The anterior nares of humans are the major reservoir for Staphylococcus aureus colonization. Approximately 20% of the healthy human population is persistently and 80% is intermittently colonized with S. aureus in the nasal cavity. Previous studies have shown a strong causal connection between S. aureus nasal carriage and increased risk of nosocomial infection, as well as increased carriage due to immune dysfunction. However, the immune responses that permit persistence or mediate clearance of S. aureus on the nasal mucosa are fundamentally undefined. In this study, we developed a carriage model in C57BL/6J mice and showed that clearance begins 14 days postinoculation. In contrast, SCID mice that have a deficient adaptive immune response are unable to eliminate S. aureus even after 28 days postinoculation. Furthermore, decolonization was found to be T cell mediated but B cell independent by evaluating carriage clearance in T-cell receptor β/δ (TCR-β/δ) knockout (KO) and IgH-μ KO mice, respectively. Upregulation of the cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β), KC (also termed CXC ligand 1 [CXCL1]), and IL-17A occurred following inoculation with intranasal S. aureus. IL-17A production was crucial for clearance, since IL-17A-deficient mice were unable to effectively eliminate S. aureus carriage. Subsequently, cell differential counts were evaluated from nasal lavage fluid obtained from wild-type and IL-17A-deficient colonized mice. These counts displayed IL-17A-dependent neutrophil migration. Antibody-mediated depletion of neutrophils in colonized mice caused reduced clearance compared to that in isotype-treated controls. Our data suggest that the Th17-associated immune response is required for nasal decolonization. This response is T cell dependent and mediated via IL-17A production and neutrophil influx. Th17-associated immune responses may be targeted for strategies to mitigate distal infections originating from persistent S. aureus carriage in humans.
A loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for rapid detection of various Staphylococcus strains and associated antibiotic resistance determinant had been developed and evaluated in this study. Six primers, including outer primers, inner primers and loop primers, were specially designed for recognizing eight distinct sequences on three targets: 16SrRNA, femA and mecA.. Forty-one reference strains, including various species of gram-negative and -positive isolates, were included in this study to evaluate and optimize LAMP assays. The optimal reaction condition was found to be 65 °C for 45 min, with detection limits at 100 fg DNA/tube and 10 CFU/reaction for 16S rRNA, 100 fg DNA/tube and 10 CFU/reaction for femA, 1 pg DNA/tube and 100 CFU/reaction for mecA, respectively. Application of LAMP assays were performed on 118 various types of Staphylococcus isolates, the detection rate of LAMP assays for the 16SrRNA, femA and mecA was 100% (118/118), 98.5% (64/65) and 94.3% (66/70), and the negative predictive value (NPV) was 100%, 98.1% and 92.3% respectively; with a 100% positive predictive value (PPV) for all three targets. In conclusion, LAMP assays were demonstrated to be useful and powerful tools for rapid detection of various Staphylococcus strains, and undoubtedly, the rapidness, technical simplicity, and cost-effectiveness of LAMP assays will demonstrate broad application for bacteriological detection of food-borne Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MRS) isolates.
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification; Rapid detection; Food-borne Staphylococci; MRSA; MRCNS
We report the draft genome sequence of a methicillin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, designated MRSA-M2. This clinical isolate was obtained from an osteomyelitis patient undergoing treatment at the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX). This strain is an ST30, spa type T019, agr III strain and has been utilized as a model S. aureus strain in a number of proteomic, transcriptomic, and animal model studies.
As a major concern in public health, methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS) still remains one of the most prevalent pathogens that cause nosocomial infections throughout the world and has been recently labeled as a “super bug” in antibiotic resistance. Thus, surveillance and investigation on antibiotic resistance mechanisms involved in clinical MRS strains may raise urgent necessity and utmost significance. As a novel antibiotic resistance mechanism, class 1 integron has been identified as a primary source of antimicrobial resistance genes in Gram-negative organisms. However, most available studies on integrons had been limited within Gram-negative microbes, little is known for clinical Gram-positive bacteria. Based on series studies of systematic integrons investigation in hundreds of staphylococci strains during 2001–2006, this review concentrated on the latest development of class 1 integron in MRS isolates, including summary of prevalence and occurrence of class 1 integron, analysis of correlation between integron and antibiotic resistance, further demonstration of the role integrons play as antibiotic determinants, as well as origin and evolution of integron-associated gene cassettes during this study period.
Class 1 integron; Methicillin-resistance staphylococci (MRS); Antibiotic resistance; Mobile genetic element; SCCmec
Chronic wounds contain complex polymicrobial communities of sessile organisms that have been underappreciated because of limitations of standard culture techniques. The aim of this work is to combine recently developed next-generation investigative techniques to comprehensively describe the microbial characteristics of chronic wounds. Tissue samples were obtained from 15 patients with chronic wounds presenting to the Johns Hopkins Wound Center. Standard bacteriological cultures demonstrated an average of 3 common bacterial species in wound samples. By contrast, high-throughput pyrosequencing revealed increased bacterial diversity with an average of 17 genera in each wound. Data from microbial community profiling of chronic wounds was compared to published sequenced analyses of bacteria from normal skin. Increased proportions of anaerobes, Gram-negative rods and Gram-positive cocci were found in chronic wounds. In addition, chronic wounds had significantly lower populations of Propionibacterium compared to normal skin. Using epifluorescence microscopy, wound bacteria were visualized in highly organized thick confluent biofilms or as scattered individual bacterial cells. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization allowed for the visualization of Staphylococcus aureus cells in a wound sample. Quorum sensing molecules were measured by bioassay to evaluate signaling patterns amongst bacteria in the wounds. A range of autoinducer-2 activities were detected in the wound samples. Collectively, these data provide new insights into the identity, organization, and behavior of bacteria in chronic wounds. Such information may provide important clues to effective future strategies in wound healing.
Chronic Wound; Microbiome; Biofilm; Microbiology; Pyrosequencing; Epifluorescence Microscopy; Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridization; Quorum Sensing
Increasing attention has been focused on understanding bacterial biofilms and this growth modality's relation to human disease. In this review we explore the genetic regulation and molecular components involved in biofilm formation and maturation in the context of the Gram-positive cocci, Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, we discuss diseases and host immune responses, along with current therapies associated with S. aureus biofilm infections and prevention strategies.
Staphylococcus aureus; biofilms; MRSA; therapy; vaccine; host response; pathogenesis
Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of prosthetic implant infections, which can become chronic due to the ability of S. aureus to grow as a biofilm. Little is known about adaptive immune responses to these infections in vivo. We hypothesized that S. aureus elicits inflammatory Th1/Th17 responses, associated with biofilm formation, instead of protective Th2/Treg responses. We used an adapted mouse model of biofilm-mediated prosthetic implant infection to determine chronic infection rates, Treg cell frequencies, and local cytokine levels in Th1-biased C57BL/6 and Th2-biased BALB/c mice. All C57BL/6 mice developed chronic S. aureus implant infection at all time points tested. However, over 75% of BALB/c mice spontaneously cleared the infection without adjunctive therapy and demonstrated higher levels of Th2 cytokines and anti-inflammatory Treg cells. When chronic infection rates in mice deficient in the Th2 cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) via STAT6 mutation in a BALB/c background were assessed, the mice were unable to clear the S. aureus implant infection. Additionally, BALB/c mice depleted of Treg cells via an anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody (MAb) were also unable to clear the infection. In contrast, the C57BL/6 mice that were susceptible to infection were able to eliminate S. aureus biofilm populations on infected intramedullary pins once the Th1 and Th17 responses were diminished by MAb treatment with anti-IL-12 p40. Together, these results indicate that Th2/Treg responses are mechanisms of protection against chronic S. aureus implant infection, as opposed to Th1/Th17 responses, which may play a role in the development of chronic infection.
Many human microbial infectious diseases including dental caries are polymicrobial in nature. How these complex multi-species communities evolve from a healthy to a diseased state is not well understood. Although many health- or disease-associated oral bacteria have been characterized in vitro, their physiology within the complex oral microbiome is difficult to determine with current approaches. In addition, about half of these species remain uncultivated to date with little known besides their 16S rRNA sequence. Lacking culture-based physiological analyses, the functional roles of uncultivated species will remain enigmatic despite their apparent disease correlation. To start addressing these knowledge gaps, we applied a combination of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) with RNA and DNA based Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) to oral plaque communities from healthy children for in vitro temporal monitoring of metabolites and identification of metabolically active and inactive bacterial species.
Supragingival plaque samples from caries-free children incubated with 13C-substrates under imposed healthy (buffered, pH 7) and diseased states (pH 5.5 and pH 4.5) produced lactate as the dominant organic acid from glucose metabolism. Rapid lactate utilization upon glucose depletion was observed under pH 7 conditions. SIP analyses revealed a number of genera containing cultured and uncultivated taxa with metabolic capabilities at pH 5.5. The diversity of active species decreased significantly at pH 4.5 and was dominated by Lactobacillus and Propionibacterium species, both of which have been previously found within carious lesions from children.
Our approach allowed for identification of species that metabolize carbohydrates under different pH conditions and supports the importance of Lactobacilli and Propionibacterium in the development of childhood caries. Identification of species within healthy subjects that are active at low pH can lead to a better understanding of oral caries onset and generate appropriate targets for preventative measures in the early stages.
Staphylococcus aureus infections, particularly those from methicillin-resistant strains (i.e., MRSA), are reaching epidemic proportions, with no effective vaccine available. The vast number and transient expression of virulence factors in the infectious course of this pathogen have made the discovery of protective antigens particularly difficult. In addition, the divergent planktonic and biofilm modes of growth with their accompanying proteomic changes also demonstrate significant hindrances to vaccine development. In this study, a multicomponent vaccine was evaluated for its ability to clear a staphylococcal biofilm infection. Antigens (glucosaminidase, an ABC transporter lipoprotein, a conserved hypothetical protein, and a conserved lipoprotein) were chosen since they were found in previous studies to have upregulated and sustained expression in a biofilm, both in vitro and in vivo. Antibodies against these antigens were first used in microscopy studies to localize their expression in in vitro biofilms. Each of the four antigens showed heterogeneous production in various locations within the complex biofilm community in the biofilm. Based upon these studies, the four antigens were delivered simultaneously as a quadrivalent vaccine in order to compensate for this varied production. In addition, antibiotic treatment was also administered to clear the remaining nonattached planktonic cells since the vaccine antigens may have been biofilm specific. The results demonstrated that when vaccination was coupled with vancomycin treatment in a biofilm model of chronic osteomyelitis in rabbits, clinical and radiographic signs of infection significantly reduced by 67 and 82%, respectively, compared to infected animals that were either treated with vancomycin or left untreated. In contrast, vaccination alone resulted in a modest, and nonsignificant, decrease in clinical (34% reduction) and radiographic signs (9% reduction) of infection, compared to nonvaccinated animal groups untreated or treated with vancomycin. Lastly, MRSA biofilm infections were significantly cleared in 87.5% of vaccinated and antibiotic-treated animals, while antibiotics or vaccine alone could not significantly clear infection compared to controls (55.6, 22.2, and 33.3% clearance rates, respectively). This approach to vaccine development may lead to the generation of vaccines against other pathogenic biofilm bacteria.
Staphylococcus aureus has reemerged as an important human pathogen in recent decades. Although many infections caused by this microbial species persist through a biofilm mode of growth, little is known about how the host's adaptive immune system responds to these biofilm infections. In this study, S. aureus cells adhered to pins in culture and were subsequently inserted into the tibiae of C57BL/6 mice, with an infecting dose of 2 × 105 CFU. This model was utilized to determine local cytokine levels, antibody (Ab) function, and T cell populations at multiple time points throughout infection. Like human hosts, S. aureus implant infection was chronic and remained localized in 100% of C57BL/6 mice at a consistent level of approximately 107 CFU/gram bone tissue after day 7. This infection persisted locally for >49 days and was recalcitrant to clearance by the host immune response and antimicrobial therapy. Local inflammatory cytokines of the Th1 (interleukin-2 [IL-2], IL-12 p70, tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], and IL-1β) and Th17 (IL-6 and IL-17) responses were upregulated throughout the infection, except IL-12 p70, which dwindled late in the infection. In addition, Th1 Ab subtypes against a biofilm antigen (SA0486) were upregulated early in the infection, while Th2 Abs and anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (Tregs) were not upregulated until later. These results indicate that early Th1 and Th17 inflammatory responses and downregulated Th2 and Treg responses occur during the development of a chronic biofilm implant infection. This unrestrained inflammatory response may cause tissue damage, thereby enabling S. aureus to attach and thrive in a biofilm mode of growth.
Chronic infection with the gram-negative organism Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in human patients, despite high doses of antibiotics used to treat the various diseases this organism causes. These infections are chronic because P. aeruginosa readily forms biofilms, which are inherently resistant to antibiotics as well as the host's immune system. Our laboratory has been investigating specific mutations in P. aeruginosa that regulate biofilm bacterial susceptibility to the host. To continue our investigation of the role of genetics in bacterial biofilm host resistance, we examined P. aeruginosa biofilms that lack the flgK gene. This mutant lacks flagella, which results in defects in early biofilm development (up to 36 h). For these experiments, the flgK-disrupted strain and the parental strain (PA14) were used in a modified version of the 96-well plate microtiter assay. Biofilms were challenged with freshly isolated human leukocytes for 4 to 6 h and viable bacteria enumerated by CFU. Subsequent to the challenge, both mononuclear cells (monocytes and lymphocytes) and neutrophils, along with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), were required for optimal killing of the flgK biofilm bacteria. We identified a cytokine cross talk network between mononuclear cells and neutrophils that was essential to the production of lactoferrin and bacterial killing. Our data suggest that TNF-α is secreted from mononuclear cells, causing neutrophil activation, resulting in the secretion of bactericidal concentrations of lactoferrin. These results extend previous studies of the importance of lactoferrin in the innate immune defense against bacterial biofilms.
Farnesol, a precursor in the isoprenoid/sterol pathway, was recently identified as a quorum-sensing molecule produced by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Farnesol is involved in the inhibition of germination and biofilm formation by C. albicans and can be cytotoxic at certain concentrations. In addition, we have shown that farnesol can trigger apoptosis in mammalian cells via the classical apoptotic pathways. In order to elucidate the mechanism behind farnesol cytotoxicity in C. albicans, the response to farnesol was investigated, using proteomic analysis. Global protein expression profiles demonstrated significant changes in protein expression resulting from farnesol exposure. Among the downregulated proteins were those involved in metabolism, glycolysis, protein synthesis, and mitochondrial electron transport and the respiratory chain, whereas proteins involved in folding, protection against environmental and oxidative stress, actin cytoskeleton reorganization, and apoptosis were upregulated. Cellular changes that accompany apoptosis (regulated cell death) were further analyzed using fluorescent microscopy and gene expression analysis. The results indicated reactive oxygen species accumulation, mitochondrial degradation, and positive terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) in the farnesol-exposed cells concurrent with increased expression of antioxidant-encoding and drug response genes. More importantly, the results demonstrated farnesol-induced upregulation of the caspase gene MCA1 and the intracellular presence of activated caspases. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that farnesol promotes apoptosis in C. albicans through caspase activation, implying an important physiological role for farnesol in the fungal cell life cycle with important implications for adaptation and survival.
Class 1 and 2 integrons were detected in 45.8% (54/118) and 19.5% (23/118) of our tested Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates, respectively. Three strains were positive for both the integrons. This is the first report of class 2 integrons in P. aeruginosa and also of isolates carrying class 1 and 2 integrons simultaneously.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis is an opportunistic infection considered to be a harbinger of AIDS. The etiologic agent Candida albicans is a fungal species commonly colonizing human mucosal surfaces. However, under conditions of immune dysfunction, colonizing C. albicans can become an opportunistic pathogen causing superficial or even life-threatening infections. The reasons behind this transition, however, are not clear. In the oral cavity, salivary antimicrobial peptides are considered to be an important part of the host innate defense system in the prevention of microbial colonization. Histatin-5 specifically has exhibited potent activity against C. albicans. Our previous studies have shown histatin-5 levels to be significantly reduced in the saliva of HIV+ individuals, indicating an important role for histatin-5 in keeping C. albicans in its commensal stage. The versatility in the pathogenic potential of C. albicans is the result of its ability to adapt through the regulation of virulence determinants, most notably of which are proteolytic enzymes (Saps), involved in tissue degradation. In this study, we show that C. albicans cells efficiently and rapidly degrade histatin-5, resulting in loss of its anti-candidal potency. In addition, we demonstrate that this cellular activity is due to proteolysis by a member of the secreted aspartic proteases (Sap) family involved in C. albicans pathogenesis. Specifically, the proteolysis was attributed to Sap9, in turn identifying histatin-5 as the first host-specific substrate for that isoenzyme. These findings demonstrate for the first time the ability of a specific C. albicans enzyme to degrade and deactivate a host antimicrobial peptide involved in the protection of the oral mucosa against C. albicans, thereby providing new insights into the factors directing the transition of C. albicans from commensal to pathogen, with important clinical implications for alternative therapy. This report characterizes the first defined mechanism behind the enhanced susceptibility of HIV+ individuals to oral candidiasis since the emergence of HIV.
Farnesol is a catabolite within the isoprenoid/cholesterol pathway that has exhibited significant antitumor activity. Farnesol was recently identified as a quorum-sensing molecule produced by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. In this study, we hypothesize that synthetic and Candida-produced farnesol can induce apoptosis in vitro in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) lines. Cell proliferation, apoptosis, mitochondrial degradation, and survivin and caspase expressions were examined. In addition, global protein expression profiles were analyzed using proteomic analysis. Results demonstrated significant decrease in proliferation and increase in apoptosis in cells exposed to farnesol and C. albicans culture media. Concurrently, protein expression analysis demonstrated a significant decrease in survivin and an increase in cleaved-caspase expression, whereas fluorescent microscopy revealed the presence of active caspases with mitochondrial degradation in exposed cells. A total of 36 differentially expressed proteins were identified by proteomic analysis. Among the 26 up-regulated proteins were those involved in the inhibition of carcinogenesis, proliferation suppression, and aging. Most notable among the 10 down-regulated proteins were those involved in the inhibition of apoptosis and proteins overexpressed in epithelial carcinomas. This study demonstrates that farnesol significantly inhibits the proliferation of OSCCs and promotes apoptosis in vitro through both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic signaling pathways. In addition, we report for the first time the ability of Candida-produced farnesol to induce a similar apoptotic response through the same pathways. The capability of farnesol to trigger apoptosis in cancer cells makes it a potential tool for studying tumor progression and an attractive candidate as a therapeutic agent.
Antigens from the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cell wall have been shown to be immunogenic in vivo and upregulated during biofilm growth. In this study, we created purified, recombinant forms of selected antigens and biofilm-upregulated, cell wall-associated proteins. These proteins were shown to cause a robust polyclonal immunoglobulin G (IgG) response when used to immunize rabbits. Antibodies against these recombinant proteins bound to the native forms of each protein as harvested from in vitro grown biofilms of MRSA, as determined both via Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. These IgGs could be utilized as imaging tools that localize to areas of specific protein production within a biofilm. This work illustrates that immunogenic, cell wall-associated, biofilm-upregulated proteins are promising for in vitro visualization of biofilm growth, architecture, and space-function relationships.
Staphylococcus aureus causes persistent, recurrent infections (e.g., osteomyelitis) by forming biofilms. To survey the antibody-mediated immune response and identify those proteins that are immunogenic in an S. aureus biofilm infection, the tibias of rabbits were infected with methicillin-resistant S. aureus to produce chronic osteomyelitis. Sera were collected prior to infection and at 14, 28, and 42 days postinfection. The sera were used to perform Western blot assays on total protein from biofilm grown in vitro and separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Those proteins recognized by host antibodies in the harvested sera were identified via matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analysis. Using protein from mechanically disrupted total and fractionated biofilm protein samples, we identified 26 and 22 immunogens, respectively. These included a cell surface-associated β-lactamase, lipoprotein, lipase, autolysin, and an ABC transporter lipoprotein. Studies were also performed using microarray analyses and confirmed the biofilm-specific up-regulation of most of these genes. Therefore, although the biofilm antigens are recognized by the immune system, the biofilm infection can persist. However, these proteins, when delivered as vaccines, may be important in directing the immune system toward an early and effective antibody-mediated response to prevent chronic S. aureus infections. Previous works have identified S. aureus proteins that are immunogenic during acute infections, such as sepsis. However, this is the first work to identify these immunogens during chronic S. aureus biofilm infections and to simultaneously show the global relationship between the antigens expressed during an in vivo infection and the corresponding in vitro transcriptomic and proteomic gene expression levels.
Microbes have been able to persist in water distribution systems through the development of multicellular communities known as biofilms. This study evaluated the usefulness of the bioelectric effect for the elimination of water distribution system biofilms from annular reactors. The bioelectric effect did not have any bactericidal action either alone or when coupled with free chlorine.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common pathogen responsible for nosocomial and community infections. It readily colonizes indwelling catheters, forming microbiotic communities termed biofilms. S. aureus bacteria in biofilms are protected from killing by antibiotics and the body's immune system. For years, one mechanism behind biofilm resistance to attack from the immune system's sentinel leukocytes has been conceptualized as a deficiency in the ability of the leukocytes to penetrate the biofilm. We demonstrate here that under conditions mimicking physiological shear, leukocytes attach, penetrate, and produce cytokines in response to maturing and fully matured S. aureus biofilm.
Acute septic arthritis may develop as a result of hematogenous seeding, direct introduction, or extension from a contiguous focus of infection. The pathogenesis of acute septic arthritis is multifactorial and depends on the interaction of the host immune response and the adherence factors, toxins, and immunoavoidance strategies of the invading pathogen. Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Staphylococcus aureus are used in discussing the host-pathogen interaction in the pathogenesis of acute septic arthritis. While diagnosis rests on isolation of the bacterial species from synovial fluid samples, patient history, clinical presentation, laboratory findings, and imaging studies are also important. Acute nongonococcal septic arthritis is a medical emergency that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, prompt recognition, rapid and aggressive antimicrobial therapy, and surgical treatment are critical to ensuring a good prognosis. Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, high mortality and morbidity rates still occur. In contrast, gonococcal arthritis is often successfully treated with antimicrobial therapy alone and demonstrates a very low rate of complications and an excellent prognosis for full return of normal joint function. In the case of prosthetic joint infections, the hardware must be eventually removed by a two-stage revision in order to cure the infection.
The effectiveness of oral gatifloxacin was compared to that of standard parenteral antibiotic therapy (nafcillin) for the treatment of experimental methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus-induced osteomyelitis in a rabbit model. Gatifloxacin was as effective as nafcillin in clearing the infection. Therefore, oral gatifloxacin treatment of osteomyelitis may be an effective alternative to intravenous nafcillin treatment.
Vaccine development against pathogenic bacteria is an imperative initiative as bacteria are gaining resistance to current antimicrobial therapies and few novel antibiotics are being developed. Candidate antigens for vaccine development can be identified by a multitude of high-throughput technologies that were accelerated by access to complete genomes. While considerable success has been achieved in vaccine development against bacterial pathogens, many species with multiple virulence factors and modes of infection have provided reasonable challenges in identifying protective antigens. In particular, vaccine candidates should be evaluated in the context of the complex disease properties, whether planktonic (e.g. sepsis and pneumonia) and/or biofilm associated (e.g. indwelling medical device infections). Because of the phenotypic differences between these modes of growth, those vaccine candidates chosen only for their efficacy in one disease state may fail against other infections. This review will summarize the history and types of bacterial vaccines and adjuvants as well as present an overview of modern antigen discovery and complications brought about by polymicrobial infections. Finally, we will also use one of the better studied microbial species that uses differential, multifactorial protein profiles to mediate an array of diseases, Staphylococcus aureus, to outline some of the more recently identified problematic issues in vaccine development in this biofilm-forming species.
Staphylococcus aureus; vaccine; biofilm
The fungal species Candida albicans and the bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus are responsible for a majority of hospital-acquired infections and often coinfect critically ill patients as complicating polymicrobial biofilms. To investigate biofilm structure during polymicrobial growth, dual-species biofilms were imaged with confocal scanning laser microscopy. Analyses revealed a unique biofilm architecture where S. aureus commonly associated with the hyphal elements of C. albicans. This physical interaction may provide staphylococci with an invasion strategy because candidal hyphae can penetrate through epithelial layers. To further understand the molecular mechanisms possibly responsible for previously demonstrated amplified virulence during coinfection, protein expression studies were undertaken. Differential in-gel electrophoresis identified a total of 27 proteins to be significantly differentially produced by these organisms during coculture biofilm growth. Among the upregulated staphylococcal proteins was l-lactate dehydrogenase 1, which confers resistance to host-derived oxidative stressors. Among the downregulated proteins was the global transcriptional repressor of virulence factors, CodY. These findings demonstrate that the hyphae-mediated enhanced pathogenesis of S. aureus may not only be due to physical interactions but can also be attributed to the differential regulation of specific virulence factors induced during polymicrobial growth. Further characterization of the intricate interaction between these pathogens at the molecular level is warranted, as it may aid in the design of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at combating fungal–bacterial polymicrobial infection.
Candida albicans; Staphylococcus aureus; polymicrobial; biofilm; proteome
Summary: Microorganisms coexist in a complex milieu of bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses on or within the human body, often as multifaceted polymicrobial biofilm communities at mucosal sites and on abiotic surfaces. Only recently have we begun to appreciate the complicated biofilm phenotype during infection; moreover, even less is known about the interactions that occur between microorganisms during polymicrobial growth and their implications in human disease. Therefore, this review focuses on polymicrobial biofilm-mediated infections and examines the contribution of bacterial-bacterial, bacterial-fungal, and bacterial-viral interactions during human infection and potential strategies for protection against such diseases.