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1.  Emergence and Diversity of Salmonella enterica Serovar Indiana Isolates with Concurrent Resistance to Ciprofloxacin and Cefotaxime from Patients and Food-Producing Animals in China 
Salmonellosis is a major global foodborne infection, and strains that are resistant to a great variety of antibiotics have become a major public health concern. The aim of this study was to identify genes conferring resistance to fluoroquinolones and extended-spectrum β-lactams in nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) from patients and food-producing animals in China. In total, 133 and 21 NTS isolates from animals and humans, respectively, exhibiting concurrent resistance to ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime were cultured independently from 2009 to ∼2013. All of the isolates were identified, serotyped, and subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Importantly, the isolates with concurrent resistance to ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime all were confirmed as S. enterica serovar Indiana. The presence of fluoroquinolone resistance genes and extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) was established by PCR and DNA sequencing. The occurrence and diversity of different genes conferring fluoroquinolone resistance [qepA, oqxAB, and aac(6′)-Ib-cr] with mutations in topoisomerase-encoding genes (gyrA and parC) and several ESBLs (including CTX-M-65, CTX-M-27, CTX-M-15, CTX-M-14, and CTX-M-14/CTX-M-15) were noteworthy. Genes located on mobile genetic elements were identified by conjugation and transformation. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, used to determine the genetic relationships between these isolates, generated 91 pulsotypes from 133 chicken isolates and 17 pulsotypes from the 21 clinical isolates that showed considerable diversity. Analysis of the pulsotypes obtained with the isolates showed some clones appeared to have existed for several years and had been disseminating between humans and food-producing animals. This study highlights the emergence of ciprofloxacin- and cefotaxime-resistant S. enterica serovar Indiana, posing a threat to public health.
PMCID: PMC4879380  PMID: 27001808
2.  Prevalence of Salmonella Isolates from Chicken and Pig Slaughterhouses and Emergence of Ciprofloxacin and Cefotaxime Co-Resistant S. enterica Serovar Indiana in Henan, China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0144532.
The prevalence of Salmonella from chicken and pig slaughterhouses in Henan, China and antimicrobial susceptibility of these isolates to antibiotics was determined. From 283 chicken samples and 240 pig samples collected, 128 and 70 Salmonella isolates were recovered with an isolation rate of 45.2 and 29.2% respectively. The predominant serovars in chicken samples were S. enterica serovar Enteritidis, S. enterica serovar Hadar and S. enterica serovar Indiana, while those in pig samples were S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, S. enterica serovar Derby and S. enterica serovar Enteritidis. Resistance to ciprofloxacin was 8.6 and 10.0% for isolates from chickens and pigs respectively, whereas resistance to cefotaxime was 5.5 and 8.6%, respectively. Multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more classes of antimicrobial agent) was markedly higher in pig isolates (57.1%) than in chicken isolates (39.8%). Of particular concern was the detection of ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime co-resistant S. enterica serovar Indiana isolates, which pose risk to public health. All 16 S. enterica serovar Indiana isolates detected were resistant to ciprofloxacin, among which 11 were co-resistant to cefotaxime. The S. enterica serovar Indiana isolates accumulated point mutations in quinolone resistance determination regions of gyrA (S83F/D87G or S83F/D87N) and parC (T57S/S80R). Two plasmid mediated quinolone resistant determinants were found with aac (6')-Ib-cr and oqxAB in 16 and 12 S. enterica serovar Indiana isolates respectively. Cefotaxime-resistance of S. enterica serovar Indiana was associated with the acquisition of a blaCTX-M-65 gene. The potential risk of ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime co-resistant S. enterica serovar Indiana infection is a significant concern due to limited alternative treatment options. Reduction of Salmonella in chicken and pig slaughterhouses, in particular, ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime co-resistant S. enterica serovar Indiana will be an important measure to reduce the public health burden of Salmonella infections.
PMCID: PMC4674084  PMID: 26650239
3.  Impacts of reactive nitrogen on climate change in China 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8118.
China is mobilizing the largest anthropogenic reactive nitrogen (Nr) in the world due to agricultural, industrial and urban development. However, the climate effects related to Nr in China remain largely unclear. Here we comprehensively estimate that the net climate effects of Nr are −100 ± 414 and 322 ± 163 Tg CO2e on a GTP20 and a GTP100 basis, respectively. Agriculture contributes to warming at 187 ± 108 and 186 ± 56 Tg CO2e on a 20-y and 100-y basis, respectively, dominated by long-lived nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertilized soils. On a 20-y basis, industry contributes to cooling at −287 ± 306 Tg CO2e, largely owing to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) altering tropospheric ozone, methane and aerosol concentrations. However, these effects are short-lived. The effect of industry converts to warming at 136 ± 107 Tg CO2e on a 100-y basis, mainly as a result of the reduced carbon (C) sink from the NOx-induced ozone effect on plant damage. On balance, the warming effects of gaseous Nr are partly offset by the cooling effects of N-induced carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. The large mitigation potentials through reductions in agricultural N2O and industrial NOx will accompany by a certain mitigation pressure from limited N-induced C sequestration in the future.
PMCID: PMC4309972  PMID: 25631557
4.  Differential Gene Expression by RamA in Ciprofloxacin-Resistant Salmonella Typhimurium 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22161.
Overexpression of ramA has been implicated in resistance to multiple drugs in several enterobacterial pathogens. In the present study, Salmonella Typhimurium strain LTL with constitutive expression of ramA was compared to its ramA-deletion mutant by employing both DNA microarrays and phenotype microarrays (PM). The mutant strain with the disruption of ramA showed differential expression of at least 33 genes involved in 11 functional groups. The study confirmed at the transcriptional level that the constitutive expression of ramA was directly associated with increased expression of multidrug efflux pump AcrAB-TolC and decreased expression of porin protein OmpF, thereby conferring multiple drug resistance phenotype. Compared to the parent strain constitutively expressing ramA, the ramA mutant had increased susceptibility to over 70 antimicrobials and toxic compounds. The PM analysis also uncovered that the ramA mutant was better in utilization of 10 carbon sources and 5 phosphorus sources. This study suggested that the constitutive expression of ramA locus regulate not only multidrug efflux pump and accessory genes but also genes involved in carbon metabolic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3139621  PMID: 21811569
5.  Effect of Vaccination on Bordetella pertussis Strains, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(11):1695-1701.
Strains in China may differ from those in countries that have long histories of high vaccination coverage.
Whole-cell pertussis vaccine was introduced in China in the early 1960s. We used standard typing methods to compare 96 Bordetella pertussis isolates collected before and after introduction of vaccination, during 1953–2005. The following vaccine-type alleles of the pertussis toxin (ptx) gene were characteristic for all prevaccination strains: ptxA2, ptxA3, and ptxA4. The shift to ptxA1 occurred since 1963. All isolates collected since 1983 contained ptxA1. Pertactin (prn) allele 1, prn1, was predominant, although prn2 and prn3 have been detected since 2000. Serotypes fimbriae (Fim) 2 and Fim2,3 were found in all isolates collected before 1986. During 1997–2005, Fim3 became prevalent. Although changes in electrophoresis profiles over time were observed, the predominant profiles during 1997–2005 resembled those during the prevaccine era and those found in Europe before the 1990s. B. pertussis strains in China may differ from those in countries that have a long history of high vaccine coverage.
PMCID: PMC3294513  PMID: 21029526
China; Bordetella pertussis; whooping cough; pertussis; incidence; vaccination; genotyping; PFGE; bacteria; research
6.  Identification and Characterization of Shiga Toxin Type 2 Variants in Escherichia coli Isolates from Animals, Food, and Humans▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(18):5645-5652.
There is considerable heterogeneity among the Shiga toxin type 2 (Stx2) toxins elaborated by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). One such Stx2 variant, the Stx2d mucus-activatable toxin (Stx2dact), is rendered more toxic by the action of elastase present in intestinal mucus, which cleaves the last two amino acids of the A2 portion of the toxin A subunit. We screened 153 STEC isolates from food, animals, and humans for the gene encoding Stx2dact by using a novel one-step PCR procedure. This method targeted the region of stx2dact that encodes the elastase recognition site. The presence of stx2dact was confirmed by DNA sequencing of the complete toxin genes. Seven STEC isolates from cows (four isolates), meat (two isolates), and a human (one isolate) that carried the putative stx2dact gene were identified; all were eae negative, and none was the O157:H7 serotype. Three of the isolates (CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584) also carried stx1, two (P1332 and P1334) carried stx1 and stx2c, and one (CL-15) carried stx2c. One isolate, P1130, harbored only stx2dact. The Vero cell cytotoxicities of supernatants from P1130 and stx1 deletion mutants of CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584 were increased 13- to 30-fold after treatment with porcine elastase. Thus, Stx2dact-producing strains, as detected by our one-step PCR method, can be isolated not only from humans, as previously documented, but also from food and animals. The latter finding has important public health implications based on a recent report from Europe of a link between disease severity and infection with STEC isolates that produce Stx2dact.
PMCID: PMC2547040  PMID: 18658282
7.  Contribution of Target Gene Mutations and Efflux to Decreased Susceptibility of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium to Fluoroquinolones and Other Antimicrobials▿  
The mechanisms involved in fluoroquinolone resistance in Salmonella enterica include target alterations and overexpression of efflux pumps. The present study evaluated the role of known and putative multidrug resistance efflux pumps and mutations in topoisomerase genes among laboratory-selected and naturally occurring fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strains. Strains with ciprofloxacin MICs of 0.25, 4, 32, and 256 μg/ml were derived in vitro using serovar Typhimurium S21. These mutants also showed decreased susceptibility or resistance to many nonfluoroquinolone antimicrobials, including tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and several β-lactams. The expression of efflux pump genes acrA, acrB, acrE, acrF, emrB, emrD, and mdlB were substantially increased (≥2-fold) among the fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants. Increased expression was also observed, but to a lesser extent, with three other putative efflux pumps: mdtB (yegN), mdtC (yegO), and emrA among mutants with ciprofloxacin MICs of ≥32 μg/ml. Deletion of acrAB or tolC in S21 and its fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants resulted in increased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones and other tested antimicrobials. In naturally occurring fluoroquinolone-resistant serovar Typhimurium strains, deletion of acrAB or tolC increased fluoroquinolone susceptibility 4-fold, whereas replacement of gyrA double mutations (S83F D87N) with wild-type gyrA increased susceptibility >500-fold. These results indicate that a combination of topoisomerase gene mutations, as well as enhanced antimicrobial efflux, plays a critical role in the development of fluoroquinolone resistance in both laboratory-derived and naturally occurring quinolone-resistant serovar Typhimurium strains.
PMCID: PMC1797773  PMID: 17043131
8.  Use of Ramification Amplification Assay for Detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Other E. coli Shiga Toxin-Producing Strains 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2005;43(12):6086-6090.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strains are important human pathogens that are mainly transmitted through the food chain. These pathogens have a low infectious dose and may cause life-threatening illnesses. However, detection of this microorganism in contaminated food or a patient's stool specimens presents a diagnostic challenge because of the low copy number in the sample. Often, a more sensitive nucleic acid amplification method, such as PCR, is required for rapid detection of this microorganism. Ramification amplification (RAM) is a recently introduced isothermal DNA amplification technique that utilizes a circular probe for target detection and achieves exponential amplification through the mechanism of primer extension, strand displacement, and ramification. In this study, we synthesized a circular probe specific for the Shiga toxin 2 gene (stx2). Our results showed that as few as 10 copies of stx2 could be detected, indicating that the RAM assay was as sensitive as conventional PCR. We further tested 33 isolates of E coli O157:H7, STEC, Shigella dysenteriae, and nonpathogenic E. coli by RAM assay. Results showed that all 27 STEC isolates containing the stx2 gene were identified by RAM assay, while S. dysenteriae and nonpathogenic E. coli isolates were undetected. The RAM results were 100% in concordance with those of PCR. Because of its simplicity and isothermal amplification, the RAM assay could be a useful method for detecting STEC in food and human specimens.
PMCID: PMC1317159  PMID: 16333102
9.  Prevalence and Antimicrobial Resistance of Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella Serovars in Organic Chickens from Maryland Retail Stores 
Retail organic (n = 198) and conventional (n = 61) chickens were analyzed. Most organic (76%) and conventional (74%) chickens were contaminated with campylobacters. Salmonellae were recovered from 61% of organic and 44% of conventional chickens. All Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates from conventional chickens were resistant to five or more antimicrobials, whereas most S. enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates (79%) from organic chickens were susceptible to 17 antimicrobials tested.
PMCID: PMC1169031  PMID: 16000828
10.  Availability of Glutamate and Arginine during Acid Challenge Determines Cell Density-Dependent Survival Phenotype of Escherichia coli Strains 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2001;67(10):4914-4918.
The cell density-dependent acid sensitivity phenotypes of Escherichia coli strains K-12 and O157:H7 were examined with reference to three possible mechanisms of acid resistance. There was no evidence of any diffusible substance released from dead cells which could influence the cell density-dependent acid survival phenotype. Instead, cell density-dependent acid survival phenotype was associated with induction of glutamate- and arginine-decarboxylase acid survival pathways and concomitant availability of glutamate and arginine during acid challenge.
PMCID: PMC93249  PMID: 11571202

Results 1-10 (10)