and other bacterial MATE-type multidrug efflux pumps. Heterologous expression of PdrM let to elevated resistance to several antibacterial agents, norfloxacin, acriflavine, and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) in E. coli KAM32 cells. PdrM effluxes acriflavine and DAPI in a Na+- or Li+-dependent manner. Moreover, Na+ efflux via PdrM was observed when acriflavine was added to Na+-loaded cells expressing pdrM. Therefore, we conclude that PdrM is a Na+/drug antiporter in S. pneumoniae. In addition to pdrM, we found another two genes, spr1756 and spr1877,that met the criteria of MATE-type by searching the S. pneumoniae genome database. However, cloned spr1756 and spr1877 did not elevate the MIC of any of the investigated drugs. mRNA expression of spr1756, spr1877, and pdrM was detected in S. pneumoniae R6 under laboratory growth conditions. Therefore, spr1756 and spr1877 are supposed to play physiological roles in this growth condition, but they may be unrelated to drug resistance.
The outbreak of Shiga toxin producing E.coli O104:H4 in northern Germany in 2011 was one of the largest worldwide and involved mainly adults. Post-diarrheal hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) occurred in 22% of STEC positive patients. This study’s aim was to assess risk factors for HUS in STEC-infected patients and to develop a score from routine hospital parameters to estimate patient risks for developing HUS. In a cohort analysis, adult patients with STEC infection were included in five participating hospitals in northern Germany between May and July 2011. Clinical data were obtained from questionnaires and medical records, laboratory data were extracted from hospitals’ electronic data systems. HUS was defined as thrombocytopenia, hemolytic anemia and acute renal dysfunction. Random forests and multivariate logistic regression were used to identify risk factors for HUS and develop a score using the estimated coefficients as weights. Among 259 adults with STEC infection, vomiting (OR 3.48,95%CI 1.88–6.53), visible blood in stools (OR 3.91,95%CI1.20–16.01), age above 75 years (OR 3.27, 95%CI 1.12–9.70) and elevated leukocyte counts (OR 1.20, 95%CI 1.10–1.31, per 1000 cells/mm3) were identified as independent risk factors for HUS. A score using these variables has an area under the ROC curve of 0.74 (95%CI 0.68–0.80). Vomiting, visible blood in stools, higher leukocyte counts, and higher age indicate increased risk for developing HUS. A score using these variables might help to identify high risk patients who potentially benefit from aggressive pre-emptive treatment to prevent or mitigate the devastating consequences of HUS.
The treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one of the great challenges faced by clinicians in the 21st century. Antibiotic resistance genes are often transferred between bacteria by mobile genetic vectors called plasmids. It is commonly believed that removal of antibiotic pressure will reduce the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to the perception that carriage of resistance imposes a fitness cost on the bacterium. This study investigated the ability of the plasmid pCT, a globally distributed plasmid that carries an extended-spectrum-β-lactamase (ESBL) resistance gene (blaCTX-M-14), to persist and disseminate in the absence of antibiotic pressure. We investigated key attributes in plasmid success, including conjugation frequencies, bacterial-host growth rates, ability to cause infection, and impact on the fitness of host strains. We also determined the contribution of the blaCTX-M-14 gene itself to the biology of the plasmid and host bacterium. Carriage of pCT was found to impose no detectable fitness cost on various bacterial hosts. An absence of antibiotic pressure and inactivation of the antibiotic resistance gene also had no effect on plasmid persistence, conjugation frequency, or bacterial-host biology. In conclusion, plasmids such as pCT have evolved to impose little impact on host strains. Therefore, the persistence of antibiotic resistance genes and their vectors is to be expected in the absence of antibiotic selective pressure regardless of antibiotic stewardship. Other means to reduce plasmid stability are needed to prevent the persistence of these vectors and the antibiotic resistance genes they carry.
Swarming motility and hemolysis are virulence-associated determinants for a wide array of pathogenic bacteria. The broad host-range opportunistic pathogen Serratia marcescens produces serratamolide, a small cyclic amino-lipid, that promotes swarming motility and hemolysis. Serratamolide is negatively regulated by the transcription factors HexS and CRP. Positive regulators of serratamolide production are unknown. Similar to serratamolide, the antibiotic pigment, prodigiosin, is regulated by temperature, growth phase, HexS, and CRP. Because of this co-regulation, we tested the hypothesis that a homolog of the PigP transcription factor of the atypical Serratia species ATCC 39006, which positively regulates prodigiosin biosynthesis, is also a positive regulator of serratamolide production in S. marcescens. Mutation of pigP in clinical, environmental, and laboratory strains of S. marcescens conferred pleiotropic phenotypes including the loss of swarming motility, hemolysis, and severely reduced prodigiosin and serratamolide synthesis. Transcriptional analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays place PigP in a regulatory pathway with upstream regulators CRP and HexS. The data from this study identifies a positive regulator of serratamolide production, describes novel roles for the PigP transcription factor, shows for the first time that PigP directly regulates the pigment biosynthetic operon, and identifies upstream regulators of pigP. This study suggests that PigP is important for the ability of S. marcescens to compete in the environment.
Escherichia coli and a few other members of the Enterobacteriales can produce functional amyloids known as curli. These extracellular fibrils are involved in biofilm formation and studies have shown that they may act as virulence factors during infections. It is not known whether curli fibrils are restricted to the Enterobacteriales or if they are phylogenetically widespread. The growing number of genome-sequenced bacteria spanning many phylogenetic groups allows a reliable bioinformatic investigation of the phylogenetic diversity of the curli system. Here we show that the curli system is phylogenetically much more widespread than initially assumed, spanning at least four phyla. Curli fibrils may consequently be encountered frequently in environmental as well as pathogenic biofilms, which was supported by identification of curli genes in public metagenomes from a diverse range of habitats. Identification and comparison of curli subunit (CsgA/B) homologs show that these proteins allow a high degree of freedom in their primary protein structure, although a modular structure of tightly spaced repeat regions containing conserved glutamine, asparagine and glycine residues has to be preserved. In addition, a high degree of variability within the operon structure of curli subunits between bacterial taxa suggests that the curli fibrils might have evolved to fulfill specific functions. Variations in the genetic organization of curli genes are also seen among different bacterial genera. This suggests that some genera may utilize alternative regulatory pathways for curli expression. Comparison of phylogenetic trees of Csg proteins and the 16S rRNA genes of the corresponding bacteria showed remarkably similar overall topography, suggesting that horizontal gene transfer is a minor player in the spreading of the curli system.
Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg is among the most detected serovars in swine and poultry, ranks among the top five serotypes associated with human salmonellosis and is disproportionately associated with invasive infections and mortality in humans. Salmonella are known to carry plasmids associated with antimicrobial resistance and virulence. To identify plasmid-associated genes in multidrug resistant S. enterica serovar Heidelberg, antimicrobial resistance plasmids from five isolates were sequenced using the 454 LifeSciences pyrosequencing technology. Four of the isolates contained incompatibility group (Inc) A/C multidrug resistance plasmids harboring at least eight antimicrobial resistance genes. Each of these strains also carried a second resistance plasmid including two IncFIB, an IncHI2 and a plasmid lacking an identified Inc group. The fifth isolate contained an IncI1 plasmid, encoding resistance to gentamicin, streptomycin and sulfonamides. Some of the IncA/C plasmids lacked the full concert of transfer genes and yet were able to be conjugally transferred, likely due to the transfer genes carried on the companion plasmids in the strains. Several non-IncA/C resistance plasmids also carried putative virulence genes. When the sequences were compared to previously sequenced plasmids, it was found that while all plasmids demonstrated some similarity to other plasmids, they were unique, often due to differences in mobile genetic elements in the plasmids. Our study suggests that Salmonella Heidelberg isolates harbor plasmids that co-select for antimicrobial resistance and virulence, along with genes that can mediate the transfer of plasmids within and among other bacterial isolates. Prevalence of such plasmids can complicate efforts to control the spread of S. enterica serovar Heidelberg in food animal and human populations.
With the increasing frequency of antibiotic resistance and the decreasing frequency of new antibiotics entering the market, interest has returned to developing bacteriophage as a therapeutic agent. Acceptance of phage therapy, however, is limited by the unknown pharmacodynamics of a replicating agent, as well as the potential for the evolution of resistant bacteria. One way to overcome some of these limitations is to incorporate phage and antibiotics into a dual therapy regimen; however, this increases the complexity of the pharmacodynamics. The aim of this study is to develop an experimental system to evaluate the pharmacodynamics of dual phage-drug therapy. A continuous culture system for Staphylococcus aureus is used to simulate the pharmacokinetics of periodic antibiotic dosing alone and in combination with lytic phage. A computer model representation of the system allows further evaluation of the conditions governing the observed pharmacodynamics. The results of this experimental/modeling approach suggest that dual therapy can be more efficacious than single therapies, particularly if there is an overlap in the physiological pathways targeted by the individual agents. In this case, treatment with gentamicin induces a population of cells with a strong aggregation phenotype. These aggregators also have an increased ability to form biofilm, which is a well-known, non-genetic mechanism of drug resistance. However, the aggregators are also more susceptible than the parental strain to the action of the phage. Thus, dual treatment with gentamicin and phage resulted in lower final cell densities than either treatment alone. Unlike in the phage-only treatment, phage-resistant isolates were not detected in the dual treatment.
Over-expression of AdeABC efflux pump stimulated continuously by the mutated AdeRS two component system has been found to result in antimicrobial resistance, even tigecycline (TGC) resistance, in multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB). Although the insertion sequence, ISAba1, contributes to one of the AdeRS mutations, the detail mechanism remains unclear. In the present study we collected 130 TGC-resistant isolates from 317 carbapenem resistant MRAB (MRAB-C) isolates, and 38 of them were characterized with ISAba1 insertion in the adeS gene. The relationship between the expression of AdeABC efflux pump and TGC resistant was verified indirectly by successfully reducing TGC resistance with NMP, an efflux pump inhibitor. Further analysis showed that the remaining gene following the ISAba1 insertion was still transcribed to generate a truncated AdeS protein by the Pout promoter on ISAba1 instead of frame shift or pre-termination. Through introducing a series of recombinant adeRS constructs into a adeRS knockout strain, we demonstrated the truncated AdeS protein was constitutively produced and stimulating the expression of AdeABC efflux pump via interaction with AdeR. Our findings suggest a mechanism of antimicrobial resistance induced by an aberrant cytoplasmic sensor derived from an insertion element.
Recombineering is a widely-used approach to delete genes, introduce insertions and point mutations, and introduce epitope tags into bacterial chromosomes. Many recombineering methods have been described, for a wide range of bacterial species. These methods are often limited by (i) low efficiency, and/or (ii) introduction of “scar” DNA into the chromosome. Here, we describe a rapid, efficient, PCR-based recombineering method, FRUIT, that can be used to introduce scar-free point mutations, deletions, epitope tags, and promoters into the genomes of enteric bacteria. The efficiency of FRUIT is far higher than that of the most widely-used recombineering method for Escherichia coli. We have used FRUIT to introduce point mutations and epitope tags into the chromosomes of E. coli K-12, Enterotoxigenic E. coli, and Salmonella enterica. We have also used FRUIT to introduce constitutive and inducible promoters into the chromosome of E. coli K-12. Thus, FRUIT is a versatile, efficient recombineering approach that can be applied in multiple species of enteric bacteria.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is an important public health issue. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of ocular infections caused by MRSA and to identify the clinical characteristics and antibiotic susceptibility of ocular MRSA infections by comparing those of ocular methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) infections.
The medical records of the patients (n = 519) with culture-proven S. aureus ocular infections seen between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2008 in Chang Gung Memorial Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Two hundred and seventy-four patients with MRSA and 245 with MSSA ocular infections were identified. The average rate of MRSA in S. aureus infections was 52.8% and the trend was stable over the ten years (P value for trend = 0.228). MRSA ocular infections were significantly more common among the patients with healthcare exposure (P = 0.024), but 66.1% (181/274) patients with MRSA ocular infections had no healthcare exposure. The most common clinical presentation for both MRSA and MSSA ocular infections was keratitis; MRSA and MSSA caused a similar disease spectrum except for lid infections. MRSA was significantly more resistant than MSSA to clindamycin, erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (all P<0.001).
We demonstrated a paralleled trend of ocular MRSA infection in a highly prevalent MRSA country by hospital-based survey. Except for lid disorder, MRSA shared similar spectrum of ocular pathology with MSSA. Since S. aureus is a common ocular pathogen, our results raise clinician’s attention to the existence of highly prevalent MRSA.
In vitro measures of the pharmacodynamics of antibiotics that account for the factors anticipated for bacteria in infected patients are central to the rational design of antibiotic treatment protocols. We consider whether or not continuous culture devices are a way to obtain these measures. Staphylococcus aureus PS80 in high-density continuous cultures were exposed to oxacillin, ciprofloxacin, vancomycin, gentamicin, daptomycin and linezolid. Contrary to results from low density retentostats as well as to predictions of traditional PK/MIC ratios, daily dosing with up to 100× MIC did not clear these cultures. The densities of S. aureus in these cultures oscillated with constant amplitude and never fell below 105 CFU per ml. Save for daptomycin “treated” populations, the densities of bacteria in these cultures remained significantly below that of similar antibiotic-free cultures. Although these antibiotics varied in their pharmacodynamic properties there were only modest differences in their mean densities. Mathematical models and experiments suggest that the dominant factor preventing clearance was wall-adhering subpopulations reseeding the planktonic population which can be estimated and corrected for. Continuous cultures provide a way to evaluate the potential efficacy of antibiotic treatment regimes in vitro under conditions that are more clinically realistic and comprehensive than traditional in vitro PK/PD indices.
A molecular definition of the mechanism conferring bacterial multidrug resistance is clinically crucial and today methods for quantitative determination of the uptake of antimicrobial agents with single cell resolution are missing. Using the naturally occurring fluorescence of antibacterial agents after deep ultraviolet (DUV) excitation, we developed a method to non-invasively monitor the quinolones uptake in single bacteria. Our approach is based on a DUV fluorescence microscope coupled to a synchrotron beamline providing tuneable excitation from 200 to 600 nm. A full spectrum was acquired at each pixel of the image, to study the DUV excited fluorescence emitted from quinolones within single bacteria. Measuring spectra allowed us to separate the antibiotic fluorescence from the autofluorescence contribution. By performing spectroscopic analysis, the quantification of the antibiotic signal was possible. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the intracellular accumulation of a clinical antibitiotic could be determined and discussed in relation with the level of drug susceptibility for a multiresistant strain. This method is especially important to follow the behavior of quinolone molecules at individual cell level, to quantify the intracellular concentration of the antibiotic and develop new strategies to combat the dissemination of MDR-bacteria. In addition, this original approach also indicates the heterogeneity of bacterial population when the same strain is under environmental stress like antibiotic attack.