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1.  Multisite tyrosine phosphorylation of the N‐terminus of Mint1/X11α by Src kinase regulates the trafficking of amyloid precursor protein 
Journal of Neurochemistry  2016;137(4):518-527.
Mint/X11 is one of the four neuronal trafficking adaptors that interact with amyloid precursor protein (APP) and are linked with its cleavage to generate β‐amyloid peptide, a key player in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. How APP switches between adaptors at different stages of the secretory pathway is poorly understood. Here, we show that tyrosine phosphorylation of Mint1 regulates the destination of APP. A canonical SH2‐binding motif (202 YEEI) was identified in the N‐terminus of Mint1 that is phosphorylated on tyrosine by C‐Src and recruits the active kinase for sequential phosphorylation of further tyrosines (Y191 and Y187). A single Y202F mutation in the Mint1 N‐terminus inhibits C‐Src binding and tyrosine phosphorylation. Previous studies observed that co‐expression of wild‐type Mint1 and APP causes accumulation of APP in the trans‐Golgi. Unphosphorylatable Mint1 (Y202F) or pharmacological inhibition of Src reduced the accumulation of APP in the trans‐Golgi of heterologous cells. A similar result was observed in cultured rat hippocampal neurons where Mint1(Y202F) permitted the trafficking of APP to more distal neurites than the wild‐type protein. These data underline the importance of the tyrosine phosphorylation of Mint1 as a critical switch for determining the destination of APP.
The regulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) trafficking is poorly understood. We have discovered that the APP adapter, Mint1, is phosphorylated by C‐Src kinase. Mint1 causes APP accumulation in the trans‐Golgi network, whereas inhibition of Src or mutation of Mint1‐Y202 permits APP recycling. The phosphorylation status of Mint1 could impact on the pathological trafficking of APP in Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC4982022  PMID: 26865271
amyloid precursor protein; intracellular trafficking; Mint1; protein phosphorylation; Src; tyrosine kinase
2.  Proteomic analysis of secretory products from the model gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus reveals dominance of Venom Allergen-Like (VAL) proteins 
Journal of proteomics  2011;74(9):1573-1594.
The intestinal helminth parasite, Heligmosomoides polygyrus offers a tractable experimental model for human hookworm infections such as Ancylostoma duodenale and veterinary parasites such as Haemonchus contortus. Parasite excretory-secretory (ES) products represent the major focus for immunological and biochemical analyses, and contain immunomodulatory molecules responsible for nematode immune evasion. In a proteomic analysis of adult H. polygyrus secretions (termed HES) matched to an extensive transcriptomic dataset, we identified 374 HES proteins by LC-MS/MS, which were distinct from those in somatic extract HEx, comprising 446 identified proteins, confirming selective export of ES proteins. The predominant secreted protein families were proteases (astacins and other metalloproteases, aspartic, cysteine and serine-type proteases), lysozymes, apyrases and acetylcholinesterases. The most abundant products were members of the highly divergent venom allergen-like (VAL) family, related to Ancylostoma secreted protein (ASP); 25 homologues were identified, with VAL-1 and -2 also shown to be associated with the parasite surface. The dominance of VAL proteins is similar to profiles reported for Ancylostoma and Haemonchus ES products. Overall, this study shows that the secretions of H. polygyrus closely parallel those of clinically important GI nematodes, confirming the value of this parasite as a model of helminth infection.
PMCID: PMC4794625  PMID: 21722761
3.  Multiplexed Integrating Plasmids for Engineering of the Erythromycin Gene Cluster for Expression in Streptomyces spp. and Combinatorial Biosynthesis 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2015;81(24):8402-8413.
Bacteria in the genus Streptomyces and its close relatives are prolific producers of secondary metabolites with antibiotic activity. Genome sequencing of these bacteria has revealed a rich source of potentially new antibiotic pathways, whose products have never been observed. Moreover, these new pathways can provide novel genes that could be used in combinatorial biosynthesis approaches to generate unnatural analogues of existing antibiotics. We explore here the use of multiple orthologous integrating plasmid systems, based on the int/attP loci from phages TG1, SV1, and ϕBT1, to express the polyketide synthase (PKS) for erythromycin in a heterologous Streptomyces host. Streptomyces strains containing the three polyketide synthase genes eryAI, eryAII, and eryAIII expressed from three different integrated plasmids produced the aglycone intermediate, 6-deoxyerythronolide B (6-dEB). A further pair of integrating plasmids, both derived from the ϕC31 int/attP locus, were constructed carrying a gene cassette for glycosylation of the aglycone intermediates, with or without the tailoring gene, eryF, required for the synthesis of erythronolide B (EB). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry of the metabolites indicated the production of angolosaminyl-6-dEB and angolosaminyl-EB. The advantages of using multiplexed integrating plasmids for engineering expression and for combinatorial biosynthesis were demonstrated.
PMCID: PMC4644662  PMID: 26431970
5.  Proteomic analysis of laser capture microscopy purified myotendinous junction regions from muscle sections 
Proteome Science  2014;12:25.
The myotendinous junction is a specialized structure of the muscle fibre enriched in mechanosensing complexes, including costameric proteins and core elements of the z-disc. Here, laser capture microdissection was applied to purify membrane regions from the myotendinous junctions of mouse skeletal muscles, which were then processed for proteomic analysis. Sarcolemma sections from the longitudinal axis of the muscle fibre were used as control for the specificity of the junctional preparation. Gene ontology term analysis of the combined lists indicated a statistically significant enrichment in membrane-associated proteins. The myotendinous junction preparation contained previously uncharacterized proteins, a number of z-disc costameric ligands (e.g., actinins, capZ, αB cristallin, filamin C, cypher, calsarcin, desmin, FHL1, telethonin, nebulin, titin and an enigma-like protein) and other proposed players of sarcomeric stretch sensing and signalling, such as myotilin and the three myomesin homologs. A subset were confirmed by immunofluorescence analysis as enriched at the myotendinous junction, suggesting that laser capture microdissection from muscle sections is a valid approach to identify novel myotendinous junction players potentially involved in mechanotransduction pathways.
PMCID: PMC4113200  PMID: 25071420
6.  Filter-Aided N-Glycan Separation (FANGS): A Convenient Sample Preparation Method for Mass Spectrometric N-Glycan Profiling 
Journal of Proteome Research  2014;13(3):1167-1176.
We have developed a simple method for the release and isolation of glycoprotein N-glycans from whole-cell lysates using less than a million cells, for subsequent implementation with mass spectrometric analysis. Cellular protein extracts prepared using SDS solubilization were sequentially treated in a membrane filter device to ultimately release glycans enzymatically using PNGase F in the volatile buffer ammonium bicarbonate. The released glycans are recovered in the filtrate following centrifugation and typically permethylated prior to mass spectrometric analysis. We call our method “filter-aided N-glycan separation” and have successfully applied it to investigate N-glycan profiles of wild-type and mutant Chinese hamster ovary cells. This method is readily multiplexed and, because of the small numbers of cells needed, is compatible with the analysis of replicate samples to assess the true nature of glycan variability in tissue culture samples.
PMCID: PMC3971760  PMID: 24450425
cultured mammalian cells; SDS solubilization; N-glycans; filter-aided sample preparation; MALDI-MS; permethylation
7.  Secretion of Protective Antigens by Tissue-Stage Nematode Larvae Revealed by Proteomic Analysis and Vaccination-Induced Sterile Immunity 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003492.
Gastrointestinal nematode parasites infect over 1 billion humans, with little evidence for generation of sterilising immunity. These helminths are highly adapted to their mammalian host, following a developmental program through successive niches, while effectively down-modulating host immune responsiveness. Larvae of Heligmosomoides polygyrus, for example, encyst in the intestinal submucosa, before emerging as adult worms into the duodenal lumen. Adults release immunomodulatory excretory-secretory (ES) products, but mice immunised with adult H. polygyrus ES become fully immune to challenge infection. ES products of the intestinal wall 4th stage (L4) larvae are similarly important in host-parasite interactions, as they readily generate sterile immunity against infection, while released material from the egg stage is ineffective. Proteomic analyses of L4 ES identifies protective antigen targets as well as potential tissue-phase immunomodulatory molecules, using as comparators the adult ES proteome and a profile of H. polygyrus egg-released material. While 135 proteins are shared between L4 and adult ES, 72 are L4 ES-specific; L4-specific proteins correspond to those whose transcription is restricted to larval stages, while shared proteins are generally transcribed by all life cycle forms. Two protein families are more heavily represented in the L4 secretome, the Sushi domain, associated with complement regulation, and the ShK/SXC domain related to a toxin interfering with T cell signalling. Both adult and L4 ES contain extensive but distinct arrays of Venom allergen/Ancylostoma secreted protein-Like (VAL) members, with acetylcholinesterases (ACEs) and apyrase APY-3 particularly abundant in L4 ES. Serum antibodies from mice vaccinated with L4 and adult ES react strongly to the VAL-1 protein and to ACE-1, indicating that these two antigens represent major vaccine targets for this intestinal nematode. We have thus defined an extensive and novel repertoire of H. polygyrus proteins closely implicated in immune modulation and protective immunity.
Author Summary
Intestinal helminth parasites are highly prevalent in humans and animals, and survive for long periods by deviating the host immune system. No vaccines are currently available to control these infections. Many helminths invade through barrier surfaces (such as the skin or the digestive tract) and develop through tissue larval stages before reaching their final niche such as the intestinal lumen. We studied the tissue larval stage of a mouse parasite, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, to test whether proteins released by this stage could elicit protective immunity, and found that they indeed constitute very effective vaccine antigens. Proteomic analysis to identify the individual proteins released by the larvae demonstrated that while many products are shared between tissue-dwelling larvae and adults occupying the intestinal lumen, larvae express higher levels of two gene families linked to immunomodulation, namely the Sushi protein family and the ShK toxin family. Antibody analysis of serum from vaccinated mice identified two major antigens recognised by the protective immune response as VAL-1 and ACE-1, which are respectively members of the venom allergen and acetylcholinesterase families. This work establishes that tissue larvae are the source of protective antigens for future vaccines, and highlights their production of two potentially immunomodulatory gene families.
PMCID: PMC3744408  PMID: 23966853
8.  The Orthologue of Sjögren's Syndrome Nuclear Autoantigen 1 (SSNA1) in Trypanosoma brucei Is an Immunogenic Self-Assembling Molecule 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31842.
Primary Sjögren's Syndrome (PSS) is a highly prevalent autoimmune disease, typically manifesting as lymphocytic infiltration of the exocrine glands leading to chronically impaired lacrimal and salivary secretion. Sjögren's Syndrome nuclear autoantigen 1 (SSNA1 or NA14) is a major specific target for autoantibodies in PSS but the precise function and clinical relevance of this protein are largely unknown. Orthologues of the gene are absent from many of the commonly used model organisms but are present in Chlamyodomonas reinhardtii (in which it has been termed DIP13) and most protozoa. We report the functional characterisation of the orthologue of SSNA1 in the kinetoplastid parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. Both TbDIP13 and human SSNA1 are small coiled-coil proteins which are predicted to be remote homologues of the actin-binding protein tropomyosin. We use comparative proteomic methods to identify potential interacting partners of TbDIP13. We also show evidence that TbDIP13 is able to self-assemble into fibril-like structures both in vitro and in vivo, a property which may contribute to its immunogenicity. Endogenous TbDIP13 partially co-localises with acetylated α-tubulin in the insect procyclic stage of the parasite. However, deletion of the DIP13 gene in cultured bloodstream and procyclic stages of T. brucei has little effect on parasite growth or morphology, indicating either a degree of functional redundancy or a function in an alternative stage of the parasite life cycle.
PMCID: PMC3282761  PMID: 22363749
9.  A multidisciplinary study of archaeological grape seeds 
Die Naturwissenschaften  2009;97(2):205-217.
We report here the first integrated investigation of both ancient DNA and proteins in archaeobotanical samples: medieval grape (Vitis vinifera L.) seeds, preserved by anoxic waterlogging, from an early medieval (seventh–eighth century A.D.) Byzantine rural settlement in the Salento area (Lecce, Italy) and a late (fourteenth–fifteenth century A.D.) medieval site in York (England). Pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry documented good carbohydrate preservation, whilst amino acid analysis revealed approximately 90% loss of the original protein content. In the York sample, mass spectrometry-based sequencing identified several degraded ancient peptides. Nuclear microsatellite locus (VVS2, VVMD5, VVMD7, ZAG62 and ZAG79) analysis permitted a tentative comparison of the genetic profiles of both the ancient samples with the modern varieties. The ability to recover microsatellite DNA has potential to improve biomolecular analysis on ancient grape seeds from archaeological contexts. Although the investigation of five microsatellite loci cannot assign the ancient samples to any geographic region or modern cultivar, the results allow speculation that the material from York was not grown locally, whilst the remains from Supersano could represent a trace of contacts with the eastern Mediterranean.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0629-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2812422  PMID: 20033124
Archaeobotany; Grape; Ancient DNA; Ancient proteins; Mass spectrometry; Proteomics; Vitis vinifera
10.  Leptospirosis, Water Sports, and Chemoprophylaxis 
Recreational activities, such as water sports and adventure travel, are emerging as an important risk factor for leptospirosis, a potentially fatal zoonosis. We report the clinical course of 2 patients who acquired leptospirosis through participation in water sports. Physicians caring for patients who participate in adventure travel involving water sports should be familiar with the risk factors for and diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC2662751  PMID: 11941571
11.  Application of In Vivo Induced Antigen Technology (IVIAT) to Bacillus anthracis 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1824.
In vivo induced antigen technology (IVIAT) is an immuno-screening technique that identifies bacterial antigens expressed during infection and not during standard in vitro culturing conditions. We applied IVIAT to Bacillus anthracis and identified PagA, seven members of a N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase autolysin family, three P60 family lipoproteins, two transporters, spore cortex lytic protein SleB, a penicillin binding protein, a putative prophage holin, respiratory nitrate reductase NarG, and three proteins of unknown function. Using quantitative real-time PCR comparing RNA isolated from in vitro cultured B. anthracis to RNA isolated from BALB/c mice infected with virulent Ames strain B. anthracis, we confirmed induced expression in vivo for a subset of B. anthracis genes identified by IVIAT, including L-alanine amidases BA3767, BA4073, and amiA (pXO2-42); the bacteriophage holin gene BA4074; and pagA (pXO1-110). The exogenous addition of two purified putative autolysins identified by IVIAT, N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidases BA0485 and BA2446, to vegetative B. anthracis cell suspensions induced a species-specific change in bacterial morphology and reduction in viable bacterial cells. Many of the proteins identified in our screen are predicted to affect peptidoglycan re-modeling, and our results support significant cell wall structural remodeling activity during B. anthracis infection. Identification of L-alanine amidases with B. anthracis specificity may suggest new potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2265799  PMID: 18350160
12.  Immunoglobulin M Antibody Responses to Mycobacterium ulcerans Allow Discrimination between Cases of Active Buruli Ulcer Disease and Matched Family Controls in Areas Where the Disease Is Endemic 
Buruli ulcer disease (BUD) is an emerging disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. In the present study we have characterized the serological reactivities of sera from volunteer case patients with laboratory-confirmed BUD and controls living in three different regions of Ghana where the disease is endemic to determine if serology may be useful for disease confirmation. Our results showed highly reactive immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses among patients with laboratory-confirmed disease, healthy control family members of the case patients, and sera from patients with tuberculosis from areas where BUD is not endemic. These responses were represented by reactivities to multiple protein bands found in the M. ulcerans culture filtrate (CF). In contrast, patient IgM antibody responses to the M. ulcerans CF (MUCF) proteins were more distinct than those of healthy family members living in the same village. A total of 84.8% (56 of 66) of the BUD patients exhibited strong IgM antibody responses against MUCF proteins (30, 43 and 70 to 80 kDa), whereas only 4.5% (3 of 66) of the family controls exhibited such responses. The sensitivity of the total IgM response for the patients was 84.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 74.3 to 91.6%), and the specificity determined with sera from family controls was 95.5% (95% CI, 87.5 to 98.4%). These studies suggest that the IgM responses of patients with BUD will be helpful in the identification and production of the M. ulcerans recombinant antigens required for the development of a sensitive and specific serological assay for the confirmation of active BUD.
PMCID: PMC371217  PMID: 15013992
13.  Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):623-627.
After the intentional release of Bacillus anthracis through the U.S. Postal Service in the fall of 2001, many environments were contaminated with B. anthracis spores, and frequent inquiries were made regarding the science of destroying these spores. We conducted a survey of the literature that had potential application to the inactivation of B. anthracis spores. This article provides a tabular summary of the results.
PMCID: PMC3000133  PMID: 12780999
Bacillus anthracis; sporicidal efficacy; heat inactivation; chemical sterilization; gaseous sterilization; and radiation; synopsis
14.  Histopathologic Features of Mycobacterium ulcerans Infection 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):651-656.
Because of the emergence of Buruli ulcer disease, the World Health Organization launched a Global Buruli Ulcer Initiative in 1998. This indolent skin infection is caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. During a study of risk factors for the disease in Ghana, adequate excisional skin-biopsy specimens were obtained from 124 clinically suspicious lesions. Buruli ulcer disease was diagnosed in 78 lesions since acid-fast bacilli (AFB) were found by histopathologic examination. Lesions with other diagnoses included filariasis (3 cases), zygomycosis (2 cases), ulcerative squamous cell carcinomas (2 cases), keratin cyst (1 case), and lymph node (1 case). Thirty-seven specimens that did not show AFB were considered suspected Buruli ulcer disease cases. Necrosis of subcutaneous tissues and dermal collagen were found more frequently in AFB-positive specimens compared with specimens from suspected case-patients (p<0.001). Defining histologic criteria for a diagnosis of Buruli ulcer disease is of clinical and public health importance since it would allow earlier treatment, leading to less deforming sequelae.
PMCID: PMC3000137  PMID: 12780997
Mycobacterium ulcerans; Buruli ulcer; histopathology; PCR; culture; acid-fast bacilli; research
15.  Leptospirosis in “Eco-Challenge” Athletes, Malaysian Borneo, 2000 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):702-707.
Adventure travel is becoming more popular, increasing the likelihood of contact with unusual pathogens. We investigated an outbreak of leptospirosis in “Eco-Challenge” multisport race athletes to determine illness etiology and implement public health measures. Of 304 athletes, we contacted 189 (62%) from the United States and 26 other countries. Eighty (42%) athletes met our case definition. Twenty-nine (36%) case-patients were hospitalized; none died. Logistic regression showed swimming in the Segama River (relative risk [RR]=2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.3 to 3.1) to be an independent risk factor. Twenty-six (68%) of 38 case-patients tested positive for leptospiral antibodies. Taking doxycycline before or during the race was protective (RR=0.4, 95% CI=0.2 to 1.2) for the 20 athletes who reported using it. Increased adventure travel may lead to more frequent exposure to leptospires, and preexposure chemoprophylaxis for leptospirosis (200 mg oral doxycycline/week) may decrease illness risk. Efforts are needed to inform adventure travel participants of unique infections such as leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC3000150  PMID: 12781010
leptospirosis; febrile illness; adventure travel immunoassay; doxycycline; research
16.  Planning against Biological Terrorism: Lessons from Outbreak Investigations 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(5):515-519.
We examined outbreak investigations conducted around the world from 1988 to 1999 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. In 44 (4.0%) of 1,099 investigations, identified causative agents had bioterrorism potential. In six investigations, intentional use of infectious agents was considered. Healthcare providers reported 270 (24.6%) outbreaks and infection control practitioners reported 129 (11.7%); together they reported 399 (36.3%) of the outbreaks. Health departments reported 335 (30.5%) outbreaks. For six outbreaks in which bioterrorism or intentional contamination was possible, reporting was delayed for up to 26 days. We confirmed that the most critical component for bioterrorism outbreak detection and reporting is the frontline healthcare profession and the local health departments. Bioterrorism preparedness should emphasize education and support of this frontline as well as methods to shorten the time between outbreak and reporting.
PMCID: PMC2972753  PMID: 12737732
Bioterrorism; Preparedness; Outbreak; Anthrax; perspective
17.  Evaluation of Four Commercially Available Rapid Serologic Tests for Diagnosis of Leptospirosis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(2):803-809.
Four rapid tests for the serologic diagnosis of leptospirosis were evaluated, and the performance of each was compared with that of the current standard, the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The four rapid tests were a microplate immunoglobulin M (IgM)-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), an indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA), an IgM dipstick assay (LDS), and an IgM dot-ELISA dipstick test (DST). A panel of 276 sera from 133 cases of leptospirosis from four different geographic locations was tested as well as 642 sera from normal individuals or individuals with other infectious or autoimmune diseases. Acute-phase sera from cases (n = 148) were collected ≤14 days (median = 6.0) after the onset of symptoms, and convalescent-phase sera (n = 128) were collected ≥15 days after onset (median = 29.1). By a traditional method (two-by-two contingency table), the sensitivities for detection of leptospirosis cases were 93.2% by LDS, 92.5% by DST, 86.5% by ELISA, and 79.0% by IHA. Specificity was 98.8% by DST, 97% by ELISA and MAT, 95.8% by IHA, and 89.6% by LDS. With a latent class analysis (LCA) model that included all the rapid tests and the clinical case definition, sensitivity was 95.5% by DST, 94.5% by LDS, 89.9% by ELISA, and 81.1% by IHA. The sensitivity and specificity estimated by the traditional methods were quite close to the LCA estimates. However, LCA allowed estimation of the sensitivity of the MAT (98.2%), which traditional methods do not allow. For acute-phase sera, sensitivity was 52.7% by LDS, 50.0% by DST, 48.7% by MAT and ELISA, and 38.5% by IHA. The sensitivity for convalescent-phase sera was 93.8% by MAT, 84.4% by DST, 83.6% by LDS, 75.0% by ELISA, and 67.2% by IHA. A good overall correlation with the MAT was obtained for each of the assays, with the highest concordance being with the DST (kappa value, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8 to 0.90). The best correlation was between ELISA and DST (kappa value, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.91). False-positive LDS results were frequent (≥20%) in sera from individuals with Epstein-Barr virus, human immunodeficiency virus, and periodontal disease and from healthy volunteers. The ease of use and significantly high sensitivity and specificity of DST and ELISA make these good choices for diagnostic testing.
PMCID: PMC149700  PMID: 12574287
18.  Analysis of an IS2404-Based Nested PCR for Diagnosis of Buruli Ulcer Disease in Regions of Ghana Where the Disease Is Endemic 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(2):794-797.
Mycobacterium ulcerans causes Buruli ulcer disease (BUD), an ulcerative skin disease emerging mainly in West Africa. Laboratory confirmation of BUD is complicated as no “gold standard” for diagnosis exists. A nested primer PCR based on IS2404 has shown promise as a diagnostic assay. We evaluated the IS2404-based PCR to detect M. ulcerans DNA in tissue specimens from 143 BUD patients diagnosed according to the World Health Organization BUD clinical case definition in Ghana. Comparisons were made with culture and histopathology results. Variables influencing detection rate tested in this PCR protocol included the amount of tissue used and the stage of disease. The nested PCR was repeated on DNA extracted from a different part of the same biopsy specimen of 21 culture-positive samples. Of all 143 specimens, 107 (74.8%; 95% confidence interval, 68 to 82%) showed the presence of M. ulcerans DNA by PCR. Of the 78 histology-confirmed BUD patient samples, 64 (83%) were PCR positive. Detection rates were influenced neither by the amount of tissue processed for PCR nor by the stage of disease (preulcerative or ulcerative). Taken together, the two nested PCR tests on the subset of 21 culture-positive samples were able to detect M. ulcerans DNA in all 21 culture-confirmed patients. For future studies, small tissue samples, e.g., punch biopsy samples, might be sufficient for case confirmation.
PMCID: PMC149660  PMID: 12574285
19.  Leptospirosis: Skin Wounds and Control Strategies, Thailand, 1999 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(12):1455-1459.
After an outbreak of leptospirosis in workers who participated in cleaning a pond during September 1999 in Thailand, a serologic survey was conducted. Among a cohort of 104 persons from one village who participated in pond cleaning activity, 43 (41.3%) were seropositive for immunoglobulin M antibodies against Leptospira, indicating recent infection. Only 17 (39.5%) of 43 seropositive persons reported a recent febrile illness; the remaining seropositive persons were considered asymptomatic, suggesting that asymptomatic leptospirosis infection may be common where leptospirosis is endemic. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that wearing long pants or skirts was independently protective against leptospirosis infection (ORadjusted = 0.217), while the presence of more than two wounds on the body was independently associated with infection (ORadjusted = 3.97). Educational efforts should be enhanced in areas where leptospirosis is endemic to encourage the use of protective clothing. In addition wound management and avoidance of potentially contaminated water when skin wounds are present should be included in health education programs.
PMCID: PMC2738501  PMID: 12498663
Leptospirosis; Leptospira; skin wounds; control strategies; Thailand
20.  Specific, Sensitive, and Quantitative Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Human Immunoglobulin G Antibodies to Anthrax Toxin Protective Antigen 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1103-1110.
The bioterrorism-associated human anthrax epidemic in the fall of 2001 highlighted the need for a sensitive, reproducible, and specific laboratory test for the confirmatory diagnosis of human anthrax. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed, optimized, and rapidly qualified an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in human serum. The qualified ELISA had a minimum detection limit of 0.06 µg/mL, a reliable lower limit of detection of 0.09 µg/mL, and a lower limit of quantification in undiluted serum specimens of 3.0 µg/mL anti-PA IgG. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assay was 97.8%, and the diagnostic specificity was 94.2%. A competitive inhibition anti-PA IgG ELISA was also developed to enhance diagnostic specificity to 100%. The anti-PA ELISAs proved valuable for the confirmation of cases of cutaneous and inhalational anthrax and evaluation of patients in whom the diagnosis of anthrax was being considered.
PMCID: PMC2730307  PMID: 12396924
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; antibody; assay; toxin; bioterrorism; ELISA; serology
21.  Epidemiologic Responses to Anthrax Outbreaks: A Review of Field Investigations, 1950–2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1163-1174.
We used unpublished reports, published manuscripts, and communication with investigators to identify and summarize 49 anthrax-related epidemiologic field investigations conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1950 to August 2001. Of 41 investigations in which Bacillus anthracis caused human or animal disease, 24 were in agricultural settings, 11 in textile mills, and 6 in other settings. Among the other investigations, two focused on building decontamination, one was a response to bioterrorism threats, and five involved other causes. Knowledge gained in these investigations helped guide the public health response to the October 2001 intentional release of B. anthracis, especially by addressing the management of anthrax threats, prevention of occupational anthrax, use of antibiotic prophylaxis in exposed persons, use of vaccination, spread of B. anthracis spores in aerosols, clinical diagnostic and laboratory confirmation methods, techniques for environmental sampling of exposed surfaces, and methods for decontaminating buildings.
PMCID: PMC2730298  PMID: 12396934
anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; bacterial infections; disease outbreaks; public health; bioterrorism; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); historical article (publication type); zoonoses
22.  Bacillus anthracis Aerosolization Associated with a Contaminated Mail Sorting Machine 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1044-1047.
On October 12, 2001, two envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores passed through a sorting machine in a postal facility in Washington, D.C. When anthrax infection was identified in postal workers 9 days later, the facility was closed. To determine if exposure to airborne B. anthracis spores continued to occur, we performed air sampling around the contaminated sorter. One CFU of B. anthracis was isolated from 990 L of air sampled before the machine was activated. Six CFUs were isolated during machine activation and processing of clean dummy mail. These data indicate that an employee working near this machine might inhale approximately 30 B. anthracis-containing particles during an 8-h work shift. What risk this may have represented to postal workers is not known, but the risk is approximately 20-fold less than estimates of sub-5 micron B. anthracis-containing particles routinely inhaled by asymptomatic, unvaccinated workers in a goat-hair mill.
PMCID: PMC2730297  PMID: 12396913
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; risk assessment; occupational exposure
23.  Investigation of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, United States, 2001: Epidemiologic Findings 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1019-1028.
In October 2001, the first inhalational anthrax case in the United States since 1976 was identified in a media company worker in Florida. A national investigation was initiated to identify additional cases and determine possible exposures to Bacillus anthracis. Surveillance was enhanced through health-care facilities, laboratories, and other means to identify cases, which were defined as clinically compatible illness with laboratory-confirmed B. anthracis infection. From October 4 to November 20, 2001, 22 cases of anthrax (11 inhalational, 11 cutaneous) were identified; 5 of the inhalational cases were fatal. Twenty (91%) case-patients were either mail handlers or were exposed to worksites where contaminated mail was processed or received. B. anthracis isolates from four powder-containing envelopes, 17 specimens from patients, and 106 environmental samples were indistinguishable by molecular subtyping. Illness and death occurred not only at targeted worksites, but also along the path of mail and in other settings. Continued vigilance for cases is needed among health-care providers and members of the public health and law enforcement communities.
PMCID: PMC2730292  PMID: 12396909
24.  Bioterrorism-Related Bacillus anthracis Public Health Research Priorities 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1183.
PMCID: PMC2730290
anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; public health; research; priority-setting
25.  Clinical Significance and Epidemiology of NO-1, an Unusual Bacterium Associated with Dog and Cat Bites 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(2):171-174.
From 1974 to 1998, 22 isolates of an unusual bacterium, designated as CDC group nonoxidizer 1 (NO-1), were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for identification. The organism's phenotypic characteristics were similar to asaccharolytic strains of Acinetobacter, but differed in their cellular morphology and cellular fatty acid profile. We report here on NO-1's clinical and epidemiologic significance. In all cases, isolates were recovered from an animal bite wound; 17 (77%) were isolated from a dog bite wound, 4 (18%) from a cat bite wound, and one (5%) from an unspecified animal bite. Clinical data were retrieved and reviewed for 12 (55%) of the 22 bite victims. None of the patients had pre-existing conditions associated with immunosuppression. Seven (58%) patients were hospitalized for a median stay of 5 days (range, 2 to 11 days). The median time between bite to the worsening of symptoms was 17.5 hours (range, 3 to 78 hours). All patients recovered following antibiotic treatment.
PMCID: PMC2732450  PMID: 11897069
zoonotic; bite wound; CDC Nonoxidizer Group 1 (NO-1)

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