Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (30)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
1.  Role of the Carboxy Terminus of SecA in Iron Acquisition, Protein Translocation, and Virulence of the Bacterial Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii 
Infection and Immunity  2015;83(4):1354-1365.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative opportunistic nosocomial pathogen that causes pneumonia and soft tissue and systemic infections. Screening of a transposon insertion library of A. baumannii ATCC 19606T resulted in the identification of the 2010 derivative, which, although capable of growing well in iron-rich media, failed to prosper under iron chelation. Genetic, molecular, and functional assays showed that 2010's iron utilization-deficient phenotype is due to an insertion within the 3′ end of secA, which results in the production of a C-terminally truncated derivative of SecA. SecA plays a critical role in protein translocation through the SecYEG membrane channel. Accordingly, the secA mutation resulted in undetectable amounts of the ferric acinetobactin outer membrane receptor protein BauA while not affecting the production of other acinetobactin membrane protein transport components, such as BauB and BauE, or the secretion of acinetobactin by 2010 cells cultured in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of the synthetic iron chelator 2,2′-dipyridyl. Outer membrane proteins involved in nutrient transport, adherence, and biofilm formation were also reduced in 2010. The SecA truncation also increased production of 30 different proteins, including proteins involved in adaptation/tolerance responses. Although some of these protein changes could negatively affect the pathobiology of the 2010 derivative, its virulence defect is mainly due to its inability to acquire iron via the acinetobactin-mediated system. These results together indicate that although the C terminus of the A. baumannii ATCC 19606T SecA is not essential for viability, it plays a critical role in the production and translocation of different proteins and virulence.
PMCID: PMC4363421  PMID: 25605767
2.  Draft Genome of the Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Strain A155 Clinical Isolate 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(2):e00212-15.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a bacterial pathogen with serious implications on human health, due to increasing reports of multidrug-resistant strains isolated from patients. Total DNA from the multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strain A155 clinical isolate was sequenced to greater than 65× coverage, providing high-quality contig assemblies.
PMCID: PMC4384150  PMID: 25814610
3.  Draft Genome Sequences of Klebsiella pneumoniae Clinical Type Strain ATCC 13883 and Three Multidrug-Resistant Clinical Isolates 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(1):e01385-14.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a Gram-negative human pathogen capable of causing hospital-acquired infections with an increasing risk to human health. The total DNA from four clinically relevant strains was sequenced to >100× coverage, providing high-quality genome assemblies for K. pneumoniae strains ATCC 13883, KP4640, 101488, and 101712.
PMCID: PMC4299892  PMID: 25593250
4.  Plasmid- and chromosome-encoded siderophore anguibactin systems found in marine vibrios: biosynthesis, transport and evolution 
Vibrio anguillarum is a marine pathogen that causes vibriosis, a hemorrhagic septicemia in aquatic invertebrate as well as vertebrate animals. The siderophore anguibactin system is one of the most important virulence factors of this bacterium. Most of the anguibactin biosynthesis and transport genes are located in the 65-kb pJM1 virulence plasmid although some of them are found in the chromosome of this fish pathogen. Over 30 years of research unveiled the role numerous chromosomal and pJM1 genes play in the synthesis of anguibactin and the transport of cognate ferric complexes into the bacterial cell. Furthermore, these studies showed that pJM1-carrying strains might be originated from pJM1-less strains producing the chromosome-mediated siderophore vanchrobactin. Additionally, we recently identified a chromosome-mediated anguibactin system in V. harveyi suggesting the possible evolutional origin of the V. anguillarum anguibactin system. In this review, we present our current understanding of the mechanisms and evolution hypothesis of the anguibactin system that might have occurred in these pathogenic vibrios.
PMCID: PMC3747315  PMID: 23660776
Iron transport; Siderophore; Evolution; Anguibactin; Vibrio anguillarum; Vibrio harveyi
5.  AB5075, a Highly Virulent Isolate of Acinetobacter baumannii, as a Model Strain for the Evaluation of Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Treatments 
mBio  2014;5(3):e01076-14.
Acinetobacter baumannii is recognized as an emerging bacterial pathogen because of traits such as prolonged survival in a desiccated state, effective nosocomial transmission, and an inherent ability to acquire antibiotic resistance genes. A pressing need in the field of A. baumannii research is a suitable model strain that is representative of current clinical isolates, is highly virulent in established animal models, and can be genetically manipulated. To identify a suitable strain, a genetically diverse set of recent U.S. military clinical isolates was assessed. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multiplex PCR determined the genetic diversity of 33 A. baumannii isolates. Subsequently, five representative isolates were tested in murine pulmonary and Galleria mellonella models of infection. Infections with one strain, AB5075, were considerably more severe in both animal models than those with other isolates, as there was a significant decrease in survival rates. AB5075 also caused osteomyelitis in a rat open fracture model, while another isolate did not. Additionally, a Tn5 transposon library was successfully generated in AB5075, and the insertion of exogenous genes into the AB5075 chromosome via Tn7 was completed, suggesting that this isolate may be genetically amenable for research purposes. Finally, proof-of-concept experiments with the antibiotic rifampin showed that this strain can be used in animal models to assess therapies under numerous parameters, including survival rates and lung bacterial burden. We propose that AB5075 can serve as a model strain for A. baumannii pathogenesis due to its relatively recent isolation, multidrug resistance, reproducible virulence in animal models, and genetic tractability.
The incidence of A. baumannii infections has increased over the last decade, and unfortunately, so has antibiotic resistance in this bacterial species. A. baumannii is now responsible for more than 10% of all hospital-acquired infections in the United States and has a >50% mortality rate in patients with sepsis and pneumonia. Most research on the pathogenicity of A. baumannii focused on isolates that are not truly representative of current multidrug-resistant strains isolated from patients. After screening of a panel of isolates in different in vitro and in vivo assays, the strain AB5075 was selected as more suitable for research because of its antibiotic resistance profile and increased virulence in animal models. Moreover, AB5075 is susceptible to tetracycline and hygromycin, which makes it amenable to genetic manipulation. Taken together, these traits make AB5075 a good candidate for use in studying virulence and pathogenicity of this species and testing novel antimicrobials.
PMCID: PMC4045072  PMID: 24865555
6.  Functional Features of TonB Energy Transduction Systems of Acinetobacter baumannii 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(9):3382-3394.
Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that causes severe nosocomial infections. Strain ATCC 19606T utilizes the siderophore acinetobactin to acquire iron under iron-limiting conditions encountered in the host. Accordingly, the genome of this strain has three tonB genes encoding proteins for energy transduction functions needed for the active transport of nutrients, including iron, through the outer membrane. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that these tonB genes, which are present in the genomes of all sequenced A. baumannii strains, were acquired from different sources. Two of these genes occur as components of tonB-exbB-exbD operons and one as a monocistronic copy; all are actively transcribed in ATCC 19606T. The abilities of components of these TonB systems to complement the growth defect of Escherichia coli W3110 mutants KP1344 (tonB) and RA1051 (exbBD) under iron-chelated conditions further support the roles of these TonB systems in iron acquisition. Mutagenesis analysis of ATCC 19606T tonB1 (subscripted numbers represent different copies of genes or proteins) and tonB2 supports this hypothesis: their inactivation results in growth defects in iron-chelated media, without affecting acinetobactin biosynthesis or the production of the acinetobactin outer membrane receptor protein BauA. In vivo assays using Galleria mellonella show that each TonB protein is involved in, but not essential for, bacterial virulence in this infection model. Furthermore, we observed that TonB2 plays a role in the ability of bacteria to bind to fibronectin and to adhere to A549 cells by uncharacterized mechanisms. Taken together, these results indicate that A. baumannii ATCC 19606T produces three independent TonB proteins, which appear to provide the energy-transducing functions needed for iron acquisition and cellular processes that play a role in the virulence of this pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3754232  PMID: 23817614
7.  Stress responses in the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii 
Future microbiology  2013;8(3):353-365.
Acinetobacter baumannii causes a wide range of severe infections among compromised and injured patients worldwide. The relevance of these infections are, in part, due to the ability of this pathogen to sense and react to environmental and host stress signals, allowing it to persist and disseminate in medical settings and the human host. This review summarizes current knowledge on the roles that environmental and cellular stressors play in the ability of A. baumannii to resist nutrient deprivation, oxidative and nitrosative injury, and even the presence of the commonly used antiseptic ethanol, which could serve as a nutrient- and virulence-enhancing signal rather than just being a convenient disinfectant. Emerging experimental evidence supports the role of some of these responses in the pathogenesis of the infections A. baumannii causes in humans and its capacity to resist antibiotics and host response effectors.
PMCID: PMC3638152  PMID: 23464372
antibiotics;  ethanol; indole-3-acetic acid; iron; motility; proteomics; reactive species; transcriptomics
8.  Identification of BfmR, a Response Regulator Involved in Biofilm Development, as a Target for a 2-Aminoimidazole-Based Anti-Biofilm Agent 
Biochemistry  2012;51(49):9776-9778.
2-aminoimidazoles (2AIs) have been documented to disrupt bacterial protection mechanisms, including biofilm formation and genetically-encoded antibiotic resistance traits. Using Acinetobacter baumannii, we provide initial insight into the mechanism of action of a 2AI-based antibiofilm agent. Confocal microscopy confirmed that the 2AI is cell permeable, while pull-down assays identified BfmR, a response regulator that is the master controller of biofilm formation, as a target for this compound. Binding assays demonstrated specificity of the 2AI for response regulators, while computational docking provided models for 2AI/BfmR interactions. The 2AI compound studied here represents a unique small molecule scaffold that targets bacterial response regulators.
PMCID: PMC3567222  PMID: 23186243
9.  Acinetobacter baumannii Strain M2 Produces Type IV Pili Which Play a Role in Natural Transformation and Twitching Motility but Not Surface-Associated Motility 
mBio  2013;4(4):e00360-13.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen. Recently, multiple A. baumannii genomes have been sequenced; these data have led to the identification of many genes predicted to encode proteins required for the biogenesis of type IV pili (TFP). However, there is no experimental evidence demonstrating that A. baumannii strains actually produce functional TFP. Here, we demonstrated that A. baumannii strain M2 is naturally transformable and capable of twitching motility, two classical TFP-associated phenotypes. Strains were constructed with mutations in pilA, pilD, and pilT, genes whose products have been well characterized in other systems. These mutants were no longer naturally transformable and did not exhibit twitching motility. These TFP-associated phenotypes were restored when these mutations were complemented. More PilA was detected on the surface of the pilT mutant than the parental strain, and TFP were visualized on the pilT mutant by transmission electron microscopy. Thus, A. baumannii produces functional TFP and utilizes TFP for both natural transformation and twitching motility. Several investigators have hypothesized that TFP might be responsible, in part, for the flagellum-independent surface-associated motility exhibited by many A. baumannii clinical isolates. We demonstrated that surface-associated motility was not dependent on the products of the pilA, pilD, and pilT genes and, by correlation, TFP. The identification of functional TFP in A. baumannii lays the foundation for future work determining the role of TFP in models of virulence that partially recapitulate human disease.
IMPORTANCE   Several investigators have documented the presence of genes predicted to encode proteins required for the biogenesis of TFP in many A. baumannii genomes. Furthermore, some have speculated that TFP may play a role in the unique surface-associated motility phenotype exhibited by many A. baumannii clinical isolates, yet there has been no experimental evidence to prove this. Unfortunately, progress in understanding the biology and virulence of A. baumannii has been slowed by the difficulty of constructing and complementing mutations in this species. Strain M2, a recently characterized clinical isolate, is amenable to genetic manipulation. We have established a reproducible system for the generation of marked and/or unmarked mutations using a modified recombineering strategy as well as a genetic complementation system utilizing a modified mini-Tn7 element in strain M2. Using this strategy, we demonstrated that strain M2 produces TFP and that TFP are not required for surface-associated motility exhibited by strain M2.
Several investigators have documented the presence of genes predicted to encode proteins required for the biogenesis of TFP in many A. baumannii genomes. Furthermore, some have speculated that TFP may play a role in the unique surface-associated motility phenotype exhibited by many A. baumannii clinical isolates, yet there has been no experimental evidence to prove this. Unfortunately, progress in understanding the biology and virulence of A. baumannii has been slowed by the difficulty of constructing and complementing mutations in this species. Strain M2, a recently characterized clinical isolate, is amenable to genetic manipulation. We have established a reproducible system for the generation of marked and/or unmarked mutations using a modified recombineering strategy as well as a genetic complementation system utilizing a modified mini-Tn7 element in strain M2. Using this strategy, we demonstrated that strain M2 produces TFP and that TFP are not required for surface-associated motility exhibited by strain M2.
PMCID: PMC3735195  PMID: 23919995
10.  The anguibactin biosynthesis and transport genes are encoded in the chromosome of Vibrio harveyi: a possible evolutionary origin for the pJM1 plasmid–encoded system of Vibrio anguillarum? 
MicrobiologyOpen  2013;2(1):182-194.
Many Vibrio anguillarum serotype O1 strains carry 65-kb pJM1-type plasmids harboring genes involved in siderophore anguibactin biosynthesis and transport. The anguibactin system is an essential factor for V. anguillarum to survive under iron-limiting conditions, and as a consequence, it is a very important virulence factor of this bacterium. Our comparative analysis of genomic data identified a cluster harboring homologs of anguibactin biosynthesis and transport genes in the chromosome of Vibrio harveyi. We have purified the putative anguibactin siderophore and demonstrated that it is indeed anguibactin by mass spectrometry and specific bioassays. Furthermore, we characterized two genes, angR and fatA, in this chromosome cluster that, respectively, participate in anguibactin biosynthesis and transport as determined by mutagenesis analysis. Furthermore, we found that the V. harveyi FatA protein is located in the outer membrane fractions as previously demonstrated in V. anguillarum. Based on our data, we propose that the anguibactin biosynthesis and transport cluster in the V. anguillarum pJM1 plasmid have likely evolved from the chromosome cluster of V. harveyi or vice versa.
PMCID: PMC3584223  PMID: 23335587
Anguibactin; iron transport; siderophore; Vibrio anguillarum; Vibrio harveyi
11.  Staring at the Cold Sun: Blue Light Regulation Is Distributed within the Genus Acinetobacter 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e55059.
We previously showed that the opportunistic nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii is able to sense and respond to light via BlsA, a BLUF (Blue-Light-sensing Using FAD)-domain photoreceptor protein. Here, we extend our previous studies showing that light regulation is not restricted to A. baumannii, but rather widespread within the genus Acinetobacter. First, we found that blue light modulates motility and biofilm formation in many species of the genus, including members of the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex. In many of these species blue light acts as a key factor guiding the decision between motility or sessility at 24°C, whereas in A. baumannii, light inhibits both motility and biofilm formation. We also show that light regulation of motility occurred not only at 24°C but also at 37°C in non-A. baumannii species, contrasting the situation of A. baumannii which only shows photoregulation at 24°C. Second, we show that Acinetobacter baylyi (strain ADP1) BLUF-photoreceptors can functionally replace in vivo the A. baumannii 17978 BlsA protein and that the pathways leading to biofilm formation are inversely regulated at 24°C between these two microorganisms. Finally, we found the presence of predicted genes coding BLUF-containing proteins in all Acinetobacter sequenced genomes, even though the copy number is variable among them. Phylogenetic analysis suggests a common origin for all BLUF domains present in members of this genus, and could distinguish well-differentiated clusters that group together BLUF homologs from different species, a situation particularly clear for members of the ACB complex. Despite a role played by these BLUF domain-containing proteins in the photoregulation observed in the members of the genus Acinetobacter is a likely scenario given our findings in A. baumannii and A. baylyi, further research will contribute to confirm this possibility.
PMCID: PMC3554667  PMID: 23358859
12.  Effect of Ethanol on Differential Protein Production and Expression of Potential Virulence Functions in the Opportunistic Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51936.
Acinetobacter baumannii persists in the medical environment and causes severe human nosocomial infections. Previous studies showed that low-level ethanol exposure increases the virulence of A. baumannii ATCC 17978. To better understand the mechanisms involved in this response, 2-D gel electrophoresis combined with mass spectrometry was used to investigate differential protein production in bacteria cultured in the presence or absence of ethanol. This approach showed that the presence of ethanol significantly induces and represses the production of 22 and 12 proteins, respectively. Although over 25% of the ethanol-induced proteins were stress-response related, the overall bacterial viability was uncompromised when cultured under these conditions. Production of proteins involved in lipid and carbohydrate anabolism was increased in the presence of ethanol, a response that correlates with increased carbohydrate biofilm content, enhanced biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces and decrease bacterial motility on semi-solid surfaces. The presence of ethanol also induced the acidification of bacterial cultures and the production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), a ubiquitous plant hormone that signals bacterial stress-tolerance and promotes plant-bacteria interactions. These responses could be responsible for the significantly enhanced virulence of A. baumannii ATCC 17978 cells cultured in the presence of ethanol when tested with the Galleria mellonella experimental infection model. Taken together, these observations provide new insights into the effect of ethanol in bacterial virulence. This alcohol predisposes the human host to infections by A. baumannii and could favor the survival and adaptation of this pathogen to medical settings and adverse host environments.
PMCID: PMC3527336  PMID: 23284824
13.  Stress Response and Virulence Functions of the Acinetobacter baumannii NfuA Fe-S Scaffold Protein 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(11):2884-2893.
To successfully establish an infection, Acinetobacter baumannii must overcome the iron starvation and oxidative stress imposed by the human host. Although previous studies have shown that ATCC 19606T cells acquire iron via the acinetobactin-mediated siderophore system, little is known about intracellular iron metabolism and its relation to oxidative stress in this pathogen. Screening of an insertion library resulted in the isolation of the ATCC 19606T derivative 1644, which was unable to grow in iron-chelated media. Rescue cloning and DNA sequencing showed that the insertion inactivated a gene coding for an NfuA Fe-S cluster protein ortholog, without any effect on the expression of the acinetobactin system. The nfuA mutant was also more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and cumene hydroperoxide than the parental strain. The iron chelation- and oxidative-stress-deficient responses of this mutant were corrected when complemented with either the ATCC 19606T parental allele or the Escherichia coli MG1655 nfuA ortholog. Furthermore, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) analyses showed that the ATCC 19606T NfuA ortholog has iron-binding properties compatible with the formation of [Fe-S] cluster protein. Ex vivo and in vivo assays using human epithelial cells and Galleria mellonella, respectively, showed that NfuA is critical for bacterial growth independent of their capacity to acquire iron or the presence of excess of free iron. Taken together, these observations indicate that the A. baumannii NfuA ortholog plays a role in intracellular iron utilization and protection from oxidative-stress responses that this pathogen could encounter during the infection of the human host.
PMCID: PMC3370640  PMID: 22467784
14.  Role of Acinetobactin-Mediated Iron Acquisition Functions in the Interaction of Acinetobacter baumannii Strain ATCC 19606T with Human Lung Epithelial Cells, Galleria mellonella Caterpillars, and Mice 
Infection and Immunity  2012;80(3):1015-1024.
Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes serious infections in immunocompromised patients, expresses high-affinity iron acquisition functions needed for growth under iron-limiting laboratory conditions. In this study, we determined that the initial interaction of the ATCC 19606T type strain with A549 human alveolar epithelial cells is independent of the production of BasD and BauA, proteins needed for acinetobactin biosynthesis and transport, respectively. In contrast, these proteins are required for this strain to persist within epithelial cells and cause their apoptotic death. Infection assays using Galleria mellonella larvae showed that impairment of acinetobactin biosynthesis and transport functions significantly reduces the ability of ATCC 19606T cells to persist and kill this host, a defect that was corrected by adding inorganic iron to the inocula. The results obtained with these ex vivo and in vivo approaches were validated using a mouse sepsis model, which showed that expression of the acinetobactin-mediated iron acquisition system is critical for ATCC 19606T to establish an infection and kill this vertebrate host. These observations demonstrate that the virulence of the ATCC 19606T strain depends on the expression of a fully active acinetobactin-mediated system. Interestingly, the three models also showed that impairment of BasD production results in an intermediate virulence phenotype compared to those of the parental strain and the BauA mutant. This observation suggests that acinetobactin intermediates or precursors play a virulence role, although their contribution to iron acquisition is less relevant than that of mature acinetobactin.
PMCID: PMC3294665  PMID: 22232188
15.  The Acinetobacter baumannii entA Gene Located Outside the Acinetobactin Cluster Is Critical for Siderophore Production, Iron Acquisition and Virulence 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36493.
Acinetobacter baumannii causes severe infections in compromised patients, who present an iron-limited environment that controls bacterial growth. This pathogen has responded to this restriction by expressing high-affinity iron acquisition systems including that mediated by the siderophore acinetobactin. Gene cloning, functional assays and biochemical tests showed that the A. baumannii genome contains a single functional copy of an entA ortholog. This gene, which is essential for the biosynthesis of the acinetobactin precursor 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA), locates outside of the acinetobactin gene cluster, which otherwise harbors all genes needed for acinetobactin biosynthesis, export and transport. In silico analyses and genetic complementation tests showed that entA locates next to an entB ortholog, which codes for a putative protein that contains the isochorismatase lyase domain, which is needed for DHBA biosynthesis from isochorismic acid, but lacks the aryl carrier protein domain, which is needed for tethering activated DHBA and completion of siderophore biosynthesis. Thus, basF, which locates within the acinetobactin gene cluster, is the only fully functional entB ortholog present in ATCC 19606T. The differences in amino acid length and sequences between these two EntB orthologs and the differences in the genetic context within which the entA and entB genes are found in different A. baumannii isolates indicate that they were acquired from different sources by horizontal transfer. Interestingly, the AYE strain proved to be a natural entA mutant capable of acquiring iron via an uncharacterized siderophore-mediated system, an observation that underlines the ability of different A. baumannii isolates to acquire iron using different systems. Finally, experimental infections using in vivo and ex vivo models demonstrate the role of DHBA and acinetobactin intermediates in the virulence of the ATCC 19606T cells, although to a lesser extent when compared to the responses obtained with bacteria producing and using fully matured acinetobactin to acquire iron.
PMCID: PMC3343012  PMID: 22570720
16.  Horizontal Gene Transfer and Assortative Recombination within the Acinetobacter baumannii Clinical Population Provide Genetic Diversity at the Single carO Gene, Encoding a Major Outer Membrane Protein Channel ▿ † ‡  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(18):4736-4748.
We described previously the presence in Acinetobacter baumannii of a novel outer membrane (OM) protein, CarO, which functions as an l-ornithine OM channel and whose loss was concomitant with increased carbapenem resistance among clonally related nosocomial isolates of this opportunistic pathogen. Here, we describe the existence of extensive genetic diversity at the carO gene within the A. baumannii clinical population. The systematic analysis of carO sequences from A. baumannii isolates obtained from public hospitals in Argentina revealed the existence of four highly polymorphic carO variants among them. Sequence polymorphism between the different A. baumannii CarO variants was concentrated in three well-defined protein regions that superimposed mostly to predicted surface-exposed loops. Polymorphism among A. baumannii CarO variants was manifested in differential electrophoretic mobilities, antigenic properties, abilities to form stable oligomeric structures, and l-ornithine influx abilities through the A. baumannii OM under in vivo conditions. Incongruence between the phylogenies of the clinical A. baumannii isolates analyzed and those of the carO variants they harbor suggests the existence of assortative (entire-gene) carO recombinational exchange within the A. baumannii population. Exchange of carO variants possessing differential characteristics mediated by horizontal gene transfer may constitute an A. baumannii population strategy to survive radically changing environmental conditions, such as the leap from inanimate sources to human hosts and vice versa, persistence in a compromised host, and/or survival in health care facilities.
PMCID: PMC3165691  PMID: 21764928
17.  Deciphering the iron response in Acinetobacter baumannii: a proteomics approach 
Journal of proteomics  2010;74(1):44-58.
Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a role in bacterial differential gene expression and protein production. Accordingly, the comparative analysis of total lysate and outer membrane fractions isolated from A. baumannii ATCC 19606T cells cultured under iron-rich and -chelated conditions using 2-D gel electrophoresis-mass spectrometry resulted in the identification of 58 protein spots differentially produced. While 19 and 35 of them represent iron-repressed and iron-induced protein spots, respectively, four other spots represent a metal chelation response unrelated to iron. Most of the iron-repressed protein spots represent outer membrane siderophore receptors, some of which could be involved in the utilization of siderophores produced by other bacteria. The iron-induced protein spots represent a wide range of proteins including those involved in iron storage, such as Bfr, metabolic and energy processes, such as AcnA, AcnB, GlyA, SdhA, and SodB, as well as lipid biosynthesis. The detection of an iron-regulated Hfq ortholog indicates that iron regulation in this bacterium could be mediated by Fur and small RNAs as described in other bacteria. The iron-induced production of OmpA suggests this protein plays a role in iron metabolism as shown by the diminished ability of an OmpA isogenic deficient derivative to grow under iron-chelated conditions.
PMCID: PMC2997898  PMID: 20692388
A. baumannii; iron; iron regulation; total cell proteins; outer membrane proteins
18.  The Opportunistic Human Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii Senses and Responds to Light▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(24):6336-6345.
Light is a ubiquitous environmental signal that many organisms sense and respond to by modulating their physiological responses accordingly. While this is an expected response among phototrophic microorganisms, the ability of chemotrophic prokaryotes to sense and react to light has become a puzzling and novel issue in bacterial physiology, particularly among bacterial pathogens. In this work, we show that the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii senses and responds to blue light. Motility and formation of biofilms and pellicles were observed only when bacterial cells were incubated in darkness. In contrast, the killing of Candida albicans filaments was enhanced when they were cocultured with bacteria under light. These bacterial responses depend on the expression of the A. baumannii ATCC 17978 A1S_2225 gene, which codes for an 18.6-kDa protein that contains an N-terminal blue-light-sensing-using flavin (BLUF) domain and lacks a detectable output domain(s). Spectral analyses of the purified recombinant protein showed its ability to sense light by a red shift upon illumination. Therefore, the A1S_2225 gene, which is present in several members of the Acinetobacter genus, was named blue-light-sensing A (blsA). Interestingly, temperature plays a role in the ability of A. baumannii to sense and respond to light via the BlsA photoreceptor protein.
PMCID: PMC3008525  PMID: 20889755
19.  Insight into innovative approaches to battle Acinetobacter baumannii infection therapy struggles 
Virulence  2010;1(1):6-7.
PMCID: PMC3080204  PMID: 21178407
20.  The Acinetobacter baumannii 19606 OmpA Protein Plays a Role in Biofilm Formation on Abiotic Surfaces and in the Interaction of This Pathogen with Eukaryotic Cells▿  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(8):3150-3160.
The ability of Acinetobacter baumannii to adhere to and persist on surfaces as biofilms could be central to its pathogenicity. The production of pili and a biofilm-associated protein and the expression of antibiotic resistance are needed for robust biofilm formation on abiotic and biotic surfaces. This multistep process also depends on the expression of transcriptional regulatory functions, some of which could sense nutrients available to cells. This report extends previous observations by showing that although outer membrane protein A (OmpA) of A. baumannii 19606 plays a partial role in the development of robust biofilms on plastic, it is essential for bacterial attachment to Candida albicans filaments and A549 human alveolar epithelial cells. In contrast to abiotic surfaces, the interaction with biotic surfaces is independent of the CsuA/BABCDE-mediated pili. The interaction of A. baumannii 19606 with fungal and epithelial cells also results in their apoptotic death, a response that depends on the direct contact of bacteria with these two types of eukaryotic cells. Furthermore, the bacterial adhesion phenotype correlates with the ability of bacteria to invade A549 epithelial cells. Interestingly, the killing activity of cell-free culture supernatants proved to be protease and temperature sensitive, suggesting that its cytotoxic activity is due to secreted proteins, some of which are different from OmpA.
PMCID: PMC2715673  PMID: 19470746
21.  Regulation of Acinetobacter baumannii biofilm formation 
Future microbiology  2009;4:273-278.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative opportunistic nosocomial pathogen. This microorganism survives in hospital environments despite unfavorable conditions such as desiccation, nutrient starvation and antimicrobial treatments. It is hypothesized that its ability to persist in these environments, as well as its virulence, is a result of its capacity to form biofilms. A. baumannii forms biofilms on abiotic surfaces such as polystyrene and glass as well as biotic surfaces such as epithelial cells and fungal filaments. Pili assembly and production of the Bap surface-adhesion protein play a role in biofilm initiation and maturation after initial attachment to abiotic surfaces. Furthermore, the adhesion and biofilm phenotypes of some clinical isolates seem to be related to the presence of broad-spectrum antibiotic resistance. The regulation of the formation and development of these biofilms is as diverse as the surfaces on which this bacterium persists and as the cellular components that participate in this programmed multistep process. The regulatory processes associated with biofilm formation include sensing of bacterial cell density, the presence of different nutrients and the concentration of free cations available to bacterial cells. Some of these extracellular signals may be sensed by two-component regulatory systems such as BfmRS. This transcriptional regulatory system activates the expression of the usher-chaperone assembly system responsible for the production of pili, needed for cell attachment and biofilm formation on polystyrene surfaces. However, such a system is not required for biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces when cells are cultured in chemically defined media. Interestingly, the BfmRS system also controls cell morphology under particular culture conditions.
PMCID: PMC2724675  PMID: 19327114
abiotic surface; Acinetobacter; biofilm; biotic surface; pili production; quorum sensing; signal transduction; transcriptional regulation
22.  Klebsiella pneumoniae Multiresistance Plasmid pMET1: Similarity with the Yersinia pestis Plasmid pCRY and Integrative Conjugative Elements 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1800.
Dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes has become an important public health and biodefense threat. Plasmids are important contributors to the rapid acquisition of antibiotic resistance by pathogenic bacteria.
Principal Findings
The nucleotide sequence of the Klebsiella pneumoniae multiresistance plasmid pMET1 comprises 41,723 bp and includes Tn1331.2, a transposon that carries the blaTEM-1 gene and a perfect duplication of a 3-kbp region including the aac(6′)-Ib, aadA1, and blaOXA-9 genes. The replication region of pMET1 has been identified. Replication is independent of DNA polymerase I, and the replication region is highly related to that of the cryptic Yersinia pestis 91001 plasmid pCRY. The potential partition region has the general organization known as the parFG locus. The self-transmissible pMET1 plasmid includes a type IV secretion system consisting of proteins that make up the mating pair formation complex (Mpf) and the DNA transfer (Dtr) system. The Mpf is highly related to those in the plasmid pCRY, the mobilizable high-pathogenicity island from E. coli ECOR31 (HPIECOR31), which has been proposed to be an integrative conjugative element (ICE) progenitor of high-pathogenicity islands in other Enterobacteriaceae including Yersinia species, and ICEKp1, an ICE found in a K. pneumoniae strain causing primary liver abscess. The Dtr MobB and MobC proteins are highly related to those of pCRY, but the endonuclease is related to that of plasmid pK245 and has no significant homology with the protein of similar function in pCRY. The region upstream of mobB includes the putative oriT and shares 90% identity with the same region in the HPIECOR31.
The comparative analyses of pMET1 with pCRY, HPIECOR31, and ICEKp1 show a very active rate of genetic exchanges between Enterobacteriaceae including Yersinia species, which represents a high public health and biodefense threat due to transfer of multiple resistance genes to pathogenic Yersinia strains.
PMCID: PMC2262945  PMID: 18350140
23.  Genetic and Molecular Characterization of a Dental Pathogen Using Genome-Wide Approaches 
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans causes periodontitis, a costly chronic infection that affects a large number of patients. The pathogenesis of this dental infection is a multifactorial process that results in a serious degenerative disease of the periodontium. Although significant progress has been achieved after the identification of this gram-negative bacterium as the etiological agent of this infection, much remains to be done to understand in detail the bacterial factors and host-pathogen interactions involved in the pathogenesis of this disease. Classical research approaches have resulted in the identification of important virulence factors and cellular processes, although they have provided a rather narrow picture of some of steps of this complex process. In contrast, a much wider picture could be obtained with the application of tools such as bioinformatics and genomics. These tools will provide global information regarding the differential expression of genes encoding factors and processes that lead to the pathogenesis of this disease. Furthermore, comparative genomics has the potential of helping to understand the emergence and evolution of this human pathogen. This genome-wide approach should provide a more complete picture of the pathogenesis process of this disease, and will facilitate the development of efficient diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic measures for this disease.
PMCID: PMC1262653  PMID: 15126217
A. actinomycetemcomitans; dental pathogen; genomics; bioinformatics; iron metabolism
24.  Genetic and Functional Analyses of the Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans AfeABCD Siderophore-Independent Iron Acquisition System  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(6):3758-3763.
The Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans afeABCD iron transport system, the expression of which is controlled by iron and Fur, was identified in three different isolates. The protein products of this locus are related to bacterial ABC transporters involved in metal transport. Transformation of the Escherichia coli 1017 iron acquisition mutant with a plasmid harboring afeABCD promoted cell growth under iron-chelated conditions. However, insertion disruption of each of the afeABCD coding regions abolished this growth-relieving effect. The replacement of the parental afeA allele with the derivative afeA::EZ::TN drastically reduced the ability of A. actinomycetemcomitans cells to grow under iron-chelated conditions.
PMCID: PMC1111845  PMID: 15908408
25.  Cloning and Sequencing of a Genomic Island Found in the Brazilian Purpuric Fever Clone of Haemophilus influenzae Biogroup Aegyptius  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(4):1927-1938.
A genomic island was identified in the Haemophilus influenzae biogroup aegyptius Brazilian purpuric fever (BPF) strain F3031. This island, which was also found in other BPF isolates, could not be detected in non-BPF biogroup aegyptius strains or in nontypeable or typeable H. influenzae strains, with the exception of a region present in the type b Eagan strain. This 34,378-bp island is inserted, in reference to H. influenzae Rd KW20, within a choline transport gene and contains a mosaic structure of Mu-like prophage genes, several hypothetical genes, and genes potentially encoding an Erwinia carotovora carotovoricin Er-like bacteriocin. The product of the tail fiber ORF in the bacteriocin-like region shows a hybrid structure where the C terminus is similar to an H. influenzae phage HP1 tail protein implicating this open reading frame in altering host specificity for a putative bacteriocin. Significant synteny is seen in the entire genomic island with genomic regions from Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhi CT18, Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. laumondii TT01, Chromobacterium violaceum, and to a lesser extent Haemophilus ducreyi 35000HP. In a previous work, we isolated several BPF-specific DNA fragments through a genome subtraction procedure, and we have found that a majority of these fragments map to this locus. In addition, several subtracted fragments generated from an independent laboratory by using different but related strains also map to this island. These findings underscore the importance of this BPF-specific chromosomal region in explaining some of the genomic differences between highly invasive BPF strains and non-BPF isolates of biogroup aegyptius.
PMCID: PMC1087403  PMID: 15784532

Results 1-25 (30)