The soil-transmitted helminth (STH), Trichuris trichiura colonises the human large intestine where it may modify inflammatory responses, an effect possibly mediated through alterations in the intestinal microbiota. We hypothesised that patent T. trichiura infections would be associated with altered faecal microbiota and that anthelmintic treatment would induce a microbiota resembling more closely that observed in uninfected individuals.
Materials and Methods
School children in Ecuador were screened for STH infections and allocated to 3 groups: uninfected, T. trichiura only, and mixed infections with T. trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides. A sample of uninfected children and those with T. trichiura infections only were given anthelmintic treatment. Bacterial community profiles in faecal samples were studied by 454 pyrosequencing of 16 S rRNA genes.
Microbiota analyses of faeces were done for 97 children: 30 were uninfected, 17 were infected with T. trichiura, and 50 with T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides. Post-treatment samples were analyzed for 14 children initially infected with T. trichiura alone and for 21 uninfected children. Treatment resulted in 100% cure of STH infections. Comparisons of the microbiota at different taxonomic levels showed no statistically significant differences in composition between uninfected children and those with T. trichiura infections. We observed a decreased proportional abundance of a few bacterial genera from the Clostridia class of Firmicutes and a reduced bacterial diversity among children with mixed infections compared to the other two groups, indicating a possible specific effect of A. lumbricoides infection. Anthelmintic treatment of children with T. trichiura did not alter faecal microbiota composition.
Our data indicate that patent human infections with T. trichiura may have no effect on faecal microbiota but that A. lumbricoides colonisation might be associated with a disturbed microbiota. Our results also catalogue the microbiota of rural Ecuadorians and indicate differences with individuals from more urban industrialised societies.
Laminitis is a chronic, crippling disease triggered by the sudden influx of dietary starch. Starch reaches the hindgut resulting in enrichment of lactic acid bacteria, lactate accumulation, and acidification of the gut contents. Bacterial products enter the bloodstream and precipitate systemic inflammation. Hindgut lactate levels are normally low because specific bacterial groups convert lactate to short chain fatty acids. Why this mechanism fails when lactate levels rapidly rise, and why some hindgut communities can recover is unknown. Fecal samples from three adult horses eating identical diets provided bacterial communities for this in vitro study. Triplicate microcosms of fecal slurries were enriched with lactate and/or starch. Metabolic products (short chain fatty acids, headspace gases, and hydrogen sulfide) were measured and microbial community compositions determined using Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing over 12-hour intervals. We report that patterns of change in short chain fatty acid levels and pH in our in vitro system are similar to those seen in in vivo laminitis induction models. Community differences between microcosms with disparate abilities to clear excess lactate suggest profiles conferring resistance of starch-induction conditions. Where lactate levels recover following starch induction conditions, propionate and acetate levels rise correspondingly and taxa related to Megasphaeraelsdenii reach levels exceeding 70% relative abundance. In lactate and control cultures, taxa related to Veillonellamontpellierensis are enriched as lactate levels fall. Understanding these community differences and factors promoting the growth of specific lactate utilizing taxa may be useful to prevent acidosis under starch-induction conditions.
Sedentary lifestyle and excessive energy intake are prominent contributors to obesity; a major risk factors for the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying these chronic conditions is of relevant importance as it might lead to the identification of novel anti-obesity targets. The purpose of the current study is to investigate differentially expressed proteins between lean and obese subjects through a shot-gun quantitative proteomics approach using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) extracts as well as potential modulation of those proteins by physical exercise. Using this approach, a total of 47 proteins showed at least 1.5 fold change between lean and obese subjects. In obese, the proteomic profiling before and after 3 months of physical exercise showed differential expression of 38 proteins. Thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) was among the proteins that were upregulated in obese subjects and then decreased by physical exercise. Conversely, the histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) was downregulated in obese subjects and then induced by physical exercise. The proteomic data was further validated by qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry in both PBMCs and adipose tissue. We also showed that HDAC4 levels correlated positively with maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) but negatively with body mass index, percent body fat, and the inflammatory chemokine RANTES. In functional assays, our data indicated that ectopic expression of HDAC4 significantly impaired TNF-α-dependent activation of NF-κB, establishing thus a link between HDAC4 and regulation of the immune system. Together, the expression pattern of HDAC4 in obese subjects before and after physical exercise, its correlation with various physical, clinical and metabolic parameters along with its inhibitory effect on NF-κB are suggestive of a protective role of HDAC4 against obesity. HDAC4 could therefore represent a potential therapeutic target for the control and management of obesity and presumably insulin resistance.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) cause secretory diarrhea in children and travelers to endemic areas. ETEC spreads through the fecal-oral route. After ingestion, ETEC passes through the stomach and duodenum before it colonizes the lower part of the small intestine, exposing bacteria to a wide range of pH and environmental conditions. This study aimed to determine the impact of external pH and activity of the Cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP) on the regulation of production and secretion of heat labile (LT) enterotoxin. ETEC strain E2863wt and its isogenic mutant E2863ΔCRP were grown in LBK media buffered to pH 5, 7 and 9. GM1 ELISA, cDNA and cAMP analyses were carried out on bacterial pellet and supernatant samples derived from 3 and 5 hours growth and from overnight cultures. We confirm that CRP is a repressor of LT transcription and production as has been shown before but we show for the first time that CRP is a positive regulator of LT secretion both in vitro and in vivo. LT secretion increased at neutral to alkaline pH compared to acidic pH 5 where secretion was completely inhibited. At pH 9 secretion of LT was optimal resulting in 600 percent increase of secreted LT compared to unbuffered LBK media. This effect was not due to membrane leakage since the bacteria were viable at pH 9. The results indicate that the transition to the alkaline duodenum and/or exposure to high pH close to the epithelium as well as activation of the global transcription factor CRP are signals that induce secretion of the LT toxin in ETEC.
Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive foodborne pathogen and the causative agent of listerosis a disease that manifests predominately as meningitis in the non-pregnant individual or infection of the fetus and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women. Common-source outbreaks of foodborne listeriosis are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. However, relatively little is known concerning the mechanisms that govern infection via the oral route. In order to aid functional genetic analysis of the gastrointestinal phase of infection we designed a novel signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) system based upon the invasive L. monocytogenes 4b serotype H7858 strain. To overcome the limitations of gastrointestinal infection by L. monocytogenes in the mouse model we created a H7858 strain that is genetically optimised for oral infection in mice. Furthermore our STM system was based upon a mariner transposon to favour numerous and random transposition events throughout the L. monocytogenes genome. Use of the STM bank to investigate oral infection by L. monocytogenes identified 21 insertion mutants that demonstrated significantly reduced potential for infection in our model. The sites of transposon insertion included lmOh7858_0671 (encoding an internalin homologous to Lmo0610), lmOh7858_0898 (encoding a putative surface-expressed LPXTG protein homologous to Lmo0842), lmOh7858_2579 (encoding the HupDGC hemin transport system) and lmOh7858_0399 (encoding a putative fructose specific phosphotransferase system). We propose that this represents an optimised STM system for functional genetic analysis of foodborne/oral infection by L. monocytogenes.
Parasitic nematodes are potent modulators of immune reactivity in mice and men. Intestinal nematodes live in close contact with commensal gut bacteria, provoke biased Th2 immune responses upon infection, and subsequently lead to changes in gut physiology. We hypothesized that murine nematode infection is associated with distinct changes of the intestinal bacterial microbiota composition. We here studied intestinal inflammatory and immune responses in mice following infection with the hookworm Heligmosomoidespolygyrusbakeri and applied cultural and molecular techniques to quantitatively assess intestinal microbiota changes in the ileum, cecum and colon. At day 14 post nematode infection, mice harbored significantly higher numbers of γ-Proteobacteria/Enterobacteriaceae and members of the Bacteroides/Prevotella group in their cecum as compared to uninfected controls. Abundance of Gram-positive species such as Lactobacilli, Clostridia as well as the total bacterial load was not affected by worm infection. The altered microbiota composition was independent of the IL-4/-13 – STAT6 signaling axis, as infected IL-4Rα-/- mice showed a similar increase in enterobacterial loads. In conclusion, infection with an enteric nematode is accompanied by distinct intestinal microbiota changes towards higher abundance of gram-negative commensal species at the small intestinal site of infection (and inflammation), but also in the parasite-free large intestinal tract. Further studies should unravel the impact of nematode-induced microbiota changes in inflammatory bowel disease to allow for a better understanding of how theses parasites interfere with intestinal inflammation and bacterial communities in men.
Proteoglycan (PG) extracted from salmon nasal cartilage has potential to be a prophylactic agent. Daily oral administration of the PG attenuates systemic inflammatory response in the experimental mouse models. In this study, we applied the culture-independent approach to investigate an alteration of intestinal microbiota composition in PG-administered mice. The results indicated that the population level of bacilli increased in the small and large intestine upon PG administration. On the other hand, the population level of clostridia decreased in the large intestine. The proportion of bacteria that are able to ferment saccharides and produce short-chain fatty acids increased in the small intestine and decreased in the large intestine. Importantly, population level of probiotic lactobacilli and bacteria exhibiting the immunomodulatory effect increased in the PG-administered mice. In addition, several disease-associated bacteria decreased upon PG administration. These results provided an understanding of the specific role of PG involved in host immune modulation and supported our hypothesis that daily oral administration of PG improves the overall balance in composition of the intestinal microbial community.
To investigate colonic mucus thickness in vivo in health and during experimental inflammatory bowel disease.
Colitis was induced with 5% DSS in drinking water for 8 days prior to experiment, when the descending colonic mucosa of anesthetized rats was studied using intravital microscopy. Mucus thickness was measured with micropipettes attached to a micromanipulator. To assess the contributions of NOS and prostaglandins in the regulation of colonic mucus thickness, the non-selective NOS-inhibitor L-NNA (10 mg/kg bolus followed by 3 mg/kg/h), the selective iNOS-inhibitor L-NIL (10 mg/kg bolus followed by 3 mg/kg/h) and the non-selective COX-inhibitor diclofenac (5 mg/kg) were administered intravenously prior to experiment. To further investigate the role of iNOS in the regulation of colonic mucus thickness, iNOS −/− mice were used.
Colitic rats had a thicker firmly adherent mucus layer following 8 days of DSS treatment than untreated rats (88±2 µm vs 76±1 µm). During induction of colitis, the thickness of the colonic mucus layer initially decreased but was from day 3 significantly thicker than in untreated rats. Diclofenac reduced the mucus thickness similarly in colitic and untreated rats (−16±5 µm vs −14±2 µm). While L-NNA had no effect on colonic mucus thickness in DSS or untreated controls (+3±2 µm vs +3±1 µm), L-NIL reduced the mucus thickness significantly more in colitic rats than in controls (−33±4 µm vs −10±3 µm). The importance of iNOS in regulating the colonic mucus thickness was confirmed in iNOS−/− mice, which had thinner colonic mucus than wild-type mice (35±3 µm vs 50±2 µm, respectively). Furthermore, immunohistochemistry revealed increased levels of iNOS in the colonic surface epithelium following DSS treatment.
Both prostaglandins and nitric oxide regulate basal colonic mucus thickness. During onset of colitis, the thickness of the mucus layer is initially reduced followed by an iNOS mediated increase.
Obesity has been associated with a more severe disease course in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and epidemiological data identified dietary fats but not obesity as risk factors for the development of IBD. Crohn’s disease is one of the two major IBD phenotypes and mostly affects the terminal ileum. Despite recent observations that high fat diets (HFD) impair intestinal barrier functions and drive pathobiont selection relevant for chronic inflammation in the colon, mechanisms of high fat diets in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease are not known. The aim of this study was to characterize the effect of HFD on the development of chronic ileal inflammation in a murine model of Crohn’s disease-like ileitis.
TNFΔARE/WT mice and wildtype C57BL/6 littermates were fed a HFD compared to control diet for different durations. Intestinal pathology and metabolic parameters (glucose tolerance, mesenteric tissue characteristics) were assessed. Intestinal barrier integrity was characterized at different levels including polyethylene glycol (PEG) translocation, endotoxin in portal vein plasma and cellular markers of barrier function. Inflammatory activation of epithelial cells as well as immune cell infiltration into ileal tissue were determined and related to luminal factors.
HFD aggravated ileal inflammation but did not induce significant overweight or typical metabolic disorders in TNFΔARE/WT. Expression of the tight junction protein Occludin was markedly reduced in the ileal epithelium of HFD mice independently of inflammation, and translocation of endotoxin was increased. Epithelial cells showed enhanced expression of inflammation-related activation markers, along with enhanced luminal factors-driven recruitment of dendritic cells and Th17-biased lymphocyte infiltration into the lamina propria.
HFD feeding, independently of obesity, accelerated disease onset of small intestinal inflammation in Crohn’s disease-relevant mouse model through mechanisms that involve increased intestinal permeability and altered luminal factors, leading to enhanced dendritic cell recruitment and promoted Th17 immune responses.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5'-phosphate, PLP) is linked to a variety of biological functions in prokaryotes. Here, we report that the pdxA (putative 4-hydroxy-L-threonine phosphate dehydrogenase) gene plays a pivotal role in the PLP-dependent regulation of flagellar motility, thereby altering host colonization in a leading foodborne pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni. A C. jejuni pdxA mutant failed to produce PLP and exhibited a coincident loss of flagellar motility. Mass spectrometric analyses showed a 3-fold reduction in the main flagellar glycan pseudaminic acid (Pse) associated with the disruption of pdxA. The pdxA mutant also exhibited reduced growth rates compared with the WT strain. Comparative metabolomic analyses revealed differences in respiratory/energy metabolism between WT C. jejuni and the pdxA mutant, providing a possible explanation for the differential growth fitness between the two strains. Consistent with the lack of flagellar motility, the pdxA mutant showed impaired motility-mediated responses (bacterial adhesion, ERK1/2 activation, and IL-8 production) in INT407 cells and reduced colonization of chickens compared with the WT strain. Overall, this study demonstrated that the pdxA gene affects the PLP-mediated flagellar motility function, mainly through alteration of Pse modification, and the disruption of this gene also alters the respiratory/energy metabolisms to potentially affect host colonization. Our data therefore present novel implications regarding the utility of PLP and its dependent enzymes as potent target(s) for the control of this pathogen in the poultry host.
Innate immunity involving antimicrobial peptides represents an integrated and highly effective system of molecular and cellular mechanisms that protects host against infections. One of the most frequent hospital-acquired pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus, capable of producing proteolytic enzymes, which can degrade the host defence agents and tissue components. Numerous antimicrobial peptides derived from chromogranins, are secreted by nervous, endocrine and immune cells during stress conditions. These kill microorganisms by their lytic effect at micromolar range, using a pore-forming mechanism against Gram-positive bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts. In this study, we tested antimicrobial activity of chromogranin A-derived peptides (catestatin and cateslytin) against S. aureus and analysed S. aureus-mediated proteolysis of these peptides using HPLC, sequencing and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Interestingly, this study is the first to demonstrate that cateslytin, the active domain of catestatin, is active against S. aureus and is interestingly resistant to degradation by S. aureus proteases.
Chronically relapsing inflammation, tissue remodeling and fibrosis are hallmarks of inflammatory bowel diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in connective tissue in a chronic murine model resulting from repeated cycles of dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) ingestion, to mimic the relapsing nature of the human disease.
Materials and Methods
C57BL/6 mice were exposed to DSS in drinking water for 1 week, followed by a recovery phase of 2 weeks. This cycle of exposure was repeated for up to 3 times (9 weeks in total). Colonic inflammation, fibrosis, extracellular matrix proteins and colonic gene expression were studied. In vivo MRI T2 relaxometry was studied as a potential non-invasive imaging tool to evaluate bowel wall inflammation and fibrosis.
Repeated cycles of DSS resulted in a relapsing and remitting disease course, which induced a chronic segmental, transmural colitis after 2 and 3 cycles of DSS with clear induction of fibrosis and remodeling of the muscular layer. Tenascin expression mirrored its expression in Crohn’s colitis. Microarray data identified a gene expression profile different in chronic colitis from that in acute colitis. Additional recovery was associated with upregulation of unique genes, in particular keratins, pointing to activation of molecular pathways for healing and repair. In vivo MRI T2 relaxometry of the colon showed a clear shift towards higher T2 values in the acute stage and a gradual regression of T2 values with increasing cycles of DSS.
Repeated cycles of DSS exposure induce fibrosis and connective tissue changes with typical features, as occurring in Crohn’s disease. Colonic gene expression analysis revealed unique expression profiles in chronic colitis compared to acute colitis and after additional recovery, pointing to potential new targets to intervene with the induction of fibrosis. In vivo T2 relaxometry is a promising non-invasive assessment of inflammation and fibrosis.
Our aim was to explore the effects of Cytolethal Distending toxin (Cdt) in a well established rat model of periodontal disease where leukotoxin (LtxA) was thought to have no known effect. In vitro studies, were used to assess CdtB activity using Aa Leukotoxin as a negative control. These studies showed that both CdtB and LtxA (unexpectedly) exerted significant effects on CD4+ T cells. As a result we decided to compare the effects of these two prominent Aa virulence factors on bone loss using our rat model of Aa-induced periodontitis. In this model, Aa strains, mutant in cdtB and ltxA, were compared to their parent non-mutant strains and evaluated for colonization, antibody response to Aa, bone loss and disease. We found that bone loss/disease caused by the ltxA mutant strain, in which cdtB was expressed, was significantly less (p<0.05) than that due to the wild type strain. On the other hand, the disease caused by cdtB mutant strain, in which ltxA was expressed, was not significantly different from the wild type strain. This data indicates that Aa LtxA exerts a greater effect on bone loss than Cdt in this rat model of periodontal disease and supports the utility of this model to dissect specific virulence factors as they relate to immunopathology in studies of Aa-induced disease.
Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) is a carbapenemase increasingly reported worldwide in Enterobacteriaceae. The aim of this study was to analyze the virulence of several KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae isolates. The studied strains were (i) five KPC-2 clinical strains from different geographical origins, belonging to different ST-types and possessing plasmids of different incompatibility groups; (ii) seven transformants obtained after electroporation of either these natural KPC plasmids or a recombinant plasmid harboring only the blaKPC-2 gene into reference strains K. pneumoniae ATCC10031/CIP53153; and (iii) five clinical strains cured of plasmids. The virulence of K. pneumoniae isolates was evaluated in the Caenorhabditis elegans model. The clinical KPC producers and transformants were significantly less virulent (LT50: 5.5 days) than K. pneumoniae reference strain (LT50: 4.3 days) (p<0.01). However, the worldwide spread KPC-2 positive K. pneumoniae ST258 strains and reference strains containing plasmids extracted from K. pneumoniae ST258 strains had a higher virulence than KPC-2 strains belonging to other ST types (LT50: 5 days vs. 6 days, p<0.01). The increased virulence observed in cured strains confirmed this trend. The blaKPC-2 gene itself was not associated to increased virulence.
Intestinal barrier failure may lead to systemic inflammation and distant organ injury in patients following severe injury. Enteric glia cells (EGCs) have been shown to play an important role in maintaining gut barrier integrity through secretion of S-Nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). We have recently shown than Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) increases EGC activation, which was associated with improved gut barrier integrity. Thus, we sought to further study the mechanism by which EGCs prevent intestinal barrier breakdown utilizing an in vitro model. We postulated that EGCs, through the secretion of GSNO, would improve intestinal barrier function through improved expression and localization of intestinal tight junction proteins.
Epithelial cells were co-cultured with EGCs or incubated with GSNO and exposed to Cytomix (TNF-α, INF-γ, IL-1β) for 24 hours. Barrier function was assessed by permeability to 4kDa FITC-Dextran. Changes in tight junction proteins ZO-1, occludin, and phospho-MLC (P-MLC) were assessed by immunohistochemistry and immunoblot.
Co-culture of Cytomix-stimulated epithelial monolayers with EGCs prevented increases in permeability and improved expression and localization of occludin, ZO-1, and P-MLC. Further, treatment of epithelial monolayers with GSNO also prevented Cytomix-induced increases in permeability and exhibited a similar improvement in expression and localization of occludin, ZO-1, and P-MLC.
Conclusions & Inferences
The addition of EGCs, or their secreted mediator GSNO, prevents epithelial barrier failure after injury and improved expression of tight junction proteins. Thus, therapies that increase EGC activation, such as VNS, may be a novel strategy to limit barrier failure in patients following severe injury.
Staphylococcus epidermidis orthopedic device infections are caused by direct inoculation of commensal flora during surgery and remain rare, although S. epidermidis carriage is likely universal. We wondered whether S. epidermidis orthopedic device infection strains might constitute a sub-population of commensal isolates with specific virulence ability. Biofilm formation and invasion of osteoblasts by S. aureus contribute to bone and joint infection recurrence by protecting bacteria from the host-immune system and most antibiotics. We aimed to determine whether S. epidermidis orthopedic device infection isolates could be distinguished from commensal strains by their ability to invade osteoblasts and form biofilms.
Materials and Methods
Orthopedic device infection S. epidermidis strains (n = 15) were compared to nasal carriage isolates (n = 22). Osteoblast invasion was evaluated in an ex vivo infection model using MG63 osteoblastic cells co-cultured for 2 hours with bacteria. Adhesion of S. epidermidis to osteoblasts was explored by a flow cytometric approach, and internalized bacteria were quantified by plating cell lysates after selective killing of extra-cellular bacteria with gentamicin. Early and mature biofilm formations were evaluated by a crystal violet microtitration plate assay and the Biofilm Ring Test method.
No difference was observed between commensal and infective strains in their ability to invade osteoblasts (internalization rate 308+/−631 and 347+/−431 CFU/well, respectively). This low internalization rate correlated with a low ability to adhere to osteoblasts. No difference was observed for biofilm formation between the two groups.
Osteoblast invasion and biofilm formation levels failed to distinguish S. epidermidis orthopedic device infection strains from commensal isolates. This study provides the first assessment of the interaction between S. epidermidis strains isolated from orthopedic device infections and osteoblasts, and suggests that bone cell invasion is not a major pathophysiological mechanism in S. epidermidis orthopedic device infections, contrary to what is observed for S. aureus.
The potential for commensal microorganisms indigenous to a host (the ‘microbiome’ or ‘microbiota’) to alter infection outcome by influencing host-pathogen interplay is largely unknown. We used a multi-omics “systems” approach, incorporating proteomics, metabolomics, glycomics, and metagenomics, to explore the molecular interplay between the murine host, the pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), and commensal gut microorganisms during intestinal infection with S. Typhimurium. We find proteomic evidence that S. Typhimurium thrives within the infected 129/SvJ mouse gut without antibiotic pre-treatment, inducing inflammation and disrupting the intestinal microbiome (e.g., suppressing Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes while promoting growth of Salmonella and Enterococcus). Alteration of the host microbiome population structure was highly correlated with gut environmental changes, including the accumulation of metabolites normally consumed by commensal microbiota. Finally, the less characterized phase of S. Typhimurium’s lifecycle was investigated, and both proteomic and glycomic evidence suggests S. Typhimurium may take advantage of increased fucose moieties to metabolize fucose while growing in the gut. The application of multiple omics measurements to Salmonella-induced intestinal inflammation provides insights into complex molecular strategies employed during pathogenesis between host, pathogen, and the microbiome.
The emergence and rapid spreading of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains has become a major health threat worldwide. To better understand the genetic recombination related with the acquisition of drug-resistant elements during bacterial infection, we performed complete genome analysis on three newly isolated multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strains from Beijing using next-generation sequencing technology.
Whole genome comparison revealed that all 3 strains share some common drug resistant elements including carbapenem-resistant blaOXA-23 and tetracycline (tet) resistance islands, but the genome structures are diversified among strains. Various genomic islands intersperse on the genome with transposons and insertions, reflecting the recombination flexibility during the acquisition of the resistant elements. The blood-isolated BJAB07104 and ascites-isolated BJAB0868 exhibit high similarity on their genome structure with most of the global clone II strains, suggesting these two strains belong to the dominant outbreak strains prevalent worldwide. A large resistance island (RI) of about 121-kb, carrying a cluster of resistance-related genes, was inserted into the ATPase gene on BJAB07104 and BJAB0868 genomes. A 78-kb insertion element carrying tra-locus and blaOXA-23 island, can be either inserted into one of the tniB gene in the 121-kb RI on the chromosome, or transformed to conjugative plasmid in the two BJAB strains. The third strains of this study, BJAB0715, which was isolated from spinal fluid, exhibit much more divergence compared with above two strains. It harbors multiple drug-resistance elements including a truncated AbaR-22-like RI on its genome. One of the unique features of this strain is that it carries both blaOXA-23 and blaOXA-58 genes on its genome. Besides, an Acinetobacter lwoffii adeABC efflux element was found inserted into the ATPase position in BJAB0715.
Our comparative analysis on currently completed Acinetobacter baumannii genomes revealed extensive and dynamic genome organizations, which may facilitate the bacteria to acquire drug-resistance elements into their genomes.
Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli cause severe intestinal infections involving colonization of epithelial Peyer’s patches and formation of attachment/effacement (A/E) lesions. These lesions trigger leukocyte infiltration followed by inflammation and intestinal hemorrhage. Systems biology, which explores the crosstalk of Stx-producing Escherichia coli with the in vivo host environment, may elucidate novel molecular pathogenesis aspects.
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli strain 86–24 produces Shiga toxin-2 and belongs to the serotype O157:H7. Bacterial cells were scrapped from stationary phase cultures (the in vitro condition) and used to infect gnotobiotic piglets via intestinal lavage. Bacterial cells isolated from the piglets’ guts constituted the in vivo condition. Cell lysates were subjected to quantitative 2D gel and shotgun proteomic analyses, revealing metabolic shifts towards anaerobic energy generation, changes in carbon utilization, phosphate and ammonia starvation, and high activity of a glutamate decarboxylase acid resistance system in vivo. Increased abundance of pyridine nucleotide transhydrogenase (PntA and PntB) suggested in vivo shortage of intracellular NADPH. Abundance changes of proteins implicated in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis (LpxC, ArnA, the predicted acyltransferase L7029) and outer membrane (OM) assembly (LptD, MlaA, MlaC) suggested bacterial cell surface modulation in response to activated host defenses. Indeed, there was evidence for interactions of innate immunity-associated proteins secreted into the intestines (GP340, REG3-γ, resistin, lithostathine, and trefoil factor 3) with the bacterial cell envelope.
Proteomic analysis afforded insights into system-wide adaptations of strain 86–24 to a hostile intestinal milieu, including responses to limited nutrients and cofactor supplies, intracellular acidification, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species-mediated stress. Protein and lipopolysaccharide compositions of the OM were altered. Enhanced expression of type III secretion system effectors correlated with a metabolic shift back to a more aerobic milieu in vivo. Apparent pathogen pattern recognition molecules from piglet intestinal secretions adhered strongly to the bacterial cell surface.
The scientific community has been restricted by the lack of a practical and informative animal model of gastrointestinal infection with vegetative Bacillus anthracis. We herein report the development of a murine model of gastrointestinal anthrax infection by gavage of vegetative Sterne strain of Bacillus anthracis into the complement-deficient A/J mouse strain. Mice infected in this manner developed lethal infections in a dose-dependent manner and died 30 h-5 d following gavage. Histological findings were consistent with penetration and growth of the bacilli within the intestinal villi, with subsequent dissemination into major organs including the spleen, liver, kidney and lung. Blood cultures confirmed anthrax bacteremia in all moribund animals, with approximately 1/3 showing co-infection with commensal enteric organisms. However, no evidence of immune activation was observed during infection. Time-course experiments revealed early compromise of the intestinal epithelium, characterized by villus blunting and ulceration in the ileum and jejunum. A decrease in body temperature was most predictive of near-term lethality. Antibiotic treatment of infected animals 24 h following high-dose bacterial gavage protected all animals, demonstrating the utility of this animal model in evaluating potential therapeutics.
Complex microbial ecosystems are increasingly studied through the use of metagenomics approaches. Overwhelming amounts of DNA sequence data are generated to describe the ecosystems, and allow to search for correlations between gene occurrence and clinical (e.g. in studies of the gut microbiota), physico-chemical (e.g. in studies of soil or water environments), or other parameters. Observed correlations can then be used to formulate hypotheses concerning microbial gene functions in relation to the ecosystem studied. In this context, functional metagenomics studies aim to validate these hypotheses and to explore the mechanisms involved. One possible approach is to PCR amplify or chemically synthesize genes of interest and to express them in a suitable host in order to study their function. For bacterial genes, Escherichia coli is often used as the expression host but, depending on the origin and nature of the genes of interest and the test system used to evaluate their putative function, other expression systems may be preferable. In this study, we developed a system to evaluate the role of secreted and surface-exposed proteins from Gram-positive bacteria in the human gut microbiota in immune modulation. We chose to use a Gram-positive host bacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and modified it to provide an expression background that behaves neutral in a cell-based immune modulation assay, in vitro. We also adapted an E. coli – B. subtilis shuttle expression vector for use with the Gateway high-throughput cloning system. Finally, we demonstrate the functionality of this host-vector system through the cloning and expression of a flagellin-coding sequence, and show that the expression-clone elicits an inflammatory response in a human intestinal epithelial cell line. The expression host can easily be adapted to assure neutrality in other assay systems, allowing the use of the presented presentation system in functional metagenomics of the gut and other ecosystems.
The modulation of inflammatory processes is a necessary step, mostly orchestrated by regulatory T (Treg) cells and suppressive Dendritic Cells (DCs), to prevent the development of deleterious responses and autoimmune diseases. Therapies that focused on adoptive transfer of Treg cells or their expansion in vivo achieved great success in controlling inflammation in several experimental models. Chloroquine (CQ), an anti-malarial drug, was shown to reduce inflammation, although the mechanisms are still obscure. In this context, we aimed to access whether chloroquine treatment alters the frequency of Treg cells and DCs in normal mice. In addition, the effects of the prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with CQ on Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), an experimental model for human Multiple Sclerosis, was investigated as well.
EAE was induced in C57BL/6 mice by immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG35–55) peptide. C57BL/6 mice were intraperitoneally treated with chloroquine. Results show that the CQ treatment provoked an increase in Treg cells frequency as well as a decrease in DCs. We next evaluated whether prophylactic CQ administration is capable of reducing the clinical and histopathological signs of EAE. Our results demonstrated that CQ-treated mice developed mild EAE compared to controls that was associated with lower infiltration of inflammatory cells in the central nervous system CNS) and increased frequency of Treg cells. Also, proliferation of MOG35–55-reactive T cells was significantly inhibited by chloroquine treatment. Similar results were observed when chloroquine was administrated after disease onset.
We show for the first time that CQ treatment promotes the expansion of Treg cells, corroborating previous reports indicating that chloroquine has immunomodulatory properties. Our results also show that CQ treatment suppress the inflammation in the CNS of EAE-inflicted mice, both in prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. We hypothesized that the increased number of regulatory T cells induced by the CQ treatment is involved in the reduction of the clinical signs of EAE.
CD69 is a membrane molecule transiently expressed on activated lymphocytes, and its selective expression in inflammatory infiltrates suggests that it plays a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. In this study, we used CD69-deficient (CD69 KO) mice to assess the role of CD69 in the pathogenesis of dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-induced acute and chronic colitis. The severity of colitis was assessed by the survival rate, clinical signs, colon length, histological examination and the expression of cytokines and chemokines in the large intestines. Both acute and chronic colitis were attenuated in the CD69 KO mice, as reflected by the lower lethality, weight loss, clinical signs, and improved histological findings. CD69+ cells infiltrated extensively into the inflamed mucosa of the colon in WT mice after DSS treatment. Experiments with the transfer of WT CD4 T cells into CD69 KO mice restored the induction of colitis. The administration of an anti-CD69 antibody also inhibited the induction of the DSS-induced colitis. These results indicate that CD69 expressed on CD4 T cells plays an important role in the pathogenesis of DSS-induced acute and chronic colitis, and that CD69 could be a possible therapeutic target for colitis.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is one of the major causative agents of pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and other morbidities. In spite of its heavy disease burden, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms involved in the switch of life style, from commensal colonizer of the nasopharynx to invasive pathogen. In vitro experiments, and mouse models have shown that S. pneumoniae can be internalized by host cells, which coupled with intracellular vesicle transport through the cells, i.e. transcytosis, is suggested to be the first step of invasive disease. To further dissect the process of S. pneumoniae internalization, we chemically inhibited discrete parts of the cellular uptake system. We show that this invasion of the host cells was facilitated via both clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytosis. After internalization we demonstrated that the bulk of the internalized S. pneumoniae was killed in the lysosome. Interestingly, inhibition of the lysosome altered transcytosis dynamics as it resulted in an increase in the transport of the internalized bacteria out of the cells via the basal side. These results show that uptake of S. pneumoniae into host cells occurs via multiple pathways, as opposed to the often proposed view of invasion being dependent on specific, and singular receptor-mediated endocytosis. This indicates that the endothelium not only has a critical role as a physical barrier against S. pneumoniae in the blood stream, but also in degrading S. pneumonia cells that have adhered to, and invaded the endothelial cells.
The human skin microbiome could provide another example, after the gut, of the strong positive or negative impact that human colonizing bacteria can have on health. Deciphering functional diversity and dynamics within human skin microbial communities is critical for understanding their involvement and for developing the appropriate substances for improving or correcting their action. We present a direct PCR-free high throughput sequencing approach to unravel the human skin microbiota specificities through metagenomic dataset analysis and inter-environmental comparison. The approach provided access to the functions carried out by dominant skin colonizing taxa, including Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus and Propionibacterium, revealing their specific capabilities to interact with and exploit compounds from the human skin. These functions, which clearly illustrate the unique life style of the skin microbial communities, stand as invaluable investigation targets for understanding and potentially modifying bacterial interactions with the human host with the objective of increasing health and well being.