The Indigenous population of the Northern Territory of Australia (NT) suffers from a very high burden of Streptococcus pyogenes disease, including cardiac and renal sequelae. The aim of this study was to determine if S. pyogenes isolated from this population represent NT endemic strains, or conversely reflect strains with global distribution. emm sequence typing data were used to select 460 S. pyogenes isolates representing NT S. pyogenes diversity from 1987–2008. These isolates were genotyped using either multilocus sequence typing (MLST) or a high resolution melting-based MLST surrogate (Minim typing). These data were combined with MLST data from other studies on NT S. pyogenes to yield a set of 731 MLST or Minim typed isolates for analysis. goeBURST analysis of MLST allelic profiles and neighbour-joining trees of the MLST allele sequences revealed that a large proportion of the known global S. pyogenes MLST-defined diversity has now been found in the NT. Specifically, fully sequence typed NT isolates encompass 19% of known S. pyogenes STs and 43% of known S. pyogenes MLST alleles. These analyses provided no evidence for major NT-endemic strains, with many STs and MLST alleles shared between the NT and the rest of the world. The relationship between the number of known Minim types, and the probability that a Minim type identified in a calendar year would be novel was determined. This revealed that Minim types typically persist in the NT for >1 year, and indicate that the majority of NT Minim types have been identified. This study revealed that many diverse S. pyogenes strains exhibit global scale mobility that extends to isolated populations. The burden of S. pyogenes disease in the NT is unlikely to be due to the nature of NT S. pyogenes strains, but is rather a function of social and living conditions.
The molecular mechanisms involved in the development of type 2 diabetes are poorly understood. Starting from genome-wide genotype data for 1,924 diabetic cases and 2,938 population controls generated by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, we set out to detect replicated diabetes association signals through analysis of 3,757 additional cases and 5,346 controls, and by integration of our findings with equivalent data from other international consortia. We detected diabetes susceptibility loci in and around the genes CDKAL1, CDKN2A/CDKN2B and IGF2BP2 and confirmed the recently described associations at HHEX/IDE and SLC30A8. Our findings provide insights into the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the contribution of multiple variants of modest effect. The regions identified underscore the importance of pathways influencing pancreatic beta cell development and function in the etiology of type 2 diabetes.
Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) causes ~700 million human infections/year, resulting in >500,000 deaths. There is no commercial GAS vaccine available. The GAS surface protein arginine deiminase (ADI) protects mice against a lethal challenge. ADI is an enzyme that converts arginine to citrulline and ammonia. Administration of a GAS vaccine preparation containing wild-type ADI, a protein with inherent enzymatic activity, may present a safety risk. In an approach intended to maximize the vaccine safety of GAS ADI, X-ray crystallography and structural immunogenic epitope mapping were used to inform vaccine design. This study aimed to knock out ADI enzyme activity without disrupting the three-dimensional structure or the recognition of immunogenic epitopes. We determined the crystal structure of ADI at 2.5 Å resolution and used it to select a number of amino acid residues for mutagenesis to alanine (D166, E220, H275, D277, and C401). Each mutant protein displayed abrogated activity, and three of the mutant proteins (those with the D166A, H275A, and D277A mutations) possessed a secondary structure and oligomerization state equivalent to those of the wild type, produced high-titer antisera, and avoided disruption of B-cell epitopes of ADI. In addition, antisera raised against the D166A and D277A mutant proteins bound to the GAS cell surface. The inactivated D166A and D277A mutant ADIs are ideal for inclusion in a GAS vaccine preparation. There is no human ortholog of ADI, and we confirm that despite limited structural similarity in the active-site region to human peptidyl ADI 4 (PAD4), ADI does not functionally mimic PAD4 and antiserum raised against GAS ADI does not recognize human PAD4.
We present an example of structural biology informing human vaccine design. We previously showed that the administration of the enzyme arginine deiminase (ADI) to mice protected the mice against infection with multiple GAS serotypes. In this study, we determined the structure of GAS ADI and used this information to improve the vaccine safety of GAS ADI. Catalytically inactive mutant forms of ADI retained structure, recognition by antisera, and immunogenic epitopes, rendering them ideal for inclusion in GAS vaccine preparations. This example of structural biology informing vaccine design may underpin the formulation of a safe and efficacious GAS vaccine.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a major human pathogen that is carried asymptomatically in the nasopharynx by up to 70% of the human population. Translocation of the bacteria into internal sites can cause a range of diseases, such as pneumonia, otitis media, meningitis, and bacteremia. This transition from nasopharynx to growth at systemic sites means that the pneumococcus needs to adjust to a variety of environmental conditions, including transition metal ion availability. Although it is an important nutrient, iron potentiates oxidative stress, and it is established that in S. pneumoniae, expression of iron transport systems and proteins that protect against oxidative stress are regulated by an orphan response regulator, RitR. In this study, we investigated the effect of iron and manganese ion availability on the growth of a ritR mutant. Deletion of ritR led to impaired growth of bacteria in high-iron medium, but this phenotype could be suppressed with the addition of manganese. Measurement of metal ion accumulation indicated that manganese prevents iron accumulation. Furthermore, the addition of manganese also led to a reduction in the amount of hydrogen peroxide produced by bacterial cells. Studies of virulence in a murine model of infection indicated that RitR was not essential for pneumococcal survival and suggested that derepression of iron uptake systems may enhance the survival of pneumococci in some niches.
Recruitment of the serine protease plasmin is central to the pathogenesis of many bacterial species, including Group A streptococcus (GAS), a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. A key process in invasive GAS disease is the ability to accumulate plasmin at the cell surface, however the role of host activators of plasminogen in this process is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) contributes to plasmin recruitment and subsequent invasive disease initiation in vivo. In the absence of a source of host plasminogen activators, streptokinase (Ska) was required to facilitate cell surface plasmin acquisition by GAS. However, in the absence of Ska, host activators were sufficient to promote cell surface plasmin acquisition by GAS strain 5448 during incubation with plasminogen or human plasma. Furthermore, GAS were able mediate a significant increase in the activation of zymogen pro-uPA in human plasma. In order to assess the contribution of uPA to invasive GAS disease, a previously undescribed transgenic mouse model of infection was employed. Both C57/black 6J, and AlbPLG1 mice expressing the human plasminogen transgene, were significantly more susceptible to invasive GAS disease than uPA−/− mice. The observed decrease in virulence in uPA−/−mice was found to correlate directly with a decrease in bacterial dissemination and reduced cell surface plasmin accumulation by GAS. These findings have significant implications for our understanding of GAS pathogenesis, and research aimed at therapeutic targeting of plasminogen activation in invasive bacterial infections.
Subversion of the host fibrinolytic system by bacterial pathogens is recognised as a key process in severe disease initiation. Co-opting of plasmin by bacteria contributes to tissue destruction and bacterial dissemination, both hallmarks of invasive Group A streptococcal disease, and research aimed at therapeutic targeting of the nexus between group A streptococcus and the fibrinolytic system is increasing. The host plasminogen activator uPA is found at the surface of cells that contribute to epithelial and innate immune defense against bacterial infection, and may contribute to bacterial recruitment of plasmin, however, the role of uPA in group A streptococcal infection is not well characterised. Here, we describe for the first time the key role played by uPA in invasive group A streptococcal disease. The ability of this pathogen to cause severe infection, even in the absence of the bacterial plasminogen activator streptokinase, has significant implications for the development of therapeutics to control invasive bacterial infection.
Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with postpartum weight retention and downstream child obesity. Dopamine plays a critical role in the regulation of energy intake and body weight. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between excessive gestational weight gain and dopamine pathway-related polymorphisms, namely the variable nucleotide tandem repeat in the 3′untranslated region (UTR) region of the SLC6A3 (DAT-1) dopamine transporter gene and the 30-base pair variable nucleotide tandem repeat polymorphism of the 5′UTR of the monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) gene.
Ninety-three women of mean age 31.7 ± 4.2 years were recruited from the Ottawa and Kingston birth cohort and assessed at 12–20 weeks’ gestation. Mean body mass index was 22.7 ± 2.5 kg/m2. Excessive gestational weight gain was defined according to the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines based on body mass index. Genotype analyses were performed using polymerase chain reaction and agarose gel electrophoresis.
There was no relationship between the prevalence or magnitude of excessive gestational weight gain among women with the 3′ UTR single nucleotide polymorphism of the DAT-1 gene. However, 70% (19 of 27) of women carrying the MAO-A 4/4 (high activity) allele exceeded recommendations for gestational weight gain compared with 48% (32 of 60) of those with the pooled 3/3, 3/4, and 3/3.5 (low activity) alleles (P < 0.05). Similarly, those with the MAO-A 4/4 allele had significantly greater gestational weight gain than those with the 3/3, 3/4, or 3/3.5 pooled genotypes (19.3 ± 4.1 versus 17.0 ± 5.0 kg, P = 0.03).
Carriers of the 4/4 variants of the MAO-A gene may be at increased risk for excessive gestational weight gain.
gestational weight gain; dopamine genes; monoamine oxidase-A
For Listing’s law to be obeyed during eye movements, the “half-angle rule” must be satisfied: the eye velocity axis must tilt away from Listing’s plane by half the angle of eye position eccentricity from primary position. We aimed to determine if this rule is satisfied during horizontal and vertical pursuit compared with saccades. Three-dimensional (3-d) eye rotation data were acquired from five normal head-fixed humans using the search coil technique. Saccades were recorded in response to 40° horizontal or vertical steps in target position, at different elevations and azimuths. Pursuit was recorded while tracking a target moving horizontally or vertically at 20°/s, with peak-to-peak amplitude of 40°, at the same elevations and azimuths. First- and second-order surfaces were fitted to 3-d eye position data from periods of fixation. In all subjects, eye positions did not lie on a planar surface, but on a twisted surface in 3-d space. The tilt-angle coefficient (TAC) during saccades and pursuit was calculated as the ratio of the angle of eye velocity axis tilt to the angle of eye position eccentricity. During horizontal saccades and pursuit, mean TACs were 0.58 and 0.64, respectively. During vertical saccades and pursuit, mean TACs were 0.35 and 0.43, respectively, and lower than their horizontal counterparts (p<0.05). These findings suggest that Listing’s law is not perfectly satisfied during saccades or pursuit. On the basis of model simulations, we propose that the discrepancy in horizontal and vertical TACs causes eye positions to lie on a twisted rather than a planar surface.
Saccades; Smooth Pursuit; Kinematics; Listing’s Law; Donders’ Law
The polymorphism, KLF6-IVS1-27A, in the Krüppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) transcription factor gene enhances its splicing into antagonistic isoforms and is associated with delayed histological progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To explore a potential role for KLF6 in the development of insulin resistance, central to NAFLD pathogenesis, we genotyped KLF6-IVS1-27 in healthy subjects and assayed fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and insulin sensitivities. Furthermore, we quantified mRNA expression of KLF6 and glucokinase (GCK), as an important mediator of insulin sensitivity, in human livers and in liver tissues derived from a murine Klf6 knockdown model (DeltaKlf6). Klf6 overexpression studies in a mouse hepatocyte line were utilized to mechanistically link KLF6 with Gck promoter activity.
KLF6-IVS1-27Gwt (ie., less KLF6 splicing) was associated with stepwise increases in FPG and insulin and reduced hepatic insulin sensitivity. KLF6 binds to the liver-specific Gck promoter and activates a GCK promoter-reporter, identifying GCK as a KLF6 direct transcriptional target. Accordingly, in DeltaKlf6 hepatocytes, Gck expression was reduced and stable transfection of Klf6 led to upregulation of Gck. GCK and KLF6 mRNAs correlate directly in human NAFLD tissues and immunohistochemistry studies confirm falling levels of both KLF6 and GCK in fat laden hepatocytes. In contrast to full length KLF6, splice variant KLF6-SV1 increases in NAFLD hepatocytes and inversely correlates with glucokinase regulatory protein, which negatively regulates GCK activity.
KLF6 regulation of GCK contributes to the development of hepatic insulin resistance. The KLF6-IVS1-27A polymorphism, which generates more KLF6-SV1, combats this, lowering hepatic insulin resistance and blood glucose.
Krüppel-like Factor 6; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; hepatic insulin sensitivity; insulin resistance; glucokinase
Prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing worldwide. T2D prevention by lifestyle intervention is effective. Pragmatic scalable interventions are needed, with evidence to efficiently target and monitor such interventions. We report pooled analyses of data from three European trial cohorts: to analyse T2D incidence, sustained weight loss and utility of risk predictors.
We analysed data on 749 adults with impaired glucose tolerance (278 men and 471 women, mean age 56 years, mean BMI 31 kgm−2) recruited between 1993 and 2003, and randomised to intensive lifestyle intervention (I) or lifestyle advice control (C). The intervention aimed to increase physical activity, modify diet, and promote weight loss≥5%. Using Cox-regression survival analysis, we assessed T2D incidence and the impact on T2D incidence of sustained weight loss, and of baseline cut-point values of FINDRISC score, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and HbA1c.
Mean follow-up duration was 3.1 years. T2D was diagnosed in 139 participants (I = 45/379, C = 94/370). Cumulative T2D incidence was 57% lower in the intervention compared with the control group (HR 0.42 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.60) P<0.001). Participants with ≥5% weight loss at one year had 65% lower T2D incidence (HR 0.35 (95% CI 0.22 to 0.56) P<0.001); maintaining ≥5% weight loss for two and three years further reduced T2D incidence. Recommended cut-points to identify those at high risk for T2D would have identified different proportions of European Diabetes Prevention Study (EDIPS) participants with similar hazard-ratios for intervention effect.
Pooled analysis of EDIPS trial data reinforces evidence for T2D prevention by lifestyle intervention. Analysis showed the preventive effect of ≥5% weight loss, especially if maintained long term, which has utility for intervention monitoring. Analysis of proposed cut-points demonstrates difficulties in balancing risk and benefit, to efficiently target interventions and suggests evidence is needed to define clinical policy.
The Finnish Diabetes Prevention study, Helsinki, Finland: ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT00518167 The SLIM diabetes prevention study, Maastricht, The Netherlands: Clinical Trials.gov; NCT00381186 The EDIPS-Newcastle diabetes prevention study, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number; ISRCTN15670600.
Between June and November 2010, a concerning rise in the number of cases of puerperal sepsis, a postpartum pelvic bacterial infection contracted by women after childbirth, was observed in the New South Wales, Australia, hospital system. Group A streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) isolates PS001 to PS011 were recovered from nine patients. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and emm sequence typing revealed that GAS of emm1.40, emm75.0, emm77.0, emm89.0, and emm89.9 were each recovered from a single patient, ruling out a single source of infection. However, emm28.8 GAS were recovered from four different patients. To investigate the relatedness of these emm28 isolates, whole-genome sequencing was undertaken and the genome sequences were compared to the genome sequence of the emm28.4 reference strain, MGAS6180. A total of 186 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified, for which the phylogenetic reconstruction indicated an outbreak of a polyclonal nature. While two isolates collected from different hospitals were not closely related, isolates from two puerperal sepsis patients from the same hospital were indistinguishable, suggesting patient-to-patient transmission or infection from a common source. The results of this study indicate that traditional typing protocols, such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, may not be sensitive enough to allow fine epidemiological discrimination of closely related bacterial isolates. Whole-genome sequencing presents a valid alternative that allows accurate fine-scale epidemiological investigation of bacterial infectious disease.
Intellectual property is associated with the creative work needed to design clinical trials. Two approaches have developed to protect the intellectual property associated with multicentre trial protocols prior to site initiation. The ‘open access’ approach involves publishing the protocol, permitting easy access to the complete protocol. The main advantages of the open access approach are that the protocol is freely available to all stakeholders, permitting them to discuss the protocol widely with colleagues, assess the quality and rigour of the protocol, determine the feasibility of conducting the trial at their centre, and after trial completion, to evaluate the reported findings based on a full understanding of the protocol. The main potential disadvantage of this approach is the potential for plagiarism; however if that occurred, it should be easy to identify because of the open access to the original trial protocol, as well as ensure that appropriate sanctions are used to deal with plagiarism. The ‘restricted access’ approach involves the use of non-disclosure agreements, legal documents that must be signed between the trial lead centre and collaborative sites. Potential sites must guarantee they will not disclose any details of the study before they are permitted to access the protocol. The main advantages of the restricted access approach are for the lead institution and nominated principal investigator, who protect their intellectual property associated with the trial. The main disadvantages are that ownership of the protocol and intellectual property is assigned to the lead institution; defining who ‘needs to know’ about the study protocol is difficult; and the use of non-disclosure agreements involves review by lawyers and institutional representatives at each site before access is permitted to the protocol, significantly delaying study implementation and adding substantial indirect costs to research institutes. This extra step may discourage sites from joining a trial. It is possible that the restricted access approach may contribute to the failure of well-designed trials without any significant benefit in protecting intellectual property. Funding agencies should formalize rules around open versus restricted access to the study protocol just as they have around open access to results.
Clinical trials as topic; Intellectual property; Trial protocol
Recent work has shown that insulin stimulates its own secretion in insulin-sensitive humans, suggesting that insulin resistance in the β-cell could cause β-cell dysfunction. We have tested whether insulin exposure and insulin sensitivity modulate β-cell function in subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and whether they contribute to dysglycemia in impaired glucose regulation (IGR).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Insulin sensitivity (by euglycemic clamp), insulin-induced secretory response at isoglycemia (IISR) (as C-peptide percent change from basal during the clamp), glucose-induced secretory response (GISR) to an intravenous glucose bolus, and β-cell glucose sensitivity (β-GS) (by oral glucose tolerance test [OGTT] modeling) were measured in 1,151 NGT and 163 IGR subjects from the RISC (Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular Disease) study.
In NGT, IISR was related to both insulin sensitivity and antecedent insulin exposure; GISR was related to insulin exposure. IISR was positively, if weakly, related to β-GS (r= 0.16, P < 0.0001). Both IISR (−23  vs. −9 %, median [interquartile range], P < 0.03) and β-GS (69  vs. 118  pmol ⋅ min–1 ⋅ m–2 ⋅ mmol–1 ⋅ L, P < 0.0001) were decreased in IGR compared with NGT. Insulin sensitivity and β-GS were the major determinants of mean OGTT glucose in both NGT and IGR, with a minor role for IISR. In a multivariate logistic model, IGR was predicted by β-GS (odds ratio 4.84 [95% CI 2.89–8.09]) and insulin sensitivity (3.06 [2.19–4.27]) but not by IISR (1.11 [0.77–1.61]).
Pre-exposure to physiological hyperinsulinemia stimulates insulin secretion to a degree that depends on insulin sensitivity. However, this phenomenon has limited impact on β-cell dysfunction and dysglycemia.
Bevacizumab (B) and cetuximab (C) are both approved for use in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) in the second-line. We examined patient reported symptom burden during second-line treatment of mCRC.
Adult mCRC patients treated in the second-line setting with a regimen that included B, C, or chemotherapy only (O) and who had completed ≥ 1 Patient Care Monitor (PCM) surveys as part of routine clinical care were drawn from the ACORN Data Warehouse. Primary endpoints were rash, dry skin, itching, nail changes, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, burning in hands/feet, and diarrhea. Linear mixed models examined change in PCM scores across B, C and O (B = reference).
182 patients were enrolled (B: n = 106, C: n = 38, O: n = 38). Patients were 51% female, 67% Caucasian, with mean age of 62.0 (SD = 12.6). Groups did not differ on demographic or clinical characteristics. The most common second-line regimens were FOLFIRI ± B or C (23.1%) and FOLFOX ± B or C (22.5%). Results showed baseline scores to be strongly predictive of second-line symptoms across all PCM items (all p’s < .0001 except for Rash, p = .0013). Controlling for baseline, patients on B tended to have more stable and less severe symptoms. Patients on C had more severe rash, dry skin, and itching and had nail change scores that worsened faster than did B patients.
Patients receiving second-line treatment for mCRC with B report less symptom burden, especially dermatologic, compared to patients treated with C.
Bevacizumab; Cetuximab; Chemotherapy; Health outcomes; Dermatologic symptoms
This study characterizes the 21.4 kilobase plasmid pECTm80 isolated from Escherichia coli strain 80, an α hemolytic human clinical diarrhoeal isolate (serotype O108:H-). DNA sequence analysis of pECTm80 revealed it belonged to incompatibility group X1, and contained plasmid partition and toxin-antitoxin systems, an R6K-like triple origin (ori) replication system, genes required for replication regulation, insertion sequences IS1R, ISEc37 and a truncated transposase gene (Tn3-like ΔtnpA) of the Tn3 family, and carried a class 2 integron. The class 2 integron of pECTm80 contains an intact cassette array dfrA1-sat2, encoding resistance to trimethoprim and streptothricin, and an aadA1 gene cassette truncated by the insertion of IS1R. The complex plasmid replication system includes α, β and γ origins of replication. Pairwise BLASTn comparison of pECTm80 with plasmid pE001 reveals a conserved plasmid backbone suggestive of a common ancestral lineage. Plasmid pECTm80 is of potential clinical importance, as it carries multiple genes to ensure its stable maintenance through successive bacterial cell divisions and multiple antibiotic resistance genes.
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae causes enormous economic losses to swine production worldwide by colonizing the ciliated epithelium in the porcine respiratory tract, resulting in widespread damage to the mucociliary escalator, prolonged inflammation, reduced weight gain, and secondary infections. Protein Mhp684 (P146) comprises 1,317 amino acids, and while the N-terminal 400 residues display significant sequence identity to the archetype cilium adhesin P97, the remainder of the molecule is novel and displays unusual motifs. Proteome analysis shows that P146 preprotein is endogenously cleaved into three major fragments identified here as P50P146, P40P146, and P85P146 that reside on the cell surface. Liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) identified a semitryptic peptide that delineated a major cleavage site in Mhp684. Cleavage occurred at the phenylalanine residue within sequence 672ATEF↓QQ677, consistent with a cleavage motif resembling S/T-X-F↓X-D/E recently identified in Mhp683 and other P97/P102 family members. Biotinylated surface proteins recovered by avidin chromatography and separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-D GE) showed that more-extensive endoproteolytic cleavage of P146 occurs. Recombinant fragments F1P146-F3P146 that mimic P50P146, P40P146, and P85P146 were constructed and shown to bind porcine epithelial cilia and biotinylated heparin with physiologically relevant affinity. Recombinant versions of F3P146 generated from M. hyopneumoniae strain J and 232 sequences strongly bind porcine plasminogen, and the removal of their respective C-terminal lysine and arginine residues significantly reduces this interaction. These data reveal that P146 is an extensively processed, multifunctional adhesin of M. hyopneumoniae. Extensive cleavage coupled with variable cleavage efficiency provides a mechanism by which M. hyopneumoniae regulates protein topography.
Vaccines used to control Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infection provide only partial protection. Proteins of the P97/P102 families are highly expressed, functionally redundant molecules that are substrates of endoproteases that generate multifunctional adhesin fragments on the cell surface. We show that P146 displays a chimeric structure consisting of an N terminus, which shares sequence identity with P97, and novel central and C-terminal regions. P146 is endoproteolytically processed at multiple sites, generating at least nine fragments on the surface of M. hyopneumoniae. Dominant cleavage events occurred at S/T-X-F↓X-D/E-like sites generating P50P146, P40P146, and P85P146. Recombinant proteins designed to mimic the major cleavage fragments bind porcine cilia, heparin, and plasminogen. P146 undergoes endoproteolytic processing events at multiple sites and with differential processing efficiency, generating combinatorial diversity on the surface of M. hyopneumoniae.
Background. Herd immunity is important in the effectiveness of conjugate polysaccharide vaccines against encapsulated bacteria. A large multicenter study investigated the effect of meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine introduction on the meningococcal population.
Methods. Carried meningococci in individuals aged 15–19 years attending education establishments were investigated before and for 2 years after vaccine introduction. Isolates were characterized by multilocus sequence typing, serogroup, and capsular region genotype and changes in phenotypes and genotypes assessed.
Results. A total of 8462 meningococci were isolated from 47 765 participants (17.7%). Serogroup prevalence was similar over the 3 years, except for decreases of 80% for serogroup C and 40% for serogroup 29E. Clonal complexes were associated with particular serogroups and their relative proportions fluctuated, with 12 statistically significant changes (6 up, 6 down). The reduction of ST-11 complex serogroup C meningococci was probably due to vaccine introduction. Reasons for a decrease in serogroup 29E ST-254 meningococci (from 1.8% to 0.7%) and an increase in serogroup B ST-213 complex meningococci (from 6.7% to 10.6%) were less clear.
Conclusions. Natural fluctuations in carried meningococcal genotypes and phenotypes a can be affected by the use of conjugate vaccines, and not all of these changes are anticipatable in advance of vaccine introduction.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) causes rare but life-threatening syndromes of necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock-like syndrome in humans. The GAS serotype M1T1 clone has globally disseminated, and mutations in the control of virulence regulatory sensor kinase (covRS) operon correlate with severe invasive disease. Here, a cohort of non-M1 GAS was screened to determine whether mutation in covRS triggers systemic dissemination in divergent M serotypes. A GAS disease model defining parameters governing invasive propensity of differing M types is proposed. The vast majority of GAS infection is benign. Nonetheless, many divergent M types possess limited capacity to cause invasive infection. M1T1 GAS readily switch to a covRS mutant form that is neutrophil resistant and frequently associated with systemic infection. Whilst non-M1 GAS are shown in this study to less frequently accumulate covRS mutations in vivo, such mutants are isolated from invasive infections and exhibit neutrophil resistance and enhanced virulence. The reduced capacity of non-M1 GAS to switch to the hypervirulent covRS mutant form provides an explanation for the comparatively less frequent isolation of non-M1 serotypes from invasive human infections.
Animal models; Bacteriology; Immunity; Innate; Neutrophils; Streptococcus; Virulence factors; Invasive infection
The recent resurgence of invasive group A streptococcal disease has been paralleled by the emergence of the M1T1 clone. Recently, invasive disease initiation to has been linked to mutations in the covR/S two-compnent regulator. Here we investigate if a fitness cost is associated with covS mutation that counterbalances hypervirulence.
Wild-type M1T1 GAS and an isogenic covS mutant derived from animal passage were compared for adherence to human laryngeal epithelial cells, keratinocytes or fibronectin, biofilm formation, and binding to intact mouse skin. Targeted mutagenesis of capsule expression from both strains was performed for analysis of its unique contribution to the observed phenotypes.
The covS mutant bacteria showed reduced capacity to bind to epithelial cell layers as a consequence of increased capsule expression. The covS mutant strain also had reduced capacity to bind fibronectin and to form biofilms on plastic and epithelial cell layers. A defect in skin adherence of the covS mutant strain was demonstrated in a murine model.
Reduced colonization capacity provides a potential explanation as to why the covS mutation conferring hypervirulence has not become fixed in the globally-disseminated M1T1 GAS clone, but rather may arise anew under innate immune selection in individual patients.
This retrospective study evaluated the impact of disease progression and of specific sites of metastasis on patient reported outcomes (PROs) that assess symptom burden and health related quality of life (HRQoL) in women with metastatic breast cancer (mBC).
HER-2 negative mBC patients (n = 102) were enrolled from 7 U.S. community oncology practices. Demographic, disease and treatment characteristics were abstracted from electronic medical records and linked to archived Patient Care Monitor (PCM) assessments. The PCM is a self-report measure of symptom burden and HRQoL administered as part of routine care in participating practices. Linear mixed models were used to examine change in PCM scores over time.
Mean age was 57 years, with 72% of patients Caucasian, and 25% African American. Median time from mBC diagnosis to first disease progression was 8.8 months. Metastasis to bone (60%), lung (28%) and liver (26%) predominated at initial metastatic diagnosis. Results showed that PCM items assessing fatigue, physical pain and trouble sleeping were sensitive to either general effects of disease progression or to effects associated with specific sites of metastasis. Progression of disease was also associated with modest but significant worsening of General Physical Symptoms, Treatment Side Effects, Acute Distress and Impaired Performance index scores. In addition, there were marked detrimental effects of liver metastasis on Treatment Side Effects, and of brain metastasis on Acute Distress.
Disease progression has a detrimental impact on cancer-related symptoms. Delaying disease progression may have a positive impact on patients' HRQoL.
In vertebrates, fibrinolysis is primarily carried out by the serine protease plasmin (Pm), which is derived from activation of the zymogen precursor, plasminogen (Pg). One of the most distinctive features of Pg/Pm is the presence of five homologous kringle (K) domains. These structural elements possess conserved Lys-binding sites (LBS) that facilitate interactions with substrates, activators, inhibitors and receptors. In human Pg (hPg), K2 displays weak Lys affinity, however the LBS of this domain has been implicated in an atypical interaction with the N-terminal region of a bacterial surface protein known as PAM (Pg-binding group A streptococcal M-like protein). A direct correlation has been established between invasiveness of group A streptococci and their ability to bind Pg. It has been previously demonstrated that a 30-residue internal peptide (VEK-30) from the N-terminal region of PAM competitively inhibits binding of the full-length parent protein to Pg. We have attempted to determine the effects of this ligand-protein interaction on the regulation of Pg zymogen activation and conformation. Our results show minimal effects on the sedimentation velocity coefficients (S°20,w) of Pg when associated to VEK-30 and a direct relationship between the concentration of VEK-30 or PAM and the activation rate of Pg. These results are in contrast with the major conformational changes elicited by small-molecule activators of Pg, and point towards a novel mechanism of Pg activation that may underlie group A streptococcal (GAS) virulence.
Plasminogen; streptokinase; group A streptococci; M-like protein; PAM
The impact on health related quality of life (HRQoL) of rituximab maintenance (R-M) versus observation (OBS) after induction for treatment of follicular lymphoma (FL) is unclear.
We reviewed the charts of 137 patients (53% female, 87% White, age 61.0 ± 12.4 years) who received either R-M (n = 53) or OBS (n = 84) after chemotherapy induction for newly diagnosed FL at community oncology practices within the US. Patients (65% with advanced disease; 48% with a high FLIPI score [3–5]) had completed ≥1 Patient Care Monitor HRQoL survey in the period following front-line therapy, and were excluded if they had progressed during front-line therapy.
Linear mixed models showed that postinduction, most symptoms were stable, with patients on R-M reporting HRQoL that was equal to that reported by OBS patients.
Among R-M patients, receipt of rituximab was associated with improved psychological symptoms.
follicular lymphoma; maintenance therapy; Rituxan; rituximab; symptoms
Obesity remains a major public health problem, associated with a cluster of metabolic abnormalities. However, individuals exist who are very obese but have normal metabolic parameters. The aim of this study was to determine to what extent differences in metabolic health in very obese women are explained by differences in body fat distribution, insulin resistance and level of physical activity.
This was a cross-sectional pilot study of 39 obese women (age: 28-64 yrs, BMI: 31-67 kg/m2) recruited from community settings. Women were defined as 'metabolically normal' on the basis of blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure. Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to determine body fat distribution. Detailed lifestyle and metabolic profiles of participants were obtained.
Women with a healthy metabolic profile had lower intra-abdominal fat volume (geometric mean 4.78 l [95% CIs 3.99-5.73] vs 6.96 l [5.82-8.32]) and less insulin resistance (HOMA 3.41 [2.62-4.44] vs 6.67 [5.02-8.86]) than those with an abnormality. The groups did not differ in abdominal subcutaneous fat volume (19.6 l [16.9-22.7] vs 20.6 [17.6-23.9]). A higher proportion of those with a healthy compared to a less healthy metabolic profile met current physical activity guidelines (70% [95% CIs 55.8-84.2] vs 25% [11.6-38.4]). Intra-abdominal fat, insulin resistance and physical activity make independent contributions to metabolic status in very obese women, but explain only around a third of the variance.
A sub-group of women exists who are metabolically normal despite being very obese. Differences in fat distribution, insulin resistance, and physical activity level are associated with metabolic differences in these women, but account only partially for these differences. Future work should focus on strategies to identify those obese individuals most at risk of the negative metabolic consequences of obesity and on identifying other factors that contribute to metabolic status in obese individuals.
The otolith-driven translational vestibulo-ocular reflex (tVOR) generates compensatory eye movements to linear head accelerations. Studies in humans indicate that the cerebellum plays a critical role in the neural control of the tVOR, but little is known about mechanisms of this control or the functions of specific cerebellar structures. Here, we chose to investigate the contribution of the nodulus and uvula, which have been shown by prior studies to be involved in the processing of otolith signals in other contexts.
We recorded eye movements in two rhesus monkeys during steps of linear motion along the interaural axis before and after surgical lesions of the cerebellar uvula and nodulus. The lesions strikingly reduced eye velocity during constant-velocity motion but had only a small effect on the response to initial head acceleration. We fit eye velocity to a linear combination of head acceleration and velocity and to a dynamic mathematical model of the tVOR that incorporated a specific integrator of head acceleration. Based on parameter optimization, the lesion decreased the gain of the pathway containing this new integrator by 62%. The component of eye velocity that depended directly on head acceleration changed little (gain decrease of 13%). In a final set of simulations, we compared our data to the predictions of previous models of the tVOR, none of which could account for our experimental findings.
Our results provide new and important information regarding the neural control of the tVOR. Specifically, they point to a key role for the cerebellar nodulus and uvula in the mathematical integration of afferent linear head acceleration signals. This function is likely to be critical not only for the tVOR but also for the otolith-mediated reflexes that control posture and balance.
Class 1 integrons play a role in the emergence of multi-resistant bacteria by facilitating the recruitment of gene cassettes encoding antibiotic resistance genes. 512 E. coli strains sourced from humans (n = 202), animals (n = 304) and the environment (n = 6) were screened for the presence of the intI1 gene. In 31/79 integron positive E. coli strains, the gene cassette regions could not be PCR amplified using standard primers. DNA sequence analysis of 6 serologically diverse strains revealed atypical integrons harboured the dfrA5 cassette gene and only 24 bp of the integron 3′-conserved segment (CS) remained, due to the insertion of IS26. PCR targeting intI1 and IS26 followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis identified the integron-dfrA5-IS26 element in 27 E. coli strains of bovine origin and 4 strains of human origin. Southern hybridization and transformation studies revealed the integron-dfrA5-IS26 gene arrangement was either chromosomally located or plasmid borne. Plasmid location in 4/9 E. coli strains and PCR linkage of Tn21 transposition genes with the intI1 gene in 20/31 strains, suggests this element is readily disseminated by horizontal transfer.
The initiation of hyperinvasive disease in group A Streptococcus (GAS) serotype M1T1 occurs by mutation within the covRS two-component regulon (named covRS for control of virulence regulatory sensor kinase), which promotes resistance to neutrophil-mediated killing through the upregulation of bacteriophage-encoded Sda1 DNase. To determine whether other virulence factors contribute to this phase-switching phenomenon, we studied a panel of 10 isogenic GAS serotype M1T1 virulence gene knockout mutants. While loss of several individual virulence factors did not prevent GAS covRS switching in vivo, we found that M1 protein and hyaluronic acid capsule are indispensable for the switching phenotype, a phenomenon previously attributed uniquely to the Sda1 DNase. We demonstrate that like M1 protein and Sda1, capsule expression enhances survival of GAS serotype M1T1 within neutrophil extracellular traps. Furthermore, capsule shares with M1 protein a role in GAS resistance to human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37. We conclude that a quorum of GAS serotype M1T1 virulence genes with cooperative roles in resistance to neutrophil extracellular killing is essential for the switch to a hyperinvasive phenotype in vivo.
The pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS) causes a wide range of human infections ranging from the superficial “strep throat” to potentially life-threatening conditions, such as necrotizing fasciitis, also known as “flesh-eating disease.” A marked increase in the number of cases of severe invasive GAS infection during the last 30 years has been traced to the emergence and spread of a single clone of the M1T1 serotype. Recent studies have shown that GAS serotype M1T1 bacteria undergo a genetic “switch” in vivo to a hypervirulent state that allows dissemination into the bloodstream. The present study was undertaken to identify specific GAS serotype M1T1 virulence factors required for this switch to hypervirulence. The surface-anchored GAS M1 protein and hyaluronic acid capsule are found to be essential for the switching phenotype, and a novel role for capsule in GAS resistance to host defense peptides and neutrophil extracellular killing is revealed.