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1.  Allele- and Tir-Independent Functions of Intimin in Diverse Animal Infection Models 
Upon binding to intestinal epithelial cells, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), and Citrobacter rodentium trigger formation of actin pedestals beneath bound bacteria. Pedestal formation has been associated with enhanced colonization, and requires intimin, an adhesin that binds to the bacterial effector translocated intimin receptor (Tir), which is translocated to the host cell membrane and promotes bacterial adherence and pedestal formation. Intimin has been suggested to also promote cell adhesion by binding one or more host receptors, and allelic differences in intimin have been associated with differences in tissue and host specificity. We assessed the function of EHEC, EPEC, or C. rodentium intimin, or a set of intimin derivatives with varying Tir-binding abilities in animal models of infection. We found that EPEC and EHEC intimin were functionally indistinguishable during infection of gnotobiotic piglets by EHEC, and that EPEC, EHEC, and C. rodentium intimin were functionally indistinguishable during infection of C57BL/6 mice by C. rodentium. A derivative of EHEC intimin that bound Tir but did not promote robust pedestal formation on cultured cells was unable to promote C. rodentium colonization of conventional mice, indicating that the ability to trigger actin assembly, not simply to bind Tir, is required for intimin-mediated intestinal colonization. Interestingly, streptomycin pre-treatment of mice eliminated the requirement for Tir but not intimin during colonization, and intimin derivatives that were defective in Tir-binding still promoted colonization of these mice. These results indicate that EPEC, EHEC, and C. rodentium intimin are functionally interchangeable during infection of gnotobiotic piglets or conventional C57BL/6 mice, and that whereas the ability to trigger Tir-mediated pedestal formation is essential for colonization of conventional mice, intimin provides a Tir-independent activity during colonization of streptomycin pre-treated mice.
PMCID: PMC3269026  PMID: 22347213
Citrobacter rodentium; intimin; enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli; invasin; enteropathogenic Escherichia coli
2.  Associations between the Genotypes of Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Isolates and Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Bacteremic Patients ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(9):2890-2896.
We investigated associations between the genotypic and phenotypic features of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream isolates and the clinical characteristics of bacteremic patients enrolled in a phase III trial of S. aureus bacteremia and endocarditis. Isolates underwent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, PCR for 33 putative virulence genes, and screening for heteroresistant glycopeptide intermediate S. aureus (hGISA). A total of 230 isolates (141 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and 89 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]) were analyzed. North American and European S. aureus isolates differed in their genotypic characteristics. Overall, 26% of the MRSA bloodstream isolates were USA 300 strains. Patients with USA 300 MRSA bacteremia were more likely to be injection drug users (61% versus 15%; P < 0.001), to have right-sided endocarditis (39% versus 9%; P = 0.002), and to be cured of right-sided endocarditis (100% versus 33%; P = 0.01) than patients with non-USA 300 MRSA bacteremia. Patients with persistent bacteremia were less likely to be infected with Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene (pvl)-constitutive MRSA (19% versus 56%; P = 0.005). Although 7 of 89 MRSA isolates (8%) exhibited the hGISA phenotype, no association with persistent bacteremia, daptomycin resistance, or bacterial genotype was observed. This study suggests that the virulence gene profiles of S. aureus bloodstream isolates from North America and Europe differ significantly. In this study of bloodstream isolates collected as part of a multinational randomized clinical trial, USA 300 and pvl-constitutive MRSA strains were associated with better clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2546778  PMID: 18596141
3.  Microbiological and Genotypic Analysis of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia▿  
In a recent landmark trial of bacteremia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates, vancomycin MICs were ≥1 μg/ml for only 16% of the isolates, and accessory gene regulator (agr) function as measured by delta-hemolysin activity was absent or reduced in only 28.1% of the isolates. This clinical study did not capture a population of MRSA isolates predictive of vancomycin treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC2533503  PMID: 18606839
4.  Citrobacter rodentium, the Causative Agent of Transmissible Murine Colonic Hyperplasia, Exhibits Clonality: Synonymy of C. rodentium and Mouse-Pathogenic Escherichia coli 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(12):4343-4350.
Citrobacter rodentium (formerly Citrobacter freundii biotype 4280 and Citrobacter genomospecies 9) was described on the basis of biochemical characterization and DNA-DNA hybridization data and is the only Citrobacter species known to possess virulence factors homologous to those of the human pathogens enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and enterohemorrhagic E. coli. These virulence factors are encoded on the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), a pathogenicity island required for the characteristic attaching and effacing (AE) pathology seen in infection with these three pathogens. C. rodentium, which apparently infects only mice, provides a useful animal model for studying the molecular basis of AE pathology. No work has been done to assess differences in pathogenicity between C. rodentium isolates from diverse sources. Here, we report the examination of 15 C. rodentium isolates using a battery of genetic and biochemical approaches. No differences were observed between the isolates by repetitive-element sequence-based PCR analysis, biochemical analysis, and possession of LEE-specific virulence factors. These data suggest that members of the species are clonal. We further characterized an atypical E. coli strain from Japan called mouse-pathogenic E. coli (MPEC) that, in our hands, caused the same disease as C. rodentium. Applying the same battery of tests, we found that MPEC possesses LEE-encoded virulence factors and is indistinguishable from the previously characterized C. rodentium isolate DBS100. These results demonstrate that MPEC is a misclassified C. rodentium isolate and that members of this species are clonal and represent the only known attaching and effacing bacterial pathogen of mice.
PMCID: PMC87603  PMID: 11101562

Results 1-4 (4)