The putative virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene contents of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-positive E. coli (n=629) isolated between 2005 and 2009 from humans, animals and animal food products in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK were compared using a microarray approach to test the suitability of this approach with regard to determining their similarities. A selection of isolates (n=313) were also analysed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Isolates harbouring blaCTX-M-group-1 dominated (66%, n=418) and originated from both animals and cases of human infections in all three countries; 23% (n=144) of all isolates contained both blaCTX-M-group-1 and blaOXA-1-like genes, predominantly from humans (n=127) and UK cattle (n=15). The antimicrobial resistance and virulence gene profiles of this collection of isolates were highly diverse. A substantial number of human isolates (32%, n=87) did not share more than 40% similarity (based on the Jaccard coefficient) with animal isolates. A further 43% of human isolates from the three countries (n=117) were at least 40% similar to each other and to five isolates from UK cattle and one each from Dutch chicken meat and a German dog; the members of this group usually harboured genes such as mph(A), mrx, aac(6’)-Ib, catB3, blaOXA-1-like and blaCTX-M-group-1. forty-four per cent of the MLST-typed isolates in this group belonged to ST131 (n=18) and 22% to ST405 (n=9), all from humans. Among animal isolates subjected to MLST (n=258), only 1.2% (n=3) were more than 70% similar to human isolates in gene profiles and shared the same MLST clonal complex with the corresponding human isolates. The results suggest that minimising human-to-human transmission is essential to control the spread of ESBL-positive E. coli in humans.
Despite the frequent isolation of Salmonella enterica sub. enterica serovars Derby and Mbandaka from livestock in the UK and USA little is known about the biological processes maintaining their prevalence. Statistics for Salmonella isolations from livestock production in the UK show that S. Derby is most commonly associated with pigs and turkeys and S. Mbandaka with cattle and chickens. Here we compare the first sequenced genomes of S. Derby and S. Mbandaka as a basis for further analysis of the potential host adaptations that contribute to their distinct host species distributions.
Comparative functional genomics using the RAST annotation system showed that predominantly mechanisms that relate to metabolite utilisation, in vivo and ex vivo persistence and pathogenesis distinguish S. Derby from S. Mbandaka. Alignment of the genome nucleotide sequences of S. Derby D1 and D2 and S. Mbandaka M1 and M2 with Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPI) identified unique complements of genes associated with host adaptation. We also describe a new genomic island with a putative role in pathogenesis, SPI-23. SPI-23 is present in several S. enterica serovars, including S. Agona, S. Dublin and S. Gallinarum, it is absent in its entirety from S. Mbandaka.
We discovered a new 37 Kb genomic island, SPI-23, in the chromosome sequence of S. Derby, encoding 42 ORFS, ten of which are putative TTSS effector proteins. We infer from full-genome synonymous SNP analysis that these two serovars diverged, between 182kya and 625kya coinciding with the divergence of domestic pigs. The differences between the genomes of these serovars suggest they have been exposed to different stresses including, phage, transposons and prolonged externalisation. The two serovars possess distinct complements of metabolic genes; many of which cluster into pathways for catabolism of carbon sources.
Salmonella; S. Derby; S. Mbandaka; Functional genomics; SPI-23; Host adaptation
The anaerobic spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli causes enteric disease in avian, porcine and human hosts, amongst others. To date, the only available genome sequence of B. pilosicoli is that of strain 95/1000, a porcine isolate. In the first intra-species genome comparison within the Brachyspira genus, we report the whole genome sequence of B. pilosicoli B2904, an avian isolate, the incomplete genome sequence of B. pilosicoli WesB, a human isolate, and the comparisons with B. pilosicoli 95/1000. We also draw on incomplete genome sequences from three other Brachyspira species. Finally we report the first application of the high-throughput Biolog phenotype screening tool on the B. pilosicoli strains for detailed comparisons between genotype and phenotype.
Feature and sequence genome comparisons revealed a high degree of similarity between the three B. pilosicoli strains, although the genomes of B2904 and WesB were larger than that of 95/1000 (~2,765, 2.890 and 2.596 Mb, respectively). Genome rearrangements were observed which correlated largely with the positions of mobile genetic elements. Through comparison of the B2904 and WesB genomes with the 95/1000 genome, features that we propose are non-essential due to their absence from 95/1000 include a peptidase, glycine reductase complex components and transposases. Novel bacteriophages were detected in the newly-sequenced genomes, which appeared to have involvement in intra- and inter-species horizontal gene transfer. Phenotypic differences predicted from genome analysis, such as the lack of genes for glucuronate catabolism in 95/1000, were confirmed by phenotyping.
The availability of multiple B. pilosicoli genome sequences has allowed us to demonstrate the substantial genomic variation that exists between these strains, and provides an insight into genetic events that are shaping the species. In addition, phenotype screening allowed determination of how genotypic differences translated to phenotype. Further application of such comparisons will improve understanding of the metabolic capabilities of Brachyspira species.
Brachyspira pilosicoli; Spirochaete; Colitis; Zoonosis; Whole genome sequencing; Genome comparison; Horizontal gene transfer; Phenotype MicroArray™
Avian intestinal spirochetosis (AIS) results from the colonization of the ceca and colorectum of poultry by pathogenic Brachyspira species. The number of cases of AIS has increased since the 2006 European Union ban on the use of antibiotic growth promoters, which, together with emerging antimicrobial resistance in Brachyspira, has driven renewed interest in alternative intervention strategies. Probiotics have been reported as protecting livestock against infection with common enteric pathogens, and here we investigate which aspects of the biology of Brachyspira they antagonize in order to identify possible interventions against AIS. The cell-free supernatants (CFS) of two Lactobacillus strains, Lactobacillus reuteri LM1 and Lactobacillus salivarius LM2, suppressed the growth of Brachyspira pilosicoli B2904 in a pH-dependent manner. In in vitro adherence and invasion assays with HT29-16E three-dimensional (3D) cells and in a novel avian cecal in vitro organ culture (IVOC) model, the adherence and invasion of B. pilosicoli in epithelial cells were reduced significantly by the presence of lactobacilli (P < 0.001). In addition, live and heat-inactivated lactobacilli inhibited the motility of B. pilosicoli, and electron microscopic observations indicated that contact between the lactobacilli and Brachyspira was crucial in inhibiting both adherence and motility. These data suggest that motility is essential for B. pilosicoli to adhere to and invade the gut epithelium and that any interference of motility may be a useful tool for the development of control strategies.
This plasmid is disseminated worldwide in Escherichia coli isolated from humans and animals.
Antimicrobial drug resistance is a global challenge for the 21st century with the emergence of resistant bacterial strains worldwide. Transferable resistance to β-lactam antimicrobial drugs, mediated by production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), is of particular concern. In 2004, an ESBL-carrying IncK plasmid (pCT) was isolated from cattle in the United Kingdom. The sequence was a 93,629-bp plasmid encoding a single antimicrobial drug resistance gene, blaCTX-M-14. From this information, PCRs identifying novel features of pCT were designed and applied to isolates from several countries, showing that the plasmid has disseminated worldwide in bacteria from humans and animals. Complete DNA sequences can be used as a platform to develop rapid epidemiologic tools to identify and trace the spread of plasmids in clinically relevant pathogens, thus facilitating a better understanding of their distribution and ability to transfer between bacteria of humans and animals.
Bacteria; Escherichia coli; antimicrobial drug resistance; extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; CTX-M; plasmid; epidemiology; research
Viruses, the most abundant biological entities on the planet, are capable of infecting organisms from all three branches of life, although the majority infect bacteria where the greatest degree of cellular diversity lies. However, the characterization and assessment of viral diversity in natural environments is only beginning to become a possibility. Through the development of a novel technique for the harvest of viral DNA and the application of 454 pyrosequencing, a snapshot of the diversity of the DNA viruses harvested from a standing pond on a cattle farm has been obtained. A high abundance of viral genotypes (785) were present within the virome. The absolute numbers of lambdoid and Shiga toxin (Stx) encoding phages detected suggested that the depth of sequencing had enabled recovery of only ca. 8% of the total virus population, numbers that agreed within less than an order of magnitude with predictions made by rarefaction analysis. The most abundant viral genotypes in the pond were bacteriophages (93.7%). The predominant viral genotypes infecting higher life forms found in association with the farm were pathogens that cause disease in cattle and humans, e.g. members of the Herpesviridae. The techniques and analysis described here provide a fresh approach to the monitoring of viral populations in the aquatic environment, with the potential to become integral to the development of risk analysis tools for monitoring the dissemination of viral agents of animal, plant and human diseases.
virome production; viral pathogens; pathogen dissemination; metagenomics; viral ecology
Antimicrobials are used to directly control bacterial infections in pet (ornamental) fish and are routinely added to the water these fish are shipped in to suppress the growth of potential pathogens during transport.
To assess the potential effects of this sustained selection pressure, 127 Aeromonas spp. isolated from warm and cold water ornamental fish species were screened for tolerance to 34 antimicrobials. Representative isolates were also examined for the presence of 54 resistance genes by a combination of miniaturized microarray and conventional PCR. Forty-seven of 94 Aeromonas spp. isolates recovered from tropical ornamental fish and their carriage water were tolerant to ≥15 antibiotics, representing seven or more different classes of antimicrobial. The quinolone and fluoroquinolone resistance gene, qnrS2, was detected at high frequency (37% tested recent isolates were positive by PCR). Class 1 integrons, IncA/C broad host range plasmids and a range of other antibiotic resistance genes, including floR, blaTEM−1, tet(A), tet(D), tet(E), qacE2, sul1, and a number of different dihydrofolate reductase and aminoglycoside transferase coding genes were also detected in carriage water samples and bacterial isolates.
These data suggest that ornamental fish and their carriage water act as a reservoir for both multi-resistant bacteria and resistance genes.
The human pathogen enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 colonizes human and animal gut via formation of attaching and effacing lesions. EHEC strains use a type III secretion system to translocate a battery of effector proteins into the mammalian host cell, which subvert diverse signal transduction pathways implicated in actin dynamics, phagocytosis, and innate immunity. The genomes of sequenced EHEC O157:H7 strains contain two copies of the effector protein gene nleH, which share 49% sequence similarity with the gene for the Shigella effector OspG, recently implicated in inhibition of migration of the transcriptional regulator NF-κB to the nucleus. In this study we investigated the role of NleH during EHEC O157:H7 infection of calves and lambs. We found that while EHEC ΔnleH colonized the bovine gut more efficiently than the wild-type strain, in lambs the wild-type strain exhibited a competitive advantage over the mutant during mixed infection. Using the mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, which shares many virulence factors with EHEC O157:H7, including NleH, we observed that the wild-type strain exhibited a competitive advantage over the mutant during mixed infection. We found no measurable differences in T-cell infiltration or hyperplasia in colons of mice inoculated with the wild-type or the nleH mutant strain. Using NF-κB reporter mice carrying a transgene containing a luciferase reporter driven by three NF-κB response elements, we found that NleH causes an increase in NF-κB activity in the colonic mucosa. Consistent with this, we found that the nleH mutant triggered a significantly lower tumor necrosis factor alpha response than the wild-type strain.
A number of poultry probiotics contain bacterial spores. In this study, orally administered spores of Bacillus subtilis germinated in the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of chicks. Furthermore, 20 h after spores were administered, vegetative cells outnumbered spores throughout the GI tract. This demonstrates that spore-based probiotics may function in this host through metabolically active mechanisms.
In previous work, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain SL1344 was exposed to sublethal concentrations of three widely used farm disinfectants in daily serial passages for 7 days in an attempt to investigate possible links between the use of disinfectants and antimicrobial resistance. Stable variants OXCR1, QACFGR2, and TOPR2 were obtained following treatment with an oxidizing compound blend, a quaternary ammonium disinfectant containing formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, and a tar acid-based disinfectant, respectively. All variants exhibited ca. fourfold-reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and ampicillin. This coincided with reduced levels of outer membrane proteins for all strains and high levels of AcrAB-TolC for OXCR1 and QACFGR2, as demonstrated by two-dimensional high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The protein profiles of OXCR1 and QACFGR2 were similar, but they were different from that of TOPR2. An array of different proteins protecting against oxidants, nitroaromatics, disulfides, and peroxides were overexpressed in all strains. The growth and motility of variants were reduced compared to the growth and motility of the parent strain, the expression of several virulence proteins was altered, and the invasiveness in an enteric epithelial cell line was reduced. The colony morphology of OXCR1 and QACFGR2 was smooth, and both variants exhibited a loss of modal distribution of the lipopolysaccharide O-antigen chain length, favoring the production of short O-antigen chain molecules. Metabolic changes were also detected, suggesting that there was increased protein synthesis and a shift from oxidative phosphorylation to substrate level phosphorylation. In this study, we obtained evidence that farm disinfectants can select for strains with reduced susceptibility to antibiotics, and here we describe changes in protein expression in such strains.
An Escherichia coli oligonucleotide microarray based on three sequenced genomes was validated for comparative genomic microarray hybridization and used to study the diversity of E. coli O157 isolates from human infections and food and animal sources. Among 26 test strains, 24 (including both Shiga toxin [Stx]-positive and -negative strains) were found to be related to the two sequenced E. coli O157:H7 strains, EDL933 and Sakai. However, these strains showed much greater genetic diversity than those reported previously, and most of them could not be categorized as either lineage I or II. Some genes were found more often in isolates from human than from nonhuman sources; e.g., ECs1202 and ECs2976, associated with stx2AB and stx1AB, were in all isolates from human sources but in only 40% of those from nonhuman sources. Some (but not all) lineage I-specific or -dominant genes were also more frequently associated with isolates from human. The results suggested that it might be more effective to concentrate our efforts on finding markers that are directly related to infection rather than those specific to certain lineages. In addition, two Stx-negative O157 cattle isolates (one confirmed to be H7) were significantly different from other Stx-positive and -negative E. coli O157:H7 strains and were more similar to MG1655 in their gene content. This work demonstrates that not all E. coli O157:H7 strains belong to the same clonal group, and those that were similar to E. coli K-12 might be less virulent.
Microarray based comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) experiments have been used to study numerous biological problems including understanding genome plasticity in pathogenic bacteria. Typically such experiments produce large data sets that are difficult for biologists to handle. Although there are some programmes available for interpretation of bacterial transcriptomics data and CGH microarray data for looking at genetic stability in oncogenes, there are none specifically to understand the mosaic nature of bacterial genomes. Consequently a bottle neck still persists in accurate processing and mathematical analysis of these data. To address this shortfall we have produced a simple and robust CGH microarray data analysis process that may be automated in the future to understand bacterial genomic diversity.
The process involves five steps: cleaning, normalisation, estimating gene presence and absence or divergence, validation, and analysis of data from test against three reference strains simultaneously. Each stage of the process is described and we have compared a number of methods available for characterising bacterial genomic diversity, for calculating the cut-off between gene presence and absence or divergence, and shown that a simple dynamic approach using a kernel density estimator performed better than both established, as well as a more sophisticated mixture modelling technique. We have also shown that current methods commonly used for CGH microarray analysis in tumour and cancer cell lines are not appropriate for analysing our data.
After carrying out the analysis and validation for three sequenced Escherichia coli strains, CGH microarray data from 19 E. coli O157 pathogenic test strains were used to demonstrate the benefits of applying this simple and robust process to CGH microarray studies using bacterial genomes.
The detection of virulence determinants harbored by pathogenic Escherichia coli is important for establishing the pathotype responsible for infection. A sensitive and specific miniaturized virulence microarray containing 60 oligonucleotide probes was developed. It detected six E. coli pathotypes and will be suitable in the future for high-throughput use.
Escherichia coli O26 is recognized as an emerging pathogen associated with disease in both ruminants and humans. Compared to those of E. coli O157:H7, the shedding pattern and location of E. coli O26 in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of ruminants are poorly understood. In the studies reported here, an stx-negative E. coli O26 strain of ovine origin was inoculated orally into 6-week-old lambs and the shedding pattern of the O26 strain was monitored by serial bacteriological examination of feces. The location of colonization in the GIT was examined at necropsy at two time points. The numbers of O26 organisms excreted in feces declined from approximately 107 to 104 CFU per gram of feces by day 7 and continued at this level for a further 3 weeks. Beyond day 30, excretion was from few animals, intermittent, and just above the detection limit. By day 38, all fecal samples were negative, but at necropsy, O26 organisms were recovered from the upper GIT, specifically the ileum. However, no attaching-effacing (AE) lesions were observed. To identify the location of E. coli O26 within the GIT early after inoculation, two lambs were examined postmortem, 4 days postinoculation. High numbers of O26 organisms were recovered from all GIT sites examined, and ∼109 CFU were recovered from 1 gram of ileal tissue from one animal. Despite high numbers of O26 organisms, AE lesions were identified on the mucosa of the ascending colon of only one animal. These data indicate that E. coli O26 readily colonizes 6-week-old lambs, but the sparseness of AE lesions suggests that O26 is well adapted to this host, and mechanisms other than those dependent upon intimin may play a role in persistence.
We hypothesized that higher doses of fluoroquinolones for a shorter duration could maintain efficacy (as measured by reduction in bacterial count) while reducing selection in chickens of bacteria with reduced susceptibility. Chicks were infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 and treated 1 week later with enrofloxacin at the recommended dose for 5 days (water dose adjusted to give 10 mg/kg of body weight of birds or equivalence, i.e., water at 50 ppm) or at 2.5 or 5 times the recommended dose for 2 days or 1 day, respectively. The dose was delivered continuously (ppm) or pulsed in the water (mg/kg) or by gavage (mg/kg). In vitro in sera, increasing concentrations of 0.5 to 8 μg/ml enrofloxacin correlated with increased activity. In vivo, the efficacy of the 1-day treatment was significantly less than that of the 2- and 5-day treatments. The 2-day treatments showed efficacy similar to that of the 5-day treatment in all but one repeat treatment group and significantly (P < 0.01) reduced the Salmonella counts. Dosing at 2.5× the recommended dose and pulsed dosing both increased the peak antibiotic concentrations in cecal contents, liver, lung, and sera as determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography. There was limited evidence that shorter treatment regimens (in particular the 1-day regimen) selected for fewer strains with reduced susceptibility. In conclusion, the 2-day treatment would overall require a shorter withholding time than the 5-day treatment and, in view of the increased peak antibiotic concentrations, may give rise to improved efficacy, in particular for treating respiratory and systemic infections. However, it would be necessary to validate the 2-day regimen in a field situation and in particular against respiratory and systemic infections to validate or refute this hypothesis.
Serological typing of Escherichia coli O antigens is a well-established method used for differentiation and identification of O serotypes commonly associated with disease. In this feasibility study, we have developed a novel somatic antibody-based miniaturized microarray chip, using 17 antisera, which can be used to detect bound whole-cell E. coli antigen with its corresponding immobilized antibody, to assess the feasibility of this approach. The chip was tested using the related 17 control strains, and the O types found by the microarray chip showed 100% correlation with the O types found by conventional typing. A blind trial was performed in which 100 E. coli isolates that had been O serotyped previously by the conventional assay were tested by the array approach. Overall, the O serotypes of 88% of isolates were correctly identified by the microarray method. For several isolates, ambiguity of O-type designation by microarray arose due to increased sensitivity of this method, allowing signal intensities of cross-reactions to be quantified. Investigation of discrepancies between conventional and microarray O serotyping indicated that some isolates upon storage had become untypeable and, therefore, gave poor signal intensity when tested by the microarray or retested by conventional means. For all 20 serotype O26 and O157 isolates, the apparent discrepancy in O serotyping was analyzed further by a third independent test, which confirmed the microarray results. Therefore, the use of miniaturized protein arrays increases the speed and efficiency of O serotyping in a cost-effective manner, and these preliminary findings suggest the microarray approach may have a higher accuracy than those of traditional O-serotyping methods.
Intimin facilitates intestinal colonization by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7; however, the importance of intimin binding to its translocated receptor (Tir) as opposed to cellular coreceptors is unknown. The intimin-Tir interaction is needed for optimal actin assembly under adherent bacteria in vitro, a process which requires the Tir-cytoskeleton coupling protein (TccP/EspFU) in E. coli O157:H7. Here we report that E. coli O157:H7 tir mutants are at least as attenuated as isogenic eae mutants in calves and lambs, implying that the role of intimin in the colonization of reservoir hosts can be explained largely by its binding to Tir. Mutation of tccP uncoupled actin assembly from the intimin-Tir-mediated adherence of E. coli O157:H7 in vitro but did not impair intestinal colonization in calves and lambs, implying that pedestal formation may not be necessary for persistence. However, an E. coli O157:H7 tccP mutant induced typical attaching and effacing lesions in a bovine ligated ileal loop model of infection, suggesting that TccP-independent mechanisms of actin assembly may operate in vivo.
We have performed microarray hybridization studies on 40 clinical isolates from 12 common serovars within Salmonella enterica subspecies I to identify the conserved chromosomal gene pool. We were able to separate the core invariant portion of the genome by a novel mathematical approach using a decision tree based on genes ranked by increasing variance. All genes within the core component were confirmed using available sequence and microarray information for S. enterica subspecies I strains. The majority of genes within the core component had conserved homologues in Escherichia coli K-12 strain MG1655. However, many genes present in the conserved set which were absent or highly divergent in K-12 had close homologues in pathogenic bacteria such as Shigella flexneri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Genes within previously established virulence determinants such as SPI1 to SPI5 were conserved. In addition several genes within SPI6, all of SPI9, and three fimbrial operons (fim, bcf, and stb) were conserved within all S. enterica strains included in this study. Although many phage and insertion sequence elements were missing from the core component, approximately half the pseudogenes present in S. enterica serovar Typhi were conserved. Furthermore, approximately half the genes conserved in the core set encoded hypothetical proteins. Separation of the core and variant gene sets within S.enterica subspecies I has offered fundamental biological insight into the genetic basis of phenotypic similarity and diversity across S. enterica subspecies I and shown how the core genome of these pathogens differs from the closely related E. coli K-12 laboratory strain.
Intestinal colonization by enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli requires the locus of enterocyte effacement-encoded type III secretion system. We report that NleC and NleD are translocated into host cells via this system. Deletion mutants induced attaching and effacing lesions in vitro, while infection of calves or lambs showed that neither gene was required for colonization.
There is growing evidence that a number of oral Treponema species, in particular Treponema denticola, are associated with the progression of human periodontal disease. The major sheath (or surface) protein (Msp) of T. denticola is implicated in adhesion of bacteria to host cells and tissue proteins and is likely to be an important virulence factor. However, the binding regions of the Msp are not known. We have purified from Escherichia coli recombinant Msp (rMsp) polypeptides corresponding to the following: full-length Msp (rMsp) minus 13 N-terminal amino acid (aa) residues, an amino-terminal fragment (rN-Msp, 189 aa residues), a 57-aa residue segment from the central region (rV-Msp), and a C-terminal fragment (rC-Msp, 272 aa residues). rMsp (530 aa residues) bound to immobilized fibronectin, keratin, laminin, collagen type I, fibrinogen, hyaluronic acid, and heparin. The N- and V-region polypeptides, but not rC-Msp, also bound to these substrates. Binding of rMsp to fibronectin was targeted to the N-terminal heparin I/fibrin I domain. Antibodies to the N-region or V-region polypeptides, but not antibodies to the rC-Msp fragment, blocked adhesion of T. denticola ATCC 35405 cells to a range of host protein molecules. These results suggest that the N-terminal half of Msp carries epitopes that are surface exposed and that are involved in mediating adhesion. Binding of rMsp onto the cell surface of low-level fibronectin-binding Treponema isolates conferred a 10-fold increase in fibronectin binding. This confirms that Msp functions autonomously as an adhesin and raises the possibility that phenotypic complementation of virulence functions might occur within mixed populations of Treponema species.
An efflux system, CmeABC, in Campylobacter jejuni was previously described, and a second efflux system, CmeDEF, has now been identified. The substrates of CmeDEF include ampicillin, ethidium bromide, acridine, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), deoxycholate, triclosan, and cetrimide, but not ciprofloxacin or erythromycin. C. jejuni NCTC11168 and two efflux pump knockout strains, cmeB::Kanr and cmeF::Kanr, were exposed to 0.5 to 1 μg of ciprofloxacin/ml in agar plates. All mutants arising from NCTC11168 were resistant to ciprofloxacin but not to other agents and contained a mutation resulting in the replacement of threonine 86 with isoleucine in the quinolone resistance-determining region of GyrA. Mutants with two distinct phenotypes were selected from the efflux pump knockout strains. Mutants with the first phenotype were resistant to ciprofloxacin only and had the same substitution within GyrA as the NCTC11168-derived mutants. Irrespective of the parent strain, mutants with the second phenotype were resistant to ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, ethidium bromide, acridine orange, and SDS and had no mutation in gyrA. These mutants expressed levels of the efflux pump genes cmeB and cmeF and the major outer membrane protein gene porA similar to those expressed by the respective parent strains. No mutations were detected in cmeF or cmeB. Accumulation assays revealed that the mutants accumulated lower concentrations of drug. These data suggest the involvement of a non-CmeB or -CmeF efflux pump or reduced uptake conferring multiple-antibiotic resistance, which can be selected after exposure to a fluoroquinolone.
Shiga toxin (Stx)-positive Escherichia coli O157:H7 readily colonize and persist in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chicks, and we have shown that an Stx-negative E. coli O157:H7 isolate (NCTC12900) readily colonizes SPF chicks for up to 169 days after oral inoculation at 1 day of age. However, the role of intimin in the persistent colonization of poultry remains unclear. Thus, to investigate the role of intimin and flagella, which is a known factor in the persistence of non-O157 E. coli in poultry, isogenic single- and double-intimin and aflagellar mutants were constructed in E. coli O157:H7 isolate NCTC12900. These mutants were used to inoculate (105 CFU) 1-day-old SPF chicks. In general, significant attenuation of the aflagellate and intimin-aflagellate mutants, but not the intimin mutant, was noted at similar time points between 22 and 92 days after inoculation. The intimin-deficient mutant was still being shed at the end of the experiment, which was 211 days after inoculation, 84 days more than the wild type. Shedding of the aflagellar and intimin-aflagellar mutants ceased 99 and 113 days after inoculation, respectively. Histological analysis of gastrointestinal tissues from inoculated birds gave no evidence for true microcolony formation by NCTC12900 or intimin and aflagellar mutants to epithelial cells. However, NCTC12900 mutant derivatives associated with the mucosa were observed as individual cells and/or as large aggregates. Association with luminal contents was also noted. These data suggest that O157 organisms do not require intimin for the persistent colonization of chickens, whereas flagella do play a role in this process.
Spores from a number of different Bacillus species are currently being used as human and animal probiotics, although their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. Here we describe the isolation of 237 presumptive gut-associated Bacillus spp. isolates that were obtained by heat and ethanol treatment of fecal material from organically reared broilers followed by aerobic plating. Thirty-one representative isolates were characterized according to their morphological, physiological, and biochemical properties as well as partial 16S rRNA gene sequences and screening for the presence of plasmid DNA. The Bacillus species identified included B. subtilis, B. pumilus, B. licheniformis, B. clausii, B. megaterium, B. firmus, and species of the B. cereus group, whereas a number of our isolates could not be classified. Intrinsic properties of potential importance for survival in the gut that could be advantageous for spore-forming probiotics were further investigated for seven isolates belonging to five different species. All isolates sporulated efficiently in the laboratory, and the resulting spores were tolerant to simulated gastrointestinal tract conditions. They also exhibited antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of bacteria, including food spoilage and pathogenic organisms such as Bacillus spp., Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes. Importantly, the isolates were susceptible to most of the antibiotics tested, arguing that they would not act as donors for resistance determinants if introduced in the form of probiotic preparations. Together, our results suggest that some of the sporeformers isolated in this study have the potential to persist in or transiently associate with the complex gut ecosystem.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, and Citrobacter rodentium are highly adapted enteropathogens that successfully colonize their host's gastrointestinal tract via the formation of attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. These pathogens utilize a type III secretion system (TTSS) apparatus, encoded by the locus of enterocyte effacement, to translocate bacterial effector proteins into epithelial cells. Here, we report the identification of EspJ (E. coli-secreted protein J), a translocated TTSS effector that is carried on the 5′ end of the cryptic prophage CP-933U. Infection of epithelial cells in culture revealed that EspJ is not required for A/E lesion activity in vivo and ex vivo. However, in vivo studies performed with mice demonstrated that EspJ possesses properties that influence the dynamics of clearance of the pathogen from the host's intestinal tract, suggesting a role in host survival and pathogen transmission.