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1.  Evaluation of Cobas TaqMan MTB for Direct Detection of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex in Comparison with Cobas Amplicor MTB 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2112-2117.
The Roche Cobas Amplicor MTB assay, recently replaced by the Roche Cobas TaqMan MTB assay, was one of the first commercially available assays for detection of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex based on nucleic acid amplification. We reported previously on the limited specificity of the Cobas Amplicor MTB assay, in particular for positive samples with an optical density at 660 nm (OD660) of <2.0. Using a selected set of respiratory samples, which were scored as false positive by the Cobas Amplicor test, we demonstrate here that the specificity of the Cobas TaqMan assay is significantly improved. In addition, our study of a set of 133 clinical samples revealed that the Cobas TaqMan MTB assay showed significantly less PCR inhibition than the Cobas Amplicor test. An overall concordance of 98.2% was observed between the two assays. In a subsequent prospective study, we evaluated the performance of the Roche Cobas TaqMan MTB assay on 1,143 clinical specimens, including respiratory (n = 838) and nonrespiratory (n = 305) specimens. Using culture as the gold standard, we found a sensitivity of 88.4% and a specificity of 98.8% for the 838 respiratory specimens, compared to a sensitivity of 63.6% and a specificity of 94.6% for the 305 nonrespiratory specimens. We conclude that the Cobas TaqMan MTB assay is a significantly improved tool for the direct detection of M. tuberculosis DNA in clinical specimens.
PMCID: PMC3697670  PMID: 23616457
2.  Integrating the Xpert MTB/RIF Assay into a Diagnostic Workflow for Rapid Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a Low-Prevalence Area 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2396-2399.
The Xpert MTB/RIF assay is a rapid and fully automated real-time PCR assay. The performance of the Xpert MTB/RIF assay as a primary screening test for urgent clinical specimens was evaluated during a 2-year period. The results showed that replacing smear microscopy with the Xpert MTB/RIF assay facilitates laboratory handling and improves the sensitivity and specificity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis detection.
PMCID: PMC3697699  PMID: 23616455
3.  Influence of Clinical Breakpoint Changes from CLSI 2009 to EUCAST 2011 Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Guidelines on Multidrug Resistance Rates of Gram-Negative Rods 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2385-2387.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) rates of Gram-negative rods were analyzed comparing CLSI 2009 and EUCAST 2011 antibiotic susceptibility testing guidelines. After EUCAST 2011 was applied, the MDR rates increased for Klebsiella pneumoniae (2.2%), Enterobacter cloacae (1.1%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (0.7%), and Escherichia coli (0.4%). A total of 24% of Enterobacteriaceae MDR isolates and 12% of P. aeruginosa MDR isolates were categorized as MDR due to breakpoint changes.
PMCID: PMC3697730  PMID: 23596246
4.  Identification of Gram-Positive Cocci by Use of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry: Comparison of Different Preparation Methods and Implementation of a Practical Algorithm for Routine Diagnostics 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(6):1834-1840.
This study compared three sample preparation methods (direct transfer, the direct transfer-formic acid method with on-target formic acid treatment, and ethanol-formic acid extraction) for the identification of Gram-positive cocci with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). A total of 156 Gram-positive cocci representing the clinically most important genera, Aerococcus, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, as well as more rare genera, such as Gemella and Granulicatella, were analyzed using a Bruker MALDI Biotyper. The rate of correct genus-level identifications was approximately 99% for all three sample preparation methods. The species identification rate was significantly higher for the direct transfer-formic acid method and ethanol-formic acid extraction (both 77.6%) than for direct transfer (64.1%). Using direct transfer-formic acid compared to direct transfer, the total time to result was increased by 22.6%, 16.4%, and 8.5% analyzing 12, 48, and 96 samples per run, respectively. In a subsequent prospective study, 1,619 clinical isolates of Gram-positive cocci were analyzed under routine conditions by MALDI-TOF MS, using the direct transfer-formic acid preparation, and by conventional biochemical methods. For 95.6% of the isolates, a congruence between conventional and MALDI-TOF MS identification was observed. Two major limitations were found using MALDI-TOF MS: the differentiation of members of the Streptococcus mitis group and the identification of Streptococcus dysgalactiae. The Bruker MALDI Biotyper system using the direct transfer-formic acid sample preparation method was shown to be a highly reliable tool for the identification of Gram-positive cocci. We here suggest a practical algorithm for the clinical laboratory combining MALDI-TOF MS with phenotypic and molecular methods.
PMCID: PMC3716085  PMID: 23554198
5.  Standardisation of disk diffusion results for antibiotic susceptibility testing using the sirscan automated zone reader 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:225.
Standardisation of disk diffusion readings could improve reproducibility and accuracy of antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST). This study evaluated accuracy, reproducibility, and precision of automated inhibition zone reading using the “Sirscan automatic” zone reader (i2a, Perols Cedex, France).
In a first step we compared Sirscan results with manual calliper measurements for comparability and accuracy. Sirscan readings were checked and adjusted on-screen as recommended by the manufacturer. One hundred clinical bacterial isolates representing a broad spectrum of organisms routinely isolated in a clinical laboratory were tested, and zone diameter values and interpretation according to EUCAST guidelines were compared. In a second step we analysed, whether fully automated zone reading can decrease standard deviation of diameter measurements and, thus, improve reproducibility and precision of the disk diffusion method. Standard deviations of manual measurements, on-screen adjusted Sirscan measurements, and fully automated Sirscan readings were compared for 19 repeat independent measurements of inhibition zones of S. aureus ATCC 29213, E. coli ATCC 25922, and P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853 (EUCAST quality control strains).
On-screen adjusted Sirscan and calliper measurements displayed high comparability. No significant differences were detected comparing the results of both reading methods. Standard deviations of inhibition zone diameters were significantly lower for fully automated Sirscan measurements compared with both adjusted Sirscan readings and the manual method, resulting in better reproducibility and precision of the automated readings.
Our results indicate that fully automated zone reading can further improve standardisation of AST by decreasing standard deviation and, thus, improve precision of inhibition zone diameter results.
PMCID: PMC3852248  PMID: 24099061
Inhibition zone diameter; Kirby-Bauer; Automation
6.  Structure-Activity Relationships among the Kanamycin Aminoglycosides: Role of Ring I Hydroxyl and Amino Groups 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6104-6108.
The kanamycins form an important subgroup of the 4,6-disubstituted 2-deoxystreptamine aminoglycoside antibiotics, comprising kanamycin A, kanamycin B, tobramycin, and dibekacin. These compounds interfere with protein synthesis by targeting the ribosomal decoding A site, and they differ in the numbers and locations of amino and hydroxy groups of the glucopyranosyl moiety (ring I). We synthesized kanamycin analogues characterized by subtle variations of the 2′ and 6′ substituents of ring I. The functional activities of the kanamycins and the synthesized analogues were investigated (i) in cell-free translation assays on wild-type and mutant bacterial ribosomes to study drug-target interaction, (ii) in MIC assays to assess antibacterial activity, and (iii) in rabbit reticulocyte translation assays to determine activity on eukaryotic ribosomes. Position 2′ forms an intramolecular H bond with O5 of ring II, helping the relative orientations of the two rings with respect to each other. This bond becomes critical for drug activity when a 6′-OH substituent is present.
PMCID: PMC3497201  PMID: 22948879
7.  The Rationale for Using Rifabutin in the Treatment of MDR and XDR Tuberculosis Outbreaks 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59414.
Genetically related Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains with alterations at codon 516 in the rpoB gene were observed amongst a substantial number of patients with drug resistant tuberculosis in the Eastern Cape Province (ECP) of South Africa. Mutations at codon 516 are usually associated with lower level rifampicin (RIF) resistance, while susceptibility to rifabutin (RFB) remains intact. This study was conducted to assess the rationale for using RFB as a substitution for RIF in the treatment of MDR and XDR tuberculosis outbreaks. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 34 drug resistant clinical isolates of M tuberculosis were determined by MGIT 960 and correlated with rpoB mutations. RFB MICs ranged from 0.125 to 0.25 µg/ml in the 34 test isolates thereby confirming phenotypic susceptibility as per critical concentration (CC) of 0.5 µg/ml. The corresponding RIF MICs ranged between 5 and 15 µg/ml, which is well above the CC of 1.0 µg/ml. Molecular-based drug susceptibility testing provides important pharmacogenetic insight by demonstrating a direct correlation between defined rpoB mutation and the level of RFB susceptibility. We suggest that isolates with marginally reduced susceptibility as compared to the epidemiological cut-off for wild-type strains (0.064 µg/ml), but lower than the current CC (≤0.5 µg/ml), are categorised as intermediate. Two breakpoints (0.064 µg/ml and 0.5 µg/ml) are recommended to distinguish between susceptible, intermediate and RFB resistant strains. This concept may assist clinicians and policy makers to make objective therapeutic decisions, especially in situations where therapeutic options are limited. The use of RFB in the ECP may improve therapeutic success and consequently minimise the risk of ongoing transmission of drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains.
PMCID: PMC3602005  PMID: 23527189
8.  Important Role for Mycobacterium tuberculosis UvrD1 in Pathogenesis and Persistence apart from Its Function in Nucleotide Excision Repair 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(11):2916-2923.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives and replicates in macrophages, where it is exposed to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that damage DNA. In this study, we investigated the roles of UvrA and UvrD1, thought to be parts of the nucleotide excision repair pathway of M. tuberculosis. Strains in which uvrD1 was inactivated either alone or in conjunction with uvrA were constructed. Inactivation of uvrD1 resulted in a small colony phenotype, although growth in liquid culture was not significantly affected. The sensitivity of the mutant strains to UV irradiation and to mitomycin C highlighted the importance of the targeted genes for nucleotide excision repair. The mutant strains all exhibited heightened susceptibility to representatives of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) and reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI). The uvrD1 and the uvrA uvrD1 mutants showed decreased intracellular multiplication following infection of macrophages. Most importantly, the uvrA uvrD1 mutant was markedly attenuated following infection of mice by either the aerosol or the intravenous route.
PMCID: PMC3370636  PMID: 22467787
9.  Effect of Mutation and Genetic Background on Drug Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Bacterial factors may contribute to the global emergence and spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Only a few studies have reported on the interactions between different bacterial factors. We studied drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from a nationwide study conducted from 2000 to 2008 in Switzerland. We determined quantitative drug resistance levels of first-line drugs by using Bactec MGIT-960 and drug resistance genotypes by sequencing the hot-spot regions of the relevant genes. We determined recent transmission by molecular methods and collected clinical data. Overall, we analyzed 158 isolates that were resistant to isoniazid, rifampin, or ethambutol, 48 (30.4%) of which were multidrug resistant. Among 154 isoniazid-resistant strains, katG mutations were associated with high-level and inhA promoter mutations with low-level drug resistance. Only katG(S315T) (65.6% of all isoniazid-resistant strains) and inhA promoter −15C/T (22.7%) were found in molecular clusters. M. tuberculosis lineage 2 (includes Beijing genotype) was associated with any drug resistance (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7 to 5.6; P < 0.0001). Lineage 1 was associated with inhA promoter −15C/T mutations (OR, 6.4; 95% CI, 2.0 to 20.7; P = 0.002). We found that the genetic strain background influences the level of isoniazid resistance conveyed by particular mutations (interaction tests of drug resistance mutations across all lineages; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, M. tuberculosis drug resistance mutations were associated with various levels of drug resistance and transmission, and M. tuberculosis lineages were associated with particular drug resistance-conferring mutations and phenotypic drug resistance. Our study also supports a role for epistatic interactions between different drug resistance mutations and strain genetic backgrounds in M. tuberculosis drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC3370767  PMID: 22470121
10.  Phenylethyl Butyrate Enhances the Potency of Second-Line Drugs against Clinical Isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Ethionamide (ETH) is a second-line drug for the treatment of tuberculosis. As a prodrug, ETH has to be activated by EthA. ethA is controlled by its repressor EthR. 2-Phenylethyl-butyrate (2-PEB) inhibits EthR binding, enhances expression of EthA, and thereby enhances the growth-inhibitory effects of ethionamide, isoxyl, and thiacetazone in Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains with resistance to ETH due to inhA promoter mutations but not ethA mutations.
PMCID: PMC3264283  PMID: 22106218
11.  Molecular Basis for the Selectivity of Antituberculosis Compounds Capreomycin and Viomycin▿† 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4712-4717.
Capreomycin and the structurally similar compound viomycin are cyclic peptide antibiotics which are particularly active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, including multidrug resistant strains. Both antibiotics bind across the ribosomal interface involving 23S rRNA helix 69 (H69) and 16S rRNA helix 44 (h44). The binding site of tuberactinomycins in h44 partially overlaps with that of aminoglycosides, and they share with these drugs the side effect of irreversible hearing loss. Here we studied the drug target interaction on ribosomes modified by site-directed mutagenesis. We identified rRNA residues in h44 as the main determinants of phylogenetic selectivity, predict compensatory evolution to impact future resistance development, and propose mechanisms involved in tuberactinomycin ototoxicity, which may enable the development of improved, less-toxic derivatives.
PMCID: PMC3187005  PMID: 21768509
12.  Phylogenetic Sequence Variations in Bacterial rRNA Affect Species-Specific Susceptibility to Drugs Targeting Protein Synthesis▿‡ 
Antibiotics targeting the bacterial ribosome typically bind to highly conserved rRNA regions with only minor phylogenetic sequence variations. It is unclear whether these sequence variations affect antibiotic susceptibility or resistance development. To address this question, we have investigated the drug binding pockets of aminoglycosides and macrolides/ketolides. The binding site of aminoglycosides is located within helix 44 of the 16S rRNA (A site); macrolides/ketolides bind to domain V of the 23S rRNA (peptidyltransferase center). We have used mutagenesis of rRNA sequences in Mycobacterium smegmatis ribosomes to reconstruct the different bacterial drug binding sites and to study the effects of rRNA sequence variations on drug activity. Our results provide a rationale for differences in species-specific drug susceptibility patterns and species-specific resistance phenotypes associated with mutational alterations in the drug binding pocket.
PMCID: PMC3165350  PMID: 21730122
13.  UvrD2 Is Essential in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but Its Helicase Activity Is Not Required ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(17):4487-4494.
UvrD is an SF1 family helicase involved in DNA repair that is widely conserved in bacteria. Mycobacterium tuberculosishas two annotated UvrD homologues; here we investigate the role of UvrD2. The uvrD2gene at its native locus could be knocked out only in the presence of a second copy of the gene, demonstrating that uvrD2is essential. Analysis of the putative protein domain structure of UvrD2 shows a distinctive domain architecture, with an extended C terminus containing an HRDC domain normally found in SF2 family helicases and a linking domain carrying a tetracysteine motif. Truncated constructs lacking the C-terminal domains of UvrD2 were able to compensate for the loss of the chromosomal copy, showing that these C-terminal domains are not essential. Although UvrD2 is a functional helicase, a mutant form of the protein lacking helicase activity was able to permit deletion of uvrD2at its native locus. However, a mutant protein unable to hydrolyze ATP or translocate along DNA was not able to compensate for lack of the wild-type protein. Therefore, we concluded that the essential role played by UvrD2 is unlikely to involve its DNA unwinding activity and is more likely to involve DNA translocation and, possibly, protein displacement.
PMCID: PMC3165537  PMID: 21725019
14.  Practical Approach for Reliable Detection of AmpC Beta-Lactamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(8):2798-2803.
In this prospective study all Enterobacteriaceae isolates (n = 2,129) recovered in the clinical microbiology laboratory during October 2009 to April 2010 were analyzed for AmpC production. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) cefoxitin and cefotetan susceptibility breakpoints and CLSI critical ESBL diameters were used to screen for potential AmpC producers. In total, 305 isolates (211 potential AmpC producers and 94 AmpC screen-negative isolates as a control group) were further analyzed by multiplex PCR for the detection of plasmid-encoded ampC beta-lactamase genes and by ampC promoter sequence analysis (considered as the gold standard). Cefoxitin and cefotetan were assessed as primary screening markers. The sensitivities of cefoxitin and cefotetan for the detection of AmpC production were 97.4 and 52.6%, respectively, and the specificities were 78.7 and 99.3%, respectively. As a phenotypic confirmation test, the Etest AmpC and the cefoxitin-cloxacillin double-disk synergy method (CC-DDS) were compared. The sensitivities for the Etest AmpC and the CC-DDS method were 77.4 and 97.2%, respectively, and the specificity was 100% for both methods. The results of the Etest AmpC were inconclusive for 10 isolates. With the CC-DDS method 2 inconclusive results were observed. Based on this study, we propose a comprehensive diagnostic flow chart for the detection of AmpC production consisting of a simple phenotypic screening and a single phenotypic confirmation test with inconclusive results being resolved by molecular analysis. For the proposed flow chart using (i) cefoxitin as a screening marker for AmpC production, (ii) the CC-DDS method as phenotypic confirmation, and (iii) molecular methods in case of inconclusive results, the sensitivity and specificity for AmpC detection would have been 97.4 and 100%, respectively, with respect to the studied isolates. The phenotypic methods used in the AmpC algorithm are simple to perform and easy to implement in the diagnostic laboratory.
PMCID: PMC3147735  PMID: 21632895
15.  Relief from Zmp1-Mediated Arrest of Phagosome Maturation Is Associated with Facilitated Presentation and Enhanced Immunogenicity of Mycobacterial Antigens▿ 
Pathogenic mycobacteria escape host innate immune responses by blocking phagosome-lysosome fusion. Avoiding lysosomal delivery may also be involved in the capacity of mycobacteria to evade major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I- or II-dependent T-cell responses. In this study, we used a genetic mutant of Mycobacterium bovis BCG that is unable to escape lysosomal transfer and show that presentation of mycobacterial antigens is affected by the site of intracellular residence. Compared to infection with wild-type BCG, infection of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells with a mycobacterial mutant deficient in zinc metalloprotease 1 (Zmp1) resulted in increased presentation of MHC class II-restricted antigens, as assessed by activation of mycobacterial Ag85A-specific T-cell hybridomas. The zmp1 deletion mutant was more immunogenic in vivo, as measured by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), antigen-specific lymphocyte proliferation, and the frequency of antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing lymphocytes of both CD4 and CD8 subsets. In conclusion, our results suggest that phagosome maturation and lysosomal delivery of BCG facilitate mycobacterial antigen presentation and enhance immunogenicity.
PMCID: PMC3122614  PMID: 21471301
16.  The biological and structural characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis UvrA provides novel insights into its mechanism of action 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(16):7316-7328.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an extremely well adapted intracellular human pathogen that is exposed to multiple DNA damaging chemical assaults originating from the host defence mechanisms. As a consequence, this bacterium is thought to possess highly efficient DNA repair machineries, the nucleotide excision repair (NER) system amongst these. Although NER is of central importance to DNA repair in M. tuberculosis, our understanding of the processes in this species is limited. The conserved UvrABC endonuclease represents the multi-enzymatic core in bacterial NER, where the UvrA ATPase provides the DNA lesion-sensing function. The herein reported genetic analysis demonstrates that M. tuberculosis UvrA is important for the repair of nitrosative and oxidative DNA damage. Moreover, our biochemical and structural characterization of recombinant M. tuberculosis UvrA contributes new insights into its mechanism of action. In particular, the structural investigation reveals an unprecedented conformation of the UvrB-binding domain that we propose to be of functional relevance. Taken together, our data suggest UvrA as a potential target for the development of novel anti-tubercular agents and provide a biochemical framework for the identification of small-molecule inhibitors interfering with the NER activity in M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3167621  PMID: 21622956
17.  Mutations in 23S rRNA at the Peptidyl Transferase Center and Their Relationship to Linezolid Binding and Cross-Resistance▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(11):4705-4713.
The oxazolidinone antibiotic linezolid targets the peptidyl transferase center (PTC) on the bacterial ribosome. Thirteen single and four double 23S rRNA mutations were introduced into a Mycobacterium smegmatis strain with a single rRNA operon. Converting bacterial base identity by single mutations at positions 2032, 2453, and 2499 to human cytosolic base identity did not confer significantly reduced susceptibility to linezolid. The largest decrease in linezolid susceptibility for any of the introduced single mutations was observed with the G2576U mutation at a position that is 7.9 Å from linezolid. Smaller decreases were observed with the A2503G, U2504G, and G2505A mutations at nucleotides proximal to linezolid, showing that the degree of resistance conferred is not simply inversely proportional to the nucleotide-drug distance. The double mutations G2032A-C2499A, G2032A-U2504G, C2055A-U2504G, and C2055A-A2572U had remarkable synergistic effects on linezolid resistance relative to the effects of the corresponding single mutations. This study emphasizes that effects of rRNA mutations at the PTC are organism dependent. Moreover, the data show a nonpredictable cross-resistance pattern between linezolid, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, and valnemulin. The data underscore the significance of mutations at distal nucleotides, either alone or in combination with other mutated nucleotides, in contributing to linezolid resistance.
PMCID: PMC2976117  PMID: 20696869
18.  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.
PMCID: PMC2937732  PMID: 20631113
19.  Systematic Internal Transcribed Spacer Sequence Analysis for Identification of Clinical Mold Isolates in Diagnostic Mycology: a 5-Year Study▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(8):2809-2813.
The implementation of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing for routine identification of molds in the diagnostic mycology laboratory was analyzed in a 5-year study. All mold isolates (n = 6,900) recovered in our laboratory from 2005 to 2009 were included in this study. According to a defined work flow, which in addition to troublesome phenotypic identification takes clinical relevance into account, 233 isolates were subjected to ITS sequence analysis. Sequencing resulted in successful identification for 78.6% of the analyzed isolates (57.1% at species level, 21.5% at genus level). In comparison, extended in-depth phenotypic characterization of the isolates subjected to sequencing achieved taxonomic assignment for 47.6% of these, with a mere 13.3% at species level. Optimization of DNA extraction further improved the efficacy of molecular identification. This study is the first of its kind to testify to the systematic implementation of sequence-based identification procedures in the routine workup of mold isolates in the diagnostic mycology laboratory.
PMCID: PMC2916574  PMID: 20573873
20.  Mutant A1555G Mitochondrial 12S rRNA and Aminoglycoside Susceptibility 
PMCID: PMC2897308  PMID: 20554968
21.  Mutation K42R in Ribosomal Protein S12 Does Not Affect Susceptibility of Mycobacterium smegmatis 16S rRNA A-Site Mutants to 2-Deoxystreptamines 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11960.
Recent studies have suggested that ribosomal protein S12 modulates 16S rRNA function and susceptibility to 2-deoxystreptamine aminoglycosides. To study whether the non-restrictive K42R mutation in RpsL affects 2-deoxystreptamine susceptibility in Mycobacterium smegmatis, we studied the drug susceptibility pattern of various mutants with genetic alterations in the 16S rRNA decoding A-site in the context of wild-type and mutant protein S12. RpsL K42R substitution was found not to affect the drug resistance pattern associated with mutational alterations in 16S rRNA H44.
PMCID: PMC2916820  PMID: 20700526
22.  The Uracil DNA Glycosylase UdgB of Mycobacterium smegmatis Protects the Organism from the Mutagenic Effects of Cytosine and Adenine Deamination▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(20):6312-6319.
Spontaneous hydrolytic deamination of DNA bases represents a considerable mutagenic threat to all organisms, particularly those living in extreme habitats. Cytosine is readily deaminated to uracil, which base pairs with adenine during replication, and most organisms encode at least one uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG) that removes this aberrant base from DNA with high efficiency. Adenine deaminates to hypoxanthine approximately 10-fold less efficiently, and its removal from DNA in vivo has to date been reported to be mediated solely by alkyladenine DNA glycosylase. We previously showed that UdgB from Pyrobaculum aerophilum, a hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon, can excise hypoxanthine from oligonucleotide substrates, but as this organism is not amenable to genetic manipulation, we were unable to ascertain that the enzyme also has this role in vivo. In the present study, we show that UdgB from Mycobacterium smegmatis protects this organism against mutagenesis associated with deamination of both cytosine and adenine. Together with Ung-type uracil glycosylase, M. smegmatis UdgB also helps attenuate the cytotoxicity of the antimicrobial agent 5-fluorouracil.
PMCID: PMC2753029  PMID: 19684133
23.  Quantitative Drug Susceptibility Testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Use of MGIT 960 and EpiCenter Instrumentation ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(6):1773-1780.
Since numbers of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains are on the rise, the simple classification into “susceptible” and “resistant” strains based on susceptibility testing at “critical concentrations” has to be reconsidered. While future studies have to address the correlation of phenotypic resistance levels and treatment outcomes, a prerequisite for corresponding investigations is the ability to exactly determine levels of quantitative drug resistance in clinical M. tuberculosis isolates. Here we have established the conditions for quantitative drug susceptibility testing for first- and second-line agents using MGIT 960 instrumentation and EpiCenter software equipped with the TB eXiST module. In-depth comparative analysis of a range of well-characterized susceptible and resistant clinical isolates has allowed us to propose conditions for testing and to develop criteria for interpretation.
PMCID: PMC2691107  PMID: 19339475
24.  Characterization of the Mycobacterial NER System Reveals Novel Functions of the uvrD1 Helicase▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;191(2):555-562.
In this study, we investigated the role of the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway in mycobacterial DNA repair. Mycobacterium smegmatis lacking the NER excinuclease component uvrB or the helicase uvrD1 gene and a double knockout lacking both genes were constructed, and their sensitivities to a series of DNA-damaging agents were analyzed. As anticipated, the mycobacterial NER system was shown to be involved in the processing of bulky DNA adducts and interstrand cross-links. In addition, it could be shown to exert a protective effect against oxidizing and nitrosating agents. Interestingly, inactivation of uvrB and uvrD1 significantly increased marker integration frequencies in gene conversion assays. This implies that in mycobacteria (which lack the postreplicative mismatch repair system) NER, and particularly the UvrD1 helicase, is involved in the processing of a subset of recombination-associated mismatches.
PMCID: PMC2620815  PMID: 19011038
25.  Tuberculosis Drug Resistance in an Area of Low Endemicity in 2004 to 2006: Semiquantitative Drug Susceptibility Testing and Genotyping▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(12):4064-4067.
We determined the quantitative levels and the genetic mechanisms of resistance in drug-resistant clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis sampled over a period of 3 years (n = 45; 17 of the isolate were multidrug resistant). Our results led us to hypothesize that some strains categorized as resistant to isoniazid, ethambutol, or streptomycin by standard laboratory procedures of in vitro drug susceptibility testing may still respond to a treatment regimen that includes these agents.
PMCID: PMC2593253  PMID: 18923010

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