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2.  Subdural haematoma in Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax mixed infection presenting multiple clinical complications 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 12):1902-1904.
A 40-year-old man was admitted to hospital with a 5 day history of fever, restlessness and altered sensorium. Peripheral blood smears showed a Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum mixed infection as revealed by the presence of rings, schizonts and gametocyte forms of the parasites. The patient soon became unconscious due to subdural haematoma (SDH) associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation and thrombocytopenia. Immediate intervention with a right fronto-parieto temporal craniectomy, evacuation of the SDH and intravenous quinine administration resulted in the patient’s complete recovery within 8 days of admission, and he was discharged in good clinical condition.
PMCID: PMC3853683  PMID: 23988631
3.  Monoclonal antibodies against all known variants of EspA: development of a simple diagnostic test for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli based on a key virulence factor 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 12):1595-1607.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are a major cause of infant diarrhoea in developing countries and a significant public health issue in industrialized countries. Currently there are no simple tests available for the diagnosis of EPEC. Serology of O-antigens is widely used routinely in many laboratories throughout the world, even though it has been known for many years to be an unreliable indicator of EPEC virulence. We have developed a simple, low-cost immunodiagnostic test based on the EspA filament, an essential virulence factor of EPEC and the related enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Using recombinant proteins of the five major variants of EspA as immunogens, we raised a panel of three monoclonal antibodies in mice that detects all variants of the native target in bacterial cultures. The antibodies proved suitable for application in sandwich-type assays, including ELISA and lateral flow immunoassays (LFI). Prototypes for both assays were specific for EPEC and EHEC strains when tested against a panel of control micro-organisms. We have also developed a simple, affordable culture medium, A/E medium, which optimizes expression of EspA allowing improved sensitivity of detection compared with standard Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium. Together these reagents form the basis of robust, informative tests for EPEC for use especially in developing countries but also for routine screening in any clinical laboratory.
PMCID: PMC4250835  PMID: 25231626
4.  In vitro activities of amphotericin B deoxycholate and liposomal amphotericin B against 604 clinical yeast isolates 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 12):1638-1643.
We determined the in vitro antifungal activity of liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) against 604 clinical yeast isolates. Amphotericin B deoxycholate (D-AmB) was tested in parallel against all the isolates. Susceptibility testing was performed according to the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) M27-A3 method. Overall, L-AmB was highly active against the isolates (mean MIC, 0.42 µg ml−1; MIC90, 1 µg ml−1; 97.2 % of MICs were ≤1 µg ml−1) and comparable to D-AmB (mean MIC, 0.48 µg ml−1; MIC90, 1 µg ml−1; 97.3 % of MICs were ≤1 µg ml−1). The in vitro activity of D-AmB and L-AmB was correlated (R2 = 0.61; exp(b), 2.3; 95 % CI, 2.19–2.44, P<0.001). Candida albicans (mean MICs of D-AmB and L-AmB, 0.39 µg ml−1 and 0.31 µg ml−1, respectively) and Candida parapsilosis (mean MICs of D-AmB and L-AmB, 0.38 µg ml−1 and 0.35 µg ml−1, respectively) were the species most susceptible to the agents tested, while Candida krusei (currently named Issatchenkia orientalis) (mean MICs of D-AmB and L-AmB, 1.27 µg ml−1 and 1.13 µg ml−1, respectively) was the least susceptible. The excellent in vitro activity of L-AmB may have important implications for empirical treatment approaches and support its role in treatment of a wide range of invasive infections due to yeasts.
PMCID: PMC4250836  PMID: 25210203
5.  Characterization of a cyclophosphamide-induced murine model of immunosuppression to study Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 11):1747-1754.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative bacterium that opportunistically infects critically ill hospitalized patients with breaches in skin integrity and airway protection, leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Considering the paucity of well-established animal models of immunosuppression to study A. baumannii pathogenesis, we set out to characterize a murine model of immunosuppression using the alkylating agent cyclophosphamide (CYP). We hypothesized that CYP-induced immunosuppression would increase the susceptibility of C57BL/6 mice to developing A. baumannii-mediated pneumonia followed by systemic disease. We demonstrated that CYP intensified A. baumannii-mediated pulmonary disease, abrogated normal immune cell function and led to altered pro-inflammatory cytokine release. The development of an animal model that mimics A. baumannii infection onset in immunosuppressed individuals is crucial for generating novel approaches to patient care and improving public health strategies to decrease exposure to infection for individuals at risk.
PMCID: PMC4083505  PMID: 24000227
6.  An outbreak of blaOXA-51-like- and blaOXA-66-positive Acinetobacter baumannii ST208 in the emergency intensive care unit 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 11):1517-1523.
A series of clinical isolates of drug-resistant (DR) Acinetobacter baumannii with diverse drug susceptibility was detected from eight patients in the emergency intensive care unit of Tokai University Hospital. The initial isolate was obtained in March 2010 (A. baumannii Tokai strain 1); subsequently, seven isolates were obtained from patients (A. baumannii Tokai strains 2–8) and one isolate was obtained from an air-fluidized bed used by five of the patients during the 3 months from August to November 2011. The isolates were classified into three types of antimicrobial drug resistance patterns (RRR, SRR and SSR) according to their susceptibility (S) or resistance (R) to imipenem, amikacin and ciprofloxacin, respectively. Genotyping of these isolates by multilocus sequence typing revealed one sequence type, ST208, whilst that by a DiversiLab analysis revealed two subtypes. All the isolates were positive for blaOXA-51-like and blaOXA-66, as assessed by PCR and DNA sequencing. A. baumannii Tokai strains 1–8 and 10 (RRR, SRR and SSR) had quinolone resistance-associated mutations in gyrA/parC, as revealed by DNA sequencing. The ISAba1 upstream of blaOXA-51-like and aminoglycoside resistance-associated gene, armA, were detected in A. baumannii Tokai strains 1–7 and 10 (RRR and SRR) as assessed by PCR. Among the genes encoding resistance–nodulation–division family pumps (adeB, adeG and adeJ) and outer-membrane porins (oprD and carO), overexpression of adeB and adeJ and suppression of oprD and carO were seen in isolates of A. baumannii Tokai strain 2 (RRR), as assessed by real-time PCR. Thus, the molecular characterization of a series of isolates of DR A. baumannii revealed the outbreak of ST208 and diverse antimicrobial drug susceptibilities, which almost correlated with differential gene alterations responsible for each type of drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC4209737  PMID: 25142965
7.  Seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric mucosal atrophy in Bhutan, a country with a high prevalence of gastric cancer 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 10):1571-1578.
Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the world. Recently, serum Helicobacter pylori antibodies and pepsinogen (PG) have been used for gastric cancer screening. The incidence of gastric cancer in Bhutan is reported to be quite high compared with that in neighbouring countries. In this study, 381 subjects from three areas of Bhutan were assessed for gastric mucosal atrophy and serological parameters. Anti-H. pylori IgG, PG I, PG II and cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA) antibodies were measured using ELISA. Subjects were classified into four groups according to H. pylori and PG seropositivity: Group A (H. pylori-negative/PG-negative), Group B (H. pylori-positive/PG-negative), Group C (H. pylori-positive/PG-positive) and Group D (H. pylori-negative/PG-positive). The prevalence of H. pylori in the 381 subjects was 71.1 % (271/381), with high infection rates found in rural areas. The PG I/II ratio was significantly inversely correlated with the atrophy score in the antrum and the corpus (P<0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that the PG status was significantly associated with the presence of atrophy in the corpus. The prevalence of the PG-positive status was significantly higher among H. pylori-positive subjects than among H. pylori-negative subjects (P<0.001). Based on the ABC method, Group B was the most dominant, followed by Group A, Group C and Group D. The high incidence of gastric cancer in Bhutan can be attributed to the high prevalence of H. pylori infection and gastric mucosal atrophy.
PMCID: PMC3799224  PMID: 23831768
8.  Emergence of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii as the major cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care unit patients at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 10):1386-1394.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious healthcare-associated infection that affects up to 30 % of intubated and mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. The bacterial aetiology and corresponding antimicrobial susceptibility of VAP is highly variable, and can differ between countries, national provinces and even between different wards in the same hospital. We aimed to understand and document changes in the causative agents of VAP and their antimicrobial susceptibility profiles retrospectively over an 11 year period in a major infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. Our analysis outlined a significant shift from Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Acinetobacter spp. as the most prevalent bacteria isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates in patients with VAP in this setting. Antimicrobial resistance was common across all bacterial species and we found a marked proportional annual increase in carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp. over a 3 year period from 2008 (annual trend; odds ratio 1.656, P = 0.010). We further investigated the possible emergence of a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clone by multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis, finding a blaOXA-23-positive strain that was associated with an upsurge in the isolation of this pathogen. We additionally identified a single blaNDM-1-positive A. baumannii isolate. This work highlights the emergence of a carbapenem-resistant clone of A. baumannii and a worrying trend of antimicrobial resistance in the ICU of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
PMCID: PMC4170484  PMID: 25038137
9.  Proteolytic processing of the Yersinia pestis YapG autotransporter by the omptin protease Pla and the contribution of YapG to murine plague pathogenesis 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 8):1124-1134.
Autotransporter protein secretion represents one of the simplest forms of secretion across Gram-negative bacterial membranes. Once secreted, autotransporter proteins either remain tethered to the bacterial surface or are released following proteolytic cleavage. Autotransporters possess a diverse array of virulence-associated functions such as motility, cytotoxicity, adherence and autoaggregation. To better understand the role of autotransporters in disease, our research focused on the autotransporters of Yersinia pestis, the aetiological agent of plague. Y. pestis strain CO92 has nine functional conventional autotransporters, referred to as Yaps for Yersinia autotransporter proteins. Three Yaps have been directly implicated in virulence using established mouse models of plague infection (YapE, YapJ and YapK). Whilst previous studies from our laboratory have shown that most of the CO92 Yaps are cell associated, YapE and YapG are processed and released by the omptin protease Pla. In this study, we identified the Pla cleavage sites in YapG that result in many released forms of YapG in Y. pestis, but not in the evolutionarily related gastrointestinal pathogen, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which lacks Pla. Furthermore, we showed that YapG does not contribute to Y. pestis virulence in established mouse models of bubonic and pneumonic infection. As Y. pestis has a complex life cycle involving a wide range of mammalian hosts and a flea vector for transmission, it remains to be elucidated whether YapG has a measurable role in any other stage of plague disease.
PMCID: PMC3749520  PMID: 23657527
10.  Suppressor of cytokine signalling protein SOCS1 and UBP43 regulate the expression of type I interferon-stimulated genes in human microvascular endothelial cells infected with Rickettsia conorii 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 7):968-979.
Rickettsia conorii, the causative agent of Mediterranean spotted fever, preferentially infects human microvascular endothelium and activates pro-inflammatory innate immune responses as evidenced by enhanced expression and secretion of cytokines and chemokines. Our recent studies reveal that human microvascular endothelial cells (HMECs) infected with R. conorii also launch ‘antiviral’ host defence mechanisms typically governed by type I interferons. To summarize, infected HMECs secrete IFN-β to activate STAT1 in an autocrine/paracrine manner and display increased expression of IFN-stimulated genes, for example ISG15, which in turn activate innate responses to interfere with intracellular replication of rickettsiae. We now present evidence that UBP43 and SOCS1, known negative regulators of JAK/STAT signalling, are also induced in R. conorii-infected HMECs, of which UBP43 but not SOCS1 functions to negatively regulate STAT1 activation. Interestingly, UBP43 induction is almost completely abolished in the presence of IFN-β-neutralizing antibody, implicating an important role for UBP43 as a feedback inhibitor for IFN-β-mediated STAT1 activation. In contrast, SOCS1 expression is only partially affected by IFN-β neutralization, implicating potential involvement of as-yet-unidentified IFN-independent mechanism(s) in SOCS1 induction during R. conorii infection. A number of IFN-stimulated genes, including ISG15, OAS1, MX1, IRF1, IRF9 and TAP1 are also induced in an IFN-β-dependent manner, whereas GBP1 remains unaffected by IFN-β neutralization. Increased STAT1 phosphorylation in HMECs subjected to UBP43 knockdown led to transcriptional activation of OAS1, MX1 and GBP1, confirming the negative regulatory role of UBP43. Although IRF1, IRF9 and TAP1 were induced by IFN-β, siRNA-mediated silencing of UBP43 or SOCS1 did not significantly affect their transcriptional activation. Expression of ISG15 was, however, increased in HMECs transfected with siRNA for UBP43 and SOCS1. Thus, unique regulatory patterns of induced expression of UBP43, SOCS1 and IFN-stimulated genes represent pathogen-specific responses underlying IFN-β-mediated host endothelial signalling during the pathogenesis of spotted fever group rickettsiosis.
PMCID: PMC3709555  PMID: 23558133
11.  α-Cyclodextrin decreases cholera toxin binding to GM1-gangliosides 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 7):1011-1014.
Cholera toxin (CT), the principal virulence factor secreted by Vibrio cholerae, is an A-B5 type exotoxin that binds to host cell GM1-gangliosides and is responsible for cholera diarrhoea. We tested the hypothesis that the cyclic hexasaccharide α-cyclodextrin (α-CD), but not the cyclic heptasaccharides methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MD-β-CD) and hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) inhibit binding of CT to GM1-gangliosides. We report that α-CD decreases CT binding to GM1-ganglioside-coated microtitre plate wells and on the surface of fixed HeLa cells in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that this may be a promising lead for the development of compounds with therapeutic properties.
PMCID: PMC4083513  PMID: 23538564
13.  Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli strain in a novel weaned mouse model: exacerbation by malnutrition, biofilm as a virulence factor and treatment by nitazoxanide 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 6):896-905.
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is increasingly recognized as a common cause of diarrhoea in healthy, malnourished and immune-deficient adults and children. There is no reproducible non-neonatal animal model for longitudinal studies of disease mechanism or therapy. Using two strains of human-derived EAEC to challenge weaned C57BL/6 mice, we explored an in vivo model of EAEC infection in mice, in which disease was monitored quantitatively as the growth rate, stool shedding and tissue burden of organisms; nutritional status was varied, and a new class of therapeutics was assessed. A single oral challenge of EAEC strain 042 resulted in significant growth shortfalls (5–8 % of body weight in 12 days), persistent shedding of micro-organisms in stools [>103.2 c.f.u. (10 mg stool)−1 for at least 14 days] and intestinal tissue burden [~103 c.f.u. (10 mg tissue)−1 detectable up to 14 days post-challenge]. Moderate malnourishment of mice using a ‘regional basic diet’ containing 7 % protein and reduced fat and micronutrients heightened all parameters of infection. Nitazoxanide in subMIC doses, administered for 3 days at the time of EAEC challenge, lessened growth shortfalls (by >10 % of body weight), stool shedding [by 2–3 logs (10 mg stool)−1] and tissue burden of organisms (by >75 % in the jejunum and colon). Thus, weaned C57BL/6 mice challenged with EAEC is a convenient, readily inducible model of EAEC infection with three highly quantifiable outcomes in which disease severity is dependent on the nutritional status of the host, and which is modifiable in the presence of inhibitors of pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase such as nitazoxanide.
PMCID: PMC3709553  PMID: 23475903
14.  Late acyltransferase genes lpxX and lpxL jointly contribute to the biological activities of Moraxella catarrhalis 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 6):807-812.
Lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) is a major surface component and virulence factor of the human respiratory pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis. Two late acyltransferase genes, lpxX and lpxL, have been identified involved in the incorporation of acyloxyacyl-linked secondary acyl chains into lipid A during M. catarrhalis LOS biosynthesis. In this study, a double mutant with a deletion of both the lpxX and lpxL genes in M. catarrhalis strain O35E was constructed and named O35ElpxXL. Structural analysis of lipid A showed that the O35ElpxXL mutant lacked two decanoic acids (10 : 0) and one dodecanoic (lauric) acid (12 : 0). In comparison with the O35E parental strain and the single mutants O35ElpxX and O35ElpxL, the double mutant O35ElpxXL displayed prominently decreased endotoxin content, reduced resistance to normal human serum and accelerated bacterial clearance at 0, 3 and 6 h after an aerosol challenge in a mouse model of bacterial pulmonary clearance. These results indicate that these two genes encoding late acyltransferases responsible for lipid A biosynthesis jointly contribute to the biological activities and pathogenicity of M. catarrhalis. The double mutant O35ElpxXL with dramatically reduced toxicity is proposed as a potential vaccine candidate against M. catarrhalis infections for further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3709554  PMID: 23475908
15.  Phospholipid catabolism by gut microbiota and the risk of cardiovascular disease 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 6):948-950.
PMCID: PMC4080731  PMID: 23518648
16.  Effects of ciprofloxacin on the expression and production of exotoxins by Clostridium difficile 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 5):741-747.
Hypervirulent BI/NAP1/027 strains of Clostridium difficile have been associated with increased mortality of C. difficile infection (CDI). The emergence of highly fluoroquinolone (FLQ)-resistant BI/NAP1/027 strains suggests that FLQ exposure may be a risk factor for CDI development. However, the mechanism for this is not clear. We compared the effects of subinhibitory concentrations of ciprofloxacin on Toxin A and B gene expression and protein production in recent (strain 039) and historical (strain 5325) BI/NAP1/027 clinical isolates with high- and low-level ciprofloxacin resistance, respectively. In the highly ciprofloxacin-resistant isolate (strain 039), ciprofloxacin significantly and dose-dependently increased Toxin A gene expression and shifted its expression to earlier in its growth cycle; TcdB gene expression also increased but was less sensitive to low-dose ciprofloxacin. Maximal Toxin A/B production (4 ng ml−1) was increased twofold and occurred significantly earlier than in the untreated control. In strain 5325, ciprofloxacin at 0.25×MIC markedly increased both tcdA and tcdB expression but their temporal dynamics were unchanged. Maximal toxin production (250 ng ml−1) was reduced approximately threefold compared with that of the untreated control. These results demonstrate significant differences in ciprofloxacin-induced toxin gene expression and protein production among BI/NAP1/027 isolates, and offer a new paradigm for FLQ-associated CDI caused by recent, highly antibiotic-resistant strains.
PMCID: PMC3910449  PMID: 23429695
17.  Prevalence of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli and its virulence-related genes in a case–control study among children from north-eastern Brazil 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 5):683-693.
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is an important agent that causes endemic and epidemic diarrhoeal diseases worldwide. Several EAEC virulence-related genes (VRGs) have been described but their role in the clinical outcome of infection is not completely defined. This study investigated the prevalence of EAEC and potential associations of its VRGs with risk of or protection from diarrhoeal diseases in children from urban communities in north-eastern Brazil. The case–control study included 166 children, who had their stools evaluated for the EAEC diagnostic genes (aaiC and aatA) using PCR. Positive samples were further analysed by multiplex PCR and identified 18 VRGs. EAEC was found in the same proportion in both groups (41 %). The plasmid-borne gene encoding a hexosyltransferase homologue (capU) was the most frequently detected (89.6 %), followed by dispersin protein (aap, 58.2 %) and EAEC HilA homologue (eilA, 57.8 %). The AAF/III fimbrial subunit (agg3A) gene was observed at lower frequency (1.5 %). Plasmid-encoded toxin (pet) or AAF/II fimbrial subunit (aafA) was associated significantly with disease. AAF/IV fimbrial subunit (agg4A) or hypothetical plasmid-encoded haemolysin (orf61) was detected significantly more in controls than in children with diarrhoea. In addition, one set of genes in combination, aaiC and agg3/4C but lacking agg4A and orf61, was associated with diarrhoea cases; and another one, orf61 in the absence of pet and aafA, was correlated with control children. These data confirm a high prevalence, endemicity and heterogeneity of EAEC strains in the developing urban areas of north-eastern Brazil. Statistical correlation between cases and controls was seen with either isolated or combined sets of genes, suggesting that the pathophysiology of EAEC infection involves a complex and dynamic modulation of several VRGs.
PMCID: PMC3709657  PMID: 23429698
18.  Analysis of gene expression changes in Trichophyton rubrum after skin interaction 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 5):642-648.
Trichophyton rubrum, an anthropophilic and cosmopolitan fungus, is the most common agent of superficial mycoses. In this study, T. rubrum infection was modelled by adding human skin sections to a limited medium containing glucose and cDNA microarrays were used to monitor T. rubrum gene expression patterns on a global level. We observed that exposure to human skin resulted in upregulation of the expression levels of T. rubrum genes related to many cellular and biological processes, including transcription and translation, metabolism and secondary transport, the stress response, and signalling pathways. These results provide a reference set of T. rubrum genes whose expression patterns change upon infection and reveal previously unknown genes that most likely correspond to proteins that should be considered as virulence factor candidates and potential new drug targets for T. rubrum infection.
PMCID: PMC4042497  PMID: 24586032
19.  Drug response and genetic properties of Vibrio cholerae associated with endemic cholera in north-eastern Thailand, 2003–2011 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 4):599-609.
Cholera, caused by Vibrio cholerae, results in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, including Thailand. Representative V. cholerae strains associated with endemic cholera (n = 32), including strains (n = 3) from surface water sources, in Khon Kaen, Thailand (2003–2011), were subjected to microbiological, molecular and phylogenetic analyses. According to phenotypic and related genetic data, all tested V. cholerae strains belonged to serogroup O1, biotype El Tor (ET), Inaba (IN) or Ogawa (OG). All of the strains were sensitive to gentamicin and ciprofloxacin, while multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains showing resistance to erythromycin, tetracycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin were predominant in 2007. V. cholerae strains isolated before and after 2007 were non-MDR. All except six diarrhoeal strains possessed ctxA and ctxB genes and were toxigenic altered ET, confirmed by MAMA-PCR and DNA sequencing. Year-wise data revealed that V. cholerae INET strains isolated between 2003 and 2004, plus one strain isolated in 2007, lacked the RS1 sequence (rstC) and toxin-linked cryptic plasmid (TLC)-specific genetic marker, but possessed CTXCL prophage genes ctxBCL and rstRCL. A sharp genetic transition was noted, namely the majority of V. cholerae strains in 2007 and all in 2010 and 2011 were not repressor genotype rstRCL but instead were rstRET, and all ctx+ strains possessed RS1 and TLC-specific genetic markers. DNA sequencing data revealed that strains isolated since 2007 had a mutation in the tcpA gene at amino acid position 64 (N→S). Four clonal types, mostly of environmental origin, including subtypes, reflected genetic diversity, while distinct signatures were observed for clonally related, altered ET from Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh, confirmed by distinct subclustering patterns observed in the PFGE (NotI)-based dendrogram, suggesting that endemic cholera is caused by V. cholerae indigenous to Khon Kaen.
PMCID: PMC3709540  PMID: 23319310
20.  Adhesin genes and serum resistance in Haemophilus influenzae type f isolates 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 4):514-524.
The incidence of invasive infections due to Haemophilus influenzae has decreased significantly in developed countries with high rates of vaccination against H. influenzae serotype b (Hib). This vaccine provides no protection against H. influenzae serotype f (Hif), typically associated with invasive infections in adults with chronic disease and/or immunodeficiency, and rarely in otherwise healthy adults and children. The specific properties of Hif associated with virulence remain largely uncharacterized. A panel of 26 Hif strains consisting of both invasive disease-associated and mucosal surface non-invasive disease-associated isolates was surveyed by DNA fingerprinting, biotyping and PCR detection of hmw1, hmw2, hsf, the hif fimbrial locus and the lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) biosynthetic island, and assessment of β-lactamase expression and determination of resistance to the bactericidal activity of normal adult human serum. Repetitive sequence-based PCR fingerprinting differentiated the 26 strains into three clusters, with the majority of isolates (22/26, 84.6 %) clustered into a single indistinguishable group. Most isolates (24/26, 92.3 %) were of biotype I and two isolates produced β-lactamase with detection of a conjugative plasmid, and the isolates displayed a range of resistances to the bactericidal activity of human serum. All 26 isolates carried the adhesin hsf, 21 carried a partial hif fimbrial operon and 4 had the adhesin genes hmw1/2. A LOS biosynthetic island was detected in 20 isolates consisting of the genes lic2BC. It was concluded that Hif has many recognized virulence properties and comprises a relatively homogeneous group independent of the anatomical source from which it was isolated.
PMCID: PMC3709541  PMID: 23242639
21.  Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus meningitis in Peru 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 2):335-337.
A 59-year-old man with a history of fever, unsteadiness, hemiparesis, motor aphasia and consciousness disturbance was hospitalized for Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus meningitis. He denied contact with farm animals, but had a practice of consuming unpasteurized goats’ cheese from an uncertain source.
PMCID: PMC3709539  PMID: 23105024
22.  Genetic characteristics of drug-resistant Vibrio cholerae O1 causing endemic cholera in Dhaka, 2006–2011 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2012;61(Pt 12):1736-1745.
Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype El Tor (ET), causing the seventh cholera pandemic, was recently replaced in Bangladesh by an altered ET possessing ctxB of the Classical (CL) biotype, which caused the first six cholera pandemics. In the present study, V. cholerae O1 strains associated with endemic cholera in Dhaka between 2006 and 2011 were analysed for major phenotypic and genetic characteristics. Of 54 representative V. cholerae isolates tested, all were phenotypically ET and showed uniform resistance to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (SXT) and furazolidone (FR). Resistance to tetracycline (TE) and erythromycin (E) showed temporal fluctuation, varying from year to year, while all isolates were susceptible to gentamicin (CN) and ciprofloxacin (CIP). Year-wise data revealed erythromycin resistance to be 33.3 % in 2006 and 11 % in 2011, while tetracycline resistance accounted for 33, 78, 0, 100 and 27 % in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively; interestingly, all isolates tested were sensitive to TE in 2011, as observed in 2008. All V. cholerae isolates tested possessed genetic elements such as SXT, ctxAB, tcpAET, rstRET and rtxC; none had IntlI (Integron I). Double mismatch amplification mutation assay (DMAMA)-PCR followed by DNA sequencing and analysis of the ctxB gene revealed a point mutation at position 58 (C→A), which has resulted in an amino acid substitution from histidine (H) to asparagine (N) at position 20 (genotype 7) since 2008. Although the multi-resistant strains having tetracycline resistance showed minor genetic divergence, V. cholerae strains were clonal, as determined by a PFGE (NotI)-based dendrogram. This study shows 2008–2010 to be the time of transition from ctxB genotype 1 to genotype 7 in V. cholerae ET causing endemic cholera in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC4080733  PMID: 22977073
23.  Human impact on the microbiological water quality of the rivers 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2013;62(Pt 11):1635-1640.
Microbiological contamination is an important water-quality problem worldwide. Human impact on this category of contamination is significant and several human-related activities, and also the population explosion, have affected and are still affecting dramatically the aquatic environment. Extensive industrialization and agriculture have led to increased pollution and hydromorphological changes in many river basins. The Danube river is one of the most affected by these changes where human involvement is undeniable, and subsequently, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve became one of the most vulnerable ecosystems. This review is an attempt to analyse the microbiological contamination and to identify the major role human activities play in altering the water quality of the rivers.
PMCID: PMC3809112  PMID: 23813274
24.  Characterization of a multi-component anthrax vaccine designed to target the initial stages of infection as well as toxaemia 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2012;61(Pt 10):1380-1392.
Current vaccine approaches to combat anthrax are effective; however, they target only a single protein [the protective antigen (PA) toxin component] that is produced after spore germination. PA production is subsequently increased during later vegetative cell proliferation. Accordingly, several aspects of the vaccine strategy could be improved. The inclusion of spore-specific antigens with PA could potentially induce protection to initial stages of the disease. Moreover, adding other epitopes to the current vaccine strategy will decrease the likelihood of encountering a strain of Bacillus anthracis (emerging or engineered) that is refractory to the vaccine. Adding recombinant spore-surface antigens (e.g. BclA, ExsFA/BxpB and p5303) to PA has been shown to augment protection afforded by the latter using a challenge model employing immunosuppressed mice challenged with spores derived from the attenuated Sterne strain of B. anthracis. This report demonstrated similar augmentation utilizing guinea pigs or mice challenged with spores of the fully virulent Ames strain or a non-toxigenic but encapsulated ΔAmes strain of B. anthracis, respectively. Additionally, it was shown that immune interference did not occur if optimal amounts of antigen were administered. By administering the toxin and spore-based immunogens simultaneously, a significant adjuvant effect was also observed in some cases. Thus, these data further support the inclusion of recombinant spore antigens in next-generation anthrax vaccine strategies.
PMCID: PMC3541767  PMID: 22767539
25.  Characterization of Corynebacterium species in macaques 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2012;61(Pt 10):1401-1408.
Bacteria of the genus Corynebacterium are important primary and opportunistic pathogens. Many are zoonotic agents. In this report, phenotypic (API Coryne analysis), genetic (rpoB and 16S rRNA gene sequencing), and physical methods (MS) were used to distinguish the closely related diphtheroid species Corynebacterium ulcerans and Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, and to definitively diagnose Corynebacterium renale from cephalic implants of rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) macaques used in cognitive neuroscience research. Throat and cephalic implant cultures yielded 85 isolates from 43 macaques. Identification by API Coryne yielded C. ulcerans (n = 74), Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (n = 2), C. renale or most closely related to C. renale (n = 3), and commensals and opportunists (n = 6). The two isolates identified as C. pseudotuberculosis by API Coryne required genetic and MS analysis for accurate characterization as C. ulcerans. Of three isolates identified as C. renale by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, only one could be confirmed as such by API Coryne, rpoB gene sequencing and MS. This study emphasizes the importance of adjunct methods in identification of coryneforms and is the first isolation of C. renale from cephalic implants in macaques.
PMCID: PMC3541768  PMID: 22723254

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