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1.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis Prevents Inflammasome Activation 
Cell host & microbe  2008;3(4):224-232.
SUMMARY
Mycobacterium tuberculosis parasitizes host macrophages and subverts host innate and adaptive immunity. A number of cytokines elicited by the tubercle bacilli have been recognized as mediators of mycobacterial clearance or pathology in tuberculosis. Surprisingly, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), a major pro-inflammatory cytokine activated by processing upon assembly of a specialized protein complex termed the inflammasome, has not been implicated in host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis. Here, we show that M. tuberculosis prevents inflammasome activation and IL-1β processing, and that a functional M. tuberculosis zmp1 gene is required for this process. Infection of macrophages with the zmp1 null M. tuberculosis triggered activation of caspase-1/IL-1β inflammasome, resulting in increased secretion of IL-1β, enhanced mycobacterial phagosome maturation into phagolysosomes, improved mycobacterial clearance by macrophages, and lower bacterial burden in the lungs of aerosol-infected mice. Thus, we uncovered the previously masked role for IL-1β in control of M. tuberculosis, and the existence of a mycobacterial system that prevents IL-1β/inflammasome activation.
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2008.03.003
PMCID: PMC3657562  PMID: 18407066
2.  Recognition of Potentially Novel Human Disease-Associated Pathogens by Implementation of Systematic 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing in the Diagnostic Laboratory▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(9):3397-3402.
Clinical isolates that are difficult to identify by conventional means form a valuable source of novel human pathogens. We report on a 5-year study based on systematic 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. We found 60 previously unknown 16S rRNA sequences corresponding to potentially novel bacterial taxa. For 30 of 60 isolates, clinical relevance was evaluated; 18 of the 30 isolates analyzed were considered to be associated with human disease.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01098-10
PMCID: PMC2937732  PMID: 20631113
3.  Detection of a Mixed Infection in a Culture-Negative Brain Abscess by Broad-Spectrum Bacterial 16S rRNA Gene PCR ▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(6):2250-2252.
We describe the identification of two bacterial pathogens from a culture-negative brain abscess by the use of broad-spectrum 16S rRNA gene PCR. Simultaneous detection of Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas endodontalis was possible due to a 24-bp length difference of their partially amplified 16S rRNA genes, which allowed separation by high-resolution polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01922-09
PMCID: PMC2884506  PMID: 20392909
4.  Different Patterns of Inappropriate Antimicrobial Use in Surgical and Medical Units at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Switzerland: A Prevalence Survey 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14011.
Background
Unnecessary or inappropriate use of antimicrobials is associated with the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, drug toxicity, increased morbidity and health care costs. Antimicrobial use has been reported to be incorrect or not indicated in 9–64% of inpatients. We studied the quality of antimicrobial therapy and prophylaxis in hospitalized patients at a tertiary care hospital to plan interventions to improve the quality of antimicrobial prescription.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Experienced infectious diseases (ID) fellows performed audits of antimicrobial use at regular intervals among all patients—with or without antimicrobials—hospitalized in predefined surgical, medical, haemato-oncological, or intensive care units. Data were collected from medical and nursing patient charts with a standardized questionnaire. Appropriateness of antimicrobial use was evaluated using a modified algorithm developed by Gyssens et al.; the assessment was double-checked by a senior ID specialist.
We evaluated 1577 patients of whom 700 (44.4%) had antimicrobials, receiving a total of 1270 prescriptions. 958 (75.4%) prescriptions were for therapy and 312 (24.6%) for prophylaxis. 37.0% of therapeutic and 16.6% of prophylactic prescriptions were found to be inappropriate. Most frequent characteristics of inappropriate treatments included: No indication (17.5%); incorrect choice of antimicrobials (7.6%); incorrect application of drugs (9.3%); and divergence from institutional guidelines (8%). Characteristics of inappropriate prophylaxes were: No indication (9%); incorrect choice of antimicrobials (1%); duration too long or other inappropriate use (6.7%). Patterns of inappropriate antimicrobial varied widely in the different hospital units; empirical prescriptions were more frequently incorrect than prescriptions based on available microbiological results.
Conclusions/Significance
Audits of individual patient care provide important data to identify local problems in antimicrobial prescription practice. In our study, antimicrobial prescriptions without indication, and divergence from institutional guidelines were frequent errors. Based on these results, we will tailor education, amend institutional guidelines and further develop the infectious diseases consultation service.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014011
PMCID: PMC2982822  PMID: 21103362

Results 1-4 (4)