Klebsiella pneumoniae K1 is a major agent of hepatic abscess with metastatic disease in East Asia, with sporadic reports originating elsewhere. We report a case of abscess complicated by septic endophthalmitis caused by a wzyAKpK1-positive Klebsiella strain in a U.S. resident, raising concern for global emergence.
The strong epidemiological association between cigarette smoke (CS) exposure and respiratory tract infections is conventionally attributed to immunosuppressive and irritant effects of CS on human cells. Since pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus are members of the normal microbiota and reside in close proximity to human nasopharyngeal cells, we hypothesized that bioactive components of CS might affect these organisms and potentiate their virulence. Using Staphylococcus aureus as a model organism, we observed that the presence of CS increased both biofilm formation and host cell adherence. Analysis of putative molecular pathways revealed that CS exposure decreased expression of the quorum-sensing agr system, which is involved in biofilm dispersal, and increased transcription of biofilm inducers such as sarA and rbf. CS contains bioactive compounds, including free radicals and reactive oxygen species, and we observed transcriptional induction of bacterial oxidoreductases, including superoxide dismutase, following exposure. Moreover, pretreatment of CS with an antioxidant abrogated CS-mediated enhancement of biofilms. Exposure of bacteria to hydrogen peroxide alone increased biofilm formation. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that CS induces staphylococcal biofilm formation in an oxidant-dependent manner. CS treatment induced transcription of fnbA (encoding fibronectin binding protein A), leading to increased binding of CS-treated staphylococci to immobilized fibronectin and increased adherence to human cells. These observations indicate that the bioactive effects of CS may extend to the resident microbiota of the nasopharynx, with implications for the pathogenesis of respiratory infection in CS-exposed humans.
Cells of the endocervix are responsible for the secretion of mucins, which provide an additional layer of protection to the female reproductive tract (FRT). This barrier is likely fortified with IgA as has previously been shown in the gastrointestinal tract and lungs of mice. Mucus associated IgA can facilitate clearance of bacteria. While a similar function for IgG has been proposed, an association with mucus has not yet been demonstrated. Here we find that IgA and IgG are differentially associated with the different types of mucus of the FRT. We observed that while both IgA and IgG are stably associated with cervical mucus, only IgG is associated with cervicovaginal mucus. These findings reveal that antibodies can bind tightly to mucus, where they can play a significant role in the fortification of the mucus barriers of the FRT. It may be possible to harness this interaction in the development of vaccines designed to protect the FRT mucosal barriers from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
The burden and significance of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) colonization in the ICU is not clearly understood.
We searched PubMed and EMBASE up to May 2013 for studies reporting the prevalence of VRE upon admission to the ICU and performed a meta-analysis to assess rates and trends of VRE colonization. We calculated the prevalence of VRE on admission and the acquisition (colonization and/or infection) rates to estimate time trends and the impact of colonization on ensuing VRE infections.
Across 37 studies (62,959 patients at risk), the estimated prevalence of VRE on admission to the ICU was 8.8% (7.1-10.6). Estimates were more consistent when cultures were obtained within 24 hours from admission. The VRE acquisition rate was 8.8% (95% CI 6.9-11.0) across 26 evaluable studies (35,364 patients at risk). Across US studies, VRE acquisition rate was 10.2% (95% CI 7.7-13.0) and demonstrated significant decline in annual trends. We used the US estimate of colonization on admission [12.3% (10.5-14.3)] to evaluate the impact of VRE colonization on admission in overall VRE prevalence. We demonstrated that VRE colonization on admission is a major determinant of the overall VRE burden in the ICU. Importantly, among colonized patients (including admitted and/or acquired cases) the VRE infection rates vary widely from 0-45% (with the risk of VRE bacteremia being reported from 0-16%) and <2% among those without a proven colonization.
In summary, up to 10.6% of patients admitted in the ICU are colonized with VRE on admission and a similar percentage will acquire VRE during their ICU stay. Importantly, colonization on admission is a major determinant of VRE dynamics in the ICU and the risk of VRE-related infections is close related to colonization.
Staphylococcus aureus infections are increasing among pregnant and postpartum women and neonates, but risk factors for S. aureus colonization in pregnancy and the association between maternal colonization and infant infections are not well defined. We sought to identify risk factors for maternal S. aureus rectovaginal colonization and assess colonization as a risk factor for infections among mothers and infants.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of pregnant women and their infants. Demographic and clinical data, including S. aureus infections that occurred in mothers from 3 months before to 3 months after delivery and in infants during the first 3 months of life, were extracted from electronic medical records. Predictors for maternal S. aureus rectovaginal colonization were assessed through multivariable logistic regression analysis.
The cohort included 2702 women and 2789 infants. The prevalence of maternal rectovaginal colonization with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was 13% and 0.7%. Independent predictors of colonization included multigravidity, human immunodeficiency virus seropositivity, and group B Streptococcus colonization. S. aureus colonization was associated with an increased risk of infection in mothers (odds ratio [OR], 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4–8.8) but not in their infants (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, .6–5.6). The frequency of S. aureus infections was 0.8% in mothers and 0.7% in infants.
S. aureus rectovaginal colonization was associated with an increased risk of infections in women but not in their infants. The frequency of MRSA infections was low. These data suggest that routine MRSA screening of pregnant women may not be indicated.
Our understanding of the bacterial species inhabiting the female genital tract has been limited primarily by our ability to detect them. Early investigations using microscopy and culture-based techniques identified lactobacilli as the predominant members of the vaginal microbiota and suggested that these organisms might serve a protective function at the mucosal surface. Improvements in cultivation techniques and the development of molecular-based detection strategies validated these early findings and enabled us to recognize that the microbiota of the female genital tract is much more complex than previously suspected. Disruption of the vaginal microbial community due to invasion of exogenous organisms or by overgrowth of one or more endogenous species has important health implications for both the mother and newborn.
Bacterial vaginosis; Lactobacilli; Vaginal microbiota; Vaginitis
Streptococcus intermedius is a human pathogen with a propensity for abscess formation. We report a high-quality draft genome sequence of S. intermedius strain BA1, an isolate from a human epidural abscess. This sequence provides insight into the biology of S. intermedius and will aid investigations of pathogenicity.
During mucosal colonization, epithelial cells are concurrently exposed to numerous microbial species. Epithelial cytokine production is an early component of innate immunity and contributes to mucosal defense. We have previously demonstrated a synergistic response of respiratory epithelial cells to costimulation by two human pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. Here we define a molecular mechanism for the synergistic activation of epithelial signaling during polymicrobial colonization. H. influenzae peptidoglycan synergizes with the pore-forming toxin pneumolysin from S. pneumoniae. Radiolabeled peptidoglycan enters epithelial cells more efficiently in the presence of pneumolysin, consistent with peptidoglycan gaining access to the cytoplasm via toxin pores. Other pore-forming toxins (including anthrolysin O from Bacillus anthracis and Staphylococcus aureus α-toxin) can substitute for pneumolysin in the generation of synergistic responses. Consistent with a requirement for pore formation, S. pneumoniae expressing pneumolysin but not an isogenic mutant expressing a non-pore-forming toxoid prime epithelial responses. Nod1, a host cytoplasmic peptidoglycan-recognition molecule, is crucial to the epithelial response. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a role for cytosolic recognition of peptidoglycan in the setting of polymicrobial epithelial stimulation. We conclude that combinations of extracellular organisms can activate innate immune pathways previously considered to be reserved for the detection of intracellular microorganisms.
Epithelial cells act as an interface between human mucosal surfaces and the surrounding environment. As a result, they are responsible for the initiation of local immune responses, which may be crucial for prevention of invasive infection. Here we show that epithelial cells detect the presence of bacterial pore-forming toxins – including pneumolysin from Streptococcus pneumoniae, α-hemolysin from Staphylococcus aureus, streptolysin O from Streptococcus pyogenes, and anthrolysin O from Bacillus anthracis – at nanomolar concentrations, far below those required to cause cytolysis. Phosphorylation of p38 MAPK appears to be a conserved response of epithelial cells to subcytolytic concentrations of bacterial PFT, and this activity is inhibited by the addition of high molecular weight osmolytes to the extracellular medium. By sensing osmotic stress caused by insertion of a sublethal number of pores into their membranes, epithelial cells may act as an early warning system to commence an immune response while the local density of toxin-producing bacteria remains low. Osmosensing may thus represent a novel innate immune response to a common bacterial virulence strategy.
In yeast coding sequences, once a particular codon has been used, subsequent occurrence of the same amino acid tends to use codons sharing the same tRNA. Such a phenomenon of co-tRNA codons pairing bias (CTCPB) is also found in some other eukaryotes but it is not known whether it occurs in prokaryotes.
In this study, we focused on a total of 773 bacterial genomes to investigate their synonymous codon pairing preferences. After calculating the actual frequencies of synonymous codon pairs and comparing them with their expected values, we detected an obvious pairing bias towards identical codon pairs. This seems consistent with the previously reported CTCPB phenomenon, since identical codons are certainly read by the same tRNA. However, among co-tRNA but non-identical codon pairs, only 22 were often found overrepresented, suggesting that many co-tRNA codons actually do not preferentially pair together in prokaryotes. Therefore, the previously reported co-tRNA codons pairing rule needs to be more rigorously defined. The affinity differences between a tRNA anticodon and its readable codons should be taken into account. Moreover, both within-gene-shuffling tests and phylogenetic analyses support the idea that translational selection played an important role in shaping the observed synonymous codon pairing pattern in prokaryotes.
Overall, a high level of synonymous codon pairing bias was detected in 73% investigated bacterial species, suggesting the synonymous codon ordering strategy has been prevalently adopted by prokaryotes to improve their translational efficiencies. The findings in this study also provide important clues to better understand the complex dynamics of translational process.
Immunologically distinct forms of Shiga toxin (Stx1 and Stx2) display different potencies and disease outcomes, likely due to differences in host cell binding. The glycolipid globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) has been reported to be the receptor for both toxins. While there is considerable data to suggest that Gb3 can bind Stx1, binding of Stx2 to Gb3 is variable.
We used isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to examine binding of Stx1 and Stx2 to various glycans, glycosphingolipids, and glycosphingolipid mixtures in the presence or absence of membrane components, phosphatidylcholine, and cholesterol. We have also assessed the ability of glycolipids mixtures to neutralize Stx-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis in Vero kidney cells.
By ITC, Stx1 bound both Pk (the trisaccharide on Gb3) and P (the tetrasaccharide on globotetraosylceramide, Gb4), while Stx2 did not bind to either glycan. Binding to neutral glycolipids individually and in combination was assessed by ELISA. Stx1 bound to glycolipids Gb3 and Gb4, and Gb3 mixed with other neural glycolipids, while Stx2 only bound to Gb3 mixtures. In the presence of phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol, both Stx1 and Stx2 bound well to Gb3 or Gb4 alone or mixed with other neutral glycolipids. Pre-incubation with Gb3 in the presence of phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol neutralized Stx1, but not Stx2 toxicity to Vero cells.
Stx1 binds primarily to the glycan, but Stx2 binding is influenced by residues in the ceramide portion of Gb3 and the lipid environment. Nanomolar affinities were obtained for both toxins to immobilized glycolipids mixtures, while the effective dose for 50% inhibition (ED50) of protein synthesis was about 10−11 M. The failure of preincubation with Gb3 to protect cells from Stx2 suggests that in addition to glycolipid expression, other cellular components contribute to toxin potency.
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum is an emerging human pathogen that causes pharyngitis, wound infections, and a variety of occasional invasive diseases. Since its initial discovery in 1946, this Gram positive organism has been known to have hemolytic activity, yet no hemolysin has been previously reported. A. haemolyticum also displays variable hemolytic activity on laboratory blood agar that is dependent upon which species the blood is derived.
Here we describe a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) secreted by A. haemolyticum, designated arcanolysin (aln), which is present in all strains (n = 52) tested by DNA dot hybridization. Among the known CDCs, ALN is most closely related to pyolysin (PLO) from Trueperella (formerly Arcanobacterium) pyogenes. The aln probe, however, did not hybridize to DNA from T. pyogenes. The aln open reading frame has a lower mol %G+C (46.7%) than the rest of the A. haemolyticum genome (53.1%) and is flanked by two tRNA genes, consistent with probable acquisition by horizontal transfer. The ALN protein (~ 64 kDa) contains a predicted signal sequence, a putative PEST sequence, and a variant undecapeptide within domain 4, which is typically important for function of the toxins. The gene encoding ALN was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a functional recombinant toxin. Recombinant ALN had hemolytic activity on erythrocytes and cytolytic activity on cultured cells from human, rabbit, pig and horse origins but was poorly active on ovine, bovine, murine, and canine cells. ALN was less sensitive to inhibition by free cholesterol than perfringolysin O, consistent with the presence of the variant undecapeptide.
ALN is a newly identified CDC with hemolytic activity and unique properties in the CDC family and may be a virulence determinant for A. haemolyticum.
Lactobacillus iners is a common constituent of the human vaginal microbiota. This species was only recently characterized due to its fastidious growth requirements and has been hypothesized to play a role in the pathogenesis of bacterial vaginosis. Here we present the identification and molecular characterization of a protein toxin produced by L. iners. The L. iners genome encodes an open reading frame with significant primary sequence similarity to intermedilysin (ILY; 69.2% similarity) and vaginolysin (VLY; 68.4% similarity), the cholesterol-dependent cytolysins from Streptococcus intermedius and Gardnerella vaginalis, respectively. Clinical isolates of L. iners produce this protein, inerolysin (INY), during growth in vitro, as assessed by Western analysis. INY is a pore-forming toxin that is activated by reducing agents and inhibited by excess cholesterol. It is active across a pH range of 4.5 to 6.0 but is inactive at pH 7.4. At sublytic concentrations, INY activates p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and allows entry of fluorescent phalloidin into the cytoplasm of epithelial cells. Unlike VLY and ILY, which are human specific, INY is active against cells from a broad range of species. INY represents a new target for studies directed at understanding the role of L. iners in states of health and disease at the vaginal mucosal surface.
Many proteins have been proposed to act as surrogate markers of organ damage, yet for many candidates the essential characteristics which link the protein to the injured organ have not yet been described. We generated an NGAL-reporter mouse by inserting a di-fusion reporter gene, Luciferase2(Luc2)/mCherry(mC) into the Ngal locus. The Ngal-Luc2/mC reporter accurately recapitulated the endogenous message and illuminated injuries in vivo in real-time. In the kidney, Ngal-Luc2/mC imaging showed a sensitive, rapid, dose-dependent, reversible, and organ and cellular specific relationship with tubular stress, which quantitatively paralleled urinary Ngal (uNgal). Unexpectedly, specific cells of the distal nephron were the source of uNgal. Cells isolated from Ngal-Luc2/mC mice could also track both the onset and the resolution of the injury, and monitor the actions of NF-κB inhibitors and antibiotics in the case of infection. Accordingly, the imaging of Ngal-Luc2/mC mice and cells identified injurious and reparative agents which effect kidney damage.
The mucosal epithelium is the initial target for respiratory pathogens of all types. While type I interferon (IFN) signaling is traditionally associated with antiviral immunity, we demonstrate that the extracellular bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae activates the type I IFN cascade in airway epithelial and dendritic cells. This response is dependent upon the pore-forming toxin pneumolysin. Pneumococcal DNA activates IFN-β expression through a DAI/STING/TBK1/IRF3 cascade. Tlr4−/−, Myd88−/−, Trif−/−, and Nod2−/− mutant mice had no impairment of type I IFN signaling. Induction of type I IFN signaling contributes to the eradication of pneumococcal carriage, as IFN-α/β receptor null mice had significantly increased nasal colonization with S. pneumoniae compared with that of wild-type mice. These studies suggest that the type I IFN cascade is a central component of the mucosal response to airway bacterial pathogens and is responsive to bacterial pathogen-associated molecular patterns that are capable of accessing intracellular receptors.
The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia, leading to upwards of one million deaths a year worldwide and significant economic burden. Although it is known that antibody is critical for efficient phagocytosis, it is not known how this pathogen is sensed by the mucosal epithelium. We demonstrate that this extracellular pathogen activates mucosal signaling typically activated by viral pathogens via the pneumolysin pore to activate intracellular receptors and the type I interferon (IFN) cascade. Mice lacking the receptor to type I IFNs have a reduced ability to clear S. pneumoniae, suggesting that the type I IFN cascade is central to the mucosal clearance of this important pathogen.
In 2005, the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) anovaginal colonization in pregnant women at our center (Columbia University Medical Center) was 0.5%, and MRSA-colonized women were less likely to carry group B streptococcus (GBS). In this study, our objectives were to identify changing trends in the prevalence of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) anovaginal colonization in pregnant women, to assess the association between MRSA and GBS colonization, and to characterize the MRSA strains. From February to July 2009, Lim broths from GBS surveillance samples were cultured for S. aureus. MRSA strains were identified by resistance to cefoxitin and characterized by MicroScan, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), spa typing, and Panton-Valentine leukocidin PCR. A total of 2,921 specimens from different patients were analyzed. The prevalences of MSSA, MRSA, and GBS colonization were 11.8%, 0.6% and 23.3%, respectively. GBS colonization was associated with S. aureus colonization (odds ratio [OR], 1.9; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.5 to 2.4). The frequencies of GBS colonization were similar in MRSA-positive (34.2%) versus MRSA-negative patients (21.8%) (P = 0.4). All MRSA isolates from 2009 and 13/14 isolates from 2005 were SCCmec type IV or V, consistent with community-associated MRSA; 12/18 (2009) and 0/14 (2005) isolates were the USA300 clone. Levofloxacin resistance increased from 14.3% (2005) to 55.6% (2009) (P = 0.028). In conclusion, the prevalence of MRSA anovaginal colonization in pregnant women in New York City, NY, remained stable from 2005 to 2009, and USA300 emerged as the predominant clone with a significant increase in levofloxacin-resistant isolates.
Widespread varicella vaccination has led to substantial decreases in varicella-related mortality and hospitalizations. The impact of the vaccine on ambulatory care utilization is poorly defined.
To determine trends in varicella-related ambulatory care and hospital discharges before and after vaccine licensure.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Estimates of varicella-related ambulatory and hospital discharges were calculated for the pre- (1993–1995) and post- (1996–2004) vaccine licensure periods using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Discharge Survey.
Main Outcome Measure
Ambulatory and hospital discharge rates for varicella.
The rate of varicella-related ambulatory discharges decreased by 66% from 106.6/100,000 (95 % CI: 80.5–132.6) in the pre-licensure period to 36.4/100,000 population (95% CI: 29.3–43.5) in the post-licensure period (P<0.001). The decrease was significant across all age groups <45 years, with the greatest reduction (98%) occurring among patients 0–4 years of age. The incidence of varicella-related hospital discharges decreased by 53% from 30.9/100,000 (95% CI: 24.4–37.3) to 14.5/100,000 population (95% CI: 12.1–16.8) (P<0.001). This difference was significant among patients <14 years of age. Rates of varicella-related ambulatory discharges decreased significantly for both whites and non-whites in the post-licensure period, but post-licensure ambulatory discharge rates remained higher for non-whites than for whites. Decreases in varicella-related hospital discharges were statistically significant for whites and non-whites. Racial differences in the incidence of varicella-related hospital discharges also persisted following vaccine licensure.
Varicella-related ambulatory visits and hospitalizations have decreased significantly in the period after licensure of the varicella vaccine.
varicella; chickenpox; vaccine; varicella; epidemiology; United States
The lipocalins are secreted proteins that bind small organic molecules. Scn-Ngal [known as Neutrophil Gelatinase Associated Lipocalin, Siderocalin, Lipocalin 2] sequesters bacterial iron chelators, called siderophores, and consequently blocks bacterial growth. However, Scn-Ngal is also prominently expressed in aseptic diseases, implying that it binds additional ligands and serves additional functions. Using chemical screens, crystallography, and fluorescence methods, we report that Scn-Ngal binds iron together with a small metabolic product called catechol. The formation of the complex blocked the reactivity of iron and permitted its transport once introduced into circulation in vivo. Scn-Ngal then recycled its iron in endosomes by a pH sensitive mechanism. Since catechols derive from bacterial and mammalian metabolism of dietary compounds, the Scn-Ngal:catechol:iron complex represents an unforeseen microbial-host interaction, which mimics Scn-Ngal:siderophore interactions, but instead traffics iron in aseptic tissues. These results identify an endogenous siderophore, which may link the disparate roles of Scn-Ngal in different diseases.
The human upper respiratory tract, including the nasopharynx, is colonized by a diverse array of microorganisms. While the host generally exists in harmony with the commensal microflora, under certain conditions, these organisms may cause local or systemic disease. Respiratory epithelial cells act as local sentinels of the innate immune system, responding to conserved microbial patterns through activation of signal transduction pathways and cytokine production. In addition to colonizing microbes, these cells may also be influenced by environmental agents, including cigarette smoke (CS). Because of the strong relationship among secondhand smoke exposure, bacterial infection, and sinusitis, we hypothesized that components in CS might alter epithelial cell innate immune responses to pathogenic bacteria. We examined the effect of CS condensate (CSC) or extract (CSE) on signal transduction and cytokine production in primary and immortalized epithelial cells of human or murine origin in response to nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus. We observed that epithelial production of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and IL-6 in response to bacterial stimulation was significantly inhibited in the presence of CS (P < 0.001 for inhibition by either CSC or CSE). In contrast, epithelial production of beta interferon (IFN-β) was not inhibited. CSC decreased NF-κB activation (P < 0.05) and altered the kinetics of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation in cells exposed to bacteria. Treatment of CSC with antioxidants abrogated CSC-mediated reduction of epithelial IL-8 responses to bacteria (P > 0.05 compared to cells without CSC treatment). These results identify a novel oxidant-mediated immunosuppressive role for CS in epithelial cells.
To evaluate therapeutic education delivered in a pediatric emergency department to improve parents’ satisfaction and attitudes about judicious antibiotic use.
In an emergency department of a tertiary pediatric hospital, children aged 1 month to 6 years and discharged with an oral antibiotic prescription for an acute respiratory or urinary tract infection were randomized to a patient therapeutic education on antibiotic use (intervention group) or fever control (control group) delivered to the parents (in the presence of the children) by a pharmacist trained in therapeutic education. Education consisted in a 30-minute face-to-face session with four components: educational diagnosis, educational contract, education, and evaluation. The main outcome measure was parent satisfaction about information on antibiotics received at the hospital, as assessed by a telephone interview on day 14. The secondary outcome was attitudes about antibiotic use evaluated on day 14 and at month 6.
Of the 300 randomized children, 150 per arm, 259 were evaluated on day 14. Parent satisfaction with information on antibiotics was higher in the intervention group (125/129, 96.9%, versus 108/130, 83.0%; P=0.002, exact Fisher test).
Group parents had higher proportions of correct answers on day 14 to questions on attitudes about judicious antibiotic use than did control-group parents (P=0.017, Mann-Whitney U test).
Therapeutic education delivered by a clinical pharmacist in the pediatric emergency department holds promise for improving the use of antibiotics prescribed to pediatric outpatients.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00948779 http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00948779
Statins are well-known cholesterol lowering drugs targeting HMG-CoA-reductase, reducing the risk of coronary disorders and hypercholesterolemia. Statins are also involved in immunomodulation, which might influence the outcome of bacterial infection. Hence, a possible effect of statin treatment on Listeriosis was explored in mice. Statin treatment prior to subsequent L. monocytogenes infection strikingly reduced bacterial burden in liver and spleen (up to 100-fold) and reduced histopathological lesions. Statin-treatment in infected macrophages resulted in increased IL-12p40 and TNF-α and up to 4-fold reduced bacterial burden within 6 hours post infection, demonstrating a direct effect of statins on limiting bacterial growth in macrophages. Bacterial uptake was normal investigated in microbeads and GFP-expressing Listeria experiments by confocal microscopy. However, intracellular membrane-bound cholesterol level was decreased, as analyzed by cholesterol-dependent filipin staining and cellular lipid extraction. Mevalonate supplementation restored statin-inhibited cholesterol biosynthesis and reverted bacterial growth in Listeria monocytogenes but not in listeriolysin O (LLO)-deficient Listeria. Together, these results suggest that statin pretreatment increases protection against L. monocytogenes infection by reducing membrane cholesterol in macrophages and thereby preventing effectivity of the cholesterol-dependent LLO-mediated phagosomal escape of bacteria.
Historically, management of infants with fever without localizing signs (FWLS) has generated much controversy, with attempts to risk stratify based on several criteria. Advances in medical practice may have altered the epidemiology of serious bacterial infections (SBIs) in this population. We conducted this study to test the hypothesis that the rate of SBIs in this patient population has changed over time.
Patients and Methods
We performed a retrospective review of all infants meeting FWLS criteria at our institution from 1997–2006. We examined all clinical and outcome data and performed statistical analysis of SBI rates and ampicillin resistance rates.
668 infants met criteria for FWLS. The overall rate of SBIs was 10.8%, with a significant increase from 2002–2006 (52/361, 14.4%) compared to 1997–2001 (20/307, 6.5%) (p = 0.001). This increase was driven by an increase in E. coli urinary tract infections (UTI), particularly in older infants (31–90 days).
We observed a significant increase in E. coli UTI among FWLS infants with high rates of ampicillin resistance. The reasons are likely to be multifactorial, but the results themselves emphasize the need to examine urine in all febrile infants <90days and consider local resistance patterns when choosing empiric antibiotics.
This cross sectional study at a tertiary-care hospital in Botswana describes the epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia from 2000–2007. We identified a high prevalence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia. MRSA isolates had higher proportions of resistance to commonly-used antimicrobials, emphasizing the need to revise empiric prescribing practices in Botswana.
Plague is an ectoparasite-borne deadly infection caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium classified among the group A bioterrorism agents. Thousands of deaths are reported every year in some African countries. Tetracyclines and cotrimoxazole are used in the secondary prophylaxis of plague in the case of potential exposure to Y. pestis, but cotrimoxazole-resistant isolates have been reported. There is a need for additional prophylactic measures. We aimed to study the effectiveness of lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug known to alleviate the symptoms of sepsis, for plague prophylaxis in an experimental model.
Lovastatin dissolved in Endolipide was intraperitoneally administered to mice (20 mg/kg) every day for 6 days prior to a Y. pestis Orientalis biotype challenge. Non-challenged, lovastatin-treated and challenged, untreated mice were also used as control groups in the study. Body weight, physical behavior and death were recorded both prior to infection and for 10 days post-infection. Samples of the blood, lungs and spleen were collected from dead mice for direct microbiological examination, histopathology and culture. The potential antibiotic effect of lovastatin was tested on blood agar plates.
Lovastatin had no in-vitro antibiotic effect against Y. pestis. The difference in the mortality between control mice (11/15; 73.5%) and lovastatin-treated mice (3/15; 20%) was significant (P<0.004; Mantel-Haenszel test). Dead mice exhibited Y. pestis septicemia and inflammatory destruction of lung and spleen tissues not seen in lovastatin-treated surviving mice. These data suggest that lovastatin may help prevent the deadly effects of plague. Field observations are warranted to assess the role of lovastatin in the prophylaxis of human plague.
Cell-surface receptors play essential roles in anthrax toxin action by providing the toxin with a high-affinity anchor and self-assembly site on the plasma membrane, mediating the toxin entry into cells through endocytosis, and shifting the pH threshold for prepore-to-pore conversion of anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) to a more acidic pH, thereby inhibiting premature pore formation. Each of the two known anthrax toxin receptors, ANTXR1 and ANTXR2, has an ectodomain comprised of an N-terminal von Willebrand factor A domain (VWA), which binds PA, and an uncharacterized immunoglobulin-like domain (Ig) that connects VWA to the membrane-spanning domain. Potential roles of the receptor Ig domain in anthrax toxin action have not been investigated heretofore.
We expressed and purified the ANTXR2 ectodomain (R2-VWA-Ig) in E. coli and showed that it contains three disulfide bonds: one in R2-VWA and two in R2-Ig. Reduction of the ectodomain inhibited functioning of the pore, as measured by K+ release from liposomes or Chinese hamster ovary cells or by PA-mediated translocation of a model substrate across the plasma membrane. However, reduction did not affect binding of the ectodomain to PA or the transition of ectodomain-bound PA prepore to the pore conformation. The inhibitory effect depended specifically on reduction of the disulfides within R2-Ig.
We conclude that disulfide integrity within R2-Ig is essential for proper functioning of receptor-bound PA pore. This finding provides a novel venue to investigate the mechanism of anthrax toxin action and suggests new strategies for inhibiting toxin action.