Bovine tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis is primarily a disease of ruminants, particularly cattle (Bos primigenius) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and is endemic in most developing countries. To date, studies done in Uganda have documented the prevalence of M. bovis in cattle, humans and wild life, in addition to non-tuberculous mycobacteria in pigs. Pigs are increasingly becoming an important component of the livestock sector and share the human ecosystem in rural Uganda. It is therefore of public health interest that they are not a source of human infections. As a follow up to previously published findings on mycobacteria in pigs, this study was aimed at investigating the occurrence and molecular characteristics of M. bovis detected in slaughter pigs in Mubende district, Uganda. One hundred fifty mesenteric lymph nodes with lesions suggestive of mycobacterial infections were collected from approximately one thousand slaughtered pigs in Mubende district over a period of five months. The isolation and identification of M. bovis was done using conventional mycobacteriological methods. Mycobacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) were identified to species level using deletion analysis. Molecular typing was done using Spoligotyping and MIRU-VNTR analysis. Molecular data were analysed and interpreted using MIRU-VNTR plus, SpolDB4.0 and the Mycobacterium bovis spoligo database.
Of the examined animals, one boar and two sows from Madudu Sub County were infected with M. bovis which presented as lesions of a deep yellow colour and a grit-like texture in the mesenteric lymph nodes. This represents 2% (3/150) of the lymph nodes where lesions suggestive of mycobacterial infections were detected. Molecular analysis revealed that the isolates from the infected pigs showed identical MIRU-VNTR profile and spoligotype (SB1469).
This is the first study documenting the occurrence of M. bovis in slaughter pigs in Uganda, revealing that one in fifty slaughter pigs with suspected lesions in mesenteric lymph nodes were infected. Molecular analysis revealed that the isolates were identical, showing a spoligotype previously reported from humans and cattle in the north eastern part of the Uganda cattle corridor. This finding is of public health importance, therefore there is a need for close cooperation between medical and veterinary professionals in designing and implementing control and prevention measures that safeguard the public from this potential source of zoonotic TB in Uganda.
Pigs; Spoligotype; MIRU-VNTR; M. bovis; Uganda
The importance of infections caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in animals and humans has gained considerable recognition during the past few years. In the developed world, where pig production is extensively practiced, studies on mycobacterial infections and related control strategies have received increasing attention. The infections are reported to be caused by a wide spectrum of NTM. Unfortunately, these infections have been less recognized in sub-Saharan Africa owing to lack of awareness and systematic studies. In this study we aimed at isolating and identifying species of mycobacteria involved in causing infections in slaughter pigs in Mubende district of Uganda. Furthermore we wanted to identify factors associated with infection prevalence in the study area.
A total of 363 lymph nodes were collected and cultured for the presence of mycobacteria. Isolates were identified by 16S rDNA gene sequencing. A questionnaire survey was administered to identify production related factors associated with infection prevalence. Data were assembled and analysed using descriptive statistics and mixed effects logistic regression analysis.
Mycobacteria were detected in 39 % (143/363) of the examined lymph nodes, 63 % (59/93) of lymph nodes with gross lesions typical of mycobacteriosis and 31% (84/270) of lymph nodes with no visible lesions. Nineteen per cent of the isolated mycobacteria were identified as Mycobacterium (M) avium, of these 78% and 22% were M. avium sub sp. Hominissuis and avium respectively. Other mycobacterial species included M. senuense (16%), M. terrae (7%) and M. asiaticum (6%). This study found free range systems (OR = 3.0; P = 0.034) and use of water from valley dams (OR = 2.0; P = 0.049) as factors associated with high prevalence of mycobacteria in slaughter pigs.
This study demonstrated a high prevalence of NTM infections among slaughter pigs in Mubende district of Uganda. M. avium was the most prevalent of all NTM isolated and identified. Free range system of pig management and valley dam water were the most significant factors associated with NTM prevalence in Mubende district. These findings could be of a major public health concern given that it is in a predominantly pork consuming population with 18% HIV/AIDS prevalence. Therefore, stringent post-mortem inspection at the slaughter houses is of paramount importance to reduce human exposure.
Among the numerous molecular methods described during the last 20 years to identify Brucella, multiplexed amplification methods offer the cheapest and simplest technical solution for molecular identification. However, one disadvantage of such methods is their need to undergo technical revalidation each time a new marker is added to the system. Moreover, polymorphic markers cannot be assessed at the single-nucleotide level in these assays. Since new Brucella species are continuously being described, open methodologies able to accommodate new markers while preserving all other system parameters have an obvious advantage. We present a ligase chain reaction (LCR)-based method that simultaneously assesses multiple genetic markers at the single-nucleotide level. Most of the selected markers originate from a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) database that has been extensively validated on hundreds of different Brucella strains. When assayed on both reference and field strains, the method yields characteristic capillary electrophoresis profiles for each of the 10 Brucella species described to date and displays discriminatory potential below the species level for some. Since the LCR methodology is insensitive to interference resulting from the use of multiple oligonucleotides in a single mixture, the way is open for smooth future updates of the proposed system. Such updates are inevitable, given the pending description of new Brucella species.
Two types of lechwe antelopes exclusively exist in their natural ecosystems in Zambia; the Black lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani) and the Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis). Despite inhabiting similar ecosystems, tuberculosis has been reported in Kafue lechwe without its documentation in Black lechwe antelopes. However, the past few decades have seen a drastic decline in both lechwe populations. Whereas studies have postulated that infectious diseases such as tuberculosis are having a negative impact on the Kafue lechwe population, no information is available on Black lechwe antelopes. Thus this study was conducted to investigate tuberculosis in Black lechwe antelopes of the Bangweulu swamps in comparison with the Kafue lechwe antelopes of Lochinvar.
A total of 44 lechwe antelopes (Black (n = 30): Kafue (n = 14) were sampled from Bangweulu and Lochinvar respectively. A positive case was defined with findings of gross lesions with Ziehl Nielsen and culture confirmation. Out of the 14 animals examined in Lochinvar, 21.4% [95% CI: 15.4, 44.4%] had necropsy lesions consistent with tuberculosis. The corresponding samples from 30 Black lechwe of Bangweulu yielded negative results on all the three tests.
Current findings from this study intimate the possible absence of tuberculosis in Black lechwe antelopes whilst confirming the presence of tuberculosis in Kafue lechwe of the Kafue basin. The absence of tuberculosis in the Black lechwe suggests that the observed population decline may not be caused by tuberculosis. However, without detailed molecular epidemiological studies it is not possible to determine the association of M. bovis infection in sympatric animal populations. The possible role of transmission of tuberculosis between wildlife and cattle is discussed herein. Findings
Brucella spp. were isolated from marine mammals for the first time in 1994. Two novel species were later included in the genus; Brucella ceti and Brucella pinnipedialis, with cetaceans and seals as their preferred hosts, respectively. Brucella spp. have since been isolated from a variety of marine mammals. Pathological changes, including lesions of the reproductive organs and associated abortions, have only been registered in cetaceans. The zoonotic potential differs among the marine mammal Brucella strains. Many techniques, both classical typing and molecular microbiology, have been utilised for characterisation of the marine mammal Brucella spp. and the change from the band-based approaches to the sequence-based approaches has greatly increased our knowledge about these strains. Several clusters have been identified within the B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis species, and multiple studies have shown that the hooded seal isolates differ from other pinniped isolates. We describe how different molecular methods have contributed to species identification and differentiation of B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis, with special emphasis on the hooded seal isolates. We further discuss the potential role of B. pinnipedialis for the declining Northwest Atlantic hooded seal population.
We describe Brucella sp. infection and associated lesions in a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) found on the coast of Belgium. The infection was diagnosed by immunohistochemistry, transmission electron microscopy, and bacteriology, and the organism was identified as B. ceti. The infection’s location in the porpoise raises questions of abortion and zoonotic risks.
Bacteria; zoonoses; Brucella ceti; cetaceans; harbor porpoise; brucellosis; dispatch
Classification of bacteria within the genus Brucella has been difficult due in part to considerable genomic homogeneity between the different species and biovars, in spite of clear differences in phenotypes. Therefore, many different methods have been used to assess Brucella taxonomy. In the current work, we examine 32 sequenced genomes from genus Brucella representing the six classical species, as well as more recently described species, using bioinformatical methods. Comparisons were made at the level of genomic DNA using oligonucleotide based methods (Markov chain based genomic signatures, genomic codon and amino acid frequencies based comparisons) and proteomes (all-against-all BLAST protein comparisons and pan-genomic analyses).
We found that the oligonucleotide based methods gave different results compared to that of the proteome based methods. Differences were also found between the oligonucleotide based methods used. Whilst the Markov chain based genomic signatures grouped the different species in genus Brucella according to host preference, the codon and amino acid frequencies based methods reflected small differences between the Brucella species. Only minor differences could be detected between all genera included in this study using the codon and amino acid frequencies based methods.
Proteome comparisons were found to be in strong accordance with current Brucella taxonomy indicating a remarkable association between gene gain or loss on one hand and mutations in marker genes on the other. The proteome based methods found greater similarity between Brucella species and Ochrobactrum species than between species within genus Agrobacterium compared to each other. In other words, proteome comparisons of species within genus Agrobacterium were found to be more diverse than proteome comparisons between species in genus Brucella and genus Ochrobactrum. Pan-genomic analyses indicated that uptake of DNA from outside genus Brucella appears to be limited.
While both the proteome based methods and the Markov chain based genomic signatures were able to reflect environmental diversity between the different species and strains of genus Brucella, the genomic codon and amino acid frequencies based comparisons were not found adequate for such comparisons. The proteome comparison based phylogenies of the species in genus Brucella showed a surprising consistency with current Brucella taxonomy.
To describe and discuss the merits of various direct and indirect methods applied in vitro (mainly on blood or milk) or in vivo (allergic test) for the diagnosis of brucellosis in animals.
The recent literature on brucellosis diagnostic tests was reviewed. These diagnostic tests are applied with different goals, such as national screening, confirmatory diagnosis, certification, and international trade. The validation of such diagnostic tests is still an issue, particularly in wildlife. The choice of the testing strategy depends on the prevailing brucellosis epidemiological situation and the goal of testing.
Measuring the kinetics of antibody production after Brucella spp. infection is essential for analyzing serological results correctly and may help to predict abortion. Indirect ELISAs help to discriminate 1) between false positive serological reactions and true brucellosis and 2) between vaccination and infection. Biotyping of Brucella spp. provides valuable epidemiological information that allows tracing an infection back to the sources in instances where several biotypes of a given Brucella species are circulating. Polymerase chain reaction and new molecular methods are likely to be used as routine typing and fingerprinting methods in the coming years.
The diagnosis of brucellosis in livestock and wildlife is complex and serological results need to be carefully analyzed. The B. abortus S19 and B. melitensis Rev. 1 vaccines are the cornerstones of control programs in cattle and small ruminants, respectively. There is no vaccine available for pigs or for wildlife. In the absence of a human brucellosis vaccine, prevention of human brucellosis depends on the control of the disease in animals.
Cervid herpesvirus 2 (CvHV2) has been isolated from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), and serological data indicate that in reindeer this virus is endemic in Fennoscandia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. CvHV2 has been described as a cause of subclinical genital infections in reindeer, but little information on primary infections exists. In this study, six seronegative and presumably pregnant reindeer were allocated to one of two groups. Two animals were inoculated with CvHV2 intratracheally, and two animals intravaginally, with one control animal in each group receiving sterile water. Mild hyperthermia and serous discharges from the vagina and nose were observed. No abortions were recorded, but one calf died shortly after birth. Inoculated animals seroconverted and had neutralizing antibodies after days 7 to 10 postinfection. CvHV2 was detected by PCR in nasal and vaginal swabs from animals in both groups but could be isolated only from nasal swabs in the respiratory group and from vaginal swabs in the genital group. CvHV2 was detected by PCR in various organs and tissues postmortem. In control animals, the virus could not be isolated in spite of PCR-positive nasal and vaginal swab samples and some degree of positive immunostaining. One of the animals that were inoculated intratracheally developed a hemorrhagic, necrotizing bronchopneumonia, which was CvHV2 positive by PCR and immunohistochemistry. We conclude that CvHV2 can cause systemic infection, that both genital and respiratory inoculations can lead to virus shedding, and that the virus can infect the fetus in utero.
Since 1994, Brucella strains have been isolated from a wide range of marine mammals. They are currently recognized as two new Brucella species, B. pinnipedialis for the pinniped isolates and B. ceti for the cetacean isolates in agreement with host preference and specific phenotypic and molecular markers. In order to investigate the genetic relationships within the marine mammal Brucella isolates and with reference to terrestrial mammal Brucella isolates, we applied in this study the Multiple Loci VNTR (Variable Number of Tandem Repeats) Analysis (MLVA) approach. A previously published assay comprising 16 loci (MLVA-16) that has been shown to be highly relevant and efficient for typing and clustering Brucella strains from animal and human origin was used.
294 marine mammal Brucella strains collected in European waters from 173 animals and a human isolate from New Zealand presumably from marine origin were investigated by MLVA-16. Marine mammal Brucella isolates were shown to be different from the recognized terrestrial mammal Brucella species and biovars and corresponded to 3 major related groups, one specific of the B. ceti strains, one of the B. pinnipedialis strains and the last composed of the human isolate. In the B. ceti group, 3 subclusters were identified, distinguishing a cluster of dolphin, minke whale and porpoise isolates and two clusters mostly composed of dolphin isolates. These results were in accordance with published analyses using other phenotypic or molecular approaches, or different panels of VNTR loci. The B. pinnipedialis group could be similarly subdivided in 3 subclusters, one composed exclusively of isolates from hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) and the two others comprising other seal species isolates.
The clustering analysis of a large collection of marine mammal Brucella isolates from European waters significantly strengthens the current view of the population structure of these two species, and their relative position with respect to the rest of the Brucella genus. MLVA-16 is confirmed as being a rapid, highly discriminatory and reproducible method to classify Brucella strains including the marine mammal isolates. The Brucella2009 MLVA-16 genotyping database available at http://mlva.u-psud.fr/ is providing a detailed coverage of all 9 currently recognized Brucella species.
Sources of Mycobacterium bovis contamination remain unclear for many cases of animal and human disease. A major limitation is the lack of sufficiently informative or epidemiologically well evaluated molecular methods for typing. Here, we report an evaluation of a high-throughput method based on 29 mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) loci to genotype 127 M. bovis isolates from cattle from 77 different Belgian farms, representative of a nationwide collection obtained from 1995 to 2003. MIRU-VNTR stability was demonstrated by analyzing a series of 74 isolates in total, obtained from different animals from a single farm or from different farms with an identified epidemiological link. The genotyping results and the genotypic diversity (h) were compared with those obtained by IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and spoligotyping. Among 68 isolates with no known epidemiological link, MIRU-VNTR typing discriminated better than either RFLP analysis or spoligotyping, with isolates taken individually (32 versus 16 and 17 genotypes; h = 0.91 versus 0.73 and 0.85, respectively) or in combination (32 versus 28 genotypes; h = 0.91 versus 0.92). Maximal resolution was already achieved with a subset of 9 loci. The observed congruence of the genetic relationships based on IS6110 RFLP analysis, spoligotyping, and MIRU-VNTR markers is consistent with a clonal population structure of M. bovis. These results support MIRU-VNTR typing as a convenient and discriminatory technique for analysis of the population structure of M. bovis in much greater detail and for addressing some still unresolved issues in the epidemiology of the pathogen.
The characterization of protective antigens is essential for the development of an effective, subunit-based vaccine against paratuberculosis. Surface-exposed and secreted antigens, present abundantly in mycobacterial culture filtrate (CF), are among the well-known protective antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis. Culture filtrate, prepared from Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis ATCC 19698 grown as a surface pellicle on synthetic Sauton medium, was strongly and early recognized in experimentally infected B6 bg/bg beige mice and cattle, as indicated by elevated spleen cell gamma interferon (IFN-γ) secretion and lymphoproliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, respectively. Strong proliferative and ex vivo IFN-γ responses against antigen 85 (Ag85) complex (a major protein component from M. bovis BCG culture filtrate) could be detected in cattle as early as 10 weeks after oral M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection. Synthetic peptides from the Ag85A and Ag85B components of this complex were strongly recognized, whereas T-cell responses were weaker against peptides from the Ag85C protein. A promiscuous T-cell epitope spanning amino acids 145 to 162 of Ag85B (identical sequence in M. bovis and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis) was identified in experimentally infected cattle. Finally, young calves, born from cows with confirmed paratuberculosis, demonstrated proliferative responses to purified, recombinant Ag85A and Ag85B from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. These results indicate that the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis Ag85 homologues are immunodominant T-cell antigens that are recognized early in experimental and natural infection of cattle.
Severe emaciation and mortalities suggestive of mycobacterial infections were recently reported for both adult and young wild red deer (Cervus elaphus) in the southeastern part of Belgium. In deer, tuberculous lesions are not pathognomonic of Mycobacterium bovis infection due to gross and microscopic similarities with lesions caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis or M. avium subsp. avium. The aim of this study was to improve molecular methods for the species-specific identification of M. bovis, M. avium subsp. avium, and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in mycobacterial infections of deer. DNA banding patterns were assessed prior to and after Hpy188I restriction of f57-upstream (us)-p34 duplex amplicons. The duplex f57-us-p34 PCR differentiated M. bovis from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and M. avium subsp. avium infections, whereas the restriction step differentiated single M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or M. avium subsp. avium infections from mixed M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis/M. avium subsp. avium infections. The endonuclease Hpy188I cleaves DNA between nucleotides N and G in the unique TCNGA sequence. This restriction site was found at position 168 upstream of the us-p34 initiation codon in all M. avium subsp. avium strains tested, regardless of their origin and the results of IS901 PCR. In contrast, the restriction site was abrogated in all M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains tested, independent of their origin, Mycobactin J dependency, and IS900 PCR results. Consequently, a two-step strategy, i.e., duplex us-p34-f57 PCR and Hpy188I restriction, allowed us to exclude M. bovis infection and to identify single (M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or M. avium subsp. avium) or mixed (M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis/M. avium subsp. avium) infections in wild red deer in Belgium. Accordingly, we propose to integrate, in a functional molecular definition of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, the absence of the Hpy188I restriction site from the us-p34 amplicon.
Brucella spp. are gram-negative intracellular facultative pathogens that are known to produce 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA), a catechol siderophore that is essential for full virulence in the natural host. The mechanism of DHBA entry into Brucella and other gram-negative bacteria is poorly understood. Using mini-Tn5Kmcat mutagenesis, we created a transposon library of Brucella melitensis 16M and isolated 32 mutants with a defect in iron acquisition or assimilation. Three of these transposon mutants are deficient in utilization of DHBA. Analysis of these three mutants indicated that the ExbB, DstC, and DugA proteins are required for optimal assimilation of DHBA and/or citrate. ExbB is part of the Ton complex, and DstC is a permease homologue of an iron(III) ABC transporter; in gram-negative bacteria these two complexes are involved in the uptake of iron through the outer and inner membranes, respectively. DugA is a new partner in iron utilization that exhibits homology with the bacterial conserved GTPase YchF. Based on this homology, DugA could have a putative regulatory function in iron assimilation in Brucella. None of the three mutants was attenuated in cellular models or in the mouse model of infection, which is consistent with the previous suggestion that DHBA utilization is not required in these models.
The distinctive properties of Brucella outer membrane have been considered to be critical for Brucella sp. virulence. Among the outer membrane molecules possibly related to these properties, Omp10 and Omp19 are immunoreactive outer membrane lipoproteins. Moreover, these proteins of Brucella could constitute a new family of outer membrane proteins specifically encountered in the family Rhizobiaceae. We evaluated the impact of omp10 or omp19 deletion on Brucella abortus outer membrane properties and virulence in mice. The omp10 mutant was dramatically attenuated for survival in mice and was defective for growth in minimal medium but was not impaired in intracellular growth in vitro, nor does it display clear modification of the outer membrane properties. Significantly fewer brucellae were recovered from the spleens of mice infected with the omp19 mutant than from those of mice infected with the parent strain at 4 and 8 weeks postinfection. The omp19 mutant exhibited an increase in sensitivity to the polycation polymyxin B and to sodium deoxycholate. These results indicate that inactivation of the omp19 gene alters the outer membrane properties of B. abortus.
The heat shock protein DnaK is essential for intramacrophagic replication of Brucella suis. The replacement of the stress-inducible, native dnaK promoter of B. suis by the promoter of the constitutively expressed bla gene resulted in temperature-independent synthesis of DnaK. In contrast to a dnaK null mutant, this strain grew at 37°C, with a thermal cutoff at 39°C. However, the constitutive dnaK mutant, which showed high sensitivity to H2O2-mediated stress, failed to multiply in murine macrophage-like cells and was rapidly eliminated in a mouse model of infection, adding strong arguments to our hypothesis that stress-mediated and heat shock promoter-dependent induction of dnaK is a crucial event in the intracellular replication of B. suis.
In this study, we evaluated the ability of DNA vaccines encoding the bacterioferritin (BFR) or P39 proteins of Brucella spp. to induce cellular and humoral immune responses and to protect BALB/c mice against a challenge with B. abortus 544. We constructed eukaryotic expression vectors called pCIBFR and pCIP39, encoding BFR or P39 antigens, respectively, and we verified that these proteins were produced after transfection of COS-7 cells. PCIBFR or pCIP39 was injected intramuscularly three times, at 3-week intervals. pCIP39 induced higher antibody responses than did the DNA vector encoding BFR. Both vectors elicited a T-cell-proliferative response and also induced a strong gamma interferon production upon restimulation with either the specific antigens or Brucella extract. In this report, we also demonstrat that animals immunized with these plasmids elicited a strong and long-lived memory immune response which persisted at least 3 months after the third vaccination. Furthermore, pCIBFR and pCIP39 induced a typical T-helper 1-dominated immune response in mice, as determined by cytokine or immunoglobulin G isotype analysis. The pCIP39 delivered by intramuscular injection (but not the pCIBFR or control vectors) induced a moderate protection in BALB/c mice challenged with B. abortus 544 compared to that observed in positive control mice vaccinated with S19.
The aroC gene of the facultative intracellular pathogen Brucella suis was cloned and sequenced. The cloned aroC gene complements Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium aroC mutants. A B. suis aroC mutant was found to be unable to grow in a defined medium without aromatic compounds. The mutant was highly attenuated in tissue culture (THP1 macrophages and HeLa cells) and murine virulence models.
The presence of maternally derived antibodies can interfere with the development of an active antibody response to antigen. Infection of seven passively immunized young calves with a virulent strain of bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) was performed to determine whether they could become seronegative after the disappearance of maternal antibodies while latently infected with BHV-1. Four uninfected calves were controls. All calves were monitored serologically for 13 to 18 months. In addition, the development of a cell-mediated immune response was assessed by an in vitro antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production assay. All calves had positive IFN-γ responses as early as 7 days until at least 10 weeks after infection. However, no antibody rise was observed after infection in the three calves with the highest titers of maternal antibodies. One of the three became seronegative by virus neutralization test at 7 months of age like the control animals. This calf presented negative IFN-γ results at the same time and was classified seronegative by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at around 10 months of age. This calf was latently infected, as proven by virus reexcretion after dexamethasone treatment at the end of the experiment. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that BHV-1-seronegative latent carriers can be obtained experimentally. In addition, the IFN-γ assay was able to discriminate calves possessing only passively acquired antibodies from those latently infected by BHV-1, but it could not detect seronegative latent carriers. The failure to easily detect such animals presents an epidemiological threat for the control of BHV-1 infection.
Cells of the dendritic family display some unique properties that confer to them the capacity to sensitize naive T cells in vitro and in vivo. In the mouse, two subclasses of dendritic cells (DCs) have been described that differ by their CD8α expression and their localization in lymphoid organs. The physiologic function of both cell populations remains obscure. Studies conducted in vitro have suggested that CD8α+ DCs could play a role in the regulation of immune responses, whereas conventional CD8α− DCs would be more stimulatory. We report here that both subclasses of DCs efficiently prime antigen-specific T cells in vivo, and direct the development of distinct T helper (Th) populations. Antigen-pulsed CD8α+ and CD8α− DCs are separated after overnight culture in recombinant granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor and injected into the footpads of syngeneic mice. Administration of CD8α− DCs induces a Th2-type response, whereas injection of CD8α+ DCs leads to Th1 differentiation. We further show that interleukin 12 plays a critical role in Th1 development by CD8α+ DCs. These findings suggest that the nature of the DC that presents the antigen to naive T cells may dictate the class selection of the adaptative immune response.
primary response; T helper cell type 1/type 2 balance; interleukin 12; tolerance; memory
The aim of the present study was to develop an in vitro system for presentation of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) antigens to bovine T lymphocytes and to characterize the antigen-presenting cells (APC) which efficiently activate CD4+ T cells. Two approaches were used to monitor the infection of APC by BHV-1 as follows: (i) detection of viral glycoproteins at the cell surface by immunofluorescence staining and (ii) detection of UL26 transcripts by reverse transcription-PCR. The monocytes were infected, while dendritic cells (DC) did not demonstrate any detectable viral expression. These data suggest that monocytes are one site of replication, while DC are not. The capacities of monocytes and DC to present BHV-1 viral antigens in vitro were compared. T lymphocytes (CD2+ or CD4+) from BHV-1 immune cattle were stimulated in the presence of APC previously incubated with live or inactivated wild-type BHV-1. DC stimulated strong proliferation of Ag-specific T cells, while monocytes were poor stimulators of T-cell proliferation. When viral attachment to the surface of the APC was inhibited by virus pretreatment with soluble heparin, T-cell proliferation was dramatically decreased. Unexpectedly, incubation of DC and monocytes with the deletion mutant BHV-1 gD−/−, which displays impaired fusion capacity, resulted in strong activation of T lymphocytes by both APC types. Collectively, these results indicate that presentation of BHV-1 antigens to immune T cells is effective in the absence of productive infection and suggest that BHV-1 gD−/− mutant virus could be used to induce virus-specific immune responses in cattle.
Smooth Brucella strains are classified into three serotypes, i.e., A+M−, A−M+, and A+M+, according to slide agglutination with A and M monospecific polyclonal sera. The epitopes involved have been located on the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) moiety of the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), which represents the most exposed antigenic structure on the surface of Brucella spp. By use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) a number of epitope specificities on the O-PS have been reported: A, M, and epitopes shared by both A and M dominant strains, which have been named common (C) epitopes. The latter have been further subdivided, according to relative MAb binding in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to A- and M-dominant Brucella strains and to cross-reacting Yersinia enterocolitica O:9, into five epitopic specificities: C (M>A), C (M=A), C/Y (M>A), C/Y (M=A), and C/Y (A>M). In the present study, we studied the occurrence of these epitopes at the surface of representatives of all Brucella species and biovars including the live vaccine strains by analyzing the levels of MAb binding to whole Brucella cells in ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In ELISA, the level of MAb binding correlated well with the previously defined epitope specificity and the serotype defined by polyclonal sera for each Brucella species, biovar, or strain. However, MAbs to the C (M=A) and C (M>A) epitopes showed insignificant binding to B. suis biovar 2 strains and bound at lower titers to B. suis biovar 3 and B. neotomae than to the other Brucella strains. Some of the flow cytometry results were contradictory to those obtained by ELISA. In fact, it appeared by flow cytometry that all O-PS epitopes, including the A and M epitopes, are shared to different degrees by Brucella spp. which nevertheless show a high degree of O-PS heterogeneity according to MAb binding intensities. The subdivision of MAb specificities and Brucella serotypes was therefore less evident by flow cytometry than by ELISA. Whereas in ELISA the MAb specific for the A epitope showed insignificant binding to Y. enterocolitica O:9, this MAb bound strongly to Y. enterocolitica O:9 in flow cytometry. One of the two MAbs specific to the C (M=A) epitope also bound at a low but significant level to B. suis biovar 2 strains. However, as in ELISA the MAb specific for the C (M>A) epitope did not bind at all to B. suis biovar 2 strains in flow cytometry. Flow cytometry provided new information regarding specificity of the MAbs and may further explain some aspects of the capacity of passive protection of some MAbs against smooth Brucella infection in mice. As shown in the present study the occurrence of Brucella strains apparently completely devoid of one specific C O-PS epitope (e.g., B. suis biovar 2 devoid of the C [M>A] epitope) offers the possibility of obtaining vaccine strains devoid of a diagnostic O-PS epitope, which could further help to resolve the problem of discriminating infected from vaccinated animals that remains a major goal in brucellosis research.
Brucella organisms are facultative intracellular bacteria that may infect many species of animals as well as humans. The smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS) has been reported to be an important virulence factor of these organisms, but the genetic basis of expression of the S-LPS O antigen has not yet been described. Likewise, the role of the O side chain of S-LPS in the survival of Brucella has not been clearly defined. A mini-Tn5 transposon mutant library of Brucella melitensis 16M was screened by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against the O side chain of Brucella. One mutant, designated B3B2, failed to express any O side chain as confirmed by ELISA, Western blot analysis, and colony coloration with crystal violet. Nucleotide sequence analysis demonstrated that the transposon disrupted an open reading frame with significant homology to the putative perosamine synthetase genes of Vibrio cholerae O1 and Escherichia coli O157:H7. The low G+C content of this DNA region suggests that this gene may have originated from a species other than a Brucella sp. The survival of B. melitensis mutant strain B3B2 in the mouse model and in bovine macrophages was examined. The results suggested that S-LPS or, more precisely, its O side chain is essential for survival in mice but not in macrophages.