ResearchPad - virulence-factors Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Virulence factors and antibiograms of <i>Escherichia coli</i> isolated from diarrheic calves of Egyptian cattle and water buffaloes]]> Diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli in calves is an important problem in terms of survivability, productivity and treatment costs. In this study, 88 of 150 diarrheic animals tested positive for E. coli. Of these, 54 samples had mixed infection with other bacterial and/or parasitic agents. There are several diarrheagenic E. coli pathotypes including enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and necrotoxigenic E. coli (NTEC). Molecular detection of virulence factors Stx2, Cdt3, Eae, CNF2, F5, Hly, Stx1, and ST revealed their presence at 39.7, 27.2, 19.3, 15.9, 13.6, 9.0, 3.4, and 3.4 percent, respectively. As many as 13.6% of the isolates lacked virulence genes and none of the isolate had LT or CNF1 toxin gene. The odds of isolating ETEC from male calves was 3.6 times (95% CI: 1.1, 12.4; P value = 0.042) that of female calves, whereas the odds of isolating NTEC from male calves was 72.9% lower (95% CI: 91.3% lower, 15.7% lower; P value = 0.024) than that in females. The odds of isolating STEC in winter was 3.3 times (95% CI: 1.1, 10.3; P value = 0.037) that of spring. Antibiograms showed 48 (54.5%) of the isolates to be multi-drug resistant. The percent resistance to tetracycline, streptomycin, ampicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was 79.5, 67.0, 54.5, and 43.0, respectively. Ceftazidime (14.8%), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (13.6%) and aztreonam (11.3%) showed the lowest resistance, and none of the isolates was resistant to imipenem. The results of this study can help improve our understanding of the epidemiological aspects of E. coli infection and to devise strategies for protection against it. The prevalence of E. coli pathotypes can help potential buyers of calves to avoid infected premises. The antibiograms in this study emphasizes the risks associated with the random use of antibiotics.

<![CDATA[MUC1 is a receptor for the Salmonella SiiE adhesin that enables apical invasion into enterocytes]]>

The cellular invasion machinery of the enteric pathogen Salmonella consists of a type III secretion system (T3SS) with injectable virulence factors that induce uptake by macropinocytosis. Salmonella invasion at the apical surface of intestinal epithelial cells is inefficient, presumably because of a glycosylated barrier formed by transmembrane mucins that prevents T3SS contact with host cells. We observed that Salmonella is capable of apical invasion of intestinal epithelial cells that express the transmembrane mucin MUC1. Knockout of MUC1 in HT29-MTX cells or removal of MUC1 sialic acids by neuraminidase treatment reduced Salmonella apical invasion but did not affect lateral invasion that is not hampered by a defensive barrier. A Salmonella deletion strain lacking the SiiE giant adhesin was unable to invade intestinal epithelial cells through MUC1. SiiE-positive Salmonella closely associated with the MUC1 layer at the apical surface, but invaded Salmonella were negative for the adhesin. Our findings uncover that the transmembrane mucin MUC1 is required for Salmonella SiiE-mediated entry of enterocytes via the apical route.

<![CDATA[Role of SpaO in the assembly of the sorting platform of a Salmonella type III secretion system]]>

Many bacterial pathogens and symbionts use type III secretion machines to interact with their hosts by injecting bacterial effector proteins into host target cells. A central component of this complex machine is the cytoplasmic sorting platform, which orchestrates the engagement and preparation of type III secreted proteins for their delivery to the needle complex, the substructure of the type III secretion system that mediates their passage through the bacterial envelope. The sorting platform is thought to be a dynamic structure whose components alternate between assembled and disassembled states. However, how this dynamic behavior is controlled is not understood. In S. Typhimurium a core component of the sorting platform is SpaO, which is synthesized in two tandemly translated products, a full length (SpaOL) and a short form (SpaOS) composed of the C-terminal 101 amino acids. Here we show that in the absence of SpaOS the assembly of the needle substructure of the needle complex, which requires a functional sorting platform, can still occur although with reduced efficiency. Consistent with this observation, in the absence of SpaOS secretion of effectors proteins, which requires a fully assembled injectisome, is only slightly compromised. In the absence of SpaOS we detect a significant number of fully assembled needle complexes that are not associated with fully assembled sorting platforms. We also find that although binding of SpaOL to SpaOS can be detected in the absence of other components of the sorting platform, this interaction is not detected in the context of a fully assembled sorting platform suggesting that SpaOS may not be a core structural component of the sorting platform. Consistent with this observation we find that SpaOS and OrgB, a component of the sorting platform, share the same binding surface on SpaOL. We conclude that SpaOS regulates the assembly of the sorting platform during type III secretion.

<![CDATA[R pyocin tail fiber structure reveals a receptor-binding domain with a lectin fold]]>

R pyocins are ɸCTX-like myophage tailocins of Pseudomonas sp. Adsorption of R pyocins to target strains occurs by the interaction of tail fiber proteins with core lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Here, we demonstrate that N-terminally truncated R pyocin tail fibers corresponding to a region of variation between R-subtypes are sufficient to bind target strains according to R-subtype. We also report the crystal structures of these tail fiber proteins and show that they form an elongated helical trimer composed of three domains arranged linearly from N- to C-terminus: a baseplate proximal head, medial shaft, and distal foot. The head and shaft domains contain novel structural motifs. The foot domain, however, is composed of a conserved jellyroll fold and shares high structural similarity to the tail fiber of myophage AP22, podophage tailspike C-terminal domains (LKA-1 and ɸ297), and several eukaryotic adhesins (discoidin I/II, agglutinin, and octocoral lectin). Many of these proteins bind polysaccharides by means of their distal loop network, a series of highly variable loops at one end of the conserved jellyroll fold backbone. Our structures reveal that the majority of R-subtype specific polymorphisms cluster in patches covering a cleft formed at the oligomeric interface of the head domain and in a large patch covering much of the foot domain, including the distal loop network. Based on the structural variation in distal loops within the foot region, we propose that the foot is the primary sugar-binding domain of R pyocins and R-subtype specific structural differences in the foot domain distal loop network are responsible for binding target strains in an R-subtype dependent manner.

<![CDATA[Integrated transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of pathogenic mycobacteria and their esx-1 mutants reveal secretion-dependent regulation of ESX-1 substrates and WhiB6 as a transcriptional regulator]]>

The mycobacterial type VII secretion system ESX-1 is responsible for the secretion of a number of proteins that play important roles during host infection. The regulation of the expression of secreted proteins is often essential to establish successful infection. Using transcriptome sequencing, we found that the abrogation of ESX-1 function in Mycobacterium marinum leads to a pronounced increase in gene expression levels of the espA operon during the infection of macrophages. In addition, the disruption of ESX-1-mediated protein secretion also leads to a specific down-regulation of the ESX-1 substrates, but not of the structural components of this system, during growth in culture medium. This effect is observed in both M. marinum and M. tuberculosis. We established that down-regulation of ESX-1 substrates is the result of a regulatory process that is influenced by the putative transcriptional regulator whib6, which is located adjacent to the esx-1 locus. In addition, the overexpression of the ESX-1-associated PE35/PPE68 protein pair resulted in a significantly increased secretion of the ESX-1 substrate EsxA, demonstrating a functional link between these proteins. Taken together, these data show that WhiB6 is required for the secretion-dependent regulation of ESX-1 substrates and that ESX-1 substrates are regulated independently from the structural components, both during infection and as a result of active secretion.

<![CDATA[Tobramycin reduces key virulence determinants in the proteome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa outer membrane vesicles]]>

Tobramycin is commonly used to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Tobramycin treatment leads to increased lung function and fewer clinical exacerbations in CF patients, and modestly reduces the density of P. aeruginosa in the lungs. P. aeruginosa resides primarily in the mucus overlying lung epithelial cells and secretes outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) that diffuse through the mucus and fuse with airway epithelial cells, thus delivering virulence factors into the cytoplasm that modify the innate immune response. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that Tobramycin reduces the abundance of virulence factors in OMVs secreted by P. aeruginosa. Characterization of the proteome of OMVs isolated from control or Tobramycin-exposed P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 revealed that Tobramycin reduced several OMV-associated virulence determinants, including AprA, an alkaline protease that enhances P. aeruginosa survival in the lung, and is predicted to contribute to the inhibitory effect of P. aeruginosa on Phe508del-CFTR Cl- secretion by primary human bronchial epithelial cells. Deletion of the gene encoding AprA reduced the inhibitory effect of P. aeruginosa on Phe508del-CFTR Cl- secretion. Moreover, as predicted by our proteomic analysis, OMVs isolated from Tobramycin treated P. aeruginosa had a diminished inhibitory effect on Phe508del-CFTR Cl- secretion compared to OMVs isolated from control P. aeruginosa. Taken together, our proteomic analysis of OMVs and biological validation suggest that Tobramycin may improve lung function in CF patients infected with P. aeruginosa by reducing several key virulence factors in OMVs that reduce CFTR Cl- secretion, which is essential for bacterial clearance from the lungs.

<![CDATA[Amino acid permeases in Cryptococcus neoformans are required for high temperature growth and virulence; and are regulated by Ras signaling]]>

Cryptococcosis is an Invasive Fungal Infection (IFI) caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, mainly in immunocompromised patients. Therapeutic failure due to pathogen drug resistance, treatment inconstancy and few antifungal options is a problem. The study of amino acid biosynthesis and uptake represents an opportunity to explore possible development of novel antifungals. C. neoformans has 10 amino acids permeases, two of them (Aap3 and Aap7) not expressed at the conditions tested, and five were studied previously (Aap2, Aap4, Aap5, Mup1 and Mup3). Our previous results showed that Aap4 and Aap5 are major permeases with overlapping functions. The aap4Δ/aap5Δ double mutant fails to grow in amino acids as sole nitrogen source and is avirulent in animal model. Here, we deleted the remaining amino acid permeases (AAP1, AAP6, AAP8) that showed gene expression modulation by nutritional condition and created a double mutant (aap1Δ/aap2Δ). We studied the virulence attributes of these mutants and explored the regulatory mechanism behind amino acid uptake in C. neoformans. The aap1Δ/aap2Δ strain had reduced growth at 37°C in L-amino acids, reduced capsule production and was hypovirulent in the Galleria mellonella animal model. Our data, along with previous studies, (i) complement the analysis for all 10 amino acid permeases mutants, (ii) corroborate the idea that these transporters behave as global permeases, (iii) are required during heat and nutritional stress, and (iv) are important for virulence. Our study also indicates a new possible link between Ras1 signaling and amino acids uptake.

<![CDATA[Sugar and iron: Toward understanding the antibacterial effect of ciclopirox in Escherichia coli]]>

New antibiotics are needed against antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria. The repurposed antifungal drug, ciclopirox, equally blocks antibiotic-susceptible or multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates, indicating that it is not affected by existing resistance mechanisms. Toward understanding how ciclopirox blocks growth, we screened E. coli mutant strains and found that disruption of genes encoding products involved in galactose salvage, enterobacterial common antigen synthesis, and transport of the iron binding siderophore, enterobactin, lowered the minimum inhibitory concentration of ciclopirox needed to block growth of the mutant compared to the isogenic parent strain. We found that ciclopirox induced enterobactin production and that this effect is strongly affected by the deletion of the galactose salvage genes encoding UDP-galactose 4-epimerase, galE, or galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase, galT. As disruption of ECA synthesis activates the regulation of capsular synthesis (Rcs) phosphorelay, which inhibits bacterial swarming and promotes biofilm development, we test whether ciclopirox prevents activation of the Rcs pathway. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of ciclopirox increased swarming of the E. coli laboratory K12 strain BW25113 but had widely varying effects on swarming or surface motility of clinical isolate E. coli, A. baumannii, and K. pneumoniae. There was no effect of ciclopirox on biofilm production, suggesting it does not target Rcs. Altogether, our data suggest ciclopirox-mediated alteration of lipopolysaccharides stimulates enterobactin production and affects bacterial swarming.

<![CDATA[Colonization factors among enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolates from children with moderate-to-severe diarrhea and from matched controls in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS)]]>


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) encoding heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) alone or with heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) cause moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in developing country children. The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) identified ETEC encoding ST among the top four enteropathogens. Since the GEMS objective was to provide evidence to guide development and implementation of enteric vaccines and other interventions to diminish diarrheal disease morbidity and mortality, we examined colonization factor (CF) prevalence among ETEC isolates from children age <5 years with MSD and from matched controls in four African and three Asian sites. We also assessed strength of association of specific CFs with MSD.

Methodology/Principal findings

MSD cases enrolled at healthcare facilities over three years and matched controls were tested in a standardized manner for many enteropathogens. To identify ETEC, three E. coli colonies per child were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect genes encoding LT, ST; confirmed ETEC were examined by PCR for major CFs (Colonization Factor Antigen I [CFA/I] or Coli Surface [CS] antigens CS1-CS6) and minor CFs (CS7, CS12, CS13, CS14, CS17, CS18, CS19, CS20, CS21, CS30). ETEC from 806 cases had a single toxin/CF profile in three tested strains per child. Major CFs, components of multiple ETEC vaccine candidates, were detected in 66.0% of LT/ST and ST-only cases and were associated with MSD versus matched controls by conditional logistic regression (p≤0.006); major CFs detected in only 25.0% of LT-only cases weren’t associated with MSD. ETEC encoding exclusively CS14, identified among 19.9% of 291 ST-only and 1.5% of 259 LT/ST strains, were associated with MSD (p = 0.0011). No other minor CF exhibited prevalence ≥5% and significant association with MSD.


Major CF-based efficacious ETEC vaccines could potentially prevent up to 66% of pediatric MSD cases due to ST-encoding ETEC in developing countries; adding CS14 extends coverage to ~77%.

<![CDATA[EspL is essential for virulence and stabilizes EspE, EspF and EspH levels in Mycobacterium tuberculosis]]>

The ESX-1, type VII, secretion system represents the major virulence determinant of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of the most successful intracellular pathogens. Here, by combining genetic and high-throughput approaches, we show that EspL, a protein of 115 amino acids, is essential for mediating ESX-1-dependent virulence and for stabilization of EspE, EspF and EspH protein levels. Indeed, an espL knock-out mutant was unable to replicate intracellularly, secrete ESX-1 substrates or stimulate innate cytokine production. Moreover, proteomic studies detected greatly reduced amounts of EspE, EspF and EspH in the espL mutant as compared to the wild type strain, suggesting a role for EspL as a chaperone. The latter conclusion was further supported by discovering that EspL interacts with EspD, which was previously demonstrated to stabilize the ESX-1 substrates and effector proteins, EspA and EspC. Loss of EspL also leads to downregulation in M. tuberculosis of WhiB6, a redox-sensitive transcriptional activator of ESX-1 genes. Overall, our data highlight the importance of a so-far overlooked, though conserved, component of the ESX-1 secretion system and begin to delineate the role played by EspE, EspF and EspH in virulence and host-pathogen interaction.

<![CDATA[Experimental bacterial adaptation to the zebrafish gut reveals a primary role for immigration]]>

All animals live in intimate association with microorganisms that profoundly influence their health and development, yet the traits that allow microorganisms to establish and maintain host associations are not well understood. To date, most investigations aimed at identifying traits required for host association have focused on intrahost niches. Consequently, little is known about the relative contribution of extrahost factors such as environmental growth and survival and immigration into hosts from the external environment, as promoters of host association. To address this, we developed a tractable experimental evolution system that investigates both intra- and extrahost factors contributing to bacterial adaptation to the vertebrate gut. We passaged replicate lines of a zebrafish bacterial isolate, Aeromonas veronii, through populations of germ-free larval zebrafish (Danio rerio), each time using gut-associated Aeromonas populations to inoculate the aquatic environment of the next zebrafish population. We observed rapid increased adaptation to the host in all replicate lines. The initial adaptations present in early-evolved isolates did not increase intrahost fitness but rather enhanced both immigration from the environment and interhost transmission. Only in later-evolved isolates did we find evidence for intrahost-specific adaptations, as demonstrated by comparing their competitive fitness in the host genotype to which they evolved to that in a different genotype. Our results show how selection for bacterial transmission between hosts and their environment can shape bacterial-host association. This work illuminates the nature of selective forces present in host–microbe systems and reveals specific mechanisms of increased host association. Furthermore, our findings demonstrate that the entire host–microbe–environment system must be considered when identifying microbial traits that contribute to host adaptation.

<![CDATA[Formation of phenotypic lineages in Salmonella enterica by a pleiotropic fimbrial switch]]>

The std locus of Salmonella enterica, an operon acquired by horizontal transfer, encodes fimbriae that permit adhesion to epithelial cells in the large intestine. Expression of the std operon is bistable, yielding a major subpopulation of StdOFF cells (99.7%) and a minor subpopulation of StdON cells (0.3%). In addition to fimbrial proteins, the std operon encodes two proteins, StdE and StdF, that have DNA binding capacity and control transcription of loci involved in flagellar synthesis, chemotaxis, virulence, conjugal transfer, biofilm formation, and other cellular functions. As a consequence of StdEF pleiotropic transcriptional control, StdON and StdOFF subpopulations may differ not only in the presence or absence of Std fimbriae but also in additional phenotypic traits. Separation of StdOFF and StdON lineages by cell sorting confirms the occurrence of lineage-specific features. Formation of StdOFF and StdON lineages may thus be viewed as a rudimentary bacterial differentiation program.

<![CDATA[Characterization of the microtranscriptome of macrophages infected with virulent, attenuated and saprophyte strains of Leptospira spp.]]>

Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonosis, caused by Leptospira spp., that leads to significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite considerable advances, much is yet to be discovered about disease pathogenicity. The influence of epigenetic mechanisms, particularly RNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation of host immune response has been described following a variety of bacterial infections. The current study examined the microtranscriptome of macrophages J774A.1 following an 8h infection with virulent, attenuated and saprophyte strains of Leptospira. Microarray analysis revealed that 29 miRNAs were misregulated following leptospiral infection compared to control macrophages in a strain and virulence-specific manner. Pathway analysis for targets of these differentially expressed miRNAs suggests that several processes involved in immune response could be regulated by miRNAs. Our data provides the first evidence that host miRNAs are regulated by Leptospira infection in macrophages. A number of the identified miRNA targets participate in key immune response processes. We suggest that post-transcriptional regulation by miRNAs may play a role in host response to infection in leptospirosis.

<![CDATA[Functional analysis of African Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae TALomes reveals a new susceptibility gene in bacterial leaf blight of rice]]>

Most Xanthomonas species translocate Transcription Activator-Like (TAL) effectors into plant cells where they function like plant transcription factors via a programmable DNA-binding domain. Characterized strains of rice pathogenic X. oryzae pv. oryzae harbor 9–16 different tal effector genes, but the function of only a few of them has been decoded. Using sequencing of entire genomes, we first performed comparative analyses of the complete repertoires of TAL effectors, herein referred to as TALomes, in three Xoo strains forming an African genetic lineage different from Asian Xoo. A phylogenetic analysis of the three TALomes combined with in silico predictions of TAL effector targets showed that African Xoo TALomes are highly conserved, genetically distant from Asian ones, and closely related to TAL effectors from the bacterial leaf streak pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc). Nine clusters of TAL effectors could be identified among the three TALomes, including three showing higher levels of variation in their repeat variable diresidues (RVDs). Detailed analyses of these groups revealed recombination events as a possible source of variation among TAL effector genes. Next, to address contribution to virulence, nine TAL effector genes from the Malian Xoo strain MAI1 and four allelic variants from the Burkinabe Xoo strain BAI3, thus representing most of the TAL effector diversity in African Xoo strains, were expressed in the TAL effector-deficient X. oryzae strain X11-5A for gain-of-function assays. Inoculation of the susceptible rice variety Azucena lead to the discovery of three TAL effectors promoting virulence, including two TAL effectors previously reported to target the susceptibility (S) gene OsSWEET14 and a novel major virulence contributor, TalB. RNA profiling experiments in rice and in silico prediction of EBEs were carried out to identify candidate targets of TalB, revealing OsTFX1, a bZIP transcription factor previously identified as a bacterial blight S gene, and OsERF#123, which encodes a subgroup IXc AP2/ERF transcription factor. Use of designer TAL effectors demonstrated that induction of either gene resulted in greater susceptibility to strain X11-5A. The induction of OsERF#123 by BAI3Δ1, a talB knockout derivative of BAI3, carrying these designer TAL effectors increased virulence of BAI3Δ1, validating OsERF#123 as a new, bacterial blight S gene.

<![CDATA[HIV-1 Capture and Transmission by Dendritic Cells: The Role of Viral Glycolipids and the Cellular Receptor Siglec-1]]>

Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential in order to combat invading viruses and trigger antiviral responses. Paradoxically, in the case of HIV-1, DCs might contribute to viral pathogenesis through trans-infection, a mechanism that promotes viral capture and transmission to target cells, especially after DC maturation. In this review, we highlight recent evidence identifying sialyllactose-containing gangliosides in the viral membrane and the cellular lectin Siglec-1 as critical determinants for HIV-1 capture and storage by mature DCs and for DC-mediated trans-infection of T cells. In contrast, DC-SIGN, long considered to be the main receptor for DC capture of HIV-1, plays a minor role in mature DC-mediated HIV-1 capture and trans-infection.

<![CDATA[Small Intestine Early Innate Immunity Response during Intestinal Colonization by Escherichia coli Depends on Its Extra-Intestinal Virulence Status]]>

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains live as commensals in the digestive tract of the host, but they can also initiate urinary tract infections. The aim of this work was to determine how a host detects the presence of a new UPEC strain in the digestive tract. Mice were orally challenged with UPEC strains 536 and CFT073, non-pathogenic strain K12 MG1655, and ΔPAI-536, an isogenic mutant of strain 536 lacking all 7 pathogenicity islands whose virulence is drastically attenuated. Intestinal colonization was measured, and cytokine expression was determined in various organs recovered from mice after oral challenge. UPEC strain 536 efficiently colonized the mouse digestive tract, and prior Enterobacteriaceae colonization was found to impact strain 536 colonization efficiency. An innate immune response, detected as the production of TNFα, IL-6 and IL-10 cytokines, was activated in the ileum 48 hours after oral challenge with strain 536, and returned to baseline within 8 days, without a drop in fecal pathogen load. Although inflammation was detected in the ileum, histology was normal at the time of cytokine peak. Comparison of cytokine secretion 48h after oral gavage with E. coli strain 536, CFT073, MG1655 or ΔPAI-536 showed that inflammation was more pronounced with UPECs than with non-pathogenic or attenuated strains. Pathogenicity islands also seemed to be involved in host detection, as IL-6 intestinal secretion was increased after administration of E. coli strain 536, but not after administration of ΔPAI-536. In conclusion, UPEC colonization of the mouse digestive tract activates acute phase inflammatory cytokine secretion but does not trigger any pathological changes, illustrating the opportunistic nature of UPECs. This digestive tract colonization model will be useful for studying the factors controlling the switch from commensalism to pathogenicity.

<![CDATA[Clonality, virulence determinants, and profiles of resistance of clinical Acinetobacter baumannii isolates obtained from a Spanish hospital]]>


Acinetobacter baumannii is a nosocomial pathogen that is showing increasing rates of carbapenem resistance. Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) International Clones (ICs), associated with certain oxacillinases, are being reported globally. This organism also harbors numerous virulence determinants. In this study, we aim at characterizing A. baumannii isolated from a Spanish hospital in terms of antimicrobial susceptibility, clonality, carbapenemase genes harbored, and virulence determinants expressed.

Materials and methods

Fifty nine clinical bloodstream isolates were obtained from 2009 until 2013. Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing was performed according to the CLSI guidelines. PFGE and tri-locus PCR typing were then performed in order to determine local and international clonality. PCRs for the detection of common carbapenemases were also performed. Production of hemolysis, biofilms, siderophores, surface motility, and proteolysis were determined phenotypically. Doubling times for selected strains were also calculated. Finally, statistical analysis for detecting associations between these factors was conducted.

Results and discussion

Carbapenem non-susceptibility was 84.75%, suggesting the immediate need for intervention. PFGE showed the distribution of the majority of the isolates among 7 clusters. Although all three ICs were detected, IC II was predominant at 71.19%. blaOXA-24-like was the most prevalent carbapenemase (62.71%), followed by blaOXA-58-like (13.56%), and blaOXA-23-like (11.86%). Strains pertaining to IC II, and those harboring blaOXA-24-like, were positively associated with α-hemolysis, production of strong biofilms, and siderophore production. Harboring blaOXA-23-like and blaOXA-58-like was associated with attenuated virulence. These associations suggest that an interplay exists between these factors that could be locally exploited.


An alarmingly high rate of carbapenem non-susceptibility has been detected in this study. There was a predominance of IC II and blaOXA-24-like, and those factors were associated with heightened expression of virulence determinants. This association could be exploited for modifying treatment regimens and for improving on infection control protocols in this hospital.

<![CDATA[A commensal streptococcus hijacks a Pseudomonas aeruginosa exopolysaccharide to promote biofilm formation]]>

Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes devastating chronic pulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Although the CF airway is inhabited by diverse species of microorganisms interlaced within a biofilm, many studies focus on the sole contribution of P. aeruginosa pathogenesis in CF morbidity. More recently, oral commensal streptococci have been identified as cohabitants of the CF lung, but few studies have explored the role these bacteria play within the CF biofilm. We examined the interaction between P. aeruginosa and oral commensal streptococci within a dual species biofilm. Here we report that the CF P. aeruginosa isolate, FRD1, enhances biofilm formation and colonization of Drosophila melanogaster by the oral commensal Streptococcus parasanguinis. Moreover, production of the P. aeruginosa exopolysaccharide, alginate, is required for the promotion of S. parasanguinis biofilm formation and colonization. However, P. aeruginosa is not promoted in the dual species biofilm. Furthermore, we show that the streptococcal adhesin, BapA1, mediates alginate-dependent enhancement of the S. parasanguinis biofilm in vitro, and BapA1 along with another adhesin, Fap1, are required for the in vivo colonization of S. parasanguinis in the presence of FRD1. Taken together, our study highlights a new association between streptococcal adhesins and P. aeruginosa alginate, and reveals a mechanism by which S. parasanguinis potentially colonizes the CF lung and interferes with the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa.

<![CDATA[Type VI secretion system contributes to Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli virulence by secreting catalase against host reactive oxygen species (ROS)]]>

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is one major type of contagious and foodborne pathogens. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) has been shown to be involved in the bacterial pathogenicity and bacteria-bacteria competition. Here, we show that EHEC could secrete a novel effector KatN, a Mn-containing catalase, in a T6SS-dependent manner. Expression of katN is promoted by RpoS and OxyR and repressed by H-NS, and katN contributes to bacterial growth under oxidative stress in vitro. KatN could be secreted into host cell cytosol after EHEC is phagocytized by macrophage, which leads to decreased level of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and facilitates the intramacrophage survival of EHEC. Finally, animal model results show that the deletion mutant of T6SS was attenuated in virulence compared with the wild type strain, while the deletion mutant of katN had comparable virulence to the wild type strain. Taken together, our findings suggest that EHEC could sense oxidative stress in phagosome and decrease the host cell ROS by secreting catalase KatN to facilitate its survival in the host cells.

<![CDATA[Antibody Inhibition of a Viral Type 1 Interferon Decoy Receptor Cures a Viral Disease by Restoring Interferon Signaling in the Liver]]>

Type 1 interferons (T1-IFNs) play a major role in antiviral defense, but when or how they protect during infections that spread through the lympho-hematogenous route is not known. Orthopoxviruses, including those that produce smallpox and mousepox, spread lympho-hematogenously. They also encode a decoy receptor for T1-IFN, the T1-IFN binding protein (T1-IFNbp), which is essential for virulence. We demonstrate that during mousepox, T1-IFNs protect the liver locally rather than systemically, and that the T1-IFNbp attaches to uninfected cells surrounding infected foci in the liver and the spleen to impair their ability to receive T1-IFN signaling, thus facilitating virus spread. Remarkably, this process can be reversed and mousepox cured late in infection by treating with antibodies that block the biological function of the T1-IFNbp. Thus, our findings provide insights on how T1-IFNs function and are evaded during a viral infection in vivo, and unveil a novel mechanism for antibody-mediated antiviral therapy.