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1.  Surface plasmon resonance imaging of pathogens: the Yersinia pestis paradigm 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:259.
Yersinia pestis, causing deadly plague, is classified as a group A bioterrorism bacterium. Some recent DNA-based methods were used for detection of bioterrorism agents.
Y. pestis was used as a model organism to develop an immunosensor based on surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRi) using monoclonal antibody against Y. pestis F1 antigen. The experimental approach included step-by-step detection of Y. pestis membrane proteins, lysed bacteria, intact bacteria, mock-infected powder and mock-infected clinical specimens. SPRi detected on average 106 intact Y. pestis organisms in buffer, in mock-infected powder and in a 1:4 mixture with HEL cells.
This study offers the proof-of-concept of the SPRi-based detection of a human pathogen in both environmental and clinical specimens.
PMCID: PMC4479326  PMID: 26105071
Surface plasmon resonance imaging; Yersinia pestis; Plague; Detection
2.  Gut microeukaryotes during anorexia nervosa: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:33.
Few studies have focused on eukaryote community in the human gut. Here, the diversity of microeukaryotes in the gut microbiota of an anorexic patient was investigated using molecular and culture approaches.
Case presentation
A 21-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted in an intensive care unit for severe malnutrition in anorexia nervosa. One stool specimen was collected from the anorexic patient, culture and polymerase chain reaction-based explorations yielded a restricted diversity of fungi but four microeukaryotes Tetratrichomonas sp., Aspergillus ruber, Penicillium solitum and Cladosporium bruhnei previously undescribed in the human gut.
Establishing microeukaryote repertoire in gut microbiota contributes to the understanding of its role in human health.
PMCID: PMC3895777  PMID: 24418238
Anorexia nervosa; Gut; Microeukaryotes; Polymerase chain reaction; Culture
3.  A semi-automated protocol for Archaea DNA extraction from stools 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:186.
The PCR-based detection of archaea DNA in human specimens relies on efficient DNA extraction. We previously designed one such protocol involving only manual steps. In an effort to reduce the workload involved, we compared this manual protocol to semi-automated and automated protocols for archaea DNA extraction from human specimens.
We tested 110 human stool specimens using each protocol. An automated protocol using the EZ1 Advanced XL extractor with the V 1.066069118 Qiagen DNA bacteria card and the EZ1® DNA Tissue Kit (Qiagen, Courtaboeuf, France) yielded 35/110 (32%) positives for the real-time PCR detection of the Methanobrevibacter smithii 16S rRNA gene, with average Ct values of 36.1. A semi-automated protocol combining glass-powder crushing, overnight proteinase K digestion and lysis in the buffer from the EZ1 kit yielded 90/110 (82%) positive specimens (P = 0.001) with an average Ct value of 27.4 (P = 0.001). The manual protocol yielded 100/110 (91%) positive specimens (P = 0.001) with an average Ct value of 30.33 (P = 0.001). However, neither the number of positive specimens nor the Ct values were significantly different between the manual protocol and the semi-automated protocol (P > 0.1 and P > 0.1).
Proteinase K digestion and glass powder crushing dramatically increase the extraction yield of archaea DNA from human stools. The semi-automated protocol described here was more rapid than the manual protocol and yielded significantly more archaeal DNA. It could be applied for extracting total stool DNA for further PCR amplification.
PMCID: PMC3662635  PMID: 23651536
Human-associated archaea; Methanogenic archaea; Microbiota; DNA extraction; Archaeal DNA
4.  Optimized microbial DNA extraction from diarrheic stools 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:702.
The detection of enteropathogens in stool specimens increasingly relies on the detection of specific nucleic acid sequences. We observed that such detection was hampered in diarrheic stool specimens and we set-up an improved protocol combining lyophilization of stools prior to a semi-automated DNA extraction.
A total of 41 human diarrheic stool specimens comprising of 35 specimens negative for enteropathogens and six specimens positive for Salmonella enterica in culture, were prospectively studied. One 1-mL aliquot of each specimen was lyophilised and total DNA was extracted from lyophilised and non-lyophilised aliquots by combining automatic and phenol-chloroform DNA extraction. DNA was incorporated into real-time PCRs targeting the 16S rRNA gene of Bacteria and the archaea Methanobrevibacter smithii and the chorismate synthase gene of S. enterica. Whereas negative controls consisting in DNA-free water remained negative, M. smithii was detected in 26/41 (63.4%) non-lyophilised (Ct value 28.78 ± 9.1) versus 39/41 (95.1%) lyophilised aliquots (Ct value 22.04 ± 5.5); bacterial 16S rRNA was detected in 33/41 (80.5%) non-lyophilised (Ct value 28.11 ± 5.9) versus 40/41 (97.6%) lyophilised aliquots (Ct value 24.94 ± 6.6); and S. enterica was detected in 6/6 (100%) non-lyophilized and lyophilized aliquots (Ct value 26.98 ± 4.55 and 26.16 ± 4.97, respectively). S. enterica was not detected in the 35 remaining diarrheal-stool specimens. The proportion of positive specimens was significantly higher after lyophilization for the detection of M. smithii (p = 0.00043) and Bacteria (p = 0.015).
Lyophilization of diarrheic stool specimens significantly increases the PCR-based detection of microorganisms. The semi-automated protocol described here could be routinely used for the molecular diagnosis of infectious diarrhea.
PMCID: PMC3538598  PMID: 23273000
DNA extraction; Lyophilization; Diarrheal stools
5.  Heat degradation of eukaryotic and bacterial DNA: an experimental model for paleomicrobiology 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:528.
Theoretical models suggest that DNA degradation would sharply limit the PCR-based detection of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic DNA within ancient specimens. However, the relative extent of decay of eukaryote and prokaryote DNA over time is a matter of debate. In this study, the murine macrophage cell line J774, alone or infected with Mycobacterium smegmatis bacteria, were killed after exposure to 90°C dry heat for intervals ranging from 1 to 48 h in order to compare eukaryotic cells, extracellular bacteria and intracellular bacteria. The sizes of the resulting mycobacterial rpoB and murine rpb2 homologous gene fragments were then determined by real-time PCR and fluorescent probing.
The cycle threshold (Ct) values of PCR-amplified DNA fragments from J774 cells and the M. smegmatis negative controls (without heat exposure) varied from 26–33 for the J774 rpb2 gene fragments and from 24–29 for M. smegmatis rpoB fragments. After 90°C dry heat incubation for up to 48 h, the Ct values of test samples increased relative to those of the controls for each amplicon size. For each dry heat exposure time, the Ct values of the 146-149-bp fragments were lower than those of 746-747-bp fragments. During the 4- to 24-h dry heat incubation, the non-infected J774 cell DNA was degraded into 597-bp rpb2 fragments. After 48 h, however, only 450-bp rpb2 fragments of both non-infected and infected J774 cells could be amplified. In contrast, the 746-bp rpoB fragments of M. smegmatis DNA could be amplified after the 48-h dry heat exposure in all experiments. Infected and non-infected J774 cell DNA was degraded more rapidly than M. smegmatis DNA after dry heat exposure (ANOVA test, p < 0.05).
In this study, mycobacterial DNA was more resistant to dry-heat stress than eukaryotic DNA. Therefore, the detection of large, experimental, ancient mycobacterial DNA fragments is a suitable approach for paleomicrobiological studies.
PMCID: PMC3532149  PMID: 23009640
Ancient DNA; DNA degradation; Bacterial DNA; Eukaryotic DNA; Mycobacterium; Real-time PCR
6.  Tungsten-enhanced growth of Methanosphaera stadtmanae 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:238.
The methanogenic Archaea Methanosphaera stadtmanae has been detected in the human gut microbiota by both culture and culture-independent methods. Its growth reaches an exponential phase after 5 to 7-day culture in medium 322 (10% vol). Our recent successful isolation of Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis, a tungstate-selenite-requiring Archaea sharing similar metabolism characteristics with M. stadtmanae prompted us to study the effects of tungsten and selenium on M. stadtmanae growth.
Addition of 0.2 mg/L sodium tungstate to medium 322 yielded, 48 hours after inoculation, a growth rate equivalent to that obtained after 6 days with control culture as measured by methane monitoring and optical density measurement. Addition of 50 μg/mL sodium selenate had no effect on M. stadtmanae growth. Quantitative real-time PCRs targeting the M. stadtmanae 16S rRNA confirmed these data.
These data provide new information regarding the poorly known nutritional requirements of the human gut colonizing organismsM. stadtmanae. Adding sodium tungstate to basal medium may facilitate phenotypic characterization of this organism and additionally aid the isolation of new Archaeafrom complex host microbiota.
PMCID: PMC3439257  PMID: 22587398
Methanogenic Archaea; Methanosphaera stadtmanae; Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis; Tungsten; Selenium
7.  Pyrosequencing assay for rapid identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex species 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:423.
Identification of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms to the species level is important for diagnostic, therapeutic and epidemiologic perspectives. Indeed, isolates are routinely identified as belonging to the M. tuberculosis complex without further discrimination in agreement with the high genomic similarity of the M. tuberculosis complex members and the resulting complex available identification tools.
We herein develop a pyrosequencing assay analyzing polymorphisms within glpK, pykA and gyrB genes to identify members of the M. tuberculosis complex at the species level. The assay was evaluated with 22 M. tuberculosis, 21 M. bovis, 3 M. caprae, 3 M. microti, 2 M. bovis BCG, 2 M. pinnipedii, 1 M. canettii and 1 M. africanum type I isolates. The resulted pyrograms were consistent with conventional DNA sequencing data and successfully identified all isolates. Additionally, 127 clinical M. tuberculosis complex isolates were analyzed and were unambiguously identified as M. tuberculosis.
We proposed a pyrosequencing-based scheme for the rapid identification of M. tuberculosis complex isolates at the species level. The assay is robust, specific, rapid and can be easily introduced in the routine activity.
PMCID: PMC3214197  PMID: 22011383
Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; pyrosequencing; identification
8.  Pyrosequencing identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis W-Beijing 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:239.
The worldwide expanding Mycobacterium tuberculosis W-Beijing family is associated with treatment failure and relapse. Its identification currently relies on spoligotyping and conventional sequencing. We developed pyrosequencing as an alternative method for its identification.
Pyrosequencing found a G/A substitution in the Rv0927c-pstS3 intergenic spacer and a RD105 deletion, identifying 8/104 M. tuberculosis isolates as W-Beijing isolates. In addition, pyrosequencing found a previously unreported TGC deletion in the Rv0927c gene of W-Beijing isolates. Total concordance was found between the pyrosequencing data and conventional sequencing, as well as reference molecular identification. Multispacer Sequence Typing assigned the W-Beijing isolates to the Asian lineage and the 96 non-W-Beijing isolates to the Euro-American lineage (P < 10-5). The W-Beijing isolates were all susceptible to streptomycin, rifampin, isoniazid, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide; no resistance-associated mutations were detected in these eight W-Beijing isolates. There were no statistically significant differences in the antibiotic susceptibility of W-Beijing and non-W-Beijing isolates (p = 0.2, X2 test). Pyrosequencing correctly identified M. tuberculosis organisms in 26/26 sputum specimens exhibiting acid-fast bacilli. Pyrosequencing results were obtained within four hours, incurring an estimated cost of 1.86 €/test.
Pyrosequencing of the Rv0927c gene and adjacent intergenic spacer is an efficient, low-cost technique for the rapid identification of W-Beijing isolates.
PMCID: PMC2799434  PMID: 19951445

Results 1-8 (8)