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1.  Development and Evaluation of EPA Method 1615 for Detection of Enterovirus and Norovirus in Water 
The U.S. EPA developed a sample concentration and preparation assay in conjunction with the total culturable virus assay for concentrating and measuring culturable viruses in source and drinking waters as part of the Information Collection Rule (ICR) promulgated in 1996. In an effort to improve upon this method, the U.S. EPA recently developed Method 1615: Measurement of Enterovirus and Norovirus Occurrence in Water by Culture and RT-qPCR. Method 1615 uses a culturable virus assay with reduced equipment and labor costs compared to the costs associated with the ICR virus method and introduces a new molecular assay for the detection of enteroviruses and noroviruses by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR. In this study, we describe the optimization of several new components of the molecular assay and examine virus recovery from ground, reagent-grade, and surface water samples seeded with poliovirus type 3 and murine norovirus. For the culturable virus and molecular assays, mean poliovirus recovery using the complete method was 58% and 20% in groundwater samples, 122% and 39% using low-titer spikes in reagent-grade water, 42% and 48% using high-titer spikes in reagent-grade water, and 11% and 10% in surface water with high turbidity, respectively. Murine norovirus recovery by the molecular assay was 30% in groundwater samples, less than 8% in both low- and high-titer spikes in reagent-grade water, and 6% in surface water with high turbidity. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of Method 1615 for use with groundwater samples and highlights the need for further research into its effectiveness with surface water.
PMCID: PMC3536115  PMID: 23087037
2.  New Electropositive Filter for Concentrating Enteroviruses and Noroviruses from Large Volumes of Waterâ–¿  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's information collection rule requires the use of 1MDS electropositive filters for concentrating enteric viruses from water, but unfortunately, these filters are not cost-effective for routine viral monitoring. In this study, an inexpensive electropositive cartridge filter, the NanoCeram filter, was evaluated for its ability to concentrate enteroviruses and noroviruses from large volumes of water. Seeded viruses were concentrated using the adsorption-elution procedure. The mean percent retention of seeded polioviruses by NanoCeram filters was 84%. To optimize the elution procedure, six protocols, each comprising two successive elutions with various lengths of filter immersion, were evaluated. The highest virus recovery (77%) was obtained by immersing the filters in beef extract for 1 minute during the first elution and for 15 min during the second elution. The recovery efficiencies of poliovirus, coxsackievirus B5, and echovirus 7 from 100-liter samples of seeded tap water were 54%, 27%, and 32%, respectively. There was no significant difference in virus recovery from tap water with a pH range of 6 to 9.5 and a water flow rate range of 5.5 liters/min to 20 liters/min. Finally, poliovirus and Norwalk virus recoveries by NanoCeram filters were compared to those by 1MDS filters, using tap water and Ohio River water. Poliovirus and Norwalk virus recoveries by NanoCeram filters from tap and river water were similar to or higher than those by the 1MDS filters. These data suggest that NanoCeram filters can be used as an inexpensive alternative to 1MDS filters for routine viral monitoring of water.
PMCID: PMC2675229  PMID: 19218410
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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 1-5 (5)