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author:("Shi, wenchuan")
1.  Use of Quantum Dot Luminescent Probes To Achieve Single-Cell Resolution of Human Oral Bacteria in Biofilms▿  
Oral biofilms are multispecies communities, and in their nascent stages of development, numerous bacterial species engage in interspecies interactions. Better insight into the spatial relationship between different species and how species diversity increases over time can guide our understanding of the role of interspecies interactions in the development of the biofilms. Quantum dots (QD) are semiconductor nanocrystals and have emerged as a promising tool for labeling and detection of bacteria. We sought to apply QD-based primary immunofluorescence for labeling of bacterial cells with in vitro and in vivo biofilms and to compare this approach with the fluorophore-based primary immunofluorescence approach we have used previously. To investigate QD-based primary immunofluorescence as the means to detect distinct targets with single-cell resolution, we conjugated polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies to the QD surface. We also conducted simultaneous QD conjugate-based and fluorophore conjugate-based immunofluorescence and showed that these conjugates were complementary tools in immunofluorescence applications. Planktonic and biofilm cells were labeled effectively by considering two factors: the final nanomolar concentration of QD conjugate and the amount of antibody conjugated to the QD, which we define as the degree of labeling. These advances in the application of QD-based immunofluorescence for the study of biofilms in vitro and in vivo will help to define bacterial community architecture and to facilitate investigations of interactions between bacterial species in these communities.
PMCID: PMC1796960  PMID: 17114321
2.  β-d-Allose Inhibits Fruiting Body Formation and Sporulation in Myxococcus xanthus▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;189(1):169-178.
Myxococcus xanthus, a gram-negative soil bacterium, responds to amino acid starvation by entering a process of multicellular development which culminates in the assembly of spore-filled fruiting bodies. Previous studies utilizing developmental inhibitors (such as methionine, lysine, or threonine) have revealed important clues about the mechanisms involved in fruiting body formation. We used Biolog phenotype microarrays to screen 384 chemicals for complete inhibition of fruiting body development in M. xanthus. Here, we report the identification of a novel inhibitor of fruiting body formation and sporulation, β-d-allose. β-d-Allose, a rare sugar, is a member of the aldohexose family and a C3 epimer of glucose. Our studies show that β-d-allose does not affect cell growth, viability, agglutination, or motility. However, β-galactosidase reporters demonstrate that genes activated between 4 and 14 h of development show significantly lower expression levels in the presence of β-d-allose. Furthermore, inhibition of fruiting body formation occurs only when β-d-allose is added to submerged cultures before 12 h of development. In competition studies, high concentrations of galactose and xylose antagonize the nonfruiting response to β-d-allose, while glucose is capable of partial antagonism. Finally, a magellan-4 transposon mutagenesis screen identified glcK, a putative glucokinase gene, required for β-d-allose-mediated inhibition of fruiting body formation. Subsequent glucokinase activity assays of the glcK mutant further supported the role of this protein in glucose phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC1797229  PMID: 17056749
3.  Enhancement of Antimicrobial Activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa by Coadministration of G10KHc and Tobramycin▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(11):3833-3838.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common opportunistic human pathogen that is associated with life-threatening acute infections and chronic airway colonization during cystic fibrosis. Previously, we converted the wide-spectrum antimicrobial peptide novispirin G10 into a selectively-targeted antimicrobial peptide (STAMP), G10KHc. Compared to novispirin G10, the STAMP had an enhanced ability to kill Pseudomonas mendocina. In this study, we explored the activity of G10KHc against P. aeruginosa. G10KHc was found to be highly active (as active as tobramycin) against P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. Most interestingly, we observed a synergistic-like enhancement in killing activity when biofilms and planktonic cultures of P. aeruginosa were cotreated with G10KHc and tobramycin. The data indicate that the mechanism of enhanced activity may involve increased tobramycin uptake due to G10KHc-mediated cell membrane disruption. These results suggest that G10KHc may be useful against P. aeruginosa during acute and chronic infection states, especially when it is coadministered with tobramycin.
PMCID: PMC1635211  PMID: 16940063
4.  Targeted Killing of Streptococcus mutans by a Pheromone-Guided “Smart” Antimicrobial Peptide 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(11):3651-3657.
Within the repertoire of antibiotics available to a prescribing clinician, the majority affect a broad range of microorganisms, including the normal flora. The ecological disruption resulting from antibiotic treatment frequently results in secondary infections or other negative clinical consequences. To address this problem, our laboratory has recently developed a new class of pathogen-selective molecules, called specifically (or selectively) targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMPs), based on the fusion of a species-specific targeting peptide domain with a wide-spectrum antimicrobial peptide domain. In the current study, we focused on achieving targeted killing of Streptococcus mutans, a cavity-causing bacterium that resides in a multispecies microbial community (dental plaque). In particular, we explored the possibility of utilizing a pheromone produced by S. mutans, namely, the competence stimulating peptide (CSP), as a STAMP targeting domain to mediate S. mutans-specific delivery of an antimicrobial peptide domain. We discovered that STAMPs constructed with peptides derived from CSP were potent against S. mutans grown in liquid or biofilm states but did not affect other oral streptococci tested. Further studies showed that an 8-amino-acid region within the CSP sequence is sufficient for targeted delivery of the antimicrobial peptide domain to S. mutans. The STAMPs presented here are capable of eliminating S. mutans from multispecies biofilms without affecting closely related noncariogenic oral streptococci, indicating the potential of these molecules to be developed into “probiotic” antibiotics which could selectively eliminate pathogens while preserving the protective benefits of a healthy normal flora.
PMCID: PMC1635210  PMID: 17060534
5.  Adding Selectivity to Antimicrobial Peptides: Rational Design of a Multidomain Peptide against Pseudomonas spp. 
Currently available antimicrobials exhibit broad killing with regard to bacterial genera and species. Indiscriminate killing of microbes by these conventional antibiotics can disrupt the ecological balance of the indigenous microbial flora, often resulting in negative clinical consequences. Species-specific antimicrobials capable of precisely targeting pathogenic bacteria without damaging benign microorganisms provide a means of avoiding this problem. In this communication, we report the successful creation of the first synthetic, target-specific antimicrobial peptide, G10KHc, via addition of a rationally designed Pseudomonas-specific targeting moiety (KH) to a generally killing peptide (novispirin G10). The resulting chimeric peptide showed enhanced bactericidal activity and faster killing kinetics against Pseudomonas spp. than G10 alone. The enhanced killing activities are due to increased binding and penetration of the outer membrane of Pseudomonas sp. cells. These properties were not observed in tests of untargeted bacterial species, and this specificity allowed G10KHc to selectively eliminate Pseudomonas spp. from mixed cultures. This work lays a foundation for generating target-specific “smart” antimicrobials to complement currently available conventional antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC1426969  PMID: 16569868

Results 1-5 (5)