Antibiotics administered in low doses have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry since the 1950s, yet the mechanisms for this effect are unclear. Because antimicrobial agents of different classes and varying activity are effective across several vertebrate species, we hypothesized that such subtherapeutic administration alters the population structure of the gut microbiome as well as its metabolic capabilities. We generated a model of adiposity by giving subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy to young mice and evaluated changes in the composition and capabilities of the gut microbiome. Administration of subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy increased adiposity in young mice and increased hormones related to metabolism. We observed substantial taxonomic changes in the microbiome, changes in copies of key genes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates to short-chain fatty acids, increases in colonic short-chain fatty acid levels, and alterations in the regulation of hepatic metabolism of lipids and cholesterol. In this model, we demonstrate the alteration of early-life murine metabolic homeostasis through antibiotic manipulation.
Although recent studies have suggested that tooth loss is positively related to the risk of gastric non-cardia cancer, the underlying oral health conditions potentially responsible for the association remain unknown. We investigated whether clinical and behavioral measures of oral health are associated with the risk of gastric precancerous lesions. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 131 patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Cases were defined as those with gastric precancerous lesions including intestinal metaplasia or chronic atrophic gastritis on the basis of standard biopsy review. A validated structured questionnaire was administered to obtain information on oral health behaviors. A comprehensive clinical oral health examination was performed on a subset of 91 patients to evaluate for periodontal disease and dental caries experience. A total of 41 (31%) cases of gastric precancerous lesions were identified. Compared with non-cases, cases were significantly more likely to not floss their teeth [odds ratio (OR) = 2.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09–7.64], adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking status, educational attainment and Helicobacter pylori status in serum. Among participants who completed the oral examination, cases (n = 28) were more likely to have a higher percentage of sites with gingival bleeding than non-cases [OR = 2.63, 95% CI: 1.37–5.05 for a standard deviation increase in bleeding sites (equivalent to 19.7%)], independent of potential confounders. Our findings demonstrate that specific oral health conditions and behaviors such as gingival bleeding and tooth flossing are associated with gastric precancerous lesions.
For naturally competent microorganisms, such as Helicobacter pylori, the steps that permit recombination of exogenous DNA are not fully understood. Immediately downstream of an H. pylori gene (dprA) that facilitates high-frequency natural transformation is HP0334 (dprB), annotated to be a putative Holliday junction resolvase (HJR). We showed that the HP0334 (dprB) gene product facilitates high-frequency natural transformation. We determined the physiologic roles of DprB by genetic analyses. DprB controls in vitro growth, survival after exposure to UV or fluoroquinolones, and intragenomic recombination. dprB ruvC double deletion dramatically decreases both homologous and homeologous transformation and survival after exposure to DNA-damaging agents. Moreover, the DprB protein binds to synthetic Holliday junction structures rather than double-stranded or single-stranded DNA. These results demonstrate that the dprB product plays important roles affecting inter- and intragenomic recombination. We provide evidence that the two putative H. pylori HJRs (DprB and RuvC) have overlapping but distinct functions involving intergenomic (primarily DprB) and intragenomic (primarily RuvC) recombination.
The microbial communities that reside within the intestinal tract in vertebrates are complex and dynamic. In this report, we establish the utility of Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system for identifying the factors that contribute to bacterial persistence and for host control of gut luminal populations. We found that for N2 worms grown on mixed lawns of bacteria, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium substantially outcompeted Escherichia coli, even when E. coli was initially present at 100-fold-higher concentrations. To address whether innate immunity affects the competition, the daf-2 and daf-16 mutants were studied; their total gut bacterial levels reflect overall capacity for colonization, but Salmonella outcompeted E. coli to an extent similar to wild-type worms. To address the role of virulence properties, Salmonella Δspi-1 Δspi-2 was used to compete with E. coli. The net differential was significantly less than that for wild-type Salmonella; thus, spi-1 spi-2 encodes C. elegans colonization factors. An E. coli strain with repeated in vivo passage had an enhanced ability to compete against an in vitro-passed E. coli strain and against Salmonella. Our data provide evidence of active competition for colonization niches in the C. elegans gut, as determined by bacterial factors and subject to in vivo selection.
Restriction-modification (RM) systems are important for bacteria to limit foreign DNA invasion. The naturally competent bacterium Helicobacter pylori has highly diverse strain-specific type II systems. To evaluate the roles of strain-specific restriction in H. pylori natural transformation, a markerless type II restriction endonuclease-deficient (REd) mutant was constructed. We deleted the genes encoding all four active type II restriction endonucleases in H. pylori strain 26695 using sacB-mediated counterselection. Transformation by donor DNA with exogenous cassettes methylated by Escherichia coli was substantially (1.7 and 2.0 log10 for cat and aphA, respectively) increased in the REd strain. There also was significantly increased transformation of the REd strain by donor DNA from other H. pylori strains, to an extent corresponding to their shared type II R-M system strain specificity with 26695. Comparison of the REd and wild-type strains indicates that restriction did not affect the length of DNA fragment integration during natural transformation. There also were no differentials in cell growth or susceptibility to DNA damage. In total, the data indicate that the type II REd mutant has enhanced competence with no loss of growth or repair facility compared to the wild type, facilitating H. pylori mutant construction and other genetic engineering.
Helicobacter pylori is a persistent colonizer of the human gastric mucosa, which can lead to the development peptic ulcer disease and gastric adenocarcinomas. However, H. pylori can asymptomatically colonize a host for years. One factor that has been hypothesized to contribute to such persistence is the production of Lewis (Le) antigens in the lipopolysaccharide layer of the bacterial outer membrane as a form of molecular mimicry, since humans also express these antigens on their gastric mucosa. Humans and H. pylori both are polymorphic for Le expression, which is driven in H. pylori by variation at the Le synthesis loci. In this report we sought to characterize Le genotypic and phenotypic variation in geographically diverse H. pylori isolates.
Materials and Methods
From patients undergoing endoscopy in 29 countries, we determined Le phenotypes of 78 H. pylori strains, and performed genotyping of the galT and β-(1,3)galT loci in 113 H. pylori strains.
Le antigen phenotyping revealed a significant (p <0.0001) association between type 1 (Lea and Leb) expression and strains of East-Asian origin. Genotyping revealed a significant correlation between strain origin and the size of the promoter region upstream of the Le synthesis gene, galT (p <0.0001).
These results indicate that the heterogeneity of human Le phenotypes are reflected in their H. pylori colonizing strains, and suggest new loci that can be studied to assess variation of Le expression.
Current knowledge is insufficient to explain why only a proportion of individuals exposed to environmental carcinogens or carrying a genetic predisposition to cancer develop disease. Clearly, other factors must be important and one such element that has recently received attention is the human microbiome, the residential microbes including Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryotes, and viruses that colonize humans. Here, we review principles and paradigms of microbiome-related malignancy, as illustrated by three specific microbial-host interactions. We review the effects of the microbiota on local and adjacent-neoplasia, present the estrobolome model of distant effects, and discuss the complex interactions with a latent virus leading to malignancy. These are separate facets of a complex biology interfacing all the microbial species we harbor from birth onward toward early reproductive success and eventual senescence.
Lewis (Le) antigens are fucosylated oligosaccharides present in the Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide. Expression of these antigens is believed to be important for H. pylori colonization, since Le antigens also are expressed on the gastric epithelia in humans. A galactosyltransferase encoded by β-(1,3)galT is essential for production of type 1 (Lea and Leb) antigens. The upstream gene jhp0562, which is present in many but not all H. pylori strains, is homologous to β-(1,3)galT but is of unknown function. Because H. pylori demonstrates extensive intragenomic recombination, we hypothesized that these two genes could undergo DNA rearrangement. A PCR screen and subsequent sequence analyses revealed that the two genes can recombine at both the 5′ and 3′ ends. Chimeric β-(1,3)galT-like alleles can restore function in a β-(1,3)galT null mutant, but neither native nor recombinant jhp0562 can. Mutagenesis of jhp0562 revealed that it is essential for synthesis of both type 1 and type 2 Le antigens. Transcriptional analyses of both loci showed β-(1,3)galT expression in all wild-type (WT) and mutant strains tested, whereas jhp0562 was not expressed in jhp0562 null mutants, as expected. Since jhp0562 unexpectedly displayed functions in both type 1 and type 2 Le synthesis, we asked whether galT, part of the type 2 synthesis pathway, had analogous functions in type 1 synthesis. Mutagenesis and complementation analysis confirmed that galT is essential for Leb production. In total, these results demonstrate that galT and jhp0562 have functions that cross the expected Le synthesis pathways and that jhp0562 provides a substrate for intragenomic recombination to generate diverse Le synthesis enzymes.
Interest in the role of the microbiome in human health has burgeoned over the past decade with the advent of new technologies for interrogating complex microbial communities. The large-scale dynamics of the microbiome can be described by many of the tools and observations used in the study of population ecology. Deciphering the metagenome and its aggregate genetic information also can be used to understand the functional properties of the microbial community. Both the microbiome and metagenome probably have important functions in health and disease; their exploration is a frontier in human genetics.
The mammalian gastric and oral mucosa may be colonized by mixed Helicobacter and Campylobacter species, respectively, in individual animals. To better characterize the presence and distribution of Helicobacter and Campylobacter among marine mammals, we used PCR and 16S rDNA sequence analysis to examine gastric and oral samples from ten dolphins (Tursiops gephyreus), one killer whale (Orcinus orca), one false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and three wild La Plata river dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei). Helicobacter spp. DNA was widely distributed in gastric and oral samples from both captive and wild cetaceans. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated two Helicobacter sequence clusters, one closely related to H. cetorum, a species isolated from dolphins and whales in North America. The second related cluster was to sequences obtained from dolphins in Australia and to gastric non-Helicobacter pylori helicobacters, and may represent a novel taxonomic group. Dental plaque sequences from four dolphins formed a third cluster within the Campylobacter genus that likely represents a novel species isolated from marine mammals. Identification of identical Helicobacter spp. DNA sequences from dental plaque, saliva and gastric fluids from the same hosts, suggests that the oral cavity may be involved in transmission. These results demonstrate that Helicobacter and Campylobacter species are commonly distributed in marine mammals, and identify taxonomic clusters that may represent novel species.
Helicobacter; Campylobacter; marine mammals; cetaceans; gastritis
The human stomach is naturally colonized by Helicobacter pylori, which, when present, dominates the gastric bacterial community. In this study, we aimed to characterize the structure of the bacterial community in the stomach of patients of differing H. pylori status. We used a high-density 16S rRNA gene microarray (PhyloChip, Affymetrix, Inc.) to hybridize 16S rRNA gene amplicons from gastric biopsy DNA of 10 rural Amerindian patients from Amazonas, Venezuela, and of two immigrants to the United States (from South Asia and Africa, respectively). H. pylori status was determined by PCR amplification of H. pylori glmM from gastric biopsy samples. Of the 12 patients, 8 (6 of the 10 Amerindians and the 2 non-Amerindians) were H. pylori glmM positive. Regardless of H. pylori status, the PhyloChip detected Helicobacteriaceae DNA in all patients, although with lower relative abundance in patients who were glmM negative. The G2-chip taxonomy analysis of PhyloChip data indicated the presence of 44 bacterial phyla (of which 16 are unclassified by the Taxonomic Outline of the Bacteria and Archaea taxonomy) in a highly uneven community dominated by only four phyla: Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Positive H. pylori status was associated with increased relative abundance of non-Helicobacter bacteria from the Proteobacteria, Spirochetes and Acidobacteria, and with decreased abundance of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. The PhyloChip detected richness of low abundance phyla, and showed marked differences in the structure of the gastric bacterial community according to H. pylori status.
gastric; microbiota; H. pylori; microarray; Amerindians
A powerful approach to understanding complex processes such as aging is to use model organisms amenable to genetic manipulation, and to seek relevant phenotypes to measure. Caenorhabditis elegans is particularly suited to studies of aging, since numerous single-gene mutations have been identified that affect its lifespan; it possesses an innate immune system employing evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways affecting longevity. As worms age, bacteria accumulate in the intestinal tract. However, quantitative relationships between worm genotype, lifespan, and intestinal lumen bacterial load have not been examined. We hypothesized that gut immunity is less efficient in older animals, leading to enhanced bacterial accumulation, reducing longevity. To address this question, we evaluated the ability of worms to control bacterial accumulation as a functional marker of intestinal immunity.
We show that as adult worms age, several C. elegans genotypes show diminished capacity to control intestinal bacterial accumulation. We provide evidence that intestinal bacterial load, regulated by gut immunity, is an important causative factor of lifespan determination; the effects are specified by bacterial strain, worm genotype, and biologic age, all acting in concert.
In total, these studies focus attention on the worm intestine as a locus that influences longevity in the presence of an accumulating bacterial population. Further studies defining the interplay between bacterial species and host immunity in C. elegans may provide insights into the general mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a risk factor for distal stomach cancer, and a few small studies have suggested that H. pylori may be a potential risk factor for lung cancer. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a study of 350 lung adenocarcinoma cases, 350 squamous cell carcinoma cases, and 700 controls nested within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC) cohort of male Finnish smokers. Controls were one-to-one matched by age and date of baseline serum draw. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to detect immunoglobulin G antibodies against H. pylori whole-cell and cytotoxin-associated gene (CagA) antigens, we calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for associations between H. pylori seropositivity and lung cancer risk using conditional logistic regression. H. pylori seropositivity was detected in 79.7% of cases and 78.5% of controls. After adjusting for pack-years and cigarettes smoked per day, H. pylori seropositivity was not associated with either adenocarcinoma (OR: 1.1, 95% CI: 0.75–1.6) or squamous cell carcinoma (OR: 1.1, 95% CI: 0.77–1.7). Results were similar for CagA-negative and CagA-positive H. pylori seropositivity. Despite earlier small studies suggesting that H. pylori may contribute to lung carcinogenesis, H. pylori seropositivity does not appear to be associated with lung cancer.
Since Helicobacter pylori persist for decades in the human stomach, the aim of this study was to examine the long-term course in H. pylori-specific serum IgG responses with respect to subclass and antigenic target. We studied paired serum samples obtained in 1973 and in 1994 in Vammala, Finland from 64 healthy H. pylori-positive adults and from other healthy controls. H. pylori serum IgA, IgG, and IgG subclass responses were determined by antigen-specific ELISAs. H. pylori-specific IgG1 and IgG4 subtype responses from 47 subjects were similar in 1973 and 1994, but not when compared to unrelated persons. H. pylori-specific IgG1/IgG4 ratios amongst the participants varied > 1000-fold; however, 89.4% had an IgG1/IgG4 ratio >1.0, consistent with a predominant IgG1 (Th1) response. Furthermore, ratios in individual hosts were stable over the 21-year period (r=0.56, p< 0.001). The immune response to heat shock protein HspA was unchanged in 49 (77%) of the 64 subjects tested; of the 15 who changed serostatus, all seroconverted and were significantly younger than those who did not change status. These findings indicate that H. pylori-specific antibody responses are host-specific with IgG1/IgG4 ratios stable over 21 years, IgG1 responses predominating, and HspA seroconversion with aging.
The O antigen of the Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide is composed of repeating units of fucosylated Lewis (Le) antigens. The α(1,2)-fucosyltransferase (futC) of H. pylori, which catalyzes the conversion of Lex to Ley by addition of fucose, is subject to slipped-strand mispairing involving a homonucleotide (poly-C) tract. To explore the distribution of Le phenotypes within H. pylori cells grown in vitro, 379 single colonies of strain J166 were examined for Le expression. Two major populations with reciprocal Lex/Ley phenotypes were identified. Phenotypes correlated with futC frame status, suggesting that strain J166 represents a mixed population with respect to futC poly-C tract length, which was confirmed by a translational reporter. After hundreds of generations in vitro, phenotypes did not change significantly, indicating that the observed J166 Le diversity reflects the founding population. Since slipped-strand mispairing in the futC poly-C tract was postulated to explain the Ley phenotypic change observed in J166 derivative strain 98-169 isolated 10 months after rhesus monkey challenge, in trans complementation with in-frame futC was performed. Ley synthesis was restored and Lex expression was reciprocally lowered. From these studies, we confirmed the principal role of futC slipped-strand mispairing in Le antigenic variation in vitro and in vivo.
Bacterial pathogenesis; Helicobacter; Phase variation; Lewis antigens
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) can induce gastric atrophy in humans, which in turn increases gastric cancer risk. Whether H. pylori and gastric atrophy also affect the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), however, remains unresolved.
We performed a nested case-control study within the prospective ATBC Study to assess these relationships. The ATBC Study is composed of 29,133 Finnish male smokers, aged 50–69, who were recruited during 1985–1988. Using baseline sera, we assessed H. pylori status (via IgG antibodies against whole-cell and CagA antigens) and gastric atrophy status (via the biomarkers pepsinogen I (PGI) and II (PGII)) in 79 ESCC cases and 94 controls. Logistic regression with adjustment for age, date of blood draw, education, cigarette smoking, alcohol, body mass index, and fruit and vegetable intake was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
Gastric atrophy (PGI:PGII <4) was associated with ESCC (OR=4.58, 95%CI:2.00–10.48). There was no evidence for an association between H. pylori and ESCC (OR=0.94, 95%CI:0.40–2.24).
These results could be explained by misclassification of H. pylori status due to serologic amnesia, ESCC risk being dependent upon the functional consequences or interactions of H. pylori, rather than the infection per se, gastric atrophy having a different histogenesis in ESCC without being primarily dependent upon H. pylori acquisition, or a lack of statistical power to detect an effect.
Validation of these results may warrant mechanistic studies to determine the route of association between gastric atrophy and ESCC.
Atrophy; Esophageal Neoplasms; Helicobacter pylori; Nested Case-Control Studies; Pepsinogens; Prospective Studies
Because the human skin microbiota may play roles in the causation or modification of skin diseases, we sought to provide initial quantitative analysis from different cutaneous locations. We developed quantitative PCRs to enumerate the total bacterial and fungal populations, as well as the most common bacterial and fungal genera present in six locales, in eight healthy subjects. We used a set of primers and TaqMan MGB probes based on the bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal internally transcribed spacer region, as well as bacterial genus-specific probes for Propionibacterium, Corynebacterium, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus and a fungal genus-specific probe for Malassezia. The extent of human DNA contamination of the specimen was determined by quantitating the human housekeeping GAPDH gene. The highest level of 16S rRNA copies of bacteria was present in the axilla (4.44 ± 0.18 log10 copies/μl [mean ± standard error of the mean]), with normalization based on GAPDH levels, but the other five locations were similar to one another (range, 2.48 to 2.89 log10 copies/μl). There was strong symmetry between the left and right sides. The four bacterial genera accounted for 31% to 59% of total bacteria, with the highest percent composition in the axilla and the lowest in the forearm. Streptococcus was the most common genus present on the forehead and behind the ear. Corynebacterium spp. were predominant in the axilla. Fungal levels were 1 to 2 log10 lower than for bacteria, with Malassezia spp. accounting for the majority of fungal gene copies. These results provide the first quantitation of the site and host specificities of major bacterial and fungal populations in human skin and present simple methods for their assessment in studies of disease.
The innate immune system plays a critical role in host defense against mucosal bacteria. Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of human gastroenteritis that usually resolves spontaneously within several days, suggesting that innate mechanisms are important to control the infection. However, the specific means by which this occurs is not well understood. While diarrheal isolates of C. jejuni usually are susceptible to human serum, we found that a systemic strain of C. jejuni, isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of an infant with meningitis, is relatively more resistant to human serum, the Bactericidal/Permeability-Increasing Protein (BPI), an endogenous cationic antimicrobial protein, and the cationic peptide antibiotic polymyxin B. To test the hypothesis that the surface properties of this strain contributed to its ability to withstand these innate host defenses, we constructed isogenic mutants in capsule (kpsM) and lipooligosaccharide (waaF) and complemented these mutants by insertion of the complementation construct in trans into hipO, a chromosomal locus. We found that capsule expression was essential for serum resistance, whereas lipooligosaccharide played no substantial role. In contrast, the lipooligosaccharide mutant showed increased sensitivity to polymyxin B, α-defensins, cathelicidins and BPI. These findings suggest that the polysaccharides of C. jejuni strains contribute differently to resistance against host innate immunity, whereby capsule is more important for resisting human complement and lipooligosaccharide is more important for protection against killing mediated by cationic antimicrobial peptides and proteins.
campylobacter; innate immunity; host defense; lipooligosaccharide; capsule; complementation; serum; cationic antimicrobial
Atlas of Intestinal Infection in AIDS; Daniele Dionisio
Antimicrobial resistance; Campylobacter; letter
antibiotics; animal feed; resistant campylobacter; poultry; humans
We report the first case of adult meningitis confirmed to be due to Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus. Phenotypically reported as Streptococcus bovis biotype II/2, 16S rRNA sequencing revealed S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus. Because of taxonomic uncertainties, S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus may be an underrecognized agent of systemic infections.
Helicobacter pylori are bacteria that have coevolved with humans to be transmitted from person to person and to persistently colonize the stomach. Their population structure is a model for the ecology of the indigenous microbiota. A well-choreographed equilibrium between bacterial effectors and host responses permits microbial persistence and health of the host but confers risk of serious diseases, including peptic ulceration and gastric neoplasia.