ResearchPad - prokaryotic-models https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[iterb-PPse: Identification of transcriptional terminators in bacterial by incorporating nucleotide properties into PseKNC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14750 Terminator is a DNA sequence that gives the RNA polymerase the transcriptional termination signal. Identifying terminators correctly can optimize the genome annotation, more importantly, it has considerable application value in disease diagnosis and therapies. However, accurate prediction methods are deficient and in urgent need. Therefore, we proposed a prediction method “iterb-PPse” for terminators by incorporating 47 nucleotide properties into PseKNC-Ⅰ and PseKNC-Ⅱ and utilizing Extreme Gradient Boosting to predict terminators based on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Combing with the preceding methods, we employed three new feature extraction methods K-pwm, Base-content, Nucleotidepro to formulate raw samples. The two-step method was applied to select features. When identifying terminators based on optimized features, we compared five single models as well as 16 ensemble models. As a result, the accuracy of our method on benchmark dataset achieved 99.88%, higher than the existing state-of-the-art predictor iTerm-PseKNC in 100 times five-fold cross-validation test. Its prediction accuracy for two independent datasets reached 94.24% and 99.45% respectively. For the convenience of users, we developed a software on the basis of “iterb-PPse” with the same name. The open software and source code of “iterb-PPse” are available at https://github.com/Sarahyouzi/iterb-PPse.

]]>
<![CDATA[<i>Escherichia coli</i> ST131 clones harbouring AggR and AAF/V fimbriae causing bacteremia in Mozambican children: Emergence of new variant of <i>fimH27</i> subclone]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14507 Escherichia coli ST131 has emerged as a globally disseminated multi-drug resistant clone associated with extra-intestinal infections acquired in the community or hospital. In Manhiça district, E. coli is among the top five leading bloodstream pathogens in children. We characterized E. coli strains causing bacteremia in young children in a rural hospital of Mozambique, providing novel information on the occurrence of a new subclone of ST131 harboring both ExPEC and EAEC related genes and belonging to commonly reported O25:H4 and other serotypes. These data suggest the need for further understanding of pathogenesis and clinical impact of this new entity to inform prompt recognition and appropriate treatment.

]]>
<![CDATA[A prospective study of bloodstream infections among febrile adolescents and adults attending Yangon General Hospital, Yangon, Myanmar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13833 Bloodstream infection (BSI) is common among persons seeking healthcare for severe febrile illness in low-and middle-income countries. Data on community-onset BSI are few for some countries in Asia, including Myanmar. Such data are needed to inform empiric antimicrobial treatment of patients and to monitor and control antimicrobial resistance. We performed a one year, prospective study collecting information and blood cultures from patients presenting with fever at a tertiary referral hospital in Yangon, Myanmar. We found that almost 10% of participants had a bloodstream infection, and that Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A were the most common pathogens. Typhoidal Salmonella were universally resistant to ciprofloxacin. More than half of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were resistant to extended-spectrum cephalosporins and resistance to carbapenems was also identified in some isolates. We show that typhoid and paratyphoid fever are common, and fluoroquinolone resistance is widespread. Extended-spectrum cephalosporin resistance is common in E. coli and K. pneumoniae and carbapenem resistance is present. Our findings inform empiric antimicrobial management of severe febrile illness, underscore the value of routine use of blood cultures, indicate that measures to prevent and control enteric fever are warranted, and suggest a need to monitor and mitigate antimicrobial resistance among community-acquired pathogens.

]]>
<![CDATA[Identification of soil bacteria capable of utilizing a corn ethanol fermentation byproduct]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1951d5eed0c484b4d3e6

A commercial corn ethanol production byproduct (syrup) was used as a bacterial growth medium with the long-term aim to repurpose the resulting microbial biomass as a protein supplement in aquaculture feeds. Anaerobic batch reactors were used to enrich for soil bacteria metabolizing the syrup as the sole nutrient source over an eight-day period with the goal of obtaining pure cultures of facultative organisms from the reactors. Amplification of the V4 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene was performed using barcoded primers to track the succession of microbes enriched for during growth on the syrup. The resulting PCR products were sequenced using Illumina MiSeq protocols, analyzed via the program QIIME, and the alpha-diversity was calculated. Seven bacterial families were the most prevalent in the bioreactor community after eight days of enrichment: Clostridiaceae, Alicyclobacillaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Burkholderiaceae, Bacillaceae, Veillonellaceae, and Enterobacteriaceae. Pure culture isolates obtained from the reactors, and additional laboratory stock strains, capable of facultative growth, were grown aerobically in microtiter plates with the syrup substrate to monitor growth yield. Reactor isolates of interest were identified at a species level using the full 16S rRNA gene and other biomarkers. Bacillus species, commonly used as probiotics in aquaculture, showed the highest biomass yield of the monocultures examined. Binary combinations of monocultures yielded no apparent synergism between organisms, suggesting competition for nutrients instead of cooperative metabolite conversion.

]]>
<![CDATA[Toxicity and oviposition deterrence of essential oils of Clinopodium nubigenum and Lavandula angustifolia against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5ad5eed0c484e5b930

Cutaneous myiasis is a severe worldwide medical and veterinary issue. In this trial the essential oil (EO) of the Andean medicinal plant species Clinopodium nubigenum (Kunth) Kuntze was evaluated for its bioactivity against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera Calliphoridae) and compared with that of the well-known medicinal plant species Lavandula angustifolia Mill. The EOs were analysed and tested in laboratory for their oviposition deterrence and toxicity against L. sericata adults. The physiology of EO toxicity was evaluated by enzymatic inhibition tests. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the EOs were tested as well. At 0.8 μL cm-2, both EOs completely deterred L. sericata oviposition up to 3 hours. After 24 h, the oviposition deterrence was still 82.7% for L. angustifolia and the 89.5% for C. nubigenum. The two EOs were also toxic to eggs and adults of L. sericata. By contact/fumigation, the EOs, the LC50 values against the eggs were 0.07 and 0.48 μL cm-2 while, by topical application on the adults, LD50 values were 0.278 and 0.393 μL per individual for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs, respectively. Inhibition of acetylcholine esterase of L. sericata by EOs (IC50 = 67.450 and 79.495 mg L-1 for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia, respectively) suggested that the neural sites are targets of the EO toxicity. Finally, the observed antibacterial and antifungal properties of C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs suggest that they could also help prevent secondary infections.

]]>
<![CDATA[Protein fortification with mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) powder: Effect on textural, microbiological, nutritional and sensory features of bread]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df30cd5eed0c484580bee

In the present study, inclusion of mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) powder into bread doughs at 5 and 10% substitution level of soft wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) flour was tested to produce protein fortified breads. The addition of mealworm powder (MP) did not negatively affect the technological features of either doughs or breads. All the tested doughs showed the same leavening ability, whereas breads containing 5% MP showed the highest specific volume and the lowest firmness. An enrichment in protein content was observed in experimental breads where the highest values for this parameter were recorded in breads containing 10% MP. Breads fortified with 10% MP also exhibited a significant increase in the content of free amino acids, and especially in the following essential amino acids: tyrosine, methionine, isoleucine, and leucine. By contrast, no differences in nutritional quality of lipids were seen between fortified and control breads. Results of sensory analyses revealed that protein fortification of bread with MP significantly affected bread texture and overall liking, as well as crust colour, depending on the substitution level. Overall, proof of concept was provided for the inclusion of MP into bread doughs started with different leavening agents (sourdough and/or baker’s yeast), at 5 or 10% substitution level of soft wheat flour. Based on the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, the proposed bread making technology can be situated at level 4 (validation in laboratory environment), thus suggesting that the production of breads with MP might easily be scaled up at industrial level. However, potential spoilage and safety issues that need to be further considered were highlighted.

]]>
<![CDATA[Multi-study inference of regulatory networks for more accurate models of gene regulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536a85d5eed0c484a47592

Gene regulatory networks are composed of sub-networks that are often shared across biological processes, cell-types, and organisms. Leveraging multiple sources of information, such as publicly available gene expression datasets, could therefore be helpful when learning a network of interest. Integrating data across different studies, however, raises numerous technical concerns. Hence, a common approach in network inference, and broadly in genomics research, is to separately learn models from each dataset and combine the results. Individual models, however, often suffer from under-sampling, poor generalization and limited network recovery. In this study, we explore previous integration strategies, such as batch-correction and model ensembles, and introduce a new multitask learning approach for joint network inference across several datasets. Our method initially estimates the activities of transcription factors, and subsequently, infers the relevant network topology. As regulatory interactions are context-dependent, we estimate model coefficients as a combination of both dataset-specific and conserved components. In addition, adaptive penalties may be used to favor models that include interactions derived from multiple sources of prior knowledge including orthogonal genomics experiments. We evaluate generalization and network recovery using examples from Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and show that sharing information across models improves network reconstruction. Finally, we demonstrate robustness to both false positives in the prior information and heterogeneity among datasets.

]]>
<![CDATA[A rapid method for post-antibiotic bacterial susceptibility testing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7bdd5eed0c4843867df

Antibiotic susceptibility testing is often performed to determine the most effective antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection, or perhaps to determine if a particular strain of bacteria is becoming drug resistant. Such tests, and others used to determine efficacy of candidate antibiotics during the drug discovery process, have resulted in a demand for more rapid susceptibility testing methods. Here, we have developed a susceptibility test that utilizes chemiluminescent determination of ATP release from bacteria and the overall optical density (OD600) of the bacterial solution. Bacteria release ATP during a growth phase or when they are lysed in the presence of an effective antibiotic. Because optical density increases during growth phase, but does not change during bacterial lysing, an increase in the ATP:optical density ratio after the bacteria have reached the log phase of growth (which is steady) would indicate antibiotic efficacy. Specifically, after allowing a kanamycin-resistant strain of Escherichia coli (E.coli) to pass through the growth phase and reach steady state, the addition of levofloxacin, an antibiotic to which E. coli is susceptible, resulted in a significant increase in the ATP:OD600 ratio in comparison to the use of kanamycin alone (1.80 +/- 0.50 vs. 1.12 +/- 0.28). This difference could be measured 20 minutes after the addition of the antibiotic, to which the bacteria are susceptible, to the bacterial sample. Furthermore, this method also proved useful with gram positive bacteria, as the addition of kanamycin to a chloramphenicol-resistant strain of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) resulted in an ATP:OD600 ratio of 2.14 +/- 0.26 in comparison to 0.62 +/- 0.05 for bacteria not subjected to the antibiotic to which the bacteria are susceptible. Collectively, these results suggest that measurement of the ATP:OD600 ratio may provide a susceptibility test for antibiotic efficacy that is more rapid and quantitative than currently accepted techniques.

]]>
<![CDATA[Diarrheal bacterial pathogens and multi-resistant enterobacteria in the Choqueyapu River in La Paz, Bolivia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46656bd5eed0c484519147

Water borne diarrheal pathogens might accumulate in river water and cause contamination of drinking and irrigation water. The La Paz River basin, including the Choqueyapu River, flows through La Paz city in Bolivia where it is receiving sewage, and residues from inhabitants, hospitals, and industry. Using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), we determined the quantity and occurrence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC), Salmonella enterica, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Shigella spp. and total enterobacteria in river water, downstream agricultural soil, and irrigated crops, during one year of sampling. The most abundant and frequently detected genes were gapA and eltB, indicating presence of enterobacteria and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) carrying the heat labile toxin, respectively. Pathogen levels in the samples were significantly positively associated with high water conductivity and low water temperature. In addition, a set of bacterial isolates from water, soil and crops were analyzed by PCR for presence of the genes blaCTX-M, blaKPC, blaNDM, blaVIM and blaOXA-48. Four isolates were found to be positive for blaCTX-M genes and whole genome sequencing identified them as E. coli and one Enterobacter cloacae. The E. coli isolates belonged to the emerging, globally disseminated, multi-resistant E. coli lineages ST648, ST410 and ST162. The results indicate not only a high potential risk of transmission of diarrheal diseases by the consumption of contaminated water and vegetables but also the possibility of antibiotic resistance transfer from the environment to the community.

]]>
<![CDATA[A cross-sectional study on the prevalence of antibiotic use prior to laboratory tests at two Ghanaian hospitals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c46d5eed0c484bd141b

There has been a significant rise in global antibiotic use in recent years. Development of resistance has been linked to easy accessibility, lack of regulation of sale, increased tendency to self-medicate and the lack of public knowledge. The increase in antibiotic misuse, including self-medication, has not been well documented in developing countries. Antibiotic use prior to visiting health facilities has been found to be prevalent in developing countries. It has been identified by some studies to increase the likelihood of missed diagnoses and influence the outcome of bacteriological tests. This study is aimed at determining the prevalence of prior antibiotic use through a cross-sectional survey of patients undergoing laboratory tests at two health facilities in Ghana. Face-to-face questionnaires were used to interview 261 individuals chosen by random sampling of patients visiting the bacteriology laboratory of the hospitals within a two-month period. The questionnaire investigated participant demographic characteristics, knowledge about antibiotics and the nature of antibiotic use. Antibiotic property detection bioassay was performed on patient’s urine sample using a disk diffusion method to accurately determine antibiotic use within 72 hours. Culture results were used as an index to evaluate the effect of prior antibiotic use on bacteriological tests. Out of a 261 participants enrolled, 19.9% (95% CI, 14.9–24.9) acknowledged using antibiotics prior to their visit to the laboratory during the study period. On the contrary, 31.4% (95% CI, 25.7–37.5) of participants’ urine samples were positive for antimicrobial activity. Participants within the age ranges of 20–30, 31–40 and 41–50 years had significantly lower odds of urine antimicrobial activity. Participants who had urine antimicrobial activity were more likely to have no growth on their culture plates than participants who had no urine antimicrobial activity [OR 2.39(1.37–4.18), p = 0.002]. The most commonly used antibiotics were the penicillins, fluoroquinolones and metronidazole. Although, majority of the participant (54.8%) had knowledge of antibiotics, most of them had inadequate information on their proper use. The commonest indications for antibiotic use were aches and pains (30.3%), diarrhoea (43.3%) and urinary tract infections (28.0%). Prior antibiotic use was found to increase the likelihood of obtaining a culture negative result and can affect the outcome of bacteriological tests.

]]>
<![CDATA[CRISPR-Cas9 In Situ engineering of subtilisin E in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0133d5eed0c48403922d

CRISPR-Cas systems have become widely used across all fields of biology as a genome engineering tool. With its recent demonstration in the Gram positive industrial workhorse Bacillus subtilis, this tool has become an attractive option for rapid, markerless strain engineering of industrial production hosts. Previously described strategies for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in B. subtilis have involved chromosomal integrations of Cas9 and single guide RNA expression cassettes, or construction of large plasmids for simultaneous transformation of both single guide RNA and donor DNA. Here we use a flexible, co-transformation approach where the single guide RNA is inserted in a plasmid for Cas9 co-expression, and the donor DNA is supplied as a linear PCR product observing an editing efficiency of 76%. This allowed multiple, rapid rounds of in situ editing of the subtilisin E gene to incorporate a salt bridge triad present in the Bacillus clausii thermotolerant homolog, M-protease. A novel subtilisin E variant was obtained with increased thermotolerance and activity.

]]>
<![CDATA[Structural characterization of a pathogenicity-related superoxide dismutase codified by a probably essential gene in Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d015bd5eed0c48403a8e5

Citrus canker is a plant disease caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri that affects all domestic varieties of citrus. Some annotated genes from the X. citri subsp. citri genome are assigned to an interesting class named "pathogenicity, virulence and adaptation". Amongst these is sodM, which encodes for the gene product XcSOD, one of four superoxide dismutase homologs predicted from the genome. SODs are widespread enzymes that play roles in the oxidative stress response, catalyzing the degradation of the deleterious superoxide radical. In Xanthomonas, SOD has been associated with pathogenesis as a counter measure against the plant defense response. In this work we initially present the 1.8 Å crystal structure of XcSOD, a manganese containing superoxide dismutase from Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The structure bears all the hallmarks of a dimeric member of the MnSOD family, including the conserved hydrogen-bonding network residues. Despite the apparent gene redundancy, several attempts to obtain a sodM deletion mutant were unsuccessful, suggesting the encoded protein to be essential for bacterial survival. This intriguing observation led us to extend our structural studies to the remaining three SOD homologs, for which comparative models were built. The models imply that X. citri subsp. citri produces an iron-containing SOD which is unlikely to be catalytically active along with two conventional Cu,ZnSODs. Although the latter are expected to possess catalytic activity, we propose they may not be able to replace XcSOD for reasons such as distinct subcellular compartmentalization or differential gene expression in pathogenicity-inducing conditions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Lipids alter microbial transport through intestinal mucus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c269742d5eed0c48470f0d4

Mucus constitutes a protective layer which coats the gastrointestinal tract, controlling interactions of both commensal and pathogenic microbes with underlying tissues. Changes to the mucus barrier, for example due to altered mucin expression or external stimuli, may impact interactions with microbes and thus potentially contribute to altered gut homeostasis, onset of inflammation, or pathogen invasion. Food-associated stimuli, including lipids, have been shown to change mucus barrier properties and reduce transport of model drug carriers through mucus. Here, we explore the impact of lipids, specifically triglycerides in a model intestinal medium mimicking a fed state, on Escherichia coli (E. coli) transport through mucus by directly imaging swimming patterns and analyzing associated changes in mucus structure. Lipids in model fed state intestinal contents reduced E. coli speed and track linearity within mucus. These changes may be due in part to changes in molecular interactions within the mucus network as well as crowding of the mucus network by lipid emulsion droplets, which visibly stay intact in the mucus gel. In addition, observed physical interactions between bacteria and lipid structures may impact microbial speed and trajectories. As lipids are normal food components and thus represent safe, mild stimuli, these results support exploration of lipid-based strategies to alter the mucus barrier to control interactions with microbes and potentially prevent microbial invasion of underlying epithelium.

]]>
<![CDATA[Acquisition of plasmid-mediated cephalosporinase producing Enterobacteriaceae after a travel to the tropics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c22a0bcd5eed0c4849ebf77

Travelers are at high risk of acquiring multi-drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae (MRE) while traveling abroad. Acquisition of extended spectrum beta-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) while traveling has been extensively described, but not that of plasmid-mediated cephalosporinase producing Enterobacteriaceae (pAmpC-E). Here, we characterized the pAmpC-E acquired in 574 French travelers to tropical areas enrolled in the VOYAG-R study. Among the 526 MRE isolated at return, 57 (10.8%) from 49 travelers were pAmpC-E. The acquisition rate of pAmpC-E was 8.5% (49/574) ranging from 12.8% (25/195) in Asia, 7.6% (14/184) in Latin America to 5.1% (10/195) in Africa. The highest acquisition rates were observed in Peru (21.9%), India (21.4%) and Vietnam (20%). The carriage of pAmpC-E decreased quickly after return with 92.5% of colonized travelers being negative at one month. Most enzymes were CMY types (96.5%, n = 55, only met in Escherichia coli), including 40 CMY-2 (70.2%), 12 CMY-42 (21.1%), 1 CMY-6 and two new CMY-2 variants. The remaining were two DHA observed in Klebsiella pneumoniae. CMY-2 producing strains were acquired worldwide whereas CMY-42, except for one, were all acquired in Asia. BlaCMY-2 genes were associated with different plasmid types, including IncI1 (45. 2%), IncF (10%), IncF-IncI (7.5%), IncA/C (5%) and IncR (2.5%) whereas blaCMY-42 were all associated with IncI1 plasmids. Even though the pAmpC-E acquisition rate was much lower than that of ESBL-E, it was significant, especially in Asia, showing that pAmpC-E, especially CMY-type producing E. coli have spread in the community settings of tropical regions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Absence of genetic selection in a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain exposed to the manure-amended soil environment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e62d5eed0c484d265cd

Escherichia coli that express curli are more common in subsurface soil drainage when manure is surface applied. However, it is unknown whether this arises from mutations in individual strains leading to curli expression or by selection for individuals already expressing higher levels of curli. To test this, we examined curli production in pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 as a function of manure management. Five treatments were investigated: (1) soil only, (2) soil with surface-applied E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 Δstx1-2 (EcO157), (3) soil with incorporated EcO157, (4) soil with surface-applied EcO157-inoculated manure, and (5) soil with incorporated EcO157-inoculated manure. EcO157 was reisolated from soils immediately after application and weekly thereafter for 8 weeks. EcO157 in the surface-applied treatments died faster than their incorporated treatment counterparts. Phenotypic assays revealed differences between treatments as well. Half of surface-applied manure reisolates from week 6 developed a mixed red and white colony morphology on Congo Red plates, indicating changes in curli production that were not seen in other treatments or times. In 37°C growth tests, week 6 reisolates from all treatments except soil surface-applied EcO157 left the lag phase at a significantly greater rate than week 0 isolates. We applied whole genome sequencing technology to interrogate the genetic underpinnings of these phenotypes. Surprisingly, we only found single-nucleotide polymorphisms in two of the 94 resequenced isolates from the different treatments, neither of which correlated with curli phenotype. Likewise, we found no differences in other genomic characteristics that might account for phenotypic differences including the count of gaps and the origin of discarded reads that failed to map to the parental strain. These results suggest there were no systematic genomic differences (i.e. individual-level selection) that correlated with time or treatment. We recommend future research focus on population-level selection of E. coli strains in the manure-amended soil environment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Experimental studies addressing the longevity of Bacillus subtilis spores – The first data from a 500-year experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028ebd5eed0c4842487a5

The ability to form endospores allows certain Gram-positive bacteria (e.g. Bacillus subtilis) to challenge the limits of microbial resistance and survival. Thus, B. subtilis is able to tolerate many environmental extremes by transitioning into a dormant state as spores, allowing survival under otherwise unfavorable conditions. Despite thorough study of spore resistance to external stresses, precisely how long B. subtilis spores can lie dormant while remaining viable, a period that potentially far exceeds the human lifespan; is not known although convincing examples of long term spore survival have been recorded. In this study, we report the first data from a 500-year microbial experiment, which started in 2014 and will finish in 2514. A set of vials containing a defined concentration of desiccated B. subtilis spores is opened and tested for viability every two years for the first 24 years and then every 25 years until experiment completion. Desiccated baseline spore samples were also exposed to environmental stresses, including X-rays, 254 nm UV-C, 10% H2O2, dry heat (120°C) and wet heat (100°C) to investigate how desiccated spores respond to harsh environmental conditions after long periods of storage. Data from the first 2 years of storage show no significant decrease in spore viability. Additionally, spores of B. subtilis were subjected to various short-term storage experiments, revealing that space-like vacuum and high NaCl concentration negatively affected spore viability.

]]>
<![CDATA[Infected cyst in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: Analysis of computed tomographic and ultrasonographic imaging features]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b35d5eed0c484698430

Purpose

To investigate the imaging features of cyst infection in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) patients using computed tomography (CT) and ultrasonography (US).

Materials & methods

The institutional review board approved this retrospective study. Fifty-one episodes with proven cyst infection in forty-three ADPKD patients were included. Two experienced abdominal radiologists reviewed CT and US images and evaluated the following imaging features in consensus: cyst size, location, cyst shape, intracystic attenuation, intracystic echogenicity, intracystic heterogeneity, wall thickness, the presence of fluid-fluid level, septation, intracystic gas, pericystic fat infiltration, and pericystic hyperemia. Intracystic attenuation was measured for all infected cysts and two presumed normal cysts and compared using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test.

Results

On CT scans, the median size of infected cysts was 5.5 cm (range: 2.3–18.8 cm) and 46 of 51 (90.2%) infected cysts were located in the subcapsular region. Most (48 of 51, 94.1%) infected cysts showed lobulated, focal bulging or irregular shape. Discernible wall thickening (84.1%) was the most frequently found imaging feature of infected cysts followed by relatively higher intracystic attenuation compared to normal cysts (79.1%) and pericystic fat infiltration (52.9%). Fluid/fluid level was found in 3 of 51 (5.9%) infected cysts and intracystic gas was found in 3 of 51 (5.9%) infected cysts, respectively. For hepatic cysts, 11 of 14 (78.6%) infected cysts showed pericystic hyperemia. Intracystic attenuation was significantly higher in infected cysts (median; 19.0 HU) than in presumed normal cysts (median; 8.5 HU) (P<0.001), and exceeded 25 HU in 18 (35.3%) of 51 infected cysts. Among the 41 infected cysts for which US images were available, 35 (85.1%) showed heterogeneous echogenicity.

Conclusion

Minute imaging features such as minimal wall thickening or relatively high attenuation compared to normal cysts would be helpful to detect infected cysts in ADPKD patients.

]]>
<![CDATA[Characterization of biodegradation in a 17th century easel painting and potential for a biological approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b5ed5eed0c484698e58

It is important to characterize the microorganisms involved in biodeterioration processes to understand their effects on cultural assets and to define an efficient strategy for protecting artworks, monuments, and buildings from microbiological recolonization. In this study, we analyzed the microbial communities dwelling on the verso (front) and recto (back) sides of a 17th century easel painting attributed to Carlo Bononi, an Italian artist of the first Baroque period. Cultivable bacteria and fungi colonizing the painting were isolated and identified in order to characterize the microbial community possibly involved in deteriorating the pictorial layer of the painting. The isolated bacterial strains belonged to the Staphylococcus and Bacillus genera. Furthermore, culture-dependent techniques and SEM/EDS analyses revealed the presence of filamentous fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Alternaria. The chemical compositions of pigments were consistent with typical 17th century paintings, and some of the identified pigments, namely red lac and red and yellow earths, could be exploited as nutrient sources by painting-associated microorganisms. The study also evaluated, in vitro, the potential decontaminating activity of a biocompound, containing spores of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilus, and Bacillus megaterium. The results indicated the ability of this biocompound to counteract the growth of contaminating microorganisms that are potentially dangerous to the painting, suggesting the potential use of these microorganisms to prevent biodeterioration of artworks.

]]>
<![CDATA[The positioning of the asymmetric septum during sporulation in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0c04e4d5eed0c48481ced8

Probably one of the most controversial questions about the cell division of Bacillus subtilis, a rod-shaped bacterium, concerns the mechanism that ensures correct division septum placement–at mid-cell during vegetative growth but closer to one end during sporulation. In general, bacteria multiply by binary fission, in which the division septum forms almost exactly at the cell centre. How the division machinery achieves such accuracy is a question of continuing interest. We understand in some detail how this is achieved during vegetative growth in Escherichia coli and B. subtilis, where two main negative regulators, nucleoid occlusion and the Min system, help to determine the division site, but we still do not know exactly how the asymmetric septation site is determined during sporulation in B. subtilis. Clearly, the inhibitory effects of the nucleoid occlusion and Min system on polar division have to be overcome. We evaluated the positioning of the asymmetric septum and its accuracy by statistical analysis of the site of septation. We also clarified the role of SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD on the accuracy of this process. We determined that the sporulation septum forms approximately 1/6 of a cell length from one of the cell poles with high precision and that SpoIIE, RefZ and MinCD have a crucial role in precisely localizing the sporulation septum. Our results strongly support the idea that asymmetric septum formation is a very precise and highly controlled process regulated by a still unknown mechanism.

]]>
<![CDATA[Discovery of a dual protease mechanism that promotes DNA damage checkpoint recovery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a2865463d7e4513b897e6

The DNA damage response is a signaling pathway found throughout biology. In many bacteria the DNA damage checkpoint is enforced by inducing expression of a small, membrane bound inhibitor that delays cell division providing time to repair damaged chromosomes. How cells promote checkpoint recovery after sensing successful repair is unknown. By using a high-throughput, forward genetic screen, we identified two unrelated proteases, YlbL and CtpA, that promote DNA damage checkpoint recovery in Bacillus subtilis. Deletion of both proteases leads to accumulation of the checkpoint protein YneA. We show that DNA damage sensitivity and increased cell elongation in protease mutants depends on yneA. Further, expression of YneA in protease mutants was sufficient to inhibit cell proliferation. Finally, we show that both proteases interact with YneA and that one of the two proteases, CtpA, directly cleaves YneA in vitro. With these results, we report the mechanism for DNA damage checkpoint recovery in bacteria that use membrane bound cell division inhibitors.

]]>