Numerous Gram-negative bacterial pathogens employ type III secretion systems (T3SSs) to inject effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. The activation of the type III secretion (T3S) process is tightly controlled in all T3SSs. In Yersinia pestis, the secretion of effector proteins, termed Yersinia outer proteins (Yops), is regulated by the activity of the YopN/SycN/YscB/TyeA complex. YopN is a secreted protein that interacts with the SycN/YscB chaperone via an N-terminal chaperone-binding domain (CBD) and with TyeA via a C-terminal TyeA-binding domain (TBD). Efficient YopN secretion is dependent upon its N-terminal secretion signal (SS), CBD, and the SycN/YscB chaperone. In this study, we investigate the role of the YopN CBD in the regulation of Yop secretion. Analysis of YopE/YopN hybrid proteins in which the YopN SS or SS and CBD were replaced with the analogous regions of YopE indicated that the YopN CBD or SycN/YscB chaperone play a role in the regulation of Yop secretion that is independent of their established roles in YopN secretion. To further analyze the role of the YopN CBD in the regulation of Yop secretion a series of tetra-alanine substitution mutants were generated throughout the YopN CBD. A number of these mutants exhibited a defect in the regulation of Yop secretion but showed no defect in YopN secretion or in the interaction of YopN with the SycN/YscB chaperone. Finally, conditions were established that enabled YopN and TyeA to regulate Yop secretion in the absence of the SycN/YscB chaperone. Importantly, a number of the YopN CBD mutants maintained their defect in the regulation of Yop secretion even under the established SycN/YscB chaperone-independent conditions. These studies establish a role for the CBD region of YopN in the regulation of Yop secretion that is independent from its role in YopN secretion or in the binding of the SycN/YscB chaperone.
type III secretion; chaperone; bacterial pathogenesis; Yersinia pestis; plague
In our previous works we established that in an autoinflammatory condition, familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), the gut microbial diversity is specifically restructured, which also results in the altered profiles of microbial long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) present in the systemic metabolome. The mainstream management of the disease is based on oral administration of colchicine to suppress clinical signs and extend remission periods and our aim was to determine whether this therapy normalizes the microbial LCFA profiles in the metabolome as well. Unexpectedly, the treatment does not normalize these profiles. Moreover, it results in the formation of new distinct microbial LCFA clusters, which are well separated from the corresponding values in healthy controls and FMF patients without the therapy. We hypothesize that the therapy alters the proinflammatory network specific for the disease, with the concomitant changes in gut microbiota and the corresponding microbial LCFAs in the metabolome.
familial Mediterranean fever; colchicine; metabolome; gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS); microbial long chain fatty acids; discriminant function analysis
The genus Burkholderia consists of diverse species which includes both “friends” and “foes.” Some of the “friendly” Burkholderia spp. are extensively used in the biotechnological and agricultural industry for bioremediation and biocontrol. However, several members of the genus including B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, and B. cepacia, are known to cause fatal disease in both humans and animals. B. pseudomallei and B. mallei are the causative agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively, while B. cepacia infection is lethal to cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Due to the high rate of infectivity and intrinsic resistance to many commonly used antibiotics, together with high mortality rate, B. mallei and B. pseudomallei are considered to be potential biological warfare agents. Treatments of the infections caused by these bacteria are often unsuccessful with frequent relapse of the infection. Thus, we are at a crucial stage of the need for Burkholderia vaccines. Although the search for a prophylactic therapy candidate continues, to date development of vaccines has not advanced beyond research to human clinical trials. In this article, we review the current research on development of safe vaccines with high efficacy against B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, and B. cepacia. It can be concluded that further research will enable elucidation of the potential benefits and risks of Burkholderia vaccines.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; Burkholderia mallei; Burkholderia cepacia; melioidosis; glanders; cystic fibrosis; vaccine
Yersinia species, as well as many other Gram-negative pathogens, use a type III secretion system (T3SS) to translocate effector proteins from the bacterial cytoplasm to the host cytosol. This T3SS resembles a molecular syringe, with a needle-like shaft connected to a basal body structure, which spans the inner and outer bacterial membranes. The basal body of the injectisome shares a high degree of homology with the bacterial flagellum. Extending from the T3SS basal body is the needle, which is a polymer of a single protein, YscF. The distal end of the needle serves as a platform for the assembly of a tip complex composed of LcrV. Though never directly observed, prevailing models assume that LcrV assists in the insertion of the pore-forming proteins YopB and YopD into the host cell membrane. This completes a bridge between the bacterium and host cell to provide a continuous channel through which effectors are delivered. Significant effort has gone into understanding how the T3SS is assembled, how its substrates are recognized and how substrate delivery is controlled. Arguably the latter topic is the least understood; however, recent advances have provided new insight, and therefore, this review will focus primarily on summarizing the current state of knowledge regarding the control of substrate delivery by the T3SS. Specifically, we will discuss the roles of YopK, as well as YopN and YopE, which have long been linked to regulation of translocation. We also propose models whereby the YopK regulator communicates with the basal body of the T3SS to control translocation.
type III secretion; injectisome; substrate specificity; YopK; YopE; YopN
Lyme borreliosis is a zoonotic disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacteria transmitted to humans and domestic animals by the bite of an Ixodes spp. tick (deer tick). Despite improvements in diagnostic tests and public awareness of Lyme disease, the reported cases have increased over the past decade to approximately 30,000 per year. Limitations and failed public acceptance of a human vaccine, comprised of the outer surface A (OspA) lipoprotein of B. burgdorferi, led to its demise, yet current research has opened doors to new strategies for protection against Lyme disease. In this review we discuss the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi, and the unique opportunities it poses to block infection or transmission at different levels. We present the correlates of protection for this infectious disease, the pros and cons of past vaccination strategies, and new paradigms for future vaccine design that would include elements of both the vector and the pathogen.
Lyme disease; vaccine; reservoir; vector; tick; Ixodes scapularis; Borrelia burgdorferi
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a component of the outer membrane of almost all Gram-negative bacteria and consists of lipid A, core sugars, and O-antigen. LPS is recognized by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and MD-2 on host innate immune cells and can signal to activate the transcription factor NFκB, leading to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that initiate and shape the adaptive immune response. Most of what is known about how LPS is recognized by the TLR4-MD-2 receptor complex on animal cells has been studied using Escherichia coli lipid A, which is a strong agonist of TLR4 signaling. Recent work from several groups, including our own, has shown that several important pathogenic bacteria can modify their LPS or lipid A molecules in ways that significantly alter TLR4 signaling to NFκB. Thus, it has been hypothesized that expression of lipid A variants is one mechanism by which pathogens modulate or evade the host immune response. Additionally, several key differences in the amino acid sequences of human and mouse TLR4-MD-2 receptors have been shown to alter the ability to recognize these variations in lipid A, suggesting a host-specific effect on the immune response to these pathogens. In this review, we provide an overview of lipid A variants from several human pathogens, how the basic structure of lipid A is recognized by mouse and human TLR4-MD-2 receptor complexes, as well as how alteration of this pattern affects its recognition by TLR4 and impacts the downstream immune response.
TLR4; innate immunity; lipid A; signaling; LPS
Streptococcus pneumoniae is part of the normal bacterial flora of the narsopharynx, but is also associated with several invasive and non-invasive diseases. Recently, there has been a plethora of research information on the pneumococcus, however, there are few comprehensive review papers discussing the research information. This paper provides a review of the pneumococcus in two vital areas related to its biology including transmission and evolution. Transmission of the pneumococcus is a highly efficient process that usually occurs through respiratory droplets from asymptomatic carriers. Following acquisition, the pneumococcus may only establish in the nasopharynx of the new host, or further progress to sites such as the lungs and cause disease. Pneumococcus transmission risk factors, as well as factors involved in its translocation from the nasophyarnx to diseases sites are still not fully understood. Pneumococcal evolution is dominated by recombination. The recombinational events usually involve genetic exchange with streptococci of the mitis group and some pneumococci are thought to exhibit hyper-recombination.
pneumococcus; evolution; transmission; carriage; recombination
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) are isolated from human patients with bloody diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis (HC), and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). In the last years, the infections with non-O157 serotypes are increasing their frequency of association with human disease. STEC produce Shiga toxin (Stx) and other virulence factors that could contribute to human pathogenesis. Cattle are the main reservoir and the transmission to humans is through the consumption of undercooked meat, non-pasteurized dairy products, and vegetables or water contaminated with feces. We have previously determined that O130:H11 and O178:H19 serotypes were the most prevalent in dairy cows from Argentina. In the present study, 37 and 25 STEC isolates from dairy cows belonging to O130:H11 and O178:H19 serotypes, respectively, were characterized regarding to their cytotoxicity on Vero cells, stx subtypes, presence of sab and typing by multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). All strains demonstrated a cytotoxic effect, and in O130:H11 isolates, stx2EDL933 was the predominant subtype. In O178:H19 isolates the main stx2 subtype was stx2vha. The sab gene was detected in 65 and 24% of the isolates belonging to O130:H11 and O178:H19, respectively. Only one MLVA profile was identified among the O130:H11 isolates meanwhile 10 MLVA profiles were detected among the O178:H19 isolates which were grouped in two main clusters. In conclusion, our data show that O130:H11 and O178:H19 STEC isolates encode virulence factors associated with severe human disease and both serotypes should be considered for routinely testing. Our subtyping experiments showed that isolates could be distinguished based on the stx2 subtype and the presence/absence of sab gene, and for isolates belonging to O178:H19, also when the MLVA type was considered. However, MLVA subtyping of O130:H11 isolates will require the development of more specific markers.
STEC; dairy cattle; MLVA; Shiga toxin
The role of TNF-α in chlamydial clearance is uncertain. Antibody-mediated depletion of TNF-α in mice and guinea pigs has been shown not to significantly affect chlamydial clearance, whereas production of TNF-α in addition to IFN-γ from T cells has been shown to correlate with enhanced clearance. The aim of our study is to evaluate the mechanistic role of TNF-α in clearance of primary and secondary chlamydial infection from the genital tract (GT) using C57BL/6 TNF-α deficient (TNF-α−/−) and wild type (WT) mice. Chlamydial shedding from the lower GT was evaluated following primary and secondary intravaginal challenge. Also, antibody and antigen specific cytokine responses were analyzed from the infected GT and spleens, and oviduct pathology determined to analyze the role of TNF-α in upper GT pathological sequelae. MHC II−/− mice, known to display muted adaptive immune responses and failure to resolve genital chlamydial infections, were used as a negative control. Following both primary and secondary genital chlamydial infection, TNF-α−/− mice exhibited elevated granzyme B production, but similar IFN-γ and antibody responses. Importantly, absence of TNF-α did not significantly alter the resolution of infection. However, TNF-α−/− mice displayed significantly reduced upper genital tract (UGT) pathology compared to WT mice. This study demonstrates mechanistically that optimal chlamydial clearance following primary and secondary chlamydial genital infection can occur in the complete absence of TNF-α, and considered with the reduction of upper GT pathology in TNF-α−/− mice, suggests that targeted induction of anti-chlamydial TNF-α responses by vaccination may be unnecessary, and moreover could be potentially pathogenic.
TNF-α; Chlamydia; granzyme; primary and secondary genital infection; upper genital tract pathology
Molecular typing of the pneumococcus has played a crucial role in understanding the epidemiology of the organism. However, most of what is known about molecular epidemiology of the pneumococcus pertains to the developed world. The brunt of pneumococcal infections is borne by sub-Saharan African countries, which makes epidemiological monitoring of the pneumococcus essential in this region of the world. This review paper focuses on molecular typing of the pneumococcus and what is known about epidemiology of the organism in sub-Saharan Africa based on the various typing methods. Several molecular typing methods are available for typing the pneumococcus and the major ones include multilocus sequence typing (MLST), multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE), serotyping and DNA fingerprinting methods such as pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Currently, MLST is the most suitable method for typing the pneumococcus. The pneumococcal population structure in sub-Saharan Africa appears to be quite different from that of the developed world, and pneumococcal serotype 1 related to the ST 618 clone and clones of the ST 217 clonal complex are responsible for outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa.
pneumococcus; multilocus sequence typing; sub-Saharan Africa; eBURST; epidemiology
Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei are Gram-negative bacteria that cause glanders and melioidosis, respectively. Inhalational infection with either organism can result in severe and rapidly fatal pneumonia. Inoculation by the oral and cutaneous routes can also produce infection. Chronic infection may develop after recovery from acute infection with both agents, and control of infection with antibiotics requires prolonged treatment. Symptoms for both meliodosis and glanders are non-specific, making diagnosis difficult. B. pseudomallei can be located in the environment, but in the host, B. mallei and B. psedomallei are intracellular organisms, and infection results in similar immune responses to both agents. Effective early innate immune responses are critical to controlling the early phase of the infection. Innate immune signaling molecules such as TLR, NOD, MyD88, and pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ and TNF-α play key roles in regulating control of infection. Neutrophils and monocytes are critical cells in the early infection for both microorganisms. Both monocytes and macrophages are necessary for limiting dissemination of B. pseudomallei. In contrast, the role of adaptive immune responses in controlling Burkholderia infection is less well understood. However, T cell responses are critical for vaccine protection from Burkholderia infection. At present, effective vaccines for prevention of glanders or meliodosis have not been developed, although recently development of Burkholderia vaccines has received renewed attention. This review will summarize current and past approaches to develop B. mallei and B. pseudomalllei vaccines, with emphasis on immune mechanisms of protection and the challenges facing the field. At present, immunization with live attenuated bacteria provides the most effective and durable immunity, and it is important therefore to understand the immune correlates of protection induced by live attenuated vaccines. Subunit vaccines have typically provided less robust immunity, but are safer to administer to a wider variety of people, including immune compromised individuals because they do not reactivate or cause disease. The challenges facing B. mallei and B. pseudomalllei vaccine development include identification of broadly protective antigens, design of efficient vaccine delivery and adjuvant systems, and a better understanding of the correlates of protection from both acute and chronic infection.
Burkholderia; glanders; melioidosis; immune response; vaccine; live attenuated
Vaccination has had a major impact on the control of infectious diseases. However, there are still many infectious diseases for which the development of an effective vaccine has been elusive. In many cases the failure to devise vaccines is a consequence of the inability of vaccine candidates to evoke appropriate immune responses. This is especially true where cellular immunity is required for protective immunity and this problem is compounded by the move toward devising sub-unit vaccines. Over the past decade nanoscale size (<1000 nm) materials such as virus-like particles, liposomes, ISCOMs, polymeric, and non-degradable nanospheres have received attention as potential delivery vehicles for vaccine antigens which can both stabilize vaccine antigens and act as adjuvants. Importantly, some of these nanoparticles (NPs) are able to enter antigen-presenting cells by different pathways, thereby modulating the immune response to the antigen. This may be critical for the induction of protective Th1-type immune responses to intracellular pathogens. Their properties also make them suitable for the delivery of antigens at mucosal surfaces and for intradermal administration. In this review we compare the utilities of different NP systems for the delivery of sub-unit vaccines and evaluate the potential of these delivery systems for the development of new vaccines against a range of pathogens.
nanoparticle; vaccine; adjuvant; antigen-presenting cell; immunity
The inflammasome is an innate immune signaling platform leading to caspase-1 activation, maturation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and cell death. Recognition of DNA within the host cytosol induces the formation of a large complex composed of the AIM2 receptor, the ASC adaptor and the caspase-1 effector. Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia, replicates within the host cytosol. The macrophage cytosolic surveillance system detects Francisella through the AIM2 inflammasome. Upon Francisella novicida infection, we observed a faster kinetics of AIM2 speck formation in ASCKO and Casp1KO as compared to WT macrophages. This observation was validated by a biochemical approach thus demonstrating for the first time the existence of a negative feedback loop controlled by ASC/caspase-1 that regulates AIM2 complex formation/stability. This regulatory mechanism acted before pyroptosis and required caspase-1 catalytic activity. Our data suggest that sublytic caspase-1 activity could delay the formation of stable AIM2 speck, an inflammasome complex associated with cell death.
inflammasome; AIM2; Francisella tularensis; regulation; caspase-1
Vaccination is the most important approach to counteract infectious diseases. Thus, the development of new and improved vaccines for existing, emerging, and re-emerging diseases is an area of great interest to the scientific community and general public. Traditional approaches to subunit antigen discovery and vaccine development lack consideration for the critical aspects of public safety and activation of relevant protective host immunity. The availability of genomic sequences for pathogenic Brucella spp. and their hosts have led to development of systems-wide analytical tools that have provided a better understanding of host and pathogen physiology while also beginning to unravel the intricacies at the host-pathogen interface. Advances in pathogen biology, host immunology, and host-agent interactions have the potential to serve as a platform for the design and implementation of better-targeted antigen discovery approaches. With emphasis on Brucella spp., we probe the biological aspects of host and pathogen that merit consideration in the targeted design of subunit antigen discovery and vaccine development.
intracellular pathogens; vaccines; subunit vaccine; antigen discovery; Brucellosis; reverse vaccinology
Bacillus anthracis is a dangerous pathogen of humans and many animal species. Its virulence has been mainly attributed to the production of Lethal and Edema toxins as well as the antiphagocytic capsule. Recent data indicate that the nitric oxide (NO) synthase (baNOS) plays an important pathogenic role at the early stage of disease by protecting bacteria from the host reactive species and S-nytrosylating the mitochondrial proteins in macrophages. In this study we for the first time present evidence that bacteria-derived NO participates in the generation of highly reactive oxidizing species which could be abolished by the NOS inhibitor L - NAME, free thiols, and superoxide dismutase but not catalase. The formation of toxicants is likely a result of the simultaneous formation of NO and superoxide leading to a labile peroxynitrite and its stable decomposition product, nitrogen dioxide. The toxicity of bacteria could be potentiated in the presence of bovine serum albumin. This effect is consistent with the property of serum albumin to serves as a trap of a volatile NO accelerating its reactions. Our data suggest that during infection in the hypoxic environment of pre-mortal host the accumulated NO is expected to have a broad toxic impact on host cell functions.
anthrax; toxicity; microaerobic culture; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase
Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaire's disease, replicates in human alveolar macrophages to establish infection. There is no human-to-human transmission and the main source of infection is L. pneumophila biofilms established in air conditioners, water fountains, and hospital equipments. The biofilm structure provides protection to the organism from disinfectants and antibacterial agents. L. pneumophila infection in humans is characterized by a subtle initial immune response, giving time for the organism to establish infection before the patient succumbs to pneumonia. Planktonic L. pneumophila elicits a strong immune response in murine, but not in human macrophages enabling control of the infection. Interactions between planktonic L. pneumophila and murine or human macrophages have been studied for years, yet the interface between biofilm-derived L. pneumophila and macrophages has not been explored. Here, we demonstrate that biofilm-derived L. pneumophila replicates significantly more in murine macrophages than planktonic bacteria. In contrast to planktonic L. pneumophila, biofilm-derived L. pneumophila lacks flagellin expression, do not activate caspase-1 or -7 and trigger less cell death. In addition, while planktonic L. pneumophila is promptly delivered to lysosomes for degradation, most biofilm-derived bacteria were enclosed in a vacuole that did not fuse with lysosomes in murine macrophages. This study advances our understanding of the innate immune response to biofilm-derived L. pneumophila and closely reproduces the natural mode of infection in human.
biofilm; inflammasome; flagellin; caspase-1; Legionella pneumophila; innate immunity
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a successful intracellular pathogen that thrives in macrophages (Mφs). There is a need to better understand how Mtb alters cellular processes like phagolysosome biogenesis, a classical determinant of its pathogenesis. A central feature of this bacteria's strategy is the manipulation of Mφ actin. Here, we examined the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) as a potential mechanism in the regulation of actin-mediated events leading to phagocytosis in the context of mycobacteria infection. Given that non-virulent Mycobacterium smegmatis also controls actin filament assembly to prolong its intracellular survival inside host cells, we performed a global transcriptomic analysis to assess the modulation of miRNAs upon M. smegmatis infection of the murine Mφ cell line, J774A.1. This approach identified miR-142-3p as a key candidate to be involved in the regulation of actin dynamics required in phagocytosis. We unequivocally demonstrate that miR-142-3p targets N-Wasp, an actin-binding protein required during microbial challenge. A gain-of-function approach for miR-142-3p revealed a down-regulation of N-Wasp expression accompanied by a decrease of mycobacteria intake, while a loss-of-function approach yielded the reciprocal increase of the phagocytosis process. Equally important, we show Mtb induces the early expression of miR-142-3p and partially down-regulates N-Wasp protein levels in both the murine J774A.1 cell line and primary human Mφs. As proof of principle, the partial siRNA-mediated knock down of N-Wasp resulted in a decrease of Mtb intake by human Mφs, reflected in lower levels of colony-forming units (CFU) counts over time. We therefore propose the modulation of miRNAs as a novel strategy in mycobacterial infection to control factors involved in actin filament assembly and other early events of phagolysosome biogenesis.
phagocytosis; N-Wasp; miRNA; miR-142-3p; tuberculosis; macrophage; M. tuberculosis; M. smegmatis
Ten bacteriophages were isolated from faeces and their lytic effects assayed on 103 pathogenic and non-pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae. Two phages (DT1 and DT6) were selected based on their host ranges, and their lytic effects on pathogenic E. coli strains inoculated on pieces of beef were determined. We evaluated the reductions of viable cells of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxigenic E. coli strains on meat after exposure to DT6 at 5 and 24°C for 3, 6, and 24 h and the effect of both phages against an enteropathogenic E. coli strain. Significant viable cell reductions, compared to controls without phages, at both temperatures were observed, with the greatest decrease taking place within the first hours of the assays. Reductions were also influenced by phage concentration, being the highest concentrations, 1.7 × 1010 plaque forming units per milliliter (PFU/mL) for DT1 and 1.4 × 1010 PFU/mL for DT6, the most effective. When enteropathogenic E. coli and Shiga toxigenic E. coli (O157:H7) strains were tested, we obtained viable cell reductions of 0.67 log (p = 0.01) and 0.77 log (p = 0.01) after 3 h incubation and 0.80 log (p = 0.01) and 1.15 log (p = 0.001) after 6 h. In contrast, all nonpathogenic E. coli strains as well as other enterobacteria tested were resistant. In addition, phage cocktail was evaluated on two strains and further reductions were observed. However, E. coli bacteriophage insensitive mutants (BIMs) emerged in meat assays. BIMs isolated from meat along with those isolated by using the secondary culture method were tested to evaluate resistance phenotype stability and reversion. They presented low emergence frequencies (6.5 × 10−7–1.8 × 10−6) and variable stability and reversion. Results indicate that isolated phages were stable on storage, negative for all the virulence factors assayed, presented lytic activity for different E. coli virotypes and could be useful in reducing Shiga toxigenic E. coli and enteropathogenic E. coli viable cells in meat products.
Escherichia coli; bacteriophage; phage biocontrol; bacteriophage insensitive mutant; phage cocktail
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia worldwide. Given the critical role of dendritic cells (DCs) in regulating and modulating the immune response to pathogens, we investigated here the role of DCs in S. pneumoniae lung infections. Using a well-established transgenic mouse line which allows the conditional transient depletion of DCs, we showed that ablation of DCs resulted in enhanced resistance to intranasal challenge with S. pneumoniae. DCs-depleted mice exhibited delayed bacterial systemic dissemination, significantly reduced bacterial loads in the infected organs and lower levels of serum inflammatory mediators than non-depleted animals. The increased resistance of DCs-depleted mice to S. pneumoniae was associated with a better capacity to restrict pneumococci extrapulmonary dissemination. Furthermore, we demonstrated that S. pneumoniae disseminated from the lungs into the regional lymph nodes in a cell-independent manner and that this direct way of dissemination was much more efficient in the presence of DCs. We also provide evidence that S. pneumoniae induces expression and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in cultured bone marrow-derived DCs. MMP-9 is a protease involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix proteins and is critical for DC trafficking across extracellular matrix and basement membranes during the migration from the periphery to the lymph nodes. MMP-9 was also significantly up-regulated in the lungs of mice after intranasal infection with S. pneumoniae. Notably, the expression levels of MMP-9 in the infected lungs were significantly decreased after depletion of DCs suggesting the involvement of DCs in MMP-9 production during pneumococcal pneumonia. Thus, we propose that S. pneumoniae can exploit the DC-derived proteolysis to open tissue barriers thereby facilitating its own dissemination from the local site of infection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; bacterial dissemination; respiratory infection; dendritic cells; pneumonia; MMP-9
Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotics with a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Unfortunately, resistance in clinical isolates is pervasive, rendering many aminoglycosides ineffective. The most widely disseminated means of resistance to this class of antibiotics is inactivation of the drug by aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes (AMEs). There are two principal strategies to overcoming the effects of AMEs. The first approach involves the design of novel aminoglycosides that can evade modification. Although this strategy has yielded a number of superior aminoglycoside variants, their efficacy cannot be sustained in the long term. The second approach entails the development of molecules that interfere with the mechanism of AMEs such that the activity of aminoglycosides is preserved. Although such a molecule has yet to enter clinical development, the search for AME inhibitors has been greatly facilitated by the wealth of structural information amassed in recent years. In particular, aminoglycoside phosphotransferases or kinases (APHs) have been studied extensively and crystal structures of a number of APHs with diverse regiospecificity and substrate specificity have been elucidated. In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of the available APH structures and recent progress in APH inhibitor development, with a focus on the structure-guided strategies.
aminoglycosides; antibiotic resistance; drug design; kinases; structure-based; inhibitor
The interactions between host individual, host population, and environmental factors modulate parasite abundance in a given host population. Since adult exophilic ticks are highly aggregated in red deer (Cervus elaphus) and this ungulate exhibits significant sexual size dimorphism, life history traits and segregation, we hypothesized that tick parasitism on males and hinds would be differentially influenced by each of these factors. To test the hypothesis, ticks from 306 red deer—182 males and 124 females—were collected during 7 years in a red deer population in south-central Spain. By using generalized linear models, with a negative binomial error distribution and a logarithmic link function, we modeled tick abundance on deer with 20 potential predictors. Three models were developed: one for red deer males, another for hinds, and one combining data for males and females and including “sex” as factor. Our rationale was that if tick burdens on males and hinds relate to the explanatory factors in a differential way, it is not possible to precisely and accurately predict the tick burden on one sex using the model fitted on the other sex, or with the model that combines data from both sexes. Our results showed that deer males were the primary target for ticks, the weight of each factor differed between sexes, and each sex specific model was not able to accurately predict burdens on the animals of the other sex. That is, results support for sex-biased differences. The higher weight of host individual and population factors in the model for males show that intrinsic deer factors more strongly explain tick burden than environmental host-seeking tick abundance. In contrast, environmental variables predominated in the models explaining tick burdens in hinds.
host-parasite; polygynous; cervidae; tick; sexual segregation
Several bacterial pathogens have TIR domain-containing proteins that contribute to their pathogenesis. We identified a second TIR-containing protein in Brucella spp. that we have designated BtpB. We show it is a potent inhibitor of TLR signaling, probably via MyD88. BtpB is a novel Brucella effector that is translocated into host cells and interferes with activation of dendritic cells. In vivo mouse studies revealed that BtpB is contributing to virulence and control of local inflammatory responses with relevance in the establishment of chronic brucellosis. Together, our results show that BtpB is a novel Brucella effector that plays a major role in the modulation of host innate immune response during infection.
Brucella; TIR domain; Btp1/BtpA; TLR; DC; NF-κB
Ticks are obligate hematophagous ectoparasites that transmit a wide variety of pathogens to humans and animals. The incidence of tick-borne diseases has increased worldwide in both humans and domestic animals over the past years resulting in greater interest in the study of tick-host-pathogen interactions. Advances in vector and pathogen genomics and proteomics have moved forward our knowledge of the vector-pathogen interactions that take place during the colonization and transmission of arthropod-borne microbes. Tick-borne pathogens adapt from the vector to the mammalian host by differential gene expression thus modulating host processes. In recent years, studies have shown that targeting tick proteins by vaccination can not only reduce tick feeding and reproduction, but also the infection and transmission of pathogens from the tick to the vertebrate host. In this article, we review the tick-protective antigens that have been identified for the formulation of tick vaccines and the effect of these vaccines on the control of tick-borne pathogens.
tick-borne pathogens; vaccine; transmission-blocking; tick; vector
The interaction of bacterial pathogens with mammalian hosts leads to a variety of physiological responses of the interacting partners aimed at an adaptation to the new situation. These responses include multiple metabolic changes in the affected host cells which are most obvious when the pathogen replicates within host cells as in case of intracellular bacterial pathogens. While the pathogen tries to deprive nutrients from the host cell, the host cell in return takes various metabolic countermeasures against the nutrient theft. During this conflicting interaction, the pathogen triggers metabolic host cell responses by means of common cell envelope components and specific virulence-associated factors. These host reactions generally promote replication of the pathogen. There is growing evidence that pathogen-specific factors may interfere in different ways with the complex regulatory network that controls the carbon and nitrogen metabolism of mammalian cells. The host cell defense answers include general metabolic reactions, like the generation of oxygen- and/or nitrogen-reactive species, and more specific measures aimed to prevent access to essential nutrients for the respective pathogen. Accurate results on metabolic host cell responses are often hampered by the use of cancer cell lines that already exhibit various de-regulated reactions in the primary carbon metabolism. Hence, there is an urgent need for cellular models that more closely reflect the in vivo infection conditions. The exact knowledge of the metabolic host cell responses may provide new interesting concepts for antibacterial therapies.
metabolism of mammalian cells; regulation of metabolic pathways; cancer cells; intracellular bacteria; common (“core”) and specific metabolic host responses; virulence-associated factors; antibacterial therapy