A total of 220 lactic acid bacteria isolates were screened for antifungal activity using Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger as the target strains. Four Lactobacillus strains exhibited strong inhibitory activity on agar surfaces. All four were also identified as having strong inhibitory activity against the human pathogenic fungi Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Epidermophyton floccosum. One of the four lactobacilli, namely Lb. reuteri ee1p exhibited the most inhibition against dermatophytes. Cell-free culture supernatants of Lb. reuteri ee1p and of the non-antifungal Lb. reuteri M13 were freeze-dried and used to access and compare antifungal activity in agar plate assays and microtiter plate assays. Addition of the Lb. reuteri ee1p freeze-dried cell-free supernatant powder into the agar medium at concentrations greater than 2% inhibited all fungal colony growth. Addition of the powder at 5% to liquid cultures caused complete inhibition of fungal growth on the basis of turbidity. Freeze-dried supernatant of the non-antifungal Lb. reuteri M13 at the same concentrations had a much lesser effect. As Lb. reuteri M13 is very similar to the antifungal strain ee1p in terms of growth rate and final pH in liquid culture, and as it has little antifungal activity, it is clear that other antifungal compounds must be specifically produced (or produced at higher levels) by the anti-dermatophyte strain Lb. reuteri ee1p. Reuterin was undetectable in all four antifungal strains. The cell free supernatant of Lb. reuteri ee1p was analyzed by LC-FTMS using an Accela LC coupled to an LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer. The high mass accuracy spectrum produced by compounds in the Lb. reuteri ee1p strain was compared with both a multianalyte chromatogram and individual spectra of standard anti-fungal compounds, which are known to be produced by lactic acid bacteria. Ten antifungal metabolites were detected.
Epidermophyton floccosum; antifungal; lactic acid bacteria; Microsporum canis; Microsporum gypseum
New antibacterial agents are urgently needed for the elimination of biofilm-forming bacteria that are highly resistant to traditional antimicrobial agents. Proliferation of such bacteria can lead to significant economic losses in the agri-food sector. This study demonstrates the potential of the bacteriophage-derived peptidase, CHAPK, as a biocidal agent for the rapid disruption of biofilm-forming staphylococci, commonly associated with bovine mastitis. Purified CHAPK applied to biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus DPC5246 completely eliminated the staphylococcal biofilms within 4 h. In addition, CHAPK was able to prevent biofilm formation by this strain. The CHAPK lysin also reduced S. aureus in a skin decolonization model. Our data demonstrates the potential of CHAPK as a biocidal agent for prevention and treatment of biofilm-associated staphylococcal infections or as a decontaminating agent in the food and healthcare sectors.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of infection in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In addition, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance of Pseudomonas are major problems that can complicate antibiotic therapy. We evaluated the efficacy of using bacteriophages to kill the pathogen in both biofilms and in the murine lung. We isolated and characterized two phages from a local wastewater treatment plant, a myovirus (ϕNH-4) and a podovirus (ϕMR299-2). Both phages were active against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa. Together, the two phages killed all 9 clinical isolate strains tested, including both mucoid and nonmucoid strains. An equal mixture of the two phages was effective in killing P. aeruginosa NH57388A (mucoid) and P. aeruginosa MR299 (nonmucoid) strains when growing as a biofilm on a cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial CFBE41o- cell line. Phage titers increased almost 100-fold over a 24-h period, confirming replication of the phage. Furthermore, the phage mix was also effective in killing the pathogen in murine lungs containing 1 × 107 to 2 × 107
P. aeruginosa. Pseudomonas was effectively cleared (reduced by a magnitude of at least 3 to 4 log units) from murine lungs in 6 h. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of these two phages in killing clinical Pseudomonas isolates in the murine lung or as a biofilm on a pulmonary cell line and supports the growing interest in using phage therapy for the control and treatment of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas lung infections in CF patients.
Given the rise in antibiotic resistance, nonantibiotic therapies are required for the treatment of infection. This is particularly true for the treatment of Pseudomonas infection in patients with cystic fibrosis. We have identified two bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) that can kill Pseudomonas growing on human lung cells and in an animal model of lung infection. The use of bacteriophages is particularly appropriate because the killing agent can replicate on the target cell, generating fresh copies of the bacteriophage. Thus, in the presence of a target, the killing agent multiplies. By using two bacteriophages we can reduce the risk of resistant colonies developing at the site of infection. Bacteriophage therapy is an exciting field, and this study represents an important demonstration of efficacy in validated infection models.
The aim of this study was to use comparative modeling to predict the three-dimensional structure of the CHAPK protein (cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase domain of the LysK endolysin, derived from bacteriophage K). Iterative PSI-BLAST searches against the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and nonredundant (nr) databases were used to populate a multiple alignment for analysis using the T-Coffee Expresso server. A consensus Maximum Parsimony phylogenetic tree with a bootstrap analysis setting of 1,000 replicates was constructed using MEGA4. Structural templates relevant to our target (CHAPK) were identified, processed in Expresso and used to generate a 3D model in the alignment mode of SWISS-MODEL. These templates were also processed in the I-TASSER web server. A Staphylococcus saprophyticus CHAP domain protein, 2K3A, was identified as the structural template in both servers. The I-TASSER server generated the CHAPK model with the best bond geometries when analyzed using PROCHECK and the most logical organization of the structure. The predicted 3D model indicates that CHAPK has a papain-like fold. Circular dichroism spectropolarimetry also indicated that CHAPK has an αβ fold, which is consistent with the model presented. The putative active site maintained a highly conserved Cys54-His117-Glu134 charge relay and an oxyanion hole residue Asn136. The residue triplet, Cys-His-Glu, is known to be a viable proteolytic triad in which we predict the Cys residue is used in a nucleophilic attack on peptide bonds at a specific site in the pentaglycine cross bridge of staphylococcal cell wall peptidoglycan. Use of comparative modeling has allowed approximation of the 3D structure of CHAPK giving information on the structure and an insight into the binding and active site of the catalytic domain. This may facilitate its development as an alternative antibacterial agent.
bacteriophage; CHAP; endolysin; in silico; peptidase; staphylococcus
This study investigated the effect of bacteriophages (phages) e11/2 and e4/1c against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in an ex vivo rumen model and in cattle in vivo. In the ex vivo rumen model, samples were inoculated with either 103 or 106 CFU/ml inoculum of E. coli O157:H7 and challenged separately with each bacteriophage. In the presence of phage e11/2, the numbers of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced to below the limit of detection within 1 h. Phage e4/1c significantly (P < 0.05) reduced E. coli O157:H7 numbers within 2 h of incubation, but the number of surviving E. coli O157:H7 bacteria then remained unchanged over a further 22-h incubation period. The ability of a phage cocktail of e11/2 and e4/1c to reduce the fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in experimentally inoculated cattle was then investigated in two cattle trials. Cattle (yearlings, n = 20 for trial one; adult fistulated cattle, n = 2 for trial two) were orally inoculated with 1010 CFU of E. coli O157:H7. Animals (n = 10 for trial one; n = 1 for trial two) were dosed daily with a bacteriophage cocktail of 1011 PFU for 3 days postinoculation. E. coli O157:H7 and phage numbers in fecal and/or rumen samples were determined over 7 days postinoculation. E. coli O157:H7 numbers rapidly declined in all animals within 24 to 48 h; however, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the numbers of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria shed by the phage-treated or control animals. Phages were recovered from the rumen but not from the feces of the adult fistulated animal in trial two but were recovered from the feces of the yearling animals in trial one. While the results from the rumen model suggest that phages are effective in the rumen, further research is required to improve the antimicrobial effectiveness of phages for the elimination of E. coli O157:H7 in vivo.
With the increasing worldwide prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, bacteriophage endolysins (lysins) represent a very promising novel alternative class of antibacterial in the fight against infectious disease. Lysins are phage-encoded peptidoglycan hydrolases which, when applied exogenously (as purified recombinant proteins) to Gram-positive bacteria, bring about rapid lysis and death of the bacterial cell. A number of studies have recently demonstrated the strong potential of these enzymes in human and veterinary medicine to control and treat pathogens on mucosal surfaces and in systemic infections. They also have potential in diagnostics and detection, bio-defence, elimination of food pathogens and control of phytopathogens. This review discusses the extensive research on recombinant bacteriophage lysins in the context of antibacterials, and looks forward to future development and potential.
lysin; endolysin; bacteriophage; pathogen; antibacterial; infection; lytic; enzyme
The endolysin LysK derived from staphylococcal phage K has previously been shown to have two enzymatic domains, one of which is an N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase and the other a cysteine/histidine-dependant amidohydrolase/peptidase designated CHAPk. The latter, when cloned as a single-domain truncated enzyme, is conveniently overexpressed in a highly-soluble form. This enzyme was shown to be highly active in vitro against live cell suspensions of S. aureus. In the current study, the IVIS imaging system was used to demonstrate the effective elimination of a lux labeled S. aureus from the nares of BALB/c mice.
Staphylococcus; decolonization; lysin; bacteriophage; nasal
Nisin A is the most widely characterized lantibiotic investigated to date. It represents one of the many antimicrobial peptides which have been the focus of much interest as potential therapeutic agents. This has resulted in the search for novel lantibiotics and more commonly, the engineering of novel variants from existing peptides with a view to increasing their activity, stability and solubility.
The aim of this study was to compare the activities of nisin A and novel bioengineered hinge derivatives, nisin S, nisin T and nisin V. The microtitre alamar blue assay (MABA) was employed to identify the enhanced activity of these novel variants against M. tuberculosis (H37Ra), M. kansasii (CIT11/06), M. avium subsp. hominissuis (CIT05/03) and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) (ATCC 19698). All variants displayed greater anti-mycobacterial activity than nisin A. Nisin S was the most potent variant against M. tuberculosis, M. kansasii and M. avium subsp. hominissuis, retarding growth by a maximum of 29% when compared with nisin A. Sub-species variations of inhibition were also observed with nisin S reducing growth of Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis by 28% and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis by 19% and nisin T contrastingly reducing growth of MAP by 27% and MAC by 16%.
Nisin S, nisin T and nisin V are potent novel anti-mycobacterial compounds, which have the capacity to be further modified, potentially generating compounds with additional beneficial characteristics. This is the first report to demonstrate an enhancement of efficacy by any bioengineered bacteriocin against mycobacteria.
mycobacteria; nisin variants; alamar blue; peptide engineering; lantibiotic; bacteriocin
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes a chronic gastroenteritis affecting many species. Johne's disease is one of the most widespread and economically important disease of ruminants. Since 1992 and the opening of the European market, the exposure and the transmission of MAP in cattle herds considerably increased. Improvements in diagnostic strategies for Ireland and elsewhere are urgently required. In total, 290 cattle from seven Irish herds with either a history or a strong likelihood of paratuberculosis infection were selected by a veterinary team over 2 years. Faecal samples (290) were collected and screened for MAP by a conventional culture method and two PCR assays. In order to further evaluate the usefulness of molecular testing, a nested PCR was also assessed.
M. paratuberculosis was isolated and cultured from 23 faecal samples (7.9%) on solid medium. From a molecular perspective, 105 faecal samples (36%) were PCR positive for MAP specific DNA. A complete correlation (100%) was observed between the results of both molecular targets (IS900 and ISMAP02). Sensitivity was increased by ~10% with the inclusion of a nested PCR for ISMAP02 (29 further samples were positive). When culturing and PCR were retrospectively compared, every culture positive faecal sample also yielded a PCR positive result for both targets. Alternatively, however not every PCR positive sample (n = 105, 36%) produced a corresponding culture isolate. Interestingly though when analysed collectively at the herd level, the correlation between culture and PCR results was 100% (ie every herd which recorded at least 1 early PCR +ve result later yielded culture positive samples within that herd).
PCR on bovine faecal samples is a fast reliable test and should be applied routinely when screening for MAP within herds suspected of paratuberculosis. Nested PCR increases the threshold limit of detection for MAP DNA by approximately 10% but proved to be problematic in this study. Although slow and impractical, culturing is still regarded as one of the most reliable methods for detecting MAP among infected cattle.
A microtiter alamarBlue assay was adapted and optimized for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Using cell concentrations ranging from 104 to 108 CFU/ml, a minimum incubation time to indicate viability was obtained after 24 h. Rifampin (rifampicin) was used to demonstrate that this method has applications for high-throughput screening against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.
A truncated derivative of the phage endolysin LysK containing only the CHAP (cysteine- and histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase) domain exhibited lytic activity against live clinical staphylococcal isolates, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is the first known report of a truncated phage lysin which retains high lytic activity against live staphylococcal cells.
Insertional inactivation of the plasmid-encoded determinants for Mg2+ and Co2+ transport, orf18/corA, provides a tool for screening recombinant clones in Lactococcus, based on the observation that overexpression of orf18/corA results in cell growth inhibition on certain concentrations of CoCl2. The lacticin 3147 immunity gene, ltnI, was used to insertionally inactivate orf18/corA. The resulting clones were capable of growth on concentrations of CoCl2 that were inhibitory to the parent strain. Since only 3 of 17 lactococcal starters naturally harbor corA, the system has potential as a screen for selecting recombinant lactococcal clones.
Lactococcus lactis DPC4275 is a bacteriocin-producing transconjugant of the industrial starter strain DPC4268. Strain DPC4275 was generated through conjugal transfer by mating DPC4268 with L. lactis MG1363 containing the 60-kb plasmid pMRC01, which encodes the genetic determinants for the lantibiotic lacticin 3147 and for a phage resistance mechanism of the abortive infection type. The many significant applications of this strain prompted a genetic analysis of its apparently unstable bacteriocin-producing phenotype. Increased levels of lacticin 3147 produced by DPC4275 were associated with the appearance of an 80-kb plasmid, designated pMRC02, which was derived from DNA originating from pMRC01 (60 kb) and a resident DPC4268 proteinase plasmid, pMT60 (60 kb). Indeed, pMRC02 was shown to be derived from the insertion of a 17-kb fragment of pMRC01, encompassing the lacticin 3147 operon, into pMT60. The presence of pMRC02 at a high copy number was found to correlate with increased levels of lacticin 3147 in DPC4275 compared to the wild-type containing pMRC01. Subsequent transfer of pMRC02 into the plasmid-free strain MG1363 by electroporation allowed a direct phenotypic comparison with pMRC01, also studied in the MG1363 background. Plasmid pMRC02 displayed phage resistance similar to that by pMRC01, although it was less potent, as demonstrated by a larger plaque size for phage c2 infection of MG1363(pMRC02). While this locus is flanked by IS946 elements, the sequencing of pMT60-pMRC01 junction sites established that this event was unlikely to be insertion sequence mediated and most probably occurred by homologous recombination followed by deletion of most of pMRC01. This was not a random occurrence, as nine other transconjugants investigated were found to have the same junction sites. Such derivatives of commercial strains producing increased levels of bacteriocin could be exploited as protection cultures for food applications.
The bacteriophage resistance plasmid pAH90 (26,490 bp) is a natural cointegrate plasmid formed via homologous recombination between the type I restriction-modification specificity determinants (hsdS) of two smaller lactococcal plasmids, pAH33 (6,159 bp) and pAH82 (20,331 bp), giving rise to a bacteriophage-insensitive mutant following phage challenge (D. O'Sullivan, D. P. Twomey, A. Coffey, C. Hill, G. F. Fitzgerald, and R. P. Ross, Mol. Microbiol. 36:866–876; 2000). In this communication we provide evidence that the recombination event is favored by phage infection. The entire nucleotide sequence of plasmid pAH90 was determined and found to contain 24 open reading frames (ORFs) responsible for phenotypes which include restriction-modification, phage adsorption inhibition, plasmid replication, cadmium resistance, cobalt transport, and conjugative mobilization. The cadmium resistance property, encoded by the cadA gene, which has an associated regulatory gene (cadC), is of particular interest, as it facilitated the selection of pAH90 in other phage-sensitive lactococci after electroporation. In addition, we report the identification of a group II self-splicing intron bounded by two exons which have the capacity to encode a relaxase implicated in conjugation in gram-positive bacteria. The functionality of this intron was evident by demonstrating splicing in vivo. Given that pAH90 encodes potent phage defense systems which act at different stages in the phage lytic cycle, the linkage of these with a food-grade selectable marker on a replicon that can be mobilized among lactococci has significant potential for natural strain improvement for industrial dairy fermentations which are susceptible to phage inhibition.
The ability of lactococcal strains to lyse (and release intracellular enzymes) during cheese manufacture can be a very desirable trait and has been associated with improvement in flavor and acceleration of cheese ripening. Using a laboratory-scale cheese manufacturing assay, the autolytic behavior of 31 strains of Lactococcus lactis was assessed. In general, marked variation was observed between strains with a 20-fold difference between the best and worst lysing strains based on the release of the intracellular enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. In a parallel experiment, the genomes of these strains were examined for the presence of prophage integrase (int) sequences by using conserved primer sequences from known lysogenic phage. Results demonstrated that the lytic behavior of lactococcal starter strains significantly correlates with the presence of prophage sequences. These results highlight not only the contribution of prophage to starter cell lysis but also the potential of PCR as a useful initial screen to assess strains for this important industrial trait.
The plasmid-free Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris MG1614 is highly phage sensitive and lacks lactose fermenting ability (Lac) and primary casein degrading ability (Prt). Food grade gene transfer systems were used to sequentially superimpose different phage defense systems on this background, resulting in a gradual increase in resistance to bacteriophage in the derivatives. pLP712, encoding Lac and Prt, was then transferred to one of these hosts, into which plasmids encoding adsorption inhibition, restriction modification, and abortive infection had already been introduced. This resulted in a phage-resistant strain which was successfully used as a single-strain starter for cheddar cheese manufacture under industrial conditions.