We have made significant improvements to a broad-host-range system for the cloning and manipulation of large bacterial genomic regions based on site-specific recombination between directly repeated oriT sites during conjugation. Using two suicide capture vectors carrying flanking homology regions, oriT sites are recombined on either side of the target region. Using a broad-host-range conjugation helper plasmid, the region between the oriT sites is conjugated into an Escherichia coli recipient strain, where it is circularized and maintained as a chimeric mini-F vector. The cloned target region is functionalized in multiple ways to accommodate downstream manipulation. The target region is flanked with Gateway attB sites for recombination into other vectors and by rare 18-bp I-SceI restriction sites for subcloning. The Tn7-functionalized target can also be inserted at a naturally occurring chromosomal attTn7 site(s) or maintained as a broad-host-range plasmid for complementation or heterologous expression studies. We have used the oriTn7 capture technique to clone and complement Burkholderia pseudomallei genomic regions up to 140 kb in size and have created isogenic Burkholderia strains with various combinations of genomic islands. We believe this system will greatly aid the cloning and genetic analysis of genomic islands, biosynthetic gene clusters, and large open reading frames.
We describe the construction of mini-Tn7-based broad-host-range vectors encoding lux genes as bioluminescent reporters. These constructs can be mobilized into the desired host(s) by conjugation for chromosomal mini-Tn7-lux integration and are useful for localization of bacteria during infections or for characterizing regulation of promoters of interest in Gram-negative bacteria.
Melioidosis is a disease in tropical and subtropical regions of the world that is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. In endemic regions the disease occurs primarily in humans and goats. In the present study, we used the goat as a model to dissect the polar lipids of B. pseudomallei to identify lipid molecules that could be used for adjuvants/vaccines or as diagnostic tools. We showed that the lipidome of B. pseudomallei and its fractions contain several polar lipids with the capacity to elicit different immune responses in goats, namely rhamnolipids and ornithine lipids which induced IFN-γ, whereas phospholipids and an undefined polar lipid induced strong IL-10 secretion in CD4+ T cells. Autologous T cells co-cultured with caprine dendritic cells (cDCs) and polar lipids of B. pseudomallei proliferated and up-regulated the expression of CD25 (IL-2 receptor) molecules. Furthermore, we demonstrated that polar lipids were able to up-regulate CD1w2 antigen expression in cDCs derived from peripheral blood monocytes. Interestingly, the same polar lipids had only little effect on the expression of MHC class II DR antigens in the same caprine dendritic cells. Finally, antibody blocking of the CD1w2 molecules on cDCs resulted in decreased expression for IFN-γ by CD4+ T cells. Altogether, these results showed that polar lipids of B. pseudomallei are recognized by the caprine immune system and that their recognition is primarily mediated by the CD1 antigen cluster.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative environmental bacterium found in tropical climates that causes melioidosis. Culture remains the diagnostic gold standard, but isolation of B. pseudomallei from heavily contaminated sites, such as fecal specimens, can be difficult. We recently reported that B. pseudomallei is capable of infecting the gastrointestinal tract of mice and suggested that the same may be true in humans. Thus, there is a strong need for new culture techniques to allow for efficient detection of B. pseudomallei in fecal and other specimens. We found that the addition of norfloxacin, ampicillin, and polymyxin B to Ashdown's medium (NAP-A) resulted in increased specificity without affecting the growth of 25 B. pseudomallei strains. Furthermore, recovery of B. pseudomallei from human clinical specimens was not affected by the three additional antibiotics. Therefore, we conclude that NAP-A medium provides a new tool for more sensitive isolation of B. pseudomallei from heavily contaminated sites.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is the etiologic agent of melioidosis. This multifaceted disease is difficult to treat, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. Treatment of B. pseudomallei infections is lengthy and necessitates an intensive phase (parenteral ceftazidime, amoxicillin–clavulanic acid or meropenem) and an eradication phase (oral trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole). The main resistance mechanisms affecting these antibiotics include enzymatic inactivation, target deletion and efflux from the cell, and are mediated by chromosomally encoded genes. Overproduction and mutations in the class A PenA β-lactamase cause ceftazidime and amoxicillin–clavulanic acid resistance. Deletion of the penicillin binding protein 3 results in ceftazidime resistance. BpeEF–OprC efflux pump expression causes trimethoprim and trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole resistance. Although resistance is still relatively rare, therapeutic efficacies may be compromised by resistance emergence due to increased use of antibiotics in endemic regions. Novel agents and therapeutic strategies are being tested and, in some instances, show promise as anti-B. pseudomallei infectives.
antibiotics; Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; resistance; therapy
We describe a mini-Tn7-based broad-host-range expression cassette for arabinose-inducible gene expression from the PBAD promoter. This delivery vector, pTJ1, can integrate a single copy of a gene into the chromosome of Gram-negative bacteria for diverse genetic applications, of which several are discussed, using Pseudomonas aeruginosa as the model host.
Prevention and control of infectious diseases remains a major public health challenge and a number of highly virulent pathogens are emerging both in and beyond the hospital setting. Despite beneficial aspects such as use in biocontrol and bioremediation exhibited by members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) some members of this group have recently gained attention as significant bacterial pathogens due to their high levels of intrinsic antibiotic resistance, transmissibility in nosocomial settings, persistence in the presence of antimicrobials and intracellular survival capabilities. The Bcc are opportunistic pathogens and their arsenal of virulence factors includes proteases, lipases and other secreted exoproducts, including secretion system-associated effectors. Deciphering the function of virulence factors and assessment of novel therapeutic strategies has been facilitated by use of diverse non-vertebrate hosts (the fly Drosophila melanogaster, the microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the zebrafish and the greater Galleria mellonella wax moth caterpillar larvae). Researchers are now employing sophisticated approaches to dissect the virulence determinants of Bcc with the ultimate goal being the development of novel anti-infective countermeasures. This editorial will highlight selected recent research endeavors aimed at dissecting adaptive responses and the virulence factor portfolio of Burkholderia species.
Burkholderia cepacia complex; hemolysis; non-ribosomal peptide synthetase; non-vertebrate hosts; toxins; virulence factors
Genetic research into these select agents is hampered by lack of permitted markers.
Genetic research into the select agents Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei is currently hampered by a paucity of approved antimicrobial drug–selection markers. The strict regulations imposed on researchers in the United States but not in other parts of the world lead to discrepancies in practice, hinder distribution of genetically modified strains, and impede progress in the field. Deliberation and decisions regarding alternative selection markers (antimicrobial and nonantimicrobial drugs) by the international community, regulatory authorities, and funding agencies are needed.
antimicrobial drug–selection markers; select agents; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Burkholderia mallei; melioidosis; glanders; perspective
The Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 thiol peroxidase homolog (Tpx) belongs to a family of enzymes implicated in the removal of toxic peroxides. We have shown the expression of tpx to be highly inducible with redox cycling/superoxide generators and diamide and weakly inducible with organic hydroperoxides and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The PAO1 tpx pattern is unlike the patterns for other peroxide-scavenging genes in P. aeruginosa. Analysis of the tpx promoter reveals the presence of a putative IscR binding site located near the promoter. The tpx expression profiles in PAO1 and the iscR mutant, together with results from gel mobility shift assays showing that purified IscR specifically binds the tpx promoter, support the role of IscR as a transcriptional repressor of tpx that also regulates the oxidant-inducible expression of the gene. Recombinant Tpx has been purified and biochemically characterized. The enzyme catalyzes thioredoxin-dependent peroxidation and can utilize organic hydroperoxides and H2O2 as substrates. The Δtpx mutant demonstrates differential sensitivity to H2O2 only at moderate concentrations (0.5 mM) and not at high (20 mM) concentrations, suggesting a novel protective role of tpx against H2O2 in P. aeruginosa. Altogether, P. aeruginosa tpx is a novel member of the IscR regulon and plays a primary role in protecting the bacteria from submillimolar concentrations of H2O2.
Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are closely related Category B Select Agents of bioterrorism and the causative agents of the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Rapid phage-based diagnostic tools would greatly benefit early recognition and treatment of these diseases. There is extensive strain-to-strain variation in B. pseudomallei genome content due in part to the presence or absence of integrated prophages. Several phages have previously been isolated from B. pseudomallei lysogens, for example φK96243, φ1026b and φ52237.
We have isolated a P2-like bacteriophage, φX216, which infects 78% of all B. pseudomallei strains tested. φX216 also infects B. mallei, but not other Burkholderia species, including the closely related B. thailandensis and B. oklahomensis. The nature of the φX216 host receptor remains unclear but evidence indicates that in B. mallei φX216 uses lipopolysaccharide O-antigen but a different receptor in B. pseudomallei. The 37,637 bp genome of φX216 encodes 47 predicted open reading frames and shares 99.8% pairwise identity and an identical strain host range with bacteriophage φ52237. Closely related P2-like prophages appear to be widely distributed among B. pseudomallei strains but both φX216 and φ52237 readily infect prophage carrying strains.
The broad strain infectivity and high specificity for B. pseudomallei and B. mallei indicate that φX216 will provide a good platform for the development of phage-based diagnostics for these bacteria.
Bacteriophage; Burkholderia pseudomallei; B. mallei; P2; Prophage distribution; Phage-based diagnostics
The US Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise convened subject matter experts at the 2010 HHS Burkholderia Workshop to develop consensus recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis against and treatment for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei infections, which cause melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Drugs recommended by consensus of the participants are ceftazidime or meropenem for initial intensive therapy, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid for eradication therapy. For postexposure prophylaxis, recommended drugs are trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or co-amoxiclav. To improve the timely diagnosis of melioidosis and glanders, further development and wide distribution of rapid diagnostic assays were also recommended. Standardized animal models and B. pseudomallei strains are needed for further development of therapeutic options. Training for laboratory technicians and physicians would facilitate better diagnosis and treatment options.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; Burkholderia mallei; glanders; drug therapy; postexposure prophylaxis; ceftazidime; carbapenems; trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole; combination; amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate; clavulanic acid bacteria; antibiotic; antibacterial drugs; antimicrobial drugs; bacteria; Suggested citation for this article: Lipsitz R; Garges S; Aurigemma R; Baccam P; Blaney DD; Cheng AC; et al. Workshop on treatment of and postexposure prophylaxis for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei infection; 2010. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2012 Dec [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1812.120638
d-boroAla was previously characterized as an inhibitor of bacterial alanine racemase and d-Ala-d-Ala ligase enzymes [Duncan, K., et al Biochemistry 1989, 28:3541–9]. In the present study, d-boroAla was identified and characterized as an antibacterial agent. d-boroAla has activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms, with MICs down to 8 µg/mL. A structure-function study on the alkyl side chain (NH2-CHR-B(OR’)2) revealed that d-boroAla is the most effective agent in a series including boroGly, d-boroHomoAla, and d-boroVal. l-boroAla was much less active, and N-acetylation completely abolished activity. An LC-MS/MS assay was used to demonstrate that d-boroAla exerts its antibacterial activity by inhibition of d-Ala-d-Ala ligase (DDL). d-boroAla is bactericidal at 1× MIC against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis – which each encode one copy of DDL, and at 4× MIC against Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium – which each encode two copies of DDL. d-boroAla demonstrated a frequency of resistance of 8×10−8 at 4× MIC in S. aureus. These results demonstrate that d-boroAla has promising antibacterial activity, and could serve as the lead agent in a new class of DDL targeted antibacterial agents. This study also demonstrates d-boroAla as a possible probe for DDL function.
antibacterial; cell wall; alanine branch; broad spectrum; d-Ala-d-Ala ligase
The FabAB pathway is one of the unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) synthesis pathways for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It was previously noted that this operon was upregulated in biofilms and repressed by exogenous UFAs. Deletion of a 30 nt fabA upstream sequence, which is conserved in P. aeruginosa, P. putida, and P. syringae, led to a significant decrease in fabA transcription, suggesting positive regulation by an unknown positive regulatory mechanism.
Here, genetic and biochemical approaches were employed to identify a potential fabAB activator. Deletion of candidate genes such as PA1611 or PA1627 was performed to determine if any of these gene products act as a fabAB activator. However, none of these genes were involved in the regulation of fabAB transcription. Use of mariner-based random mutagenesis to screen for fabA activator(s) showed that several genes encoding unknown functions, rpoN and DesA may be involved in fabA regulation, but probably via indirect mechanisms. Biochemical attempts performed did fail to isolate an activator of fabAB operon.
The data suggest that fabA expression might not be regulated by protein-binding, but by a distinct mechanism such as a regulatory RNA-based mechanism.
The type II secretion (T2S) system in Gram-negative bacteria is comprised of the Sec and Tat pathways for translocating proteins into the periplasm and an outer membrane secretin for transporting proteins into the extracellular space. To discover Sec/Tat/T2S pathway inhibitors as potential new therapeutics, we used a Pseudomonas aeruginosa bioluminescent reporter strain responsive to SecA depletion and inhibition to screen compound libraries and characterize the hits. The reporter strain placed a luxCDABE operon under regulation of a SecA depletion-responsive up-regulated promoter in a secA deletion background complemented with an ectopic lac-regulated secA copy. Bioluminescence was indirectly proportional to the IPTG concentration and stimulated by azide, a known SecA ATPase inhibitor. A total of 96 compounds (0.1% of 73,000) were detected as primary hits due to stimulation of luminescence with a z-score ≥5. Direct secretion assays of the 9 most potent hits, representing 5 chemical scaffolds, revealed that they do not inhibit SecA-mediated secretion of β-lactamase into the periplasm, but do inhibit T2S-mediated extracellular secretion of elastase with IC50 values from 5 – 25 μM. In addition, 7 of the 9 compounds also inhibited the T2S-mediated extracellular secretion of phospholipases C by P. aeruginosa and of protease activity by Burkholderia pseudomallei.
P. aeruginosa; type II secretion; high throughput screening; inhibitors
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the cause of serious and life-threatening diseases in humans, is of national biodefense concern because of its potential use as a bioterrorism agent. This microbe is listed as a select agent by the CDC; therefore, development of vaccines is of significant importance. Here, we further investigated the growth characteristics of a recently created B. pseudomallei 1026b Δasd mutant in vitro, in a cell model, and in an animal model of infection. The mutant was typified by an inability to grow in the absence of exogenous diaminopimelate (DAP); upon single-copy complementation with a wild-type copy of the asd gene, growth was restored to wild-type levels. Further characterization of the B. pseudomallei Δasd mutant revealed a marked decrease in RAW264.7 murine macrophage cytotoxicity compared to the wild type and the complemented Δasd mutant. RAW264.7 cells infected by the Δasd mutant did not exhibit signs of cytopathology or multinucleated giant cell (MNGC) formation, which were observed in wild-type B. pseudomallei cell infections. The Δasd mutant was found to be avirulent in BALB/c mice, and mice vaccinated with the mutant were protected against acute inhalation melioidosis. Thus, the B. pseudomallei Δasd mutant may be a promising live attenuated vaccine strain and a biosafe strain for consideration of exclusion from the select agent list.
Colony morphology variation of Burkholderia pseudomallei is a notable feature of a proportion of primary clinical cultures from patients with melioidosis. Here, we examined the hypothesis that colony morphology switching results in phenotypic changes associated with enhanced survival under adverse conditions. We generated isogenic colony morphology types II and III from B. pseudomallei strain 153 type I, and compared their protein expression profiles using 2D gel electrophoresis. Numerous proteins were differentially expressed, the most prominent of which were flagellin, arginine deiminase (AD) and carbamate kinase (CK), which were over-expressed in isogenic types II and III compared with parental type I. AD and CK (encoded by arcA and arcC) are components of the arginine deiminase system (ADS) which facilitates acid tolerance. Reverse transcriptase PCR of arcA and arcC mRNA expression confirmed the proteomic results. Transcripts of parental type I strain 153 arcA and arcC were increased in the presence of arginine, in a low oxygen concentration and in acid. Comparison of wild type with arcA and arcC defective mutants demonstrated that the B. pseudomallei ADS was associated with survival in acid, but did not appear to play a role in intracellular survival or replication within the mouse macrophage cell line J774A.1. These data provide novel insights into proteomic alterations that occur during the complex process of morphotype switching, and lend support to the idea that this is associated with a fitness advantage in vivo.
► B. pseudomallei undergoes morphotypic switching in response to stress. ► Numerous proteins were differentially expressed by isogenic morphotypes. ► Types II and III over-expressed arginine deiminase (ArcA) and carbamate kinase (ArcC). ► Exposure of parental type I to acid led to increased transcription of arcA and arcC. ► arcA and arcC defective mutants had reduced survival in acid.
Melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Arginine deiminase system; Proteomic analysis; Colony variation
Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei, the etiologic agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively, cause severe disease in humans and animals and are considered potential agents of biological warfare and terrorism. Diagnosis and treatment of infections caused by these pathogens can be challenging and, in the absence of chemotherapeutic intervention, acute disease is frequently fatal. At present, there are no human or veterinary vaccines available for immunization against these emerging/re-emerging infectious diseases. One of the long term objectives of our research, therefore, is to identify and characterize protective antigens expressed by B. pseudomallei and B. mallei and use them to develop efficacious vaccine candidates. Previous studies have demonstrated that the 6-deoxy-heptan capsular polysaccharide (CPS) expressed by these bacterial pathogens is both a virulence determinant and a protective antigen. Consequently, this carbohydrate moiety has become an important component of the various subunit vaccines that we are currently developing in our laboratory. In the present study, we describe a reliable method for isolating CPS antigens from O-polysaccharide (OPS) deficient strains of B. pseudomallei; including a derivative of the select agent excluded strain Bp82. Utilizing these purified CPS samples, we also describe a simple procedure for covalently linking these T-cell independent antigens to carrier proteins. In addition, we demonstrate that high titer IgG responses can be raised against the CPS component of such constructs. Collectively, these approaches provide a tangible starting point for the development of novel CPS-based glycoconjugates for immunization against melioidosis and glanders.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; Burkholderia mallei; capsular polysaccharide; glycoconjugate; vaccine; immunization
Most Burkholderia pseudomallei strains are intrinsically resistant to macrolides, mainly due to AmrAB-OprA- and/or BpeAB-OprB-mediated efflux. We assessed the in vitro anti-B. pseudomallei efficacy of cethromycin, a novel ketolide with broad-spectrum activity against Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens.
The 2-fold broth microdilution technique was used to assess the in vitro cethromycin susceptibility of a prototype strain, efflux mutants, and a panel of 60 clinical and environmental strains. Time–kill curves were used to assess the mode of action. Spontaneous resistant mutants were isolated and AmrAB-OprA efflux pump expression assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. Deletion and complementation analyses were performed to demonstrate AmrAB-OprA efflux pump mutant involvement in high-level cethromycin resistance.
In contrast to macrolides, cethromycin was a weak substrate of AmrAB-OprA and BpeAB-OprB. Cethromycin was bactericidal at high concentrations and bacteriostatic at MIC levels. The ketolide showed efficacy against clinical and environmental strains of B. pseudomallei, with MIC values ranging from 4 to 64 mg/L. Environmental isolates were consistently more susceptible than clinical isolates. High-level cethromycin resistance (MIC 128 mg/L) was due to constitutive AmrAB-OprA efflux pump overexpression, but other mechanisms also seem to contribute.
In contrast to macrolides, which are readily effluxed, cethromycin is weakly extruded in wild-type strains and thus demonstrates significant in vitro anti-B. pseudomallei activity against diverse strains. Acquired high-level cethromycin resistance is caused by constitutive AmrAB-OprA efflux pump overexpression and other, probably non-efflux, mechanisms may also contribute to lower-level acquired resistance.
melioidosis; therapy; ketolides; efflux
Bioluminescent imaging (BLI) technology is a powerful tool for monitoring infectious disease progression and treatment approaches. BLI is particularly useful for tracking fastidious intracellular pathogens that might be difficult to recover from certain organs. Burkholderia mallei, the causative agent of glanders, is a facultative intracellular pathogen and has been classified by the CDC as a Category B select agent due to its highly infectious nature and potential use as a biological weapon. Very little is known regarding pathogenesis or treatment of glanders. We investigated the use of bioluminescent reporter constructs to monitor the dynamics of infection as well as the efficacy of therapeutics for B. mallei in real-time. A stable luminescent reporter B. mallei strain was created using the pUTmini-Tn5::luxKm2 plasmid and used to monitor glanders in the BALB/c murine model. Mice were infected via the intranasal route with 5 × 103 bacteria and monitored by BLI at 24, 48, and 72 h. We verified that our reporter construct maintained similar virulence and growth kinetics compared to wild-type B. mallei and confirmed that it maintains luminescent stability in the presence or absence of antibiotic selection. The luminescent signal was initially seen in the lungs, and progressed to the liver and spleen over the course of infection. We demonstrated that antibiotic treatment 24 h post-infection resulted in reduction of bioluminescence that can be attributed to decreased bacterial burden in target organs. These findings suggest that BLI can be used to monitor disease progression and efficacy of therapeutics during glanders infections. Finally, we report an alternative method to mini-Tn5::luxKm2 transposon using mini-Tn7-lux elements that insert site-specifically at known genomic attachment sites and that can also be used to tag bacteria.
bioluminescence; Burkholderia mallei; in vivo imaging; antibiotic
Burkholderia pseudomallei is an intrinsically antibiotic-resistant Category B priority pathogen and the aetiological agent of melioidosis. Treatment of B. pseudomallei infection is biphasic and lengthy in order to combat the acute and chronic phases of the disease. Acute-phase treatment preferably involves an intravenous cephalosporin (ceftazidime) or a carbapenem (imipenem or meropenem). In this study, the anti-B. pseudomallei efficacy of a new monosulfactam, BAL30072, was tested against laboratory strains 1026b and 1710b and several isogenic mutant derivatives as well as a collection of clinical and environmental B. pseudomallei strains from Thailand. More than 93% of the isolates had minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) in the range 0.004–0.016 μg/mL. For the laboratory strain 1026b, the MIC of BAL30072 was 0.008 μg/mL, comparable with the MICs of 1.5 μg/mL for ceftazidime, 0.5 μg/mL for imipenem and 1 μg/mL for meropenem. Time–kill curves revealed that BAL30072 was rapidly bactericidal, killing >99% of bacteria in 2 h. BAL30072 activity was not significantly affected by efflux, it was only a marginal substrate of PenA β-lactamase, and activity was independent of malleobactin production and transport and the ability to transport pyochelin. In summary, BAL30072 has superior in vitro activity against B. pseudomallei compared with ceftazidime, meropenem or imipenem and it is rapidly bactericidal.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; Melioidosis; Therapy; Monosulfactam; Efflux; Siderophore
Burkholderia pseudomallei is the etiological agent of melioidosis. Because of the bacterium’s intrinsic resistance and propensity to establish latent infections, melioidosis therapy is complicated and prolonged. Newer generation β-lactams, specifically ceftazidime, are used for acute phase therapy, but resistance to this cephalosporin has been observed. The chromosomally encoded penA gene encodes a putative twin arginine translocase (TAT)-secreted β-lactamase, and penA mutations have been implicated in ceftazidime resistance in clinical isolates. However, the role of PenA in resistance has not yet been systematically studied in isogenetic B. pseudomallei mutant backgrounds. We investigated the effects of penA deletion, point mutations, and up-regulation, as well as tat operon deletion and PenA TAT-signal sequence mutations. These experiments were made possible by employing a B. pseudomallei strain that is excluded from Select Agent regulations. Deletion of penA significantly (>4-fold) reduced the susceptibility to six of the nine β-lactams tested and ≥16-fold for ampicillin, amoxicillin, and carbenicillin. Overexpression of penA by single-copy, chromosomal expression of the gene under control of the inducible Ptac promoter, increased resistance levels for all β-lactams tested 2- to 10-fold. Recreation of the C69Y and P167S PenA amino acid substitutions previously observed in resistant clinical isolates increased resistance to ceftazidime by ≥85- and 5- to 8-fold, respectively. Similarly, a S72F substitution resulted in a 4-fold increase in resistance to amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Susceptibility assays with PenA TAT-signal sequence and ΔtatABC mutants, as well as Western blot analysis, confirmed that PenA is a TAT secreted enzyme and not periplasmic but associated with the spheroplastic cell fraction. Lastly, we determined that two LysR-family regulators encoded by genes adjacent to penA do not play a role in transcriptional regulation of penA expression.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; antibiotic resistance; β-lactams; β-lactamase; TAT secretion
Most Burkholderia pseudomallei strains are intrinsically aminoglycoside resistant, mainly due to AmrAB-OprA-mediated efflux. Rare naturally occurring or genetically engineered mutants lacking this pump are aminoglycoside susceptible despite the fact that they also encode and express BpeAB-OprB, which was reported to mediate efflux of aminoglycosides in the Singapore strain KHW. To reassess the role of BpeAB-OprB in B. pseudomallei aminoglycoside resistance, we used mutants overexpressing or lacking this pump in either AmrAB-OprA-proficient or -deficient strain 1026b backgrounds. Our data show that BpeAB-OprB does not mediate efflux of aminoglycosides but is a multidrug efflux system which extrudes macrolides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, acriflavine, and, to a lesser extent, chloramphenicol. Phylogenetically, BpeAB-OprB is closely related to Pseudomonas aeruginosa MexAB-OprM, which has a similar substrate spectrum. AmrAB-OprA is most closely related to MexXY, the only P. aeruginosa efflux pump known to extrude aminoglycosides. Since BpeAB-OprB in strain KHW was also implicated in playing a major role in export of acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum-sensing molecules and in expression of diverse virulence factors, we explored whether this was also true in the strain 1026b background. The results showed that BpeAB-OprB was not required for AHL export, and mutants lacking this efflux system exhibited normal swimming motility and siderophore production, which were severely impaired in KHW bpeAB-oprB mutants. Biofilm formation was impaired in 1026b Δ(amrRAB-oprA) and Δ(amrRAB-oprA) Δ(bpeAB-oprB) mutants. At present, we do not know why our BpeAB-OprB susceptibility and virulence factor expression results with 1026b and its derivatives are different from those previously published for Singapore strain KHW.
Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei are the causative agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Both Gram-negative pathogens are endemic in many parts of the world. Although natural acquisition of these pathogens is rare in the majority of countries, these bacteria have recently gained much interest because of their potential as bioterrorism agents. In modern times, their potential destructive impact on public health has escalated owing to the ability of these pathogens to cause opportunistic infections in diabetic and perhaps otherwise immunocompromised people, two growing populations worldwide. For both pathogens, severe infection in humans carries a high mortality rate, both species are recalcitrant to antibiotic therapy – B. pseudomallei more so than B. mallei – and no licensed vaccine exists for either prophylactic or therapeutic use. The potential malicious use of these organisms has accelerated the investigation of new ways to prevent and to treat the diseases. The availability of several B. pseudomallei and B. mallei genome sequences has greatly facilitated target identifcation and development of new therapeutics. This review provides a compilation of literature covering studies in antimelioidosis and antiglanders antimicrobial drug discovery, with a particular focus on potential novel therapeutic approaches to combat these diseases.
antibiotics; antimicrobial compounds; Burkholderia mallei; Burkholderia pseudomallei