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1.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of 2-Hydroxy-3-[(2-aryloxyethyl)amino]propyl 4-[(Alkoxycarbonyl)amino]benzoates 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:274570.
A series of twenty substituted 2-hydroxy-3-[(2-aryloxyethyl)amino]propyl 4-[(alkoxycarbonyl)amino]benzoates were prepared and characterized. As similar compounds have been described as potential antimycobacterials, primary in vitro screening of the synthesized carbamates was also performed against two mycobacterial species. 2-Hydroxy-3-[2-(2,6-dimethoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride, 2-hydroxy-3-[2-(4-methoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride, and 2-hydroxy-3-[2-(2-methoxyphenoxy)ethylamino]-propyl 4-(butoxycarbonylamino)benzoate hydrochloride showed higher activity against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and M. intracellulare than the standards ciprofloxacin, isoniazid, or pyrazinamide. Cytotoxicity assay of effective compounds was performed using the human monocytic leukaemia THP-1 cell line. Compounds with predicted amphiphilic properties were also tested for their effects on the rate of photosynthetic electron transport (PET) in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) chloroplasts. All butyl derivatives significantly stimulated the rate of PET, indicating that the compounds can induce conformational changes in thylakoid membranes resulting in an increase of their permeability and so causing uncoupling of phosphorylation from electron transport.
doi:10.1155/2013/274570
PMCID: PMC3830801  PMID: 24288475
2.  Bacteriophage-Derived Peptidase CHAPK Eliminates and Prevents Staphylococcal Biofilms 
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.
doi:10.1155/2013/625341
PMCID: PMC3574654  PMID: 23431312
3.  In silico modeling of the staphylococcal bacteriophage-derived peptidase CHAPK 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(4):198-206.
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.
doi:10.4161/bact.1.4.18245
PMCID: PMC3448105  PMID: 23050213
bacteriophage; CHAP; endolysin; in silico; peptidase; staphylococcus
4.  Isolation and detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) from cattle in Ireland using both traditional culture and molecular based methods 
Gut Pathogens  2010;2:11.
Background
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1757-4749-2-11
PMCID: PMC2954866  PMID: 20875096
5.  Optimization of a Rapid Viability Assay for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis by Using alamarBlue▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(24):7870-7872.
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.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01203-09
PMCID: PMC2794114  PMID: 19837835
6.  Development of a novel oral vaccine against Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis and Johne disease 
Bioengineered Bugs  2009;1(3):155-163.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the etiological agent of Johne disease, a granulomatous enteritis of cattle and other domesticated and wild ruminant species. Johne disease is prevalent worldwide and has a significant impact on the global agricultural economy. Current vaccines against Johne are insufficient in stemming its spread, and associated side-effects prevent their widespread use in control programs. Effective and safe vaccine strategies are needed. The main purpose of this paper is to propose and evaluate the development of a novel oral subunit-vaccine using a patho-biotechnological approach. This novel strategy, which harnesses patho-genetic elements from the intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, may provide a realistic route towards developing an effective next generation subunit vaccine against Johne disease and paratuberculosis.
doi:10.4161/bbug.1.3.10408
PMCID: PMC3026420  PMID: 21326921
vaccine; paratuberculosis; Johne disease; patho-biotechnology; Listeria monocytogenes
7.  Modulation of pathogen-induced CCL20 secretion from HT-29 human intestinal epithelial cells by commensal bacteria 
BMC Immunology  2009;10:54.
Background
Human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) secrete the chemokine CCL20 in response to infection by various enteropathogenic bacteria or exposure to bacterial flagellin. CCL20 recruits immature dendritic cells and lymphocytes to target sites. Here we investigated IEC responses to various pathogenic and commensal bacteria as well as the modulatory effects of commensal bacteria on pathogen-induced CCL20 secretion. HT-29 human IECs were incubated with commensal bacteria (Bifidobacterium infantis or Lactobacillus salivarius), or with Salmonella typhimurium, its flagellin, Clostridium difficile, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, or Mycobacterium smegmatis for varying times. In some studies, HT-29 cells were pre-treated with a commensal strain for 2 hr prior to infection or flagellin stimulation. CCL20 and interleukin (IL)-8 secretion and nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
Results
Compared to untreated cells, S. typhimurium, C. difficile, M. paratuberculosis, and flagellin activated NF-κB and stimulated significant secretion of CCL20 and IL-8 by HT-29 cells. Conversely, B. infantis, L. salivarius or M. smegmatis did not activate NF-κB or augment CCL20 or IL-8 production. Treatment with B. infantis, but not L. salivarius, dose-dependently inhibited the baseline secretion of CCL20. In cells pre-treated with B. infantis, C. difficile-, S. typhimurium-, and flagellin-induced CCL20 were significantly attenuated. B. infantis did not limit M. Paratuberculosis-induced CCL20 secretion.
Conclusion
This study is the first to demonstrate that a commensal strain can attenuate CCL20 secretion in HT-29 IECs. Collectively, the data indicate that M. paratuberculosis may mediate mucosal damage and that B. infantis can exert immunomodulatory effects on IECs that mediate host responses to flagellin and flagellated enteric pathogens.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-10-54
PMCID: PMC2763856  PMID: 19814810
8.  Rapid Real-Time PCR Assay for Detection and Quantitation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA in Artificially Contaminated Milk 
Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer technology and Lightcycler analysis, we developed a real-time PCR assay with primers and probes designed by using IS900 which allowed rapid detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA in artificially contaminated milk. Initially, the PCR parameters (including primer and probe levels, assay volume, Mg2+ concentration, and annealing temperature) were optimized. Subsequently, the quantitative ability of the assay was tested and was found to be accurate over a broad linear range (3 × 106 to 3 × 101 copies). The assay sensitivity when purified DNA was used was determined to be as low as five copies, with excellent reproducibility. A range of DNA isolation strategies was developed for isolating M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA from spiked milk, the most effective of which involved the use of 50 mM Tris HCl, 10 mM EDTA, 2% Triton X-100, 4 M guanidinium isothiocyante, and 0.3 M sodium acetate combined with boiling, physical grinding, and nucleic acid spin columns. When this technique was used in conjunction with the real-time PCR assay, it was possible to consistently detect <100 organisms per ml of milk (equivalent to 2,000 organisms per 25 ml). Furthermore, the entire procedure (extraction and PCR) was performed in less than 3 h and was successfully adapted to quantify M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in spiked milk from heavily and mildly contaminated samples.
doi:10.1128/AEM.70.8.4561-4568.2004
PMCID: PMC492435  PMID: 15294786
9.  VP4 and VP7 Genotyping of Rotavirus Samples Recovered from Infected Children in Ireland over a 3-Year Period 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(6):1699-1703.
Between September 1995 and August 1998, the incidence and diversity of the main human rotavirus genotypes (G1, G2, G3, and G4 and P[8], P[4], P[6], and P[9]) among Irish children were determined by using established and adapted reverse transcriptase PCR-based genotyping methods. From a total of 193 rotavirus-positive specimens collected from nine hospitals we successfully identified the P type in 182 (94%) of the samples and the G type in 165 (85.5%) of the samples. Only four samples could not be assigned a G or P type. Two P types existed in Ireland, P[8] (78%) and P[4] (16%), and their relative incidence varied over the 3 years of this study. No P[6] or P[9] types were detected. G1 was the most predominant G type (55%), and the incidences of G2, G3, and G4 isolates were 15.5, 1, and 11%, respectively. Three percent of the samples tested had a mixed G type. A P and G type was assigned to 158 (81.8%) of samples. Of the typeable samples, G1 P[8] was the most prevalent (65%), whereas G2 P[4] (17%), G3 P[8] (1%), G4 P[8] (12%), and mixed types (all G1/ G4 P[8]) (4%) were detected less frequently. In the third year a significant genotypic shift from G1 P[8] to G2 P[4] and G4 P[8] was observed. During the study, we noticed that the inclusion of random primers during cDNA synthesis greatly increased the specificity of the PCR typing assays. No correlation was seen between the contributing hospitals and a specific genotype. In conclusion, the coverage of infection given by the recently licensed tetravalent vaccine would be significantly high in Ireland, although future monitoring of genotypic changes among Irish isolates should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC84927  PMID: 10325310

Results 1-9 (9)