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1.  Bacteriophage-based tools: recent advances and novel applications 
F1000Research  2016;5:2782.
Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that infect bacterial hosts, and since their discovery over a century ago they have been primarily exploited to control bacterial populations and to serve as tools in molecular biology. In this commentary, we highlight recent diverse advances in the field of phage research, going beyond bacterial control using whole phage, to areas including biocontrol using phage-derived enzybiotics, diagnostics, drug discovery, novel drug delivery systems and bionanotechnology.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.9705.1
PMCID: PMC5133683  PMID: 27990274
bacteriophage; phage; phage research; biocontrol; bionanotechnology; bacterial diagnostics; phage-based drug delivery; biotechnology
2.  Genome Sequence of Jumbo Phage vB_AbaM_ME3 of Acinetobacter baumanni 
Genome Announcements  2016;4(4):e00431-16.
Bacteriophage (phage) vB_AbaM_ME3 was previously isolated from wastewater effluent using the propagating host Acinetobacter baumannii DSM 30007. The full genome was sequenced, revealing it to be the largest Acinetobacter bacteriophage sequenced to date with a size of 234,900 bp and containing 326 open reading frames (ORFs).
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00431-16
PMCID: PMC5000817  PMID: 27563033
3.  Comparative Genomic Analysis of Two Serotype 1/2b Listeria monocytogenes Isolates from Analogous Environmental Niches Demonstrates the Influence of Hypervariable Hotspots in Defining Pathogenesis 
The vast majority of clinical human listeriosis cases are caused by serotype 1/2a, 1/2b, 1/2c, and 4b isolates of Listeria monocytogenes. The ability of L. monocytogenes to establish a systemic listeriosis infection within a host organism relies on a combination of genes that are involved in cell recognition, internalization, evasion of host defenses, and in vitro survival and growth. Recently, whole genome sequencing and comparative genomic analysis have proven to be powerful tools for the identification of these virulence-associated genes in L. monocytogenes. In this study, two serotype 1/2b strains of L. monocytogenes with analogous isolation sources, but differing infection abilities, were subjected to comparative genomic analysis. The results from this comparison highlight the importance of accessory genes (genes that are not part of the conserved core genome) in L. monocytogenes pathogenesis. In addition, a number of factors, which may account for the perceived inability of one of the strains to establish a systemic infection within its host, have been identified. These factors include the notable absence of the Listeria pathogenicity island 3 and the stress survival islet, of which the latter has been demonstrated to enhance the survival ability of L. monocytogenes during its passage through the host intestinal tract, leading to a higher infection rate. The findings from this research demonstrate the influence of hypervariable hotspots in defining the physiological characteristics of a L. monocytogenes strain and indicate that the emergence of a non-pathogenic isolate of L. monocytogenes may result from a cumulative loss of functionality rather than by a single isolated genetic event.
doi:10.3389/fnut.2016.00054
PMCID: PMC5174086  PMID: 28066772
comparative genomic analysis; Listeria monocytogenes; pathogenesis; hypervariable hotspots; attenuated virulence; stress survival islet; LIPI-3; DPC6895; serotype 1/2b
4.  Crystallization of the CHAP domain of the endolysin from Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage K 
The N-terminal cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase (peptidase) domain of the S. aureus bacteriophage K endolysin LysK has been crystallized. Native and derivative data to a resolution of 1.7–1.8 Å have been obtained, which allowed structure solution.
CHAPK is the N-terminal cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase domain (CHAP domain) of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage K endolysin LysK. It is formed from the first 165 residues of LysK and functions by cleaving specific peptidoglycan peptide bonds, causing bacterial lysis. CHAPK can lyse S. aureus when applied exogenously, making it a good candidate for the treatment of multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Here, the crystallization of CHAPK and the collection of native and derivative data to high resolution, which allowed structure solution, are reported. The structure may help to elucidate the mechanism of action and in the design of chimeric proteins or mutants with improved antibacterial activity.
doi:10.1107/S1744309113030133
PMCID: PMC3855728  PMID: 24316838
CHAP domain; endolysin; Staphylococcus aureus
5.  A tail of two phages: genomic and functional analysis of Listeria monocytogenes phages vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293 reveal the receptor-binding proteins involved in host specificity 
The physical characteristics of bacteriophages establish them as viable candidates for downstream development of pathogen detection assays and biocontrol measures. To utilize phages for such purposes, a detailed knowledge of their host interaction mechanisms is a prerequisite. There is currently a wealth of knowledge available concerning Gram-negative phage-host interaction, but little by comparison for Gram-positive phages and Listeria phages in particular. In this research, the lytic spectrum of two recently isolated Listeria monocytogenes phages (vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293) was determined, and the genomic basis for their observed serotype 4b/4e host-specificity was investigated using comparative genomics. The late tail genes of these phages were identified to be highly conserved when compared to other serovar 4-specific Listeria phages. Spontaneous mutants of each of these phages with broadened host specificities were generated. Their late tail gene sequences were compared with their wild-type counterparts resulting in the putative identification of the products of ORF 19 of vB_LmoS_188 and ORF 20 of vB_LmoS_293 as the receptor binding proteins of these phages. The research findings also indicate that conserved baseplate architectures and host interaction mechanisms exist for Listeria siphoviruses with differing host-specificities, and further contribute to the current knowledge of phage-host interactions with regard to Listeria phages.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.01107
PMCID: PMC4598591  PMID: 26500641
Listeria monocytogenes; bacteriophages; Siphoviridae; serotype 4b/4e; comparative genomics; RBP
6.  Complete Genome Sequence of Listeria monocytogenes Strain DPC6895, a Serotype 1/2b Isolate from Bovine Raw Milk 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(3):e00629-15.
Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen and is the causative agent of listeriosis among humans and animals. The draft genome sequence of L. monocytogenes DPC6895, a serotype 1/2b strain isolated from the raw milk of a cow with subclinical bovine mastitis, is reported.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00629-15
PMCID: PMC4463533  PMID: 26067969
7.  Complete Genome Sequences of vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293, Two Bacteriophages with Specificity for Listeria monocytogenes Strains of Serotypes 4b and 4e 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(2):e00040-15.
Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for the rare disease listeriosis, which is associated with the consumption of contaminated food products. We report here the complete genome sequences of vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293, phages isolated from environmental sources and that have host specificity for L. monocytogenes strains of the 4b and 4e serotypes.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00040-15
PMCID: PMC4392134  PMID: 25858822
8.  Genome analysis of the staphylococcal temperate phage DW2 and functional studies on the endolysin and tail hydrolase 
Bacteriophage  2014;4:e28451.
This study describes the genome of temperate Siphoviridae phage DW2, which is routinely propagated on Staphylococcus aureus DPC5246. The 41941 bp genome revealed an open reading frame (ORF1) which has a high level of homology with members of the resolvase subfamily of site-specific serine recombinase, involved in chromosomal integration and excision. In contrast, the majority of staphylococcal phages reported to date encode tyrosine recombinases. Two putative genes encoded by phage DW2 (ORF15 and ORF24) were highly homologous to the NWMN0273 and NWMN0280 genes encoding virulence factors carried on the genome of ϕNM4, a prophage in the genome of S. aureus Newman. Phage DW2 also encodes proteins highly homologous to two well-characterized Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity island derepressors encoded by the staphylococcal helper phage 80α indicating that it may similarly act as a helper phage for mobility of pathogenicity islands in S. aureus. This study also focused on the enzybiotic potential of phage DW2. The structure of the putative endolysin and tail hydrolase were investigated and used as the basis for a cloning strategy to create recombinant peptidoglycan hydrolyzing proteins. After overexpression in E. coli, four of these proteins (LysDW2, THDW2, CHAPE1-153, and CHAPE1-163) were demonstrated to have hydrolytic activity against peptidoglycan of S. aureus and thus represent novel candidates for exploitation as enzybiotics.
doi:10.4161/bact.28451
PMCID: PMC4124061  PMID: 25105056
bacteriophage; Staphylococcus; endolysin; virion-associated peptidoglycan hydrolase; virulence; serine recombinase
9.  The role of the Cronobacter sakazakii ProP C-terminal coiled coil domain in osmotolerance 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6:46.
Background
We investigate the role of the C-terminal coiled coil of the secondary proline porter ProP in contributing to Cronobacter sakazakii osmotolerance.
Findings
The extended C-terminal domain of ProP1 (encoded by ESA_02131) was spliced onto the truncated C-terminal end of ProP2 (encoded by ESA_01706); creating a chimeric protein (ProPc) which exhibits increased osmotolerance relative to the wild type.
Conclusions
It appears that the C-terminal coiled coil domain tunes ProP at low osmolality, whereas ProP transporters lacking the coiled coil domain are more active at a higher osmolality range.
doi:10.1186/s13099-014-0046-9
PMCID: PMC4272814  PMID: 25530808
10.  Complete Genome Sequence of vB_EcoM_112, a T-Even-Type Bacteriophage Specific for Escherichia coli O157:H7 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e00393-14.
Bacteriophage vB_EcoM_112 (formerly e11/2) is an Escherichia coli phage with specificity for the O157:H7 serotype. The vB_EcoM_112 genome sequence shares high degrees of similarity with the phage T4 genome sequence.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00393-14
PMCID: PMC4241651  PMID: 25395625
11.  Crystal structure of the lytic CHAPK domain of the endolysin LysK from Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage K 
Virology Journal  2014;11:133.
Background
Bacteriophages encode endolysins to lyse their host cell and allow escape of their progeny. Endolysins are also active against Gram-positive bacteria when applied from the outside and are thus attractive anti-bacterial agents. LysK, an endolysin from staphylococcal phage K, contains an N-terminal cysteine-histidine dependent amido-hydrolase/peptidase domain (CHAPK), a central amidase domain and a C-terminal SH3b cell wall-binding domain. CHAPK cleaves bacterial peptidoglycan between the tetra-peptide stem and the penta-glycine bridge.
Methods
The CHAPK domain of LysK was crystallized and high-resolution diffraction data was collected both from a native protein crystal and a methylmercury chloride derivatized crystal. The anomalous signal contained in the derivative data allowed the location of heavy atom sites and phase determination. The resulting structures were completed, refined and analyzed. The presence of calcium and zinc ions in the structure was confirmed by X-ray fluorescence emission spectroscopy. Zymogram analysis was performed on the enzyme and selected site-directed mutants.
Results
The structure of CHAPK revealed a papain-like topology with a hydrophobic cleft, where the catalytic triad is located. Ordered buffer molecules present in this groove may mimic the peptidoglycan substrate. When compared to previously solved CHAP domains, CHAPK contains an additional lobe in its N-terminal domain, with a structural calcium ion, coordinated by residues Asp45, Asp47, Tyr49, His51 and Asp56. The presence of a zinc ion in the active site was also apparent, coordinated by the catalytic residue Cys54 and a possible substrate analogue. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to demonstrate that residues involved in calcium binding and of the proposed active site were important for enzyme activity.
Conclusions
The high-resolution structure of the CHAPK domain of LysK was determined, suggesting the location of the active site, the substrate-binding groove and revealing the presence of a structurally important calcium ion. A zinc ion was found more loosely bound. Based on the structure, we propose a possible reaction mechanism. Future studies will be aimed at co-crystallizing CHAPK with substrate analogues and elucidating its role in the complete LysK protein. This, in turn, may lead to the design of site-directed mutants with altered activity or substrate specificity.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-133
PMCID: PMC4126393  PMID: 25064136
Bacteriophage; Calcium; Crystallography; Endolysin; Peptidoglycan; Protease; Staphylococcus; Zinc
12.  Analysis of the role of the Cronobacter sakazakii ProP homologues in osmotolerance 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6:15.
Bacteria respond to elevated osmolality by the accumulation of a range of low molecular weight molecules, known as compatible solutes (owing to their compatibility with the cells' normal physiology at high internal concentrations). The neonatal pathogen Cronobacter sakazakii is uniquely osmotolerant, surviving in powdered infant formula (PIF) which typically has a water activity (aw) of 0.2 – inhospitable to most micro-organisms. Mortality rates of up to 80% in infected infants have been recorded making C. sakazakii a serious cause for concern. In silico analysis of the C. sakazakii BAA-894 genome revealed seven copies of the osmolyte uptake system ProP. Herein, we test the physiological role of each of these homologues following heterologous expression against an osmosensitive Escherichia coli host.
doi:10.1186/1757-4749-6-15
PMCID: PMC4047261  PMID: 24910715
Osmolytes; Proline; Osmotolerance; Stress; Cronobacter
13.  Transcriptome analysis of Listeria monocytogenes exposed to biocide stress reveals a multi-system response involving cell wall synthesis, sugar uptake, and motility 
Listeria monocytogenes is a virulent food-borne pathogen most often associated with the consumption of “ready-to-eat” foods. The organism is a common contaminant of food processing plants where it may persist for extended periods of time. A commonly used approach for the control of Listeria monocytogenes in the processing environment is the application of biocides such as quaternary ammonium compounds. In this study, the transcriptomic response of a persistent strain of L. monocytogenes (strain 6179) on exposure to a sub-lethal concentration of the quaternary ammonium compound benzethonium chloride (BZT) was assessed. Using RNA-Seq, gene expression levels were quantified by sequencing the transcriptome of L. monocytogenes 6179 in the presence (4 ppm) and absence of BZT, and mapping each data set to the sequenced genome of strain 6179. Hundreds of differentially expressed genes were identified, and subsequent analysis suggested that many biological processes such as peptidoglycan biosynthesis, bacterial chemotaxis and motility, and carbohydrate uptake, were involved in the response of L. monocyotogenes to the presence of BZT. The information generated in this study further contributes to our understanding of the response of bacteria to environmental stress. In addition, this study demonstrates the importance of using the bacterium's own genome as a reference when analysing RNA-Seq data.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00068
PMCID: PMC3937556  PMID: 24616718
Listeria monocytogenes; RNA-Seq; benzethonium chloride; transcriptome; gene expression; biocide stress
14.  Phages of non-dairy lactococci: isolation and characterization of ΦL47, a phage infecting the grass isolate Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris DPC6860 
Lactococci isolated from non-dairy sources have been found to possess enhanced metabolic activity when compared to dairy strains. These capabilities may be harnessed through the use of these strains as starter or adjunct cultures to produce more diverse flavor profiles in cheese and other dairy products. To understand the interactions between these organisms and the phages that infect them, a number of phages were isolated against lactococcal strains of non-dairy origin. One such phage, ΦL47, was isolated from a sewage sample using the grass isolate L. lactis ssp. cremoris DPC6860 as a host. Visualization of phage virions by transmission electron microscopy established that this phage belongs to the family Siphoviridae and possesses a long tail fiber, previously unseen in dairy lactococcal phages. Determination of the lytic spectrum revealed a broader than expected host range, with ΦL47 capable of infecting 4 industrial dairy strains, including ML8, HP and 310, and 3 additional non-dairy isolates. Whole genome sequencing of ΦL47 revealed a dsDNA genome of 128, 546 bp, making it the largest sequenced lactococcal phage to date. In total, 190 open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, and comparative analysis revealed that the predicted products of 117 of these ORFs shared greater than 50% amino acid identity with those of L. lactis phage Φ949, a phage isolated from cheese whey. Despite their different ecological niches, the genomic content and organization of ΦL47 and Φ949 are quite similar, with both containing 4 gene clusters oriented in different transcriptional directions. Other features that distinguish ΦL47 from Φ949 and other lactococcal phages, in addition to the presence of the tail fiber and the genome length, include a low GC content (32.5%) and a high number of predicted tRNA genes (8). Comparative genome analysis supports the conclusion that ΦL47 is a new member of the 949 lactococcal phage group which currently includes the dairy Φ949.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00417
PMCID: PMC3888941  PMID: 24454309
Lactococcus lactis; non-dairy; phage; tail fiber; genome
15.  Movers and shakers 
Gut Microbes  2013;4(1):4-16.
The human intestinal microbiota is one of the most densely populated ecosystems on Earth, containing up to 1013 bacteria/g and in some respects can be considered an organ itself given its role in human health. Bacteriophages (phages) are the most abundant replicating entities on the planet and thrive wherever their bacterial hosts exist. They undoubtedly influence the dominant microbial populations in many ecosystems including the human intestine. Within this setting, lysogeny appears to be the preferred life cycle, presumably due to nutrient limitations and lack of suitable hosts protected in biofilms, hence the predator/prey dynamic observed in many ecosystems is absent. On the other hand, free virulent phages in the gut are more common among sufferers of intestinal diseases and have been shown to increase with antibiotic usage. Many of these phages evolve from prophages of intestinal bacteria and emerge under conditions where their bacterial hosts encounter stress suggesting that prophages can significantly alter the microbial community composition. Based on these observations, we propose the “community shuffling” model which hypothesizes that prophage induction contributes to intestinal dysbiosis by altering the ratio of symbionts to pathobionts, enabling pathobiont niche reoccupation. The consequences of the increased phage load on the mammalian immune system are also addressed. While this is an area of intestinal biology which has received little attention, this review assembles evidence from the literature which supports the role of phages as one of the biological drivers behind the composition of the gut microbiota.
doi:10.4161/gmic.22371
PMCID: PMC3555884  PMID: 23022738
gut; microbiota; bacteriophages; phages; prophages; induction; community shuffling
16.  Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius 
It is well documented that open reading frames containing high GC content show poor expression in A+T rich hosts. Specifically, G+C-rich codon usage is a limiting factor in heterologous expression of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) proteins using Lactobacillus salivarius. However, re-engineering opening reading frames through synonymous substitutions can offset codon bias and greatly enhance MAP protein production in this host. In this report, we demonstrate that codon-usage manipulation of MAP2121c can enhance the heterologous expression of the major membrane protein (MMP), analogous to the form in which it is produced natively by MAP bacilli. When heterologously over-expressed, antigenic determinants were preserved in synthetic MMP proteins as shown by monoclonal antibody mediated ELISA. Moreover, MMP is a membrane protein in MAP, which is also targeted to the cellular surface of recombinant L. salivarius at levels comparable to MAP. Additionally, we previously engineered MAP3733c (encoding MptD) and show herein that MptD displays the tendency to associate with the cytoplasmic membrane boundary under confocal microscopy and the intracellularly accumulated protein selectively adheres to the MptD-specific bacteriophage fMptD. This work demonstrates there is potential for L. salivarius as a viable antigen delivery vehicle for MAP, which may provide an effective mucosal vaccine against Johne's disease.
doi:10.3389/fcimb.2014.00120
PMCID: PMC4154528  PMID: 25237653
MAP antigens; MptD; MMP; codon optimization; expression host; paratuberculosis; MAP vaccine; Johne's disease
17.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of 2-Hydroxy-3-[(2-aryloxyethyl)amino]propyl 4-[(Alkoxycarbonyl)amino]benzoates 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:274570.
A series of twenty substituted 2-hydroxy-3-[(2-aryloxyethyl)amino]propyl 4-[(alkoxycarbonyl)amino]benzoates were prepared and characterized. As similar compounds have been described as potential antimycobacterials, primary in vitro screening of the synthesized carbamates was also performed against two mycobacterial species. 2-Hydroxy-3-[2-(2,6-dimethoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride, 2-hydroxy-3-[2-(4-methoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride, and 2-hydroxy-3-[2-(2-methoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride showed higher activity against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and M. intracellulare than the standards ciprofloxacin, isoniazid, or pyrazinamide. Cytotoxicity assay of effective compounds was performed using the human monocytic leukaemia THP-1 cell line. Compounds with predicted amphiphilic properties were also tested for their effects on the rate of photosynthetic electron transport (PET) in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) chloroplasts. All butyl derivatives significantly stimulated the rate of PET, indicating that the compounds can induce conformational changes in thylakoid membranes resulting in an increase of their permeability and so causing uncoupling of phosphorylation from electron transport.
doi:10.1155/2013/274570
PMCID: PMC3830801  PMID: 24288475
18.  Antifungal activity of Lactobacillus against Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Epidermophyton floccosum 
Bioengineered Bugs  2012;3(2):102-111.
A total of 220 lactic acid bacteria isolates were screened for antifungal activity using Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger as the target strains. Four Lactobacillus strains exhibited strong inhibitory activity on agar surfaces. All four were also identified as having strong inhibitory activity against the human pathogenic fungi Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Epidermophyton floccosum. One of the four lactobacilli, namely Lb. reuteri ee1p exhibited the most inhibition against dermatophytes. Cell-free culture supernatants of Lb. reuteri ee1p and of the non-antifungal Lb. reuteri M13 were freeze-dried and used to access and compare antifungal activity in agar plate assays and microtiter plate assays. Addition of the Lb. reuteri ee1p freeze-dried cell-free supernatant powder into the agar medium at concentrations greater than 2% inhibited all fungal colony growth. Addition of the powder at 5% to liquid cultures caused complete inhibition of fungal growth on the basis of turbidity. Freeze-dried supernatant of the non-antifungal Lb. reuteri M13 at the same concentrations had a much lesser effect. As Lb. reuteri M13 is very similar to the antifungal strain ee1p in terms of growth rate and final pH in liquid culture, and as it has little antifungal activity, it is clear that other antifungal compounds must be specifically produced (or produced at higher levels) by the anti-dermatophyte strain Lb. reuteri ee1p. Reuterin was undetectable in all four antifungal strains. The cell free supernatant of Lb. reuteri ee1p was analyzed by LC-FTMS using an Accela LC coupled to an LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer. The high mass accuracy spectrum produced by compounds in the Lb. reuteri ee1p strain was compared with both a multianalyte chromatogram and individual spectra of standard anti-fungal compounds, which are known to be produced by lactic acid bacteria. Ten antifungal metabolites were detected.
doi:10.4161/bbug.19624
PMCID: PMC3357330  PMID: 22539027
Epidermophyton floccosum; antifungal; lactic acid bacteria; Microsporum canis; Microsporum gypseum
19.  Bacteriophage-Derived Peptidase CHAPK Eliminates and Prevents Staphylococcal Biofilms 
New antibacterial agents are urgently needed for the elimination of biofilm-forming bacteria that are highly resistant to traditional antimicrobial agents. Proliferation of such bacteria can lead to significant economic losses in the agri-food sector. This study demonstrates the potential of the bacteriophage-derived peptidase, CHAPK, as a biocidal agent for the rapid disruption of biofilm-forming staphylococci, commonly associated with bovine mastitis. Purified CHAPK applied to biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus DPC5246 completely eliminated the staphylococcal biofilms within 4 h. In addition, CHAPK was able to prevent biofilm formation by this strain. The CHAPK lysin also reduced S. aureus in a skin decolonization model. Our data demonstrates the potential of CHAPK as a biocidal agent for prevention and treatment of biofilm-associated staphylococcal infections or as a decontaminating agent in the food and healthcare sectors.
doi:10.1155/2013/625341
PMCID: PMC3574654  PMID: 23431312
20.  Bacteriophages ϕMR299-2 and ϕNH-4 Can Eliminate Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Murine Lung and on Cystic Fibrosis Lung Airway Cells 
mBio  2012;3(2):e00029-12.
ABSTRACT
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of infection in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In addition, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance of Pseudomonas are major problems that can complicate antibiotic therapy. We evaluated the efficacy of using bacteriophages to kill the pathogen in both biofilms and in the murine lung. We isolated and characterized two phages from a local wastewater treatment plant, a myovirus (ϕNH-4) and a podovirus (ϕMR299-2). Both phages were active against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa. Together, the two phages killed all 9 clinical isolate strains tested, including both mucoid and nonmucoid strains. An equal mixture of the two phages was effective in killing P. aeruginosa NH57388A (mucoid) and P. aeruginosa MR299 (nonmucoid) strains when growing as a biofilm on a cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial CFBE41o- cell line. Phage titers increased almost 100-fold over a 24-h period, confirming replication of the phage. Furthermore, the phage mix was also effective in killing the pathogen in murine lungs containing 1 × 107 to 2 × 107 P. aeruginosa. Pseudomonas was effectively cleared (reduced by a magnitude of at least 3 to 4 log units) from murine lungs in 6 h. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of these two phages in killing clinical Pseudomonas isolates in the murine lung or as a biofilm on a pulmonary cell line and supports the growing interest in using phage therapy for the control and treatment of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas lung infections in CF patients.
IMPORTANCE
Given the rise in antibiotic resistance, nonantibiotic therapies are required for the treatment of infection. This is particularly true for the treatment of Pseudomonas infection in patients with cystic fibrosis. We have identified two bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) that can kill Pseudomonas growing on human lung cells and in an animal model of lung infection. The use of bacteriophages is particularly appropriate because the killing agent can replicate on the target cell, generating fresh copies of the bacteriophage. Thus, in the presence of a target, the killing agent multiplies. By using two bacteriophages we can reduce the risk of resistant colonies developing at the site of infection. Bacteriophage therapy is an exciting field, and this study represents an important demonstration of efficacy in validated infection models.
doi:10.1128/mBio.00029-12
PMCID: PMC3302570  PMID: 22396480
21.  In silico modeling of the staphylococcal bacteriophage-derived peptidase CHAPK 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(4):198-206.
The aim of this study was to use comparative modeling to predict the three-dimensional structure of the CHAPK protein (cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase domain of the LysK endolysin, derived from bacteriophage K). Iterative PSI-BLAST searches against the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and nonredundant (nr) databases were used to populate a multiple alignment for analysis using the T-Coffee Expresso server. A consensus Maximum Parsimony phylogenetic tree with a bootstrap analysis setting of 1,000 replicates was constructed using MEGA4. Structural templates relevant to our target (CHAPK) were identified, processed in Expresso and used to generate a 3D model in the alignment mode of SWISS-MODEL. These templates were also processed in the I-TASSER web server. A Staphylococcus saprophyticus CHAP domain protein, 2K3A, was identified as the structural template in both servers. The I-TASSER server generated the CHAPK model with the best bond geometries when analyzed using PROCHECK and the most logical organization of the structure. The predicted 3D model indicates that CHAPK has a papain-like fold. Circular dichroism spectropolarimetry also indicated that CHAPK has an αβ fold, which is consistent with the model presented. The putative active site maintained a highly conserved Cys54-His117-Glu134 charge relay and an oxyanion hole residue Asn136. The residue triplet, Cys-His-Glu, is known to be a viable proteolytic triad in which we predict the Cys residue is used in a nucleophilic attack on peptide bonds at a specific site in the pentaglycine cross bridge of staphylococcal cell wall peptidoglycan. Use of comparative modeling has allowed approximation of the 3D structure of CHAPK giving information on the structure and an insight into the binding and active site of the catalytic domain. This may facilitate its development as an alternative antibacterial agent.
doi:10.4161/bact.1.4.18245
PMCID: PMC3448105  PMID: 23050213
bacteriophage; CHAP; endolysin; in silico; peptidase; staphylococcus
22.  In Vivo and Ex Vivo Evaluations of Bacteriophages e11/2 and e4/1c for Use in the Control of Escherichia coli O157:H7▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(21):7210-7216.
This study investigated the effect of bacteriophages (phages) e11/2 and e4/1c against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in an ex vivo rumen model and in cattle in vivo. In the ex vivo rumen model, samples were inoculated with either 103 or 106 CFU/ml inoculum of E. coli O157:H7 and challenged separately with each bacteriophage. In the presence of phage e11/2, the numbers of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced to below the limit of detection within 1 h. Phage e4/1c significantly (P < 0.05) reduced E. coli O157:H7 numbers within 2 h of incubation, but the number of surviving E. coli O157:H7 bacteria then remained unchanged over a further 22-h incubation period. The ability of a phage cocktail of e11/2 and e4/1c to reduce the fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in experimentally inoculated cattle was then investigated in two cattle trials. Cattle (yearlings, n = 20 for trial one; adult fistulated cattle, n = 2 for trial two) were orally inoculated with 1010 CFU of E. coli O157:H7. Animals (n = 10 for trial one; n = 1 for trial two) were dosed daily with a bacteriophage cocktail of 1011 PFU for 3 days postinoculation. E. coli O157:H7 and phage numbers in fecal and/or rumen samples were determined over 7 days postinoculation. E. coli O157:H7 numbers rapidly declined in all animals within 24 to 48 h; however, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the numbers of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria shed by the phage-treated or control animals. Phages were recovered from the rumen but not from the feces of the adult fistulated animal in trial two but were recovered from the feces of the yearling animals in trial one. While the results from the rumen model suggest that phages are effective in the rumen, further research is required to improve the antimicrobial effectiveness of phages for the elimination of E. coli O157:H7 in vivo.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01530-10
PMCID: PMC2976219  PMID: 20851992
23.  Recombinant bacteriophage lysins as antibacterials 
Bioengineered Bugs  2010;1(1):9-16.
With the increasing worldwide prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, bacteriophage endolysins (lysins) represent a very promising novel alternative class of antibacterial in the fight against infectious disease. Lysins are phage-encoded peptidoglycan hydrolases which, when applied exogenously (as purified recombinant proteins) to Gram-positive bacteria, bring about rapid lysis and death of the bacterial cell. A number of studies have recently demonstrated the strong potential of these enzymes in human and veterinary medicine to control and treat pathogens on mucosal surfaces and in systemic infections. They also have potential in diagnostics and detection, bio-defence, elimination of food pathogens and control of phytopathogens. This review discusses the extensive research on recombinant bacteriophage lysins in the context of antibacterials, and looks forward to future development and potential.
doi:10.4161/bbug.1.1.9818
PMCID: PMC3035150  PMID: 21327123
lysin; endolysin; bacteriophage; pathogen; antibacterial; infection; lytic; enzyme
24.  The truncated phage lysin CHAPk eliminates Staphylococcus aureus in the nares of mice 
Bioengineered Bugs  2010;1(6):404-407.
The endolysin LysK derived from staphylococcal phage K has previously been shown to have two enzymatic domains, one of which is an N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase and the other a cysteine/histidine-dependant amidohydrolase/peptidase designated CHAPk. The latter, when cloned as a single-domain truncated enzyme, is conveniently overexpressed in a highly-soluble form. This enzyme was shown to be highly active in vitro against live cell suspensions of S. aureus. In the current study, the IVIS imaging system was used to demonstrate the effective elimination of a lux labeled S. aureus from the nares of BALB/c mice.
doi:10.4161/bbug.1.6.13422
PMCID: PMC3056090  PMID: 21468207
Staphylococcus; decolonization; lysin; bacteriophage; nasal
25.  Gene encoded antimicrobial peptides, a template for the design of novel anti-mycobacterial drugs 
Bioengineered Bugs  2010;1(6):408-412.
Nisin A is the most widely characterized lantibiotic investigated to date. It represents one of the many antimicrobial peptides which have been the focus of much interest as potential therapeutic agents. This has resulted in the search for novel lantibiotics and more commonly, the engineering of novel variants from existing peptides with a view to increasing their activity, stability and solubility.
The aim of this study was to compare the activities of nisin A and novel bioengineered hinge derivatives, nisin S, nisin T and nisin V. The microtitre alamar blue assay (MABA) was employed to identify the enhanced activity of these novel variants against M. tuberculosis (H37Ra), M. kansasii (CIT11/06), M. avium subsp. hominissuis (CIT05/03) and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) (ATCC 19698). All variants displayed greater anti-mycobacterial activity than nisin A. Nisin S was the most potent variant against M. tuberculosis, M. kansasii and M. avium subsp. hominissuis, retarding growth by a maximum of 29% when compared with nisin A. Sub-species variations of inhibition were also observed with nisin S reducing growth of Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis by 28% and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis by 19% and nisin T contrastingly reducing growth of MAP by 27% and MAC by 16%.
Nisin S, nisin T and nisin V are potent novel anti-mycobacterial compounds, which have the capacity to be further modified, potentially generating compounds with additional beneficial characteristics. This is the first report to demonstrate an enhancement of efficacy by any bioengineered bacteriocin against mycobacteria.
doi:10.4161/bbug.1.6.13642
PMCID: PMC3056091  PMID: 21468208
mycobacteria; nisin variants; alamar blue; peptide engineering; lantibiotic; bacteriocin

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