The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the major immuno-dominant antigen of all Legionella species including L. pneumophila. Its diversity is the basis for the classification of L. pneumophila into serogroups and monoclonal subgroups and is thought to be involved in strain specific virulence. The understanding of the genetic basis of the LPS-antigen is incomplete. Thus, we analyzed the genetic locus involved in LPS-biosynthesis of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 (Sg1) strains with the focus on strain specific gene composition.
The LPS-biosynthesis loci of 14 L. pneumophila Sg1 strains comprise two distinct regions: A 15 kb region containing LPS-biosynthesis genes that can be found in all L. pneumophila strains and a Sg1-specific 18 kb region. The 15 kb region is highly conserved among Sg1 strains as reflected by high homologies of single ORFs and by a consistent ORF arrangement. In contrast, the Sg1 specific 18 kb region is variable and partially disrupted by phage related genes. We propose that the region spanning from ORF 6 to ORF 11 of the Sg1-specific region is likely involved in late LPS-modification. Due to the high variability of this small region and various combinations of single ORFs within this region a strain specific LPS-structure could be synthesized including modifications of legionaminic acid derivates.
Our data clearly demonstrate that the gene structure of the LPS-biosynthesis locus of L. pneumophila Sg1 strains show significant interstrain variability. These data can be used for further functional analysis of the LPS synthesis to understand pathogenesis and reactivity with monoclonal antibodies. Moreover, variable but strain specific regions can serve as basis for the development of novel genotyping assays.
Legionella pneumophila; Lipopolysaccharide; Locus organization; Monoclonal antibody typing
Enveloped viruses utilize cellular membranes to bud from infected cells. The process of virion assembly and budding is often facilitated by the presence of certain conserved motifs within viral proteins in conjunction with cellular factors. We hence examined the West Nile Virus (WNV) Envelope protein for the presence of any such motifs and their functional characterization.
We identified conserved 461PXAP464 and 349YCYL352 motifs in the WNV envelope glycoprotein bearing resemblance to retroviral late domains. Disruptive mutations of PXAP to LAAL and of the highly conserved Cys350 in the YCYL motif, led to a severe reduction in WNV particle production. Similar motifs in case of retroviruses are known to interact with components of host sorting machinery like PXAP with Tsg101 and YXXL with Alix. However, in the case of WNV, siRNA mediated depletion of Alix or Tsg101 did not have an effect on WNV release. Molecular modeling suggested that while the 461PXAP464 motif is surface accessible and could potentially interact with cellular proteins required for WNV assembly, the 349YCYL352 motif was found to be internal with Cys350 important for protein folding via disulphide bonding.
The conserved 461PXAP464 and 349YCYL352 motifs in the WNV envelope are indispensable for WNV particle production. Although these motifs bear sequence similarity to retroviral late domains and are essential for WNV assembly, they are functionally distinct suggesting that they are not the typical late domain like motifs of retroviruses and may play a role other than Alix/Tsg101 utilization/dependence.
Flavivirus; WNV; HIV; Virus assembly; Late domains; Alix; Tsg101
Many SXT/R391-like enterobacterial Integrative Conjugative Elements (ICEs) have been found to express an atypical, recA-dependent, UV-inducible, cell-sensitising phenotype observed as a reduction in post-irradiation cell survival rates in host cells. Characterisation of a complete deletion library of the prototype ICE R391 identified the involvement of three core ICE genes, orfs90/91 encoding a putative transcriptional enhancer complex, and orf43, encoding a putative type IV secretion system, outer membrane-associated, conjugative transfer protein.
In this study, expression analysis of orf43 indicated that it was up-regulated as a result of UV irradiation in an orfs90/91-dependent manner. Induced expression was found to be controlled from a site preceding the gene which required functional orfs90/91. Expression of orfs90/91 was in turn found to be regulated by orf96, a λ cI-like regulator. Targeted construction of ICE R391 deletions, RT-PCR and qRT-PCR analysis confirmed a regulatory link between orfs90/91 and orf43 while site-directed mutagenesis of orf43 suggested an association with the cell membrane was a prerequisite for the cytotoxic effect.
Because of the recA-dependence of the effect, we hypothesise that UV induction of RecA results in cleavage of the cI-like ICE-encoded repressor protein, the product of orf96. This in turn allows expression of the transcriptional enhancer complex encoded by orfs90/91, which we conclude stimulates transcription of orf43, whose product is directly responsible for the effect.
SXT/R391 ICE; Type IV secretion system; Conjugative transfer; UV-induced sensitisation and cytotoxicity
Dengue virus (DENV) infection is the most important arthropod- borne viral disease in human, but antiviral therapy and approved vaccines remain unavailable due to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) phenomenon. Many studies showed that pre-membrane (prM)-specific antibodies do not efficiently neutralize DENV infection but potently promote ADE infection. However, most of the binding epitopes of these antibodies remain unknown.
In the present study, we characterized a DENV cross-reactive monoclonal antibody (mAb), 4D10, that neutralized poorly but potently enhanced infection of four standard DENV serotypes and immature DENV (imDENV) over a broad range of concentration. In addition, the epitope of 4D10 was successfully mapped to amino acid residues 14 to18 of DENV1-4 prM protein using a phage-displayed peptide library and comprehensive bioinformatics analysis. We found that the epitope was DENV serocomplex cross-reactive and showed to be highly immunogenic in Balb/c mice. Furthermore, antibody against epitope peptide PL10, like 4D10, showed broad cross-reactivity and weak neutralizing activtity with four standard DENV serotypes and imDENV but significantly promoted ADE infection. These results suggested 4D10 and anti-PL10 sera were infection-enhancing antibodies and PL10 was infection-enhancing epitope.
We mapped the epitope of 4D10 to amino acid residues 14 to18 of DENV1-4 prM and found that this epitope was infection-enhancing. These findings may provide significant implications for future vaccine design and facilitate understanding the pathogenesis of DENV infection.
Dengue virus; prM protein; Epitope; Phage display peptide library; Antibody-dependent enhancement
Lactobacillus species can contribute positively to general and oral health and are frequently acquired by breastfeeding in infancy. The present study aimed to identify oral lactobacilli in breast and formula-fed 4 month-old infants and to evaluate potential probiotic properties of the dominant Lactobacillus species detected. Saliva and oral swab samples were collected from 133 infants who were enrolled in a longitudinal study (n=240) examining the effect of a new infant formula on child growth and development. Saliva was cultured and Lactobacillus isolates were identified from 16S rRNA gene sequences. Five L. gasseri isolates that differed in 16S rRNA sequence were tested for their ability to inhibit growth of selected oral bacteria and for adhesion to oral tissues. Oral swab samples were analyzed by qPCR for Lactobacillus gasseri.
43 (32.3%) infants were breastfed and 90 (67.7%) were formula-fed with either a standard formula (43 out of 90) or formula supplemented with a milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) fraction (47 out of 90). Lactobacilli were cultured from saliva of 34.1% breastfed infants, but only in 4.7% of the standard and 9.3% of the MFGM supplemented formula-fed infants. L. gasseri was the most prevalent (88% of Lactobacillus positive infants) of six Lactobacillus species detected. L. gasseri isolates inhibited Streptococcus mutans binding to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite, and inhibited growth of S. mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces oris, Candida albicans and Fusobacterium nucleatum in a concentration dependent fashion. L. gasseri isolates bound to parotid and submandibular saliva, salivary gp340 and MUC7, and purified MFGM, and adhered to epithelial cells. L. gasseri was detected by qPCR in 29.7% of the oral swabs. Breastfed infants had significantly higher mean DNA levels of L. gasseri (2.14 pg/uL) than infants fed the standard (0.363 pg/uL) or MFGM (0.697 pg/uL) formula.
Lactobacilli colonized the oral cavity of breastfed infants significantly more frequently than formula-fed infants. The dominant Lactobacillus was L. gasseri, which was detected at higher levels in breastfed than formula-fed infants and displayed probiotic traits in vitro.
Lactobacillus; L.gasseri; Growth; Adhesion; Gp340; Breastfed infants
The increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria has led to renewed interest in development of alternative antimicrobial compounds such as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), either naturally-occurring or synthetically-derived. Knowledge of the mode of action (MOA) of synthetic compounds mimicking the function of AMPs is highly valuable both when developing new types of antimicrobials and when predicting resistance development. Despite many functional studies of AMPs, only a few of the synthetic peptides have been studied in detail.
We investigated the MOA of the lysine-peptoid hybrid, LP5, which previously has been shown to display antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. At concentrations of LP5 above the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC), the peptoid caused ATP leakage from bacterial cells. However, at concentrations close to the MIC, LP5 inhibited the growth of S. aureus without ATP leakage. Instead, LP5 bound DNA and inhibited macromolecular synthesis. The binding to DNA also led to inhibition of DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV and caused induction of the SOS response.
Our data demonstrate that LP5 may have a dual mode of action against S. aureus. At MIC concentrations, LP5 binds DNA and inhibits macromolecular synthesis and growth, whereas at concentrations above the MIC, LP5 targets the bacterial membrane leading to disruption of the membrane. These results add new information about the MOA of a new synthetic AMP and aid in the future design of synthetic peptides with increased therapeutic potential.
Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) is a methodology in which the sensitivity of a microorganism is determined via its inability to proliferate in the presence of an antimicrobial agent. Results are reported as minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). The present study demonstrates that measurement of DNA polymerase activity via Enzymatic Template Generation and Amplification (ETGA) can be used as a novel means of determining the MIC of a microbe to an antibiotic agent much sooner than the current standardized method.
Time course analysis of ETGA is presented from bacterial cultures containing antibiotic agents and compared to the end-point results of standard macrobroth method AST.
MIC determinations from ETGA results at 4, 6, and 22 hours are compared to the MICs from the standard method and the results are shown to be in agreement. Additionally, reliable AST analysis using ETGA can be performed on bacteria harvested directly from spiked blood cultures.
AST analysis with ETGA is shown to be equivalent to AST analysis using gene-specific qPCR assays against the measured microbe. Future development of this novel method for performing AST in a clinical setting is discussed.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the major types of chronic inflammatory bowel disease occurring in the colon and small intestine. A growing body of research has proposed that probiotics are able to attenuate the inflammatory symptoms of these diseases in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanism of probiotic actions remains unclear.
Our results suggested Lactobacillus plantarum MYL26 inhibited inflammation in Caco-2 cells through regulation of gene expressions of TOLLIP, SOCS1, SOCS3, and IκBα, rather than SHIP-1 and IRAK-3.
We proposed that live/ heat-killed Lactobacillus plantarum MYL26 and bacterial cell wall extract treatments impaired TLR4-NFκb signal transduction through Tollip, SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 activation, thus inducing LPS tolerance. Our findings suggest that either heat-killed probiotics or probiotic cell wall extracts are able to attenuate inflammation through pathways similar to that of live bacteria.
Lactobacillus plantarum MYL26; Lipopolysaccharide; Caco-2 cells
Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic commensal bacterium that mostly colonizes the skin and soft tissues. The pathogenicity of S. aureus is due to both its ability to resist antibiotics, and the production of toxins. Here, we characterize a group of genes responsible for toxin production and antibiotic resistance of S. aureus strains isolated from skin, soft tissue, and bone related infections.
A total of 136 S. aureus strains were collected from five different types of infection: furuncles, pyomyositis, abscesses, Buruli ulcers, and osteomyelitis, from hospital admissions and out-patients in Benin. All strains were resistant to benzyl penicillin, while 25% were resistant to methicillin, and all showed sensitivity to vancomycin. Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) was the most commonly produced virulence factor (70%), followed by staphylococcal enterotoxin B (44%). Exfoliative toxin B was produced by 1.3% of the strains, and was only found in isolates from Buruli ulcers. The tsst-1, sec, and seh genes were rarely detected (≤1%).
This study provides new insight into the prevalence of toxin and antibiotic resistance genes in S. aureus strains responsible for skin, soft tissue, and bone infections. Our results showed that PVL was strongly associated with pyomyositis and osteomyelitis, and that there is a high prevalence of PVL-MRSA skin infections in Benin.
S. aureus; MRSA; PVL; Pyomyositis; Osteomyelitis; Skin infections; Benin; Africa
The facultative anoxygenic photosynthetic bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum exhibits versatile metabolic activity allowing the adaptation to rapidly changing growth conditions in its natural habitat, the microaerobic and anoxic zones of stagnant waters. The microaerobic growth mode is of special interest as it allows the high-level expression of photosynthetic membranes when grown on succinate and fructose in the dark, which could significantly simplify the industrial production of compounds associated with PM formation. However, recently we showed that PM synthesis is no longer inducible when R. rubrum cultures are grown to high cell densities under aerobic conditions. In addition a reduction of the growth rate and the continued accumulation of precursor molecules for bacteriochlorophyll synthesis were observed under high cell densities conditions.
In the present work, we demonstrate that the cell density-dependent effects are reversible if the culture supernatant is replaced by fresh medium. We identified six N-acylhomoserine lactones and show that four of them are produced in varying amounts according to the growth phase and the applied growth conditions. Further, we demonstrate that N-acylhomoserine lactones and tetrapyrrole compounds released into the growth medium affect the growth rate and PM expression in high cell density cultures.
In summary, we provide evidence that R. rubrum possesses a Lux-type quorum sensing system which influences the biosynthesis of PM and the growth rate and is thus likely to be involved in the phenotypes of high cell density cultures and the rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions.
Rhodospirillum rubrum; Quorum sensing; Acylhomoserine lactones; High cell density cultivation; Lux genes
The developmental cycle of the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia is dependant on the formation of a unique intracellular niche termed the chlamydial inclusion. The inclusion is a membrane bound vacuole derived from host cytoplasmic membrane and is modified significantly by the insertion of chlamydial proteins. A unique property of the inclusion is its propensity for homotypic fusion. The vast majority of cells infected with multiple chlamydial elementary bodies (EBs) contain only a single mature inclusion. The chlamydial protein IncA is required for fusion, however the host process involved are uncharacterized.
Here, through live imaging studies, we determined that the nascent inclusions clustered tightly at the cell microtubule organizing center (MTOC) where they eventually fused to form a single inclusion. We established that factors involved in trafficking were required for efficient fusion as both disruption of the microtubule network and inhibition of microtubule trafficking reduced the efficiency of fusion. Additionally, fusion occurred at multiple sites in the cell and was delayed when the microtubule minus ends were either no longer anchored at a single MTOC or when a cell possessed multiple MTOCs.
The data presented demonstrates that efficient homotypic fusion requires the inclusions to be in close proximity and that this proximity is dependent on chlamydial microtubule trafficking to the minus ends of microtubules.
Chlamydia; Dynein; Microtubules; Vesicle fusion; Centrosomes
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (X. a. pv. citri) causes citrus canker that can result in defoliation and premature fruit drop with significant production losses worldwide. Biofilm formation is an important process in bacterial pathogens and several lines of evidence suggest that in X. a. pv. citri this process is a requirement to achieve maximal virulence since it has a major role in host interactions. In this study, proteomics was used to gain further insights into the functions of biofilms.
In order to identify differentially expressed proteins, a comparative proteomic study using 2D difference gel electrophoresis was carried out on X. a. pv. citri mature biofilm and planktonic cells. The biofilm proteome showed major variations in the composition of outer membrane proteins and receptor or transport proteins. Among them, several porins and TonB-dependent receptor were differentially regulated in the biofilm compared to the planktonic cells, indicating that these proteins may serve in maintaining specific membrane-associated functions including signaling and cellular homeostasis. In biofilms, UDP-glucose dehydrogenase with a major role in exopolysaccharide production and the non-fimbrial adhesin YapH involved in adherence were over-expressed, while a polynucleotide phosphorylase that was demonstrated to negatively control biofilm formation in E. coli was down-regulated. In addition, several proteins involved in protein synthesis, folding and stabilization were up-regulated in biofilms. Interestingly, some proteins related to energy production, such as ATP-synthase were down-regulated in biofilms. Moreover, a number of enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle were differentially expressed. In addition, X. a. pv. citri biofilms also showed down-regulation of several antioxidant enzymes. The respective gene expression patterns of several identified proteins in both X. a. pv. citri mature biofilm and planktonic cells were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR and shown to consistently correlate with those deduced from the proteomic study.
Differentially expressed proteins are enriched in functional categories. Firstly, proteins that are down-regulated in X. a. pv. citri biofilms are enriched for the gene ontology (GO) terms ‘generation of precursor metabolites and energy’ and secondly, the biofilm proteome mainly changes in ‘outer membrane and receptor or transport’. We argue that the differentially expressed proteins have a critical role in maintaining a functional external structure as well as enabling appropriate flow of nutrients and signals specific to the biofilm lifestyle.
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri; Citrus canker; Biofilm; Proteomics
We previously identified two hydrolyzable tannins, chebulagic acid (CHLA) and punicalagin (PUG) that blocked herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) entry and spread. These compounds inhibited viral glycoprotein interactions with cell surface glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Based on this property, we evaluated their antiviral efficacy against several different viruses known to employ GAGs for host cell entry.
Extensive analysis of the tannins’ mechanism of action was performed on a panel of viruses during the attachment and entry steps of infection. Virus-specific binding assays and the analysis of viral spread during treatment with these compounds were also conducted. CHLA and PUG were effective in abrogating infection by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), dengue virus (DENV), measles virus (MV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), at μM concentrations and in dose-dependent manners without significant cytotoxicity. Moreover, the natural compounds inhibited viral attachment, penetration, and spread, to different degrees for each virus. Specifically, the tannins blocked all these steps of infection for HCMV, HCV, and MV, but had little effect on the post-fusion spread of DENV and RSV, which could suggest intriguing differences in the roles of GAG-interactions for these viruses.
CHLA and PUG may be of value as broad-spectrum antivirals for limiting emerging/recurring viruses known to engage host cell GAGs for entry. Further studies testing the efficacy of these tannins in vivo against certain viruses are justified.
Chebulagic acid; Punicalagin; Tannin; Broad-spectrum antivirals; Viral entry; Glycosaminoglycans
Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mpn) is a human pathogen that causes acute and chronic respiratory diseases and has been linked to many extrapulmonary diseases. Due to the lack of cell wall, Mpn is resistant to antibiotics targeting cell wall synthesis such as penicillin. During the last 10 years macrolide-resistant Mpn strains have been frequently reported in Asian countries and have been spreading to Europe and the United States. Therefore, new antibiotics are needed. In this study, 30 FDA-approved anticancer or antiviral drugs were screened for inhibitory effects on Mpn growth and selected analogs were further characterized by inhibition of target enzymes and metabolism of radiolabeled substrates.
Sixteen drugs showed varying inhibitory effects and seven showed strong inhibition of Mpn growth. The anticancer drug 6-thioguanine had a MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration required to cause 90% of growth inhibition) value of 0.20 μg ml-1, whereas trifluorothymidine, gemcitabine and dipyridamole had MIC values of approximately 2 μg ml-1. In wild type Mpn culture the presence of 6-thioguanine and dipyridamole strongly inhibited the uptake and metabolism of hypoxanthine and guanine while gemcitabine inhibited the uptake and metabolism of all nucleobases and thymidine. Trifluorothymidine and 5-fluorodeoxyuridine, however, stimulated the uptake and incorporation of radiolabeled thymidine and this stimulation was due to induction of thymidine kinase activity. Furthermore, Mpn hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT) was cloned, expressed, and characterized. The 6-thioguanine, but not other purine analogs, strongly inhibited HPRT, which may in part explain the observed growth inhibition. Trifluorothymidine and 5-fluorodeoxyuridine were shown to be good substrates and inhibitors for thymidine kinase from human and Mycoplasma sources.
We have shown that several anticancer and antiviral nucleoside and nucleobase analogs are potent inhibitors of Mpn growth and that the mechanism of inhibition are most likely due to inhibition of enzymes in the nucleotide biosynthesis pathway and nucleoside transporter. Our results suggest that enzymes in Mycoplasma nucleotide biosynthesis are potential targets for future design of antibiotics against Mycoplasma infection.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Growth inhibition; 6-thioguanine; Trifluorothymidine; Hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase; Thymidine kinase
Infections caused by extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL)-producing bacteria have been emerging worldwide and the majority of ESBL-producing E. coli strains are isolated from patients with urinary tracts infections. The purpose of this study was to compare the host-response mechanisms in human polymorphonucleated leukocytes (PMN) and renal epithelial cells when stimulated by ESBL- or non-ESBL-producing uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) isolates. The host-pathogen interaction of these ESBL-producing strains in the urinary tract is not well studied.
The ability of ESBL strains to evoke ROS-production from PMN cells was significantly higher than that of the non-ESBL strains. The growth of ESBL strains was slightly suppressed in the presence of PMN compared to non-ESBL strains after 30 min and 2 h, but the opposite was observed after 5 and 6 h. The number of migrating PMN was significantly higher in response to ESBL strains compared to non-ESBL strains. Stimulation of A498 cells with ESBL strains elicited lower production of IL-6 and IL-8 compared to non-ESBL strains.
Significant differences in host-response mechanisms were identified when host cells were stimulated by ESBL- or non-ESBL producing strains. The obtained results on the early interactions of ESBL-producing strains with the host immune system may provide valuable information for management of these infections.
Extended spectrum beta-lactamases; Urinary tract infections; Renal epithelial cells; Polymorphonucleated leukocytes; Uropathogenic E. coli
Biofilms are communities of bacteria that are characterized by specific phenotypes, including an increased resistance towards anti-microbials and the host immune system. This calls for the development of novel biofilm prevention and treatment options to combat infectious disease. In Escherichia coli, numerous global regulators have been implicated in the control of biofilm associated cell surface organelles. These include the flagellar regulator FlhD/FlhC, the osmoregulator EnvZ/OmpR, and the colanic acid activator RcsCDB. Using flow cell technology and fluorescence microscopy, we determined the temporal expression from flhD::gfp, ompR::gfp, and rcsB::gfp in E. coli biofilm, as well as the impact of the negative regulation of flhD by OmpR and RcsB. Spatial gene expression was investigated from flhD::gfp.
The temporal gene expression profile for flhD yielded an early peak at 12 h, a minimum of expression at 35 h, and a second increase in expression towards 51 h of biofilm development. In contrast, the ompR profile showed a peak at 35 h. A mutation in ompR abolished time dependence of flhD expression after the initial growth period of 12 h. Intriguingly, rcsB expression did not correlate inversely with flhD expression, yet a mutation in rcsB abolished time dependence of flhD expression as well. Spatially, expression of flhD was highest in the outermost layer of the biofilm in the parent strain. In ompR and rcsB mutants, flhD was expressed throughout the biofilm. Mutations in both, ompR and rcsB increased flhD expression throughout all temporal and spatial experiments. This increase was paralleled by reductions in biofilm amounts at four tested time points.
Our data lead to the conclusion that FlhD/FlhC and its regulation by OmpR and RcsB may be our first target mechanism for the development of novel biofilm prevention and treatment techniques.
Escherichia coli; Biofilm; Reporter gene fusion; Fluorescence microscopy
Rhizobia are symbiotic nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria that show a symbiotic relationship with their host legume. Rhizobia have 2 different physiological conditions: a free-living condition in soil, and a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing condition in the nodule. The lifestyle of rhizobia remains largely unknown, although genome and transcriptome analyses have been carried out. To clarify the lifestyle of bacteria, proteome analysis is necessary because the protein profile directly reflects in vivo reactions of the organisms. In proteome analysis, high separation performance is required to analyze complex biological samples. Therefore, we used a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry system, equipped with a long monolithic silica capillary column, which is superior to conventional columns. In this study, we compared the protein profile of Mesorhizobium loti MAFF303099 under free-living condition to that of symbiotic conditions by using small amounts of crude extracts.
We identified 1,533 and 847 proteins for M. loti under free-living and symbiotic conditions, respectively. Pathway analysis by Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) revealed that many of the enzymes involved in the central carbon metabolic pathway were commonly detected under both conditions. The proteins encoded in the symbiosis island, the transmissible chromosomal region that includes the genes that are highly upregulated under the symbiotic condition, were uniquely detected under the symbiotic condition. The features of the symbiotic condition that have been reported by transcriptome analysis were confirmed at the protein level by proteome analysis. In addition, the genes of the proteins involved in cell surface structure were repressed under the symbiotic nitrogen-fixing condition. Furthermore, farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) was found to be biosynthesized only in rhizobia under the symbiotic condition.
The obtained protein profile appeared to reflect the difference in phenotypes under the free-living and symbiotic conditions. In addition, KEGG pathway analysis revealed that the cell surface structure of rhizobia was largely different under each condition, and surprisingly, rhizobia might provided FPP to the host as a source of secondary metabolism. M. loti changed its metabolism and cell surface structure in accordance with the surrounding conditions.
Mesorhizobium loti; Lotus japonicus; Symbiosis; Proteome analysis; Plant-microbe interaction; Monolithic column; Nitrogen fixation; Rhizobase; KEGG
The ability of pathogens to adapt to the widely used biocide, triclosan, varies substantially. The purpose of the study was to examine bacterial adaptation over an extended period of time to low increments of triclosan concentrations. Focus was two human pathogens, S. aureus and L. monocytogenes that previously have displayed inherent high and low adaptability, respectively.
Three strains of L. monocytogenes and two strains of S. aureus including the community-acquired USA300 were exposed to increasing, sub-lethal concentrations of triclosan in triclosan-containing agar gradients. Following 25 days of exposure on agar plates to sub-lethal concentrations of triclosan with a twofold concentration increase every second day, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for S. aureus increased from 0.125 (8325–4) and 0.0625 (USA 300) mg/L to 4 mg/L. The MIC of all three L. monocytogenes strains was initially 4 mg/L and remained unaltered by the exposure. The adapted S. aureus isolates retained normal colony size but displayed increased expression of fabI encoding an essential enzyme in bacterial fatty acid synthesis. Also, they displayed decreased or no expression of the virulence associated agrC of the agr quorum sensing system. While most adapted strains of USA300 carried mutations in fabI, none of the adapted strains of 8325–4 did.
Adaptability to triclosan varies substantially between Gram positive human pathogens. S. aureus displayed an intrinsically lower MIC for triclosan compared to L. monocytogenes but was easily adapted leading to the same MIC as L. monocytogenes. Even though all adapted S. aureus strains over-expressed fabI and eliminated expression of the agr quorum sensing system, adaptation in USA300 involved fabI mutations whereas this was not the case for 8325–4. Thus, adaptation to triclosan by S. aureus appears to involve multiple genetic pathways.
Staphylocooccus aureus; Listeria monocytogenes; Adaptation; Triclosan
Molecular typing of syphilis-causing strains provides important epidemiologic data. We tested whether identified molecular subtypes were identical in PCR-positive parallel samples taken from the same patient at a same time. We also tested whether subtype prevalence differs in skin and blood samples.
Eighteen syphilis positive patients (showing both positive serology and PCR), with two PCR-typeable parallel samples taken at the same time, were tested with both CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and sequence-based typing. Samples taken from 9 of 18 patients were completely typed for TP0136, TP0548, 23S rDNA, arp, and tpr loci. The CDC typing revealed 11 distinct genotypes while the sequence-based typing identified 6 genotypes. When results from molecular typing of TP0136, TP0548, and 23S rDNA were analyzed in samples taken from the same patient, no discrepancies in the identified genotypes were found; however, there were discrepancies in 11 of 18 patients (61.1%) samples relative to the arp and tpr loci. In addition to the above described typing, 127 PCR-positive swabs and whole blood samples were tested for individual genotype frequencies. The repetition number for the arp gene was lower in whole blood (WB) samples compared to swab samples. Similarly, the most common tpr RFLP type “d” was found to have lower occurrence rates in WB samples while type “e” had an increased occurrence in these samples.
Differences in the CDC subtypes identified in parallel samples indicated genetic instability of the arp and tpr loci and suggested limited applicability of the CDC typing system in epidemiological studies. Differences in treponemal genotypes detected in whole blood and swab samples suggested important differences between both compartments and/or differences in adherence of treponeme variants to human cells.
Treponema pallidum; Syphilis; Molecular typing; Sequence-based typing; CDC typing; arp gene; tpr genes
The growth of Escherichia coli at elevated temperatures is limited due to the inherent instability of homoserine o-succinyltransferase, MetA, which is the first enzyme in the methionine biosynthesis pathway. MetA is also unstable under other stressful conditions, such as weak organic acids and oxidative stress. The MetA protein unfolds, even at 25°C, forms considerable aggregates at 37°C and completely aggregates at 44°C.
We extended the MetA mutation studies using a consensus concept based on statistics and sequence database analysis to predict the point mutations resulting in increased MetA stability. In this study, four single amino acid substitutions (Q96K, I124L, I229Y and F247Y) in MetA designed according to the consensus concept and using the I-mutant2.0 modeling tool conferred accelerated growth on the E. coli strain WE at 44°C. MetA mutants that enabled E. coli growth at higher temperatures did not display increased melting temperatures (Tm) or enhanced catalytic activity but did show improved in vivo stability at mild (37°C) and elevated (44°C) temperatures. Notably, we observed that the stabilized MetA mutants partially recovered the growth defects of E. coli mutants in which ATP-dependent proteases or the DnaK chaperone was deleted. These results suggest that the impaired growth of these E. coli mutants primarily reflect the inherent instability of MetA and, thus, the methionine supply. As further evidence, the addition of methionine recovered most of the growth defects in mutants lacking either ATP-dependent proteases or the DnaK chaperone.
A collection of stable single-residue mutated MetA enzymes were constructed and investigated as background for engineering the stabilized mutants. In summary, the mutations in a single gene, metA, reframe the window of growth temperature in both normal and mutant E. coli strains.
Escherichia coli; Thermostability; Homoserine o-succinyltransferase (MetA); Growth rate; ATP-dependent proteases; DnaK chaperone
The species Pectobacterium carotovorum includes a diverse subspecies of bacteria that cause disease on a wide variety of plants. In Morocco, approximately 95% of the P. carotovorum isolates from potato plants with tuber soft rot are P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. However, identification of this pathogen is not always related to visual disease symptoms. This is especially true when different pathogen cause similar diseases on potato, citing as an example, P. carotovorum, P. atrosepticum and P. wasabiae. Numerous conventional methods were used to characterize Pectobacterium spp., including biochemical assays, specific PCR-based tests, and construction of phylogenetic trees by using gene sequences. In this study, an alternative method is presented using a gene linked to pathogenicity, in order to allow accuracy at subspecies level. The pmrA gene (response regulator) has been used for identification and analysis of the relationships among twenty nine Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and other Pectobacterium subspecies.
Phylogenetic analyses of pmrA sequences compared to ERIC-PCR and 16S rDNA sequencing, demonstrated that there is considerable genetic diversity in P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum strains, which can be divided into two distinct groups within the same clade.
pmrA sequence analysis is likely to be a reliable tool to identify the subspecies Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and estimate their genetic diversity.
pmrA gene; Pectobacterium carotovorum; Potato tuber; Soft rot disease; Genetic diversity; Phylogenetic analysis
The emergence of colony morphology variants in structured environments is being recognized as important to both niche specialization and stress tolerance. Pseudomonas fluorescens demonstrates diversity in both its natural environment, the rhizosphere, and in laboratory grown biofilms. Sub-populations of these variants within a biofilm have been suggested as important contributors to antimicrobial stress tolerance given their altered susceptibility to various agents. As such it is of interest to determine how these variants might be distributed in the biofilm environment.
Here we present an analysis of the spatial distribution of Pseudomonas fluorescens colony morphology variants in mixed-culture biofilms with the wildtype phenotype. These findings reveal that two variant colony morphotypes demonstrate a significant growth advantage over the wildtype morphotype in the biofilm environment. The two variant morphotypes out-grew the wildtype across the entire biofilm and this occurred within 24 h and was maintained through to 96 h. This competitive advantage was not observed in homogeneous broth culture.
The significant advantage that the variants demonstrate in biofilm colonization over the wildtype denotes the importance of this phenotype in structured environments.
Success of biofilm dwelling bacteria in causing persistent and chronic infections is attributed to their resistance towards antibiotics and immune defences. Free iron is critical for the growth of biofilm associated bacteria. Therefore in the present study, the effect of limiting iron levels by addition of divalent Co[II] ions in combination with a bacteriophage was used for preventing/disrupting Klebsiella pneumoniae biofilms.
A significantly higher reduction (p < 0.005) in bacterial numbers in the younger as well as older biofilms treated with Co[II] and depolymerase producing phage in combination was observed in comparison to when either of the agents was used alone. The role of phage borne depolymerase was confirmed, as an insignificant eradication of biofilm by non-depolymerase producing bacteriophage in combination with cobalt ions was observed. The results of viable count were further confirmed by visual examination of biofilms.
From the study it can be concluded, that iron antagonizing molecules and bacteriophages can be used as adjunct therapy for preventing biofilm development.
Resistance; Treatment; Phage depolymerase; Adjunct; Alternate therapy
Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 has two major serotypes, Ogawa and Inaba, which may alternate among cholera epidemics. The rfbT gene is responsible for the conversion between the two serotypes. In this study, we surveyed the sequence variance of rfbT in the Ogawa and Inaba strains in China over a 48-year (1961-2008) period in which serotype shifts occurred among epidemic years.
Various mutation events including single nucleotide, short fragment insertions/deletions and transposases insertions, were found in the rfbT gene of the Inaba strains. Ectopically introducing an intact rfbT could overcome the mutations by converting the Inaba serotype to the Ogawa serotype, suggesting the effects of these mutations on the function of RfbT. Characteristic rfbT mutations were recognized in the Inaba strains among Inaba serotype dominant epidemic years which were separate from the Ogawa dominant epidemics. Three distinguishable mutation sites in rfbT between the classical and the El Tor biotype strains were identified and could serve as biotype-specific biomarkers.
Our results provide a comprehensive picture of the rfbT gene mutations among the V. cholerae O1 strains in different epidemic periods, which could be further used as the tracing markers in clonality analysis and dissemination surveillance of the epidemic strains.
In bacteria, signal-transduction two-component systems are major players for adaptation to environmental stimuli. The perception of a chemical or physical signal by a sensor-kinase triggers its autophosphorylation. The phosphoryl group is then transferred to the cognate response regulator, which mediates the appropriate adaptive response. Virulence of the whooping cough agent Bordetella pertussis is controlled by the two-component system BvgAS. Atypically, the sensor-kinase BvgS is active without specific stimuli at 37°C in laboratory conditions and is inactivated by the addition of negative chemical modulators. The structure of BvgS is complex, with two tandem periplasmic Venus flytrap domains and a cytoplasmic PAS domain that precedes the kinase domain, which is followed by additional phosphotransfer domains. PAS domains are small, ubiquitous sensing or regulatory domains. The function of the PAS domain in BvgS remains unknown.
We showed that recombinant BvgS PAS proteins form dimers that are stabilized by α helical regions flanking the PAS core. A structural model of the PAS domain dimer was built and probed by site-directed mutagenesis and by biochemical and functional analyses. Although we found no ligands for the PAS domain cavity, its integrity is required for signaling. We also showed that the structural stability of the PAS core and its proper coupling to its flanking N- and C-terminal α helices are crucial for BvgS activity.
We propose that a major function of the BvgS PAS domain is to maintain conformational signals arising from mechanical strain generated by the periplasmic domain. The tight structure of the PAS core and its connections with the upstream and downstream helices ensure signaling to the kinase domain, which determines BvgS activity. Many mild substitutions that map to the PAS domain keep BvgS active but make it unresponsive to negative modulators, supporting that modulation increases conformational strain in the protein.
Two-component system; Bordetella; Virulence regulation; PAS domain; Signaling