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1.  The role of the Cronobacter sakazakii ProP C-terminal coiled coil domain in osmotolerance 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6(1):46.
Background
We investigate the role of the C-terminal coiled coil of the secondary proline porter ProP in contributing to Cronobacter sakazakii osmotolerance.
Findings
The extended C-terminal domain of ProP1 (encoded by ESA_02131) was spliced onto the truncated C-terminal end of ProP2 (encoded by ESA_01706); creating a chimeric protein (ProPc) which exhibits increased osmotolerance relative to the wild type.
Conclusions
It appears that the C-terminal coiled coil domain tunes ProP at low osmolality, whereas ProP transporters lacking the coiled coil domain are more active at a higher osmolality range.
doi:10.1186/s13099-014-0046-9
PMCID: PMC4272814  PMID: 25530808
2.  Analysis of the role of the Cronobacter sakazakii ProP homologues in osmotolerance 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6:15.
Bacteria respond to elevated osmolality by the accumulation of a range of low molecular weight molecules, known as compatible solutes (owing to their compatibility with the cells' normal physiology at high internal concentrations). The neonatal pathogen Cronobacter sakazakii is uniquely osmotolerant, surviving in powdered infant formula (PIF) which typically has a water activity (aw) of 0.2 – inhospitable to most micro-organisms. Mortality rates of up to 80% in infected infants have been recorded making C. sakazakii a serious cause for concern. In silico analysis of the C. sakazakii BAA-894 genome revealed seven copies of the osmolyte uptake system ProP. Herein, we test the physiological role of each of these homologues following heterologous expression against an osmosensitive Escherichia coli host.
doi:10.1186/1757-4749-6-15
PMCID: PMC4047261  PMID: 24910715
Osmolytes; Proline; Osmotolerance; Stress; Cronobacter
3.  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

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