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1.  Influence of the Protein Kinase C Activator Phorbol Myristate Acetate on the Intracellular Activity of Antibiotics against Hemin- and Menadione-Auxotrophic Small-Colony Variant Mutants of Staphylococcus aureus and Their Wild-Type Parental Strain in Human THP-1 Cells 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6166-6174.
In a previous study (L. G. Garcia et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 56:3700–3711, 2012), we evaluated the intracellular fate of menD and hemB mutants (corresponding to menadione- and hemin-dependent small-colony variants, respectively) of the parental COL methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain and the pharmacodynamic profile of the intracellular activity of a series of antibiotics in human THP-1 monocytes. We have now examined the phagocytosis and intracellular persistence of the same strains in THP-1 cells activated by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and measured the intracellular activity of gentamicin, moxifloxacin, and oritavancin in these cells. Postphagocytosis intracellular counts and intracellular survival were lower in PMA-activated cells, probably due to their higher killing capacities. Gentamicin and moxifloxacin showed a 5- to 7-fold higher potency (lower static concentrations) against the parental strain, its hemB mutant, and the genetically complemented strain in PMA-activated cells and against the menD strain in both activated and nonactivated cells. This effect was inhibited when cells were incubated with N-acetylcysteine (a scavenger of oxidant species). In parallel, we observed that the MICs of these drugs were markedly reduced if bacteria had been preexposed to H2O2. In contrast, the intracellular potency of oritavancin was not different in activated and nonactivated cells and was not decreased by the addition of N-acetylcysteine, regardless of the phenotype of the strains. The oritavancin MIC was also unaffected by preincubation of the bacteria with H2O2. Thus, activation of THP-1 cells by PMA may increase the intracellular potency of certain antibiotics (probably due to synergy with reactive oxygen species), but this effect cannot be generalized to all antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3497167  PMID: 22985883
2.  Reduced Expression of the rplU-rpmA Ribosomal Protein Operon in mexXY-Expressing Pan-Aminoglycoside-Resistant Mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(10):5171-5179.
Pan-aminoglycoside-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants expressing the mexXY components of the aminoglycoside-accommodating MexXY-OprM multidrug efflux system but lacking mutations in the mexZ gene encoding a repressor of this efflux system and in the mexXY promoter have been reported (S. Fraud and K. Poole, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 55:1068–1074, 2011). Genome sequencing of one of these mutants, K2966, revealed the presence of a mutation within the predicted promoter region of the rplU-rpmA operon encoding ribosomal proteins L21 and L27, consistent with an observed 2-fold decrease in expression of this operon in the mutant relative to wild-type P. aeruginosa PAO1. Moreover, correction of the mutation restored rplU-rpmA expression and, significantly, reversed the elevated mexXY expression and pan-aminoglycoside resistance of the mutant. Reduced rplU-rpmA expression was also observed in a second mexXY-expressing pan-aminoglycoside-resistant mutant, K2968, which, however, lacked a mutation in the rplU-rpmA promoter region. Restoration of rplU-rpmA expression in the K2968 mutant following chromosomal integration of the rplU-rpmA operon derived from wild-type P. aeruginosa failed, however, to reverse the elevated mexXY expression and pan-aminoglycoside resistance of this mutant, although it did so for K2966, suggesting that the mutation impacting rplU-rpmA expression in K2968 also impacts other mexXY-related genes. Increased mexXY expression owing to reduced rplU-rpmA expression in K2966 and K2968 was dependent on PA5471, whose expression was also elevated in these mutants. Thus, mutational disruption of ribosome function, by limiting expression of ribosomal constituents, promotes recruitment of mexXY and does so via PA5471, reminiscent of mexXY induction by ribosome-disrupting antimicrobial agents. Interestingly, reduced rplU-rpmA expression was also observed in a mexXY-expressing pan-aminoglycoside-resistant clinical isolate, suggesting that ribosome-perturbing mutations have clinical relevance in the recruitment of the MexXY-OprM aminoglycoside resistance determinant.
PMCID: PMC3457373  PMID: 22825121
3.  Characterization of RarA, a Novel AraC Family Multidrug Resistance Regulator in Klebsiella pneumoniae 
Transcriptional regulators, such as SoxS, RamA, MarA, and Rob, which upregulate the AcrAB efflux pump, have been shown to be associated with multidrug resistance in clinically relevant Gram-negative bacteria. In addition to the multidrug resistance phenotype, these regulators have also been shown to play a role in the cellular metabolism and possibly the virulence potential of microbial cells. As such, the increased expression of these proteins is likely to cause pleiotropic phenotypes. Klebsiella pneumoniae is a major nosocomial pathogen which can express the SoxS, MarA, Rob, and RamA proteins, and the accompanying paper shows that the increased transcription of ramA is associated with tigecycline resistance (M. Veleba and T. Schneiders, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 56:4466–4467, 2012). Bioinformatic analyses of the available Klebsiella genome sequences show that an additional AraC-type regulator is encoded chromosomally. In this work, we characterize this novel AraC-type regulator, hereby called RarA (Regulator of antibiotic resistance A), which is encoded in K. pneumoniae, Enterobacter sp. 638, Serratia proteamaculans 568, and Enterobacter cloacae. We show that the overexpression of rarA results in a multidrug resistance phenotype which requires a functional AcrAB efflux pump but is independent of the other AraC regulators. Quantitative real-time PCR experiments show that rarA (MGH 78578 KPN_02968) and its neighboring efflux pump operon oqxAB (KPN_02969_02970) are consistently upregulated in clinical isolates collected from various geographical locations (Chile, Turkey, and Germany). Our results suggest that rarA overexpression upregulates the oqxAB efflux pump. Additionally, it appears that oqxR, encoding a GntR-type regulator adjacent to the oqxAB operon, is able to downregulate the expression of the oqxAB efflux pump, where OqxR complementation resulted in reductions to olaquindox MICs.
PMCID: PMC3421627  PMID: 22644028
4.  Prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance among Clinical Isolates of Bacteroides fragilis Group in Canada in 2010-2011: CANWARD Surveillance Study 
Clinical isolates of the Bacteroides fragilis group (n = 387) were collected from patients attending nine Canadian hospitals in 2010-2011 and tested for susceptibility to 10 antimicrobial agents using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) broth microdilution method. B. fragilis (59.9%), Bacteroides ovatus (16.3%), and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (12.7%) accounted for ∼90% of isolates collected. Overall rates of percent susceptibility were as follows: 99.7%, metronidazole; 99.5%, piperacillin-tazobactam; 99.2%, imipenem; 97.7%, ertapenem; 92.0%, doripenem; 87.3%, amoxicillin-clavulanate; 80.9%, tigecycline; 65.9%, cefoxitin; 55.6%, moxifloxacin; and 52.2%, clindamycin. Percent susceptibility to cefoxitin, clindamycin, and moxifloxacin was lowest for B. thetaiotaomicron (n = 49, 24.5%), Parabacteroides distasonis/P. merdae (n = 11, 9.1%), and B. ovatus (n = 63, 31.8%), respectively. One isolate (B. thetaiotaomicron) was resistant to metronidazole, and two isolates (both B. fragilis) were resistant to both piperacillin-tazobactam and imipenem. Since the last published surveillance study describing Canadian isolates of B. fragilis group almost 20 years ago (A.-M. Bourgault et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 36:343–347, 1992), rates of resistance have increased for amoxicillin-clavulanate, from 0.8% (1992) to 6.2% (2010-2011), and for clindamycin, from 9% (1992) to 34.1% (2010-2011).
PMCID: PMC3294939  PMID: 22203594
5.  Colistin-Resistant, Lipopolysaccharide-Deficient Acinetobacter baumannii Responds to Lipopolysaccharide Loss through Increased Expression of Genes Involved in the Synthesis and Transport of Lipoproteins, Phospholipids, and Poly-β-1,6-N-Acetylglucosamine 
We recently demonstrated that colistin resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii can result from mutational inactivation of genes essential for lipid A biosynthesis (Moffatt JH, et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971–4977). Consequently, strains harboring these mutations are unable to produce the major Gram-negative bacterial surface component, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To understand how A. baumannii compensates for the lack of LPS, we compared the transcriptional profile of the A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 to that of an isogenic, LPS-deficient, lpxA mutant strain. The analysis of the expression profiles indicated that the LPS-deficient strain showed increased expression of many genes involved in cell envelope and membrane biogenesis. In particular, upregulated genes included those involved in the Lol lipoprotein transport system and the Mla-retrograde phospholipid transport system. In addition, genes involved in the synthesis and transport of poly-β-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) also were upregulated, and a corresponding increase in PNAG production was observed. The LPS-deficient strain also exhibited the reduced expression of genes predicted to encode the fimbrial subunit FimA and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). The reduced expression of genes involved in T6SS correlated with the detection of the T6SS-effector protein AssC in culture supernatants of the A. baumannii wild-type strain but not in the LPS-deficient strain. Taken together, these data show that, in response to total LPS loss, A. baumannii alters the expression of critical transport and biosynthesis systems associated with modulating the composition and structure of the bacterial surface.
PMCID: PMC3256090  PMID: 22024825
16.  Pharmacokinetics of Caspofungin in Two Patients with Burn Injuries 
PMCID: PMC3421601  PMID: 22585216
20.  In Vivo Selection of Rifamycin-Resistant Clostridium difficile during Rifaximin Therapy 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):6019-6020.
We report the selection of Clostridium difficile resistant to the rifamycin class of antibiotics in a patient within 32 h of receiving rifaximin for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile diarrhea. Resistance was associated with single nucleotide substitutions within rpoB.
PMCID: PMC3486587  PMID: 22908175

Results 1-25 (1005)