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Recent Articles in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews

Gelvin SB
Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation: the biology behind the "gene-jockeying" tool.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2003 Mar;67(1):16-37, table of contents.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens and related Agrobacterium species have been known as plant pathogens since the beginning of the 20th century. However, only in the past two decades has the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer DNA to plant cells been harnessed for the purposes of plant genetic engineering. Since the initial reports in the early 1980s using Agrobacterium to generate transgenic plants, scientists have attempted to improve this "natural genetic engineer" for biotechnology purposes. Some of these modifications have resulted in extending the host range of the bacterium to economically important crop species. However, in most instances, major improvements involved alterations in plant tissue culture transformation and regeneration conditions rather than manipulation of bacterial or host genes. Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation is a highly complex and evolved process involving genetic determinants of both the bacterium and the host plant cell. In this article, I review some of the basic biology concerned with Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation. Knowledge of fundamental biological principles embracing both the host and the pathogen have been and will continue to be key to extending the utility of Agrobacterium for genetic engineering purposes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kohlhaw GB
Leucine biosynthesis in fungi: entering metabolism through the back door.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2003 Mar;67(1):1-15, table of contents.
After exploring evolutionary aspects of branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis, the review focuses on the extended leucine biosynthetic pathway as it operates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. First, the genes and enzymes specific for the leucine pathway are considered: LEU4 and LEU9 (encoding the alpha-isopropylmalate synthase isoenzymes), LEU1 (isopropylmalate isomerase), and LEU2 (beta-isopropylmalate dehydrogenase). Emphasis is given to the unusual distribution of the branched-chain amino acid pathway enzymes between mitochondrial matrix and cytosol, on the newly defined role of Leu5p, and on regulatory mechanisms governing gene expression and enzyme activity, including new evidence for the metabolic importance of the regulation of alpha-isopropylmalate synthase by coenzyme A. Next, structure-function relationships of the transcriptional regulator Leu3p are addressed, defining its dual role as activator and repressor and discussing evidence in support of the self-masking model. Recent data pointing at a more extended Leu3p regulon are discussed. An overview of the layered controls of the extended leucine pathway is provided that includes a description of the newly recognized roles of Ilv5p and Bat1p in maintaining mitochondrial integrity. Finally, branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis and its regulation in other fungi are summarized, the question of leucine as metabolic signal is addressed, and possible directions of future research in this area are outlined. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goffin C, Ghuysen JM
Biochemistry and comparative genomics of SxxK superfamily acyltransferases offer a clue to the mycobacterial paradox: presence of penicillin-susceptible target proteins versus lack of efficiency of penicillin as therapeutic agent.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):702-38, table of contents.
The bacterial acyltransferases of the SxxK superfamily vary enormously in sequence and function, with conservation of particular amino acid groups and all-alpha and alpha/beta folds. They occur as independent entities (free-standing polypeptides) and as modules linked to other polypeptides (protein fusions). They can be classified into three groups. The group I SxxK D,D-acyltransferases are ubiquitous in the bacterial world. They invariably bear the motifs SxxK, SxN(D), and KT(S)G. Anchored in the plasma membrane with the bulk of the polypeptide chain exposed on the outer face of it, they are implicated in the synthesis of wall peptidoglycans of the most frequently encountered (4-->3) type. They are inactivated by penicillin and other beta-lactam antibiotics acting as suicide carbonyl donors in the form of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs). They are components of a morphogenetic apparatus which, as a whole, controls multiple parameters such as shape and size and allows the bacterial cells to enlarge and duplicate their particular pattern. Class A PBP fusions comprise a glycosyltransferase module fused to an SxxK acyltransferase of class A. Class B PBP fusions comprise a linker, i.e., protein recognition, module fused to an SxxK acyltransferase of class B. They ensure the remodeling of the (4-->3) peptidoglycans in a cell cycle-dependent manner. The free-standing PBPs hydrolyze D,D peptide bonds. The group II SxxK acyltransferases frequently have a partially modified bar code, but the SxxK motif is invariant. They react with penicillin in various ways and illustrate the great plasticity of the catalytic centers. The secreted free-standing PBPs, the serine beta-lactamases, and the penicillin sensors of several penicillin sensory transducers help the D,D-acyltransferases of group I escape penicillin action. The group III SxxK acyltransferases are indistinguishable from the PBP fusion proteins of group I in motifs and membrane topology, but they resist penicillin. They are referred to as Pen(r) protein fusions. Plausible hypotheses are put forward on the roles that the Pen(r) protein fusions, acting as L,D-acyltransferases, may play in the (3-->3) peptidoglycan-synthesizing molecular machines. Shifting the wall peptidoglycan from the (4-->3) type to the (3-->3) type could help Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae survive by making them penicillin resistant. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Grkovic S, Brown MH, Skurray RA
Regulation of bacterial drug export systems.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):671-701, table of contents.
The active transport of toxic compounds by membrane-bound efflux proteins is becoming an increasingly frequent mechanism by which cells exhibit resistance to therapeutic drugs. This review examines the regulation of bacterial drug efflux systems, which occurs primarily at the level of transcription. Investigations into these regulatory networks have yielded a substantial volume of information that has either not been forthcoming from or complements that obtained by analysis of the transport proteins themselves. Several local regulatory proteins, including the activator BmrR from Bacillus subtilis and the repressors QacR from Staphylococcus aureus and TetR and EmrR from Escherichia coli, have been shown to mediate increases in the expression of drug efflux genes by directly sensing the presence of the toxic substrates exported by their cognate pump. This ability to bind transporter substrates has permitted detailed structural information to be gathered on protein-antimicrobial agent-ligand interactions. In addition, bacterial multidrug efflux determinants are frequently controlled at a global level and may belong to stress response regulons such as E. coli mar, expression of which is controlled by the MarA and MarR proteins. However, many regulatory systems are ill-adapted for detecting the presence of toxic pump substrates and instead are likely to respond to alternative signals related to unidentified physiological roles of the transporter. Hence, in a number of important pathogens, regulatory mutations that result in drug transporter overexpression and concomitant elevated antimicrobial resistance are often observed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Symington LS
Role of RAD52 epistasis group genes in homologous recombination and double-strand break repair.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):630-70, table of contents.
The process of homologous recombination is a major DNA repair pathway that operates on DNA double-strand breaks, and possibly other kinds of DNA lesions, to promote error-free repair. Central to the process of homologous recombination are the RAD52 group genes (RAD50, RAD51, RAD52, RAD54, RDH54/TID1, RAD55, RAD57, RAD59, MRE11, and XRS2), most of which were identified by their requirement for the repair of ionizing-radiation-induced DNA damage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Rad52 group proteins are highly conserved among eukaryotes, and Rad51, Mre11, and Rad50 are also conserved in prokaryotes and archaea. Recent studies showing defects in homologous recombination and double-strand break repair in several human cancer-prone syndromes have emphasized the importance of this repair pathway in maintaining genome integrity. Although sensitivity to ionizing radiation is a universal feature of rad52 group mutants, the mutants show considerable heterogeneity in different assays for recombinational repair of double-strand breaks and spontaneous mitotic recombination. Herein, I provide an overview of recent biochemical and structural analyses of the Rad52 group proteins and discuss how this information can be incorporated into genetic studies of recombination. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dubreuil JD, Giudice GD, Rappuoli R
Helicobacter pylori interactions with host serum and extracellular matrix proteins: potential role in the infectious process.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):617-29, table of contents.
Helicobacter pylori, a gram-negative spiral-shaped bacterium, specifically colonizes the stomachs of humans. Once established in this harsh ecological niche, it remains there virtually for the entire life of the host. To date, numerous virulence factors responsible for gastric colonization, survival, and tissue damage have been described for this bacterium. Nevertheless, a critical feature of H. pylori is its ability to establish a long-lasting infection. In fact, although good humoral (against many bacterial proteins) and cellular responses are observed, most infected persons are unable to eradicate the infection. A large body of evidence has shown that the interaction between H. pylori and the host is very complex. In addition to the effect of virulence factors on colonization and persistence, binding of specialized bacterial proteins, known as receptins, to certain host molecules (ligands) could explain the success of H. pylori as a chronically persisting pathogen. Some of the reported interactions are of high affinity, as revealed by their calculated dissociation constant. This review examines the binding of host proteins (serum and extracellular matrix proteins) to H. pylori and considers the significance of these interactions in the infectious process. A more thorough understanding of the kinetics of these receptin interactions could provide a new approach to preventing deeper tissue invasion in H. pylori infections and could represent an alternative to antibiotic treatment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Morris CE, Bardin M, Berge O, Frey-Klett P, Fromin N, Girardin H, Guinebretière MH, Lebaron P, Thiéry JM, Troussellier M
Microbial biodiversity: approaches to experimental design and hypothesis testing in primary scientific literature from 1975 to 1999.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):592-616, table of contents.
Research interest in microbial biodiversity over the past 25 years has increased markedly as microbiologists have become interested in the significance of biodiversity for ecological processes and as the industrial, medical, and agricultural applications of this diversity have evolved. One major challenge for studies of microbial habitats is how to account for the diversity of extremely large and heterogeneous populations with samples that represent only a very small fraction of these populations. This review presents an analysis of the way in which the field of microbial biodiversity has exploited sampling, experimental design, and the process of hypothesis testing to meet this challenge. This review is based on a systematic analysis of 753 publications randomly sampled from the primary scientific literature from 1975 to 1999 concerning the microbial biodiversity of eight habitats related to water, soil, plants, and food. These publications illustrate a dominant and growing interest in questions concerning the effect of specific environmental factors on microbial biodiversity, the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of this biodiversity, and quantitative measures of population structure for most of the habitats covered here. Nevertheless, our analysis reveals that descriptions of sampling strategies or other information concerning the representativeness of the sample are often missing from publications, that there is very limited use of statistical tests of hypotheses, and that only a very few publications report the results of multiple independent tests of hypotheses. Examples are cited of different approaches and constraints to experimental design and hypothesis testing in studies of microbial biodiversity. To prompt a more rigorous approach to unambiguous evaluation of the impact of microbial biodiversity on ecological processes, we present guidelines for reporting information about experimental design, sampling strategies, and analyses of results in publications concerning microbial biodiversity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Crespo JL, Hall MN
Elucidating TOR signaling and rapamycin action: lessons from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Dec;66(4):579-91, table of contents.
TOR (target of rapamycin) is a phosphatidylinositol kinase-related protein kinase that controls cell growth in response to nutrients. Rapamycin is an immunosuppressive and anticancer drug that acts by inhibiting TOR. The modes of action of TOR and rapamycin are remarkably conserved from S. cerevisiae to humans. The current understanding of TOR and rapamycin is derived largely from studies with S. cerevisiae. In this review, we discuss the contributions made by S. cerevisiae to understanding rapamycin action and TOR function. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lynd LR, Weimer PJ, van Zyl WH, Pretorius IS
Microbial cellulose utilization: fundamentals and biotechnology.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):506-77, table of contents.
Fundamental features of microbial cellulose utilization are examined at successively higher levels of aggregation encompassing the structure and composition of cellulosic biomass, taxonomic diversity, cellulase enzyme systems, molecular biology of cellulase enzymes, physiology of cellulolytic microorganisms, ecological aspects of cellulase-degrading communities, and rate-limiting factors in nature. The methodological basis for studying microbial cellulose utilization is considered relative to quantification of cells and enzymes in the presence of solid substrates as well as apparatus and analysis for cellulose-grown continuous cultures. Quantitative description of cellulose hydrolysis is addressed with respect to adsorption of cellulase enzymes, rates of enzymatic hydrolysis, bioenergetics of microbial cellulose utilization, kinetics of microbial cellulose utilization, and contrasting features compared to soluble substrate kinetics. A biological perspective on processing cellulosic biomass is presented, including features of pretreated substrates and alternative process configurations. Organism development is considered for "consolidated bioprocessing" (CBP), in which the production of cellulolytic enzymes, hydrolysis of biomass, and fermentation of resulting sugars to desired products occur in one step. Two organism development strategies for CBP are examined: (i) improve product yield and tolerance in microorganisms able to utilize cellulose, or (ii) express a heterologous system for cellulose hydrolysis and utilization in microorganisms that exhibit high product yield and tolerance. A concluding discussion identifies unresolved issues pertaining to microbial cellulose utilization, suggests approaches by which such issues might be resolved, and contrasts a microbially oriented cellulose hydrolysis paradigm to the more conventional enzymatically oriented paradigm in both fundamental and applied contexts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kolenbrander PE, Andersen RN, Blehert DS, Egland PG, Foster JS, Palmer RJ
Communication among oral bacteria.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):486-505, table of contents.
Human oral bacteria interact with their environment by attaching to surfaces and establishing mixed-species communities. As each bacterial cell attaches, it forms a new surface to which other cells can adhere. Adherence and community development are spatiotemporal; such order requires communication. The discovery of soluble signals, such as autoinducer-2, that may be exchanged within multispecies communities to convey information between organisms has emerged as a new research direction. Direct-contact signals, such as adhesins and receptors, that elicit changes in gene expression after cell-cell contact and biofilm growth are also an active research area. Considering that the majority of oral bacteria are organized in dense three-dimensional biofilms on teeth, confocal microscopy and fluorescently labeled probes provide valuable approaches for investigating the architecture of these organized communities in situ. Oral biofilms are readily accessible to microbiologists and are excellent model systems for studies of microbial communication. One attractive model system is a saliva-coated flowcell with oral bacterial biofilms growing on saliva as the sole nutrient source; an intergeneric mutualism is discussed. Several oral bacterial species are amenable to genetic manipulation for molecular characterization of communication both among bacteria and between bacteria and the host. A successful search for genes critical for mixed-species community organization will be accomplished only when it is conducted with mixed-species communities. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ganoza MC, Kiel MC, Aoki H
Evolutionary conservation of reactions in translation.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):460-85, table of contents.
Current X-ray diffraction and cryoelectron microscopic data of ribosomes of eubacteria have shed considerable light on the molecular mechanisms of translation. Structural studies of the protein factors that activate ribosomes also point to many common features in the primary sequence and tertiary structure of these proteins. The reconstitution of the complex apparatus of translation has also revealed new information important to the mechanisms. Surprisingly, the latter approach has uncovered a number of proteins whose sequence and/or structure and function are conserved in all cells, indicating that the mechanisms are indeed conserved. The possible mechanisms of a new initiation factor and two elongation factors are discussed in this context. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Calvo AM, Wilson RA, Bok JW, Keller NP
Relationship between secondary metabolism and fungal development.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):447-59, table of contents.
Filamentous fungi are unique organisms-rivaled only by actinomycetes and plants-in producing a wide range of natural products called secondary metabolites. These compounds are very diverse in structure and perform functions that are not always known. However, most secondary metabolites are produced after the fungus has completed its initial growth phase and is beginning a stage of development represented by the formation of spores. In this review, we describe secondary metabolites produced by fungi that act as sporogenic factors to influence fungal development, are required for spore viability, or are produced at a time in the life cycle that coincides with development. We describe environmental and genetic factors that can influence the production of secondary metabolites. In the case of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, we review the only described work that genetically links the sporulation of this fungus to the production of the mycotoxin sterigmatocystin through a shared G-protein signaling pathway. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Peñalva MA, Arst HN
Regulation of gene expression by ambient pH in filamentous fungi and yeasts.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):426-46, table of contents.
Life, as we know it, is water based. Exposure to hydroxonium and hydroxide ions is constant and ubiquitous, and the evolutionary pressure to respond appropriately to these ions is likely to be intense. Fungi respond to their environments by tailoring their output of activities destined for the cell surface or beyond to the ambient pH. We are beginning to glimpse how they sense ambient pH and transmit this information to the transcription factor, whose roles ensure that a suitable collection of gene products will be made. Although relatively little is known about pH signal transduction itself, its consequences for the cognate transcription factor are much clearer. Intriguingly, homologues of components of this system mediating the regulation of fungal gene expression by ambient pH are to be found in the animal kingdom. The potential applied importance of this regulatory system lies in its key role in fungal pathogenicity of animals and plants and in its control of fungal production of toxins, antibiotics, and secreted enzymes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cong YS, Wright WE, Shay JW
Human telomerase and its regulation.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):407-25, table of contents.
The telomere is a special functional complex at the end of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, consisting of tandem repeat DNA sequences and associated proteins. It is essential for maintaining the integrity and stability of linear eukaryotic genomes. Telomere length regulation and maintenance contribute to normal human cellular aging and human diseases. The synthesis of telomeres is mainly achieved by the cellular reverse transcriptase telomerase, an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that adds telomeric DNA to telomeres. Expression of telomerase is usually required for cell immortalization and long-term tumor growth. In humans, telomerase activity is tightly regulated during development and oncogenesis. The modulation of telomerase activity may therefore have important implications in antiaging and anticancer therapy. This review describes the currently known components of the telomerase complex and attempts to provide an update on the molecular mechanisms of human telomerase regulation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Albrecht B, Lairmore MD
Critical role of human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 accessory proteins in viral replication and pathogenesis.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):396-406, table of contents.
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is associated with a diverse range of lymphoproliferative and neurodegenerative diseases, yet pathogenic mechanisms induced by the virus remain obscure. This complex retrovirus contains typical structural and enzymatic genes but also unique regulatory and accessory genes in four open reading frames (ORFs) of the pX region of the viral genome (pX ORFs I to IV). The regulatory proteins encoded by pX ORFs III and IV, Tax and Rex, respectively, have been extensively characterized. In contrast the contribution of the four accessory proteins p12(I), p27(I), p13(II), and p30(II), encoded by pX ORFs I and II, to viral replication and pathogenesis remained unclear. Proviral clones that are mutated in either pX ORF I or II, while fully competent in cell culture, are severely limited in their replicative capacity in a rabbit model. Emerging evidence indicates that the HTLV-1 accessory proteins are critical for establishment of viral infectivity, enhance T-lymphocyte activation, and potentially alter gene transcription and mitochondrial function. HTLV-1 pX ORF I expression is critical to the viral infectivity in resting primary lymphocytes, suggesting a role for p12(I) in lymphocyte activation. The endoplasmic reticulum and cis-Golgi localizing p12(I), encoded from pX ORF I, activates NFAT, a key T-cell transcription factor, through calcium-mediated signaling pathways and may lower the threshold of lymphocyte activation via the JAK/STAT pathway. In contrast p30(II) localizes to the nucleus and represses viral promoter activity, but may regulate cellular gene expression through p300/CBP or related coactivators of transcription. p13(II) targets mitochondrial proteins, where it alters the organelle morphology and may influence energy metabolism. Collectively, studies of the molecular functions of the HTLV-1 accessory proteins provide insight into strategies used by retroviruses that are associated with lymphoproliferative diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hengge-Aronis R
Signal transduction and regulatory mechanisms involved in control of the sigma(S) (RpoS) subunit of RNA polymerase.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Sep;66(3):373-95, table of contents.
The sigma(S) (RpoS) subunit of RNA polymerase is the master regulator of the general stress response in Escherichia coli and related bacteria. While rapidly growing cells contain very little sigma(S), exposure to many different stress conditions results in rapid and strong sigma(S) induction. Consequently, transcription of numerous sigma(S)-dependent genes is activated, many of which encode gene products with stress-protective functions. Multiple signal integration in the control of the cellular sigma(S) level is achieved by rpoS transcriptional and translational control as well as by regulated sigma(S) proteolysis, with various stress conditions differentially affecting these levels of sigma(S) control. Thus, a reduced growth rate results in increased rpoS transcription whereas high osmolarity, low temperature, acidic pH, and some late-log-phase signals stimulate the translation of already present rpoS mRNA. In addition, carbon starvation, high osmolarity, acidic pH, and high temperature result in stabilization of sigma(S), which, under nonstress conditions, is degraded with a half-life of one to several minutes. Important cis-regulatory determinants as well as trans-acting regulatory factors involved at all levels of sigma(S) regulation have been identified. rpoS translation is controlled by several proteins (Hfq and HU) and small regulatory RNAs that probably affect the secondary structure of rpoS mRNA. For sigma(S) proteolysis, the response regulator RssB is essential. RssB is a specific direct sigma(S) recognition factor, whose affinity for sigma(S) is modulated by phosphorylation of its receiver domain. RssB delivers sigma(S) to the ClpXP protease, where sigma(S) is unfolded and completely degraded. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the molecular functions and interactions of these components and tries to establish a framework for further research on the mode of multiple signal input into this complex regulatory system. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hohmann S
Osmotic stress signaling and osmoadaptation in yeasts.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):300-72.
The ability to adapt to altered availability of free water is a fundamental property of living cells. The principles underlying osmoadaptation are well conserved. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an excellent model system with which to study the molecular biology and physiology of osmoadaptation. Upon a shift to high osmolarity, yeast cells rapidly stimulate a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade, the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, which orchestrates part of the transcriptional response. The dynamic operation of the HOG pathway has been well studied, and similar osmosensing pathways exist in other eukaryotes. Protein kinase A, which seems to mediate a response to diverse stress conditions, is also involved in the transcriptional response program. Expression changes after a shift to high osmolarity aim at adjusting metabolism and the production of cellular protectants. Accumulation of the osmolyte glycerol, which is also controlled by altering transmembrane glycerol transport, is of central importance. Upon a shift from high to low osmolarity, yeast cells stimulate a different MAP kinase cascade, the cell integrity pathway. The transcriptional program upon hypo-osmotic shock seems to aim at adjusting cell surface properties. Rapid export of glycerol is an important event in adaptation to low osmolarity. Osmoadaptation, adjustment of cell surface properties, and the control of cell morphogenesis, growth, and proliferation are highly coordinated processes. The Skn7p response regulator may be involved in coordinating these events. An integrated understanding of osmoadaptation requires not only knowledge of the function of many uncharacterized genes but also further insight into the time line of events, their interdependence, their dynamics, and their spatial organization as well as the importance of subtle effects. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Meidanis J, Braga MD, Verjovski-Almeida S
Whole-genome analysis of transporters in the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):272-99.
The transport systems of the first completely sequenced genome of a plant parasite, Xylella fastidiosa, were analyzed. In all, 209 proteins were classified here as constitutive members of transport families; thus, we have identified 69 new transporters in addition to the 140 previously annotated. The analysis lead to several hints on potential ways of controlling the disease it causes on citrus trees. An ADP:ATP translocator, previously found in intracellular parasites only, was found in X. fastidiosa. A P-type ATPase is missing-among the 24 completely sequenced eubacteria to date, only three (including X. fastidiosa) do not have a P-type ATPase, and they are all parasites transmitted by insect vectors. An incomplete phosphotransferase system (PTS) was found, without the permease subunits-we conjecture either that they are among the hypothetical proteins or that the PTS plays a solely metabolic regulatory role. We propose that the Ttg2 ABC system might be an import system eventually involved in glutamate import rather than a toluene exporter, as previously annotated. X. fastidiosa exhibits fewer proteins with > or =4 alpha-helical transmembrane spanners than any other completely sequenced prokaryote to date. X. fastidiosa has only 2.7% of all open reading frames identifiable as major transporters, which puts it as the eubacterium having the lowest percentage of open reading frames involved in transport, closer to two archaea, Methanococcus jannaschii (2.4%) and Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum (2.4%). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bentley R, Chasteen TG
Microbial methylation of metalloids: arsenic, antimony, and bismuth.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):250-71.
A significant 19th century public health problem was that the inhabitants of many houses containing wallpaper decorated with green arsenical pigments experienced illness and death. The problem was caused by certain fungi that grew in the presence of inorganic arsenic to form a toxic, garlic-odored gas. The garlic odor was actually put to use in a very delicate microbiological test for arsenic. In 1933, the gas was shown to be trimethylarsine. It was not until 1971 that arsenic methylation by bacteria was demonstrated. Further research in biomethylation has been facilitated by the development of delicate techniques for the determination of arsenic species. As described in this review, many microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and yeasts) and animals are now known to biomethylate arsenic, forming both volatile (e.g., methylarsines) and nonvolatile (e.g., methylarsonic acid and dimethylarsinic acid) compounds. The enzymatic mechanisms for this biomethylation are discussed. The microbial conversion of sodium arsenate to trimethylarsine proceeds by alternate reduction and methylation steps, with S-adenosylmethionine as the usual methyl donor. Thiols have important roles in the reductions. In anaerobic bacteria, methylcobalamin may be the donor. The other metalloid elements of the periodic table group 15, antimony and bismuth, also undergo biomethylation to some extent. Trimethylstibine formation by microorganisms is now well established, but this process apparently does not occur in animals. Formation of trimethylbismuth by microorganisms has been reported in a few cases. Microbial methylation plays important roles in the biogeochemical cycling of these metalloid elements and possibly in their detoxification. The wheel has come full circle, and public health considerations are again important. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Crosa JH, Walsh CT
Genetics and assembly line enzymology of siderophore biosynthesis in bacteria.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):223-49.
The regulatory logic of siderophore biosynthetic genes in bacteria involves the universal repressor Fur, which acts together with iron as a negative regulator. However in other bacteria, in addition to the Fur-mediated mechanism of regulation, there is a concurrent positive regulation of iron transport and siderophore biosynthetic genes that occurs under conditions of iron deprivation. Despite these regulatory differences the mechanisms of siderophore biosynthesis follow the same fundamental enzymatic logic, which involves a series of elongating acyl-S-enzyme intermediates on multimodular protein assembly lines: nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS). A substantial variety of siderophore structures are produced from similar NRPS assembly lines, and variation can come in the choice of the phenolic acid selected as the N-cap, the tailoring of amino acid residues during chain elongation, the mode of chain termination, and the nature of the capturing nucleophile of the siderophore acyl chain being released. Of course the specific parts that get assembled in a given bacterium may reflect a combination of the inventory of biosynthetic and tailoring gene clusters available. This modular assembly logic can account for all known siderophores. The ability to mix and match domains within modules and to swap modules themselves is likely to be an ongoing process in combinatorial biosynthesis. NRPS evolution will try out new combinations of chain initiation, elongation and tailoring, and termination steps, possibly by genetic exchange with other microorganisms and/or within the same bacterium, to create new variants of iron-chelating siderophores that can fit a particular niche for the producer bacterium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Patriarca EJ, Tatè R, Iaccarino M
Key role of bacterial NH(4)(+) metabolism in Rhizobium-plant symbiosis.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):203-22.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is carried out in specialized organs, the nodules, whose formation is induced on leguminous host plants by bacteria belonging to the family Rhizobiaceae: Nodule development is a complex multistep process, which requires continued interaction between the two partners and thus the exchange of different signals and metabolites. NH(4)(+) is not only the primary product but also the main regulator of the symbiosis: either as ammonium and after conversion into organic compounds, it regulates most stages of the interaction, from the production of nodule inducers to the growth, function, and maintenance of nodules. This review examines the adaptation of bacterial NH(4)(+) metabolism to the variable environment generated by the plant, which actively controls and restricts bacterial growth by affecting oxygen and nutrient availability, thereby allowing a proficient interaction and at the same time preventing parasitic invasion. We describe the regulatory circuitry responsible for the downregulation of bacterial genes involved in NH(4)(+) assimilation occurring early during nodule invasion. This is a key and necessary step for the differentiation of N(2)-fixing bacteroids (the endocellular symbiotic form of rhizobia) and for the development of efficient nodules. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sullivan CS, Pipas JM
T antigens of simian virus 40: molecular chaperones for viral replication and tumorigenesis.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):179-202.
Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a small DNA tumor virus that has been extensively characterized due to its relatively simple genetic organization and the ease with which its genome is manipulated. The large and small tumor antigens (T antigens) are the major regulatory proteins encoded by SV40. Large T antigen is responsible for both viral and cellular transcriptional regulation, virion assembly, viral DNA replication, and alteration of the cell cycle. Deciphering how a single protein can perform such numerous and diverse functions has remained elusive. Recently it was established that the SV40 T antigens, including large T antigen, are molecular chaperones, each with a functioning DnaJ domain. The molecular chaperones were originally identified as bacterial genes essential for bacteriophage growth and have since been shown to be conserved in eukaryotes, participating in an array of both viral and cellular processes. This review discusses the mechanisms of DnaJ/Hsc70 interactions and how they are used by T antigen to control viral replication and tumorigenesis. The use of the DnaJ/Hsc70 system by SV40 and other viruses suggests an important role for these molecular chaperones in the regulation of the mammalian cell cycle and sheds light on the enigmatic SV40 T antigen-a most amazing molecule. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Guertin DA, Trautmann S, McCollum D
Cytokinesis in eukaryotes.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):155-78.
Cytokinesis is the final event of the cell division cycle, and its completion results in irreversible partition of a mother cell into two daughter cells. Cytokinesis was one of the first cell cycle events observed by simple cell biological techniques; however, molecular characterization of cytokinesis has been slowed by its particular resistance to in vitro biochemical approaches. In recent years, the use of genetic model organisms has greatly advanced our molecular understanding of cytokinesis. While the outcome of cytokinesis is conserved in all dividing organisms, the mechanism of division varies across the major eukaryotic kingdoms. Yeasts and animals, for instance, use a contractile ring that ingresses to the cell middle in order to divide, while plant cells build new cell wall outward to the cortex. As would be expected, there is considerable conservation of molecules involved in cytokinesis between yeast and animal cells, while at first glance, plant cells seem quite different. However, in recent years, it has become clear that some aspects of division are conserved between plant, yeast, and animal cells. In this review we discuss the major recent advances in defining cytokinesis, focusing on deciding where to divide, building the division apparatus, and dividing. In addition, we discuss the complex problem of coordinating the division cycle with the nuclear cycle, which has recently become an area of intense research. In conclusion, we discuss how certain cells have utilized cytokinesis to direct development. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

McConville MJ, Mullin KA, Ilgoutz SC, Teasdale RD
Secretory pathway of trypanosomatid parasites.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):122-54; table of contents.
The Trypanosomatidae comprise a large group of parasitic protozoa, some of which cause important diseases in humans. These include Trypanosoma brucei (the causative agent of African sleeping sickness and nagana in cattle), Trypanosoma cruzi (the causative agent of Chagas' disease in Central and South America), and Leishmania spp. (the causative agent of visceral and [muco]cutaneous leishmaniasis throughout the tropics and subtropics). The cell surfaces of these parasites are covered in complex protein- or carbohydrate-rich coats that are required for parasite survival and infectivity in their respective insect vectors and mammalian hosts. These molecules are assembled in the secretory pathway. Recent advances in the genetic manipulation of these parasites as well as progress with the parasite genome projects has greatly advanced our understanding of processes that underlie secretory transport in trypanosomatids. This article provides an overview of the organization of the trypanosomatid secretory pathway and connections that exist with endocytic organelles and multiple lytic and storage vacuoles. A number of the molecular components that are required for vesicular transport have been identified, as have some of the sorting signals that direct proteins to the cell surface or organelles in the endosome-vacuole system. Finally, the subcellular organization of the major glycosylation pathways in these parasites is reviewed. Studies on these highly divergent eukaryotes provide important insights into the molecular processes underlying secretory transport that arose very early in eukaryotic evolution. They also reveal unusual or novel aspects of secretory transport and protein glycosylation that may be exploited in developing new antiparasite drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Meeks JC, Elhai J
Regulation of cellular differentiation in filamentous cyanobacteria in free-living and plant-associated symbiotic growth states.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):94-121; table of contents.
Certain filamentous nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria generate signals that direct their own multicellular development. They also respond to signals from plants that initiate or modulate differentiation, leading to the establishment of a symbiotic association. An objective of this review is to describe the mechanisms by which free-living cyanobacteria regulate their development and then to consider how plants may exploit cyanobacterial physiology to achieve stable symbioses. Cyanobacteria that are capable of forming plant symbioses can differentiate into motile filaments called hormogonia and into specialized nitrogen-fixing cells called heterocysts. Plant signals exert both positive and negative regulatory control on hormogonium differentiation. Heterocyst differentiation is a highly regulated process, resulting in a regularly spaced pattern of heterocysts in the filament. The evidence is most consistent with the pattern arising in two stages. First, nitrogen limitation triggers a nonrandomly spaced cluster of cells (perhaps at a critical stage of their cell cycle) to initiate differentiation. Interactions between an inhibitory peptide exported by the differentiating cells and an activator protein within them causes one cell within each cluster to fully differentiate, yielding a single mature heterocyst. In symbiosis with plants, heterocyst frequencies are increased 3- to 10-fold because, we propose, either differentiation is initiated at an increased number of sites or resolution of differentiating clusters is incomplete. The physiology of symbiotically associated cyanobacteria raises the prospect that heterocyst differentiation proceeds independently of the nitrogen status of a cell and depends instead on signals produced by the plant partner. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Narberhaus F
Alpha-crystallin-type heat shock proteins: socializing minichaperones in the context of a multichaperone network.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):64-93; table of contents.
Alpha-crystallins were originally recognized as proteins contributing to the transparency of the mammalian eye lens. Subsequently, they have been found in many, but not all, members of the Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya. Most members of the diverse alpha-crystallin family have four common structural and functional features: (i) a small monomeric molecular mass between 12 and 43 kDa; (ii) the formation of large oligomeric complexes; (iii) the presence of a moderately conserved central region, the so-called alpha-crystallin domain; and (iv) molecular chaperone activity. Since alpha-crystallins are induced by a temperature upshift in many organisms, they are often referred to as small heat shock proteins (sHsps) or, more accurately, alpha-Hsps. Alpha-crystallins are integrated into a highly flexible and synergistic multichaperone network evolved to secure protein quality control in the cell. Their chaperone activity is limited to the binding of unfolding intermediates in order to protect them from irreversible aggregation. Productive release and refolding of captured proteins into the native state requires close cooperation with other cellular chaperones. In addition, alpha-Hsps seem to play an important role in membrane stabilization. The review compiles information on the abundance, sequence conservation, regulation, structure, and function of alpha-Hsps with an emphasis on the microbial members of this chaperone family. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Graves PR, Haystead TA
Molecular biologist's guide to proteomics.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):39-63; table of contents.
The emergence of proteomics, the large-scale analysis of proteins, has been inspired by the realization that the final product of a gene is inherently more complex and closer to function than the gene itself. Shortfalls in the ability of bioinformatics to predict both the existence and function of genes have also illustrated the need for protein analysis. Moreover, only through the study of proteins can posttranslational modifications be determined, which can profoundly affect protein function. Proteomics has been enabled by the accumulation of both DNA and protein sequence databases, improvements in mass spectrometry, and the development of computer algorithms for database searching. In this review, we describe why proteomics is important, how it is conducted, and how it can be applied to complement other existing technologies. We conclude that currently, the most practical application of proteomics is the analysis of target proteins as opposed to entire proteomes. This type of proteomics, referred to as functional proteomics, is always driven by a specific biological question. In this way, protein identification and characterization has a meaningful outcome. We discuss some of the advantages of a functional proteomics approach and provide examples of how different methodologies can be utilized to address a wide variety of biological problems. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Morrissette NS, Sibley LD
Cytoskeleton of apicomplexan parasites.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):21-38; table of contents.
The Apicomplexa are a phylum of diverse obligate intracellular parasites including Plasmodium spp., the cause of malaria; Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum, opportunistic pathogens of immunocompromised individuals; and Eimeria spp. and Theileria spp., parasites of considerable agricultural importance. These protozoan parasites share distinctive morphological features, cytoskeletal organization, and modes of replication, motility, and invasion. This review summarizes our current understanding of the cytoskeletal elements, the properties of cytoskeletal proteins, and the role of the cytoskeleton in polarity, motility, invasion, and replication. We discuss the unusual properties of actin and myosin in the Apicomplexa, the highly stereotyped microtubule populations in apicomplexans, and a network of recently discovered novel intermediate filament-like elements in these parasites. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tamagnini P, Axelsson R, Lindberg P, Oxelfelt F, Wünschiers R, Lindblad P
Hydrogenases and hydrogen metabolism of cyanobacteria.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Mar;66(1):1-20, table of contents.
Cyanobacteria may possess several enzymes that are directly involved in dihydrogen metabolism: nitrogenase(s) catalyzing the production of hydrogen concomitantly with the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia, an uptake hydrogenase (encoded by hupSL) catalyzing the consumption of hydrogen produced by the nitrogenase, and a bidirectional hydrogenase (encoded by hoxFUYH) which has the capacity to both take up and produce hydrogen. This review summarizes our knowledge about cyanobacterial hydrogenases, focusing on recent progress since the first molecular information was published in 1995. It presents the molecular knowledge about cyanobacterial hupSL and hoxFUYH, their corresponding gene products, and their accessory genes before finishing with an applied aspect--the use of cyanobacteria in a biological, renewable production of the future energy carrier molecular hydrogen. In addition to scientific publications, information from three cyanobacterial genomes, the unicellular Synechocystis strain PCC 6803 and the filamentous heterocystous Anabaena strain PCC 7120 and Nostoc punctiforme (PCC 73102/ATCC 29133) is included. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goldberg MB
Actin-based motility of intracellular microbial pathogens.
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2001 Dec;65(4):595-626, table of contents.
A diverse group of intracellular microorganisms, including Listeria monocytogenes, Shigella spp., Rickettsia spp., and vaccinia virus, utilize actin-based motility to move within and spread between mammalian host cells. These organisms have in common a pathogenic life cycle that involves a stage within the cytoplasm of mammalian host cells. Within the cytoplasm of host cells, these organisms activate components of the cellular actin assembly machinery to induce the formation of actin tails on the microbial surface. The assembly of these actin tails provides force that propels the organisms through the cell cytoplasm to the cell periphery or into adjacent cells. Each of these organisms utilizes preexisting mammalian pathways of actin rearrangement to induce its own actin-based motility. Particularly remarkable is that while all of these microbes use the same or overlapping pathways, each intercepts the pathway at a different step. In addition, the microbial molecules involved are each distinctly different from the others. Taken together, these observations suggest that each of these microbes separately and convergently evolved a mechanism to utilize the cellular actin assembly machinery. The current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of microbial actin-based motility is the subject of this review. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Kienesberger S, Gorkiewicz G, Joainig MM, Scheicher SR, Leitner E, Zechner EL
Development of experimental genetic tools for Campylobacter fetus.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4619-30.
Molecular analysis of the virulence mechanisms of the emerging pathogen Campylobacter fetus has been hampered by the lack of genetic tools. We report the development and functional analysis of Escherichia coli-Campylobacter shuttle vectors that are appropriate for C. fetus. Some vectors were constructed based on the known Campylobacter coli plasmid pIP1455 replicon, which confers a wide host range in Campylobacter spp. Versatility in directing gene expression was achieved by introducing a strong C. fetus promoter. The constructions carry features necessary and sufficient to detect the expression of phenotypic markers, including molecular reporter genes in both subspecies of C. fetus, while retaining function in C. jejuni. The capacity to express several gene products from different vectors in a single host can be advantageous but requires distinct plasmid replicons. To this end, replication features derived from a cryptic plasmid of C. fetus subsp. venerealis strain 4111/108, designated pCFV108, were adapted for a compatible series of constructions. The substitution of the C. coli replication elements reduced vector size while apparently limiting the host range to C. fetus. The complementation of a ciprofloxacin-resistant mutant phenotype via vector-driven gyrA expression was verified. Cocultivation demonstrated that shuttle vectors based on the pCFV108 replicon were compatible with pIP1455 replication functions, and the stable maintenance of two plasmids in a C. fetus subsp. venerealis host over several months was observed. The application of both vector types will facilitate the investigation of the genetics and cellular interactions of the emerging pathogen C. fetus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lami R, Cottrell MT, Ras J, Ulloa O, Obernosterer I, Claustre H, Kirchman DL, Lebaron P
High abundances of aerobic anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria in the South Pacific Ocean.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4198-205.
Little is known about the abundance, distribution, and ecology of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria, particularly in oligotrophic environments, which represent 60% of the ocean. We investigated the abundance of AAP bacteria across the South Pacific Ocean, including the center of the gyre, the most oligotrophic water body of the world ocean. AAP bacteria, Prochlorococcus, and total prokaryotic abundances, as well as bacteriochlorophyll a (BChl a) and divinyl-chlorophyll a concentrations, were measured at several depths in the photic zone along a gradient of oligotrophic conditions. The abundances of AAP bacteria and Prochlorococcus were high, together accounting for up to 58% of the total prokaryotic community. The abundance of AAP bacteria alone was up to 1.94 x 10(5) cells ml(-1) and as high as 24% of the overall community. These measurements were consistent with the high BChl a concentrations (up to 3.32 x 10(-3) microg liter(-1)) found at all stations. However, the BChl a content per AAP bacterial cell was low, suggesting that AAP bacteria are mostly heterotrophic organisms. Interestingly, the biovolume and therefore biomass of AAP bacteria was on average twofold higher than that of other prokaryotic cells. This study demonstrates that AAP bacteria can be abundant in various oligotrophic conditions, including the most oligotrophic regime of the world ocean, and can account for a large part of the bacterioplanktonic carbon stock. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Narita S, Kageyama D, Nomura M, Fukatsu T
Unexpected mechanism of symbiont-induced reversal of insect sex: feminizing Wolbachia continuously acts on the butterfly Eurema hecabe during larval development.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4332-41.
When the butterfly Eurema hecabe is infected with two different strains (wHecCI2 and wHecFem2) of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia, genetic males are transformed into functional females, resulting in production of all-female broods. In an attempt to understand how and when the Wolbachia endosymbiont feminizes genetically male insects, larval insects were fed an antibiotic-containing diet beginning at different developmental stages until pupation. When the adult insects emerged, strikingly, many of them exhibited sexually intermediate traits in their wings, reproductive organs, and genitalia. The expression of intersexual phenotypes was strong in the insects treated from first instar, moderate in the insects treated from third instar, and weak in the insects treated from fourth instar. The insects treated from early larval instar grew and pupated normally but frequently failed to emerge and died in the pupal case. The dead insects in the pupal case contained lower densities of the feminizing Wolbachia endosymbiont than the successfully emerged insects, although none of them were completely cured of the symbiont infection. These results suggest the following: (i) the antibiotic treatment suppressed the population of feminizing Wolbachia endosymbionts; (ii) the suppression probably resulted in attenuated feminizing activity of the symbiont, leading to expression of intersexual host traits; (iii) many of the insects suffered pupal mortality, possibly due to either intersexual defects or Wolbachia-mediated addiction; and hence (iv) the feminizing Wolbachia endosymbiont continuously acts on the host insects during larval development for expression of female phenotypes under a male genotype. Our finding may prompt reconsideration of the notion that Wolbachia-induced reproductive manipulations are already complete before the early embryonic stage and provide insights into the mechanism underlying the symbiont-induced reversal of insect sex. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen J, Yu Z, Michel FC, Wittum T, Morrison M
Development and application of real-time PCR assays for quantification of erm genes conferring resistance to macrolides-lincosamides-streptogramin B in livestock manure and manure management systems.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4407-16.
Erythromycin and tylosin are commonly used in animal production, and such use is perceived to contribute to the overall antimicrobial resistance (AR) reservoirs. Quantitative measurements of this type of AR reservoir in microbial communities are required to understand AR ecology (e.g., emergence, persistence, and dissemination). We report here the development, validation, and use of six real-time PCR assays for quantifying six classes of erm genes (classes A through C, F, T, and X) that encode the major mechanism of resistance to macrolides-lincosamides-streptogramin B (MLS(B)). These real-time PCR assays were validated and used in quantifying the six erm classes in five types of samples, including those from bovine manure, swine manure, compost of swine manure, swine waste lagoons, and an Ekokan upflow biofilter system treating hog house effluents. The bovine manure samples were found to contain much smaller reservoirs of each of the six erm classes than the swine manure samples. Compared to the swine manure samples, the composted swine manure samples had substantially reduced erm gene abundances (by up to 7.3 logs), whereas the lagoon or the biofilter samples had similar erm gene abundances. These preliminary results suggest that the methods of manure storage and treatment probably have a substantial impact on the persistence and decline of MLS(B) resistance originating from food animals, thus likely affecting the dissemination of such resistance genes into the environment. The abundances of these erm genes appeared to be positively correlated with those of the tet genes determined previously among these samples. These real-time PCR assays provide a rapid, quantitative, and cultivation-independent measurement of six major classes of erm genes, which should be useful for ecological studies of AR. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Parada V, Sintes E, van Aken HM, Weinbauer MG, Herndl GJ
Viral abundance, decay, and diversity in the meso- and bathypelagic waters of the north atlantic.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4429-38.
To elucidate the potential importance of deep-water viruses in controlling the meso- and bathypelagic picoplankton community, the abundance, decay rate, and diversity of the virioplankton community were determined in the meso- and bathypelagic water masses of the eastern part of the subtropical North Atlantic. Viral abundance averaged 1.4 x 10(6) ml(-1) at around 100 m of depth and decreased only by a factor of 2 at 3,000 to 4,000 m of depth. In contrast, picoplankton abundance decreased by 1 order of magnitude to the Lower Deep Water (LDW; 3,500- to 5,000-m depth). The virus-to-picoplankton ratio increased from 9 at about 100 m of depth to 110 in the LDW. Mean viral decay rates were 3.5 x 10(-3) h(-1) between 900 m and 2,750 m and 1.1 x 10(-3) h(-1) at 4,000 m of depth, corresponding to viral turnover times of 11 and 39 days, respectively. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis fingerprints obtained from the viral community between 2,400 m and 4,000 m of depth revealed a maximum of only four bands from 4,000 m of depth. Based on the high viral abundance and the low picoplankton production determined via leucine incorporation, we conclude that the viral production calculated from the viral decay is insufficient to maintain the high viral abundance in the deep North Atlantic. Rather, we propose that substantial allochthonous viral input or lysogenic or pseudolysogenic production is required to maintain the high viral abundance detected in the meso- and bathypelagic North Atlantic. Consequently, deep-water prokaryotes are apparently far less controlled in their abundance and taxon richness by lytic prokaryotic phages than the high viral abundance and the virus-to-picoplankton ratio would suggest. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Medellin-Peña MJ, Wang H, Johnson R, Anand S, Griffiths MW
Probiotics affect virulence-related gene expression in Escherichia coli O157:H7.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4259-67.
The attachment of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC O157) to host intestinal epithelial cells is essential for the development of hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome in humans. Genes involved in attachment are carried within a pathogenicity island named the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), known to be directly activated by quorum sensing (QS). In the present study, we investigated autoinducer-2 (AI-2) production and the expression of several virulence-related genes in EHEC O157 grown in the absence and presence of a Lactobacillus acidophilus-secreted molecule(s). Transcription of important EHEC O157 virulence-related genes was studied by constructing promoter-reporter fusions and reverse transcriptase PCR. Shiga toxin (Stx) production was assayed by an enzyme immunoassay. When EHEC O157 was grown in the presence of chromatographically selected fractions of L. acidophilus La-5 cell-free spent medium, we observed a significant reduction of both extracellular AI-2 concentration and the expression of important virulence-related genes, although no significant difference in Stx production was observed. We show here that L. acidophilus La-5 secretes a molecule(s) that either acts as a QS signal inhibitor or directly interacts with bacterial transcriptional regulators, controlling the transcription of EHEC O157 genes involved in colonization. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rademaker JL, Vissers MM, Te Giffel MC
Effective heat inactivation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in raw milk contaminated with naturally infected feces.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4185-90.
The effectiveness of high-temperature, short holding time (HTST) pasteurization and homogenization with respect to inactivation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was evaluated quantitatively. This allowed a detailed determination of inactivation kinetics. High concentrations of feces from cows with clinical symptoms of Johne's disease were used to contaminate raw milk in order to realistically mimic possible incidents most closely. Final M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis concentrations varying from 10(2) to 3.5 x 10(5) cells per ml raw milk were used. Heat treatments including industrial HTST were simulated on a pilot scale with 22 different time-temperature combinations, including 60 to 90 degrees C at holding (mean residence) times of 6 to 15 s. Following 72 degrees C and a holding time of 6 s, 70 degrees C for 10 and 15 s, or under more stringent conditions, no viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells were recovered, resulting in >4.2- to >7.1-fold reductions, depending on the original inoculum concentrations. Inactivation kinetic modeling of 69 quantitative data points yielded an E(a) of 305,635 J/mol and an lnk(0) of 107.2, corresponding to a D value of 1.2 s at 72 degrees C and a Z value of 7.7 degrees C. Homogenization did not significantly affect the inactivation. The conclusion can be drawn that HTST pasteurization conditions equal to 15 s at > or =72 degrees C result in a more-than-sevenfold reduction of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jänsch A, Korakli M, Vogel RF, Gänzle MG
Glutathione reductase from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis DSM20451T: contribution to oxygen tolerance and thiol exchange reactions in wheat sourdoughs.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4469-76.
The effect of the glutathione reductase (GshR) activity of Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis DSM20451(T) on the thiol levels in fermented sourdoughs was determined, and the oxygen tolerance of the strain was also determined. The gshR gene coding for a putative GshR was sequenced and inactivated by single-crossover integration to yield strain L. sanfranciscensis DSM20451(T)DeltagshR. The gene disruption was verified by sequencing the truncated gshR and surrounding regions on the chromosome. The gshR activity of L. sanfranciscensis DSM20451(T)DeltagshR was strongly reduced compared to that of the wild-type strain, demonstrating that gshR indeed encodes an active GshR enzyme. The thiol levels in wheat doughs fermented with L. sanfranciscensis DSM20451 increased from 9 microM to 10.5 microM sulfhydryl/g of dough during a 24-h sourdough fermentation, but in sourdoughs fermented with L. sanfranciscensis DSM20451(T)DeltagshR and in chemically acidified doughs, the thiol levels decreased to 6.5 to 6.8 microM sulfhydryl/g of dough. Remarkably, the GshR-negative strains Lactobacillus pontis LTH2587 and Lactobacillus reuteri BR11 exerted effects on thiol levels in dough comparable to those of L. sanfranciscensis. In addition to the effect on thiol levels in sourdough, the loss of GshR activity in L. sanfranciscensis DSM20451(T)DeltagshR resulted in a loss of oxygen tolerance. The gshR mutant strain exhibited a strongly decreased aerobic growth rate on modified MRS medium compared to either the growth rate under anaerobic conditions or that of the wild-type strain, and aerobic growth was restored by the addition of cysteine. Moreover, the gshR mutant strain was more sensitive to the superoxide-generating agent paraquat. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Felnagle EA, Rondon MR, Berti AD, Crosby HA, Thomas MG
Identification of the biosynthetic gene cluster and an additional gene for resistance to the antituberculosis drug capreomycin.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4162-70.
Capreomycin (CMN) belongs to the tuberactinomycin family of nonribosomal peptide antibiotics that are essential components of the drug arsenal for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Members of this antibiotic family target the ribosomes of sensitive bacteria and disrupt the function of both subunits of the ribosome. Resistance to these antibiotics in Mycobacterium species arises due to mutations in the genes coding for the 16S or 23S rRNA but can also arise due to mutations in a gene coding for an rRNA-modifying enzyme, TlyA. While Mycobacterium species develop resistance due to alterations in the drug target, it has been proposed that the CMN-producing bacterium, Saccharothrix mutabilis subsp. capreolus, uses CMN modification as a mechanism for resistance rather than ribosome modification. To better understand CMN biosynthesis and resistance in S. mutabilis subsp. capreolus, we focused on the identification of the CMN biosynthetic gene cluster in this bacterium. Here, we describe the cloning and sequence analysis of the CMN biosynthetic gene cluster from S. mutabilis subsp. capreolus ATCC 23892. We provide evidence for the heterologous production of CMN in the genetically tractable bacterium Streptomyces lividans 1326. Finally, we present data supporting the existence of an additional CMN resistance gene. Initial work suggests that this resistance gene codes for an rRNA-modifying enzyme that results in the formation of CMN-resistant ribosomes that are also resistant to the aminoglycoside antibiotic kanamycin. Thus, S. mutabilis subsp. capreolus may also use ribosome modification as a mechanism for CMN resistance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Verwaal R, Wang J, Meijnen JP, Visser H, Sandmann G, van den Berg JA, van Ooyen AJ
High-level production of beta-carotene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by successive transformation with carotenogenic genes from Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4342-50.
To determine whether Saccharomyces cerevisiae can serve as a host for efficient carotenoid and especially beta-carotene production, carotenogenic genes from the carotenoid-producing yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous were introduced and overexpressed in S. cerevisiae. Because overexpression of these genes from an episomal expression vector resulted in unstable strains, the genes were integrated into genomic DNA to yield stable, carotenoid-producing S. cerevisiae cells. Furthermore, carotenoid production levels were higher in strains containing integrated carotenogenic genes. Overexpression of crtYB (which encodes a bifunctional phytoene synthase and lycopene cyclase) and crtI (phytoene desaturase) from X. dendrorhous was sufficient to enable carotenoid production. Carotenoid production levels were increased by additional overexpression of a homologous geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) synthase from S. cerevisiae that is encoded by BTS1. Combined overexpression of crtE (heterologous GGPP synthase) from X. dendrorhous with crtYB and crtI and introduction of an additional copy of a truncated 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase gene (tHMG1) into carotenoid-producing cells resulted in a successive increase in carotenoid production levels. The strains mentioned produced high levels of intermediates of the carotenogenic pathway and comparable low levels of the preferred end product beta-carotene, as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. We finally succeeded in constructing an S. cerevisiae strain capable of producing high levels of beta-carotene, up to 5.9 mg/g (dry weight), which was accomplished by the introduction of an additional copy of crtI and tHMG1 into carotenoid-producing yeast cells. This transformant is promising for further development toward the biotechnological production of beta-carotene by S. cerevisiae. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kikuchi Y, Hosokawa T, Fukatsu T
Insect-microbe mutualism without vertical transmission: a stinkbug acquires a beneficial gut symbiont from the environment every generation.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4308-16.
The broad-headed bug Riptortus clavatus (Heteroptera: Alydidae) possesses a number of crypts at a posterior midgut region, which house a dense population of a bacterial symbiont belonging to the genus Burkholderia. Although the symbiont is highly prevalent (95 to 100%) in the host populations, the symbiont phylogeny did not reflect the host systematics at all. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying the promiscuous host-symbiont relationship despite the specific and prevalent association, we investigated the transmission mode and the fitness effects of the Burkholderia symbiont in R. clavatus. Inspection of eggs and a series of rearing experiments revealed that the symbiont is not vertically transmitted but is environmentally acquired by nymphal insects. The Burkholderia symbiont was present in the soil of the insect habitat, and a culture strain of the symbiont was successfully isolated from the insect midgut. Rearing experiments by using sterilized soybean bottles demonstrated that the cultured symbiont is able to establish a normal and efficient infection in the host insect, and the symbiont infection significantly improves the host fitness. These results indicated that R. clavatus postnatally acquires symbiont of a beneficial nature from the environment every generation, uncovering a previously unknown pathway through which a highly specific insect-microbe association is maintained. We suggest that the stinkbug-Burkholderia relationship may be regarded as an insect analogue of the well-known symbioses between plants and soil-associated microbes, such as legume-Rhizobium and alder-Frankia relationships, and we discuss the evolutionary relevance of the mutualistic but promiscuous insect-microbe association. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wright AD, Auckland CH, Lynn DH
Molecular diversity of methanogens in feedlot cattle from Ontario and Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4206-10.
The molecular diversity of rumen methanogens in feedlot cattle and the composition of the methanogen populations in these animals from two geographic locations were investigated using 16S rRNA gene libraries prepared from pooled PCR products from 10 animals in Ontario (127 clones) and 10 animals from Prince Edward Island (114 clones). A total of 241 clones were examined, with Methanobrevibacter ruminantium accounting for more than one-third (85 clones) of the clones identified. From these 241 clones, 23 different 16S rRNA phylotypes were identified. Feedlot cattle from Ontario, which were fed a corn-based diet, revealed 11 phylotypes (38 clones) not found in feedlot cattle from Prince Edward Island, whereas the Prince Edward Island cattle, which were fed potato by-products as a finishing diet, had 7 phylotypes (42 clones) not found in cattle from Ontario. Five sequences, representing the remaining 161 clones (67% of the clones), were common in both herds. Of the 23 different sequences, 10 sequences (136 clones) were 89.8 to 100% similar to those from cultivated methanogens belonging to the orders Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales, and the remaining 13 sequences (105 clones) were 74.1 to 75.8% similar to those from Thermoplasma volcanium and Thermoplasma acidophilum. Overall, nine possible new species were identified from the two clone libraries, including two new species belonging to the order Methanobacteriales and a new genus/species within the order Methanosarcinales. From the present survey, it is difficult to conclude whether the geographical isolation between these two herds or differences between the two finishing diets directly influenced community structure in the rumen. Further studies are warranted to properly assess the differences between these two finishing diets. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ruas-Madiedo P, Moreno JA, Salazar N, Delgado S, Mayo B, Margolles A, de Los Reyes-Gavilán CG
Screening of exopolysaccharide-producing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains isolated from the human intestinal microbiota.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4385-8.
Using phenotypic approaches, we have detected that 17% of human intestinal Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains could be exopolysaccharide (EPS) producers. However, PCR techniques showed that only 7% harbored genes related to the synthesis of heteropolysaccharides. This is the first work to screen the human intestinal ecosystem for the detection of EPS-producing strains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Park GW, Boston DM, Kase JA, Sampson MN, Sobsey MD
Evaluation of liquid- and fog-based application of Sterilox hypochlorous acid solution for surface inactivation of human norovirus.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4463-8.
Noroviruses (NVs) are the most frequent cause of outbreaks of gastroenteritis in common settings, with surface-mediated transfer via contact with fecally contaminated surfaces implicated in exposure. NVs are environmentally stable and persistent and have a low infectious dose. Several disinfectants have been evaluated for efficacy to control viruses on surfaces, but the toxicity and potential damage to treated materials limits their applicability. Sterilox hypochlorous acid (HOCl) solution (HAS) has shown broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity while being suitable for general use. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of HAS to reduce NV both in aqueous suspensions and on inanimate carriers. HOCl was further tested as a fog to decontaminate large spaces. HOCl effectiveness was evaluated using nonculturable human NV measured by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) and two surrogate viruses, coliphage MS2 and murine NV, that were detected by both infectivity and RT-PCR. Exposing virus-contaminated carriers of ceramic tile (porous) and stainless steel (nonporous) to 20 to 200 ppm of HOCl solution resulted in > or = 99.9% (> or = 3 log10) reductions of both infectivity and RNA titers of tested viruses within 10 min of exposure time. HOCl fogged in a confined space reduced the infectivity and RNA titers of NV, murine NV, and MS2 on these carriers by at least 99.9% (3 log10), regardless of carrier location and orientation. We conclude that HOCl solution as a liquid or fog is likely to be effective in disinfecting common settings to reduce NV exposures and thereby control virus spread via fomites. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Love DC, Sobsey MD
Simple and rapid F+ coliphage culture, latex agglutination, and typing assay to detect and source track fecal contamination.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4110-8.
Simple, rapid, and reliable fecal indicator tests are needed to better monitor and manage ambient waters and treated waters and wastes. Antibody-coated polymeric bead agglutination assays can fulfill these needs and are inexpensive and portable for nonlaboratory settings, and their reagents can be stored at ambient temperatures for months. The goal of this study was to develop, optimize, and validate a rapid microbial water quality monitoring assay using F+ coliphage culture, latex agglutination, and typing (CLAT) to detect F+ coliphage groups with antibody-coated particles. Rapid (180 min) F+ coliphage culture gave comparable results to those with the 16- to 24-h culture time used in EPA method 1601 and was amenable to CLAT assay detection. CLAT was performed on a cardboard card by mixing a drop of coliphage enrichment culture with a drop of antibody-coated polymeric beads as the detection reagent. Visual agglutination or clumping of positive samples occurred in <60 seconds. The CLAT assay had sensitivities of 96.4% (185/192 samples) and 98.2% (161/164 samples) and specificities of 100% (34/34 samples) and 97.7% (129/132 samples) for F+ RNA and DNA coliphages, respectively. CLAT successfully classified F+ RNA coliphages into serogroups typically obtained from human (groups II and III) and animal (groups I and IV) fecal sources, in similar proportions to those obtained with a nucleic acid hybridization assay. This novel group-specific antibody-based particle agglutination technique for rapid and simple detection and grouping of F+ coliphages provides a new and improved tool for monitoring the microbiological quality of drinking, recreational, shellfishing, and other waters. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hill VR, Kahler AM, Jothikumar N, Johnson TB, Hahn D, Cromeans TL
Multistate evaluation of an ultrafiltration-based procedure for simultaneous recovery of enteric microbes in 100-liter tap water samples.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4218-25.
Ultrafiltration (UF) is increasingly being recognized as a potentially effective procedure for concentrating and recovering microbes from large volumes of water and treated wastewater. Because of their very small pore sizes, UF membranes are capable of simultaneously concentrating viruses, bacteria, and parasites based on size exclusion. In this study, a UF-based water sampling procedure was used to simultaneously recover representatives of these three microbial classes seeded into 100-liter samples of tap water collected from eight cities covering six hydrologic areas of the United States. The UF-based procedure included hollow-fiber UF as the primary step for concentrating microbes and then used membrane filtration for bacterial culture assays, immunomagnetic separation for parasite recovery and quantification, and centrifugal UF for secondary concentration of viruses. Water samples were tested for nine water quality parameters to investigate whether water quality data correlated with measured recovery efficiencies and molecular detection levels. Average total method recovery efficiencies were 71, 97, 120, 110, and 91% for phiX174 bacteriophage, MS2 bacteriophage, Enterococcus faecalis, Clostridium perfringens spores, and Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, respectively. Real-time PCR and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for seeded microbes and controls indicated that tap water quality could affect the analytical performance of molecular amplification assays, although no specific water quality parameter was found to correlate with reduced PCR or RT-PCR performance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Thompson FL, Gomez-Gil B, Vasconcelos AT, Sawabe T
Multilocus sequence analysis reveals that Vibrio harveyi and V. campbellii are distinct species.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4279-85.
Identification and classification of Vibrio species have relied upon band pattern methods (e.g., amplified fragment length polymorphism) and DNA-DNA hybridization. However, data generated by these methods cannot be used to build an online electronic taxonomy. In order to overcome these limitations, we developed the first standard multilocus sequence scheme focused on the ubiquitous and pathogenic Vibrio harveyi species group (i.e., V. harveyi, V. campbellii, V. rotiferianus, and a new as yet unnamed species). We examined a collection of 104 isolates from different geographical regions and hosts using segments of seven housekeeping genes. These two species formed separated clusters on the basis of topA, pyrH, ftsZ, and mreB gene sequences. The phylogenetic picture obtained by the other three loci, i.e., gyrB, recA, and gapA, was more complex though. V. campbellii appeared nested within V. harveyi in the recA trees, whereas V. harveyi formed a tight nested cluster within V. campbellii by gapA. The gyrB gene had no taxonomic resolution and grouped the two species together. The fuzziness observed in these three genes seems not be related to recombination but to low divergence due to the accumulation of only a few substitutions. In spite of this, the concatenated sequences provided evidence that the two species form two separated clusters. These clusters did not arise by recombination but by accumulation of point mutations. V. harveyi and V. campbellii isolates can be readily identified through the open database resource developed in this study ( We argue that the species should be defined by evolutionary criteria. Strains of the same species will share at least 95% concatenated sequence similarity using the seven loci, and, most importantly, cospecific strains will form cohesive readily recognizable phylogenetic clades. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hatamoto M, Imachi H, Yashiro Y, Ohashi A, Harada H
Diversity of anaerobic microorganisms involved in long-chain fatty acid degradation in methanogenic sludges as revealed by RNA-based stable isotope probing.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4119-27.
Long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) degradation is a key step in methanogenic treatment of wastes/wastewaters containing high concentrations of lipids. However, despite the importance of LCFA-degrading bacteria, their natural diversity is little explored due to the limited availability of isolate information and the lack of appropriate molecular markers. We therefore investigated these microbes by using RNA-based stable isotope probing. We incubated four methanogenic sludges (mesophilic sludges MP and MBF and thermophilic sludges TP and JET) with (13)C-labeled palmitate (1 mM) as a substrate. After 8 to 19 days of incubation, we could detect (13)C-labeled bacterial rRNA. A density-resolved terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism fingerprinting analysis showed distinct bacterial populations in (13)C-labeled and unlabeled rRNA fractions. The bacterial populations in the (13)C-labeled rRNA fractions were identified by cloning and sequencing of reverse-transcribed 16S rRNA. Diverse phylogenetic bacterial sequences were retrieved, including those of members of the family Syntrophaceae, clone cluster MST belonging to the class Deltaproteobacteria, Clostridium clusters III and IV, phylum Bacteroidetes, phylum Spirochaetes, and family Syntrophomonadaceae. Although Syntrophomonadaceae species are considered to be the major fatty acid-degrading syntrophic microorganisms under methanogenic conditions, they were detected in only two of the clone libraries. These results suggest that phylogenetically diverse bacterial groups were active in situ in the degradation of LCFA under methanogenic conditions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Höppener-Ogawa S, Leveau JH, Smant W, van Veen JA, de Boer W
Specific detection and real-time PCR quantification of potentially mycophagous bacteria belonging to the genus Collimonas in different soil ecosystems.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4191-7.
The bacterial genus Collimonas has the remarkable characteristic that it grows at the expense of living fungal hyphae under laboratory conditions. Here, we report the first field inventory of the occurrence and abundance of Collimonas in soils (n = 45) with naturally different fungal densities, which was performed in order to test the null hypothesis that there is a relationship between the presence of Collimonas and fungal biomass. Estimates of fungal densities were based on ergosterol measurements. Each soil was also characterized in terms of its physical and chemical properties and vegetation and management types. Culturable Collimonas was identified in plate-spread soil samples by its ability to clear colloidal chitin, in combination with a Collimonas-specific restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of 16S rRNA PCR amplified from individual colonies. Using this approach, we found culturable collimonads only in (semi)natural grasslands. A real-time PCR assay for the specific quantification of Collimonas 16S rRNA in total soil DNA was developed. Collimonas was detectable in 80% of the soil samples, with densities up to 10(5) cells g(-1) (dry weight) soil. The numbers of Collimonas cells per gram of soil were consistently lowest in fungus-poor arable soils and, surprisingly, also in fungus-rich organic layers of forest soils. When all soils were included, no significant correlation was observed between the number of Collimonas cells and ergosterol-based soil fungal biomass. Based on this result, we rejected our null hypothesis, and possible explanations for this were addressed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Passoth V, Blomqvist J, Schnürer J
Dekkera bruxellensis and Lactobacillus vini form a stable ethanol-producing consortium in a commercial alcohol production process.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4354-6.
The ethanol production process of a Swedish alcohol production plant was dominated by Dekkera bruxellensis and Lactobacillus vini, with a high number of lactic acid bacteria. The product quality, process productivity, and stability were high; thus, D. bruxellensis and L. vini can be regarded as commercial ethanol production organisms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ruecker NJ, Braithwaite SL, Topp E, Edge T, Lapen DR, Wilkes G, Robertson W, Medeiros D, Sensen CW, Neumann NF
Tracking host sources of Cryptosporidium spp. in raw water for improved health risk assessment.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(12):3945-57.
Recent molecular evidence suggests that different species and/or genotypes of Cryptosporidium display strong host specificity, altering our perceptions regarding the zoonotic potential of this parasite. Molecular forensic profiling of the small-subunit rRNA gene from oocysts enumerated on microscope slides by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency method 1623 was used to identify the range and prevalence of Cryptosporidium species and genotypes in the South Nation watershed in Ontario, Canada. Fourteen sites within the watershed were monitored weekly for 10 weeks to assess the occurrence, molecular composition, and host sources of Cryptosporidium parasites impacting water within the region. Cryptosporidium andersoni, Cryptosporidium muskrat genotype II, Cryptosporidium cervine genotype, C. baileyi, C. parvum, Cryptosporidium muskrat genotype I, the Cryptosporidium fox genotype, genotype W1, and genotype W12 were detected in the watershed. The molecular composition of the Cryptosporidium parasites, supported by general land use analysis, indicated that mature cattle were likely the main source of contamination of the watershed. Deer, muskrats, voles, birds, and other wildlife species, in addition to sewage (human or agricultural) may also potentially impact water quality within the study area. Source water protection studies that use land use analysis with molecular genotyping of Cryptosporidium parasites may provide a more robust source-tracking tool to characterize fecal impacts in a watershed. Moreover, the information is vital for assessing environmental and human health risks posed by water contaminated with zoonotic and/or anthroponotic forms of Cryptosporidium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hayes M, Stanton C, Slattery H, O'Sullivan O, Hill C, Fitzgerald GF, Ross RP
Casein fermentate of Lactobacillus animalis DPC6134 contains a range of novel propeptide angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4658-67.
This work evaluated the angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activities of a bovine sodium caseinate fermentate generated using the proteolytic capabilities of the porcine small intestinal isolate Lactobacillus animalis DPC6134 (NCIMB deposit 41355). The crude 10-kDa L. animalis DPC6134 fermentate exhibited ACE-inhibitory activity of 85.51% (+/-15%) and had a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.8 mg protein/ml compared to captopril, which had an IC50 value of 0.005 mg/ml. Fractionation of the crude L. animalis DPC6134 fermentate by membrane filtration and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) generated three bioactive fractions from a total of 72 fractions. Fractions 10, 19, and 43 displayed ACE-inhibitory activity percentages of 67.53 (+/-15), 83.71 (+/-19), and 42.36 (+/-11), respectively, where ACE inhibition was determined with 80 microl of the fractions with protein concentrations of 0.5 mg/ml. HPLC and mass spectrometry analysis identified 25 distinct peptide sequences derived from alpha-, beta-, and kappa-caseins. In silico predictions, based on the C-terminal tetrapeptide sequences, suggested that peptide NIPPLTQTPVVVPPFIQ, corresponding to beta-casein f(73-89); peptide IGSENSEKTTMP, corresponding to alpha(s1)-casein f(201212); peptide SQSKVLPVPQ, corresponding to beta-casein f(166-175); peptide MPFPKYPVEP, corresponding to beta-casein f(124133); and peptide EPVLGPVRGPFP, corresponding to beta-casein f(210-221), contained ACE-inhibitory activities. These peptides were chosen for chemical synthesis to confirm the ACE-inhibitory activity of the fractions. Chemically synthesized peptides displayed IC50 values in the range of 92 microM to 790 microM. Additionally, a simulated gastrointestinal digestion confirmed that the ACE-inhibitory 10-kDa L. animalis DPC6134 fermentation was resistant to a cocktail of digestive enzymes found in the gastrointestinal tract. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hou S, Burton EA, Simon KA, Blodgett D, Luk YY, Ren D
Inhibition of Escherichia coli biofilm formation by self-assembled monolayers of functional alkanethiols on gold.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4300-7.
Bacterial biofilms cause serious problems, such as antibiotic resistance and medical device-related infections. To further understand bacterium-surface interactions and to develop efficient control strategies, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols presenting different functional groups on gold films were analyzed to determine their resistance to biofilm formation. Escherichia coli was labeled with green florescence protein, and its biofilm formation on SAM-modified surfaces was monitored by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The three-dimensional structures of biofilms were analyzed with the COMSTAT software to obtain information about biofilm thickness and surface coverage. SAMs presenting methyl, L-gulonamide (a sugar alcohol tethered with an amide bond), and tri(ethylene glycol) (TEG) groups were tested. Among these, the TEG-terminated SAM was the most resistant to E. coli biofilm formation; e.g., it repressed biofilm formation by E. coli DH5alpha by 99.5% +/- 0.1% for 1 day compared to the biofilm formation on a bare gold surface. When surfaces were patterned with regions consisting of methyl-terminated SAMs surrounded by TEG-terminated SAMs, E. coli formed biofilms only on methyl-terminated patterns. Addition of TEG as a free molecule to growth medium at concentrations of 0.1 and 1.0% also inhibited biofilm formation, while TEG at concentrations up to 1.5% did not have any noticeable effects on cell growth. The results of this study suggest that the reduction in biofilm formation on surfaces modified with TEG-terminated SAMs is a result of multiple factors, including the solvent structure at the interface, the chemorepellent nature of TEG, and the inhibitory effect of TEG on cell motility. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Quirós C, Herrero M, García LA, Díaz M
Application of flow cytometry to segregated kinetic modeling based on the physiological states of microorganisms.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(12):3993-4000.
Flow cytometry (FC) has been introduced to characterize and to assess the physiological states of microorganisms in conjunction with the classical plate-counting method. To show the applicability of the technique, in particular for the development of kinetic models, pure culture fermentation experiments were followed over time, using both prokaryotic (Lactobacillus hilgardii) and eukaryotic (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) microorganisms growing in standard culture media (MRS and YPD). The differences observed between the active and viable cells determined by FC and CFU, respectively, allowed us to determine that a large number of cells were in a viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state, which resulted in a subpopulation much larger than the damaged-cell (double-stained) subpopulation. Finally, the determination of the evolution of viable, the VBNC, and the dead cells allowed us to develop a segregated kinetic model to describe the yeast and the bacteria population dynamics and glucose consumption in batch cultures. This model, more complete than that which is traditionally used, based only on viable cell measurements, describes better the behavior and the functionality of the cultures, giving a deeper knowledge in real time about the status and the course of the bioprocesses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Graczyk TK, Sunderland D, Tamang L, Shields TM, Lucy FE, Breysse PN
Quantitative evaluation of the impact of bather density on levels of human-virulent microsporidian spores in recreational water.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4095-9.
Microsporidial gastroenteritis, a serious disease of immunocompromised people, can have a waterborne etiology. During summer months, samples of recreational bathing waters were tested weekly for human-virulent microsporidian spores and water quality parameters in association with high and low bather numbers during weekends and weekdays, respectively. Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores were detected in 59% of weekend (n = 27) and 30% of weekday (n = 33) samples, and Encephalitozoon intestinalis spores were concomitant in a single weekend sample; the overall prevalence was 43%. The numbers of bathers, water turbidity levels, prevalences of spore-positive samples, and concentrations of spores were significantly higher for weekend than for weekday samples; P values were <0.001, <0.04, <0.03, and <0.04, respectively. Water turbidity and the concentration of waterborne spores were significantly correlated with bather density, with P values of <0.001 and <0.01, respectively. As all water samples were collected on days deemed acceptable for bathing by fecal bacterial standards, this study reinforces the scientific doubt about the reliability of bacterial indicators in predicting human waterborne pathogens. The study provides evidence that bathing in public waters can result in exposure to potentially viable microsporidian spores and that body contact recreation in potable water can play a role in the epidemiology of microsporidiosis. The study indicates that resuspension of bottom sediments by bathers resulted in elevated turbidity values and implies that the microbial load from both sediments and bathers can act as nonpoint sources for the contamination of recreational waters with Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores. Both these mechanisms can be considered for implementation in predictive models for contamination with microsporidian spores. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kothary MH, McCardell BA, Frazar CD, Deer D, Tall BD
Characterization of the zinc-containing metalloprotease encoded by zpx and development of a species-specific detection method for Enterobacter sakazakii.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4142-51.
Enterobacter sakazakii causes a severe form of neonatal meningitis that occurs as sporadic cases as well as outbreaks. The disease has been epidemiologically associated with consumption of reconstituted, dried infant formulas. Very little information is available regarding pathogenicity of the organism and production of virulence factors. Clinical and environmental strains were screened for production of factors which have activity against Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in tissue culture. Polymyxin B lysate and sonicate preparations but not culture supernatants from the strains caused "rounding" of CHO cells. Subsequent studies showed that the CHO cell-rounding factor is a proteolytic enzyme that has activity against azocasein. The cell-bound protease was isolated by using a combination of polymyxin B lysis, followed by sonication of cells harvested from tryptone broth. The protease was purified to homogeneity by sequential ammonium sulfate precipitation, gel filtration chromatography with Sephadex G-100, hydrophobic interaction chromatography with phenyl-Sepharose CL-4B, and a second gel filtration with Sephadex G-100. In addition to activity against azocasein, the purified protease also exhibits activity against azocoll and insoluble casein but not elastin. The protease has a molecular weight of 38,000 and an isoelectric point of 4.4. It is heat labile and for maximal activity against azocasein has an optimum temperature of 37 degrees C and a pH range of 5 to 7. Proteolytic activity is inhibited by ortho-phenanthroline and Zincov but is not affected by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride, N-ethylmaleimide, and trypsin inhibitors, which demonstrates that the protease is a zinc-containing metalloprotease. The metalloprotease does not hemagglutinate chicken or sheep erythrocytes. Twenty-three to 27 of the first 42 N-terminal amino acid residues of the metalloprotease are identical to proteases produced by Serratia proteamaculans, Pectobacterium carotovorum, and Anabaena sp. PCR analysis using primers designed from a consensus nucleotide sequence showed that 135 E. sakazakii strains possessed the metalloprotease gene, zpx, and 25 non-E. sakazakii strains did not. The cloned zpx gene of strain 29544 consists of 1,026 nucleotides, and the deduced amino acid sequence of the metalloprotease has 341 amino acid residues, which corresponds to a theoretical protein size of 37,782 with a theoretical pI of 5.23. The sequence possesses three well-characterized zinc-binding and active-site motifs present in other bacterial zinc metalloproteases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Boczek LA, Rice EW, Johnston B, Johnson JR
Occurrence of antibiotic-resistant uropathogenic Escherichia coli clonal group A in wastewater effluents.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4180-4.
Isolates of Escherichia coli belonging to clonal group A (CGA), a recently described disseminated cause of drug-resistant urinary tract infections in humans, were present in four of seven sewage effluents collected from geographically dispersed areas of the United States. All 15 CGA isolates (1% of the 1,484 isolates analyzed) exhibited resistance to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ), accounting for 19.5% of the 77 TMP-SMZ-resistant isolates. Antimicrobial resistance patterns, virulence traits, O:H serotypes, and phylogenetic groupings were compared for CGA and selected non-CGA isolates. The CGA isolates exhibited a wider diversity of resistance profiles and somatic antigens than that found in most previous characterizations of this clonal group. This is the first report of recovery from outside a human host of E. coli CGA isolates with virulence factor and antibiotic resistance profiles typical of CGA isolates from a human source. The occurrence of "human-type" CGA in wastewater effluents demonstrates a potential mode for the dissemination of this clonal group in the environment, with possible secondary transmission to new human or animal hosts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Graczyk TK, Sunderland D, Rule AM, da Silva AJ, Moura IN, Tamang L, Girouard AS, Schwab KJ, Breysse PN
Urban feral pigeons (Columba livia) as a source for air- and waterborne contamination with Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4357-8.
This study demonstrated that a person with 30 min of occupational or nonoccupational exposure to urban feral pigeons, such as exposure through the cleaning of surfaces contaminated with pigeon excrement, could inhale approximately 3.5 x 10(3) Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores and that 1.3 x 10(3) spores could be inhaled by a nearby person. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Schlesinger DJ, Shoemaker NB, Salyers AA
Possible origins of CTnBST, a conjugative transposon found recently in a human colonic Bacteroides strain.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4226-33.
A previous survey of Bacteroides isolates suggested that the ermB gene entered Bacteroides spp. recently. Previously, ermB had been found almost exclusively in gram-positive bacteria. In one Bacteroides strain, ermB was located on 100-kb conjugative transposon (CTn) CTnBST. To assess the possible origin of this CTn, we obtained the full DNA sequence of CTnBST and used this information to investigate its possible origins. Over one-half of CTnBST had high sequence identity to a putative CTn found in the genome of Bacteroides fragilis YCH46. This included the ends of the CTn and genes involved in integration, transfer, and excision. However, the region around the ermB gene contained genes that appeared to originate from gram-positive organisms. In particular, a 7-kb segment containing the ermB gene was 100% identical to an ermB region found in the genome of the gram-positive bacterium Arcanobacterium pyogenes. A screen of Bacteroides isolates whose DNA cross-hybridized with a CTnBST probe revealed that several isolates did not carry the 7-kb region, implying that the acquisition of this region may be more recent than the acquisition of the entire CTnBST element by Bacteroides spp. We have also identified other Bacteroides isolates that carry a slightly modified 7-kb region but have no other traces of CTnBST. Thus, it is possible that this 7-kb region could itself be part of a mobile element that has inserted in a Bacteroides CTn. Our results show that CTnBST is a hybrid element which has acquired a portion of its coding region from gram-positive bacteria but which may originally have come from Bacteroides spp. or some related species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chuang AS, Mattes TE
Identification of polypeptides expressed in response to vinyl chloride, ethene, and epoxyethane in Nocardioides sp. strain JS614 by using peptide mass fingerprinting.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4368-72.
Enzymes expressed in response to vinyl chloride, ethene, and epoxyethane by Nocardioides sp. strain JS614 were identified by using a peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) approach. PMF provided insight concerning vinyl chloride biodegradation in strain JS614 and extends the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time of flight mass spectrometry as a tool to enhance characterization of biodegradation pathways. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lee J, Bansal T, Jayaraman A, Bentley WE, Wood TK
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli biofilms are inhibited by 7-hydroxyindole and stimulated by isatin.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(13):4100-9.
Since indole is present at up to 500 microM in the stationary phase and is an interspecies biofilm signal (J. Lee, A. Jayaraman, and T. K. Wood, BMC Microbiol. 7:42, 2007), we investigated hydroxyindoles as biofilm signals and found them also to be nontoxic interspecies biofilm signals for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC), E. coli K-12, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The genetic basis of EHEC biofilm formation was also explored, and notably, virulence genes in biofilm cells were repressed compared to those in planktonic cells. In Luria-Bertani medium (LB) on polystyrene with quiescent conditions, 7-hydroxyindole decreased EHEC biofilm formation 27-fold and decreased K-12 biofilm formation 8-fold without affecting the growth of planktonic cells. 5-Hydroxyindole also decreased biofilm formation 11-fold for EHEC and 6-fold for K-12. In contrast, isatin (indole-2,3-dione) increased biofilm formation fourfold for EHEC, while it had no effect for K-12. When continuous-flow chambers were used, confocal microscopy revealed that EHEC biofilm formation was reduced 6-fold by indole and 10-fold by 7-hydroxyindole in LB. Whole-transcriptome analysis revealed that isatin represses indole synthesis by repressing tnaABC 7- to 37-fold in EHEC, and extracellular indole levels were found to be 20-fold lower. Furthermore, isatin repressed the AI-2 transporters lsrABCDFGKR, while significantly inducing the flagellar genes flgABCDEFGHIJK and fliAEFGILMNOPQ (which led to a 50% increase in motility). 7-Hydroxyindole induces the biofilm inhibitor/stress regulator ycfR and represses cysADIJPU/fliC (which led to a 50% reduction in motility) and purBCDEFHKLMNRT. Isogenic mutants showed that 7-hydroxyindole inhibits E. coli biofilm through cysteine metabolism. 7-Hydroxyindole (500 microM) also stimulates P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilm formation twofold; therefore, hydroxyindoles are interspecies bacterial signals, and 7-hydroxyindole is a potent EHEC biofilm inhibitor. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Applied Microbiology

Kloos WE, Musselwhite MS
Distribution and persistence of Staphylococcus and Micrococcus species and other aerobic bacteria on human skin.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):381-5.
The districution of Staphylococcus and Micrococcus species and associated coryneform bacteria, Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Bacillus, and Streptomyces on skin was determined during October 1971 from samples collected on persons living in North Carolina and New Jersey. Persistence of these organisms on skin was estimated in temporal studies conducted during the period from June 1971 to June 1972 on persons living in North Carolina. Staphylococci and coryneforms were the most predominant and persistent bacteria isolated from the nares and axillae. Staphylococci, coryneforms, micrococci, and Bacillus were the most predominant and persistent bacteria isolated from the head, legs, and arms. Acinetobacters were most frequently isolated during the warmer months of the years. Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis were the most predominant and persistent staphylococci isolated from the nares, whereas S. epidermidis and S. hominis were the most predominant and persistent staphylocicci isolated from the axillae, head, legs, and arms. S. capitis was often isolated from the head and arms and S. haemolyticus was often isolated from the head, legs, and arms. S. simulans, S. xylosus, S. cohnii, S. saprophyticus, S. warneri, and an unclassified coagulase-positive species were only occasionally isolated from skin. Micrococcus luteus was the most predominant and persistent Micrococcus isolated from skin and preferred regions of the head, legs, and arms. M. varians was the second most frequent Micrococcus isolated. M. lylae, M. sedentarius, M. roseus, M. kristinae, and M. nishinomiyaensis were only occasionally isolated from skin. M. lylae was most frequently isolated during the colder months of the years. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Abbott BJ, Fukuda D
Physical properties and kinetic behavior of a cephalosporin acetylesterase produced by Bacillus subtilis.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):413-9.
An esterase that deacetylates cephalosporins was recovered from the supernatant of a Bacillus subtilis culture. It was partially purified by ammonium sulfate fractionation and ultrafiltration. The enzyme had a temperature optimum between 40 and 50 C and a pH optimum of 7.0. The molecular weight was estimated by gel filtration to be 190,000. The enzyme was very stable and retained greater than 80% of its activity after storage in solution at 25 C for 1 month. The esterase exhibited Michaelis-Menton kinetics with the substrates 7-aminocephalosporanic acid (7-ACA) and 7-(thiophene-2-acetamido)cephalosporanic acid (cephalothin); the K(m) values were 2.8 X 10(-3) and 8.3 X 10(-3) M, respectively. The products of 7-ACA deacetylation were weak competitive inhibitors, and a K(i) value of 5.0 X 10(-2) M was determined for acetate and of 3.6 X 10-2 M for deacetyl-7-ACA. Weak product inhibition did not prevent the deacetylation reaction from going to completion. A 5-mg/ml solution of partially purified esterase completely hydrolyzed (greater than 99.5%) a 24-mg/ml solution of 7-ACA in 3 h. Because of the kinetic properties and excellent stability, this enzyme may be useful in an immobilized form to prepare large quantities of deacetylated cephalosporin derivatives. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Splittstoesser DF, Lienk LL, Wilkison M, Stamer JR
Influence of wine composition on the heat resistance of potential spoilage organisms.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):369-73.
Pasteurization studies were conducted on 29 yeast and five lactic acid bacteria. In general the yeasts were more heat resistant in wine than were the bacteria. The one exception was a strain of Lactobacillus fructivorans that gave an average D-value of 1.7 min at 60 C. Alcohol was the wine constituent that had the greatest effect on resistance; D-values for all test species were inversely related to the ethanol concentration. The response of organisms to other factors such as pH, sugar, and sulfur dioxide varied with the species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Li E, Yousten AA
Metalloprotease from Bacillus thuringiensis.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):354-61.
Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki was shown to produce an extracellular, metal chelator-sensitive protease during the early stages of sporulation. Protease production in nutrient broth was dependent upon supplementation with Mn2+ or Ca2. The addition of Ca24 was required for enzyme stabilization... [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

De Flora S, De Renzi GP, Badolati G
Detection of animal viruses in coastal seawater and sediments.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):472-5.
Animal viruses, predominantly enteroviruses, were detected in shallow water at bottom depths and in clastic marine sediments. Viruses accumulated in sandy and slimy deposits of the sea bottom near the shore and could be easily released into water by means of simple mechanical shaking. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wilkins JR, Mills SM
Automated single-slide staining device.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):485-8.
An automated single-slide staining device is described. Smears gram stained by the automatic device were equal in quality to the manual method. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bronson DL, Elliott AY, Ritzi D
Concentration of Rous sarcoma virus from tissue culture fluids with polyethylene glycol.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Sep;30(3):464-71.
Concentration of Rous sarcoma virus from tissue culture fluids with polyethylene glycol, with and without NaCl or dextran sulfate, resulted in significant and highly variable losses caused by entrapment of virus particles in proteinaceous debris. Treatment of concentrated preparations with Pronase greatly enhanced the recovery of virions. Maximum recovery of virus particles was obtained by the addition of 8% polyethylene glycol and 0.4 M NaCl to tissue culture fluids, followed by Pronase treatment of the concentrated virus preparations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stanlake GJ, Clark JB
Effects of a Commercial Malathion Preparation on Selected Soil Bacteria.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):335-336.
The aromatic petroleum distillates present in a commercial preparation of malathion insecticide had a greater effect on viability of pure cultures of soil bacteria than did the malathion, whereas neither component had an effect on the population of the natural soil community. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Slyter LL
Automatic pH Control and Soluble and Insoluble Substrate Input for Continuous Culture of Rumen Microorganisms.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):330-332.
An artifical rumen continuous culture with pH control, automated input of water-soluble and water-insoluble substrates, controlled mixing of contents, and a collection system for gas is described. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tiedje JM
Microbial Degradation of Ethylenediaminetetraacetate in Soils and Sediments.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):327-329.
[C]ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA) was shown to be slowly biodegraded to CO(2) in soils and sediments under aerobic conditions and by microorganisms in mixed liquid culture. EDTA chelates of Cu, Cd, Zn, Mn, Ca, and Fe added to soil were equally degraded, while Ni-EDTA was degraded more slowly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dexter SC, Sullivan JD, Williams J, Watson SW
Influence of Substrate Wettability on the Attachment of Marine Bacteria to Various Surfaces.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):298-308.
The effect of the initial substrate surface condition, as indicated by the critical surface tension for wetting, on the rate of attachment of marine bacteria to a variety of solid surfaces has been measured. The techniques used to determine the number of bacteria attached per unit surface area were a lipopolysaccharide test utilizing Limulus lysate and direct examination of the surface by scanning electron microscopy. The results obtained by the two techniques are compared and their significance to the control of microbiological slime film formation (microfouling) is discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Romanelli RA, Houston CW, Barnett SM
Studies on Thermophilic Cellulolytic Fungi.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):276-281.
Three thermophilic cellulolytic fungi, Chaetomium thermophile var. coprophile, Sporotrichum thermophile, and Thermoascus aurantiacus were studied to determine the conditions for a high rate of cellulose degradation. The range of temperature over which good growth occurred was determined first in a temperature gradient incubator; the optimum temperature was then established in shake flask cultures. T. aurantiacus had the highest optimum growth temperature range (46 to 51 C), whereas S. thermophile had the broadest range over which good growth occurred (36 to 43 C). Optimum temperatures for the three organisms, T. aurantiacus, S. Thermophile, and C. thermophile were 48, 40, and 40 C, respectively. It was found that the addition of an organic carbon and nitrogen source to a cellulose mineral solution medium markedly increased the rate of cellulose degradation. The surfactant, Tween 80, which has been reported to be of value in the production and recovery of the enzyme, cellulase, was shown to be detrimental to the degradation of cellulose in culture. In the medium used, S. thermophile gave the highest rate of substrate utilization; 56% of the cellulose was hydrolyzed in 72 h. The average degree of polymerization of cellulose decreased from 745 to 575. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gerson T, Patel JJ
Neutral Lipids and Phospholipids of Free-Living and Bacteroid Forms of Two Strains of Rhizobium Infective on Lotus pedunculatus.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):193-198.
The neutral lipids and phospholipids of two strains of rhizobia in their free-living state and in symbiosis with a host plant are described. The principal lipid classes found were the polymer poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate, phospholipids, free fatty acids, glycerides, methyl esters, aliphatic alcohols, and hydrocarbons. The lipids include unusual unsaturated methyl-branched and saturated methoxy-branched fatty acids. Most components were found to be common to both forms of both strains, although the proportions varied. A number of strain differences could be discerned. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Krzechowska M, Urbanek H
Isolation and Some Properties of Glucoamylase from Cephalosporium charticola Lindau.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):163-166.
High glucoamylase (alpha-D-/1 --> 4/glucan glucohydrolase, EC activity was obtained in the cell-free culture fluid of Cephalosporium charticola. Glucoamylase seems to be the only amylolytic enzyme produced by C. charticola. The enzyme, purified on diethylaminoethyl-cellulose, was homogeneous by disc gel electrophoresis. The optimum pH on starch was 5.4, and optimum temperature was 60 C. Starch was degraded more rapidly than several other substrates; maltose was hydrolyzed about one-fifth as rapidly as starch. The molecular weight was 69,000, as determined by Sephadex G-100 filtration. The enzyme is a glycoprotein and contains about 6.6% sugars (mannose and glucosamine). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bothast RJ, Hesseltine CW
Bright greenish-yellow fluorescence and aflatoxin in agricultural commodities.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):337-8.
The corn milling industry has widely accepted the presence of bright greenish-yellow fluorescence under a black light as a presumptive indicator of aflatoxin (a poison produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus). This test was applied to wheat, oats, barley, rice, coconut, white corn, yellow corn, peanuts, sorghum, and soybeans, and evaluated in the laboratory. Our study supported the use of bright greenish-yellow fluorescence as a presumptive test for aflatoxin in wheat, oats, barley, corn, and sorghum. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Reichelderfer PS, Manischewitz JF, Wells MA, Hochstein HD, Ennis FA
Reduction of endotoxin levels in influenza virus vaccines by barium sulfate adsorption-elution.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):333-4.
The level of endotoxin in influenza virus vaccine lots was reduced 10- to 20-fold after barium sulfate adsorption-elution. The amount of viral antigen lost was negligible. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Benigni R, Petrov PA, Carere A
Estimate of the genome size by renaturation studies in Streptomyces.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):324-6.
The genome sizes of Streptomyces coelicolor and Streptomyces rimosus as calculated by deoxyribonucleic acid reassociation kinetics are approximately 10.5 X 10(6) nucelotide pairs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kaneko T, Colwell RR
Incidence of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Chesapeake Bay.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):251-7.
A Bay-wide survey of the distribution of Vibrio parahaemolyticus was carried out in Chesapeake Bay during May 1972, to determine whether the annual cycle of V. parahaemolyticus which was observed to occur in the Rhode River subestuary of Chesapeake Bay took place in other parts of Chesapeake Bay. In an earlier study, April to early June, when the water temperature rises from 14 to 19 C, was found to be a critical period in the annual cycle of the organism in the Rhode River, since this is the time period when the annual cycle is initiated. Results of this study, however, revealed that V. parahaemolyticus could not be found in the water column during May 1972. Nevertheless, several samples of sediment and plankton yielded V. parahaemolyticus isolates. Comparison of data with those for the Rhode River area examined in the earlier studies of the annual cycle of V. parahaemolyticus suggests that the time of initiation of the annual cycle of V. parahaemolyticus in the open Bay proper may be influenced by various factors such as temperature and salinity, i.e., deeper water locations may show initiation of the V. parahaemolyticus annual cycle later than shallow areas. Confirmation of the presence of the organisms in the samples studied was accomplished using numerical taxonomy with 19 reference strains also included in the analyses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Welch AB, Maxcy RB
Characterization of radiation-resistant vegetative bacteria in beef.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):242-50.
Ground beef contains numerous microorganisms of various types. The commonly recognized bacteria are associated with current problems of spoilage. Irradiation, however, contributes a new factor through selective destruction of the microflora. The residual microorganisms surviving a nonsterilizing dose are predominantly gram-negative coccobacilli. Various classifications have been given, e.g., Moraxella, Acinetobacter, Achromobacter, etc. For a more detailed study of these radiation-resistant bacteria occurring in ground beef, an enrichment procedure was used for isolation. By means of morphological and biochemical tests, most of the isolates were found to be Moraxella, based on current classifications. The range of growth temperatures was from 2 to 50 C. These bacteria were relatively heat sensitive, e.g., D10 of 5.4 min at 70 C or less. The radiation resistance ranged from D10 values of 273 to 2,039 krad. Thus, some were more resistant than any presently recognized spores. A reference culture of Moraxella osloensis was irradiated under conditions comparable to the enrichment procedure used with the ground beef. The only apparent changes were in morphology and penicillin sensitivity. However, after a few subcultures these bacteria reverted to the characteristics of the parent strain. Thus, it is apparent that these isolates are a part of the normal flora of ground beef and not aberrant forms arising from the irradiation procedure. The significance, if any, of these bacteria is not presently recognized. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jasnow SB, Smith JL
Microwave sanitization of color additives used in cosmetics: feasibility study.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):205-11.
Microwave exposure has been explored as a method of microbiologically sanitizing color additives used in cosmetic products. Selected microbiologically unacceptable cosmetic color additives, D&C red no. 7 Ca lake (certified synthetic organic color), carmine (natural organic color not subject to certification), and chromium hydroxide green (inorganic color not subject to certification), were submitted to microwave exposure. Gram-negative bacteria were eliminated, as verified by enrichment procedures, and levels of gram-positive bacteria were reduced. Generally, analytical and dermal safety studies indicated no significant alterations in physical, chemical, and toxicological properties of the colors. Sanitization was also successfully performed on other colors (D&C red no. 9 Ba lake, D&C red no. 12 Ba lake, D&C green no. 5, and FD&C red no. 4); initial physical and chemical tests were satisfactory. Results indicated that this method of sanitization is feasible and warrants further investigation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Blankenship LC, Cox NA, Craven SE, Richardson RL
Total rinse method for microbiological sampling of the internal cavity of eviscerated broiler carcasses.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):290-2.
A method is described for spray-rinse sampling the entire visceral cavity of broiler chicken carcasses for microbiological analyses. The method is designed to provide a more comprehensive sample than swabbing or excision of small areas. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Darland G
Principal component analysis of infraspecific variation in bacteria.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):282-9.
In certain types of ecological investigations it may be desirable to investigate infraspecific variation in bacteria. Principal component analysis is demonstrated to be satisfactory for this purpose. Hypothetical bacterial populations were used to show that such analysis can be used to compare collections of bacterial isolates taken at different times or from different sources. Alternatively, given n isolates, whether they represent a single bacterial population can be determined. The method is applied to authentic collections of bacteria in three separate analyses. The results are compatible with current taxonomic tenets. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Troast JL
Antibodies against enteric bacteria in brown bullhead catfish (Ictalurus nebulosus, LeSueur) inhabiting contaminated waters.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):189-92.
Brown bullhead catfish were collected from sewage- and acid mine waste-polluted waters in an attempt to detect antibodies against human enteric bacteria in their sera and to investigate the association of antibody response with environmental conditions. Agglutination antigens prepared from isolates obtained from water collected at the same locations as the fish habitats were used to demonstrate such antibodies. The results showed large percentages of reactive sera for common isolates such as Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae as well as lesser incidences of antibodies to other, less common isolates. In general, fish with the highest titres were collected from habitats with higher coliform counts. Acid mine drainage reduced the total coliform counts, but did not appear to affect the titers of sera from fish collected from water so affected. It was concluded that the bottom-feeding catfish might be a better subject for the study of fish as an ecological indicator of fecal pollution in acid-polluted waters. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Prior BA, Fennema O, Marth EH
Comparative effects of anesthetics on the viability and integrity of Escherichia coli ML30.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):178-85.
Cells of Escherichia coli ML30 in a mineral salts medium were exposed to dichlorodifluoromethane (f-12), cyclopropane, halothane, or Ethrane at concentrations of 1.25, 0.2, 0.04, and 0.008 X saturation for times up to 1,200 min, and at temperatures in the range of 2 to 37 C. When any of these anesthetics were applied for 300 min at 1.25 X saturation, a substantial decrease in number of survivors occurred. Halothane was most bactericidal, cyclopropane and Ethrane were moderately bactericidal, and t-12 was least bactericidal. At saturation values of less than 1.0, none of the four anesthetics had an appreciable effect on viability of E. coli. Greatest increases in cell permeability occurred when anesthetics were used at saturation values of 1.25, and permeability changes generally decreased as the concentrations of the chemicals were reduced. In many instances, anesthetics in the vapor state caused significant increases in cell permeability but little or no loss of viability. This indicated that a close relationship did not exist between loss of viability and increased permeability. All four anesthetics caused E. coli to lose substantial and similar amounts of compounds absorbing at 260 nm. Release of compounds absorbing at 260 nm generally increased as the saturation value of a given chemical was increased. Halothane, Ethrane, and cyclopropane but not f-12 caused lysis of E. coli ML300. Considering all results, E. coli ML30 was damaged more by halothane or cyclopropane than by f-12 or Ethrane. When f-12 was applied at a saturation value of 1.25, the bactericidal effect on E. coli was much greater at 37 or 22 C than at 12 or 2 C. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Raccach M, Rottem S, Razin S
Survival of frozen mycoplasmas.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):167-71.
Cooling to -70 C killed a higher percentage of Acholeplasma laidlawii and Mycoplasma mycoides var. capri cells than cooling to -20 C. However, to preserve cell viability for prolonged periods storage at -70 C was much more preferable. The percentage of cells surviving freezing could be increased by increasing the initial cell concentration or by the addition of dimethyl sulfoxide or glycerol as cryoprotective agents. In the presence of 1.5 M of any one of these agents survival rates of up to 100% could be obtained. The optimal cooling rates for maximal survival of A. laidlawii under the experimental conditions tested were 11 C/min for cooling to -20 C and about 15 C/min for cooling to -70 C. Increasing the warming rate during thawing from 0.6 to 67 C/min increased survival by 3 log. Oleic acid enrichment of A. laidlawii membrane lipids, or reduction in the cholesterol content of M. mycoides var. capri membranes, increased the percentage of organisms surviving freezing. Hence, the composition of membrane lipids appears to have a marked influence on the susceptibility of mycoplasmas to freezing injury. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Previte JJ, Rowley DB, Wells R
Improvements in a non-proprietary radiometric medium to allow the detection of some Pseudomonas species and Alcaligenes faecalis.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):339-40.
The addition of [5-14C]glutamate and [14C]formate to a non-proprietary medium containing [14C]glucose, Trypticase, yeast extract, thiotone, and salts enabled the radiometric detection of the presence of nonfermenters of glucose. It did not interfere with the rapid detection of the presence of aerobic and anaerobic sporeforemers and nonsporeformers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ludovici PP, Roinestad FA, Wong FS
Column chromatography and cell culture assay of Pseudomonas aeruginosa toxin Z preparations.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):293-7.
Toxic material produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cell culture was concentrated and partially purified. This toxic material, designated toxin Z, was produced during the growth of strain PA Z or PA 103 in HEp-2 monolayer cultures using Eagle minimal essential medium with 10% serum. Toxin Z, concentrated fourfold by Lyphogel or ultrafiltration, was used to produce antiserum in rabbits and also was fractionated by column chromatography. Twentyfold purification of toxin Z was obtained on a Sephadex G-200 column. Toxic column fractions were confirmed to have toxin Z by neutralization with specific antiserum. During concentration, purification, and neutralization procedures, the toxin was assayed exclusively by the cytopathic effect it produced in cell culture. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Campbell LM, Roth IL
Methyl violet: a selective agent for differentiation of Klebsiella pneumoniae from Enterobacter aerogenes and other gram-negative organisms.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):258-61.
Three selective media for differentiation of Klebsiella pneumoniae from Enterobacter aerogenes on the basis of colonial morphology were evaluated. Using methyl violet 2B as a selective agent, strains of K. pneumoniae isolated from urine, fresh water, and fresh produce were tested against other members of Enterobacteriaceae in addition to strains of Aeromonas hydrophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Comparison of colonial morphology showed K. pneumoniae produced larger, smoother colonies than other bacteria tested. These media were developed to aid in presumptive separation of K. pneumoniae from E. aerogenes in the monitoring of bacterial quality of water. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Buchanan JR, Sommer NF, Fortlage RJ
Aspergillus flavus infection and aflatoxin production in fig fruits.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):238-41.
Immature fig fruits did not support colonization and aflatoxin production by Aspergillus flavus Lk. but became susceptible when ripe. While sun-drying on the tree, fruits were particularly vulnerable to fungal infection and colonization. Aflatoxin accumulation equaled levels frequently reported for such seeds as peanuts and cereal grains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Björck L, Rosén C, Marshall V, Reiter B
Antibacterial activity of the lactoperoxidase system in milk against pseudomonads and other gram-negative bacteria.
Appl Microbiol. 1975 Aug;30(2):199-204.
Products of thiocyanate oxidation by lactoperoxidase inhibit gram-positive bacteria that produce peroxide. We found these products to be bactericidal for such gram-negative bacteria as Pseudomonas species and Escherichia coli, provided peroxide is supplied exogenously by glucose oxidase and glucose. By the use of immobilized glucose oxidase the bacterial agent was shown to be dialyzable, destroyed by heat and counteracted, or destroyed by reducing agents. Because the system is active against a number of gram-negative bacteria isolated from milk, it may possibly be exploited to increase the keeping quality of raw milk. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Bacteriological Reviews

Clowes RC
Molecular structure of bacterial plasmids.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Sep;36(3):361-405. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Maniloff J, Morowitz HJ
Cell biology of the mycoplasmas.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Sep;36(3):263-90. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Survey of Numerical Techniques for Grouping.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):261.
[This corrects the article on p. 379 in vol. 35.][This corrects the article on p. 381 in vol. 35.][This corrects the article on p. 384 in vol. 35.][This corrects the article on p. 387 in vol. 35.][This corrects the article on p. 388 in vol. 35.][This corrects the article on p. 389 in vol. 35.]. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dalton H, Mortenson LE
Dinitrogen (N 2 ) fixation (with a biochemical emphasis).
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):231-60. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Koltin Y, Stamberg J, Lemke PA
Genetic structure and evolution of the incompatibility factors in higher fungi.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):156-71. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Horvath RS
Microbial co-metabolism and the degradation of organic compounds in nature.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):146-55. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lechevalier H
Dmitri Iosifovich Ivanovski (1864-1920).
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):135-45. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Harold FM
Conservation and transformation of energy by bacterial membranes.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Jun;36(2):172-230. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kozak M, Nathans D
Translation of the genome of a ribonucleic acid bacteriophage.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Mar;36(1):109-34. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ramakrishnan T, Murthy PS, Gopinathan KP
Intermediary metabolism of mycobacteria.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Mar;36(1):65-108. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goren MB
Mycobacterial lipids: selected topics.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Mar;36(1):33-64. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Walsby AE
Structure and function of gas vacuoles.
Bacteriol Rev. 1972 Mar;36(1):1-32. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gordon HA, Pesti L
The gnotobiotic animal as a tool in the study of host microbial relationships.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Dec;35(4):390-429. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bergan T
Survey of numerical techniques for grouping.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Dec;35(4):379-89. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tizard IR
Macrophage-cytophilic antibodies and the functions of macrophage-bound immunoglobulins.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Dec;35(4):365-78. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shatkin AJ
Viruses with segmented ribonucleic acid genomes: multiplication of influenza versus reovirus.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):250-66. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lamanna C, Sakaguchi G
Botulinal toxins and the problem of nomenclature of simple toxins.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):242-9. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hungate RE
The search for reality.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):231-4. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wehrli W, Staehelin M
Actions of the rifamycins.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):290-309. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kalter SS, Heberling RL
Comparative virology of primates.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):310-64. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Halliday WJ
Immunological paralysis of mice with pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):267-89. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Baltimore D
Expression of animal virus genomes.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Sep;35(3):235-41. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stanier RY, Kunisawa R, Mandel M, Cohen-Bazire G
Purification and properties of unicellular blue-green algae (order Chroococcales).
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Jun;35(2):171-205. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Simmons DA
Immunochemistry of Shigella flexneri O-antigens: a study of structural and genetic aspects of the biosynthesis of cell-surface antigens.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Jun;35(2):117-48. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ornston LN
Regulation of catabolic pathways in Pseudomonas.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Jun;35(2):87-116. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stanbridge E
Mycoplasmas and cell cultures.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Jun;35(2):206-27. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Necas O
Cell wall synthesis in yeast protoplasts.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Jun;35(2):149-70. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kahan BD, Reisfeld RA
Chemical markers of transplantation individuality solubilized with sonic energy.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Mar;35(1):59-85. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brock TD
Microbial growth rates in nature.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Mar;35(1):39-58. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rothfield L, Romeo D
Role of lipids in the biosynthesis of the bacterial cell envelope.
Bacteriol Rev. 1971 Mar;35(1):14-38. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Immunology

Su DM, Manley NR
Stage-specific changes in fetal thymocyte proliferation during the CD4-8- to CD4+8+ transition in wild type, Rag1-/-, and Hoxa3,Pax1 mutant mice.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Sep 19;312.
BACKGROUND: The function of the thymic microenvironment is to promote thymocyte maturation, in part via regulation of thymocyte proliferation and cell death. Defects in fetal thymic epithelial cell (TEC) development and function, and therefore in the formation of a functional microenvironment, can be caused either directly by TEC differentiation defects or indirectly by defective thymocyte maturation. In this paper we studied fetal thymocyte proliferation during the early transition from the CD3-4-8- (triple negative, TN) to CD4+8+ (double positive, DP) stages. We compared wild type mice with Rag1-/- mice and with Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- compound mutant mice, which have blocks at different stages of thymocyte development. RESULTS: Wild type fetal and adult thymus showed stage-specific differences in the proliferation profiles of developing thymocytes, with fetal stages showing generally higher levels of proliferation. The proliferation profile of fetal thymocytes from Rag1-/- mutants also had stage-specific increases in proliferation compared to wild type fetal thymocytes, in contrast to the lower proliferation previously reported for thymocytes from adult Rag1-/- mutants. We have previously shown that Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- mice have abnormal fetal TEC development, resulting in increased apoptosis at the TN to DP transition and decreased DP cell numbers. Fetal thymocytes from Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- compound mutants had increased proliferation, but fewer proliferating cells, at the DP stage. We also observed a decrease in the level of the cytokines IL-7 and SCF produced by Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/-TECs. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate complex and stage-specific effects of abnormal TEC development on thymocyte proliferation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hofmann N, Lachnit N, Streppel M, Witter B, Neiss WF, Guntinas-Lichius O, Angelov DN
Increased expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, MCP-1, and MIP-1 alpha by spinal perivascular macrophages during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Aug 26;311.
BACKGROUND: T-cells extravasation and CNS parenchyma infiltration during autoimmune neurodegenerative disease can be evoked by local antigen presenting cells. Studying the chemoattracting potential of spinal perivascular macrophages (SPM) during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), we observed numerous infiltrates of densely-packed mononuclear cells. Apart from the poor spatial and optical resolution, no differentiation between the resident SPM (mabs ED1+, ED2+) and the just recruited monocytes/macrophages (mab ED1+) was possible. RESULTS: This is why we labeled SPM by injections of different fluoresecent dyes into the lateral cerebral ventricle before induction of active EAE. Within an additional experimental set EAE was induced by an intraperitoneal injection of T-cells specifically sensitized to myelin basic protein (MBP) and engineered to express the green fluorescent protein (GFP). In both experiments we observed a strong activation of SPM (mabs OX6+, SILK6+, CD40+, CD80+, CD86+) which was accompanied by a consistently increased expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and the chemokines MCP-1 and MIP-1alpha. CONCLUSION: These observations indicate that SPM play a role in promoting lymphocyte extravasation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Allen CE, Mak CH, Wu LC
The kappa B transcriptional enhancer motif and signal sequences of V(D)J recombination are targets for the zinc finger protein HIVEP3/KRC: a site selection amplification binding study.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Aug 22;310.
BACKGROUND: The ZAS family is composed of proteins that regulate transcription via specific gene regulatory elements. The amino-DNA binding domain (ZAS-N) and the carboxyl-DNA binding domain (ZAS-C) of a representative family member, named kappaB DNA binding and recognition component (KRC), were expressed as fusion proteins and their target DNA sequences were elucidated by site selection amplification binding assays, followed by cloning and DNA sequencing. The fusion proteins-selected DNA sequences were analyzed by the MEME and MAST computer programs to obtain consensus motifs and DNA elements bound by the ZAS domains. RESULTS: Both fusion proteins selected sequences that were similar to the kappaB motif or the canonical elements of the V(D)J recombination signal sequences (RSS) from a pool of degenerate oligonucleotides. Specifically, the ZAS-N domain selected sequences similar to the canonical RSS nonamer, while ZAS-C domain selected sequences similar to the canonical RSS heptamer. In addition, both KRC fusion proteins selected oligonucleoties with sequences identical to heptamer and nonamer sequences within endogenous RSS. CONCLUSIONS: The RSS are cis-acting DNA motifs which are essential for V(D)J recombination of antigen receptor genes. Due to its specific binding affinity for RSS and kappaB-like transcription enhancer motifs, we hypothesize that KRC may be involved in the regulation of V(D)J recombination. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nirmala R, Narayanan PR
Flow cytometry--a rapid tool to correlate functional activities of human peripheral blood lymphocytes with their corresponding phenotypes after in vitro stimulation.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Aug 7;39.
BACKGROUND: While dealing with mixed in vitro lymphocyte cultures one is faced with the problem of relative contributions of different populations to the activity being studied. This is especially true in the controversy relating to the contributions of lymphocyte sub-populations to the Lymphokine Activated Killer (LAK) phenomenon. Flowcytometry can be used to highlight relative contributions of lymphocyte subpopulations towards LAK activity without resorting to difficult purification strategies. We set up long-term in vitro lymphocyte cultures, stimulated them with cytokines IL-2/IL-12, recorded their phenotypic changes and cytotoxic activity against U-937 tumor targets. RESULTS: The results indicated that natural killer cells (NK) constituted the predominant proliferating cell population in the cytokine stimulatedcultures. Flowcytometric evidence revealed that CD56+ T cells contributed little to LAK activity against U937 target cells as compared to cells with NK phenotype which were predominantly responsible for spontaneous killing of the tumor targets. The two cytokines, IL-2 and IL-12, had an additive effect on cell proliferation and spontaneous cytotoxicity. CONCLUSION: Flowcytometry can be used to rapidly delineate phenotypic changes in immune cells after stimulation and simultaneously correlate them with corresponding functional activity. This approach may find application as a initial screening tool for studying different types of cells in mixed cultures and their respective activities under stimulatory / inhibitory conditions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dutra WO, Correa-Oliveira R, Dunne D, Cecchini LF, Fraga L, Roberts M, Soares-Silveira AM, Webster M, Yssel H, Gollob KJ
Polarized Th2 like cells, in the absence of Th0 cells, are responsible for lymphocyte produced IL-4 in high IgE-producer schistosomiasis patients.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Jul 6;38.
BACKGROUND: Human resistance to re-infection with S. mansoni is correlated with high levels of anti-soluble adult worm antigens (SWAP) IgE. Although it has been shown that IL-4 and IL-5 are crucial in establishing IgE responses in vitro, the active in vivo production of these cytokines by T cells, and the degree of polarization of Th2 vs. Th0 in human schistosomiasis is not known. To address this question, we determined the frequency of IL-4 and IFN-gamma or IL-5 and IL-2 producing lymphocytes from schistosomiasis patients with high or low levels of IgE anti-SWAP. RESULTS: Our analysis showed that high and low IgE-producers responded equally to schistosomiasis antigens as determined by proliferation. Moreover, patients from both groups displayed similar percentages of circulating lymphocytes. However, high IgE-producers had an increased percentage of activated CD4+ T cells as compared to the low IgE-producers. Moreover, intracellular cytokine analysis, after short-term stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 mAbs, showed that IgE high-producers display an increase in the percentage of T lymphocytes expressing IL-4 and IL-5 as compared to IgE low-responders. A coordinate control of the frequency of IL-4 and IL-5 producing lymphocytes in IgE high, but not IgE low-responders, was observed. CONCLUSIONS: High IgE phenotype human schistosomiasis patients exhibit a coordinate regulation of IL-4 and IL-5 producing cells and the lymphocyte derived IL-4 comes from true polarized Th2 like cells, in the absence of measurable Th0 cells as measured by co-production of IL-4 and IFN-gamma. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Loke P, Nair MG, Parkinson J, Guiliano D, Blaxter M, Allen JE
IL-4 dependent alternatively-activated macrophages have a distinctive in vivo gene expression phenotype.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Jul 4;37.
BACKGROUND: "Alternatively-activated" macrophages are found in Th2-mediated inflammatory settings such as nematode infection and allergic pulmonary inflammation. Due in part to a lack of markers, these cells have not been well characterized in vivo and their function remains unknown. RESULTS: We have used murine macrophages elicited by nematode infection (NeM(phi)) as a source of in vivo derived alternatively activated macrophages. Using three distinct yet complementary molecular approaches we have established a gene expression profile of alternatively activated macrophages and identified macrophage genes that are regulated in vivo by IL-4. First, genes abundantly expressed were identified by an expressed sequence tag strategy. Second, an array of 1176 known mouse genes was screened for differential expression between NeM(phi) from wild type or IL-4 deficient mice. Third, a subtractive library was screened to identify novel IL-4 dependent macrophage genes. Differential expression was confirmed by real time RT-PCR analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that alternatively activated macrophages generated in vivo have a gene expression profile distinct from any macrophage population described to date. Several of the genes we identified, including those most abundantly expressed, have not previously been associated with macrophages and thus this study provides unique new information regarding the phenotype of macrophages found in Th2-mediated, chronic inflammatory settings. Our data also provide additional in vivo evidence for parallels between the inflammatory processes involved in nematode infection and allergy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Iribarren P, Correa SG, Sodero N, Riera CM
Activation of macrophages by silicones: phenotype and production of oxidant metabolites.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Jul 1;36.
BACKGROUND: The effect of silicones on the immune function is not fully characterized. In clinical and experimental studies, immune alterations associated with silicone gel seem to be related to macrophage activation. In this work we examined in vivo, phenotypic and functional changes on peritoneal macrophages early (24 h or 48 h) and late (45 days) after the intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of dimethylpolysiloxane (DMPS) (silicone). We studied the expression of adhesion and co-stimulatory molecules and both the spontaneous and the stimulated production of reactive oxygen intermediates and nitric oxide (NO). RESULTS: The results presented here demonstrate that the fluid compound DMPS induced a persistent cell recruitment at the site of the injection. Besides, cell activation was still evident 45 days after the silicone injection: activated macrophages exhibited an increased expression of adhesion (CD54 and CD44) and co-stimulatory molecules (CD86) and an enhanced production of oxidant metabolites and NO. CONCLUSIONS: Silicones induced a persistent recruitment of leukocytes at the site of the injection and macrophage activation was still evident 45 days after the injection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sayama K, Diehn M, Matsuda K, Lunderius C, Tsai M, Tam SY, Botstein D, Brown PO, Galli SJ
Transcriptional response of human mast cells stimulated via the Fc(epsilon)RI and identification of mast cells as a source of IL-11.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Jun 12;35.
BACKGROUND: In asthma and other allergic disorders, the activation of mast cells by IgE and antigen induces the cells to release histamine and other mediators of inflammation, as well as to produce certain cytokines and chemokines. To search for new mast cell products, we used complementary DNA microarrays to analyze gene expression in human umbilical cord blood-derived mast cells stimulated via the high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc(epsilon)RI). RESULTS: One to two hours after Fc(epsilon)RI-dependent stimulation, more than 2,400 genes (about half of which are of unknown function) exhibited 2-200 fold changes in expression. The transcriptional program included changes in the expression of IL-11 and at least 30 other cytokines and chemokines. Human mast cells secreted 130-529 pg of IL-11/106 cells by 6 h after stimulation with anti-IgE. CONCLUSION: Our initial analysis of the transcriptional program induced in in vitro-derived human mast cells stimulated via the Fc(epsilon)RI has identified many products that heretofore have not been associated with this cell type, but which may significantly influence mast cell function in IgE-associated host responses. We also have demonstrated that mast cells stimulated via the Fc(epsilon)RI can secrete IL-11. Based on the previously reported biological effects of IL-11, our results suggest that production of IL-11 may represent one link between IgE-dependent mast cell activation in subjects with allergic asthma and the development of a spectrum of structural changes in the airways of these individuals; such changes, collectively termed "airway remodeling," can constitute an important long term consequence of asthma. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hurez V, Dzialo-Hatton R, Oliver J, Matthews RJ, Weaver CT
Efficient adenovirus-mediated gene transfer into primary T cells and thymocytes in a new coxsackie/adenovirus receptor transgenic model.
BMC Immunol. 2002 May 2;34.
BACKGROUND: Gene transfer studies in primary T cells have suffered from the limitations of conventional viral transduction or transfection techniques. Replication-defective adenoviral vectors are an attractive alternative for gene delivery. However, naive lymphocytes are not readily susceptible to infection with adenoviruses due to insufficient expression of the coxsackie/adenovirus receptor. RESULTS: To render T cells susceptible to adenoviral gene transfer, we have developed three new murine transgenic lines in which expression of the human coxsackie/adenovirus receptor (hCAR) with a truncated cytoplasmic domain (hCAR(Delta)cyt) is limited to thymocytes and lymphocytes under direction of a human CD2 mini-gene. hCAR(Delta)cyt.CD2 transgenic mice were crossed with DO11.10 T cell receptor transgenic mice (DO11.hCAR(Delta)cyt) to allow developmental studies in a defined, clonal T cell population. Expression of hCAR(Delta)cyt enabled adenoviral transduction of resting primary CD4+ T cells, differentiated effector T cells and thymocytes from DO11.hCAR(Delta)cyt with high efficiency. Expression of hCAR(Delta)cyt transgene did not perturb T cell development in these mice and adenoviral transduction of DO11.hCAR(Delta)cyt T cells did not alter their activation status, functional responses or differentiative potential. Adoptive transfer of the transduced T cells into normal recipients did not modify their physiologic localization. CONCLUSION: The DO11.hCAR(Delta)cyt transgenic model thus allows efficient gene transfer in primary T cell populations and will be valuable for novel studies of T cell activation and differentiation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ferret PJ, Soum E, Negre O, Fradelizi D
Auto-protective redox buffering systems in stimulated macrophages.
BMC Immunol. 2002 Mar 12;33.
BACKGROUND: Macrophages, upon encounter with micro-organisms or stimulated by cytokines, produce various effector molecules aimed at destroying the foreign agents and protecting the organism. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are front line molecules exerting strong cytotoxic activities against micro-organisms and many cells, including macrophages themselves. Using cells of the murine macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7) stimulated in vitro with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and/or interferon (IFN-gamma), which induce strong endogenous NO production, we examined by which mechanisms a fraction of activated macrophages protect themselves from nitrosative stress and manage to escape destruction? RESULTS: We observed that survivors (10-50% depending on the experiments) had acquired a resistant phenotype being capable to survive when further exposed in vitro to an apoptosis inducing dose of the NO donor compound DETA-NO. These cells expressed an increased steady-state levels of Mn SOD, CuZn SOD and catalase mRNA (130-200%), together with an increased activity of the corresponding enzymes. Intracellular concentration of glutathione was also increased (x 3.5 fold at 6 hours, still maintained x 5.2 fold at 48 hours). Neither mRNA for glutathione peroxydase, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthase and glutathione reductase, nor thioredoxine and thioredoxine reductase, were significantly modified. Additional experiments in which RAW 264.7 cells were stimulated with LPS and/or IFN-gamma in the presence of relatively specific inhibitors of both Mn and Cu/Zn SOD, aminotriazol (ATZ) catalase inhibitor and buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) glutathione inhibitor, showed that inhibiting LPS-induced up-regulation of intracellular redox buffering systems also prevented acquisition of the resistant phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest a direct causal relationship between survival of a fraction of macrophages and a up-regulation of key sets of auto-protective intracellular redox buffering systems, occurring simultaneously with modulation of expression of apoptotic molecules of the Bcl2-Bcl-XL/Bax-Bad family. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mucha JM, Stickler MM, Poulose AJ, Ganshaw G, Saldajeno M, Collier K, Huang MT, Harding FA
Enhanced immunogenicity of a functional enzyme by T cell epitope modification.
BMC Immunol. 2002;32.
BACKGROUND: T helper epitopes are necessary for the induction of high titers of antigen-specific IgG antibodies. We are interested in the epitope modification of intact proteins as a method to enhance their immunogenicity for the generation of recombinant protein-based vaccines. RESULTS: Hartley strain guinea pig T cell epitopes were mapped for two related bacterial proteases. Two T cell epitopes were found in one of the proteases, while a comparatively reduced immunogenicity protease had no detectable T cell epitopes. A T cell epitope sequence homologous to the immunogenic protease was created in the less immunogenic protease by changing a single amino acid. Proliferative responses to the whole protein parent enzyme were two-fold higher in splenocyte cultures from variant-immunized animals. We found that the single amino acid change in the variant resulted in a protein immunogen that induced higher titers of antigen-specific IgG antibody at low doses and at early time points during the immunization protocol. The serum from parent- and variant-immunized guinea pigs cross-reacted at both the protein and the peptide level. Finally, animals primed to the variant but boosted with the parent enzyme had higher levels of antigen-specific IgG than animals immunized with the parent enzyme alone. CONCLUSIONS: With a single amino acid change we have introduced a T cell epitope into a comparatively low-immunogenic enzyme and have increased its immunogenicity while retaining the enzyme's original proteolytic function. The ability to immunomodulate proteins while leaving their function intact has important implication for the development of recombinant vaccines and protein-based therapeutics. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martinez-Valdez H, Madrid-Marina V, Cohen A
Phorbol esters and cAMP differentially regulate the expression of CD4 and CD8 in human thymocytes.
BMC Immunol. 2002;31.
BACKGROUND: Intrathymic development and selection of the T lymphocyte repertoire is restricted by the interactions of the T cell antigen receptor and CD4 or CD8 co-receptors with self major histocompatibility complex molecules. Positive or negative selection depends on a tight regulatory control of CD4 and CD8 expression. Determining the intracellular signals that differentially regulate the expression of CD4 and CD8 is important to understand the mechanisms that are implicated in selection of single positive CD4+CD8- or CD4-CD8+. RESULTS: The present study shows that stimulation of human thymocytes by phorbol esters or cAMP result in a differential regulation of CD4 and CD8 expression, both at the mRNA and cell surface glycoprotein level. CONCLUSIONS: The differential regulation of CD4 and CD8 gene expression suggests that the selective activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinases (PKA) may be required for the selection of single positive CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+ cells during Intrathymic differentiation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Eylar EH, Lefranc CE, Yamamura Y, Báez I, Colón-Martinez SL, Rodriguez N, Breithaupt TB
HIV infection and aging: enhanced Interferon- and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha production by the CD8+ CD28- T subset.
BMC Immunol. 2001;210.
BACKGROUND: T cells from HIV+ and aged individuals show parallels in terms of suppressed proliferative activity and interleukin-2 (I1-2) production and an increased number of CD8+ CD28- T cells. In order to compare cytokine production from T cells from these two states, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from HIV+ aged, and normal young donors (controls) were monitored for cytokine production by flow cytometry, quantitative PCR and ELISA upon activation by PMA and anti-CD3. In addition, the CD8+ T cell subsets CD28+ and CD28- from the HIV+ and the aged groups were evaluated for cytokine production by flow cytometry, and compared with those from young controls. RESULTS: Flow cytometric analysis indicated that CD8+ T cells from both HIV+ and aged donors showed an increase of approximately 2-3 fold over controls in percentage of cells producing inflammatory cytokines IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. Similar analysis also revealed that the production of interleukins-4,6 and 10, production was very low (1-2% of cells) and unchanged in these cells. Quantitative PCR also showed a substantial increase (4-5 fold) in IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha mRNA from HIV+ and aged CD8+ T cells, as did ELISA for secreted IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha (2.3-4 fold). Flow cytometric analysis showed that the CD8+ CD28- T cell subset accounts for approximately 80-86% of the IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha production from the CD8+ subset in the aged and HIV+ states. The CD4+ T cell, while not significantly changed in the HIV+ or aged states in terms of IFN-gamma production, showed a small but significant increase in TNF-alpha production in both states. CONCLUSIONS: Our data appear compatible with physiologic conditions existing in HIV+ and aged individuals, i.e. elevated serum levels and elevated CD8+ T cell production of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. Thus, the capacity for increased production of cytokines IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha in the aged individual by the dominant CD8+ CD28- subset may have a profound influence on the clinical state by aggravating inflammatory pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly Alzheimer's disease and Crohn's disease. In AIDS, these cytokines may contribute to wasting and cachexia. We theorize that the predominant phenotypic change to the cytotoxic CD8+ CD28- T cell subsets in both the HIV+ and the aged states may reflect a natural "endpoint" in CD8+ T cell differentiation induced after a lifetime of immune activity (toward viruses, etc) in the aged, and after a massive accelerated response to HIV in the HIV-positive individual. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hume DA, Underhill DM, Sweet MJ, Ozinsky AO, Liew FY, Aderem A
Macrophages exposed continuously to lipopolysaccharide and other agonists that act via toll-like receptors exhibit a sustained and additive activation state.
BMC Immunol. 2001;211.
BACKGROUND: Macrophages sense microorganisms through activation of members of the Toll-like receptor family, which initiate signals linked to transcription of many inflammation associated genes. In this paper we examine whether the signal from Toll-like receptors [TLRs] is sustained for as long as the ligand is present, and whether responses to different TLR agonists are additive. RESULTS: RAW264 macrophage cells were doubly-transfected with reporter genes in which the IL-12p40, ELAM or IL-6 promoter controls firefly luciferase, and the human IL-1beta promoter drives renilla luciferase. The resultant stable lines provide robust assays of macrophage activation by TLR stimuli including LPS [TLR4], lipopeptide [TLR2], and bacterial DNA [TLR9], with each promoter demonstrating its own intrinsic characteristics. With each of the promoters, luciferase activity was induced over an 8 hr period, and thereafter reached a new steady state. Elevated expression required the continued presence of agonist. Sustained responses to different classes of agonist were perfectly additive. This pattern was confirmed by measuring inducible cytokine production in the same cells. While homodimerization of TLR4 mediates responses to LPS, TLR2 appears to require heterodimerization with another receptor such as TLR6. Transient expression of constitutively active forms of TLR4 or TLR2 plus TLR6 stimulated IL-12 promoter activity. The effect of LPS, a TLR4 agonist, was additive with that of TLR2/6 but not TLR4, whilst that of lipopeptide, a TLR2 agonist, was additive with TLR4 but not TLR2/6. Actions of bacterial DNA were additive with either TLR4 or TLR2/6. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that maximal activation by any one TLR pathway does not preclude further activation by another, suggesting that common downstream regulatory components are not limiting. Upon exposure to a TLR agonist, macrophages enter a state of sustained activation in which they continuously sense the presence of a microbial challenge. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brown DC, Larson RS
Improvements to parallel plate flow chambers to reduce reagent and cellular requirements.
BMC Immunol. 2001;29.
BACKGROUND: The parallel plate flow chamber has become a mainstay for examination of leukocytes under physiologic flow conditions. Several design modifications have occurred over the years, yet a comparison of these different designs has not been performed. In addition, the reagent requirements of many designs prohibit the study of rare leukocyte populations and require large amounts of reagents. RESULTS: In this study, we evaluate modifications to a newer parallel plate flow chamber design in comparison to the original parallel plate flow chamber described by Lawrence et al. We show that modifications in the chamber size, internal tubing diameters, injection valves, and a recirculation design may dramatically reduce the cellular and reagent requirements without altering measurements. CONCLUSIONS: These modifications are simple and easily implemented so that study of rare leukocyte subsets using scarce or expensive reagents can occur. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liu SZ, Jin SZ, Liu XD, Sun YM
Role of CD28/B7 costimulation and IL-12/IL-10 interaction in the radiation-induced immune changes.
BMC Immunol. 2001;28.
BACKGROUND: The present paper aims at studying the role of B7/CD28 interaction and related cytokine production in the immunological changes after exposure to different doses of ionizing radiation. RESULTS: The stimulatory effect of low dose radiation (LDR) on the proliferative response of lymphocytes to Con A was found to require the presence of APCs. The addition of APCs obtained from both low- and high-dose-irradiated mice to splenic lymphocytes separated from low-dose-irradiated mice caused stimulation of lymphocyte proliferation. B7-1/2 expression on APCs was up-regulated after both low and high doses of radiation. There was up-regulation of CD28 expression on splenic and thymic lymphocytes after LDR and its suppression after high dose radiation (HDR), and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) expression showed changes in the opposite direction. IL-12 secretion by macrophages was stimulated after both low and high doses of radiation, but IL-10 synthesis by splenocytes was suppressed by low dose radiation and up-regulated by high dose radiation. CONCLUSION: The status of CD28/CTLA-4 expression on T lymphocytes in the presence of up-regulated B7 expression on APCs determined the outcome of the immune changes in response to radiation, i.e., up-regulation of CD28 after LDR resulted in immunoenhancement, and up-regulation of CTLA-4 associated with down-regulation of CD28 after HDR led to immunosuppression. Both low and high doses of radiation up-regulated B7-1/2 expression on APCs. After LDR, the stimulated proliferative effect of increased IL-12 secretion by APCs, reinforced by the suppressed secretion of IL-10, further strengthened the intracellular signaling induced by B7-CD28 interaction. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Domínguez-Gerpe L, Rey-Méndez M
Alterations induced by chronic stress in lymphocyte subsets of blood and primary and secondary immune organs of mice.
BMC Immunol. 2001;27.
BACKGROUND: The immune system is particularly sensitive to stress. Although acute stress generally has positive effects, chronic stress typically provokes immunosuppression. The elucidation of the mechanisms involved in immunosuppression are of interest for the design of therapeutic approaches to avoid the appearance of stress disorders. This study aimed to investigate chronic stress-induced alterations on lymphocyte subset distribution and percentages. The experiments were performed with C57BL/6 mice subjected to chronic immobilization stress. RESULTS: Stress caused a marked increase in apoptosis inside the thymus, and a reduction in the total number of thymocytes. Furthermore, the proportion of immature thymocytes declined significantly suggesting that the increased apoptosis mainly affected cells of immature phenotype. In blood, the total number of lymphocytes diminished but not all lymphocyte populations showed the same tendency: while the relative proportion of B cells declined slightly, the relative proportion of circulating CD3+ cells, and particularly some T cell subsets showing an immature phenotype (CD3+PNA+), increased under stress. The spleen and lymph nodes show a marked reduction in cellularity, but the relative proportion of T cells increased, while no change or only a slight reduction was observed in the relative proportion of B cells. Similarly, the relative proportion of T cells increased in bone marrow. CONCLUSIONS: Detailed data on the alterations of lymphoid cell subsets occurring under immobilization stress, both in the bloodstream and in different lymphoid tissues, are obtained. In general, T cells are more affected than B cells and, in particular, a marked increase in the percentage of a subset of circulating PNA+CD3+ T cells is observed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nunez R, Filgueira L
Flow cytometric assessment of the reactivity of a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against two populations of human dendritic cells (DC).
BMC Immunol. 2001;26.
BACKGROUND: The identification of antigens on human DC has been a very difficult and elusive task because of the lack of appropriate reagents. Therefore, we evaluated by flow cytometry a panel of mAb that recognize antigens on human DC, aiming to determine the kinetics of DC antigen expression at 7, 14, 21 and 28 days in (i) Dermal DC like cells (Mo-DC) and (ii) Langerhans cell like DC (Mo-LC). In addition we aimed to identify markers for DC subpopulations. RESULTS: It was found at day 7, that mAb BG6, HP-F1, BU10, RFD-1, CMRF-44 recognized <20% of Mo-DC. In contrast, 7H5, ZM3.8, CDlb/c, 55K-2, MMR1.16, MMR190.BB3 and L25 reacted with >50% of Mo-DC. Moreover, 7H5, ZM3.8, CMRF-56, CDlb/c, 55K-2, MMR1.16, MMR190.BB3 and L25 showed increased MFI reactivity against Mo-DC. mAb BG6, BU10 and CMRF-44 recognized <20% Mo-LC while RFD-1 reacted with 21% of Mo-LC. In contrast, HP-F1 showed 87% of Mo-LC positive. Also, 7H5, ZM3.8, RFD-7, MR15-2, CDlb/c, 55K-2, MMR1.16, MMR190.BB3 and L25 reacted with >50% of Mo-LC. The increase in % of positive cells was paralleled by MFI increases.At day 14, fourteen mAb recognized >50% of the Mo-DC, while five recognized 20-50% of Mo-DC. BG6 reacted with 7% of the Mo-DC. Nineteen mAb recognized >48% of Mo-LC while BG6 had negative reactivity.At day 21 and 28, all mAb reacted with >20% of Mo-DC and yielded a significant MFI with Mo-DC. Also nineteen mAb yielded significant MFI with Mo-LC while RFD-7 did not. CONCLUSIONS: The immunophenotyping assays demonstrated differences between the two DC populations as well as variations in the reactivity of the mAb at diverse time points, suggesting the existence of subpopulations within the Mo-DC and Mo-LC. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stevens J, Joly E, Trowsdale J, Butcher GW
Peptide binding characteristics of the non-classical class Ib MHC molecule HLA-E assessed by a recombinant random peptide approach.
BMC Immunol. 2001;25.
BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence suggests that the effect of HLA-E on Natural Killer (NK) cell activity can be affected by the nature of the peptides bound to this non-classical, MHC class Ib molecule. However, its reduced cell surface expression, and until recently, the lack of specific monoclonal antibodies hinder studying the peptide-binding specificity HLA-E. RESULTS: An in vitro refolding system was used to assess binding of recombinant HLA-E to either specific peptides or a nonamer random peptide library. Peptides eluted from HLA-E molecules refolded around the nonamer library were then used to determine a binding motif for HLA-E. Hydrophobic and non-charged amino acids were found to predominate along the peptide motif, with a leucine anchor at P9, but surprisingly there was no methionine preference at P2, as suggested by previous studies. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to the results obtained with rat classical class Ia MHC molecules, RT1-A1c and RT1-Au, HLA-E appears to refold around a random peptide library to reduced but detectable levels, suggesting that this molecule's specificity is tight but probably not as exquisite as has been previously suggested. This, and a previous report that it can associate with synthetic peptides carrying a viral sequence, suggests that HLA-E, similar to its mouse counterpart (Qa-1b), could possibly bind peptides different from MHC class I leader peptides and present them to T lymphocytes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tomlinson MG, Woods DB, McMahon M, Wahl MI, Witte ON, Kurosaki T, Bolen JB, Johnston JA
A conditional form of Bruton's tyrosine kinase is sufficient to activate multiple downstream signaling pathways via PLC Gamma 2 in B cells.
BMC Immunol. 2001;24.
BACKGROUND: Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is essential for B cell development and function. Mutations of Btk elicit X-linked agammaglobulinemia in humans and X-linked immunodeficiency in the mouse. Btk has been proposed to participate in B cell antigen receptor-induced signaling events leading to activation of phospholipase C-gamma2 (PLCgamma2) and calcium mobilization. However it is unclear whether Btk activation is alone sufficient for these signaling events, and whether Btk can activate additional pathways that do not involve PLCgamma2. To address such issues we have generated Btk:ER, a conditionally active form of the kinase, and expressed it in the PLCgamma2-deficient DT40 B cell line. RESULTS: Activation of Btk:ER was sufficient to induce multiple B cell signaling pathways in PLCgamma2-sufficient DT40 cells. These included tyrosine phosphorylation of PLCgamma2, mobilization of intracellular calcium, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, and apoptosis. In DT40 B cells deficient for PLCgamma2, Btk:ER activation failed to induce the signaling events described above with the consequence that the cells failed to undergo apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that Btk:ER regulates downstream signaling pathways primarily via PLCgamma2 in B cells. While it is not known whether activated Btk:ER precisely mimics activated Btk, this conditional system will likely facilitate the dissection of the role of Btk and its family members in a variety of biological processes in many different cell types. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chamorro M, Czar MJ, Debnath J, Cheng G, Lenardo MJ, Varmus HE, Schwartzberg PL
Requirements for activation and RAFT localization of the T-lymphocyte kinase Rlk/Txk.
BMC Immunol. 2001;23.
BACKGROUND: The Tec family kinases are implicated in signaling from lymphocyte antigen receptors and are activated following phosphorylation by Src kinases. For most Tec kinases, this activation requires an interaction between their pleckstrin homology (PH) domains and the products of phosphoinositide 3-Kinase, which localizes Tec kinases to membrane RAFTs. Rlk/Txk is a Tec related kinase expressed in T cells that lacks a pleckstrin homology domain, having instead a palmitoylated cysteine-string motif. To evaluate Rlk's function in T cell receptor signaling cascades, we examined the requirements for Rlk localization and activation by Src family kinases. RESULTS: We demonstrate that Rlk is also associated with RAFTs, despite its lack of a pleckstrin homology domain. Rlk RAFT association requires the cysteine-string motif and is independent of PI3 Kinase activity. We further demonstrate that Rlk can be phosphorylated and activated by Src kinases, leading to a decrease in its half-life. A specific tyrosine in the activation loop of Rlk, Y420, is required for phosphorylation and activation, as well as for decreased stability, but is not required for lipid RAFT association. Mutation of this tyrosine also prevents increased tyrosine phosphorylation of Rlk after stimulation of the T cell receptor, suggesting that Rlk is phosphorylated by Src family kinases in response to T cell receptor engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Like the other related Tec kinases, Rlk is associated with lipid RAFTs and can be phosphorylated and activated by Src family kinases, supporting a role for Rlk in signaling downstream of Src kinases in T cell activation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vidal-Rubio B, Sanchez-Carril M, Oliver-Morales J, González-Femandez A, Gambón-Deza F
Changes in human lymphocyte subpopulations in tonsils and regional lymph nodes of human head and neck squamous carcinoma compared to control lymph nodes.
BMC Immunol. 2001;22.
BACKGROUND: Lymphoid tissues constitute basic structures where specific immune responses take place. This leads to the development of germinal centres (GCs), migration of cells and the generation of memory cells. Here, we have compared human tumour reactive lymph nodes and tonsils with control lymph nodes. RESULTS: The study by flow cytometry shows that in control lymph nodes the majority of cells were naive T-lymphocytes (CD45RA+/CD7+). In reactive nodes, although the percentage of CD45RO+ T cells remains constant, there is an increase in the number of B-lymphocytes, and a reduction in naive T cells. The percentage of cells expressing CD69 was similar in reactive nodes and in controls. In both cases, we have found two populations of B cells of either CD69- or CD69dull. Two populations of T cells, which are either negative for CD69 or express it in bright levels (CD69bright), were also found.The analysis of tissue sections by confocal microscopy revealed differences between control, tonsils and tumor reactive lymph nodes. In control lymph nodes, CD19 B cells are surrounded by a unique layer of CD69bright/CD45RO+ T cells. GCs from tonsils and from tumour reactive nodes are mainly constituted by CD19 B cells and have four distinct layers. The central zone is composed of CD69- B cells surrounded by CD69bright/CD45RO+ T cells. The mantle region has basically CD69dull B-lymphocytes and, finally, there is an outer zone with CD69-/CD45RO+ T cells. CONCLUSIONS: Human secondary lymphoid organs react with an increase in the proportion of B lymphocytes and a decrease in the number of CD45RA+ T cells (naive). In tonsils, this is due to chronic pathogen stimulation, whereas in lymph nodes draining head and neck carcinomas the reaction is prompted by surrounded tumors. During this process, secondary lymphoid organs develop secondary follicles with a special organization of T and B cells in consecutive layers, that are described here by confocal microscopy. This pattern of cellular distribution may suggest a model of cell migration into the secondary lymphoid follicles. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Torreilles J, Romestand B
In vitro production of peroxynitrite by haemocytes from marine bivalves: C-ELISA determination of 3-nitrotyrosine level in plasma proteins from Mytilus galloprovincialis and Crassostrea gigas.
BMC Immunol. 2001;21.
BACKGROUND: Peroxynitrite is increasingly proposed as a contributor to defence system in marine bivalve. It can be formed by combination of superoxide and nitric oxide, and can react with tyrosine residues of proteins giving rise to 3-nitrotyrosine. RESULTS: The present article describes a competitive ELISA for the measurement of 3-nitrotyrosine contents of plasma proteins from marine bivalves by means of a monoclonal anti 3-nitrotyrosine antibody mouse IgG. CONCLUSIONS: This assay is sensitive enough to determine the amounts of 3-nitrotyrosine in plasma proteins from one animal only.Using the C-ELISA, we have shown that the phagocytosis of zymosan particles increased the 3-nitrotyrosine levels of plasma proteins from mussel M. galloprovincialis and oyster C. gigas 5.8 and 7.5 times respectively. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kim LJ, Ferguson HA, Seto AG, Goodrich JA
Characterization of DNA binding, transcriptional activation, and regulated nuclear association of recombinant human NFATp.
BMC Immunol. 2000;11.
BACKGROUND: NFATp is one member of a family of transcriptional activators whose nuclear accumulation and hence transcriptional activity is regulated in mammalian cells. Human NFATp exists as a phosphoprotein in the cytoplasm of naive T cells. Upon antigen stimulation, NFATp is dephosphorylated, accumulates in nuclei, and functions to regulate transcription of genes including those encoding cytokines. While the properties of the DNA binding domain of NFATp have been investigated in detail, biochemical studies of the transcriptional activation and regulated association with nuclei have remained unexplored because of a lack of full length, purified recombinant NFATp. RESULTS: We developed methods for expressing and purifying full length recombinant human NFATp that has all of the properties known to be associated with native NFATp. The recombinant NFATp binds DNA on its own and cooperatively with AP-1 proteins, activates transcription in vitro, is phosphorylated, can be dephosphorylated by calcineurin, and exhibits regulated association with nuclei in vitro. Importantly, activation by recombinant NFATp in a reconstituted transcription system required regions of the protein outside of the central DNA binding domain. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that NFATp is a bona fide transcriptional activator. Moreover, the reagents and methods that we developed will facilitate future studies on the mechanisms of transcriptional activation and nuclear accumulation by NFATp, a member of an important family of transcriptional regulatory proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Infectious Diseases

Echchannaoui H, Leib SL, Neumann U, Landmann RM
Adjuvant TACE inhibitor treatment improves the outcome of TLR2-/- mice with experimental pneumococcal meningitis.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;725.
BACKGROUND: Streptococcus (S.) pneumoniae meningitis has a high lethality despite antibiotic treatment. Inflammation is a major pathogenetic factor, which is unresponsive to antibiotics. Therefore adjunctive therapies with antiinflammatory compounds have been developed. TNF484 is a TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE) inhibitor and has been found efficacious in experimental meningitis. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) contributes to host response in pneumococcal meningitis by enhancing bacterial clearing and downmodulating inflammation. In this study, TNF484 was applied in mice, which lacked TLR2 and exhibited a strong meningeal inflammation. METHODS: 103 CFU S. pneumoniae serotype 3 was inoculated subarachnoidally into C57BL/6 wild type (wt) mice or TLR2-/-, CD14-/- and CD14-/-/TLR2-/- mice. Severity of disease and survival was followed over 9 days. Response to antibiotics (80 mg/kg ceftriaxone i.p. for 5 days) and/or TACE inhibitor treatment (1 mg/kg s.c. twice daily for 4 days) was evaluated. Animals were sacrificed after 12, 24, and 48 h for analysis of bacterial load in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain and for TNF and leukocyte measurements in CSF. RESULTS: TLR2-/- mice were significantly sicker than the other mouse strains 24 h after infection. All knockout mice showed higher disease severity after 48 h and died earlier than wt mice. TNF release into CSF was significantly more elevated in TLR2-/- than in the other strains after 24 h. Brain bacterial numbers were significantly higher in all knockout than wt mice after 24 h. Modulation of outcome by antibiotic and TACE inhibitor treatment was evaluated. With antibiotic therapy all wt, CD14-/- and TLR2-/-/CD14-/- mice, but only 79% of TLR2-/- mice, were rescued. TACE inhibitor treatment alone did not rescue, but prolonged survival in wt mice, and in TLR2-/- and CD14-/- mice to the values observed in untreated wt mice. By combined antibiotic and TACE inhibitor treatment 95% of TLR2-/- mice were rescued. CONCLUSION: During pneumococcal meningitis strong inflammation in TLR2-deficiency was associated with incomplete responsiveness to antibiotics and complete response to combined antibiotic and TACE inhibitor treatment. TACE inhibitor treatment offers a promising adjuvant therapeutic strategy in pneumococcal meningitis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

de Bruin MA, Riley LW
Does vancomycin prescribing intervention affect vancomycin-resistant enterococcus infection and colonization in hospitals? A systematic review.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;724.
BACKGROUND: Vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) is a major cause of nosocomial infections in the United States and may be associated with greater morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs than vancomycin-susceptible enterococcus. Current guidelines for the control of VRE include prudent use of vancomycin. While vancomycin exposure appears to be a risk factor for VRE acquisition in individual patients, the effect of vancomycin usage at the population level is not known. We conducted a systematic review to determine the impact of reducing vancomycin use through prescribing interventions on the prevalence and incidence of VRE colonization and infection in hospitals within the United States. METHODS: To identify relevant studies, we searched three electronic databases, and hand searched selected journals. Thirteen studies from 12 articles met our inclusion criteria. Data were extracted and summarized for study setting, design, patient characteristics, types of intervention(s), and outcome measures. The relative risk, 95% confidence interval, and p-value associated with change in VRE acquisition pre- and post-vancomycin prescription interventions were calculated and compared. Heterogeneity in study results was formally explored by stratified analysis. RESULTS: No randomized clinical trials on this topic were found. Each of the 13 included studies used a quasi-experimental design of low hierarchy. Seven of the 13 studies reported statistically significant reductions in VRE acquisition following interventions, three studies reported no significant change, and three studies reported increases in VRE acquisition, one of which reported statistical significance. Results ranged from a reduction of 82.5% to an increase of 475%. Studies of specific wards, which included sicker patients, were more likely to report positive results than studies of an entire hospital including general inpatients (Fisher's exact test 0.029). The type of intervention, endemicity status, type of study design, and the duration of intervention were not found to significantly modify the results. Among the six studies that implemented vancomycin reduction strategies as the sole intervention, two of six (33%) found a significant reduction in VRE colonization and/or infection. In contrast, among studies implementing additional VRE control measures, five of seven (71%) reported a significant reduction. CONCLUSION: It was not possible to conclusively determine a potential role for vancomycin usage reductions in controlling VRE colonization and infection in hospitals in the United States. The effectiveness of such interventions and their sustainability remains poorly defined because of the heterogeneity and quality of studies. Future research using high-quality study designs and implementing vancomycin as the sole intervention are needed to answer this question. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vicidomini S, Cancrini G, Gabrielli S, Naspetti R, Bartoloni A
Muscular cystic hydatidosis: case report.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;723.
BACKGROUND: Hydatidosis is a zoonosis caused by Echinococcus granulosus, and ingesting eggs released through the faeces from infected dogs infects humans. The location of the hydatid cysts is mostly hepatic and/or pulmonary, whereas musculoskeletal hydatidosis is very rare. CASE PRESENTATION: We report an unusual case of primary muscular hydatidosis in proximity of the big adductor in a young Sicilian man. The patient, 34 years old, was admitted to the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases for ultrasonographic detection, with successive confirmation by magnetic resonance imaging, of an ovular mass (13 x 8 cm) in the big adductor of the left thigh, cyst-like, and containing several small cystic formations. Serological tests for hydatidosis gave negative results. A second drawing of blood was done 10 days after the first one and showed an increase in the antibody titer for hydatidosis. The patient was submitted to surgical excision of the lesion with perioperatory prophylaxis with albendazole. The histopathological examination of the bioptic material was not diriment in the diagnosis, therefore further tests were performed: additional serological tests for hydatidosis for the evaluation of IgE and IgG serotype (Western Blot and REAST), and molecular analysis of the excised material. These more specific serological tests gave positive results for hydatidosis, and the sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction products from the cyst evidenced E. granulosus DNA, genotype G1. Any post-surgery complications was observed during 6 following months. CONCLUSION: Cystic hydatidosis should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of any cystic mass, regardless of its location, also in epidemiological contests less suggestive of the disease. The diagnosis should be achieved by taking into consideration the clinical aspects, the epidemiology of the disease, the imaging and immunological tests but, as demonstrated in this case, without neglecting the numerous possibilities offered by new serological devices and modern day molecular biology techniques. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Setiati TE, Mairuhu AT, Koraka P, Supriatna M, Mac Gillavry MR, Brandjes DP, Osterhaus AD, van der Meer JW, van Gorp EC, Soemantri A
Dengue disease severity in Indonesian children: an evaluation of the World Health Organization classification system.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;722.
BACKGROUND: Dengue disease severity is usually classified using criteria set up by the World Health Organization (WHO). We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the WHO classification system and modifications to this system, and evaluated their potential practical usefulness. METHODS: Patients, admitted consecutively to the hospital with severe dengue, were classified using the WHO classification system and modifications to this system. Treating physicians were asked to classify patients immediately after discharge. We calculated the sensitivity of the various classification systems for the detection of shock and the agreement between the various classification systems and the treating physician's classification. RESULTS: Of 152 patients with confirmed dengue, sixty-six (43%) had evidence of circulatory failure. The WHO classification system had a sensitivity of 86% (95%CI 76-94) for the detection of patients with shock. All modifications to the WHO classification system had a higher sensitivity than the WHO classification system (sensitivity ranging from 88% to 99%). The WHO classification system was in only modest agreement with the intuitive classification by treating physicians whereas several modified classification systems were in good agreement. CONCLUSION: The use of the WHO classification system to classify dengue disease severity is to be questioned, because it is not accurate in correctly classifying dengue disease severity and it lacks sufficient agreement with clinical practice. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mettler J, Simcock M, Sendi P, Widmer AF, Bingisser R, Battegay M, Fluckiger U, Bassetti S
Empirical use of antibiotics and adjustment of empirical antibiotic therapies in a university hospital: a prospective observational study.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;721.
BACKGROUND: Several strategies to optimise the use of antibiotics have been developed. Most of these interventions can be classified as educational or restrictive. Restrictive measures are considered to be more effective, but the enforcement of these measures may be difficult and lead to conflicts with prescribers. Any intervention should be aimed at targets with the highest impact on antibiotic prescribing. The aim of the present study was to assess the adequacy of empirical and adjusted antibiotic therapies in a Swiss university hospital where no antibiotic use restrictions are enforced, and to identify risk factors for inadequate treatment and targets for intervention. METHODS: A prospective observational study was performed during 9 months. All patients admitted through the emergency department who received an antibiotic therapy within 24 hours of admission were included. Data on demographic characteristics, diagnoses, comorbidities, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) parameters, microbiological tests, and administered antibiotics were collected prospectively. Antibiotic therapy was considered adequate if spectrum, dose, application modus, and duration of therapy were appropriate according to local recommendations or published guidelines. RESULTS: 2943 admitted patients were evaluated. Of these, 572 (19.4%) received antibiotics within 24 hours and 539 (94%) were analysed in detail. Empirical antibiotic therapy was inadequate in 121 patients (22%). Initial therapy was adjusted in 168 patients (31%). This adjusted antibiotic therapy was inadequate in 46 patients (27%). The main reason for inadequacy was the use of antibiotics with unnecessarily broad spectrum (24% of inadequate empirical, and 52% of inadequate adjusted therapies). In 26% of patients with inadequate adjusted therapy, antibiotics used were either ineffective against isolated pathogenic bacteria or antibiotic therapy was continued despite negative results of microbiological investigations. CONCLUSION: The rate of inadequate antibiotic therapies was similar to the rates reported from other institutions despite the absence of a restrictive antibiotic policy. Surprisingly, adjusted antibiotic therapies were more frequently inappropriate than empirical therapies. Interventions aiming at improving antibiotic prescribing should focus on both initial empirical therapy and streamlining and adjustment of therapy once microbiological results become available. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Constantin de Magny G, Guégan JF, Petit M, Cazelles B
Regional-scale climate-variability synchrony of cholera epidemics in West Africa.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;720.
BACKGROUND: The relationship between cholera and climate was explored in Africa, the continent with the most reported cases, by analyzing monthly 20-year cholera time series for five coastal adjoining West African countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. METHODS: We used wavelet analyses and derived methods because these are useful mathematical tools to provide information on the evolution of the periodic component over time and allow quantification of non-stationary associations between time series. RESULTS: The temporal variability of cholera incidence exhibits an interannual component, and a significant synchrony in cholera epidemics is highlighted at the end of the 1980's. This observed synchrony across countries, even if transient through time, is also coherent with both the local variability of rainfall and the global climate variability quantified by the Indian Oscillation Index. CONCLUSION: Results of this study suggest that large and regional scale climate variability influence both the temporal dynamics and the spatial synchrony of cholera epidemics in human populations in the Gulf of Guinea, as has been described for two other tropical regions of the world, western South America and Bangladesh. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Leung KH, Yip SP, Wong WS, Yiu LS, Chan KK, Lai WM, Chow EY, Lin CK, Yam WC, Chan KS
Sex- and age-dependent association of SLC11A1 polymorphisms with tuberculosis in Chinese: a case control study.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;719.
BACKGROUND: Host genetic factors are important determinants in tuberculosis (TB). The SLC11A1 (or NRAMP1) gene has been studied extensively for genetic association with TB, but with inconsistent findings. In addition, no study has yet looked into the effect of sex and age on the relationship between SLC11A1 polymorphisms and TB. METHODS: A case-control study was conducted. In total, 278 pulmonary TB patients and 282 sex- and age-matched controls without TB were recruited. All subjects were ethnic Chinese. On the basis of linkage disequilibrium pattern, three genetic markers from SLC11A1 and one from the nearby IL8RB locus were selected and examined for association with TB susceptibility. These markers were genotyped using single strand conformation polymorphism analysis or fragment analysis of amplified products. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences in allele (P = 0.0165, OR = 1.51) and genotype (P = 0.0163, OR = 1.59) frequencies of the linked markers SLC6a/b (classically called D543N and 3'UTR) of the SLC11A1 locus were found between patients and controls. With stratification by sex, positive associations were identified in the female group for both allele (P = 0.0049, OR = 2.54) and genotype (P = 0.0075, OR = 2.74) frequencies. With stratification by age, positive associations were demonstrated in the young age group (age < or =65 years) for both allele (P = 0.0047, OR = 2.52) and genotype (P = 0.0031, OR = 2.92) frequencies. All positive findings remained significant even after correction for multiple comparisons. No significant differences were noted in either the male group or the older age group. No significant differences were found for the other markers (one SLC11A1 marker and one IL8RB marker) either. CONCLUSION: This study confirmed the association between SLC11A1 and TB susceptibility and demonstrated for the first time that the association was restricted to females and the young age group. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lau JT, Kim JH, Tsui HY, Griffiths S
Anticipated and current preventive behaviors in response to an anticipated human-to-human H5N1 epidemic in the Hong Kong Chinese general population.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;718.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of self-reported preventive behaviors in response to an anticipated local human-to-human H5N1 transmission outbreak and factors associated with such behaviors have not been examined. METHODS: A random, anonymous, cross-sectional telephone survey of 503 Hong Kong Chinese adults. RESULTS: The public in Hong Kong is likely to adopt self-protective behaviors (e.g., wearing face mask in public venues (73.8%), increasing the frequency of handwashing (86.7%)) and behaviors that protect others (e.g., wearing face masks when experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI, 92.4%), immediately seeking medical consultation (94.2%), making declarations when crossing the border with ILI (87.1%), complying to quarantine policies (88.3%)). Multivariate analyses indicated that factors related to age, full-time employment, perceived susceptibility, perceived efficacy of preventive measures, perceived higher fatality as compared to SARS, perceived chance of a major local outbreak, and being worried about self/family members contracting the virus were significantly associated with the inclination to adopt self-protective measures. Similar analyses showed that education level, variables related to perceived efficacy, perceived major local outbreak and such were significantly associated with various behaviors directed towards protecting others. CONCLUSION: In the event of a human-to-human H5N1 outbreak, the public in Hong Kong is likely to adopt preventive measures that may help contain the spread of the virus in the community. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Eichner M, Schwehm M, Duerr HP, Brockmann SO
The influenza pandemic preparedness planning tool InfluSim.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;717.
BACKGROUND: Planning public health responses against pandemic influenza relies on predictive models by which the impact of different intervention strategies can be evaluated. Research has to date rather focused on producing predictions for certain localities or under specific conditions, than on designing a publicly available planning tool which can be applied by public health administrations. Here, we provide such a tool which is reproducible by an explicitly formulated structure and designed to operate with an optimal combination of the competing requirements of precision, realism and generality. RESULTS: InfluSim is a deterministic compartment model based on a system of over 1,000 differential equations which extend the classic SEIR model by clinical and demographic parameters relevant for pandemic preparedness planning. It allows for producing time courses and cumulative numbers of influenza cases, outpatient visits, applied antiviral treatment doses, hospitalizations, deaths and work days lost due to sickness, all of which may be associated with economic aspects. The software is programmed in Java, operates platform independent and can be executed on regular desktop computers. CONCLUSION: InfluSim is an online available software which efficiently assists public health planners in designing optimal interventions against pandemic influenza. It can reproduce the infection dynamics of pandemic influenza like complex computer simulations while offering at the same time reproducibility, higher computational performance and better operability. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nagelkerke NJ, Moses S, de Vlas SJ, Bailey RC
Modelling the public health impact of male circumcision for HIV prevention in high prevalence areas in Africa.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;716.
BACKGROUND: Recent clinical trials in Africa, in combination with several observational epidemiological studies, have provided evidence that male circumcision can reduce HIV female-to-male transmission risk by 60% or more. However, the public health impact of large-scale male circumcision programs for HIV prevention is unclear. METHODS: Two mathematical models were examined to explore this issue: a random mixing model and a compartmental model that distinguishes risk groups associated with sex work. In the compartmental model, two scenarios were developed, one calculating HIV transmission and prevalence in a context similar to the country of Botswana, and one similar to Nyanza Province, in western Kenya. RESULTS: In both models, male circumcision programs resulted in large and sustained declines in HIV prevalence over time among both men and women. Men benefited somewhat more than women, but prevalence among women was also reduced substantially. With 80% male circumcision uptake, the reductions in prevalence ranged from 45% to 67% in the two "countries", and with 50% uptake, from 25% to 41%. It would take over a decade for the intervention to reach its full effect. CONCLUSION: Large-scale uptake of male circumcision services in African countries with high HIV prevalence, and where male circumcision is not now routinely practised, could lead to substantial reductions in HIV transmission and prevalence over time among both men and women. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rocha PN, Rehem AP, Santana JF, Castro N, Muniz AL, Salgado K, Rocha H, Carvalho EM
The cause of urinary symptoms among Human T Lymphotropic Virus Type I (HLTV-I) infected patients: a cross sectional study.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;715.
BACKGROUND: HTLV-I infected patients often complain of urinary symptomatology. Epidemiological studies have suggested that these individuals have a higher prevalence and incidence of urinary tract infection (UTI) than seronegative controls. However, the diagnosis of UTI in these studies relied only on patient information and did not require confirmation by urine culture. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of urinary tract infection (UTI) as the cause of urinary symptoms in HTLV-I infected patients. METHODS: In this cross sectional study we interviewed, and cultured urine from, 157 HTLV-I seropositive individuals followed regularly at a specialized clinic. All patients were evaluated by a neurologist and classified according to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Urodynamic studies were performed at the discretion of the treating physician. RESULTS: Sixty-four patients complained of at least one active urinary symptom but UTI was confirmed by a positive urine culture in only 12 of these patients (19%); the majority of symptomatic patients (81%) had negative urine cultures. To investigate the mechanism behind the urinary complaints in symptomatic individuals with negative urine cultures, we reviewed the results of urodynamic studies performed in 21 of these patients. Most of them (90.5%) had abnormal findings. The predominant abnormalities were detrusor sphincter hyperreflexia and dyssynergia, findings consistent with HTLV-I-induced neurogenic bladder. On a multivariate logistic regression, an abnormal EDSS score was the strongest predictor of urinary symptomatology (OR 9.87, 95% CI 3.465 to 28.116, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Urinary symptomatology suggestive of UTI is highly prevalent among HTLV-I seropositive individuals but true UTI is responsible for the minority of cases. We posit that the main cause of urinary symptoms in this population is neurogenic bladder. Our data imply that HLTV-I infected patients with urinary symptomatology should not be empirically treated for UTI but rather undergo urine culture; if a UTI is excluded, further investigation with urodynamic studies should be considered. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Manosuthi W, Athichathanabadi C, Uttayamakul S, Phoorisri T, Sungkanuparph S
Plasma nevirapine levels, adverse events and efficacy of antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected patients concurrently receiving nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy and fluconazole.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;714.
BACKGROUND: The clinical data of plasma NVP level, safety and efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the concurrent use of nevirapine (NVP)-based ART and fluconazole (FLU) is scanty. METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted in patients who were initiated NVP-based ART between October 2004 and November 2005. The objectives were to compare NVP levels, adverse events, and 36-week efficacy of NVP-based ART between patients who did not receive FLU (group A) and those who received FLU 200 mg/day or 400 mg/day (group B). RESULTS: There were 122 patients with mean +/- SD age of 36 +/- 9 years; 81 in group A and 41 in group B. Median (IQR) baseline CD4 cell count was 29 (8-79) cell/mm3 in group A and 19 (8-33) cell/mm3 in group B (P = 0.102). Baseline characteristics between the two groups were similar. Mean +/- SD NVP levels were 6.5 +/- 3.0 mg/L in group A and 11.4 +/- 6.1 mg/L in group B(P < 0.001). One (2.4%) patient in group B developed clinical hepatitis (P = 0.336). Six (7.4%) patients in group A developed NVP-related skin rashes (P = 0.096). There were no differences in term of 36-week antiviral efficacy between the two groups (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Co-administration of NVP and daily dosage of FLU (200 mg/day and 400 mg/day) results in markedly increased trough plasma NVP level when compared to the administration of NVP alone. The concurrent use of NVP and FLU in very advanced HIV-infected patients is well-tolerated. The immunological and virological responses are favorable. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huttunen R, Laine J, Lumio J, Vuento R, Syrjänen J
Obesity and smoking are factors associated with poor prognosis in patients with bacteraemia.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;713.
BACKGROUND: Bacteraemia is still a major cause of case fatality in all age groups. Our aim was to identify the major underlying conditions constituting risk factors for case fatality in bacteraemia patients. METHODS: The study involved 149 patients (79 male and 70 female) with bacteraemia caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) (41 patients), Streptococcus pneumoniae (Str. pneumoniae) (42 patients), beta-hemolytic streptococcae (beta-hml str.) (23 patients) and Eschericia coli (E. coli) (43 patients). Underlying diseases, alcohol and tobacco consumption and body mass index (BMI) were registered. Laboratory findings and clinical data were registered on admission and 6 consecutive days and on day 10-14. Case fatality was studied within 30 days after positive blood culture. Associations between underlying conditions and case fatality were studied in univariate analysis and in a multivariate model. RESULTS: Nineteen patients (12.8%) died of bacteraemia. We found obesity (p = 0.002, RR 9.8; 95% CI 2.3 to 41.3), smoking (p < 0.001, RR 16.9; 95% CI 2.1 to 133.5), alcohol abuse (p = 0.008, RR 3.9; 95% CI 1.3 to 11.28), COPD (p = 0.01, RR 8.4; 95% CI 1.9 to 37.1) and rheumatoid arthritis (p = 0.045, RR 5.9; 95% CI 1.2 to 28.8) to be significantly associated with case fatality in bacteraemia in univariate model. The median BMI was significantly higher among those who died compared to survivors (33 vs. 26, p = 0.003). Obesity and smoking also remained independent risk factors for case fatality when their effect was studied together in a multivariate model adjusted with the effect of alcohol abuse, age (continuos variable), sex and causative organism. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that obesity and smoking are prominent risk factors for case fatality in bacteraemic patients. Identification of risk factors underlying fatal outcome in bacteraemia may allow targeting of preventive efforts to individuals likely to derive greatest potential benefit. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Louw A, Tikly M
Purulent pericarditis due to co-infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a patient with features of advanced HIV infection.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;712.
BACKGROUND: Both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Streptococcus pneumoniae are common pathogens in patients with HIV infection. CASE PRESENTATION: We present an unusual case of purulent pericarditis resulting in cardiac tamponade due to infection with both organisms. We highlight the re-emergence of pneumococcal pericarditis in the HIV era and describe the pitfalls and challenges in the diagnosis of this condition. CONCLUSION: Clinicians working in HIV endemic areas need to consider dual infection with these organisms in patients who respond inadequately to either antibiotics or anti-tuberculous therapy alone. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Müller B, Harbarth S, Stolz D, Bingisser R, Mueller C, Leuppi J, Nusbaumer C, Tamm M, Christ-Crain M
Diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of clinical and laboratory parameters in community-acquired pneumonia.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;710.
BACKGROUND: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the most frequent infection-related cause of death. The reference standard to diagnose CAP is a new infiltrate on chest radiograph in the presence of recently acquired respiratory signs and symptoms. This study aims to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of clinical signs and symptoms and laboratory biomarkers for CAP. METHODS: 545 patients with suspected lower respiratory tract infection, admitted to the emergency department of a university hospital were included in a pre-planned post-hoc analysis of two controlled intervention trials. Baseline assessment included history, clinical examination, radiography and measurements of procalcitonin (PCT), highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and leukocyte count. RESULTS: Of the 545 patients, 373 had CAP, 132 other respiratory tract infections, and 40 other final diagnoses. The AUC of a clinical model including standard clinical signs and symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, sputum production, abnormal chest auscultation and dyspnea) to diagnose CAP was 0.79 [95% CI, 0.75-0.83]. This AUC was significantly improved by including PCT and hsCRP (0.92 [0.89-0.94]; p < 0.001). PCT had a higher diagnostic accuracy (AUC, 0.88 [0.84-0.93]) in differentiating CAP from other diagnoses, as compared to hsCRP (AUC, 0.76 [0.69-0.83]; p < 0.001) and total leukocyte count (AUC, 0.69 [0.62-0.77]; p < 0.001). To predict bacteremia, PCT had a higher AUC (0.85 [0.80-0.91]) as compared to hsCRP (p = 0.01), leukocyte count (p = 0.002) and elevated body temperature (p < 0.001). PCT, in contrast to hsCRP and leukocyte count, increased with increasing severity of CAP, as assessed by the pneumonia severity index (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: PCT, and to a lesser degree hsCRP, improve the accuracy of currently recommended approaches for the diagnosis of CAP, thereby complementing clinical signs and symptoms. PCT is useful in the severity assessment of CAP. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Murdoch DM, McDonald JR
Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare cellulitis occurring with septic arthritis after joint injection: a case report.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;79.
BACKGROUND: Cellulitis caused by Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare has rarely been described. Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare is a rare cause of septic arthritis after intra-articular injection, though the causative role of injection is difficult to ascertain in such cases. CASE PRESENTATION: A 57-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis treated with prednisone and azathioprine developed bilateral painful degenerative shoulder arthritis. After corticosteroid injections into both acromioclavicular joints, he developed bilateral cellulitis centered over the injection sites. Skin biopsy showed non-caseating granulomas, and culture grew Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare. Joint aspiration also revealed Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection. CONCLUSION: Although rare, skin and joint infections caused by Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare should be considered in any immunocompromised host, particularly after intra-articular injection. Stains for acid-fast bacilli may be negative in pathologic samples even in the presence of infection; cultures of tissue specimens should always be obtained. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bhatti Z, Berenson CS
Adult systemic cat scratch disease associated with therapy for hepatitis C.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;78.
BACKGROUND: We describe the first case of systemic cat scratch disease in a patient receiving peginterferon alpha-2a and ribavirin for treatment of hepatitis C. Cases of adult systemic CSD are extremely infrequent and immunomodulatory treatment for hepatitis C has been associated with aberrant host responses to common pathogens. CASE PRESENTATION: A 52 year old man being treated for hepatitis C presented with diffuse lymphadenopathy, weight loss, fevers and splenic lesions. Symptoms were initially confused with adverse effects of his regimen, delaying recognition of his infection. Diagnostic investigation, including histopathology, microbiology and serologic parameters, confirmed that his illness was due to disseminated cat scratch disease with Bartonella henselae. CONCLUSION: Disseminated CSD is exceptionally rare in adults. We describe the first case of disseminated cat scratch disease associated with peginterferon alpha and ribavirin to alert clinicians of the need to be aware of unusual manifestations of common infections in this population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Giudice A, Camada I, Leopoldo PT, Pereira JM, Riley LW, Wilson ME, Ho JL, de Jesus AR, Carvalho EM, Almeida RP
Resistance of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis and Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis to nitric oxide correlates with disease severity in Tegumentary Leishmaniasis.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;77.
BACKGROUND: Nitric oxide (NO*) plays a pivotal role as a leishmanicidal agent in mouse macrophages. NO* resistant Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been associated with a severe outcome of these diseases. METHODS: In this study we evaluated the in vitro toxicity of nitric oxide for the promastigote stages of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis parasites, and the infectivity of the amastigote stage for human macrophages. Parasites were isolated from patients with cutaneous, mucosal or disseminated leishmaniasis, and NO* resistance was correlated with clinical presentation. RESULTS: Seventeen isolates of L. (L.) amazonensis or L. (V.) braziliensis promastigotes were killed by up to 8 mM of more of NaNO2 (pH 5.0) and therefore were defined as nitric oxide-susceptible. In contrast, eleven isolates that survived exposure to 16 mM NaNO2 were defined as nitric oxide-resistant. Patients infected with nitric oxide-resistant Leishmania had significantly larger lesions than patients infected with nitric oxide-susceptible isolates. Furthermore, nitric oxide-resistant L. (L.) amazonensis and L. (V.) braziliensis multiplied significantly better in human macrophages than nitric oxide-susceptible isolates. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that nitric oxide-resistance of Leishmania isolates confers a survival benefit for the parasites inside the macrophage, and possibly exacerbates the clinical course of human leishmaniasis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Saeed M, Zaidi SZ, Naeem A, Masroor M, Sharif S, Shaukat S, Angez M, Khan A
Epidemiology and clinical findings associated with enteroviral acute flaccid paralysis in Pakistan.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;76.
BACKGROUND: Enteroviruses are among the most common viruses infecting humans worldwide and they are associated with diverse clinical syndromes. Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) is a clinical manifestation of enteroviral neuropathy, transverse myelitis, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, Traumatic neuritis and many other nervous system disorders. The objective of this study was to understand the role of Non-Polio Enteroviruses (NPEV) towards this crippling disorder. METHODS: Stool specimens of 1775 children, aged less than 15 years, suffering from acute flaccid paralysis were collected after informed consent within 14 days of onset of symptoms during January 2003 to September 2003. The specimens were inoculated on RD and L20B cells using conventional tube cell culture while micro-neutralization test was used to identify the non-polio enterovirus (NPEV) serotypes. Detailed clinical information and 60-days follow-up reports were analyzed for NPEV-associated AFP cases. RESULTS: NPEV were isolated from 474 samples. The male to female ratio was 1.4:1. The isolation of NPEV decreased significantly with the increase in age. Cases associated with fever at the onset of NPEV-associated AFP were found to be 62%. The paralysis was found asymmetrical in 67% cases, the progression of paralysis to peak within 4 days was found in 72% cases and residual paralysis after 60 days of paralysis onset was observed in 39% cases associated with NPEV. A clinical diagnosis of Guillian-Barre syndrome was made in 32% cases. On Microneutralization assay, echo-6 (13%) and coxsackievirus B (13%) were the most commonly isolated serotypes of NPEV along with E-7, E-13, E-11, E-4 and E-30. The isolates (n = 181) found untypable by the antiserum pools were confirmed as NPEV by PCR using Pan-Enterovirus primers. CONCLUSION: The present study suggests that NPEV are a dominant cause of AFP and different serotypes of NPEV are randomly distributed in Pakistan. The untypable isolates need further characterization and analysis in order to determine their association with clinical presentation of a case. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kampf G, Steinmann J, Rabenau H
Suitability of vaccinia virus and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) for determining activities of three commonly-used alcohol-based hand rubs against enveloped viruses.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;75.
BACKGROUND: A procedure for including activity against enveloped viruses in the post-contamination treatment of hands has been recommended, but so far no European standard is available to implement it. In 2004, the German Robert Koch-Institute (RKI) and the German Association for the Control of Virus Disease (DVV) suggested that vaccinia virus and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) should be used as test viruses in a quantitative suspension test to determine the activity of a disinfectant against all enveloped viruses. METHODS: We have studied the activities of three commonly-used alcohol-based hand rubs (hand rub A, based on 45% propan-2-ol, 30% propan-1-ol and 0.2% mecetronium etilsulfate; hand rub B, based on 80% ethanol; hand rub C, based on 95% ethanol) against vaccinia virus and BVDV, and in addition against four other clinically relevant enveloped viruses: herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, and human and avian influenza A virus. The hand rubs were challenged with different organic loads at exposure time of 15, 30 and 60 s. According to the guidelines of both BGA/RKI and DVV, and EN 14476:2005, the reduction of infectivity of each test virus was measured on appropriate cell lines using a quantitative suspension test. RESULTS: All three alcohol-based hand rubs reduced the infectivity of vaccinia virus and BVDV by > or = 4 log10-steps within 15 s, irrespective of the type of organic load. Similar reductions of infectivity were seen against the other four enveloped viruses within 15 s in the presence of different types of organic load. CONCLUSION: Commonly used alcohol-based hand rubs with a total alcohol concentration > or = 75% can be assumed to be active against clinically relevant enveloped viruses if they effectively reduce the infectivities of vaccinia virus and BVDV in a quantitative suspension test. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Belmares J, Detterline S, Pak JB, Parada JP
Corynebacterium endocarditis species-specific risk factors and outcomes.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;74.
BACKGROUND: Corynebacterium species are recognized as uncommon agents of endocarditis, but little is known regarding species-specific risk factors and outcomes in Corynebacterium endocarditis. METHODS: Case report and Medline search of English language journals for cases of Corynebacterium endocarditis. Inclusion criteria required that cases be identified as endocarditis, having persistent Corynebacterium bacteremia, murmurs described by the authors as identifying the affected valve, or vegetations found by echocardiography or in surgical or autopsy specimens. Cases also required patient-specific information on risk factors and outcomes (age, gender, prior prosthetic valve, other prior nosocomial risk factors (infected valve, involvement of native versus prosthetic valve, need for valve replacement, and death) to be included in the analysis. Publications of Corynebacterium endocarditis which reported aggregate data were excluded. Univariate analysis was conducted with chi-square and t-tests, as appropriate, with p = 0.05 considered significant. RESULTS: 129 cases of Corynebacterium endocarditis involving nine species met inclusion criteria. Corynebacterium endocarditis typically infects the left heart of adult males and nearly one third of patients have underlying valvular disease. One quarter of patients required valve replacement and one half of patients died. Toxigenic C. diphtheriae is associated with pediatric infections (p < 0.001). Only C. amycolatum has a predilection for women (p = 0.024), while C. pseudodiphtheriticum infections are most frequent in men (p = 0.023). C. striatum, C. jeikeium and C. hemolyticum are associated with nosocomial risk factors (p < 0.001, 0.028, and 0.024, respectively). No species was found to have a predilection for any particular heart valve. C. pseudodiphtheriticum is associated with a previous prosthetic valve replacement (p = 0.004). C. jeikeium infections are more likely to require valve replacement (p = 0.026). Infections involving toxigenic C. diphtheriae and C. pseudodiphtheriticum are associated with decreased survival (p = 0.001 and 0.032, respectively). CONCLUSION: We report the first analysis of species-specific risk factors and outcomes in Corynebacterium endocarditis. In addition to species-specific associations with age, gender, prior valvular diseases, and other nosocomial risk factors, we found differences in rates of need for valve replacement and death. This review highlights the seriousness of these infections, as up to 28% of patients required valve replacement and 43.5% died. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Reithinger R, Coleman PG
Treating cutaneous leishmaniasis patients in Kabul, Afghanistan: cost-effectiveness of an operational program in a complex emergency setting.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;73.
BACKGROUND: Although Kabul city, Afghanistan, is currently the worldwide largest focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) with an estimated 67,500 cases, donor interest in CL has been comparatively poor because the disease is non-fatal. Since 1998 HealthNet TPO (HNTPO) has implemented leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment services in Kabul and in 2003 alone 16,390 were treated patients in six health clinics in and around the city. The aim of our study was to calculate the cost-effectiveness for the implemented treatment regimen of CL patients attending HNTPO clinics in the Afghan complex emergency setting. METHODS: Using clinical and cost data from the on-going operational HNTPO program in Kabul, published and unpublished sources, and discussions with researchers, we developed models that included probabilistic sensitivity analysis to calculate ranges for the cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted for implemented CL treatment regimen. We calculated the cost-effectiveness of intralesional and intramuscular administration of the pentavalent antimonial drug sodium stibogluconate, HNTPO's current CL 'standard treatment'. RESULTS: The cost of the standard treatment was calculated to be 27 US dollars (95% C.I. 20-36) per patient treated and cured. The cost per DALY averted per patient cured with the standard treatment was estimated to be approximately 1,200 US dollars (761-1,827). CONCLUSION: According to WHO-CHOICE criteria, treatment of CL in Kabul, Afghanistan, is not a cost-effective health intervention. The rationale for treating CL patients in Afghanistan and elsewhere is discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hill PC, Onyeama CO, Ikumapayi UN, Secka O, Ameyaw S, Simmonds N, Donkor SA, Howie SR, Tapgun M, Corrah T, Adegbola RA
Bacteraemia in patients admitted to an urban hospital in West Africa.
BMC Infect Dis. 2007;72.
BACKGROUND: Few studies on bacteraemia in Africa have been published. We aimed to prospectively identify the causative organisms of bacteraemia in The Gambia and their relation to clinical diagnoses, outcome and antimicrobial susceptibility. METHODS: Between November 2003 and February 2005 we studied those admitted to the Medical Research Council hospital who were suspected of having bacteraemia. We documented clinical features, outcome, pathogens identified and their susceptibility patterns, and searched for factors associated with bacteraemia. RESULTS: 871 patients were admitted and had a blood culture taken. The median age was 2 years (range 2 months to 80 years) and 36 of 119 tested were HIV positive; 54.5% were male. 297 (34%) had a positive result and 93 (10.7% overall) were considered a genuine pathogen. Those with bacteraemia were more likely to die in hospital (OR 2.79; 1.17-6.65, p = 0.017) and to have a high white cell count (WCC; OR 1.81;95% CI 1.09-3.02; p = 0.022). Three organisms accounted for 73% of bacteraemias: Streptococcus pneumoniae (45.2%), Staphylococcus aureus (18.3%) and Escherichia coli (9.7%) while non-typhoidal salmonellae (NTS) accounted for 8.6%. Antimicrobial susceptibility of S. pneumoniae was very high to penicillin (97.5%); high resistance was found to co-trimoxazole. S. aureus was generally highly susceptible to cloxacillin, gentamicin and chloramphenicol. E. coli and NTS were all susceptible to ciprofloxacin and mostly susceptible to gentamicin. Thirteen (33%) S. pneumoniae isolates were of serotypes contained in a 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 20 (51.3%) were of the same serogroup. CONCLUSION: In The Gambia, those with bacteraemia are more likely than those without to die in hospital and to have a raised peripheral blood WCC. S. pneumoniae is the most common organism isolated. Introduction of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can be expected to lead to a reduction in disease incidence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yang ML, Chen YH, Chen TC, Lin WR, Lin CY, Lu PL
Case report: infective endocarditis caused by Brevundimonas vesicularis.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6179.
BACKGROUND: There are few reports in the literature of invasive infection caused by Brevundimonas vesicularis in patients without immunosuppression or other predisposing factors. The choice of antimicrobial therapy for bacteremia caused by the pathogen requires more case experience to be determined. CASE PRESENTATION: The case of a 40-year-old previously healthy man with subacute endocarditis proposed to be contributed from an occult dental abscess is described. The infection was found to be caused by B. vesicularis on blood culture results. The patient recovered without sequelae after treatment with ceftriaxone followed by subsequent ciprofloxacin therapy owing to an allergic reaction to ceftriaxone and treatment failure with ampicillin/sulbactam. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first report of B. vesicularis as a cause of infective endocarditis. According to an overview of the literature and our experience, we suggest that third-generation cephalosporins, piperacillin/tazobactam, and ciprofloxacin are effective in treating invasive B. vesicularis infections, while the efficacy of ampicillin-sulbactam needs further evaluation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Alvarado-Esquivel C, Alanis-Quiñones OP, Arreola-Valenzuela MA, Rodríguez-Briones A, Piedra-Nevarez LJ, Duran-Morales E, Estrada-Martínez S, Martínez-García SA, Liesenfeld O
Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in psychiatric inpatients in a northern Mexican city.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6178.
BACKGROUND: Patients with psychiatric disorders were found to show a high seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection. There is scarce information about the epidemiology of T. gondii infection in psychiatric patients in Mexico. Therefore, we sought to determine the prevalence of T. gondii infection and associated socio-demographic, clinical and behavioural characteristics in a population of psychiatric patients in Durango City, Mexico. Seroprevalence in patients was compared with that obtained in a control population. METHODS: One hundred and thirty seven inpatients of a public psychiatric hospital and 180 controls were examined for the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies against T. gondii by enzyme-linked immunoassay (Diagnostic Automation Inc., Calabasas, CA, USA). The control population consisted of blood donors of a public blood bank and elderly persons attending a senior center in the same city. Age in controls (42 years +/- 20.2) was comparable with that of the psychiatric patients (43.7 years +/-13.8) (p = 0.42). Socio-demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics from the patients were also obtained. RESULTS: Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies indicating latent infection with T. gondii was found in 25 (18.2%) of 137 psychiatric inpatients and 16 (8.9%) of 180 controls (p = 0.02). Ten (26.3%) of 38 schizophrenic patients had latent infection and this prevalence was also significantly higher than that observed in controls (p = 0.005). Prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies was comparable among patients and controls (4.4% vs 2.2%, respectively, p = 0.22). Multivariate analysis showed that T. gondii infection in inpatients was positively associated with sexual promiscuity (adjusted OR = 15.8; 95% CI: 3.8-64.8), unwashed raw fruit consumption (adjusted OR = 5.19; 95% CI: 2.3-11.3), and a history of surgery (adjusted OR = 6.5; 95% CI: 2.6-16), and negatively associated with lamb meat consumption (adjusted OR = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.10-0.63). CONCLUSION: In the present study, psychiatric inpatients in Durango, Mexico, in general and schizophrenia inpatients in particular had a significantly higher prevalence of T. gondii infection than the control group. Results suggest that unwashed raw fruit consumption might be the most important route of T. gondii transmission in our psychiatric inpatients while lamb meat consumption the less important. Additional studies will have to elucidate the causative relation between infection with T. gondii and psychiatric disorders. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pittalis S, Nicastri E, Spinazzola F, Ghirga P, De Marco M, Paglia MG, Narciso P
Leishmania infantum leishmaniasis in corticosteroid--treated patients.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6177.
BACKGROUND: The number of leishmaniasis cases associated with immunosuppression has increased regularly over the past 20 years. Immunosuppression related to HIV infection, immunosuppressive treatment, organ transplantation, and neoplastic diseases increases the risk for Leishmania-infected people to develop visceral illness. CASE PRESENTATION: Three cases of Leishmania infantum leishmaniasis in corticosteroid (CS)-treated patients are reported: an isolated lingual leishmaniasis in a farmer treated with CS for asthma, a severe visceral leishmaniasis associated with cutaneous lesions in a woman with myasthenia gravis, and a visceral involvement after cutaneous leishmaniasis in a man receiving CS. CONCLUSION: Physicians should recognise CS-treated patients as a population likely to be immune-suppressed. In immunodeficiency conditions, unusual forms of leishmaniasis can develop and foster the risk of a diagnostic delay and of poor response to therapy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lu CY, Lauderdale TL, Fang YH, Wang CY, Ho YH, Hung CL, Chang LY, Lee CY, Huang LM
Disease burden and related medical costs of rotavirus infections in Taiwan.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6176.
BACKGROUND: The disease burden and associated medical costs of rotavirus infections in inpatient and outpatient sectors in Taiwan were examined in anticipation of the availability of new rotavirus vaccines. METHODS: The yearly national case number and medical costs for all for inpatients and outpatients with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) were extracted from the Bureau of National Health Insurance database in Taiwan according to ICD-9-CM codes. A retrospective study was also performed using records of children with AGE seen at three hospitals in Taiwan in 2001 to identify laboratory confirmed rotavirus infection cases. The annual incidence and related medical costs of AGE due to rotavirus infection were then estimated. RESULTS: Children <5 years old comprised 83.6% of inpatient and 62.0% of outpatient pediatric AGE cases in Taiwan in 2001. Rotavirus was the most common agent detected among AGE patients in this age group in the three hospitals, and was detected in 32.9% (221/672) of inpatient and 24% (23/96) of outpatient stool specimens tested for microbial etiologies. An estimated 277,400 to 624,892 cases of rotavirus infections sought medical care in Taiwan in 2001, equaling one in 2 to 5 children <5 years old required medical care due to rotavirus infection. The incidence of hospitalization due to rotavirus infections was 1,528-1,997/100,000 for children <5 years old. The total associated medical costs due to rotavirus infection were estimated at US $10-16 millions in Taiwan in 2001. Although the per-capita medical cost of rotavirus infection was lower in Taiwan than in the United States or Hong Kong, the personal economic burden was similar among the three places when normalized for gross national incomes per capita. CONCLUSION: Infections caused by rotavirus constitute an important human and economic burden among young children in Taiwan. A safe and effective vaccine is urgently needed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fjaerli HO, Bukholm G, Krog A, Skjaeret C, Holden M, Nakstad B
Whole blood gene expression in infants with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6175.
BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of viral bronchiolitis in infants worldwide, and environmental, viral and host factors are all of importance for disease susceptibility and severity. To study the systemic host response to this disease we used the microarray technology to measure mRNA gene expression levels in whole blood of five male infants hospitalised with acute RSV, subtype B, bronchiolitis versus five one year old male controls exposed to RSV during infancy without bronchiolitis. The gene expression levels were further evaluated in a new experiment using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) both in the five infants selected for microarray and in 13 other infants hospitalised with the same disease. RESULTS: Among the 30 genes most differentially expressed by microarray nearly 50% were involved in immunological processes. We found the highly upregulated interferon, alpha-inducible protein 27 (IFI27) and the highly downregulated gene Charcot-Leyden crystal protein (CLC) to be the two most differentially expressed genes in the microarray study. When performing QRT-PCR on these genes IFI27 was upregulated in all but one infant, and CLC was downregulated in all 18 infants, and similar to that given by microarray. CONCLUSION: The gene IFI27 is upregulated and the gene CLC is downregulated in whole blood of infants hospitalised with RSV, subtype B, bronchiolitis and is not reported before. More studies are needed to elucidate the specificity of these gene expressions in association with host response to this virus in bronchiolitis of moderate severity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Srinivasa Rao AS, Chen MH, Pham BZ, Tricco AC, Gilca V, Duval B, Krahn MD, Bauch CT
Cohort effects in dynamic models and their impact on vaccination programmes: an example from hepatitis A.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6174.
BACKGROUND: Infection rates for many infectious diseases have declined over the past century. This has created a cohort effect, whereby older individuals experienced a higher infection rate in their past than younger individuals do now. As a result, age-stratified seroprevalence profiles often differ from what would be expected from constant infection rates. METHODS: Here, we account for the cohort effect by fitting an age-structured compartmental model with declining transmission rates to Hepatitis A seroprevalence data for Canadian-born individuals. We compare the predicted impact of universal vaccination with and without including the cohort effect in the dynamic model. RESULTS: We find that Hepatitis A transmissibility has declined by a factor of 2.8 since the early twentieth century. When the cohort effect is not included in the model, incidence and mortality both with and without vaccination are significantly over-predicted. Incidence (respectively mortality) over a 20 year period of universal vaccination is 34% (respectively 90%) higher than if the cohort effect is included. The percentage reduction in incidence and mortality due to vaccination are also over-predicted when the cohort effect is not included. Similar effects are likely for many other infectious diseases where infection rates have declined significantly over past decades and where immunity is lifelong. CONCLUSION: Failure to account for cohort effects has implications for interpreting seroprevalence data and predicting the impact of vaccination programmes with dynamic models. Cohort effects should be included in dynamic modelling studies whenever applicable. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yu DT, Seger DL, Peterson JF, Kumar RN, Bates DW
Fluconazole for empiric antifungal therapy in cancer patients with fever and neutropenia.
BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6173.
BACKGROUND: Several clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of fluconazole as empiric antifungal therapy in cancer patients with fever and neutropenia. Our objective was to assess the frequency and resource utilization associated with treatment failure in cancer patients given empiric fluconazole antifungal therapy in routine inpatient care. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of cancer patients treated with oral or intravenous fluconazole between 7/97 and 6/01 in a tertiary care hospital. The final study cohort included cancer patients with neutropenia (an absolute neutrophil count below 500 cells/mm3) and fever (a temperature above 38 degrees C or 100.4 degrees F), who were receiving at least 96 hours of parenteral antibacterial therapy prior to initiating fluconazole. Patients' responses to empiric therapy were assessed by reviewing patient charts. RESULTS: Among 103 cancer admissions with fever and neutropenia, treatment failure after initiating empiric fluconazole antifungal therapy occurred in 41% (95% confidence interval (CI) 31%-50%) of admissions. Patients with a diagnosis of hematological malignancy had increased risk of treatment failure (OR = 4.6, 95% CI 1.5-14.8). When treatment failure occurred the mean adjusted increases in length of stay and total costs were 7.4 days (95% CI 3.3-11.5) and $18,925 (95% CI 3,289-34,563), respectively. CONCLUSION: Treatment failure occurred in more than one-third of neutropenic cancer patients on fluconazole as empiric antifungal treatment for fever in routine clinical treatment. The increase in costs when treatment failure occurs is substantial. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Microbiology

Qin Z, Zhang J, Xu B, Chen L, Wu Y, Yang X, Shen X, Molin S, Danchin A, Jiang H, Qu D
Structure-based discovery of inhibitors of the YycG histidine kinase: new chemical leads to combat Staphylococcus epidermidis infections.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;696.
BACKGROUND: Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus epidermidis has become a major frequent cause of infections in relation to the use of implanted medical devices. The pathogenicity of S. epidermidis has been attributed to its capacity to form biofilms on surfaces of medical devices, which greatly increases its resistance to many conventional antibiotics and often results in chronic infection. It has an urgent need to design novel antibiotics against staphylococci infections, especially those can kill cells embedded in biofilm. RESULTS: In this report, a series of novel inhibitors of the histidine kinase (HK) YycG protein of S. epidermidis were discovered first using structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) from a small molecular lead-compound library, followed by experimental validation. Of the 76 candidates derived by SBVS targeting of the homolog model of the YycG HATPase_c domain of S. epidermidis, seven compounds displayed significant activity in inhibiting S. epidermidis growth. Furthermore, five of them displayed bactericidal effects on both planktonic and biofilm cells of S. epidermidis. Except for one, the compounds were found to bind to the YycG protein and to inhibit its auto-phosphorylation in vitro, indicating that they are potential inhibitors of the YycG/YycF two-component system (TCS), which is essential in S. epidermidis. Importantly, all these compounds did not affect the stability of mammalian cells nor hemolytic activities at the concentrations used in our study. CONCLUSION: These novel inhibitors of YycG histidine kinase thus are of potential value as leads for developing new antibiotics against infecting staphylococci. The structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) technology can be widely used in screening potential inhibitors of other bacterial TCSs, since it is more rapid and efficacious than traditional screening technology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Slack AT, Symonds ML, Dohnt MF, Smythe LD
Identification of pathogenic Leptospira species by conventional or real-time PCR and sequencing of the DNA gyrase subunit B encoding gene.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;695.
BACKGROUND: Leptospira is the causative genus of the disease, leptospirosis. Species identification of pathogenic Leptospira in the past was generally performed by either DNA-DNA hybridisation or 16s rRNA gene sequencing. Both methods have inherent disadvantages such as the need for radio-labelled isotopes or significant homology between species. A conventional and real-time PCR amplification and sequencing method was developed for an alternate gene target: DNA gyrase subunit B (gyrB). Phylogenetic comparisons were undertaken between pathogenic Leptospira 16srRNA and gyrB genes using clustering and minimum evolution analysis. In addition 50 unidentified Leptospira isolates were characterised by gyrB sequencing and compared with conventional 16s rRNA sequencing. RESULTS: A conventional and real-time PCR methodology was developed and optimised for the amplification of the gyrB from pathogenic Leptospira species. Non pathogenic and opportunistic Leptospira species such as L. fainei and L. broomi were not amplified. The gyrB gene shows greater nucleotide divergence (3.5% to 16.1%) than the 16s rRNA gene (0.1% to 1.4%). Minimum evolution analysis reveals that the gyrB has a different evolution topology for L. kirschneri and L. interrogans. When the two genes were compared for the identification of the 50 unknown isolates there was 100% agreement in the results. CONCLUSION: This research has successfully developed a methodology for the identification of pathogenic Leptospira using an alternate gene to 16s rRNA. The gyrB encoding gene shows higher nucleotide/evolutionary divergence allowing for superior identification and also the potential for the development of DNA probe based identification. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Iversen C, Waddington M, Farmer JJ, Forsythe SJ
The biochemical differentiation of Enterobacter sakazakii genotypes.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;694.
BACKGROUND: Enterobacter sakazakii is an emergent pathogen that has been associated with neonatal infections through contaminated powdered infant milk formula. The species was defined by Farmer et al. (1980) who described 15 biogroups according to the biochemical characterization of 57 strains. This present study compares genotypes (DNA cluster groups based on partial 16S rDNA sequence analysis) with the biochemical traits for 189 E. sakazakii strains. RESULTS: Analysis of partial 16S rDNA sequences gave 4 well defined phylogenetic groups. Cluster group 1 was composed of the majority of strains (170/189) and included Biogroups 1-5, 7-9, 11, 13 and 14. Cluster 3 corresponded with Biogroup 15 and cluster 4 with Biogroups 6, 10 and 12. Cluster group 2 comprised a new Biogroup 16. For the isolates in this study, the four DNA cluster groups can be distinguished using the inositol, dulcitol and indole tests. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates an agreement between genotyping (partial 16S rDNA) and biotyping and describes a new biogroup of E. sakazakii. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rohde BH, Quadri LE
Functional characterization of a three-component regulatory system involved in quorum sensing-based regulation of peptide antibiotic production in Carnobacterium maltaromaticum.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;693.
BACKGROUND: Quorum sensing is a form of cell-to-cell communication that allows bacteria to control a wide range of physiological processes in a population density-dependent manner. Production of peptide antibiotics is one of the processes regulated by quorum sensing in several species of Gram-positive bacteria, including strains of Carnobacterium maltaromaticum. This bacterium and its peptide antibiotics are of interest due to their potential applications in food preservation. The molecular bases of the quorum sensing phenomenon controlling peptide antibiotic production in C. maltaromaticum remain poorly understood. The present study was aimed at gaining a deeper insight into the molecular mechanism involved in quorum sensing-mediated regulation of peptide antibiotic (bacteriocin) production by C. maltaromaticum. We report the functional analyses of the CS (autoinducer)-CbnK (histidine protein kinase)-CbnR (response regulator) three-component regulatory system and the three regulated promoters involved in peptide antibiotic production in C. maltaromaticum LV17B. RESULTS: CS-CbnK-CbnR system-dependent activation of carnobacterial promoters was demonstrated in both homologous and heterologous hosts using a two-plasmid system with a beta-glucuronidase (GusA) reporter read-out. The results of our analyses support a model in which the CbnK-CbnR two-component signal transduction system is necessary and sufficient to transduce the signal of the peptide autoinducer CS into the activation of the promoters that drive the expression of the genes required for production of the carnobacterial peptide antibiotics and the immunity proteins that protect the producer bacterium. CONCLUSIONS: The CS-CbnK-CbnR triad forms a three-component regulatory system by which production of peptide antibiotics by C. maltaromaticum LV17B is controlled in a population density-dependent (or cell proximity-dependent) manner. This regulatory mechanism would permit the bacterial population to synchronize the production of peptide antibiotics and immunity proteins. Such a population-wide action would afford a substantial peptide antibiotic production burst that could increase the ability of the bacterium to inhibit susceptible bacterial competitors. Finally, our CS-CbnK-CbnR-based two-plasmid expression system represents a suitable genetic tool for undertaking structure-function relationship analyses to map the amino acid residues in the components of the CS-CbnK-CbnR system that are required for biological activity. This plasmid system also has potential as a starting point for developing alternative vectors for controlled gene expression in C. maltaromaticum, Lactococcus lactis, and related lactic acid bacteria. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tuominen-Gustafsson H, Penttinen M, Hytönen J, Viljanen MK
Use of CFSE staining of borreliae in studies on the interaction between borreliae and human neutrophils.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;692.
BACKGROUND: Species of the tick-transmitted spirochete group Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (B. burgdorferi) cause Lyme borreliosis. Acute borrelial infection of the skin has unusual characteristics with only a mild local inflammatory response suggesting that the interaction between borreliae and the cells of the first-line defence might differ from that of other bacteria. It has been reported that human neutrophils phagocytose motile borreliae through an unconventional mechanism (tube phagocytosis) which is not observed with non-motile borreliae. Therefore, it would be of great interest to visualise the bacteria by a method not affecting motility and viability of borreliae to be able to study their interaction with the cells of the innate immunity. Carboxyfluorescein diacetate, succinimidyl ester (CFSE) labelling has been previously used for studying the adhesion of labelled bacteria to host cells and the uptake of labelled substrates by various cells using flow cytometry. RESULTS: In this study, CFSE was shown to efficiently stain different genospecies of B. burgdorferi without affecting bacterial viability or motility. Use of CFSE staining allowed subsequent quantification of borreliae associated with human neutrophils with flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. As a result, no difference in association between different borrelial genospecies (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii), or between borreliae and the pyogenic bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, with neutrophils could be detected. Borrelial virulence, on the other hand, affected association with neutrophils, with significantly higher association of a non-virulent mutant B. burgdorferi sensu stricto strain compared to the parental virulent wild type strain. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the flow cytometric assay using CFSE labelled borreliae is a valuable tool in the analysis of the interaction between borreliae and human neutrophils. The results also indicate a clear difference in the association with neutrophils between virulent and non-virulent borrelial strains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Njuguna JT, Nassar M, Hoerauf A, Kaiser AE
Cloning, expression and functional activity of deoxyhypusine synthase from Plasmodium vivax.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;691.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread human malaria parasite. However, genetic information about its pathogenesis is limited at present, due to the lack of a reproducible in vitro cultivation method. Sequencing of the Plasmodium vivax genome suggested the presence of a homolog of deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS) from P. falciparum, the key regulatory enzyme in the first committed step of hypusine biosynthesis. DHS is involved in cell proliferation, and thus a valuable drug target for the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. A comparison of the enzymatic properties of the DHS enzymes between the benign and severe Plasmodium species should contribute to our understanding of the differences in pathogenicity and phylogeny of both malaria parasites. RESULTS: We describe the cloning of a 1368 bp putative deoxyhypusine synthase gene (dhs) sequence from genomic DNA of P. vivax PEST strain Salvador I (Accession number AJ549098) after touchdown PCR. The corresponding protein was expressed and functionally characterized as deoxyhypusine synthase by determination of its specific activity and cross-reactivity to human DHS on a Western blot.The putative DHS protein from P. vivax displays a FASTA score of 75 relative to DHS from rodent malaria parasite, P. yoelii, and 74 relative to that from the human parasite, P. falciparum strain 3D7. The ORF encoding 456 amino acids was expressed under control of IPTG-inducible T7 promoter, and expressed as a protein of approximately 50 kDa (theoretically 52.7 kDa) in E. coli BL21 DE3 cells. The N-terminal histidine-tagged protein was purified by Nickel-chelate affinity chromatography under denaturing conditions. DHS with a theoretical pI of 6.0 was present in both eluate fractions. The specific enzymatic activity of DHS was determined as 1268 U/mg protein. The inhibitor, N-guanyl-1, 7-diaminoheptane (GC7), suppressed specific activity by 36-fold. Western blot analysis performed with a polyclonal anti-human DHS antibody revealed cross-reactivity to DHS from P. vivax, despite an amino acid identity of 44% between the proteins. CONCLUSION: We identify a novel DHS protein in the more benign malaria parasite,P. vivax, on the basis of specific enzymatic activity, cross-reactivity with a polyclonal antibody against human DHS, and amino acid identity with DHS homologs from the rodent malaria parasite, P. yoelii, and human P. falciparum strains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aristimuño L, Armengol R, Cebollada A, España M, Guilarte A, Lafoz C, Lezcano MA, Revillo MJ, Martín C, Ramírez C, Rastogi N, Rojas J, de Salas AV, Sola C, Samper S
Molecular characterisation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates in the First National Survey of Anti-tuberculosis Drug Resistance from Venezuela.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;690.
BACKGROUND: Molecular typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains has become a valuable tool in the epidemiology of tuberculosis (TB) by allowing detection of outbreaks, tracking of epidemics, identification of genotypes and transmission events among patients who would have remained undetected by conventional contact investigation. This is the first genetic biodiversity study of M. tuberculosis in Venezuela. Thus, we investigated the genetic patterns of strains isolated in the first survey of anti-tuberculosis drug-resistance realised as part of the Global Project of Anti-tuberculosis Drug Resistance Surveillance (WHO/IUATLD). RESULTS: Clinical isolates (670/873) were genotyped by spoligotyping. The results were compared with the international spoligotyping database (SpolDB4). Multidrug resistant (MDR) strains (14/18) were also analysed by IS6110-RFLP assays, and resistance to isoniazid and rifampicin was characterised. Spoligotyping grouped 82% (548/670) of the strains into 59 clusters. Twenty new spoligotypes (SITs) specific to Venezuela were identified. Eight new inter-regional clusters were created. The Beijing genotype was not found. The genetic network shows that the Latin American and Mediterranean family constitutes the backbone of the genetic TB population-structure in Venezuela, responsible of >60% of total TB cases studied. MDR was 0.5% in never treated patients and 13.5% in previously treated patients. Mutations in rpoB gene and katG genes were detected in 64% and 43% of the MDR strains, respectively. Two clusters were found to be identical by the four different analysis methods, presumably representing cases of recent transmission of MDR tuberculosis. CONCLUSION: This study gives a first overview of the M. tuberculosis strains circulating in Venezuela during the first survey of anti-tuberculosis drug-resistance. It may aid in the creation of a national database that will be a valuable support for further studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hayes ET, Wilks JC, Sanfilippo P, Yohannes E, Tate DP, Jones BD, Radmacher MD, BonDurant SS, Slonczewski JL
Oxygen limitation modulates pH regulation of catabolism and hydrogenases, multidrug transporters, and envelope composition in Escherichia coli K-12.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;689.
BACKGROUND: In Escherichia coli, pH regulates genes for amino-acid and sugar catabolism, electron transport, oxidative stress, periplasmic and envelope proteins. Many pH-dependent genes are co-regulated by anaerobiosis, but the overall intersection of pH stress and oxygen limitation has not been investigated. RESULTS: The pH dependence of gene expression was analyzed in oxygen-limited cultures of E. coli K-12 strain W3110. E. coli K-12 strain W3110 was cultured in closed tubes containing LBK broth buffered at pH 5.7, pH 7.0, and pH 8.5. Affymetrix array hybridization revealed pH-dependent expression of 1,384 genes and 610 intergenic regions. A core group of 251 genes showed pH responses similar to those in a previous study of cultures grown with aeration. The highly acid-induced gene yagU was shown to be required for extreme-acid resistance (survival at pH 2). Acid also up-regulated fimbriae (fimAC), periplasmic chaperones (hdeAB), cyclopropane fatty acid synthase (cfa), and the "constitutive" Na+/H+ antiporter (nhaB). Base up-regulated core genes for maltodextrin transport (lamB, mal), ATP synthase (atp), and DNA repair (recA, mutL). Other genes showed opposite pH responses with or without aeration, for example ETS components (cyo,nuo, sdh) and hydrogenases (hya, hyb, hyc, hyf, hyp). A hypF strain lacking all hydrogenase activity showed loss of extreme-acid resistance. Under oxygen limitation only, acid down-regulated ribosome synthesis (rpl,rpm, rps). Acid up-regulated the catabolism of sugar derivatives whose fermentation minimized acid production (gnd, gnt, srl), and also a cluster of 13 genes in the gadA region. Acid up-regulated drug transporters (mdtEF, mdtL), but down-regulated penicillin-binding proteins (dacACD, mreBC). Intergenic regions containing regulatory sRNAs were up-regulated by acid (ryeA, csrB, gadY, rybC). CONCLUSION: pH regulates a core set of genes independently of oxygen, including yagU, fimbriae, periplasmic chaperones, and nhaB. Under oxygen limitation, however, pH regulation is reversed for genes encoding electron transport components and hydrogenases. Extreme-acid resistance requires yagU and hydrogenase production. Ribosome synthesis is down-regulated at low pH under oxygen limitation, possibly due to the restricted energy yield of catabolism. Under oxygen limitation, pH regulates metabolism and transport so as to maximize alternative catabolic options while minimizing acidification or alkalinization of the cytoplasm. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang CY, Wei JF, He SH
Adaptive evolution of the spike gene of SARS coronavirus: changes in positively selected sites in different epidemic groups.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;688.
BACKGROUND: It is believed that animal-to-human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV) is the cause of the SARS outbreak worldwide. The spike (S) protein is one of the best characterized proteins of SARS-CoV, which plays a key role in SARS-CoV overcoming species barrier and accomplishing interspecies transmission from animals to humans, suggesting that it may be the major target of selective pressure. However, the process of adaptive evolution of S protein and the exact positively selected sites associated with this process remain unknown. RESULTS: By investigating the adaptive evolution of S protein, we identified twelve amino acid sites (75, 239, 244, 311, 479, 609, 613, 743, 765, 778, 1148, and 1163) in the S protein under positive selective pressure. Based on phylogenetic tree and epidemiological investigation, SARS outbreak was divided into three epidemic groups: 02-04 interspecies, 03-early-mid, and 03-late epidemic groups in the present study. Positive selection was detected in the first two groups, which represent the course of SARS-CoV interspecies transmission and of viral adaptation to human host, respectively. In contrast, purifying selection was detected in 03-late group. These indicate that S protein experiences variable positive selective pressures before reaching stabilization. A total of 25 sites in 02-04 interspecies epidemic group and 16 sites in 03-early-mid epidemic group were identified under positive selection. The identified sites were different between these two groups except for site 239, which suggests that positively selected sites are changeable between groups. Moreover, it was showed that a larger proportion (24%) of positively selected sites was located in receptor-binding domain (RBD) than in heptad repeat (HR)1-HR2 region in 02-04 interspecies epidemic group (p = 0.0208), and a greater percentage (25%) of these sites occurred in HR1-HR2 region than in RBD in 03-early-mid epidemic group (p = 0.0721). These suggest that functionally different domains of S protein may not experience same positive selection in each epidemic group. In addition, three specific replacements (F360S, T487S and L665S) were only found between 03-human SARS-CoVs and strains from 02-04 interspecies epidemic group, which reveals that selective sweep may also force the evolution of S genes before the jump of SARS-CoVs into human hosts. Since certain residues at these positively selected sites are associated with receptor recognition and/or membrane fusion, they are likely to be the crucial residues for animal-to-human transmission of SARS-CoVs, and subsequent adaptation to human hosts. CONCLUSION: The variation of positive selective pressures and positively selected sites are likely to contribute to the adaptive evolution of S protein from animals to humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Herthnek D, Bölske G
New PCR systems to confirm real-time PCR detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;687.
BACKGROUND: Johne's disease, a serious chronic form of enteritis in ruminants, is caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). As the organism is very slow-growing and fastidious, several PCR-based methods for detection have been developed, based mainly on the MAP-specific gene IS900. However, because this gene is similar to genes in other mycobacteria, there is a need for sensitive and reliable methods to confirm the presence of MAP. As described here, two new real-time PCR systems on the IS900 gene and one on the F57 gene were developed and carefully validated on 267 strains and 56 positive clinical faecal samples. RESULTS: Our confirmatory PCR systems on IS900 were found sensitive and specific, only yielding weak false positive reactions in one strain for each system. The PCR system on F57 did not elicit any false positives and was only slightly less sensitive than our primary IS900-system. DNA from both naturally infected and spiked faeces that tested positive with our primary system could be confirmed with all new systems, except one low-level infected sample that tested negative with the F57 system. CONCLUSION: We recommend using the newly constructed DH3 PCR system on the F57 gene as the primary confirmatory test for PCR positives, but should it fail due to its lower sensitivity, the DH1 and DH2 PCR systems should be used. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Andersen JB, Roldgaard BB, Lindner AB, Christensen BB, Licht TR
Construction of a multiple fluorescence labelling system for use in co-invasion studies of Listeria monocytogenes.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;686.
BACKGROUND: Existing virulence models are often difficult to apply for quantitative comparison of invasion potentials of Listeria monocytogenes. Well-to-well variation between cell-line based in vitro assays is practically unavoidable, and variation between individual animals is the cause of large deviations in the observed capacity for infection when animal models are used.One way to circumvent this problem is to carry out virulence studies as competition assays between 2 or more strains. This, however, requires invasion-neutral markers that enable easy discrimination between the different strains. RESULTS: A fluorescent marker system, allowing visualization and identification of single L. monocytogenes cells as well as colonies in a non-destructive manner, was developed. Five different fluorescent labels are available, and allowed simultaneous visual discrimination between three differently labelled strains at the single cell level by use of fluorescence microscopy. More than 90% of the L. monocytogenes host cells maintained the fluorescence tags for 40 generations.The fluorescence tags did not alter the invasive capacity of the L. monocytogenes cells in a traditional Caco-2 cell invasion assay, and visual discrimination between invaded bacteria carrying different fluorescent labels inside the cells was possible. CONCLUSION: The constructed fluorescent marker system is stable, easy to use, does not affect the virulence of L. monocytogenes in Caco-2 cell assays, and allows discrimination between differently labelled bacteria after internalization in these cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mercado-Curiel RF, Esquinca-Avilés HA, Tovar R, Díaz-Badillo A, Camacho-Nuez M, Muñoz Mde L
The four serotypes of dengue recognize the same putative receptors in Aedes aegypti midgut and Ae. albopictus cells.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;685.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Dengue viruses (DENV) attach to the host cell surface and subsequently enter the cell by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Several primary and low affinity co-receptors for this flavivirus have been identified. However, the presence of these binding molecules on the cell surface does not necessarily render the cell susceptible to infection. Determination of which of them serve as bona fide receptors for this virus in the vector may be relevant to treating DENV infection and in designing control strategies. RESULTS: (1) Overlay protein binding assay showed two proteins with molecular masses of 80 and 67 kDa (R80 and R67). (2) Specific antibodies against these two proteins inhibited cell binding and infection. (3) Both proteins were bound by all four serotypes of dengue virus. (4) R80 and R67 were purified by affinity chromatography from Ae. aegypti mosquito midguts and from Ae albopictus C6/36 cells. (5) In addition, a protein with molecular mass of 57 kDa was purified by affinity chromatography from the midgut extracts. (6) R80 and R67 from radiolabeled surface membrane proteins of C6/36 cells were immunoprecipitated by antibodies against Ae. aegypti midgut. CONCLUSION: Our results strongly suggest that R67 and R80 are receptors for the four serotypes of dengue virus in the midgut cells of Ae. aegypti and in C6/36 Ae. albopictus cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Halling SM, Jensen AE
Intrinsic and selected resistance to antibiotics binding the ribosome: analyses of Brucella 23S rrn, L4, L22, EF-Tu1, EF-Tu2, efflux and phylogenetic implications.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;684.
BACKGROUND: Brucella spp. are highly similar, having identical 16S RNA. However, they have important phenotypic differences such as differential susceptibility to antibiotics binding the ribosome. Neither the differential susceptibility nor its basis has been rigorously studied. Differences found among other conserved ribosomal loci could further define the relationships among the classical Brucella spp. RESULTS: Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of Brucella reference strains and three marine isolates to antibiotics binding the ribosome ranged from 0.032 to >256 microg/ml for the macrolides erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin and 2 to >256 microg/ml for the lincosamide, clindamycin. Though sequence polymorphisms were identified among ribosome associated loci 23S rrn, rplV, tuf-1 and tuf-2 but not rplD, they did not correlate with antibiotic resistance phenotypes. When spontaneous erythromycin resistant (eryR) mutants were examined, mutation of the peptidyl transferase center (A2058G Ec) correlated with increased resistance to both erythromycin and clindamycin. Brucella efflux was examined as an alternative antibiotic resistance mechanism by use of the inhibitor L-phenylalanine-L-arginine beta-naphthylamide (PAbetaN). Erythromycin MIC values of reference and all eryR strains, except the B. suis eryR mutants, were lowered variably by PAbetaN. A phylogenetic tree based on concatenated ribosomal associated loci supported separate evolutionary paths for B. abortus, B. melitensis, and B. suis/B. canis, clustering marine Brucella and B. neotomae with B. melitensis. Though Brucella ovis was clustered with B. abortus, the bootstrap value was low. CONCLUSION: Polymorphisms among ribosomal loci from the reference Brucella do not correlate with their highly differential susceptibility to erythromycin. Efflux plays an important role in Brucella sensitivity to erythromycin. Polymorphisms identified among ribosome associated loci construct a robust phylogenetic tree supporting classical Brucella spp. designations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Johnson G, Millar MR, Matthews S, Skyrme M, Marsh P, Barringer E, O'Hara S, Wilks M
Evaluation of BacLite Rapid MRSA, a rapid culture based screening test for the detection of ciprofloxacin and methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) from screening swabs.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;683.
BACKGROUND: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide. The need for accurate and rapid screening methods to detect MRSA carriers has been clearly established. The performance of a novel assay, BacLite Rapid MRSA (Acolyte Biomedica, UK) for the rapid detection (5 h) and identification of hospital associated ciprofloxacin resistant strains of MRSA directly from nasal swab specimens was compared to that obtained by culture on Mannitol salt agar containing Oxacillin (MSAO) after 48 h incubation. RESULTS: A total of 1382 nasal screening swabs were tested by multiple operators. The BacLite Rapid MRSA test detected 142 out of the 157 confirmed MRSA that were detected on MSAO giving a diagnostic sensitivity of 90.4, diagnostic specificity of 95.7% and a negative predictive value of 98.7%. Of the 15 false negatives obtained by the BacLite Rapid MRSA test, seven grew small amounts (< 10 colonies of MRSA) on the MSAO culture plate and five isolates were ciprofloxacin sensitive. However there were 13 confirmed BacLite MRSA positive samples, which were negative by the direct culture method, probably due to overgrowth on the MSAO plate. There were 53 false positive results obtained by the BacLite Rapid MRSA test at 5 h and 115 cases where MRSA colonies were tentatively identified on the MSAO plate when read at 48 h, and which subsequently proved not to be MRSA. CONCLUSION: The BacLite MRSA test is easy to use and provides a similar level of sensitivity to conventional culture for the detection of nasal carriage of MRSA with the advantage that the results are obtained much more rapidly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nygaard TK, Liu M, McClure MJ, Lei B
Identification and characterization of the heme-binding proteins SeShp and SeHtsA of Streptococcus equi subspecies equi.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;682.
BACKGROUND: Heme is a preferred iron source of bacterial pathogens. Streptococcus equi subspecies equi is a bacterial pathogen that causes strangles in horses. Whether S. equi has a heme acquisition transporter is unknown. RESULTS: An S. equi genome database was blasted with the heme binding proteins Shp and HtsA of Streptococcus pyogenes, and found that S. equi has the homologue of Shp (designated SeShp) and HtsA (designated SeHtsA). Tag-free recombinant SeShp and SeHtsA and 6xHis-tagged SeHtsA (SeHtsAHis) were prepared and characterized. Purified holoSeShp and holoSeHtsA bind Fe(II)-protoporphyrin IX (heme) and Fe(III)-protoporphyrin IX (hemin) in a 1:1 stoichiometry, respectively, and are designated hemoSeShp and hemiSeHtsA. HemiSeShp and hemiSeHtsAHis can be reconstituted from apoSeShp and apoSeHtsAHis and hemin. HemoSeShp is stable in air and can be oxidized to hemiSeShp by ferricyanide. HemiSeHtsA can be reduced into hemoSeHtsA, which autoxidizes readily. HemoSeShp rapidly transfers its heme to apoSeHtsAHis. In addition, hemoSeShp can also transfer its heme to apoHtsA, and hemoShp is able to donate heme to apoSeHtsAHis. CONCLUSION: The primary structures, optical properties, oxidative stability, and in vitro heme transfer reaction of SeShp and SeHtsA are very similar to those of S. pyogenes Shp and HtsA. The data suggest that the putative cell surface protein SeShp and lipoprotein SeHtsA are part of the machinery to acquire heme in S. equi. The results also imply that the structure, function, and functional mechanism of the heme acquisition machinery are conserved in S. equi and S. pyogenes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Michalski CW, Di Mola FF, Kümmel K, Wendt M, Köninger JS, Giese T, Giese NA, Friess H
Human inflammatory bowel disease does not associate with Lawsonia intracellularis infection.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;681.
BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that bacterial infection of the intestinal mucosa may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In pigs, an obligate intracellular bacterium, Lawsonia intracellularis (LI), was shown to cause proliferative enteropathy (PE) of which some forms display histological and clinical similarities to human IBD. Since LI-similar Desulfovibrio spp. may infect human cells, we hypothesized that LI might be associated with the development of human IBD. RESULTS: In human intestinal tissue samples, PCR using LLG, 50SL27, LSA and strictly LI-specific 16SII primers, yielded either no amplicons or products with weak homology to human genomic sequences. Sequencing of these amplicons revealed no specificity for LI. However, amplification of DNA with less specific 16SI primers resulted in products bearing homology to certain Streptococcus species. These 16SI-amplified products were present in healthy and diseased specimens, without obvious prevalence. CONCLUSION: LI is not associated with the pathogenesis of UC or CD. Whether an immunologic response to commensal bacteria such as streptococci may contribute to the chronic inflammatory condition in IBD, remained to be determined. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Harr B, Schlötterer C
Gene expression analysis indicates extensive genotype-specific crosstalk between the conjugative F-plasmid and the E. coli chromosome.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;680.
BACKGROUND: Plasmids are an important component of the bacterial genome, but the crosstalk between genes encoded on the chromosome and on the plasmid is still poorly understood. RESULTS: We performed a large-scale survey for genes on the E. coli chromosome that are affected by the presence of the conjugative F-plasmid (crosstalk). The expression pattern of about 4% (107 genes) of the genes encoded by the chromosome was affected by the presence of the F-plasmid. Comparing two different Escherichia coli strains, MG1655 and DH5alpha, we found a strong host genotype-specific crosstalk of the host chromosome with the F-plasmid. About 88% of the genes affected by the presence of the F-plasmid showed a significant plasmid by host genotype interaction, i.e. the presence of the F-plasmid resulted in a different gene expression in the two host genotypes. Less than 12% of the genes showed an additive effect of gene expression, i.e. host genotype independent crosstalk between plasmid and host chromosome. CONCLUSION: We propose that epistatic effects also contribute to the maintenance of F-plasmids in natural populations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Salaün L, Saunders NJ
Population-associated differences between the phase variable LPS biosynthetic genes of Helicobacter pylori.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;679.
BACKGROUND: Population structures are normally determined using genes under minimal functional selection. In this study we have assessed genes that are not always essential, show differences in alleles between strains, and are involved in the directly host-selectable phenotype of LPS biosynthesis. RESULTS: Eight complete LPS biosynthesis genes, seven of which are associated with phase variation in some or all strains of Helicobacter pylori, have been sequenced and their divergence analyzed. The differences observed indicate that recombination within these genes largely reflects exchange between strains within the population lineages previously determined on the basis of MLST using housekeeping genes. This indicates that the differences that are used for MLST are likely to broadly associate with genes under functional selection, and differences in strain behaviour. However, instances of exchange between the subpopulations were identified, including the hpAfrica2 subpopulation. Further, there were other differences in gene complements and the chromosomal location of genes indicative of greater diversity within the population than is revealed by the available genome sequences and comparative genome hybridization studies. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the described population structure based upon MLST is broadly a good basis for studying the biology of H. pylori, but that individual alleles may not follow these associations. As a consequence, when working in unsequenced strains, it is necessary to carefully check the presence, sequence, and distribution of any individual gene of interest. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hasan Z, Ashraf M, Tayyebi A, Hussain R
M. leprae inhibits apoptosis in THP-1 cells by downregulation of Bad and Bak and upregulation of Mcl-1 gene expression.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;678.
BACKGROUND: Virulent Mycobacterium leprae interfere with host defense mechanisms such as cytokine activation and apoptosis. The mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis is regulated by the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Expression of Fas ligand and apoptotic proteins is found in leprosy lesions and M. leprae has been shown to activate pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 genes, Bak and Bax. However, the mechanism by which M. leprae modulates apoptosis is as yet unclear. We investigated expression of apoptotic genes in THP-1 monocytes in response to infection by M. leprae and non-pathogenic M. bovis BCG. RESULTS: M. leprae did not induce apoptosis in THP-1 cells, while BCG induced a significant loss of cell viability by 18 h post-infection at both (multiplicity of infection) MOI-10 and 20, with an increase by 48 h. BCG-induced cell death was accompanied by characteristic apoptotic DNA laddering in cells. Non-viable BCG had a limited effect on host cell death suggesting that BCG-induced apoptosis was a function of mycobacterial viability. M. leprae also activated lower levels of TNF-alpha secretion and TNF-alpha mRNA expression than BCG. Mycobacterium-induced activation of apoptotic gene expression was determined over a time course of infection. M. leprae reduced Bad and Bak mRNA expression by 18 h post-stimulation, with a further decrease at 48 h. Outcome of cell viability is determined by the ratio between pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins present in the cell. M. leprae infection resulted in downregulation of gene expression ratios, Bad/Bcl-2 mRNA by 39% and Bak/Bcl-2 mRNA by 23%. In contrast, live BCG increased Bad/Bcl-2 mRNA (29 %) but had a negligible effect on Bak/Bcl-2 mRNA. Heat killed BCG induced only a negligible (1-4 %) change in mRNA expression of either Bak/Bcl-2 or Bad/Bcl-2. Additionally, M. leprae upregulated the expression of anti-apoptotic gene Mcl-1 while, BCG downregulated Mcl-1 mRNA. CONCLUSION: This study proposes an association between mycobacterium-induced apoptosis in THP-1 cells and the regulation of Bcl-2 family of proteins. M. leprae restricts apoptosis in THP-1 cells by downregulation of Bad and Bak and upregulation of Mcl-1 mRNA expression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Márquez M, Iturriaga EA, Quesada-Moraga E, Santiago-Alvarez C, Monte E, Hermosa R
Detection of potentially valuable polymorphisms in four group I intron insertion sites at the 3'-end of the LSU rDNA genes in biocontrol isolates of Metarhizium anisopliae.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;677.
BACKGROUND: The entomopathogenic anamorphic fungus Metarhizum anisopliae is currently used as a biocontrol agent (BCA) of insects. In the present work, we analyzed the sequence data obtained from group I introns in the large subunit (LSU) of rDNA genes with a view to determining the genetic diversity present in an autochthonous collection of twenty-six M. anisopliae isolates selected as BCAs. RESULTS: DNA fragments corresponding to the 3'-end of the nuclear LSU rDNA genes of 26 M. anisopliae isolates were amplified by PCR. The amplicon sizes ranged from 0.8 to 3.4-kb. Four intron insertion sites, according to Escherichia coli J01695 numbering, were detected--Ec1921, Ec2066, Ec2449 and Ec2563--after sequencing and analysis of the PCR products. The presence/absence of introns allowed the 26 isolates to be distributed into seven genotypes. Nine of the isolates tested showed no introns, 4 had only one, 3 two, and 10 displayed three introns. The most frequent insertion sites were Ec1921 and Ec2449. Of the 26 isolates, 11 showed insertions at Ec2563 and a 1754-bp sequence was observed in ten of them. The most-parsimonious (MP) tree obtained from parsimony analysis of the introns revealed a main set containing four-groups that corresponded to the four insertion sites. CONCLUSION: Four insertion sites of group I introns in the LSU rDNA genes allowed the establishment of seven genotypes among the twenty-six biocontrol isolates of M. anisopliae. Intron insertions at the Ec2563 site were observed for first time in this species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Eldholm V, Matee M, Mfinanga SG, Heun M, Dahle UR
A first insight into the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, assessed by spoligotyping.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;676.
BACKGROUND: Tanzania has a high tuberculosis incidence, and genotyping studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the country are necessary in order to improve our understanding of the epidemic. Spoligotyping is a potentially powerful genotyping method due to fast generation of genotyping results, high reproducibility and low operation costs. The recently constructed SpolDB4 database and the model-based program 'Spotclust' can be used to assign isolates to families, subfamilies and variants. The results of a study can thus be analyzed in a global context. RESULTS: One hundred forty-seven pulmonary isolates from consecutive tuberculosis patients in Dar es Salaam were spoligotyped. SpolDB4 and 'Spotclust' were used to assign isolates to families, subfamilies and variants. The CAS (37%), LAM (22%) and EAI (17%) families were the most abundant. Despite the dominance of these three families, diversity was high due to variation within M. tuberculosis families. Of the obtained spoligopatterns, 64% were previously unrecorded. CONCLUSION: Spoligotyping is useful to gain an overall understanding of the local TB epidemic. This study demonstrates that the extensive TB epidemic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is caused by a few successful M. tuberculosis families, dominated by the CAS family. Import of strains was a minor problem. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Torija P, Robles A, Escalante R
Optimization of a large-scale gene disruption protocol in Dictyostelium and analysis of conserved genes of unknown function.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;675.
BACKGROUND: Development of the post-genomic age in Dictyostelium will require the existence of rapid and reliable methods to disrupt genes that would allow the analysis of entire gene families and perhaps the possibility to undertake the complete knock-out analysis of all the protein-coding genes present in Dictyostelium genome. RESULTS: Here we present an optimized protocol based on the previously described construction of gene disruption vectors by in vitro transposition. Our method allows a rapid selection of the construct by a simple PCR approach and subsequent sequencing. Disruption constructs were amplified by PCR and the products were directly transformed in Dictyostelium cells. The selection of homologous recombination events was also performed by PCR. We have constructed 41 disruption vectors to target genes of unknown function, highly conserved between Dictyostelium and human, but absent from the genomes of S. cerevisiae and S. pombe. 28 genes were successfully disrupted. CONCLUSION: This is the first step towards the understanding of the function of these conserved genes and exemplifies the easiness to undertake large-scale disruption analysis in Dictyostelium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yoke-Fun C, AbuBakar S
Phylogenetic evidence for inter-typic recombination in the emergence of human enterovirus 71 subgenotypes.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;674.
BACKGROUND: Human enterovirus 71 (EV-71) is a common causative agent of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). In recent years, the virus has caused several outbreaks with high numbers of deaths and severe neurological complications. Several new EV-71 subgenotypes were identified from these outbreaks. The mechanisms that contributed to the emergence of these subgenotypes are unknown. RESULTS: Six EV-71 isolates from an outbreak in Malaysia, in 1997, were sequenced completely. These isolates were identified as EV-71 subgenotypes, B3, B4 and C2. A phylogenetic tree that correlated well with the present enterovirus classification scheme was established using these full genome sequences and all other available full genome sequences of EV-71 and human enterovirus A (HEV-A). Using the 5' UTR, P2 and P3 genomic regions, however, isolates of EV-71 subgenotypes B3 and C4 segregated away from other EV-71 subgenotypes into a cluster together with coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16/G10) and EV-71 subgenotype C2 clustered with CV-A8. Results from the similarity plot analyses supported the clustering of these isolates with other HEV-A. In contrast, at the same genomic regions, a CV-A16 isolate, Tainan5079, clustered with EV-71. This suggests that amongst EV-71 and CV-A16, only the structural genes were conserved. The 3' end of the virus genome varied and consisted of sequences highly similar to various HEV-A viruses. Numerous recombination crossover breakpoints were identified within the non-structural genes of some of these newer EV-71 subgenotypes. CONCLUSION: Phylogenetic evidence obtained from analyses of the full genome sequence supports the possible occurrence of inter-typic recombination involving EV-71 and various HEV-A, including CV-A16, the most common causal agent of HFMD. It is suggested that these recombination events played important roles in the emergence of the various EV-71 subgenotypes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cunha-Rodrigues M, Portugal S, Febbraio M, Mota MM
Infection by and protective immune responses against Plasmodium berghei ANKA are not affected in macrophage scavenger receptors A deficient mice.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;673.
BACKGROUND: Scavenger receptors (SRs) recognize endogenous molecules modified by pathological processes as well as components of diverse microorganisms. Mice deficient for both SR-AI and II are more susceptible to infections by a variety of bacterial and viral pathogens. RESULTS: Here we show that SR-A deficient mice and wild type mice are equally susceptible to malaria infection both during liver and blood stages. Moreover, like wild type mice, SR-A deficient mice are able to mount a protective immune response against radiation attenuated sporozoites. CONCLUSION: Our results do not reveal a function of SR-A I and II receptors in the Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection, both in the development of CM and parasitemia control. Moreover, these receptors appear not to be required for the establishment of a protective immune response against the malaria liver stages. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Erol I, Jeong KC, Baumler DJ, Vykhodets B, Choi SH, Kaspar CW
H-NS controls metabolism and stress tolerance in Escherichia coli O157:H7 that influence mouse passage.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;672.
BACKGROUND: H-NS is a DNA-binding protein with central roles in gene regulation and nucleoid structuring in Escherichia coli. There are over 60 genes that are influenced by H-NS many of which are involved in metabolism. To determine the significance of H-NS-regulated genes in metabolism and stress tolerance, an hns mutant of E. coli O157:H7 was generated (hns::nptI, FRIK47001P) and its growth, metabolism, and gastrointestinal passage compared to the parent strain (43895) and strain FRIK47001P harboring pSC0061 which contains a functional hns and 90-bp upstream of the open-reading frame. RESULTS: The hns mutant grew slower and was non-motile in comparison to the parent strain. Carbon and nitrogen metabolism was significantly altered in the hns mutant, which was incapable of utilizing 42 carbon, and 19 nitrogen sources that the parent strain metabolized. Among the non-metabolized substrates were several amino acids, organic acids, and key metabolic intermediates (i.e., pyruvate) that limit carbon acquisition and energy generation. Growth studies determined that the parent strain grew in LB containing 14 to 15% bile or bile salts, while the hns mutant grew in 6.5 and 9% of these compounds, respectively. Conversely, log-phase cells of the hns mutant were significantly (p < 0.05) more acid tolerant than the parent strain and hns mutant complemented with pSC0061. In mouse passage studies, the parent strain was recovered at a higher frequency (p < 0.01) than the hns mutant regardless of whether log- or stationary-phase phase cells were orally administered. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that H-NS is a powerful regulator of carbon and nitrogen metabolism as well as tolerance to bile salts. It is likely that the metabolic impairments and/or the reduced bile tolerance of the E. coli O157:H7 hns mutant decreased its ability to survive passage through mice. Collectively, these results expand the influence of H-NS on carbon and nitrogen metabolism and highlight its role in the ability of O157:H7 strains to respond to changing nutrients and conditions encountered in the environment and its hosts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yoonim N, Olive C, Pruksachatkunakorn C, Pruksakorn S
Bactericidal activity of M protein conserved region antibodies against group A streptococcal isolates from the Northern Thai population.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;671.
BACKGROUND: Most group A streptococcal (GAS) vaccine strategies have focused on the surface M protein, a major virulence factor of GAS. The amino-terminus of the M protein elicits antibodies, that are both opsonic and protective, but which are type specific. J14, a chimeric peptide that contains 14 amino acids from the M protein conserved C-region at the carboxy-terminus, offers the possibility of a vaccine which will elicit protective opsonic antibodies against multiple different GAS strains. In this study, we searched for J14 and J14-like sequences and the number of their repeats in the C-region of the M protein from GAS strains isolated from the Northern Thai population. Then, we examined the bactericidal activity of J14, J14.1, J14-R1 and J14-R2 antisera against multiple Thai GAS strains. RESULTS: The emm genes of GAS isolates were sequenced and grouped as 14 different J14-types. The most diversity of J14-types was found in the C1-repeat. The J14.1 type was the major sequence in the C2 and C3-repeats. We have shown that antisera raised against the M protein conserved C-repeat region peptides, J14, J14.1, J14-R1 and J14-R2, commonly found in GAS isolates from the Northern Thai population, are able to kill GAS of multiple different emm types derived from an endemic area. The mean percent of bactericidal activities for all J14 and J14-like peptide antisera against GAS isolates were more than 70%. The mean percent of bactericidal activity was highest for J14 antisera followed by J14-R2, J14.1 and J14-R1 antisera. CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated that antisera raised against the M protein conserved C-repeat region are able to kill multiple different strains of GAS isolated from the Northern Thai population. Therefore, the four conserved "J14" peptides have the potential to be used as GAS vaccine candidates to prevent streptococcal infections in an endemic area. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mahfouz ME, Grayson TH, Dance DA, Gilpin ML
Characterization of the mrgRS locus of the opportunistic pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei: temperature regulates the expression of a two-component signal transduction system.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;670.
BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a saprophyte in tropical environments and an opportunistic human pathogen. This versatility requires a sensing mechanism that allows the bacterium to respond rapidly to altered environmental conditions. We characterized a two-component signal transduction locus from B. pseudomallei 204, mrgR and mrgS, encoding products with extensive homology with response regulators and histidine protein kinases of Escherichia coli, Bordetella pertussis, and Vibrio cholerae. RESULTS: The locus was present and expressed in a variety of B. pseudomallei human and environmental isolates but was absent from other Burkholderia species, B. cepacia, B. cocovenenans, B. plantarii, B. thailandensis, B. vandii, and B. vietnamiensis. A 2128 bp sequence, including the full response regulator mrgR, but not the sensor kinase mrgS, was present in the B. mallei genome. Restriction fragment length polymorphism downstream from mrgRS showed two distinct groups were present among B. pseudomallei isolates. Our analysis of the open reading frames in this region of the genome revealed that transposase and bacteriophage activity may help explain this variation. MrgR and MrgS proteins were expressed in B. pseudomallei 204 cultured at different pH, salinity and temperatures and the expression was substantially reduced at 25 degrees C compared with 37 degrees C or 42 degrees C but was mostly unaffected by pH or salinity, although at 25 degrees C and 0.15% NaCl a small increase in MrgR expression was observed at pH 5. MrgR was recognized by antibodies in convalescent sera pooled from melioidosis patients. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that mrgRS regulates an adaptive response to temperature that may be essential for pathogenesis, particularly during the initial phases of infection. B. pseudomallei and B. mallei are very closely related species that differ in their capacity to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Modifications in this region of the genome may assist our understanding of the reasons for this difference. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Qin A, Mann BJ
Identification of transposon insertion mutants of Francisella tularensis tularensis strain Schu S4 deficient in intracellular replication in the hepatic cell line HepG2.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;669.
BACKGROUND: Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes tularemia. The subspecies tularensis is highly virulent and is classified as a category A agent of biological warfare because of its low infectious dose by an aerosol route, and its ability to cause severe disease. In macrophages F. tularensis exhibits a rather novel intracellular lifestyle; after invasion it remains in a phagosome for three to six hours before escaping to, and replicating in the cytoplasm. The molecular mechanisms that allow F. tularensis to invade and replicate within a host cell have not been well defined. METHODS: We constructed a stable transposon mutagenesis library of virulent strain Schu S4 using a derivative of the EZ::TN transposon system. Approximately 2000 mutants were screened for the inability to invade, and replicate in the hepatic carcinoma cell line HepG2. These mutants were also tested for replication within the J774.1 macrophage-like cell line. RESULTS: Eighteen mutants defective in intracellular replication in HepG2 cells were identified. Eight of these mutants were auxotrophs; seven had mutations in nucleotide biosynthesis pathways. The remaining mutants had insertions in genes that were predicted to encode putative transporters, enzymes involved in protein modification and turnover, and hypothetical proteins. A time course of the intracellular growth of a pyrB mutant revealed that this mutant was only able to grow at low levels within HepG2 cells but grew like wild-type bacteria in J774.1 cells. This pyrB mutant was also attenuated in mice. CONCLUSION: This is the first reported large-scale mutagenesis of a type A strain of F. tularensis and the first identification of mutants specifically defective in intracellular growth in a hepatic cell line. We have identified several genes and pathways that are key for the survival and growth of F. tularensis in a hepatic cell line, and a number of novel intracellular growth-defective mutants that have not been previously characterized in other pathogens. Further characterization of these mutants will help provide a better understanding of the pathogenicity of F. tularensis, and may have practical applications as targets for drugs or attenuated vaccines. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Grüter D, Schmid B, Brandl H
Influence of plant diversity and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on belowground bacterial diversity.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;668.
BACKGROUND: Changes in aboveground plant species diversity as well as variations of environmental conditions such as exposure of ecosystems to elevated concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide may lead to changes in metabolic activity, composition and diversity of belowground microbial communities, both bacterial and fungal. RESULTS: We examined soil samples taken from a biodiversity x CO2 grassland experiment where replicate plots harboring 5, 12, or 31 different plant species had been exposed to ambient or elevated (600 ppm) levels of carbon dioxide for 5 years. Analysis of soil bacterial communities in these plots by temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TTGE) showed that dominant soil bacterial populations varied only very little between different experimental treatments. These populations seem to be ubiquitous. Likewise, screening of samples on a high-resolution level by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) showed that increased levels of carbon dioxide had no significant influence on both soil bacterial community composition (appearance and frequency of operational taxonomic units, OTUs) and on bacterial richness (total number of different OTUs). In contrast, differences in plant diversity levels had a significant effect on bacterial composition but no influence on bacterial richness. Regarding species level, several bacterial species were found only in specific plots and were related to elevated carbon dioxide or varying plant diversity levels. For example, analysis of T-RFLP showed that the occurrence of Salmonella typhimurium was significantly increased in plots exposed to elevated CO2 (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Plant diversity levels are affecting bacterial composition (bacterial types and their frequency of occurrence). Elevated carbon dioxide does not lead to quantitative alteration (bacterial richness), whereas plant diversity is responsible for qualitative changes (bacterial diversity). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Serrano I, Melo-Cristino J, Ramirez M
Heterogeneity of pneumococcal phase variants in invasive human infections.
BMC Microbiol. 2006;667.
BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae can be carried asymptomatically in the nasopharynx of its human host but can also cause a wide range of infections. A role for pneumococcal phase variants in the different lifestyles of this bacterium has been suggested but no systematic survey of the colony phenotypes of isolates associated with human infections has been undertaken. RESULTS: We report the colony opacity phenotypes of a genetically diverse set of 304 invasive isolates representing 10 serotypes. Over half of the isolates (52%) presented the opaque phenotype whereas transparent variants accounted for only 26% of the total. However, the frequency of recovery of each phase variant was not uniform, while serotypes 1, 4, 12B and 23F presented the opaque phenotype more frequently than expected by chance, serotypes 3 and 14 where less frequently associated with this phenotype. CONCLUSION: The opaque phenotype was the most frequent phenotype found among invasive isolates. An unexpected and equally important finding is the variability of the dominant opacity phenotype found among serotypes. This observation highlights the heterogeneity of opacity phenotypes in invasive isolates and lends further support to the proposal that other factors, in addition to the site of isolation, determine the opacity phenotype of a given isolate. The association between serotype and colonial opacity could help explain epidemiological differences observed among pneumococcal serotypes such as a higher invasive disease potential. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology

Nardelli DT, Cloute JP, Luk KH, Torrealba J, Warner TF, Callister SM, Schell RF
CD4(+) CD25(+) T cells prevent arthritis associated with Borrelia vaccination and infection.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):786-92.
CD4(+) CD25(+) T cells are a population of regulatory T cells associated with control of arthritis in anti-interleukin-17 antibody-treated Borrelia-vaccinated and challenged gamma interferon-deficient mice. Here, we present direct evidence that adoptive transfer of enriched CD4(+) CD25(+) T cells from these mice can prevent the development of arthritis in Borrelia-vaccinated and challenged mice. These findings establish a major role for CD4(+) CD25(+) T cells in the prevention of arthritis in Borrelia-vaccinated and challenged animals. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Li F, Stevenson RA, Crabb BS, Studdert MJ, Hartley CA
Several recombinant capsid proteins of equine rhinitis a virus show potential as diagnostic antigens.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):778-85.
Equine rhinitis A virus (ERAV) is a significant pathogen of horses and is also closely related to Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). Despite these facts, knowledge of the prevalence and importance of ERAV infections remains limited, largely due to the absence of a simple, robust diagnostic assay. In this study, we compared the antigenicities of recombinant full-length and fragmented ERAV capsid proteins expressed in Escherichia coli by using sera from experimentally infected and naturally exposed horses. We found that, from the range of antigens tested, recombinant proteins encompassing the C-terminal region of VP1, full-length VP2, and the N-terminal region of VP2 reacted specifically with antibodies present in sera from each of the five experimentally infected horses examined. Antibodies to epitopes on VP2 (both native and recombinant forms) persisted longer postinfection (>105 days) than antibodies specific for epitopes on other fragments. Our data also suggest that B-cell epitopes within the C terminus of VP1 and N terminus of VP2 contribute to a large proportion of the total reactivity of recombinant VP1 and VP2, respectively. Importantly, the reactivity of these VP1 and VP2 recombinant proteins in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) correlated well with the results from a range of native antigen-based serological assays using sera from 12 field horses. This study provides promising candidates for development of a diagnostic ERAV ELISA. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Livingstone M, Entrican G, Wattegedera S, Buxton D, McKendrick IJ, Longbottom D
Antibody responses to recombinant protein fragments of the major outer membrane protein and polymorphic outer membrane protein POMP90 in Chlamydophila abortus-infected pregnant sheep.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):770-7.
Chlamydophila abortus is one of the major causes of infectious abortion in pregnant sheep (enzootic abortion of ewes or EAE) worldwide. Organisms shed in infected placentas and uterine discharges at lambing time are the main sources of environmental contamination, responsible for transmission to susceptible animals and possible human contacts. In the present study, a recently developed test, based on a recombinant fragment of the polymorphic outer membrane protein POMP90 (rOMP90-4 indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [iELISA]) and one based on the variable segment 2 (VS2) region of the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) (MOMP VS2 iELISA) were compared using sera from C. abortus-infected ewes at different stages throughout pregnancy. The rOMP90 iELISA detected antibody much earlier in pregnancy than the MOMP iELISA, which, like the complement fixation test, detected antibody only at the time of abortion or lambing. No anti-MOMP antibody response could be detected in three of seven experimentally infected ewes. Furthermore, the rOMP90 iELISA detected antibody in an animal that seroconverted during the course of the study, which the MOMP iELISA failed to detect. Overall, the results show that the rOMP90-4 iELISA is considerably more sensitive than the MOMP VS2 iELISA for identifying animals infected with C. abortus. Earlier detection of infection will allow appropriate control measures to be taken to reduce environmental contamination, thus limiting the spread of infection, financial losses, and the possible risks of zoonotic transmission to humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Levine M, Owen WL, Avery KT
Antibody response to actinomyces antigen and dental caries experience: implications for caries susceptibility.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):764-9.
Fluoridated dentifrices reduce dental caries in subjects who perform effective oral hygiene. Actinomyces naeslundii increases in teeth-adherent microbial biofilms (plaques) in these subjects, and a well-characterized serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody response (Actinomyces antibody [A-Ab]) is also increased. Other studies suggest that a serum IgG antibody response to streptococcal d-alanyl poly(glycerophosphate) (S-Ab) may indicate caries experience associated strongly with gingival health and exposure to fluoridated water. The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between A-Ab response, oral hygiene, S-Ab response, and caries experience. Measurements were made of A-Ab and S-Ab concentrations, caries experience (number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth [DMFT], number of teeth surfaces [DMFS], and number of decayed teeth needing treated [DT]), exposure to fluoridated water (Flu), mean clinical pocket depth (PD; in millimeters), and extent of plaque (PL) and gingival bleeding on probing (BOP). A-Ab concentration, the dependent variable in a multiple regression analysis, increased with S-Ab concentration and decreased with PL and DMFT adjusted for Flu (R(2) = 0.51, P < 0.002). Residual associations with age, DMFS, DT, and BOP were not significant. In addition, an elevated A-Ab response, defined from immunoprecipitation and immunoassay measurements, indicated a significant, 30% reduction in DMFT after adjustment for significant age and Flu covariance (analysis of variance with covariance F statistic = 10.6, P < 0.003; S-Ab response and interactions not significant). Thus, an elevated A-Ab response indicates less caries in subjects performing effective oral hygiene using fluoridated dentifrices. Conversely, a low A-Ab response is suggestive of decreased A. naeslundii binding to saliva-coated apatite and greater caries experience, as reported by others. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Choi YJ, Lee SH, Park KH, Koh YS, Lee KH, Baik HS, Choi MS, Kim IS, Jang WJ
Evaluation of PCR-based assay for diagnosis of spotted fever group rickettsiosis in human serum samples.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):759-63.
A nested PCR assay was developed for the detection of spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae in serum samples. The assay was based on specific primers derived from the rickettsial outer membrane protein B gene (rompB) of Rickettsia conorii. An SFG rickettsia-specific signal is obtained from R. akari, R. japonica, R. sibirica, and R. conorii. Other bacterial species tested did not generate any signal, attesting to the specificity of the assay. As few as seven copies of the rompB gene of R. conorii could be detected in 200 microl of serum sample. The assay was evaluated with a panel of sera obtained from patients with acute-phase febrile disease tested by immunofluorescent antibody assay (IFA). The SFG rickettsia-specific DNA fragment was detected in 71 out of 100 sera, which were proven to have immunoglobulin M antibodies against SFG rickettsial antigen by IFA. The results were further confirmed by restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequencing analysis of the DNA fragments. The results indicated that this PCR assay is suitable for the diagnosis of spotted fever group rickettsiosis in Korea. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kashyap RS, Dobos KM, Belisle JT, Purohit HJ, Chandak NH, Taori GM, Daginawala HF
Demonstration of components of antigen 85 complex in cerebrospinal fluid of tuberculous meningitis patients.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):752-8.
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most common form of chronic infection of the central nervous system. Despite the magnitude of the problem, the general diagnostic outlook is discouraging. Specifically, there is no generally accepted early confirmative diagnosis protocol available for TBM. Various Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens are now recognized as potential markers for diagnosis of TBM. However, their presence remains questionable, and many of these antigens are reported in the blood but not in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This study identifies a specific protein marker in CSF which will be useful in early diagnosis of TBM. We have demonstrated the presence of a 30-kDa protein band in CSF of 100% (n = 5) of confirmed and 90% (n = 138) of suspected TBM patients out of 153 TBM patients. The 30-kDa band was excised from the gel, destained extensively, and digested with trypsin. The resulting peptides were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Partially purified proteins from CSF samples of TBM were analyzed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blotting. Immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed to confirm the presence of proteins in the 30-kDa protein band. The antigen 85 (Ag 85) complex was detected in CSF of TBM patients by indirect ELISA using antibodies against Ag 85 complex. The results of this study showed the 30-kDa protein band contained MTB proteins Rv3804c (Ag85A) and Rv1886c (Ag 85B), both members of the Ag85 complex. This was also confirmed by using immunotechniques such as indirect ELISA and the dot immunobinding assay. Detection of Ag85 complex was observed in CSF of 89% (71 out of 80) of suspected TBM patients that were 30-kDa protein positive. The observed 30-kDa protein in the CSF is comprised of the MTB Ag85 complex. This protein was earlier reported to be present in the blood of patients with extra-central nervous system tuberculosis. Therefore, this finding suggests that this protein can be used as a molecular marker for any type of tuberculous infection. It also provides a more sensitive immunoassay option for the early and confirmatory diagnosis of TBM. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lovrich SD, Jobe DA, Schell RF, Callister SM
Borreliacidal OspC antibodies specific for a highly conserved epitope are immunodominant in human lyme disease and do not occur in mice or hamsters.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):746-51.
Humans produce highly specific borreliacidal antibodies against outer surface protein C (OspC) shortly after infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. We previously demonstrated the epitope recognized by immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG OspC borreliacidal antibodies was located within the 50 amino acids nearest the carboxy (C) terminus. In this study, we show the immunodominant epitope is located in the highly conserved region within the seven C-terminal amino acids. Six early Lyme disease sera that contained borreliacidal activity and IgM and/or IgG OspC antibodies were chosen randomly and adsorbed with truncated OspC containing the 16 or 7 amino acids nearest the C terminus. Adsorptions with each truncated protein abrogated the borreliacidal activity completely. In addition, only small concentrations of OspC antibodies remained detectable by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting. Moreover, borreliacidal OspC antibodies were not induced in laboratory mice or hamsters despite heavy infections with B. burgdorferi spirochetes. These findings confirm that borreliacidal antibodies comprise the majority of the IgM and IgG OspC antibody response in human Lyme disease and that the epitope is located in the highly conserved C terminus. In addition, rodent animal models appear to be inappropriate subjects for assessing the effectiveness of the epitope for serodiagnosis or as a human Lyme disease vaccine. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Flynn JN, Pistello M, Isola P, Zaccaro L, Del Santo B, Ricci E, Matteucci D, Bendinelli M
Adoptive immunotherapy of feline immunodeficiency virus with autologous ex vivo-stimulated lymphoid cells modulates virus and T-cell subsets in blood.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):736-45.
The potential of immunotherapy with autologous virus-specific T cells to affect the course of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection was explored in a group of specific-pathogen-free cats infected with FIV a minimum of 10 months earlier. Popliteal lymph node cells were stimulated by cocultivation with UV-inactivated autologous fibroblasts infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing either FIV gag or env gene products, followed by expansion in interleukin-2. One or two infusions of both Gag- and Env-stimulated cells resulted in a slow increase in FIV-specific gamma interferon-secreting T cells in the circulation of cats. In the same animals, viral set points fluctuated widely during the first 2 to 3 weeks after adoptive transfer and then returned to pretreatment levels. The preexisting viral quasispecies was also found to be modulated, whereas no novel viral variants were detected. Circulating CD4(+) counts underwent a dramatic decline early after treatment. CD4/CD8 ratios remained instead essentially unchanged and eventually improved in some animals. In contrast, a single infusion of Gag-stimulated cells alone produced no apparent modulations of infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Waters WR, Palmer MV, Bannantine JP, Greenwald R, Esfandiari J, Andersen P, McNair J, Pollock JM, Lyashchenko KP
Antibody responses in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) infected with Mycobacterium bovis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):727-35.
Despite having a very low incidence of disease, reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are subject to tuberculosis (TB) testing requirements for interstate shipment and herd accreditation in the United States. Improved TB tests are desperately needed, as many reindeer are falsely classified as reactors by current testing procedures. Sera collected sequentially from 11 (experimentally) Mycobacterium bovis-infected reindeer and 4 noninfected reindeer were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunoblotting, and multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA) for antibody specific to M. bovis antigens. Specific antibody was detected as early as 4 weeks after challenge with M. bovis. By MAPIA, sera were tested with 12 native and recombinant antigens, which were used to coat nitrocellulose. All M. bovis-infected reindeer developed responses to MPB83 and a fusion protein, Acr1/MPB83, and 9/11 had responses to MPB70. Other antigens less commonly recognized included MPB59, ESAT-6, and CFP10. Administration of purified protein derivatives for skin testing boosted serum antibody responses, as detected by each of the assays. Of the noninfected reindeer, 2/4 had responses that were detectable immediately following skin testing, which correlated with pathological findings (i.e., presence of granulomatous lesions yet the absence of acid-fast bacteria). The levels of specific antibody produced by infected reindeer appeared to be associated with disease progression but not with cell-mediated immunity. These findings indicate that M. bovis infection of reindeer elicits an antibody response to multiple antigens that can be boosted by skin testing. Serological tests using carefully selected specific antigens have potential for early detection of infections in reindeer. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Inostroza J, Villanueva S, Mason K, Leiva LE, Sorensen RU
Effects of absorption with pneumococcal type 22F polysaccharide on maternal, cord blood, and infant immunoglobulin G antipneumococcal polysaccharide antibodies.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):722-6.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of absorption with pneumococcal type 22F polysaccharide on antipneumococcal antibody titers in unimmunized Chilean pregnant women and on antibodies in their offspring at birth and 3, 6, and 12 months of age. Sera from 10 healthy pregnant women and from their offspring at birth and at 3, 6, and 12 months of age were studied. Immunoglobulin G antibodies against serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 9V, 14, 18, 19F, and 23F were measured by a standardized enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. All sera were absorbed with polysaccharide C, and aliquots of each serum were absorbed with polysaccharide 22F. Individual results were expressed in mug/ml based on the standard serum pool 89-SF. Absorption with polysaccharide 22F reduced antibody concentrations in all samples and to all 10 serotypes studied. Reduction was highest in maternal sera and in cord blood, but it was also present at 3, 6, and 12 months of age. The percent reduction ranged from 24% for serotype 14 to 50% for serotype 1 in maternal samples and from 20% for serotype 18C to 49% for serotype 4 in cord blood samples. The percentages of transplacental transmission were similar for nonabsorbed and absorbed maternal fetal pairs. Absorption with serotype 22F had a significant impact on antipneumococcal antibody concentrations in unimmunized pregnant women and in their offspring. Our results suggest that absorption with 22F polysaccharide needs to be performed in studies of transplacental transmission of antipneumococcal antibodies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pittman PR, Leitman SF, Oro JG, Norris SL, Marano NM, Ranadive MV, Sink BS, McKee KT
Protective antigen and toxin neutralization antibody patterns in anthrax vaccinees undergoing serial plasmapheresis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):713-21.
Recipients of licensed anthrax vaccine (AVA; Biothrax) could serve as a source of hyperimmune plasma and immunoglobulin for therapy and prophylaxis. We measured serum antibodies during serial weekly to biweekly plasmapheresis in 38 individuals previously vaccinated with 4 to 27 doses of AVA. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to protective antigen (PA) and toxin neutralization assay (TNA) antibody levels were highly correlated (r = 0.86930 and P < 0.0001 for anti-PA concentration versus TNA concentration). Significant decreases in antibody titer and concentration were observed over time when compared for the number of days from the last AVA injection (P < 0.0001 for both anti-PA and TNA concentration) and for the number of days from the first plasmapheresis (P = 0.0007 for anti-PA concentration and P = 0.0025 for TNA concentration). The rate of the decrease in total IgG concentration (half-life [t(1/2)] = 198.90 days after first plasmapheresis) was significantly less than the decrease in anti-PA IgG (t(1/2) = 63.53 days) (P < 0.0001), indicating that the reduction in anti-PA IgG was more likely due to natural decay than plasmapheresis. The time since the last injection and the time after initial plasmapheresis are important elements in considering an optimal schedule for collecting anthrax hyperimmune plasma. Good correlation between IgG to PA and TNA antibodies suggests that the anti-PA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay can be used as a high-throughput screen for functional immune reactivity in donor plasma units. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Merlo A, Tenca C, Fais F, Battini L, Ciccone E, Grossi CE, Saverino D
Inhibitory receptors CD85j, LAIR-1, and CD152 down-regulate immunoglobulin and cytokine production by human B lymphocytes.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):705-12.
Class switching consists in the substitution of the heavy-chain constant region of immunoglobulin M (IgM) with that of IgG, IgA, or IgE. This enables antibodies to acquire new effector functions that are crucial to combat invading pathogens. Class switching usually requires engagement of CD40 on B cells by CD40 ligand (CD40L) on antigen-activated CD4(+) T cells and the production of cytokines. The process must be regulated tightly because abnormal IgG and IgA production favors the onset of autoimmunity, whereas increased switching to IgE leads to atopy. These inflammatory disorders can be triggered or exacerbated by costimulatory signals. Although thoroughly investigated on T cells, the roles of the inhibitory receptors CD85j, LAIR-1, and CD152 on B-cell functions have not been fully elucidated. In this study we show that cross-linking of the B-cell inhibitory receptors by specific monoclonal antibodies inhibits IgG and IgE production, reduces the percentage of IgG- and IgE-expressing B cells, and down-regulates interleukin 8 (IL-8), IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha production. These effects were demonstrated using different B-cell stimulatory pathways (recall antigens, CD40L-transfected cells plus IL-4, and lipopolysaccharide plus IL-4). It thus appears that CD85j, LAIR-1, and CD152 play a central role for the control of IL-4-driven isotype switching. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ampel NM, Nelson DK, Chavez S, Naus KA, Herman AB, Li L, Simmons KA, Pappagianis D
Preliminary evaluation of whole-blood gamma interferon release for clinical assessment of cellular immunity in patients with active coccidioidomycosis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):700-4.
Assessment of the cellular immune response in coccidioidomycosis has epidemiologic and prognostic importance. Measurement of delayed-type hypersensitivity to skin testing has been used in the past to determine cellular immunity in coccidioidomycosis. However, no skin tests are currently available in the United States. Assay of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) release in whole blood in response to incubation with antigen has been used to assess cellular immunity in tuberculosis. We used a similar assay using the coccidioidal antigen preparation T27K to measure the in vitro cellular immune responses among a cohort of 69 subjects with active coccidioidomycosis. IFN-gamma release was bimodal, with concentrations above and below 5 IU/ml. Using multivariate logistic regression, underlying disease and disseminated or chronic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis was significantly associated with the release of IFN-gamma at a concentration of <5 IU/ml (P = 0.02 or 0.05, respectively). In addition, the release IFN-gamma concentration was <5 IU/ml in all subjects with a clinical severity score of > or =6 (P = 0.02). The release IFN-gamma concentration correlated with expression of CD69 on T lymphocytes in an in vitro assay using T27K as the antigen (Spearman's rho = 0.59; P < 0.01). These results suggest that the IFN-gamma release assay with T27K as the antigen may be a useful clinical test for assessing cellular immunity in patients with active coccidioidomycosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kroll JJ, Eichmeyer MA, Schaeffer ML, McOrist S, Harris DL, Roof MB
Lipopolysaccharide-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for experimental use in detection of antibodies to Lawsonia intracellularis in pigs.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):693-9.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Lawsonia intracellularis was developed and compared with a whole-cell antigen-based immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT). The antigen-containing lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was derived from Percoll gradient purified cultures of L. intracellularis by using a modification of the Westphal hot phenol procedure. The antigen was bound directly to polystyrene 96-well microtiter plates, and the assay was performed in an indirect ELISA format. Specificity and sensitivity values based on 80 known positive and 80 known negative serum samples from controlled experimental trials were 93.7% and 88.7%, respectively. Serological results from a controlled L. intracellularis challenge exposure study confirmed the high specificity and sensitivity of this assay (100% and 99.5%, respectively). Comparisons between the LPS ELISA and the IFAT in detecting anti-Lawsonia antibodies in this controlled study revealed significantly more LPS ELISA-positive pigs than IFAT-positive pigs on days 21, 28, 35, and 42 (P = 0.003, 0.030, 0.002, and 0.006, respectively). This indirect ELISA (LPS ELISA) test is an improved method of detecting antibodies in pigs soon after exposure to L. intracellularis, regardless of isolate type (vaccine or wild type) in experimental studies. The LPS ELISA may be used as a tool to support future research trials on vaccine efficacy and to further understand the immune response induced by L. intracellularis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Collins MT, Wells SJ, Petrini KR, Collins JE, Schultz RD, Whitlock RH
Evaluation of five antibody detection tests for diagnosis of bovine paratuberculosis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):685-92.
Five diagnostic tests based on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology for bovine paratuberculosis were evaluated by using individual serum or milk samples from 359 dairy cattle in seven paratuberculosis-free herds and 2,094 dairy cattle in seven Mycobacterium paratuberculosis-infected dairy herds. Three independent laboratories using three different culture procedures completed fecal cultures for M. paratuberculosis on these cattle and found 417 cows to be shedding M. paratuberculosis in their feces. An animal that was fecal culture positive for M. paratuberculosis by any of the three laboratories was considered a confirmed case of infection. The specificity of three ELISAs (two on serum and one on milk) was > or =99.8%. The specificity of the remaining two ELISAs, both done on serum, was 94.9 and 84.7%. Four of the five ELISAs evaluated produced similar sensitivity in detecting fecal culture-positive cattle (27.8 to 28.9%). Serum ELISA "D" had the lowest specificity (84.7%) and the highest sensitivity (44.5%), but if the cutoff value defining a positive test was changed from 125 to 250% (of the positive control) the sensitivity and specificity, 31.8 and 97.5%, respectively, were comparable to those of the other four assays. If the case definition for M. paratuberculosis infection was based on the culture results of a single laboratory instead of the combined results of three laboratories, ELISA sensitivity estimates were 45.7 to 50.0%. With the exception of ELISA D, assay agreement was high (kappa 0.66 to 0.85) for categorical assay interpretations (positive or negative), but linear regression of quantitative results showed low correlation coefficients (r(2) = 0.40 to 0.68) due to the fact that ELISA results for some cows were high in one assay but low in another assay. Likelihood ratio analysis showed a direct relationship between the magnitude of ELISA result and the odds of a cow shedding M. paratuberculosis in its feces. If used judiciously and interpreted quantitatively, these ELISAs are useful tools in support of paratuberculosis control programs in dairy herds. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Velázquez B, Massaldi H, Battistoni J, Chabalgoity JA
Construction and expression of recombinant streptolysin-o and preevaluation of its use in immunoassays.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):683-4.
Commercially available immunoassays for assessment of anti-streptolysin-O antibodies use native streptolysin-O obtained by a complex process. We prepared a biologically active recombinant streptolysin-O with higher yield and a simpler purification process. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay developed with this recombinant showed good correlation with a commercial test, suggesting that it could be suitable for immunoassays. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Seet RC, Lau LG, Tambyah PA
Strongyloides hyperinfection and hypogammaglobulinemia.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):680-2.
We report strongyloides hyperinfection in two patients with generalized hypogammaglobulinemia from multiple myeloma and nephrotic syndrome, despite a significant strongyloides-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) response. In contrast to reports on animals, where human IgG was shown to be a protective antibody, our observation suggests that in humans, immunity to the infective-stage larvae is not protective against the autoinfective larvae, which are the causative agents of strongyloides hyperinfection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wildner G, Diedrichs-Moehring M
Multiple autoantigen mimotopes of infectious agents induce autoimmune arthritis and uveitis in lewis rats.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):677-9.
We found multimolecular antigenic mimicry of arthritogenic autoantigens and peptides from several other "self" or foreign antigens sharing amino acid sequence homologies. Many of these new mimotopes induced arthritis and/or uveitis upon immunization in Lewis rats, indicating a role for multiple antigens in the initiation of a certain autoimmune disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matsunaga H, Tanaka S, Sasao F, Nishino Y, Takeda M, Tomonaga K, Ikuta K, Amino N
Detection by radioligand assay of antibodies against Borna disease virus in patients with various psychiatric disorders.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):671-6.
Using a radioligand assay, which preserves the natural form of the antigen, antibodies against Borna disease virus nucleoprotein and phosphoprotein were detected in 11 and 19 sera of 171 psychiatric patients, respectively. Compared with results by Western blotting, three and nine sera were concordantly positive, respectively. The four sera showing the highest levels of antibodies by radioligand assay were all negative by Western blotting; however, dilution and inhibition tests supported the positive results. Our results suggest the importance of conformational structure to detect human anti-Borna disease virus antibodies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kremer JR, Muller CP
Evaluation of commercial assay detecting specific immunoglobulin g in oral fluid for determining measles immunity in vaccinees.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):668-70.
A commercial assay for detection of measles immunoglobulin G (IgG) in oral fluid was evaluated in a highly vaccinated cohort using serum IgG as gold standard. In contrast to previous studies from cohorts protected by natural immunity, antibody prevalence was significantly underestimated (-7.4%; confidence interval: -1.5 to -13.2%; P = 0.01) due to a reduced sensitivity when antibody levels were low. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gibbs SE, Hoffman DM, Stark LM, Marlenee NL, Blitvich BJ, Beaty BJ, Stallknecht DE
Persistence of antibodies to West Nile virus in naturally infected rock pigeons (Columba livia).
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):665-7.
Wild caught rock pigeons (Columba livia) with antibodies to West Nile virus were monitored for 15 months to determine antibody persistence and compare results of three serologic techniques. Antibodies persisted for the entire study as detected by epitope-blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and plaque reduction neutralization test. Maternal antibodies in squabs derived from seropositive birds persisted for an average of 27 days. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Formento JL, Berra E, Ferrua B, Magné N, Simos G, Brahimi-Horn C, Pouysségur J, Milano G
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for pharmacological studies targeting hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):660-4.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) activates the transcription of a wide range of genes related to oxygen delivery and metabolic adaptation under hypoxic (low-oxygen) conditions. HIF-1 is, in fact, a heterodimer of two subunits, HIF-1alpha and HIF-1beta. The only analytical methods available for measuring HIF-1alpha levels in tumors are immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Immunohistochemistry has the advantage of allowing the identification and direct examination of HIF-1alpha-expressing cells, but has the intrinsic limitation, as for Western blotting, of being nonquantitative. We developed and validated an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) approach to measure HIF-1alpha levels in cultured tumor cell lines in vitro. HIF-1alpha was expressed in thirteen tumor cell lines grown under hypoxic conditions; however, the levels differed strongly between cell lines. These data point to intrinsic differences between cell lines for the induction of HIF-1alpha under hypoxic conditions. The ELISA developed in the present study is thus an interesting alternative to other analytical methods used to measure HIF-1alpha protein levels and should be useful in preclinical pharmacological studies targeting HIF-1alpha. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Paldanius M, Bloigu A, Alho M, Leinonen M, Saikku P
Prevalence and persistence of Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies in healthy laboratory personnel in Finland.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):654-9.
The rates of Chlamydia pneumoniae seroconversions suggesting acute primary infections or reinfections and the prevalences of antibodies were followed up among healthy laboratory workers. Annual serum samples were collected from 47 persons in Helsinki from 1958 to 1990 and from 40 persons in Oulu from 1994 to 1999. C. pneumoniae species-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM antibodies were measured by microimmunofluorescence (MIF) in 407 sera from Helsinki. The 185 sera collected in Oulu were tested both by MIF and by commercial enzyme immunoassay (EIA). During the follow-up periods of 31 years in Helsinki and 6 years in Oulu, seroconversions were demonstrated by MIF in 45% and 15% of the study groups, respectively. In Helsinki 9% of the persons seroconverted twice during the follow-up period. By MIF, the total incidence rate per 100 person-years at risk was 6.9 in Helsinki and 4.9 in Oulu, and annual incidence rates varied from 0 to 15.4. By EIA, annual incidence rates in Oulu varied from 0 to 10.8. The seroconversions by MIF were usually not confirmed by EIA and vice versa. Prevalence and persistence rates, respectively, of IgA antibodies were higher in EIA (62% and 26%) than in MIF (26% and 17%), whereas the figures for IgG were quite similar. The prevalence of IgG and IgA antibodies was higher in older persons than in younger ones. The presence of antibodies did not offer protection from reinfection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Boarino A, Scalone A, Gradoni L, Ferroglio E, Vitale F, Zanatta R, Giuffrida MG, Rosati S
Development of recombinant chimeric antigen expressing immunodominant B epitopes of Leishmania infantum for serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):647-53.
Wild canids and domestic dogs are the main reservoir of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum (syn.: Leishmania chagasi). Serological diagnosis of VL is therefore important in both human and dog leishmaniasis from a clinical and epidemiological point of view. Routine diagnosis of VL is traditionally carried out by immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), which is laborious and difficult to standardize and to interpret. In the last decade, however, several specific antigens of Leishmania infantum have been characterized, allowing the development of a recombinant-based immunoassay. Among them, the whole open reading frame encoding K9 antigen, the gene fragment encoding the repetitive sequence of K26, and the 3'-terminal gene fragment of the kinesin-related protein (K39sub) were previously evaluated as diagnostic markers for canine leishmaniasis and proved to be independent in their antibody reactivity. Since sensitivity of serological test is usually higher in multiple-epitope format, in this study the relevant epitopes of K9, K26, and K39 antigens were joined by PCR strategy to produce the chimeric recombinant protein. The resulting mosaic antigen was found highly expressed in Escherichia coli and efficiently purified by affinity chromatography. Antigenic properties of this recombinant antigen were evaluated by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using a panel of human and dog sera previously characterized by parasitological and/or serological techniques. Chimeric ELISA showed 99% specificity in both human (n = 180) and canine (n = 343) control groups, while sensitivity was higher in canine VL (96%, n = 213) than in human VL (82%, n = 185). Accordingly, concordance between IFAT and canine chimeric ELISA (k = 0.95, 95% confidence interval = 0.93 to 0.98) was higher than between IFAT and human chimeric ELISA (k = 0.81, 95% confidence interval = 0.76 to 0.87). Results suggest the potential use of this new antigen for routine serodiagnosis of VL in both human and canine hosts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Spencer JA, Deinnocentes P, Moyana EM, Guarino AJ, Ellison SE, Bird RC, Blagburn BL
Cytokine gene expression in response to SnSAG1 in horses with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):644-6.
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic syndrome seen in horses from the Americas and is mainly caused by Sarcocystis neurona. Recently, a 29-kDa surface antigen from S. neurona merozoites was identified as being highly immunodominant on a Western blot. This antigen has been sequenced and cloned, and the expressed protein has been named SnSAG1. In a previous study, cell-mediated immune responses to SnSAG1 were shown to be statistically significantly reduced in horses with EPM in comparison to EPM-negative control horses. It therefore appears as though the parasite is able to induce immunosuppression towards parasite-derived antigens as parasite-specific responses are decreased. Isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes from 21 EPM (cerebrospinal fluid [CSF] Western blot)-negative horses with no clinical signs and 21 horses with clinical signs of EPM (CSF Western blot positive) were cocultured with SnSAG1 for 48 and 72 h, and the effect on cytokine production was investigated by means of reverse transcriptase PCR. Cytokines assayed include gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, and IL-6. beta-Actin was used as the housekeeping gene. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test of the findings indicated that there was a statistically significant decrease in IFN-gamma production after 48 h in culture for samples from horses with clinical disease. There was also a statistically significant increase in IL-4 production after 72 h in culture for samples from horses with EPM. These results further support the notion that this parasite is able to subvert the immune system in horses with clinical disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Carey VJ, Pahwa S, Weinberg A
Reliability of CD4 quantitation in human immunodeficiency virus-positive children: implications for definition of immunologic response to highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):640-3.
Our objective was to develop data-based algorithms for definition of immunologic response to AIDS therapies in pediatric patients, taking account of T-cell subset measurement errors. The study design involved cross-protocol analysis of 2,148 enrollees in six completed Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group trials. We used standard quantitation of T-cell subsets; linear modeling with mean-dependent measurement error variance was used to develop 95% tolerance limits for change in CD4%. For individuals with a CD4% of approximately 25%, the measurement error-based 95% tolerance interval ranges from 15% to 35%, whereas for individuals with a CD4% of approximately 5%, the tolerance interval ranges from 3% to 7%. When pairs of CD4% measures taken within a time interval of less than 30 days are averaged to estimate steady-state CD4%, tolerance interval width decreases by approximately 30%. A simple graphical tool that provides a data-based criterion for immunologic response over and above variation ascribable to T-cell measurement error is provided. Variability in CD4% due to measurement error is substantial, increases with level of CD4%, and complicates assessment of immunologic response to therapy. Replicates of CD4% measures could be used to improve precision of interpretation of CD4% measures. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Higgins DP, Hemsley S, Canfield PJ
Association of uterine and salpingeal fibrosis with chlamydial hsp60 and hsp10 antigen-specific antibodies in Chlamydia-infected koalas.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):632-9.
Infection by Chlamydia pneumoniae or Chlamydia pecorum commonly causes chronic, fibrotic disease of the urogenital tracts of female koalas. Studies of humans have associated titers of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) against chlamydial hsp60 and hsp10 antigens with chronic infection, salpingeal fibrosis, and tubal infertility. To determine whether a similar relationship exists in Chlamydia-infected koalas, samples were collected opportunistically from 34 wild female koalas and examined by gross pathology and histopathology, PCR, and immunohistochemistry for Chlamydia spp. and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for serological responses to chlamydial hsp10 and hsp60 antigens. Greater anti-hsp titers occurred in Chlamydia-infected koalas with fibrous occlusion of the uterus or uterine tube than in other Chlamydia-infected koalas (for hsp10 IgG, P = 0.005; for hsp60 IgG, P = 0.001; for hsp10 IgA, P = 0.04; for hsp60 IgA, P = 0.09). However, as in humans, some koalas with tubal occlusion had low titers. Among Chlamydia-infected koalas with tubal occlusion, those with low titers were more likely to have an active component to their ongoing uterine or salpingeal inflammation (P = 0.007), such that the assay predicted, with 79% sensitivity and 92% specificity, tubal occlusion where an active component of inflammation was absent. Findings of this study permit advancement of clinical and epidemiological studies of host-pathogen-environment interactions and pose intriguing questions regarding the significance of the Th1/Th2 paradigm and antigen-presenting and inflammation-regulating capabilities of uterine epithelial cells and the roles of latency and reactivation of chlamydial infections in pathogenesis of upper reproductive tract disease of koalas. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lambert JS, Moye J, Plaeger SF, Stiehm ER, Bethel J, Mofenson LM, Mathieson B, Kagan J, Rosenblatt H, Paxton H, Suter H, Landay A
Association of selected phenotypic markers of lymphocyte activation and differentiation with perinatal human immunodeficiency virus transmission and infant infection.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):622-31.
This study of a subset of women and infants participating in National Institutes of Health Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol 185 evaluated lymphocyte phenotypic markers of immune activation and differentiation to determine their association with the likelihood of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission from the women to their infants and the potential for early identification and/or prognosis of infection in the infants. Lymphocytes from 215 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV)-infected women and 192 of their infants were analyzed by flow cytometry with an extended three-color panel of monoclonal antibodies. Women who did not transmit to their infants tended to have higher CD4+ T cells. Most notably, levels of total CD8+ T cells and CD8+ CD38+ cells made significant independent contributions to predicting the risk of mother-to-child transmission. Adjusting for HIV-1 RNA level at entry, a one percentage-point increase in these marker combinations was associated with a nine percent increase in the likelihood of maternal transmission. Total as well as naive CD4+ T cells were significantly higher in uninfected than infected infants. Total CD8+ cells, as well as CD8+ cells positive for HLA-DR+, CD45 RA+ HLA-DR+, and CD28+ HLA-DR+ were elevated in infected infants. Detailed immunophenotyping may be helpful in predicting which pregnant HIV-infected women are at increased risk of transmitting HIV to their infants. Increasing differences in lymphocyte subsets between infected and uninfected infants became apparent as early as six weeks of age. Detailed immunophenotyping may be useful in supporting the diagnosis of HIV infection in infants with perinatal HIV exposure. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Abel K, Wang Y, Fritts L, Sanchez E, Chung E, Fitzgerald-Bocarsly P, Krieg AM, Miller CJ
Deoxycytidyl-deoxyguanosine oligonucleotide classes A, B, and C induce distinct cytokine gene expression patterns in rhesus monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells and distinct alpha interferon responses in TLR9-expressing rhesus monkey plasmacytoid dendritic cells.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):606-21.
To determine if deoxycytidyl-deoxyguanosine oligonucleotides (CpG ODN) can be used effectively as nonspecific inducers of innate immune defenses for preventative or therapeutic interventions in infectious disease models for nonhuman primates, the present study evaluated the response of rhesus monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells to three different synthetic CpG ODN classes by defining the cytokine gene expression patterns and by characterizing IFN-alpha/beta responses. Depending on the type and dose of CpG ODN used for stimulation, distinct gene expression patterns were induced. CpG ODN class A (CpG-A ODN) and CpG-C ODN, but not CpG-B ODN, were potent inducers of alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), and this response was due to IFN-alpha production by TLR9-positive plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Importantly, there was a dose-dependent increase in IFN-alpha responses to CpG-A ODN but a dose-dependent decrease in IFN-alpha responses by CpG-B ODN. The most sustained IFN-alpha response was induced by CpG-A ODN and was associated with a stronger induction of interferon regulatory factor 7 and the induction of several interferon-stimulated genes. In contrast, and independent of the dose, CpG-B ODN were the weakest inducers of IFN-alpha but the most potent inducers of proinflammatory cytokines. CpG-C ODN induced cytokine gene expression patterns that were intermediate between those of CpG-A and CpG-B ODN. Thus, the different types of CpG ODN induce different post-TLR9 signaling pathways that result in distinct cytokine gene expression patterns. Based on these findings, A and C class CpG ODN, but not B class CpG ODN, may be particularly suited for use as therapeutic or prophylactic antiviral interventions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aaberge IS, Oster P, Helland OS, Kristoffersen AC, Ypma E, Høiby EA, Feiring B, Nøkleby H
Combined administration of meningococcal serogroup B outer membrane vesicle vaccine and conjugated serogroup C vaccine indicated for prevention of meningococcal disease is safe and immunogenic.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):599-605.
MenBvac and Menjugate are safe and efficacious vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate safety and immunogenicity of the combination (MenB/C) of the lyophilized active components of the conjugated group C vaccine Menjugate when reconstituted with the full liquid group B outer membrane vesicle vaccine MenBvac compared to MenBvac and Menjugate given separately. At 6-week intervals, healthy adults were given one dose of MenB/C followed by two doses of MenBvac (MenB/C group), three doses of MenBvac (MenB group), or one dose of Menjugate and two doses of placebo (MenC group). Injection site reactions were frequent in all groups. However, most reactions were short lasting and mild or moderate in intensity, and the vaccines were found to be well tolerated, with no vaccine-related serious adverse events. MenB/C was immunogenic with regard to both serogroup B and C meningococci. Both the serum bactericidal assay and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyses showed that the immune responses of the combination vaccine were similar to the immune responses of its separate components MenBvac and Menjugate for both serogroup B and C. In conclusion, the combined MenB/C vaccine is safe and immunogenic. The two vaccines do not interact negatively with each other and can easily be administered in the same syringe. The induced immune responses suggest that the combined vaccine is likely to confer protection against systemic group B disease caused by the vaccine strain as well as against group C meningococcal disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen HY, Lu Y, Howard T, Anderson D, Fong PY, Hu WP, Chia CP, Guan M
Comparison of a new immunochromatographic test to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for rapid detection of immunoglobulin m antibodies to hepatitis e virus in human sera.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):593-8.
An immunochromatographic test for rapid detection of IgM antibodies in patients with acute hepatitis E infection was developed utilizing the well-characterized recombinant protein EP2.1 and monoclonal antibody 4B2. The new rapid test based on a novel reverse-flow technology was able to generate a positive result within 2 to 3 min. Our study showed that this test was able to detect anti-HEV IgM antibodies in 96.7% of the patient samples tested (n = 151) while maintaining an excellent specificity of 98.6% with samples from various patient or healthy control groups (total n = 208). Furthermore, this rapid test gave a good specificity of 90.9% when tested with rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive sera (RF value of < or =850 IU/ml; n = 11) although a higher concentration of RF in samples might cause cross-reactivity. The new test has a good agreement of 97.2% with a kappa value of 0.943 when compared with a reference enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The positive predictive value and the negative predictive value for the rapid test thus reached 98.0 and 97.6%, respectively. This is the first rapid, point-of-care test for hepatitis E and will be especially useful for the diagnosis of acute hepatitis E virus infection in field and emergency settings and in resource-poor countries. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Giardina PC, Longworth E, Evans-Johnson RE, Bessette ML, Zhang H, Borrow R, Madore D, Fernsten P
Analysis of human serum immunoglobulin G against O-acetyl-positive and O-acetyl-negative serogroup W135 meningococcal capsular polysaccharide.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):586-92.
The capsular polysaccharide of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 is expressed in both O-acetyl-positive (OA+) and O-acetyl-negative (OA-) forms. This study investigates the impact of OA status (OA+ versus OA-) on serological measurements of anti-W135 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in immunized adults. W135-specific serum antibody assignments were made for 28 postimmunization sera from adults by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using the meningococcal standard reference serum CDC1992. The established IgG concentration in micrograms per milliliter ([IgG]microg/ml) for CDC1992 against OA+ antigen (16.2 microg/ml) was used as a reference to assign a concentration of 10.13 microg/ml IgG against OA- antigen by cross-standardization. Overall, the IgG assignments for these sera were higher against OA+ antigen (geometric mean concentration [GMC] = 7.16 microg/ml) than against OA- antigen (GMC = 2.84 microg/ml). However, seven sera showed higher specific [IgG]microg/ml values against the OA+ antigen than against the OA- antigen. These sera were also distinguished by the inability of fluid-phase OA- antigen to compete for antibody binding to OA+ solid-phase antigen. Although there was no overall difference in functional activity measured by complement-mediated serum bactericidal assay (SBA) against OA+ and OA- target bacteria (geometric mean titers of 9,642 and 9,045, respectively), three serum specimens showed a large difference in SBA antibody titers against OA+ versus OA- W135 target bacteria, which may reflect different epitope specificities for these sera. Our data indicate that, for some sera, the agreement in anti-OA+ versus anti-OA- W135 IgG assignments is serum specific and does not reflect the functional (killing) activity in vitro. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jeong KY, Kim WK, Lee JS, Lee J, Lee IY, Kim KE, Park JW, Hong CS, Ree HI, Yong TS
Immunoglobulin E reactivity of recombinant allergen Tyr p 13 from Tyrophagus putrescentiae homologous to fatty acid binding protein.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):581-5.
The storage mite, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, is one of the important causes of allergic disorders. Fifteen allergenic components were demonstrated in storage mite by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting, but only the group 2 allergen Tyr p 2 has been cloned and characterized. In this study, we attempted to identify and characterize new allergens from T. putrescentiae, which is a dominant species of storage mite in Korea. Expressed sequence tags were analyzed to identify possible storage mite allergens, and the cDNA sequence encoding a protein homologous to fatty acid binding protein, a mite group 13 allergen, was identified and named Tyr p 13. Its deduced amino acid sequence showed 61.1 to 85.3% identity with other mite group 13 allergens. The recombinant protein was expressed in Escherichia coli using a pET 28b vector system, and its allergenicity was investigated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The recombinant allergen was detected in 5 of 78 (6.4%) T. putrescentiae-positive sera tested, and it inhibited 61.9% of immunoglobulin E binding to crude extract at an inhibitor concentration of 10 mug/ml by inhibition ELISA using serum from the patient who showed the strongest reaction by ELISA. In this study, a novel allergen was identified in T. putrescentiae. This allergen could be helpful for more-detailed characterizations of storage mite allergy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chevrier MR, Ryan AE, Lee DY, Zhongze M, Wu-Yan Z, Via CS
Boswellia carterii extract inhibits TH1 cytokines and promotes TH2 cytokines in vitro.
Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):575-80.
Traditional herbal formulas used to treat inflammatory arthritis in China and India include Boswellia carterii or Boswellia serrata. They both contain boswellic acids (BAs) which have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic properties. This study tests the hypothesis that mixtures of BAs derived from B. carterii have immunomodulatory properties. B. carterii plant resin obtained from China was prepared as an ethanol extract, and the presence of seven BAs was confirmed by column chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, and UV laser desorption/ionization tandem mass spectroscopy. The extract was then tested for its ability to alter in vitro production of TH1 cytokines (interleukin-2 [IL-2] and gamma interferon) and TH2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) by murine splenocytes. Delivery of the resin extract using ethanol as a solvent resulted in significant cellular toxicity not seen with the addition of ethanol alone. By contrast, delivery of the resin extract using a sesame oil solvent resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of TH1 cytokines coupled with a dose-dependent potentiation of TH2 cytokines. These results indicate that a purified mixture of BAs from B. carterii plant resin exhibits carrier-dependent immunomodulatory properties in vitro. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Clinical and Molecular Allergy

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Recent Articles in Clinical Microbiology Reviews

Tanyuksel M, Petri WA
Laboratory diagnosis of amebiasis.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):713-29.
The detection of Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amebiasis, is an important goal of the clinical microbiology laboratory. To assess the scope of E. histolytica infection, it is necessary to utilize accurate diagnostic tools. As more is discovered about the molecular and cell biology of E. histolytica, there is great potential for further understanding the pathogenesis of amebiasis. Molecular biology-based diagnosis may become the technique of choice in the future because establishment of these protozoa in culture is still not a routine clinical laboratory process. In all cases, combination of serologic tests with detection of the parasite (by antigen detection or PCR) offers the best approach to diagnosis, while PCR techniques remain impractical in many developing country settings. The detection of amebic markers in serum in patients with amebic colitis and liver abscess appears promising but is still only a research tool. On the other hand, stool antigen detection tests offer a practical, sensitive, and specific way for the clinical laboratory to detect intestinal E. histolytica. All the current tests suffer from the fact that the antigens detected are denatured by fixation of the stool specimen, limiting testing to fresh or frozen samples. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kocan KM, de la Fuente J, Guglielmone AA, Meléndez RD
Antigens and alternatives for control of Anaplasma marginale infection in cattle.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):698-712.
Anaplasmosis, a tick-borne cattle disease caused by the rickettsia Anaplasma marginale, is endemic in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The disease causes considerable economic loss to both the dairy and beef industries worldwide. Analyses of 16S rRNA, groESL, and surface proteins have resulted in the recent reclassification of the order Rickettsiales. The genus Anaplasma, of which A. marginale is the type species, now also includes A. bovis, A. platys, and A. phagocytophilum, which were previously known as Ehrlichia bovis, E. platys, and the E. phagocytophila group (which causes human granulocytic ehrlichiosis), respectively. Live and killed vaccines have been used for control of anaplasmosis, and both types of vaccines have advantages and disadvantages. These vaccines have been effective in preventing clinical anaplasmosis in cattle but have not blocked A. marginale infection. Thus, persistently infected cattle serve as a reservoir of infective blood for both mechanical transmission and infection of ticks. Advances in biochemical, immunologic, and molecular technologies during the last decade have been applied to research of A. marginale and related organisms. The recent development of a cell culture system for A. marginale provides a potential source of antigen for the development of improved killed and live vaccines, and the availability of cell culture-derived antigen would eliminate the use of cattle in vaccine production. Increased knowledge of A. marginale antigen repertoires and an improved understanding of bovine cellular and humoral immune responses to A. marginale, combined with the new technologies, should contribute to the development of more effective vaccines for control and prevention of anaplasmosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ewing SA, Panciera RJ
American canine hepatozoonosis.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):688-97.
American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH) is a tick-borne disease that is spreading in the southeastern and south-central United States. Characterized by marked leukocytosis and periosteal bone proliferation, ACH is very debilitating and often fatal. Dogs acquire infection by ingesting nymphal or adult Gulf Coast ticks (Amblyomma maculatum) that, in a previous life stage, ingested the parasite in a blood meal taken from some vertebrate intermediate host. ACH is caused by the apicomplexan Hepatozoon americanum and has been differentiated from Old World canine hepatozoonosis caused by H. canis. Unlike H. canis, which is transmitted by the ubiquitous brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), H. americanum is essentially an accidental parasite of dogs, for which Gulf Coast ticks are not favored hosts. The geographic portrait of the disease parallels the known distribution of the Gulf Coast tick, which has expanded in recent years. Thus, the endemic cycle of H. americanum involves A. maculatum as definitive host and some vertebrate intermediate host(s) yet to be identified. Although coyotes (Canis latrans) are known to be infected, it is not known how important this host is in maintaining the endemic cycle. This review covers the biology of the parasite and of the tick that transmits it and contrasts ACH with classical canine hepatozoonosis. Clinical aspects of the disease are discussed, including diagnosis and treatment, and puzzling epidemiologic issues are examined. Brief consideration is given to the potential for ACH to be used as a model for study of angiogenesis and of hypertrophic osteoarthropathy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Koch AL
Bacterial wall as target for attack: past, present, and future research.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):673-87.
When Bacteria, Archaea, and Eucarya separated from each other, a great deal of evolution had taken place. Only then did extensive diversity arise. The bacteria split off with the new property that they had a sacculus that protected them from their own turgor pressure. The saccular wall of murein (or peptidoglycan) was an effective solution to the osmotic pressure problem, but it then was a target for other life-forms, which created lysoymes and beta-lactams. The beta-lactams, with their four-member strained rings, are effective agents in nature and became the first antibiotic in human medicine. But that is by no means the end of the story. Over evolutionary time, bacteria challenged by beta-lactams evolved countermeasures such as beta-lactamases, and the producing organisms evolved variant beta-lactams. The biology of both classes became evident as the pharmaceutical industry isolated, modified, and produced new chemotherapeutic agents and as the properties of beta-lactams and beta-lactamases were examined by molecular techniques. This review attempts to fit the wall biology of current microbes and their clinical context into the way organisms developed on this planet as well as the changes arising since the work done by Fleming. It also outlines the scientific advances in our understanding of this broad area of biology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Reid G, Jass J, Sebulsky MT, McCormick JK
Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):658-72.
Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. There is now mounting evidence that selected probiotic strains can provide health benefits to their human hosts. Numerous clinical trials show that certain strains can improve the outcome of intestinal infections by reducing the duration of diarrhea. Further investigations have shown benefits in reducing the recurrence of urogenital infections in women, while promising studies in cancer and allergies require research into the mechanisms of activity for particular strains and better-designed trials. At present, only a small percentage of physicians either know of probiotics or understand their potential applicability to patient care. Thus, probiotics are not yet part of the clinical arsenal for prevention and treatment of disease or maintenance of health. The establishment of accepted standards and guidelines, proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, represents a key step in ensuring that reliable products with suitable, informative health claims become available. Based upon the evidence to date, future advances with single- and multiple-strain therapies are on the horizon for the management of a number of debilitating and even fatal conditions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Meijer E, Boland GJ, Verdonck LF
Prevention of cytomegalovirus disease in recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplants.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):647-57.
The main risk factors for cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplants (SCT) are recipient CMV seropositivity and acute graft-versus-host disease. Currently, two antiviral strategies, prophylactic or preemptive antiviral treatment, are used for prevention of CMV disease. Preemptive treatment is most favorable when short-term (14-day) treatment is applied. Several methods are available for monitoring of CMV reactivation. PCR-based CMV DNA detection assays are the most sensitive methods; however, the clinical benefit of this high sensitivity is unclear. Even more, there is lack of clarity whether PCR tests can better be performed with plasma, whole blood, or peripheral blood leukocyte samples. Recovery of a CMV-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) response is necessary for preventing CMV reactivation and disease. Reconstitution of absolute CMV-specific CTL counts to values above 10 x 10(6) to 20 x 10(6) CTLs/liter is associated with protection from CMV disease. In the near future, preemptive therapy might be withheld in patients with CMV reactivation who are shown to have adequate CMV-specific cytotoxic T-cell levels. Antiviral therapy with (val)acyclovir has been studied only as prophylactic treatment for prevention of CMV infection. High-dose oral valacyclovir is more effective than acyclovir when used in addition to preemptive treatment of CMV reactivation with ganciclovir or foscarnet. Three antiviral drugs have been tested for preemptive therapy of CMV reactivation and/or treatment of CMV disease. Although intravenous ganciclovir is considered the drug of choice, foscarnet has similar efficacy and less toxicity, especially hematologic toxicity. Cidofovir has not been tested extensively, but so far the results are disappointing. Oral valganciclovir for preemptive treatment of SCT recipients is currently being studied. In addition to antiviral therapy, adoptive immunotherapy with CMV-specific cytotoxic T cells as prophylactic or preemptive therapy is a very elegant strategy; however, generation of these cells is expensive and time-consuming, and therefore the therapy is not available at every transplantation center. Magnetic selection of CMV-specific CD8(+) T cells from peripheral blood by using HLA class I-peptide tetramers may be very promising, making this strategy more accessible. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Janssens S, Beyaert R
Role of Toll-like receptors in pathogen recognition.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):637-46.
The innate immune system relies on a vast array of non-clonally expressed pattern recognition receptors for the detection of pathogens. Pattern recognition receptors bind conserved molecular structures shared by large groups of pathogens, termed pathogen-associated molecular patterns. The Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a recently discovered family of pattern recognition receptors which show homology with the Drosophila Toll protein and the human interleukin-1 receptor family. Engagement of different TLRs can induce overlapping yet distinct patterns of gene expression that contribute to an inflammatory response. The TLR family is characterized by the presence of leucine-rich repeats and a Toll/interleukin-1 receptor-like domain, which mediate ligand binding and interaction with intracellular signaling proteins, respectively. Most TLR ligands identified so far are conserved microbial products which signal the presence of an infection, but evidence for some endogenous ligands that might signal other danger conditions has also been obtained. Molecular mechanisms for pathogen-associated molecular pattern recognition still remain elusive but seem to be more complicated than initially anticipated. In most cases, direct binding of microbial ligands to TLRs still has to be demonstrated. Moreover, Drosophila TLRs bind endogenous ligands, generated through a proteolytic cascade in response to an infection. In the case of endotoxin, recognition involves a complex of TLR4 and a number of other proteins. Moreover, TLR heterodimerization further extends the spectrum of ligands and modulates the response towards specific ligands. The fact that TLR expression is regulated in both a cell type- and stimulus-dependent fashion further contributes to the complexity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zintl A, Mulcahy G, Skerrett HE, Taylor SM, Gray JS
Babesia divergens, a bovine blood parasite of veterinary and zoonotic importance.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):622-36.
Babesia divergens is an intraerythrocytic protozoan parasite, transmitted by the tick Ixodes ricinus, and is the main agent of bovine babesiosis in Europe. It is not only a cause of significant loss to the cattle industry; it can also infect immunocompromised humans, causing medical emergencies characterized by rapid fulmination and parasitemias that may exceed 70%. The current emphasis in Europe on sustainable agriculture and extensification is likely to lead to an increase in vector tick populations with increased risk of infection. Despite the veterinary and zoonotic importance of this parasite, relatively little research has been carried out on B. divergens, and many questions regarding the parasite's epidemiology and the host's response remain unanswered. A better understanding of the species' biology and host-parasite interactions may lead to improved control mechanisms and new trends in vaccine and antibabesial drug development. This review provides the first comprehensive summary of B. divergens biology, including its morphology, life cycle, and host specificity, and the current state of knowledge of both human and bovine infections. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Andrews T, Sullivan KE
Infections in patients with inherited defects in phagocytic function.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):597-621.
Patients with defects in phagocytic function are predisposed to intracellular microorganisms and typically have early dissemination of the infection. Recognition of the underlying disorder and aggressive antimicrobial therapy has been beneficial for the patients. Improved understanding of the pathophysiology has also affected patient management by allowing specific, targeted immunomodulatory intervention. The disorders described in this review are not common but have had a significant impact on our understanding of the role of phagocytic cells in host defense. Conversely, understanding the role of the neutrophil and macrophage in infection has benefited not just the patients described in this review but also other patients with similar disease processes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

De Clercq E
Clinical potential of the acyclic nucleoside phosphonates cidofovir, adefovir, and tenofovir in treatment of DNA virus and retrovirus infections.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Oct;16(4):569-96.
The acyclic nucleoside phosphonates HPMPC (cidofovir), PMEA (adefovir), and PMPA (tenofovir) have proved to be effective in vitro (cell culture systems) and in vivo (animal models and clinical studies) against a wide variety of DNA virus and retrovirus infections: cidofovir against herpesvirus (herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus [CMV], Epstein-Barr virus, and human herpesviruses 6, 7, and 8), polyomavirus, papillomavirus, adenovirus, and poxvirus (variola virus, cowpox virus, vaccinia virus, molluscum contagiosum virus, and orf virus) infections; adefovir against herpesvirus, hepadnavirus (human hepatitis B virus), and retrovirus (human immunodeficiency virus types 1 [HIV-1] and 2 [HIV-2], simian immunodeficiency virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus) infections; and tenofovir against both hepadnavirus and retrovirus infections. Cidofovir (Vistide) has been officially approved for the treatment of CMV retinitis in AIDS patients, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread) has been approved for the treatment of HIV infections (i.e., AIDS), and adefovir dipivoxil (Hepsera) has been approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Nephrotoxicity is the dose-limiting side effect for cidofovir (Vistide) when used intravenously (5 mg/kg); no toxic side effects have been described for adefovir dipivoxil and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, at the approved doses (Hepsera at 10 mg orally daily and Viread at 300 mg orally daily). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Henderson DK
Managing occupational risks for hepatitis C transmission in the health care setting.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):546-68.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant contemporary health problem in the United States and elsewhere. Because it is primarily transmitted via blood, hepatitis C infection presents risks for both nosocomial transmission to patients and occupational spread to health care workers. Recent insights into the pathogenesis, immunopathogenesis, natural history, and treatment of infection caused by this unique flavivirus provide a rationale for the use of new strategies for managing occupational hepatitis C infections when they occur. This article reviews this developing information. Recently published data demonstrate success rates in the treatment of "acute hepatitis C syndrome" that approach 100\%, and although these studies are not directly applicable to all occupational infections, they may provide important clues to optimal management strategies. In addition, the article delineates approaches to the prevention of occupational exposures and also addresses the difficult issue of managing HCV-infected health care providers. The article summarizes currently available data about the nosocomial epidemiology of HCV infection and the magnitude of risk and discusses several alternatives for managing exposure and infection. No evidence supports the use of immediate postexposure prophylaxis with immunoglobulin, immunomodulators, or antiviral agents. Based on the very limited data available, the watchful waiting and preemptive therapy strategies described in detail in this article represent reasonable interim approaches to the complex problem of managing occupational HCV infections, at least until more definitive data are obtained. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bode L, Ludwig H
Borna disease virus infection, a human mental-health risk.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):534-45.
This article focuses on human Borna disease virus (BDV) infections, most notably on the development of valid diagnostic systems, which have arisen as a major research issue in the past decade. The significance of a novel modular triple enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that is capable of specifically measuring anti-BDV antibodies as well as major structural proteins N (p40) and P (p24) in the blood, either as free antigens in the plasma or as antibody-bound circulating immune complexes (CICs), is explained. The impact of CICs and plasma antigen, which indicate periods of antigenemia in the course of BDV infection, along with other infection markers that are still in use is discussed. The review further provides new insight into possible links of BDV to human diseases, summarizing cross-sectional and longitudinal data which correlate acute depression with the presence and amount of antigen and CICs. Moreover, BDV prevalence in healthy people is reevaluated, suggesting that this was previously underestimated. Antiviral efficacy of amantadine, in vivo and in vitro, is outlined as well, with emphasis on wild-type (human and equine) versus laboratory strains. Finally, the pros and cons of the association of BDV with human disease, as detailed in the literature, are critically discussed and related to our data and concepts. This article supports existing correlative evidence for a pathogenic role of BDV infection in particular human mental disorders, in analogy to what has been proven for a variety of animal species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Noverr MC, Erb-Downward JR, Huffnagle GB
Production of eicosanoids and other oxylipins by pathogenic eukaryotic microbes.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):517-33.
Oxylipins are oxygenated metabolites of fatty acids. Eicosanoids are a subset of oxylipins and include the prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are potent regulators of host immune responses. Host cells are one source of eicosanoids and oxylipins during infection; however, another potential source of eicosanoids is the pathogen itself. A broad range of pathogenic fungi, protozoa, and helminths produce eicosanoids and other oxylipins by novel synthesis pathways. Why do these organisms produce oxylipins? Accumulating data suggest that phase change and differentiation in these organisms are controlled by oxylipins, including prostaglandins and lipoxygenase products. The precise role of pathogen-derived eicosanoids in pathogenesis remains to be determined, but the potential link between pathogen eicosanoids and the development of TH2 responses in the host is intriguing. Mammalian prostaglandins and leukotrienes have been studied extensively, and these molecules can modulate Th1 versus Th2 immune responses, chemokine production, phagocytosis, lymphocyte proliferation, and leukocyte chemotaxis. Thus, eicosanoids and oxylipins (host or microbe) may be mediators of a direct host-pathogen "cross-talk" that promotes chronic infection and hypersensitivity disease, common features of infection by eukaryotic pathogens. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bennett JW, Klich M
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):497-516.
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. Because of their pharmacological activity, some mycotoxins or mycotoxin derivatives have found use as antibiotics, growth promotants, and other kinds of drugs; still others have been implicated as chemical warfare agents. This review focuses on the most important ones associated with human and veterinary diseases, including aflatoxin, citrinin, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Smith I
Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis and molecular determinants of virulence.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):463-96.
Tuberculosis (TB), one of the oldest known human diseases. is still is one of the major causes of mortality, since two million people die each year from this malady. TB has many manifestations, affecting bone, the central nervous system, and many other organ systems, but it is primarily a pulmonary disease that is initiated by the deposition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, contained in aerosol droplets, onto lung alveolar surfaces. From this point, the progression of the disease can have several outcomes, determined largely by the response of the host immune system. The efficacy of this response is affected by intrinsic factors such as the genetics of the immune system as well as extrinsic factors, e.g., insults to the immune system and the nutritional and physiological state of the host. In addition, the pathogen may play a role in disease progression since some M. tuberculosis strains are reportedly more virulent than others, as defined by increased transmissibility as well as being associated with higher morbidity and mortality in infected individuals. Despite the widespread use of an attenuated live vaccine and several antibiotics, there is more TB than ever before, requiring new vaccines and drugs and more specific and rapid diagnostics. Researchers are utilizing information obtained from the complete sequence of the M. tuberculosis genome and from new genetic and physiological methods to identify targets in M. tuberculosis that will aid in the development of these sorely needed antitubercular agents. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bryant AE
Biology and pathogenesis of thrombosis and procoagulant activity in invasive infections caused by group A streptococci and Clostridium perfringens.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):451-62.
Group A streptococcal necrotizing fasciitis/myonecrosis and Clostridium perfringens gas gangrene are two of the most fulminant gram-positive infections in humans. Tissue destruction associated with these infections progresses rapidly to involve an entire extremity. Multiple-organ failure is common, and morbidity and mortality remain high. Systemic activation of coagulation and dysregulation of the anticoagulation pathways contribute to the pathogenesis of many diverse disease entities of infectious etiology, and it has been our hypothesis that microvascular thrombosis contributes to reduced tissue perfusion, hypoxia, and subsequent regional tissue necrosis and organ failure in these invasive gram-positive infections. This article reviews the coagulation, anticoagulation, and fibrinolytic systems from cellular players to cytokines to novel antithrombotic therapies and discusses the mechanisms contributing to occlusive microvascular thrombosis and tissue destruction in invasive group A streptococcal and C. perfringens infections. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms may suggest novel therapeutic targets for patients with these devastating infections. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vakulenko SB, Mobashery S
Versatility of aminoglycosides and prospects for their future.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):430-50.
Aminoglycoside antibiotics have had a major impact on our ability to treat bacterial infections for the past half century. Whereas the interest in these versatile antibiotics continues to be high, their clinical utility has been compromised by widespread instances of resistance. The multitude of mechanisms of resistance is disconcerting but also illuminates how nature can manifest resistance when bacteria are confronted by antibiotics. This article reviews the most recent knowledge about the mechanisms of aminoglycoside action and the mechanisms of resistance to these antibiotics. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

van der Flier M, Geelen SP, Kimpen JL, Hoepelman IM, Tuomanen EI
Reprogramming the host response in bacterial meningitis: how best to improve outcome?
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):415-29.
Despite effective antibiotic therapy, bacterial meningitis is still associated with high morbidity and mortality in both children and adults. Animal studies have shown that the host inflammatory response induced by bacterial products in the subarachnoid space is associated with central nervous system injury. Thus, attenuation of inflammation early in the disease process might improve the outcome. The feasibility of such an approach is demonstrated by the reduction in neurologic sequelae achieved with adjuvant dexamethasone therapy. Increased understanding of the pathways of inflammation and neuronal damage has suggested rational new targets to modulate the host response in bacterial meningitis, but prediction of which agents would be optimal has been difficult. This review compares the future promise of benefit from the use of diverse adjuvant agents. It appears unlikely that inhibition of a single proinflammatory mediator will prove useful in clinical practice, but several avenues to reprogram a wider array of mediators simultaneously are encouraging. Particularly promising are efforts to adjust combinations of cytokines, to inhibit neuronal apoptosis and to enhance brain repair. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Van Amersfoort ES, Van Berkel TJ, Kuiper J
Receptors, mediators, and mechanisms involved in bacterial sepsis and septic shock.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):379-414.
Bacterial sepsis and septic shock result from the overproduction of inflammatory mediators as a consequence of the interaction of the immune system with bacteria and bacterial wall constituents in the body. Bacterial cell wall constituents such as lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycans, and lipoteichoic acid are particularly responsible for the deleterious effects of bacteria. These constituents interact in the body with a large number of proteins and receptors, and this interaction determines the eventual inflammatory effect of the compounds. Within the circulation bacterial constituents interact with proteins such as plasma lipoproteins and lipopolysaccharide binding protein. The interaction of the bacterial constituents with receptors on the surface of mononuclear cells is mainly responsible for the induction of proinflammatory mediators by the bacterial constituents. The role of individual receptors such as the toll-like receptors and CD14 in the induction of proinflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules is discussed in detail. In addition, the roles of a number of other receptors that bind bacterial compounds such as scavenger receptors and their modulating role in inflammation are described. Finally, the therapies for the treatment of bacterial sepsis and septic shock are discussed in relation to the action of the aforementioned receptors and proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Clarke SC, Haigh RD, Freestone PP, Williams PH
Virulence of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, a global pathogen.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):365-78.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) remains an important cause of diarrheal disease worldwide. Research into EPEC is intense and provides a good virulence model of other E. coli infections as well as other pathogenic bacteria. Although the virulence mechanisms are now better understood, they are extremely complex and much remains to be learnt. The pathogenesis of EPEC depends on the formation of an ultrastructural lesion in which the bacteria make intimate contact with the host apical enterocyte membrane. The formation of this lesion is a consequence of the ability of EPEC to adhere in a localized manner to the host cell, aided by bundle-forming pili. Tyrosine phosphorylation and signal transduction events occur within the host cell at the lesion site, leading to a disruption of the host cell mechanisms and, consequently, to diarrhea. These result from the action of highly regulated EPEC secreted proteins which are released via a type III secretion system, many genes of which are located within a pathogenicity island known as the locus of enterocyte effacement. Over the last few years, dramatic increases in our knowledge of EPEC virulence have taken place. This review therefore aims to provide a broad overview of and update to the virulence aspects of EPEC. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Duchini A, Goss JA, Karpen S, Pockros PJ
Vaccinations for adult solid-organ transplant recipients: current recommendations and protocols.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):357-64.
Recipients of solid-organ transplantation are at risk of severe infections due to their life-long immunosuppression. Despite emerging evidence that vaccinations are safe and effective among immunosuppressed patients, most vaccines are still underutilized in these patients. The efficacy, safety, and protocols of several vaccines in this patient population are poorly understood. Timing of vaccination appears to be critical because response to vaccinations is decreased in patients with end-stage organ disease and in the first 6 months after transplantation. For these reasons, the primary immunizations should be given before transplantation, as early as possible during the course of disease. Vaccination strategy should include vaccination of household contacts and health care workers at transplant centers unless contraindicated. No conclusive data are available on the use of immunoadjuvants and screening for protective titers. Most vaccines appear to be safe in solid-organ transplantation recipients, but live vaccines should be avoided until further studies are available. The risk of rejection appears minimal. Recommended vaccines include pneumovax, hepatitis A and B, influenza, and tetanus-diphtheria. We outline specific protocols and recommendations in this particular patient population. Specific contraindications exist for other vaccines, such as yellow fever, oral polio vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guerin, and vaccinia. We conclude that solid-organ recipients will benefit from consistent immunization practices. Further studies are recommended to improve established protocols in this patient population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tortoli E
Impact of genotypic studies on mycobacterial taxonomy: the new mycobacteria of the 1990s.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):319-54.
The advancement of genetic techniques has greatly boosted taxonomic studies in recent years. Within the genus Mycobacterium, 42 new species have been detected since 1990, most of which were grown from clinical samples. Along with species for which relatively large numbers of strains have been reported, some of the new species of mycobacteria have been detected rarely or even only once. From the phenotypic point of view, among the new taxa, chromogens exceed nonchromogens while the numbers of slowly and rapidly growing species are equivalent. Whereas conventional identification tests were usually inconclusive, an important role was played by lipid analyses and in particular by high-performance liquid chromatography. Genotypic investigations based on sequencing of 16S rRNA gene have certainly made the most important contribution. The investigation of genetic relatedness led to the redistribution of the species previously included in the classically known categories of slow and rapid growers into new groupings. Within slow growers, the intermediate branch related to Mycobacterium simiae and the cluster of organisms related to Mycobacterium terrae have been differentiated; among rapid growers, the group of thermotolerant mycobacteria has emerged. The majority of species are resistant to isoniazid and, to a lesser extent, to rifampin. Many of the new species of mycobacteria are potentially pathogenic, and there are numerous reports of their involvement in diseases. Apart from disseminated and localized diseases in immunocompromised patients, the most frequent infections in immunocompetent people involve the lungs, skin, and, in children, cervical lymph nodes. The awareness of such new mycobacteria, far from being a merely speculative exercise, is therefore important for clinicians and microbiologists. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Artz AS, Ershler WB, Longo DL
Pneumococcal vaccination and revaccination of older adults.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):308-18.
As individuals advance in age, the risk of infection, bacteremia, and mortality caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae rises. Retrospective data demonstrate that the licensed penumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is effective in older persons in reducing serotype-specific invasive disease. PPV demonstrates good immunogenicity in older adults, generally comparable to that in younger subjects, although certain cohorts respond less well. The response to PPV is T cell independent, however, and does not elicit immunologic memory. The duration of the anti-capsular polysaccharide antibody response appears to wane as early as 3 years after vaccination. In older persons, revaccination induces an antibody response, although it may not be as strong as that from the initial vaccine. While revaccination of older adults has been recommended, clinical efficacy has not yet been proven. Measures of antibody function may be at least as important in determining protection as are quantitative antibody levels. Additional studies of immunogenicity, particularly regarding revaccination, will facilitate the design of an optimal pneumococcal vaccination policy. Research into conjugate- and protein-based pneumococcal vaccines, which elicit T-cell-dependent responses and induce immunologic memory, is needed in older persons. In the meantime, administering to PPV to recommended groups should be a public health priority. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Marciano-Cabral F, Cabral G
Acanthamoeba spp. as agents of disease in humans.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):273-307.
Acanthamoeba spp. are free-living amebae that inhabit a variety of air, soil, and water environments. However, these amebae can also act as opportunistic as well as nonopportunistic pathogens. They are the causative agents of granulomatous amebic encephalitis and amebic keratitis and have been associated with cutaneous lesions and sinusitis. Immuno compromised individuals, including AIDS patients, are particularly susceptible to infections with Acanthamoeba. The immune defense mechanisms that operate against Acanthamoeba have not been well characterized, but it has been proposed that both innate and acquired immunity play a role. The ameba's life cycle includes an active feeding trophozoite stage and a dormant cyst stage. Trophozoites feed on bacteria, yeast, and algae. However, both trophozoites and cysts can retain viable bacteria and may serve as reservoirs for bacteria with human pathogenic potential. Diagnosis of infection includes direct microscopy of wet mounts of cerebrospinal fluid or stained smears of cerebrospinal fluid sediment, light or electron microscopy of tissues, in vitro cultivation of Acanthamoeba, and histological assessment of frozen or paraffin-embedded sections of brain or cutaneous lesion biopsy material. Immunocytochemistry, chemifluorescent dye staining, PCR, and analysis of DNA sequence variation also have been employed for laboratory diagnosis. Treatment of Acanthamoeba infections has met with mixed results. However, chlorhexidine gluconate, alone or in combination with propamidene isethionate, is effective in some patients. Furthermore, effective treatment is complicated since patients may present with underlying disease and Acanthamoeba infection may not be recognized. Since an increase in the number of cases of Acanthamoeba infections has occurred worldwide, these protozoa have become increasingly important as agents of human disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Despommier D
Toxocariasis: clinical aspects, epidemiology, medical ecology, and molecular aspects.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):265-72.
Toxocariasis is caused by a series of related nematode species (ascarids) that routinely infect dogs and cats throughout the world. The eggs from these ascarids are common environmental contaminants of human habitation, due largely to the fact that many kinds of dogs and cats serve as pets, while countless others run wild throughout the streets of most urban centers. The eggs, present in dog and cat feces, become infectious within weeks after they are deposited in the local environment (e.g., sandboxes, city parks, and public beaches, etc.). Humans, particularly children, frequently ingest these eggs by accident and become infected. Infection in humans, in contrast to their definitive hosts, remains occult, often resulting in disease caused by the migrating larval stages. Visceral larva migrans (VLM) and ocular larva migrans (OLM) are two clinical manifestations that result in definable syndromes and present as serious health problems wherever they occur. Diagnosis and treatment of VLM and OLM are difficult. These issues are summarized in this review, with emphasis on the ecology of transmission and control of spread to both humans and animals through public health initiatives employing treatment of pets and environmental intervention strategies that limit the areas that dogs and cats are allowed within the confines of urban centers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Henrickson KJ
Parainfluenza viruses.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):242-64.
Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIV) were first discovered in the late 1950s. Over the last decade, considerable knowledge about their molecular structure and function has been accumulated. This has led to significant changes in both the nomenclature and taxonomic relationships of these viruses. HPIV is genetically and antigenically divided into types 1 to 4. Further major subtypes of HPIV-4 (A and B) and subgroups/genotypes of HPIV-1 and HPIV-3 have been described. HPIV-1 to HPIV-3 are major causes of lower respiratory infections in infants, young children, the immunocompromised, the chronically ill, and the elderly. Each subtype can cause somewhat unique clinical diseases in different hosts. HPIV are enveloped and of medium size (150 to 250 nm), and their RNA genome is in the negative sense. These viruses belong to the Paramyxoviridae family, one of the largest and most rapidly growing groups of viruses causing significant human and veterinary disease. HPIV are closely related to recently discovered megamyxoviruses (Hendra and Nipah viruses) and metapneumovirus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Heikkinen T, Chonmaitree T
Importance of respiratory viruses in acute otitis media.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):230-41.
Acute otitis media is usually considered a simple bacterial infection that is treated with antibiotics. However, ample evidence derived from studies ranging from animal experiments to extensive clinical trials supports a crucial role for respiratory viruses in the etiology and pathogenesis of acute otitis media. Viral infection of the upper respiratory mucosa initiates the whole cascade of events that finally leads to the development of acute otitis media as a complication. The pathogenesis of acute otitis media involves a complex interplay between viruses, bacteria, and the host's inflammatory response. In a substantial number of children, viruses can be found in the middle-ear fluid either alone or together with bacteria, and recent studies indicate that at least some viruses actively invade the middle ear. Viruses appear to enhance the inflammatory process in the middle ear, and they may significantly impair the resolution of otitis media. Prevention of the predisposing viral infection by vaccination against the major viruses would probably be the most effective way to prevent acute otitis media. Alternatively, early treatment of the viral infection with specific antiviral agents would also be effective in reducing the occurrence of acute otitis media. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fredriksson-Ahomaa M, Korkeala H
Low occurrence of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica in clinical, food, and environmental samples: a methodological problem.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):220-9.
While Yersinia enterocolitica is an important pathogen, which can cause yersiniosis in humans and animals, its epidemiology remains obscure. The pig is the major reservoir of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica of bioserotype 4/O:3, the most common type found in humans. Y. enterocolitica is thought to be a significant food-borne pathogen, although pathogenic isolates have seldom been recovered from foods. The low isolation rate of this pathogenic bacterium in natural samples, including clinical, food, and environmental samples, may be due to the limited sensitivity of culture methods. During the last decade, numerous DNA-based methods, such as PCR and colony hybridization assays, have been designed to detect pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in natural samples more rapidly and with better sensitivity than can be achieved by culture methods. In addition, the occurrence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in natural samples is clearly higher with PCR than with culture methods. The methods available for detection of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in natural samples are reviewed in this article. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Friedman H, Newton C, Klein TW
Microbial infections, immunomodulation, and drugs of abuse.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):209-19.
The use of recreational drugs of abuse has generated serious health concerns. There is a long-recognized relationship between addictive drugs and increased levels of infections. Studies of the mechanisms of actions of these drugs became more urgent with the advent of AIDS and its correlation with abused substances. The nature and mechanisms of immunomodulation by marijuana, opiates, cocaine, nicotine, and alcohol are described in this review. Recent studies of the effects of opiates or marijuana on the immune system have demonstrated that they are receptor mediated, occurring both directly via specific receptors on immune cells and indirectly through similar receptors on cells of the nervous system. Findings are also discussed that demonstrate that cocaine and nicotine have similar immunomodulatory effects, which are also apparently receptor mediated. Finally, the nature and mechanisms of immunomodulation by alcohol are described. Although no specific alcohol receptors have been identified, it is widely recognized that alcohol enhances susceptibility to opportunistic microbes. The review covers recent studies of the effects of these drugs on immunity and on increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, including AIDS. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gilbert P, McBain AJ
Potential impact of increased use of biocides in consumer products on prevalence of antibiotic resistance.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Apr;16(2):189-208.
There has recently been much controversy surrounding the increased use of antibacterial substances in a wide range of consumer products and the possibility that, as with antibiotics, indiscriminate use of biocides might contribute to the overall pattern of susceptibility in the general environment and in the clinic. Such speculation, based on the isolation of resistant mutants from in vitro monoculture experiments, is not reflected by an emergence of biocide-resistant strains in vivo. This review provides a broad coverage of the biocide and resistance literature and evaluates the potential risks, perceived from such laboratory monoculture experiments, against evidence gathered over 50 years of field studies. An explanation for the continued effectiveness of broad-spectrum biocidal agents against the decline in efficacy of therapeutic agents is provided based on the fitness costs of resistance and the ubiquity of naturally occurring substances that possess antibacterial effect. While we conclude from this review of the literature that the incorporation of antibacterial agents into a widening sphere of personal products has had little or no impact on the patterns of microbial susceptibility observed in the environment, the associated risks remain finite. The use of such products should therefore be associated with a clear demonstration of added value either to consumer health or to the product life. Hygienic products should therefore be targeted to applications for which the risks have been established. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Infection and Immunity

Choi KS, Webb T, Oelke M, Scorpio DG, Dumler JS
Differential innate immune cell activation and proinflammatory response in Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3124-30.
Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) is caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. The critical role of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) for induction of severe inflammatory histopathology, even in the absence of a significant bacterial load, was previously demonstrated in a murine model of HGA. We hypothesized that NK, NKT, and possibly CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells participate in the development of histopathologic lesions with A. phagocytophilum infection. Mice were mock infected or infected with low- or high-passage A. phagocytophilum and assayed for hepatic histopathology and splenocyte immunophenotype during the first 21 days after infection. Compared to high-passage A. phagocytophilum-infected mice, low-passage A. phagocytophilum-infected mice had more severe hepatic lesions and increased apoptosis. The hepatic histopathology severity in low-passage A. phagocytophilum-infected mice peaked on day 2 at the time of peak plasma IFN-gamma levels and gradually decreased through day 21. Low-passage A. phagocytophilum-infected mice also showed significantly increased levels of lymphocyte NK1.1/FasL expression on days 4 to 7 corresponding to early, severe hepatic inflammation, whereas the levels of NKT cells were substantially lower on day 4, suggesting that there was NKT cell involvement. This result supports the concept that NK1.1(+) cells, including NK and NKT cells, are major components in the early pathogenesis of A. phagocytophilum infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tu le N, Jeong HY, Kwon HY, Ogunniyi AD, Paton JC, Pyo SN, Rhee DK
Modulation of adherence, invasion, and tumor necrosis factor alpha secretion during the early stages of infection by Streptococcus pneumoniae ClpL.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2996-3005.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) play a pivotal role as chaperones in the folding of native and denatured proteins and can help pathogens penetrate host defenses. However, the underlying mechanism(s) of modulation of virulence by HSPs has not been fully determined. In this study, the role of the chaperone ClpL in the pathogenicity of Streptococcus pneumoniae was assessed. A clpL mutant adhered to and invaded nasopharyngeal or lung cells much more efficiently than the wild type adhered to and invaded these cells in vitro, as well as in vivo, although it produced the same amount of capsular polysaccharide. However, the level of secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) from macrophages infected with the clpL mutant was significantly lower than the level of secretion elicited by the wild type during the early stages of infection. Interestingly, treatment of the human lung epithelial carcinoma A549 and murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cell lines with cytochalasin D, an inhibitor of actin polymerization, increased adherence of the mutant to the host cells. In contrast, cytochalasin D treatment of RAW 264.7 cells decreased TNF-alpha secretion after infection with either the wild type or the mutant. However, pretreatment of cell lines with the actin polymerization activator jasplakinolide reversed these phenotypes. These findings indicate, for the first time, that the ClpL chaperone represses adherence of S. pneumoniae to host cells and induces secretion of TNF-alpha via a mechanism dependent upon actin polymerization during the initial infection stage. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shelburne SA, Okorafor N, Sitkiewicz I, Sumby P, Keith D, Patel P, Austin C, Graviss EA, Musser JM
Regulation of polysaccharide utilization contributes to the persistence of group a streptococcus in the oropharynx.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2981-90.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) genes that encode proteins putatively involved in polysaccharide utilization show growth phase-dependent expression in human saliva. We sought to determine whether the putative polysaccharide transcriptional regulator MalR influences the expression of such genes and whether MalR helps GAS infect the oropharynx. Analysis of 32 strains of 17 distinct M protein serotypes revealed that MalR is highly conserved across GAS strains. malR transcripts were detectable in patients with GAS pharyngitis, and the levels increased significantly during growth in human saliva compared to the levels during growth in glucose-containing or nutrient-rich media. To determine if MalR influenced the expression of polysaccharide utilization genes, we compared the transcript levels of eight genes encoding putative polysaccharide utilization proteins in the parental serotype M1 strain MGAS5005 and its DeltamalR isogenic mutant derivative. The transcript levels of all eight genes were significantly increased in the DeltamalR strain compared to the parental strain, especially during growth in human saliva. Following experimental infection, the DeltamalR strain persistently colonized the oropharynx in significantly fewer mice than the parental strain colonized, and the numbers of DeltamalR strain CFU recovered were significantly lower than the numbers of the parental strain CFU recovered. These data led us to conclude that MalR influences the expression of genes putatively involved in polysaccharide utilization and that MalR contributes to the persistence of GAS in the oropharynx. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shainheit MG, Saraceno R, Bazzone LE, Rutitzky LI, Stadecker MJ
Disruption of interleukin-27 signaling results in impaired gamma interferon production but does not significantly affect immunopathology in murine schistosome infection.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3169-77.
In schistosomiasis mansoni, parasite eggs cause hepatointestinal granulomatous inflammation and fibrosis mediated by CD4 T cells specific for egg antigens. The severity of disease varies extensively in humans and among mouse strains. Marked disease exacerbation induced in typically low-pathology C57BL/6 mice by immunization with schistosome egg antigens (SEA) in complete Freund's adjuvant (SEA/CFA) correlates with elevated production of the proinflammatory cytokines gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-17 (IL-17), which are regulated by IL-12 and IL-23, respectively. Here we examined the effect on the schistosome infection of a third member of the IL-12 family of heterodimeric cytokines, IL-27, using SEA/CFA-immunized and unimmunized mice deficient in the IL-27 receptor chain WSX-1 (WSX-1(-/-)). SEA-stimulated bulk mesenteric lymph node cells or CD4 T cells from 7-week-infected WSX-1(-/-) mice produced significantly less IFN-gamma than did those from C57BL/6 mice, even though there was no difference between these mice in exacerbated hepatic egg-induced granulomatous inflammation or in the levels of IL-17 induced by immunization with SEA/CFA. A fraction of the cells in the granulomas stained positive for IL-27, but there were no significant differences between WSX-1(-/-) and BL/6 mice, nor were there differences in the number of CD4 T cells and eosinophils. A 24-week chronic infection resulted in markedly reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including IFN-gamma, in WSX-1(-/-) mice, but again the magnitude of immunopathology was not significantly different between the two groups. These findings indicate that despite the impaired IFN-gamma production, IL-27 signaling has no significant effect on either the magnitude of egg-induced immunopathology or on its closest in vitro correlate, IL-17. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Leader BT, Godornes C, VanVoorhis WC, Lukehart SA
CD4+ lymphocytes and gamma interferon predominate in local immune responses in early experimental syphilis.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3021-6.
The clearance of Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum from early syphilis lesions involves infiltration of a large number of mononuclear cells and is characteristic of a cell-mediated immune response. In the present study, we sought to determine the relative abundance of different T-lymphocyte populations and Th1/Th2-associated cytokines present in testicular lesions following experimental infection with the Chicago strain of T. pallidum. Using flow cytometry, we examined the proportion of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells present throughout the progression and resolution of primary syphilis in the rabbit model. We related these findings to the results of real-time reverse transcription-PCR quantification of treponemal and cytokine mRNA levels. Treponemal mRNA levels reached peak values on day 18 postinfection, coincident with an initial peak in the level of T cells, which were primarily CD4(+) T cells. T-cell levels increased again during resolution of orchitis, and there was an increased proportion of CD8(+) T cells. The maximum gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA levels were observed on days 11 and 18, respectively, while only negligible amounts of IL-4 and IL-2 were detected throughout the infection. In addition to showing the temporal relationship between treponemal burden and T-cell responses during lesion progression, our results also demonstrate that the composition of the T-cell population changes during lesion resolution. The presence of the mRNA for IFN-gamma, but not IL-4, is consistent with cytokine expression in human syphilis and provides further support for the hypothesis that there is a Th1 predominance during the early immune response to T. pallidum. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fang R, Ismail N, Soong L, Popov VL, Whitworth T, Bouyer DH, Walker DH
Differential interaction of dendritic cells with Rickettsia conorii: impact on host susceptibility to murine spotted fever rickettsiosis.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3112-23.
Spotted fever group rickettsioses are emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, some of which are life-threatening. In order to understand how dendritic cells (DCs) contribute to the host resistance or susceptibility to rickettsial diseases, we first characterized the in vitro interaction of rickettsiae with bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) from resistant C57BL/6 (B6) and susceptible C3H/HeN (C3H) mice. In contrast to the exclusively cytosolic localization within endothelial cells, rickettsiae efficiently entered and localized in both phagosomes and cytosol of BMDCs from both mouse strains. Rickettsia conorii-infected BMDCs from resistant mice harbored higher bacterial loads compared to C3H mice. R. conorii infection induced maturation of BMDCs from both mouse strains as judged by upregulated expression of classical major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and costimulatory molecules. Compared to C3H counterparts, B6 BMDCs exhibited higher expression levels of MHC class II and higher interleukin-12 (IL-12) p40 production upon rickettsial infection and were more potent in priming naïve CD4(+) T cells to produce gamma interferon. In vitro DC infection and T-cell priming studies suggested a delayed CD4(+) T-cell activation and suppressed Th1/Th2 cell development in C3H mice. The suppressive CD4(+) T-cell responses seen in C3H mice were associated with a high frequency of Foxp3(+) T regulatory cells promoted by syngeneic R. conorii-infected BMDCs in the presence of IL-2. These data suggest that rickettsiae can target DCs to stimulate a protective type 1 response in resistant hosts but suppressive adaptive immunity in susceptible hosts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhao Z, Fleming R, McCloud B, Klempner MS
CD14 mediates cross talk between mononuclear cells and fibroblasts for upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase 9 by Borrelia burgdorferi.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3062-9.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick-borne spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) was selectively upregulated in the erythema migrans skin lesions of patients with acute Lyme disease. In this study, the mechanism of upregulation of MMP-9 was investigated in vitro and in vivo. The concentrations of MMP-9 and soluble CD14 were markedly elevated in serum from patients with acute Lyme disease and were also upregulated in U937 cells by B. burgdorferi in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. MMP-9 mRNA was expressed at baseline in fibroblasts in the presence or absence of B. burgdorferi. However, when fibroblasts were incubated with supernatants from U937 cells with B. burgdorferi or recombinant CD14, the expression of MMP-9 was significantly increased. This effect was completely abolished by the anti-CD14 antibody. These data suggest that the upregulation of MMP-9 by B. burgdorferi involves the CD14 pathway in infiltrating inflammatory cells. Fibroblasts could be recruited to amplify local production of MMP-9 by acquiring CD14 from macrophages. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rudner XL, Happel KI, Young EA, Shellito JE
Interleukin-23 (IL-23)-IL-17 cytokine axis in murine Pneumocystis carinii infection.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3055-61.
Host defense mechanisms against Pneumocystis carinii are not fully understood. Previous work in the murine model has shown that host defense against infection is critically dependent upon host CD4(+) T cells. The recently described Th17 immune response is predominantly a function of effector CD4(+) T cells stimulated by interleukin-23 (IL-23), but whether these cells are required for defense against P. carinii infection is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that P. carinii stimulates the early release of IL-23, leading to increases in IL-17 production and lung effector CD4(+) T-cell population that mediate clearance of infection. In vitro, stimulation of alveolar macrophages with P. carinii induced IL-23, and IL-23p19 mRNA was expressed in lungs of mice infected with this pathogen. To address the role of IL-23 in resistance to P. carinii, IL-23p19-/- and wild-type control C57BL/6 mice were infected and their fungal burdens and cytokine/chemokine responses were compared. IL-23p19-/- mice displayed transient but impaired clearance of infection, which was most apparent 2 weeks after inoculation. In confirmatory studies, the administration of either anti-IL-23p19 or anti-IL-17 neutralizing antibody to wild-type mice infected with P. carinii also caused increases in fungal burdens. IL-17 and the lymphocyte chemokines IP-10, MIG, MIP-1alpha, MIP-1beta, and RANTES were decreased in the lungs of infected IL-23p19-/- mice in comparison to their levels in the lungs of wild-type mice. In IL-23p19-/- mice infected with P. carinii, there were fewer effector CD4(+) T cells in the lung tissue. Collectively, these studies indicate that the IL-23-IL-17 axis participates in host defense against P. carinii. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bohse ML, Woods JP
RNA interference-mediated silencing of the YPS3 gene of Histoplasma capsulatum reveals virulence defects.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2811-7.
The YPS3 gene of Histoplasma capsulatum encodes a protein that is both surface localized in the cell wall of H. capsulatum and released into the culture medium. This protein is produced only during the pathogenic yeast phase of infection and is also expressed differentially in H. capsulatum strains of different virulence levels. In this study, we silenced the YPS3 transcript by using an interfering-RNA strategy and examined the silenced mutants for phenotypic differences in vitro and during infection. The mutants showed no growth defect during in vitro culture in a defined medium at 37 degrees C and appeared to have normal virulence in a RAW 264.7 murine macrophage-like cell line. In a C57BL/6 mouse model of infection, however, the mutants caused significantly decreased fungal burdens, particularly in the peripheral phagocyte-rich tissues of livers and spleens. This defect in organ colonization was evident within 3 days of infection; however, it appeared to be exacerbated at later time points. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jones-Carson J, McCollister BD, Clambey ET, Vázquez-Torres A
Systemic CD8 T-cell memory response to a Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 effector is restricted to Salmonella enterica encountered in the gastrointestinal mucosa.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2708-16.
To better understand the evolution of a systemic memory response to a mucosal pathogen, we monitored antigen-specific OT1 CD8 T-cell responses to a fusion of the SspH2 protein and the peptide SIINFEKL stably expressed from the chromosome of Salmonella enterica and loaded into the class I pathway of antigen presentation of professional phagocytes through the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 type III secretion system (TTSS). This strategy has revealed that effector memory CD8 T cells with low levels of CD62L expression (CD62L(low)) are maintained in systemic sites months after vaccination in response to low-grade infections with Salmonella. However, the CD8 T-cell pool eventually declines. Low numbers of central memory cells surviving after prolonged resting from an antigen encounter can nevertheless reconstitute the systemic effector memory pool in a route-specific recall response to cognate antigens encountered in the gut. Accordingly, populations of CD62L(high) interleukin-7 receptor-positive progenitor central memory cells grafted into naïve mice expand in response to orally administered Salmonella expressing the chromosomal translational fusion of sspH2 and the sequence encoding the SIINFEKL peptide but fail to proliferate following systemic stimulation. Moreover, populations of systemic memory CD8 T cells restricted to Salmonella in oral vaccines selectively expand in response to cognate antigens presented by cells isolated from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN). Together, these findings have revealed the imprinting of systemic CD8 central memory T-cell recall responses against enteropathogens by MLN. MLN restriction represents a novel mechanism by which systemic CD8 T-cell immunity is confined to periods of high risk for extraintestinal dissemination. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Speshock JL, Doyon-Reale N, Rabah R, Neely MN, Roberts PC
Filamentous influenza A virus infection predisposes mice to fatal septicemia following superinfection with Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3102-11.
Previous studies have demonstrated that animals exposed to Streptococcus pneumoniae while recovering from influenza A virus infection exhibit exacerbated disease symptoms. However, many of the current animal models exploring dual viral and bacterial synergistic exacerbations of respiratory disease have utilized mouse-adapted influenza virus and strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae that in themselves are highly lethal to mice. Here we describe a mouse model of bacterial superinfection in which a mild, self-limiting influenza virus infection is followed by mild, self-limiting superinfection with S. pneumoniae serotype 3. S. pneumoniae superinfection results in rapid dissemination of the bacterium from the respiratory tract and systemic spread to all major organs of the mice, resulting in fatal septicemia. This phenomenon in mice was observed in superinfected animals undergoing an active viral infection as well as in mice that had completely cleared the virus 7 to 8 days prior to superinfection. Neutrophils were the predominant cellular inflammatory infiltrate in the lungs of superinfected mice compared to singly infected animals. Among other cytokines and chemokines, the neutrophil activator granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) was found to be significantly overexpressed in the spleens, lungs, and brains of superinfected animals. High G-CSF protein levels were observed in sera and lung lavage fluid from superinfected animals, suggesting that G-CSF is a major contributor to synergistic exacerbation of disease leading to fatal septicemia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fernandes PJ, Guo Q, Waag DM, Donnenberg MS
The type IV pilin of Burkholderia mallei is highly immunogenic but fails to protect against lethal aerosol challenge in a murine model.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3027-32.
Burkholderia mallei is the cause of glanders and a proven biological weapon. We identified and purified the type IV pilin protein of this organism to study its potential as a subunit vaccine. We found that purified pilin was highly immunogenic. Furthermore, mice infected via sublethal aerosol challenge developed significant increases in titers of antibody against the pilin, suggesting that it is expressed in vivo. Nevertheless, we found no evidence that high-titer antipilin antisera provided passive protection against a sublethal or lethal aerosol challenge and no evidence of protection afforded by active immunization with purified pilin. These results contrast with the utility of type IV pilin subunit vaccines against other infectious diseases and highlight the need for further efforts to identify protective responses against this pathogen. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liu DF, McMichael JC, Baker SM
Moraxella catarrhalis outer membrane protein CD elicits antibodies that inhibit CD binding to human mucin and enhance pulmonary clearance of M. catarrhalis in a mouse model.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2818-25.
The outer membrane protein CD of Moraxella catarrhalis is considered to be a potential vaccine antigen against Moraxella infection. We purified the native CD from isolate O35E, administered it to mice, and detected considerable titers of anti-CD antibodies. Anti-CD sera were cross-reactive towards six different M. catarrhalis isolates and promoted bacterial clearance of O35E in a pulmonary challenge model. To circumvent the difficulty of generating large quantities of CD from M. catarrhalis for vaccine use, the CD gene from O35E was cloned into Escherichia coli, and the recombinant CD, expressed without a signal sequence or fusion tags, represented approximately 70% of the total E. coli proteins. The recombinant CD formed inclusion bodies that were solubilized with 6 M urea and then purified by ion-exchange chromatography, a procedure that produced soluble CD of high purity and yield. Mice immunized with the purified recombinant CD had significant titers of anti-CD antibodies that were cross-reactive towards 24 different M. catarrhalis isolates. Upon challenge, these mice showed enhanced bacterial clearance of both O35E and a heterologous M. catarrhalis isolate, TTA24. In an in vitro assay, antisera to either the native or the recombinant CD inhibited the binding activity of CD to human tracheobronchial mucin in a serum concentration-dependent manner, and the extent of inhibition appeared to correlate with the corresponding anti-CD antibody titer and whole-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay titer. Our results demonstrate that the recombinant CD is a promising vaccine candidate for preventing Moraxella infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Field AE, Wagage S, Conrad SM, Mosser DM
Reduced pathology following infection with transgenic Leishmania major expressing murine CD40 ligand.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3140-9.
Leishmanization is the inoculation of live Leishmania into the host to vaccinate against subsequent infections. This approach has been largely discontinued due to safety concerns. We have previously shown that combining CD40 ligand (CD40L) with Leishmania antigen preferentially induces a type 1 immune response and provides some protection to vaccinated mice (G. Chen, P. A. Darrah, and D. M. Mosser, Infect. Immun. 69:3255-3263, 2001). In the present study, we developed transgenic L. major organisms which express and secrete the extracellular portion of CD40L (L. major CD40LE). We hypothesized that these organisms would be less virulent but more immunogenic than wild-type organisms and therefore be more effective at leishmanization. Transgenic parasites expressing CD40L mRNA and protein were developed. BALB/c mice infected with these parasites developed significantly smaller lesions containing fewer parasites than animals infected with wild-type organisms. Infection of resistant C57BL/6 mice with low doses of transgenic parasites induced a significant amount of protection against subsequent high-dose infection with wild-type organisms. These results demonstrate that transgenic organisms expressing CD40L are less virulent than wild-type organisms while retaining full immunogenicity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Uchiyama R, Kawamura I, Fujimura T, Kawanishi M, Tsuchiya K, Tominaga T, Kaku T, Fukasawa Y, Sakai S, Nomura T, Mitsuyama M
Involvement of caspase-9 in the inhibition of necrosis of RAW 264 cells infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2894-902.
In order to know how caspases contribute to the intracellular fate of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and host cell death in the infected macrophages, we examined the effect of benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethane (z-VAD-fmk), a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, on the growth of M. tuberculosis H37Rv in RAW 264 cells. In the cells treated with z-VAD-fmk, activation of caspase-8, caspase-3/7, and caspase-9 was clearly suppressed, and DNA fragmentation of the infected cells was also reduced. Under this experimental condition, it was found that the treatment markedly inhibited bacterial growth inside macrophages. The infected cells appeared to undergo cell death of the necrosis type in the presence of z-VAD-fmk. We further found that z-VAD-fmk treatment resulted in the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the infected cells. By addition of a scavenger of ROS, the host cell necrosis was inhibited and the intracellular growth of H37Rv was significantly restored. Among inhibitors specific for each caspase, only the caspase-9-specific inhibitor enhanced the generation of ROS and induced necrosis of the infected cells. Furthermore, we found that severe necrosis was induced by infection with H37Rv but not H37Ra in the presence of z-VAD-fmk. Caspase-9 activation was also detected in H37Rv-infected cells, but H37Ra never induced such caspase-9 activation. These results indicated that caspase-9, which was activated by infection with virulent M. tuberculosis, contributed to the inhibition of necrosis of the infected host cells, presumably through suppression of intracellular ROS generation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aguirre-Blanco AM, Lukey PT, Cliff JM, Dockrell HM
Strain-dependent variation in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-induced human T-cell activation and gamma interferon production in vitro.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3197-201.
Three commonly used Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine strains elicited different magnitudes of T-cell activation and gamma interferon production in vitro in healthy BCG-vaccinated individuals. Glaxo 1077 exhibited the greatest stimulatory capacity, followed by Pasteur 1173 and then Danish 1331. These differences may affect in vitro stimulation and vaccination-induced immunogenicity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Geluk A, Lin MY, van Meijgaarden KE, Leyten EM, Franken KL, Ottenhoff TH, Klein MR
T-cell recognition of the HspX protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis correlates with latent M. tuberculosis infection but not with M. bovis BCG vaccination.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2914-21.
During stationary growth or in vitro conditions mimicking relevant aspects of latency, the HspX protein (Rv2031c) is specifically upregulated by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this study we compared T-cell responses against HspX and the secreted M. tuberculosis protein Ag85B (Rv1886c) in tuberculosis (TB) patients, tuberculin skin test-positive individuals, M. bovis BCG-vaccinated individuals, and healthy negative controls. Gamma interferon responses to HspX were significantly higher in M. tuberculosis-exposed individuals than in M. tuberculosis-unexposed BCG vaccinees. In contrast, no such differences were found with respect to T-cell responses against Ag85B. Therefore, BCG-based vaccines containing relevant fragments of HspX may induce improved responses against this TB latency antigen. To identify relevant major histocompatibility complex class I- and class II-restricted HspX-specific T-cell epitopes, we immunized HLA-A2/K(b) and HLA-DR3.Ab(0) transgenic (tg) mice with HspX. Two new T-cell epitopes were identified, p91-105 and p31-50, restricted via HLA-A*0201 and HLA-DRB1*0301, respectively. These epitopes were recognized by human T cells as well, underlining the relevance of HspX T-cell recognition both in vivo and in vitro. In line with the data in humans, BCG immunization of both tg strains did not lead to T-cell responses against HspX-derived epitopes, whereas nonlatency antigens were efficiently recognized. These data support the notion that BCG vaccination per se does not induce T-cell responses against the latency antigen, HspX. Thus, we suggest that subunit vaccines incorporating HspX and/or other latency antigens, as well as recombinant BCG strains expressing latency antigens need to be considered as new vaccines against TB. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rhodes SG, Sawyer J, Whelan AO, Dean GS, Coad M, Ewer KJ, Waldvogel AS, Zakher A, Clifford DJ, Hewinson RG, Vordermeier HM
Is interleukin-4delta3 splice variant expression in bovine tuberculosis a marker of protective immunity?
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3006-13.
Splice variants of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) cytokine gene have been described for humans, mice, and cattle. IL-4 splice variants have been shown to inhibit IL-4-mediated cellular responses and thus act as IL-4 antagonists. Recent work has highlighted the possibility of a correlation between IL-4 splice variants and protection against clinical tuberculosis. In this study we investigated the potential role of IL-4 splice variants IL-4delta2 and IL-4delta3 in cattle with bovine tuberculosis, using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR. For this analysis we used naturally exposed tuberculin skin test-positive field reactor cattle, uninfected control cattle, and cattle from two experimental models of protective immunity against Mycobacterium bovis: (i) vaccination with M. bovis BCG and challenge with virulent M. bovis and (ii) infection with M. bovis and treatment with isoniazid (INH) prior to rechallenge. The cytokine levels of field reactor cattle were compared to the levels of uninfected controls, while in kinetic studies of BCG vaccination and INH treatment we compared pre-experimental values with sequential samples for each individual animal. The data revealed a significant increase in IL-4delta3 mRNA expression in field reactor cattle, which had no visible pathology compared to cattle with gross pathology typical of bovine tuberculosis. Increased IL-4delta3 expression in both cattle models of protective immunity (BCG vaccination and INH treatment) was transient over time, reaching significance in the INH treatment model. Our results support the hypothesis that IL-4delta3 is involved in protective immunity against M. bovis infection in cattle and are in accordance with clinical studies that have suggested a role for IL-4 splice variants in protective immunity in tuberculosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Debierre-Grockiego F, Rabi K, Schmidt J, Geyer H, Geyer R, Schwarz RT
Fatty acids isolated from Toxoplasma gondii reduce glycosylphosphatidylinositol-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha production through inhibition of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2886-93.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are involved in the pathogenicity of protozoan parasites and are known to induce inflammatory cytokines. However, we have previously shown that the family of six GPIs of Toxoplasma gondii extracted together from tachyzoites could not induce tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) secretion by macrophages, whereas GPIs individually separated from this extract by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) were able to stimulate the cells. In the present study we show that the TLC step makes it possible to eliminate inhibitors extracted together with the T. gondii GPIs. Among the non-GPI molecules we have isolated fatty acids able to inhibit the secretion of TNF-alpha induced by the T. gondii GPIs. Myristic and palmitic acids reduce the production of TNF-alpha through the inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation of cytoplasmic proteins and the inhibition of NF-kappaB activation in a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-independent pathway and after a rapid entry into the cytoplasm of macrophages. GPIs are considered toxins inducing irreversible damage in the host, and fatty acids produced in parallel by the parasite could reduce the immune response, thus favoring the persistence of parasite infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wanasen N, MacLeod CL, Ellies LG, Soong L
L-arginine and cationic amino acid transporter 2B regulate growth and survival of Leishmania amazonensis amastigotes in macrophages.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2802-10.
Leishmania spp. are obligate intracellular parasites, requiring a suitable microenvironment for their growth within host cells. We previously reported that the growth of Leishmania amazonensis amastigotes in murine macrophages (Mphis) was enhanced in the presence of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), a Th1 cytokine normally associated with classical Mphi activation and killing of intracellular pathogens. In this study, we provided several lines of evidence suggesting that IFN-gamma-mediated parasite growth enhancement was associated with L-arginine transport via mouse cationic amino acid transporter 2B (mCAT-2B). (i) mRNA expression of Slc7A2, the gene encoding for mCAT-2B, as well as L-arginine transport was increased in IFN-gamma-treated Mphis. (ii) Supplementation of L-arginine in Mphi cultures increased parasite growth. (iii) Parasite growth enhancement in wild-type Mphis was inhibited in the presence of nonmetabolized L-arginine analogues. (iv) IFN-gamma-mediated parasite growth was absent in Mphis derived from mCAT-2B-deficient mice. Although we detected a clear upregulation of mCAT-2B and L-arginine transport, no measurable iNOS or arginase activities were observed in IFN-gamma-treated, infected Mphis. Together, these data suggest an involvement of a novel L-arginine usage independent of iNOS and arginase activities during IFN-gamma-mediated parasite growth enhancement. A possible role of mCAT-2B in supplying L-arginine directly to the parasites for their proliferation is discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Guo B, Zhao X, Shi Y, Zhu D, Zhang Y
Pathogenic implication of a fibrinogen-binding protein of Staphylococcus epidermidis in a rat model of intravascular-catheter-associated infection.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2991-5.
The involvement of Fbe, a fibrinogen-binding protein of Staphylococcus epidermidis, in the pathogenesis of catheter-associated infection was investigated. An fbe (gene encoding Fbe protein) mutant was constructed by allelic replacement, wherein an erythromycin resistance gene replaced a portion of the A region of fbe. Meanwhile, a rat central venous catheter (CVC) infection model was established to assess the importance of Fbe in the pathogenesis of CVC-associated infection due to S. epidermidis. Fbe-positive S. epidermidis strain HB was significantly more likely to cause a CVC-associated infection resulting in bacteremia and metastatic disease than its isogenic Fbe-deficient mutant (100% versus 20%, P < 0.01). These results confirm the importance of adherence associated with Fbe in the pathogenesis of CVC-associated infection caused by S. epidermidis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sheu SM, Sheu BS, Yang HB, Lei HY, Wu JJ
Anti-Lewis X antibody promotes Helicobacter pylori adhesion to gastric epithelial cells.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2661-7.
Lewis X (Le(x)) antigen is expressed on the human gastric mucosa and the O-specific chain of lipopolysaccharides of Helicobacter pylori. This antigen can induce autoantibodies, which may be involved in bacterial colonization and thus deserve further investigation. Flow cytometry was used to examine the effects of anti-Le monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) on H. pylori adhesion. A babA2 mutant was also constructed to evaluate the effect of an anti-Le(x) MAb on adhesion. The bacterial agglutination and in situ adhesion assays were used to confirm the anti-Le(x) MAb effect on H. pylori adhesion. This study revealed that an anti-Le(x) MAb, but not an anti-Le(b) MAb or an anti-Le(y) MAb, could enhance the adhesion of H. pylori strains that expressed high levels of Le(x) antigen to AGS cells. The enhancement was not found on an H. pylori strain with a low level of Le(x) antigen. Anti-Le(x) MAb could increase the adhesion of both the wild-type strain and its isogenic babA2 mutant to AGS cells. When AGS cells were pretreated with anti-Le(x) MAb, the adhesion of the babA2 mutant also increased. Only anti-Le(x) MAb could promote bacterial agglutination, and the in situ adhesion assay further confirmed that adding anti-Le(x) MAb resulted in denser bacterial adhesion on the gastric epithelia collected from clinical patients. These results suggest anti-Le(x) MAb could specifically enhance the adhesion abilities of H. pylori strains through a mechanism by which anti-Le(x) MAb promotes bacterial aggregation and mediates bivalent interaction (antigen-antibody-antigen) between bacteria and host cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zaragoza O, Alvarez M, Telzak A, Rivera J, Casadevall A
The relative susceptibility of mouse strains to pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans infection is associated with pleiotropic differences in the immune response.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2729-39.
CBA/J mice were highly susceptible to intratracheal (i.t.) Cryptococcus neoformans infection relative to BALB/c mice, while both strains were equally susceptible to intravenous (i.v.) infection. Increased susceptibility in i.t. infection was associated with higher brain CFU, lower serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG responses to glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), lack of IgE regulation during infection, and alveolar macrophage permissiveness to intracellular replication in vitro. In contrast, for BALB/c mice, relative resistance was associated with increased interleukin-12 (IL-12) and decreased IL-10 pulmonary levels. In CBA/J mice, relative susceptibility was associated with a decreased proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and an increase in macrophage percentage in pulmonary infiltrates. In contrast, no significant differences in these cytokines or cell recruitment were observed in the i.v. model, consistent with no differences in the survival rate. Passive antibody (Ab) protection experiments revealed a prozone effect in the BALB/c mice with i.v. infection, such that Ab efficacy decreased at higher doses. In the i.t. model using CBA/J mice, low Ab doses were disease enhancing and protection was observed only at high doses. Our results show (i) that differences in mouse strain susceptibility are a function of the infection model, (ii) that susceptibility to pulmonary infection was associated with macrophage permissiveness for intracellular replication, and (iii) that the efficacy of passive Ab in pulmonary infection is a function of dose and mouse strain. The results highlight significant differences in the pathogenesis of cryptococcal infection among inbred mice and associate their relative susceptibility with differences in numerous components of the innate and adaptive immune responses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lee SE, Kim SY, Kim CM, Kim MK, Kim YR, Jeong K, Ryu HJ, Lee YS, Chung SS, Choy HE, Rhee JH
The pyrH gene of Vibrio vulnificus is an essential in vivo survival factor.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2795-801.
We have suggested an important role of the pyrH gene during the infectious process of Vibrio vulnificus. Previously, we have identified 12 genes expressed preferentially during human infections by using in vivo-induced antigen technology. Among the in vivo-expressed genes, pyrH encodes UMP kinase catalyzing UMP phosphorylation. Introduction of a deletion mutation to the pyrH gene was lethal to V. vulnificus, and an insertional mutant showed a high frequency of curing. We constructed a site-directed mutant strain (R62H/D77N) on Arg-62 and Asp-77, both predicted to be involved in UMP binding, and characterized the R62H/D77N strain compared with the previously reported insertional mutant. We further investigated the essential role of the pyrH gene in the establishment of infection using the R62H/D77N strain. Cytotoxicity was decreased in the R62H/D77N strain, and the defect was restored by an in trans complementation. The intraperitoneal 50% lethal dose of the R62H/D77N strain increased by 26- and 238,000-fold in normal and iron-overloaded mice, respectively. The growth of the R62H/D77N strain in 50% HeLa cell lysate, 100% human ascitic fluid, and 50% human serum was significantly retarded compared to that of the isogenic wild-type strain. The R62H/D77N mutant also had a critical defect in the ability to survive and replicate even in iron-overloaded mice. These results demonstrate that pyrH is essential for the in vivo survival and growth of V. vulnificus and should be an attractive new target for the development of antibacterial drugs and replication-controllable live attenuated vaccines. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matsunaga J, Lo M, Bulach DM, Zuerner RL, Adler B, Haake DA
Response of Leptospira interrogans to physiologic osmolarity: relevance in signaling the environment-to-host transition.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2864-74.
Transmission of pathogenic Leptospira between mammalian hosts usually involves dissemination via soil or water contaminated by the urine of carrier animals. The ability of Leptospira to adapt to the diverse conditions found inside and outside the host is reflected in its relatively large genome size and high percentage of signal transduction genes. An exception is Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo, which is transmitted by direct contact and appears to have lost genes necessary for survival outside the mammalian host. Invasion of host tissues by Leptospira interrogans involves a transition from a low osmolar environment outside the host to a higher physiologic osmolar environment within the host. Expression of the lipoprotein LigA and LigB adhesins is strongly induced by an upshift in osmolarity to the level found in mammalian host tissues. These data suggest that Leptospira utilizes changes in osmolarity to regulate virulence characteristics. To better understand how L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni adapts to osmolar conditions that correspond with invasion of a mammalian host, we quantified alterations in transcript levels using whole-genome microarrays. Overnight exposure in leptospiral culture medium supplemented with sodium chloride to physiologic osmolarity significantly altered the transcript levels of 6% of L. interrogans genes. Repressed genes were significantly more likely to be absent or pseudogenes in L. borgpetersenii, suggesting that osmolarity is relevant in studying the adaptation of L. interrogans to host conditions. Genes induced by physiologic osmolarity encoded a higher than expected number of proteins involved in signal transduction. Further, genes predicted to encode lipoproteins and those coregulated by temperature were overrepresented among both salt-induced and salt-repressed genes. In contrast, leptospiral homologues of hyperosmotic or general stress genes were not induced at physiologic osmolarity. These findings suggest that physiologic osmolarity is an important signal for regulation of gene expression by pathogenic leptospires during transition from ambient conditions to the host tissue environment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gilmore RD, Howison RR, Schmit VL, Nowalk AJ, Clifton DR, Nolder C, Hughes JL, Carroll JA
Temporal expression analysis of the Borrelia burgdorferi paralogous gene family 54 genes BBA64, BBA65, and BBA66 during persistent infection in mice.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2753-64.
Members of the Borrelia burgdorferi paralogous gene family 54 (pgf 54) are regulated by conditions simulating mammalian infection and are thought to be instrumental in borrelial host survival and pathogenesis. To explore the activities of these genes in vivo, a comprehensive analysis of pgf 54 genes BBA64, BBA65, and BBA66 was performed to assess the genetic stability, host antibody responses, and kinetics of gene expression in the murine model of persistent infection. DNA sequencing of pgf 54 genes obtained from re-isolates at 1 year postinfection demonstrated that all genes of this family are stable and do not undergo recombination to generate variant antigens during persistent infection. Antibodies against BBA64 and BBA66 appeared soon after infection and were detectable throughout the infection, suggesting that there was gene expression during infection. However, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR revealed that BBA64 gene expression was considerably decreased in Borrelia residing in the mouse ear tissue compared to the expression in cultured spirochetes by 20 days postinfection and that the levels of expression remained low throughout the infection. Conversely, transcription of the BBA65 and BBA66 genes was increased, and both of these genes were continuously expressed until 100 days postinfection; this was followed by periods of differential expression late in infection. The expression profile of the BBA64 gene suggests that this gene has an important role during tick-to-host transmission and early infection, whereas the expression profile of the BBA65 and BBA66 genes suggests that these genes have a role in persistent infection. The differential regulation of pgf 54 genes observed during infection may help confer a survival advantage during persistent infection, influencing mechanisms for B. burgdorferi dissemination, tissue tropism, or evasion of the adaptive immune response. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bates S, de la Rosa JM, MacCallum DM, Brown AJ, Gow NA, Odds FC
Candida albicans Iff11, a secreted protein required for cell wall structure and virulence.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2922-8.
The Candida albicans cell wall is the immediate point of contact with the host and is implicated in the host-fungal interaction and virulence. To date, a number of cell wall proteins have been identified and associated with virulence. Analysis of the C. albicans genome has identified the IFF gene family as encoding the largest family of cell wall-related proteins. This family is also conserved in a range of other Candida species. Iff11 differs from other family members in lacking a GPI anchor, and we have demonstrated it to be O glycosylated and secreted in C. albicans. A null mutant lacking IFF11 was hypersensitive to cell wall-damaging agents, suggesting a role in cell wall organization. In a murine model of systemic infection the null mutant was highly attenuated in virulence, and survival-standardized infections suggest it is required to establish an infection. This work provides the first evidence of the importance of this gene family in the host-fungal interaction and virulence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Strother KO, Hodzic E, Barthold SW, de Silva AM
Infection of mice with lyme disease spirochetes constitutively producing outer surface proteins a and B.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2786-94.
Outer surface protein A (OspA) of the Lyme disease spirochete is primarily produced in the tick vector. OspA, which is a receptor for attaching spirochetes to the tick gut, is down regulated as the spirochetes leave the tick and enter the mammalian host. Although OspA is not a major antigen produced in the mammal, the protein appears to be produced under some conditions and production has been linked to more severe disease. A Lyme disease vaccine based on recombinant OspA has been approved for human use. However, the vaccine is no longer available, in part because of fears that OspA causes arthritis in people. To further understand the consequences of OspA production in the host, we created a Borrelia burgdorferi mutant that was unable to down regulate OspA. C3H/HeN mice infected with this mutant developed a specific anti-OspA immune response, and the spirochetes were unable to persist in these mice. In contrast, immunodeficient SCID mice were persistently infected with the mutant. We conclude that spirochetes producing OspA and B from the flaB promoter in immunocompetent mice stimulate an immune response that clear the bacteria without any signs of disease development in the mice. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wiersinga WJ, Dessing MC, Kager PA, Cheng AC, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Dondorp AM, van der Poll T, Peacock SJ
High-throughput mRNA profiling characterizes the expression of inflammatory molecules in sepsis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):3074-9.
Sepsis is characterized by an uncontrolled inflammatory response to invading microorganisms. We describe the inflammatory mRNA profiles in whole-blood leukocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes using a multigene system for 35 inflammatory markers that included pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and signal transduction molecules in a case-control study with 34 patients with sepsis caused by the gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei (the pathogen causing melioidosis) and 32 healthy volunteers. Relative to healthy controls, patients with sepsis showed increased transcription of a whole array of inflammatory genes in peripheral blood leukocytes, granulocytes, and monocytes. Specific monocyte and granulocyte mRNA profiles were identified. Strong correlations were found between inflammatory mRNA expression levels in monocytes and clinical outcome. These data underline the notion that circulating leukocytes are an important source for inflammatory mediators in patients with gram-negative sepsis. Gene profiling such as was done here provides an excellent tool to obtain insight into the extent of inflammation activation in patients with severe infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Balder R, Hassel J, Lipski S, Lafontaine ER
Moraxella catarrhalis strain O35E expresses two filamentous hemagglutinin-like proteins that mediate adherence to human epithelial cells.
Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2765-75.
Two-partner secretion (TPS) systems are a family of proteins being rapidly identified and characterized in a growing number of gram-negative bacteria. TPS systems mediate the secretion of proteins, many involved in virulence traits such as hemolysis, adherence to epithelial cells, inhibition of bacterial growth, and immunomodulation of the host. A TPS system typically consists of a transporter located in the bacterial outer membrane (OM) which is responsible for the recognition and secretion of at least one large exoprotein. Two of the better-characterized TPS systems specify the Bordetella pertussis FHA and Haemophilus influenzae HMW1/HMW2 proteins. We identified three gene products of Moraxella catarrhalis strain O35E that resemble TPS proteins and designated them MhaC (transporter), MhaB1 (exoprotein), and MhaB2 (exoprotein). Western blot analysis using anti-MhaC, or antibodies reacting to both MhaB1 and MhaB2 (MhaB-reactive), revealed that these antigens are expressed in the OM of 63% of isolates tested. Mutations in the mhaC gene specifying the putative transporter of the M. catarrhalis wild-type strains O35E, O12E, and McGHS1 resulted in the absence of MhaB1/MhaB2 in the OM of mutants. These results are therefore consistent with the Mha proteins functioning as a TPS system. Furthermore, we discovered that these mhaC mutants exhibit markedly decreased binding to human epithelial cells relevant to pathogenesis by M. catarrhalis (Chang, HEp2, A549, and/or 16HBE14o(-)). Expression of O12E MhaC and MhaB1 in a nonadherent strain of Escherichia coli was found to increase the adherence of recombinant bacteria to HEp2 monolayers by sevenfold, thereby demonstrating that this M. catarrhalis TPS system directly mediates binding to human epithelial cells. The construction of isogenic mutants in the mhaB1 and mhaB2 genes of strain O35E also suggests that the MhaB proteins play distinct roles in M. catarrhalis adherence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Journal of Bacteriology

Sánchez-Sutil MC, Gómez-Santos N, Moraleda-Muñoz A, Martins LO, Pérez J, Muñoz-Dorado J
Differential expression of the three multicopper oxidases from Myxococcus xanthus.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4887-98.
Myxococcus xanthus is a soil bacterium that undergoes a unique life cycle among the prokaryotes upon starvation, which includes the formation of macroscopic structures, the fruiting bodies, and the differentiation of vegetative rods into coccoid myxospores. This peculiarity offers the opportunity to study the copper response in this bacterium in two different stages. In fact, M. xanthus vegetative rods exhibit 15-fold-greater resistance against copper than developing cells. However, cells pre-adapted to this metal reach the same levels of resistance during both stages. Analysis of the M. xanthus genome reveals that many of the genes involved in copper resistance are redundant, three of which encode proteins of the multicopper oxidase family (MCO). Each MCO gene exhibits a different expression profile in response to external copper addition. Promoters of cuoA and cuoB respond to Cu(II) ions during growth and development; however, they show a 10-fold-increased copper sensitivity during development. The promoter of cuoC shows copper-independent induction upon starvation, but it is copper up-regulated during growth. Phenotypic analyses of deletion mutants reveal that CuoB is involved in the primary copper-adaptive response; CuoA and CuoC are necessary for the maintenance of copper tolerance; and CuoC is required for normal development. These roles seem to be carried out through cuprous oxidase activity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Guo XV, Monteleone M, Klotzsche M, Kamionka A, Hillen W, Braunstein M, Ehrt S, Schnappinger D
Silencing Mycobacterium smegmatis by using tetracycline repressors.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4614-23.
Many processes that are essential for mycobacterial growth are poorly understood. To facilitate genetic analyses of such processes in mycobacteria, we and others have developed regulated expression systems that are repressed by a tetracycline repressor (TetR) and induced with tetracyclines, permitting the construction of conditional mutants of essential genes. A disadvantage of these systems is that tetracyclines function as transcriptional inducers and have to be removed to initiate gene silencing. Recently, reverse TetR mutants were identified that require tetracyclines as co-repressors. Here, we report that one of these mutants, TetR r1.7, allows efficient repression of lacZ expression in Mycobacterium smegmatis in the presence but not the absence of anhydrotetracycline (atc). TetR and TetR r1.7 also allowed efficient silencing of the essential secA1 gene, as demonstrated by inhibition of the growth of a conditional mutant and dose-dependent depletion of the SecA1 protein after the removal or addition, respectively, of atc. The kinetics of SecA1 depletion were similar with TetR and TetR r1.7. To test whether silencing of secA1 could help identify substrates of the general secretion pathway, we analyzed the main porin of M. smegmatis, MspA. This showed that the amount of cell envelope-associated MspA decreased more than 90-fold after secA1 silencing. We thus demonstrated that TetR r1.7 allows the construction of conditional mycobacterial mutants in which the expression of an essential gene can be efficiently silenced by the addition of atc and that gene silencing permits the identification of candidate substrates of mycobacterial secretion systems. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen S, Bagdasarian M, Kaufman MG, Bates AK, Walker ED
Mutational analysis of the ompA promoter from Flavobacterium johnsoniae.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5108-18.
Sequences that mediate the initiation of transcription in Flavobacterium species are not well known. The majority of identified Flavobacterium promoter elements show homology to those of other members of the phylum Bacteroidetes, but not of proteobacteria, and they function poorly in Escherichia coli. In order to analyze the Flavobacterium promoter structure systematically, we investigated the -33 consensus element, -7 consensus element, and spacer length of the Flavobacterium ompA promoter by measuring the effects of site-directed mutations on promoter activity. The nonconserved sequences in the spacer region and in regions close to the consensus motifs were randomized in order to determine their importance for promoter activity. Most of the base substitutions in these regions caused large decreases in promoter activity. The optimal -33/-7 motifs (TTTG/TANNTTTG) were identical to Bacteroides fragilis sigma(ABfr) consensus -33/-7 promoter elements but lacked similarity to the E. coli sigma(70) promoter elements. The length of the spacer separating the -33 and -7 motifs of the ompA promoter also had a pronounced effect on promoter activity, with 19 bp being optimal. In addition to the consensus promoter elements and spacer length, the GC content of the core promoter sequences had a pronounced effect on Flavobacterium promoter activity. This information was used to conduct a scan of the Flavobacterium johnsoniae and B. fragilis genomes for putative promoters, resulting in 188 hits in B. fragilis and 109 hits in F. johnsoniae. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Quaranta D, McCarty R, Bandarian V, Rensing C
The copper-inducible cin operon encodes an unusual methionine-rich azurin-like protein and a pre-Q0 reductase in Pseudomonas putida KT2440.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5361-71.
The genome sequences of several pseudomonads have revealed a gene cluster containing genes for a two-component heavy metal histidine sensor kinase and response regulator upstream of cinA and cinQ, which we show herein to encode a copper-containing azurin-like protein and a pre-Q(0) reductase, respectively. In the presence of copper, Pseudomonas putida KT2440 produces the CinA and CinQ proteins from a bicistronic mRNA. UV-visible spectra of CinA show features at 439, 581, and 719 nm, which is typical of the plastocyanin family of proteins. The redox potential of the protein was shown to be 456 +/- 4 mV by voltametric titrations. Surprisingly, CinQ is a pyridine nucleotide-dependent nitrile oxidoreductase that catalyzes the conversion of pre-Q(0) to pre-Q(1) in the nucleoside queuosine biosynthetic pathway. Gene disruptions of cinA and cinQ did not lead to a significant increase in the copper sensitivity of P. putida KT2440 under the conditions tested. Possible roles of CinA and CinQ to help pseudomonads adapt and survive under prolonged copper stress are discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Salzberg LI, Helmann JD
An antibiotic-inducible cell wall-associated protein that protects Bacillus subtilis from autolysis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4671-80.
In Bacillus subtilis, antibiotics that impair cell wall synthesis induce a characteristic stress response including the sigma(W) and sigma(M) regulons and the previously uncharacterized yoeB gene. Here we demonstrate that YoeB is a cell wall-associated protein with weak sequence similarity to a noncatalytic domain of class B penicillin-binding proteins. A yoeB-null mutant exhibits an increased rate of autolysis in response to cell wall-targeting antibiotics or nutrient depletion. This phenotype does not appear to be correlated with gross alterations in peptidoglycan structure or levels of autolysins. Promoter dissection experiments define a minimal region necessary for antibiotic-mediated induction of yoeB, and this region is highly conserved preceding yoeB homologs in close relatives of B. subtilis. These results support a model in which induction of YoeB in response to cell envelope stress decreases the activity of autolysins and thereby reduces the rate of antibiotic-dependent cell death. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang Y, Lechno-Yossef S, Gong Y, Fan Q, Wolk CP, Xu X
Predicted glycosyl transferase genes located outside the HEP island are required for formation of heterocyst envelope polysaccharide in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5372-8.
During maturation, heterocysts form an envelope layer of polysaccharide, called heterocyst envelope polysaccharide (HEP), whose synthesis depends on a cluster of genes, the HEP island, and on an additional, distant gene, hepB, or a gene immediately downstream from hepB. We show that HEP formation depends upon the predicted glycosyl transferase genes all4160 at a third locus and alr3699, which is adjacent to hepB and is cotranscribed with it. Mutations in the histidine kinase genes hepN and hepK appear to silence the promoter of hepB and incompletely down-regulate all4160. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Campbell EL, Summers ML, Christman H, Martin ME, Meeks JC
Global gene expression patterns of Nostoc punctiforme in steady-state dinitrogen-grown heterocyst-containing cultures and at single time points during the differentiation of akinetes and hormogonia.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5247-56.
The vegetative cells of the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme can differentiate into three mutually exclusive cell types: nitrogen-fixing heterocysts, spore-like akinetes, and motile hormogomium filaments. A DNA microarray consisting of 6,893 N. punctiforme genes was used to identify the global transcription patterns at single time points in the three developmental states, compared to those in ammonium-grown time zero cultures. Analysis of ammonium-grown cultures yielded a transcriptome of 2,935 genes, which is nearly twice the size of a soluble proteome. The NH(4)(+)-grown transcriptome was enriched in genes encoding core metabolic functions. A steady-state N(2)-grown (heterocyst-containing) culture showed differential transcription of 495 genes, 373 of which were up-regulated. The majority of the up-regulated genes were predicted from studies of heterocyst differentiation and N(2) fixation; other genes are candidates for more detailed genetic analysis. Three days into the developmental process, akinetes showed a similar number of differentially expressed genes (497 genes), which were equally up- and down-regulated. The down-regulated genes were enriched in core metabolic functions, consistent with entry into a nongrowth state. There were relatively few adaptive genes up-regulated in 3-day akinetes, and there was little overlap with putative heterocyst developmental genes. There were 1,827 differentially transcribed genes in 24-h hormogonia, which was nearly fivefold greater than the number in akinete-forming or N(2)-fixing cultures. The majority of the up-regulated adaptive genes were genes encoding proteins for signal transduction and transcriptional regulation, which is characteristic of a motile filament that is poised to sense and respond to the environment. The greatest fraction of the 883 down-regulated genes was involved in core metabolism, also consistent with entry into a nongrowth state. The differentiation of heterocysts (steady state, N(2) grown), akinetes, and hormogonia appears to involve the up-regulation of genes distinct for each state. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Escalante-Semerena JC
Conversion of cobinamide into adenosylcobamide in bacteria and archaea.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4555-60. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hirooka K, Kunikane S, Matsuoka H, Yoshida K, Kumamoto K, Tojo S, Fujita Y
Dual regulation of the Bacillus subtilis regulon comprising the lmrAB and yxaGH operons and yxaF gene by two transcriptional repressors, LmrA and YxaF, in response to flavonoids.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5170-82.
Bacillus subtilis LmrA is known to be a repressor that regulates the lmrAB and yxaGH operons; lmrB and yxaG encode a multidrug resistance pump and quercetin 2,3-dioxygenase, respectively. DNase I footprinting analysis revealed that LmrA and YxaF, which are paralogous to each other, bind specifically to almost the same cis sequences, LmrA/YxaF boxes, located in the promoter regions of the lmrAB operon, the yxaF gene, and the yxaGH operon for their repression and containing a consensus sequence of AWTATAtagaNYGgTCTA, where W, Y, and N stand for A or T, C or T, and any base, respectively (three-out-of-four match [in lowercase type]). Gel retardation analysis indicated that out of the eight flavonoids tested, quercetin, fisetin, and catechin are most inhibitory for LmrA to DNA binding, whereas quercetin, fisetin, tamarixetin, and galangin are most inhibitory for YxaF. Also, YxaF bound most tightly to the tandem LmrA/YxaF boxes in the yxaGH promoter region. The lacZ fusion experiments essentially supported the above-mentioned in vitro results, except that galangin did not activate the lmrAB and yxaGH promoters, probably due to its poor incorporation into cells. Thus, the LmrA/YxaF regulon presumably comprising the lmrAB operon, the yxaF gene, and the yxaGH operon is induced in response to certain flavonoids. The in vivo experiments to examine the regulation of the synthesis of the reporter beta-galactosidase and quercetin 2,3-dioxgenase as well as that of multidrug resistance suggested that LmrA represses the lmrAB and yxaGH operons but that YxaF represses yxaGH more preferentially. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Priyadarshini R, de Pedro MA, Young KD
Role of peptidoglycan amidases in the development and morphology of the division septum in Escherichia coli.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5334-47.
Escherichia coli contains multiple peptidoglycan-specific hydrolases, but their physiological purposes are poorly understood. Several mutants lacking combinations of hydrolases grow as chains of unseparated cells, indicating that these enzymes help cleave the septum to separate daughter cells after cell division. Here, we confirm previous observations that in the absence of two or more amidases, thickened and dark bands, which we term septal peptidoglycan (SP) rings, appear at division sites in isolated sacculi. The formation of SP rings depends on active cell division, and they apparently represent a cell division structure that accumulates because septal synthesis and hydrolysis are uncoupled. Even though septal constriction was incomplete, SP rings exhibited two properties of mature cell poles: they behaved as though composed of inert peptidoglycan, and they attracted the IcsA protein. Despite not being separated by a completed peptidoglycan wall, adjacent cells in these chains were often compartmentalized by the inner membrane, indicating that cytokinesis could occur in the absence of invagination of the entire cell envelope. Finally, deletion of penicillin-binding protein 5 from amidase mutants exacerbated the formation of twisted chains, producing numerous cells having septa with abnormal placements and geometries. The results suggest that the amidases are necessary for continued peptidoglycan synthesis during cell division, that their activities help create a septum having the appropriate geometry, and that they may contribute to the development of inert peptidoglycan. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

del Castillo T, Ramos JL, Rodríguez-Herva JJ, Fuhrer T, Sauer U, Duque E
Convergent peripheral pathways catalyze initial glucose catabolism in Pseudomonas putida: genomic and flux analysis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5142-52.
In this study, we show that glucose catabolism in Pseudomonas putida occurs through the simultaneous operation of three pathways that converge at the level of 6-phosphogluconate, which is metabolized by the Edd and Eda Entner/Doudoroff enzymes to central metabolites. When glucose enters the periplasmic space through specific OprB porins, it can either be internalized into the cytoplasm or be oxidized to gluconate. Glucose is transported to the cytoplasm in a process mediated by an ABC uptake system encoded by open reading frames PP1015 to PP1018 and is then phosphorylated by glucokinase (encoded by the glk gene) and converted by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (encoded by the zwf genes) to 6-phosphogluconate. Gluconate in the periplasm can be transported into the cytoplasm and subsequently phosphorylated by gluconokinase to 6-phosphogluconate or oxidized to 2-ketogluconate, which is transported to the cytoplasm, and subsequently phosphorylated and reduced to 6-phosphogluconate. In the wild-type strain, glucose was consumed at a rate of around 6 mmol g(-1) h(-1), which allowed a growth rate of 0.58 h(-1) and a biomass yield of 0.44 g/g carbon used. Flux analysis of (13)C-labeled glucose revealed that, in the Krebs cycle, most of the oxalacetate fraction was produced by the pyruvate shunt rather than by the direct oxidation of malate by malate dehydrogenase. Enzymatic and microarray assays revealed that the enzymes, regulators, and transport systems of the three peripheral glucose pathways were induced in response to glucose in the outer medium. We generated a series of isogenic mutants in one or more of the steps of all three pathways and found that, although all three functioned simultaneously, the glucokinase pathway and the 2-ketogluconate loop were quantitatively more important than the direct phosphorylation of gluconate. In physical terms, glucose catabolism genes were organized in a series of clusters scattered along the chromosome. Within each of the clusters, genes encoding porins, transporters, enzymes, and regulators formed operons, suggesting that genes in each cluster coevolved. The glk gene encoding glucokinase was located in an operon with the edd gene, whereas the zwf-1 gene, encoding glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, formed an operon with the eda gene. Therefore, the enzymes of the glucokinase pathway and those of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway are physically linked and induced simultaneously. It can therefore be concluded that the glucokinase pathway is a sine qua non condition for P. putida to grow with glucose. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gande R, Dover LG, Krumbach K, Besra GS, Sahm H, Oikawa T, Eggeling L
The two carboxylases of Corynebacterium glutamicum essential for fatty acid and mycolic acid synthesis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5257-64.
The suborder Corynebacterianeae comprises bacteria like Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Corynebacterium glutamicum, and these bacteria contain in addition to the linear fatty acids, unique alpha-branched beta-hydroxy fatty acids, called mycolic acids. Whereas acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase activity is required to provide malonyl-CoA for fatty acid synthesis, a new type of carboxylase is apparently additionally present in these bacteria. It activates the alpha-carbon of a linear fatty acid by carboxylation, thus enabling its decarboxylative condensation with a second fatty acid to afford mycolic acid synthesis. We now show that the acetyl-CoA carboxylase of C. glutamicum consists of the biotinylated alpha-subunit AccBC, the beta-subunit AccD1, and the small peptide AccE of 8.9 kDa, forming an active complex of approximately 812,000 Da. The carboxylase involved in mycolic acid synthesis is made up of the two highly similar beta-subunits AccD2 and AccD3 and of AccBC and AccE, the latter two identical to the subunits of the acetyl-CoA carboxylase complex. Since AccD2 and AccD3 orthologues are present in all Corynebacterianeae, these polypeptides are vital for mycolic acid synthesis forming the unique hydrophobic outer layer of these bacteria, and we speculate that the two beta-subunits present serve to lend specificity to this unique large multienzyme complex. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fouhy Y, Scanlon K, Schouest K, Spillane C, Crossman L, Avison MB, Ryan RP, Dow JM
Diffusible signal factor-dependent cell-cell signaling and virulence in the nosocomial pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4964-8.
The genome of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia encodes a cell-cell signaling system that is highly related to the diffusible signal factor (DSF)-dependent system of the phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris. Here we show that in S. maltophilia, DSF signaling controls factors contributing to the virulence and antibiotic resistance of this important nosocomial pathogen. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

St Maurice M, Cremades N, Croxen MA, Sisson G, Sancho J, Hoffman PS
Flavodoxin:quinone reductase (FqrB): a redox partner of pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase that reversibly couples pyruvate oxidation to NADPH production in Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4764-73.
Pyruvate-dependent reduction of NADP has been demonstrated in cell extracts of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. However, NADP is not a substrate of purified pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFOR), suggesting that other redox active enzymes mediate this reaction. Here we show that fqrB (HP1164), which is essential and highly conserved among the epsilonproteobacteria, exhibits NADPH oxidoreductase activity. FqrB was purified by nickel interaction chromatography following overexpression in Escherichia coli. The protein contained flavin adenine dinucleotide and exhibited NADPH quinone reductase activity with menadione or benzoquinone and weak activity with cytochrome c, molecular oxygen, and 5,5'-dithio-bis-2-nitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). FqrB exhibited a ping-pong catalytic mechanism, a k(cat) of 122 s(-1), and an apparent K(m) of 14 muM for menadione and 26 muM for NADPH. FqrB also reduced flavodoxin (FldA), the electron carrier of PFOR. In coupled enzyme assays with purified PFOR and FldA, FqrB reduced NADP in a pyruvate- and reduced coenzyme A (CoA)-dependent manner. Moreover, in the presence of NADPH, CO(2), and acetyl-CoA, the PFOR:FldA:FqrB complex generated pyruvate via CO(2) fixation. PFOR was the rate-limiting enzyme in the complex, and nitazoxanide, a specific inhibitor of PFOR of H. pylori and Campylobacter jejuni, also inhibited NADP reduction in cell-free lysates. These capnophilic (CO(2)-requiring) organisms contain gaps in pathways of central metabolism that would benefit substantially from pyruvate formation via CO(2) fixation. Thus, FqrB provides a novel function in pyruvate metabolism and, together with production of superoxide anions via quinone reduction under high oxygen tensions, contributes to the unique microaerobic lifestyle that defines the epsilonproteobacterial group. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hansen SK, Haagensen JA, Gjermansen M, Jørgensen TM, Tolker-Nielsen T, Molin S
Characterization of a Pseudomonas putida rough variant evolved in a mixed-species biofilm with Acinetobacter sp. strain C6.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4932-43.
Genetic differentiation by natural selection is readily observed among microbial populations, but a more comprehensive understanding of evolutionary forces, genetic causes, and resulting phenotypic advantages is not often sought. Recently, a surface population of Pseudomonas putida bacteria was shown to evolve rapidly by natural selection of better-adapted variants in a mixed-species biofilm consortium (S. K. Hansen, P. B. Rainey, J. A. Haagensen, and S. Molin, Nature 445:533-536, 2007). Adaptation was caused by mutations in a wapH homolog (PP4943) involved in core lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Here we investigate further the biofilm physiology and the phenotypic characteristics of the selected P. putida rough colony variants. The coexistence of the P. putida population in a mixed-species biofilm with Acinetobacter sp. strain C6 is dependent on the benzoate excreted from Acinetobacter during the catabolism of benzyl alcohol, the sole carbon source. Examination of biofilm development and the dynamics of the wild-type consortium revealed that the biofilm environment became oxygen limited, possibly with low oxygen concentrations around Acinetobacter microcolonies. In contrast to P. putida wild-type cells, which readily dispersed from the mixed-species biofilm in response to oxygen starvation, the rough variant cells displayed a nondispersal phenotype. However, in monospecies biofilms proliferating on benzoate, the rough variant (like the wild-type population) dispersed in response to oxygen starvation. A key factor explaining this conditional, nondispersal phenotype is likely to be the acquired ability of the rough variant to coaggregate specifically with Acinetobacter cells. We further show that the P. putida rough variant displayed enhanced production of a cellulose-like polymer as a consequence of the mutation in wapH. The resulting phenotypic characteristics of the P. putida rough variant explain its enhanced fitness and ability to form tight structural associations with Acinetobacter microcolonies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ryan GL, Rutenberg AD
Clocking out: modeling phage-induced lysis of Escherichia coli.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4749-55.
Phage lambda lyses the host Escherichia coli at a precisely scheduled time after induction. Lysis timing is determined by the action of phage holins, which are small proteins that induce hole formation in the bacterium's cytoplasmic membrane. We present a two-stage nucleation model of lysis timing, with the nucleation of condensed holin rafts on the inner membrane followed by the nucleation of a hole within those rafts. The nucleation of holin rafts accounts for most of the delay of lysis after induction. Our simulations of this model recover the accurate lysis timing seen experimentally and show that the timing accuracy is optimal. An enhanced holin-holin interaction is needed in our model to recover experimental lysis delays after the application of membrane poison, and such early triggering of lysis is possible only after the inner membrane is supersaturated with holin. Antiholin reduces the delay between membrane depolarization and lysis and leads to an earlier time after which triggered lysis is possible. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Heithoff DM, Badie G, Julio SM, Enioutina EY, Daynes RA, Sinsheimer RL, Mahan MJ
In vivo-selected mutations in methyl-directed mismatch repair suppress the virulence attenuation of Salmonella dam mutant strains following intraperitoneal, but not oral, infection of naïve mice.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4708-17.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium that lacks the DNA adenine methylase (Dam) ectopically expresses multiple genes that are preferentially expressed during infection, is attenuated for virulence, and confers heightened immunity in vaccinated hosts. The safety of dam mutant Salmonella vaccines was evaluated by screening within infected mice for isolates that have an increased capacity to cause disease relative to the attenuated parental strain. Since dam mutant strains are sensitive to the DNA base analog 2-aminopurine (2-AP), we screened for 2-AP-resistant (2-AP(r)) isolates in systemic tissues of mice infected with dam mutant Salmonella. Such 2-AP(r) derivatives were isolated following intraperitoneal but not oral administration and were shown to be competent for infectivity via intraperitoneal but not oral infection of naïve mice. These 2-AP(r) derivatives were deficient in methyl-directed mismatch repair and were resistant to nitric oxide, yet they retained the bile-sensitive phenotype of the parental dam mutant strain. Additionally, introduction of a mutH null mutation into dam mutant cells suppressed the inherent defects in intraperitoneal infectivity and nitric oxide resistance, as well as overexpression of SpvB, an actin cytotoxin required for Salmonella systemic survival. These data suggest that restoration of intraperitoneal virulence of dam mutant strains is associated with deficiencies in methyl-directed mismatch repair that correlate with the production of systemically related virulence functions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Soemphol W, Toyama H, Moonmangmee D, Adachi O, Matsushita K
L-sorbose reductase and its transcriptional regulator involved in L-sorbose utilization of Gluconobacter frateurii.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4800-8.
Upstream of the gene for flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-dependent D-sorbitol dehydrogenase (SLDH), sldSLC, a putative transcriptional regulator was found in Gluconobacter frateurii THD32 (NBRC 101656). In this study, the whole sboR gene and the adjacent gene, sboA, were cloned and analyzed. sboR mutation did not affect FAD-SLDH activity in the membrane fractions. The SboA enzyme expressed and purified from an Escherichia coli transformant showed NADPH-dependent L-sorbose reductase (NADPH-SR) activity, and the enzyme was different from the NADPH-SR previously reported for Gluconobacter suboxydans IFO 3291 in molecular size and amino acid sequence. A mutant defective in sboA showed significantly reduced growth on L-sorbose, indicating that the SboA enzyme is required for efficient growth on L-sorbose. The sboR mutant grew on L-sorbose even better than the wild-type strain did, and higher NADPH-SR activity was detected in cytoplasm fractions. Reverse transcription-PCR experiments indicated that sboRA comprises an operon. These data suggest that sboR is involved in the repression of sboA, but not in the induction of sldSLC, on D-sorbitol and that another activator is required for the induction of these genes by D-sorbitol or L-sorbose. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huang SS, Chen D, Pelczar PL, Vepachedu VR, Setlow P, Li YQ
Levels of Ca2+-dipicolinic acid in individual bacillus spores determined using microfluidic Raman tweezers.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4681-7.
Pyridine-2,6-dicarboxylic acid (dipicolinic acid [DPA]) in a 1:1 chelate with calcium ion (Ca-DPA) comprises 5 to 15% of the dry weight of spores of Bacillus species. Ca-DPA is important in spore resistance to many environmental stresses and in spore stability, and Ca-DPA levels in spore populations can vary with spore species/strains, as well as with sporulation conditions. We have measured levels of Ca-DPA in large numbers of individual spores in populations of a variety of Bacillus species and strains by using microfluidic Raman tweezers, in which a single spore is trapped in a focused laser beam and its Ca-DPA is quantitated from the intensity of the Ca-DPA-specific band at 1,017 cm(-1) in Raman spectroscopy. Conclusions from these measurements include the following: (i) Ca-DPA concentrations in the spore core are >800 mM, well above Ca-DPA solubility; (ii) SpoVA proteins may be involved in Ca-DPA uptake in sporulation; and (iii) Ca-DPA levels differ significantly among individual spores in a population, but much of this variation could be due to variations in the sizes of individual spores. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rincon MT, Cepeljnik T, Martin JC, Barak Y, Lamed R, Bayer EA, Flint HJ
A novel cell surface-anchored cellulose-binding protein encoded by the sca gene cluster of Ruminococcus flavefaciens.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4774-83.
Ruminococcus flavefaciens produces a cellulosomal enzyme complex, based on the structural proteins ScaA, -B, and -C, that was recently shown to attach to the bacterial cell surface via the wall-anchored protein ScaE. ScaA, -B, -C, and -E are all cohesin-bearing proteins encoded by linked genes in the sca cluster. The product of an unknown open reading frame within the sca cluster, herein designated CttA, is similar in sequence at its C terminus to the corresponding region of ScaB, which contains an X module together with a dockerin sequence. The ScaB-XDoc dyad was shown previously to interact tenaciously with the cohesin of ScaE. Likewise, avid binding was confirmed between purified recombinant fragments of the CttA-XDoc dyad and the ScaE cohesin. In addition, the N-terminal regions of CttA were shown to bind to cellulose, thus suggesting that CttA is a cell wall-anchored, cellulose-binding protein. Proteomic analysis showed that the native CttA protein ( approximately 130 kDa) corresponds to one of the three most abundant polypeptides binding tightly to insoluble cellulose in cellulose-grown R. flavefaciens 17 cultures. Interestingly, this protein was also detected among cellulose-bound proteins in the related strain R. flavefaciens 007C but not in a mutant derivative, 007S, that was previously shown to have lost the ability to grow on dewaxed cotton fibers. In R. flavefaciens, the presence of CttA on the cell surface is likely to provide an important mechanism for substrate binding, perhaps compensating for the absence of an identified cellulose-binding module in the major cellulosomal scaffolding proteins of this species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pang B, Yan M, Cui Z, Ye X, Diao B, Ren Y, Gao S, Zhang L, Kan B
Genetic diversity of toxigenic and nontoxigenic Vibrio cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 revealed by array-based comparative genomic hybridization.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4837-49.
Toxigenic serogroups O1 and O139 of Vibrio cholerae may cause cholera epidemics or pandemics. Nontoxigenic strains within these serogroups also exist in the environment, and also some may cause sporadic cases of disease. Herein, we investigate the genomic diversity among toxigenic and nontoxigenic O1 and O139 strains by comparative genomic microarray hybridization with the genome of El Tor strain N16961 as a base. Conservation of the toxigenic O1 El Tor and O139 strains is found as previously reported, whereas accumulation of genome changes was documented in toxigenic El Tor strains isolated within the 40 years of the seventh pandemic. High phylogenetic diversity in nontoxigenic O1 and O139 strains is observed, and most of the genes absent from nontoxigenic strains are clustered together in the N16961 genome. By comparing these toxigenic and nontoxigenic strains, we observed that the small chromosome of V. cholerae is quite conservative and stable, outside of the superintegron region. In contrast to the general stability of the genome, the superintegron demonstrates pronounced divergence among toxigenic and nontoxigenic strains. Additionally, sequence variation in virulence-related genes is found in nontoxigenic El Tor strains, and we speculate that these intermediate strains may have pathogenic potential should they acquire CTX prophage alleles and other gene clusters. This genome-wide comparison of toxigenic and nontoxigenic V. cholerae strains may promote understanding of clonal differentiation of V. cholerae and contribute to an understanding of the origins and clonal selection of epidemic strains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Skilton RJ, Cutcliffe LT, Pickett MA, Lambden PR, Fane BA, Clarke IN
Intracellular parasitism of chlamydiae: specific infectivity of chlamydiaphage Chp2 in Chlamydophila abortus.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4957-9.
The obligate intracellular nature of chlamydiae presents challenges to the characterization of its phages, which are potential tools for a genetic transfer system. An assay for phage infectivity is described, and the infectious properties of phage Chp2 were determined. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Susanna KA, Mironczuk AM, Smits WK, Hamoen LW, Kuipers OP
A single, specific thymine mutation in the ComK-binding site severely decreases binding and transcription activation by the competence transcription factor ComK of Bacillus subtilis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4718-28.
The competence transcription factor ComK plays a central role in competence development in Bacillus subtilis by activating the transcription of the K regulon. ComK-activated genes are characterized by the presence of a specific sequence to which ComK binds, a K-box, in their upstream DNA region. Each K-box consists of two AT-boxes with the consensus sequence AAAA-(N)(5)-TTTT, which are separated by a flexible spacer resulting in either two, three, or four helical turns between the starting nucleotides of the repeating AT-box units. In this study, the effects of potential determinants of ComK regulation in K-boxes were investigated by testing ComK's transcription activation and DNA-binding affinity on altered K-boxes with mutations either in the spacer between the AT-boxes or in the consensus sequence of the AT-boxes. The most striking result demonstrates the importance of the second thymine base in the AT-boxes. Mutation of this T into a guanine resulted in a threefold reduction in transcription activation and DNA binding by ComK. Transcription activation, as well as DNA binding, was almost completely abolished when both AT-boxes contained a T(2)-to-G mutation. This result was corroborated by in silico analyses demonstrating that a combination of mutations at the T(2) positions of both AT-boxes is not found among any ComK-activated K-boxes, indicating that at least one consensus T(2) position is required to maintain a functional K-box. The results suggest an important structural role for T(2) in ComK binding, probably by its specific position in the minor groove of the DNA. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ogasawara H, Hasegawa A, Kanda E, Miki T, Yamamoto K, Ishihama A
Genomic SELEX search for target promoters under the control of the PhoQP-RstBA signal relay cascade.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4791-9.
RstBA, a two-component regulatory system of Escherichia coli with an unidentified regulatory function, is under the control of a Mg(2+)-sensing PhoQP two-component system. In order to identify the network of transcription regulation downstream of RstBA, we isolated a set of RstA-binding sequences from the E. coli genome by using the genomic SELEX system. A gel mobility shift assay indicated the binding of RstA to two SELEX DNA fragments, one including the promoter region of asr (acid shock RNA) and another including the promoter for csgD (a regulator of the curli operon). Using a DNase I footprinting assay, we determined the RstA-binding sites (RstA boxes) with the consensus sequence TACATNTNGTTACA. Transcription of the asr gene was induced 10- to 60-fold either in low-pH (pH 4.5) LB medium or in low-phosphate minimal medium as detected by promoter assay. The acid-induced in vivo transcription of asr was reduced after the deletion of rstA. In vivo transcription of the asr promoter was observed only in the presence of RstA. In agreement with the PhoQP-RstBA network, the addition of Mg(2+) led to a severe reduction of the asr promoter activity, and the disruption of phoP also reduced the asr promoter activity, albeit to a lesser extent. These observations altogether indicate that RstA is an activator of asr transcription. In contrast, transcription of csgD was repressed by overexpression of RstA, indicating that RstA is a repressor for csgD. With these data taken together, we conclude that the expression of both asr and csgD is under the direct control of the PhoQP-RstBA signal relay cascade. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sojka L, Fucík V, Krásný L, Barvík I, Jonák J
YbxF, a protein associated with exponential-phase ribosomes in Bacillus subtilis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4809-14.
The ybxF gene is a member of the streptomycin operon in a wide range of gram-positive bacteria. In Bacillus subtilis, it codes for a small basic protein (82 amino acids, pI 9.51) of unknown function. We demonstrate that, in B. subtilis, YbxF localizes to the ribosome, primarily to the 50S subunit, with dependence on growth phase. Based on three-dimensional structures of YbxF generated by homology modeling, we identified helix 2 as important for the interaction with the ribosome. Subsequent mutational analysis of helix 2 revealed Lys24 as crucial for the interaction. Neither the B. subtilis ybxF gene nor its paralogue, the ymxC gene, is essential, as shown by probing DeltaybxF, DeltaymxC, or DeltaybxF DeltaymxC double deletion strains in several functional assays. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Siméone R, Constant P, Guilhot C, Daffé M, Chalut C
Identification of the missing trans-acting enoyl reductase required for phthiocerol dimycocerosate and phenolglycolipid biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4597-602.
Phthiocerol dimycocerosates (DIM) and phenolglycolipids (PGL) are functionally important surface-exposed lipids of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Their biosynthesis involves the products of several genes clustered in a 70-kb region of the M. tuberculosis chromosome. Among these products is PpsD, one of the modular type I polyketide synthases responsible for the synthesis of the lipid core common to DIM and PGL. Bioinformatic analyses have suggested that this protein lacks a functional enoyl reductase activity domain required for the synthesis of these lipids. We have identified a gene, Rv2953, that putatively encodes an enoyl reductase. Mutation in Rv2953 prevents conventional DIM formation and leads to the accumulation of a novel DIM-like product. This product is unsaturated between C-4 and C-5 of phthiocerol. Consistently, complementation of the mutant with a functional pks15/1 gene from Mycobacterium bovis BCG resulted in the accumulation of an unsaturated PGL-like substance. When an intact Rv2953 gene was reintroduced into the mutant strain, the phenotype reverted to the wild type. These findings indicate that Rv2953 encodes a trans-acting enoyl reductase that acts with PpsD in phthiocerol and phenolphthiocerol biosynthesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kobayashi K
Bacillus subtilis pellicle formation proceeds through genetically defined morphological changes.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4920-31.
Biofilms are structured multicellular communities of bacteria that form through a developmental process. In standing culture, undomesticated strains of Bacillus subtilis produce a floating biofilm, called a pellicle, with a distinct macroscopic architecture. Here we report on a comprehensive analysis of B. subtilis pellicle formation, with a focus on transcriptional regulators and morphological changes. To date, 288 known or putative transcriptional regulators encoded by the B. subtilis genome have been identified or assigned based on similarity to other known proteins. The genes encoding these regulators were systematically disrupted, and the effects of the mutations on pellicle formation were examined, resulting in the identification of 19 regulators involved in pellicle formation. In addition, morphological analysis revealed that pellicle formation begins with the formation of cell chains, which is followed by clustering and degradation of cell chains. Genetic and morphological evidence showed that each stage of morphological change can be defined genetically, based on mutants of transcriptional regulators, each of which blocks pellicle formation at a specific morphological stage. Formation and degradation of cell chains are controlled by down- and up-regulation of sigma(D)- and sigma(H)-dependent autolysins expressed at specific stages during pellicle formation. Transcriptional analysis revealed that the transcriptional activation of sigH depends on the formation of cell clusters, which in turn activates transcription of sigma(H)-dependent autolysin in cell clusters. Taken together, our results reveal relationships between transcriptional regulators and morphological development during pellicle formation by B. subtilis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lower BH, Shi L, Yongsunthon R, Droubay TC, McCready DE, Lower SK
Specific bonds between an iron oxide surface and outer membrane cytochromes MtrC and OmcA from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4944-52.
Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is purported to express outer membrane cytochromes (e.g., MtrC and OmcA) that transfer electrons directly to Fe(III) in a mineral during anaerobic respiration. A prerequisite for this type of reaction would be the formation of a stable bond between a cytochrome and an iron oxide surface. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to detect whether a specific bond forms between a hematite (Fe(2)O(3)) thin film, created with oxygen plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy, and recombinant MtrC or OmcA molecules coupled to gold substrates. Force spectra displayed a unique force signature indicative of a specific bond between each cytochrome and the hematite surface. The strength of the OmcA-hematite bond was approximately twice that of the MtrC-hematite bond, but direct binding to hematite was twice as favorable for MtrC. Reversible folding/unfolding reactions were observed for mechanically denatured MtrC molecules bound to hematite. The force measurements for the hematite-cytochrome pairs were compared to spectra collected for an iron oxide and S. oneidensis under anaerobic conditions. There is a strong correlation between the whole-cell and pure-protein force spectra, suggesting that the unique binding attributes of each cytochrome complement one another and allow both MtrC and OmcA to play a prominent role in the transfer of electrons to Fe(III) in minerals. Finally, by comparing the magnitudes of binding force for the whole-cell versus pure-protein data, we were able to estimate that a single bacterium of S. oneidensis (2 by 0.5 microm) expresses approximately 10(4) cytochromes on its outer surface. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kuscer E, Coates N, Challis I, Gregory M, Wilkinson B, Sheridan R, Petkovi? H
Roles of rapH and rapG in positive regulation of rapamycin biosynthesis in Streptomyces hygroscopicus.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4756-63.
Rapamycin is an important macrocyclic polyketide produced by Streptomyces hygroscopicus and showing immunosuppressive, antifungal, and antitumor activities as well as displaying anti-inflammatory and neuroregenerative properties. The immense pharmacological potential of rapamycin has led to the production of an array of analogues, including through genetic engineering of the rapamycin biosynthetic gene cluster. This cluster contains several putative regulatory genes. Based on DNA sequence analysis, the products of genes rapH and rapG showed high similarities with two different families of transcriptional activators, LAL and AraC, respectively. Overexpression of either gene resulted in a substantial increase in rapamycin biosynthesis, confirming their positive regulatory role, while deletion of both from the chromosome of S. hygroscopicus resulted in a complete loss of antibiotic production. Complementation studies indicated an essential role of the RapG regulator for rapamycin biosynthesis and a supportive role of RapH. A direct effect of rapH and rapG gene products on the promoter of the rapamycin polyketide synthase operon, rapA-rapB, was observed using the chalcone synthase gene rppA as a reporter system. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pfeiler EA, Azcarate-Peril MA, Klaenhammer TR
Characterization of a novel bile-inducible operon encoding a two-component regulatory system in Lactobacillus acidophilus.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4624-34.
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM is an industrially important strain used extensively as a probiotic culture. Tolerance of the presence of bile is an attribute important to microbial survival in the intestinal tract. A whole-genome microarray was employed to examine the effects of bile on the global transcriptional profile of this strain, with the intention of elucidating genes contributing to bile tolerance. Genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were generally induced, while genes involved in other aspects of cellular growth were mostly repressed. A 7-kb eight-gene operon encoding a two-component regulatory system (2CRS), a transporter, an oxidoreductase, and four hypothetical proteins was significantly upregulated in the presence of bile. Deletion mutations were constructed in six genes of the operon. Transcriptional analysis of the 2CRS mutants showed that mutation of the histidine protein kinase (HPK) had no effect on the induction of the operon, whereas the mutated response regulator (RR) showed enhanced induction when the cells were exposed to bile. These results indicate that the 2CRS plays a role in bile tolerance and that the operon it resides in is negatively controlled by the RR. Mutations in the transporter, the HPK, the RR, and a hypothetical protein each resulted in loss of tolerance of bile. Mutations in genes encoding another hypothetical protein and a putative oxidoreductase resulted in significant increases in bile tolerance. This functional analysis showed that the operon encoded proteins involved in both bile tolerance and bile sensitivity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kunnimalaiyaan S, Rakowski SA, Filutowicz M
Structure-based functional analysis of the replication protein of plasmid R6K: key amino acids at the pi/DNA interface.
J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(13):4953-6.
In previous work, we characterized the bases in an iteron of plasmid R6K that are important for the binding of pi protein monomers and dimers. Here we investigate the following six amino acids of pi, encoded by pir, hypothesized to be important for DNA contact: Ser71, Try74, Gly131, Gly211, Arg225, and Arg254. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Journal of Clinical Microbiology

Popovich K, Hota B, Rice T, Aroutcheva A, Weinstein RA
Phenotypic prediction rule for community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2293-5.
Recent studies have suggested that community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are encroaching upon nosocomial settings. We assessed the performance characteristics of a rule using the antimicrobial phenotype to predict genotype. This rule could be applied for epidemiologic purposes to describe the trend in CA-MRSA infections over time. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tenover FC, Vaughn RR, McDougal LK, Fosheim GE, McGowan JE
Multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat assay analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2215-9.
Our objective was to determine if a multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat assay (MLVA) for Staphylococcus aureus could predict pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) types (i.e., USA types), thus allowing us to replace PFGE with a simpler and more rapid typing method. One hundred three well-characterized isolates representing 13 major lineages of S. aureus were tested by both PFGE and MLVA. MLVA was performed using a rapid DNA extraction technique and PCR primers for sdrCDE, clfA, clfB, sspA, and spa. PFGE was performed with genomic DNA fragments generated using SmaI, as per CDC protocols. Banding patterns were analyzed both visually and with BioNumerics software. All isolates were typeable with MLVA and PFGE. MLVA patterns were highly reproducible. PFGE separated the isolates into 13 types with 42 subtypes. Using any band difference to designate a novel MLVA type, MLVA produced 45 types, including 9 clusters containing multiple isolates. Using BioNumerics and a cutoff of >75% relatedness, MLVA produced 28 types, 11 of which contained >1 isolate. Epidemiologically related outbreak isolates of USA300-0114 from five states clustered in one MLVA pattern. USA100 isolates were present in several unrelated (<40%) MLVA types. A cutoff of >80% separated outbreak strains of USA300-0114 into three distinct MLVA types. MLVA did not differentiate community methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) lineages (USA300, USA400, USA1000, and USA1100) from health care MRSA lineages (USA100, USA200, or USA500). The ability of MLVA to differentiate among strains that are indistinguishable by PFGE may be of epidemiologic value and warrants further study. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bourbeau PP, Riley JA, Shoemaker BC, Jones KS
Use of CultureSwab Plus swabs with Amies gel agar for testing of naris specimens with the GeneOhm MRSA assay.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2281-3.
The GeneOhm MRSA assay detects nasal colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We compared the use of seeded swabs with liquid Stuart's medium and that of seeded swabs with Amies gel for the assay. Overall, the swabs with liquid Stuart's medium detected significantly greater numbers of MRSA than the swabs with Amies gel (P = 0.0003). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ho EC, Cheng PK, Lau AW, Wong AH, Lim WW
Atypical norovirus epidemic in Hong Kong during summer of 2006 caused by a new genogroup II/4 variant.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2205-11.
An atypically high level of norovirus activity was noticed in Hong Kong beginning in early May 2006. A study was carried out to investigate whether this was caused by a new norovirus variant. Epidemiological data including monthly positivity rates and the numbers of outbreaks per month from January to July 2006 were analyzed and compared to those from 2002 to 2005. In a comparison with the epidemiological data from 2001 to 2005, an atypical peak of norovirus-associated gastroenteritis outbreak was observed beginning in May 2006, concurring with a striking increase in norovirus activity. Most of the outbreaks (>60%) were located in homes for the elderly. Phylogenetic analysis for both RdRp and 5' capsid regions showed that this epidemic was caused by a new genogroup II/4 variant. This variant was genetically distinct from the predominant variants of 2002 and 2004 but was closely related to one of the 95/96-subset variants which caused an epidemic in Hong Kong in 2001, suggesting that the 95/96 subset may be starting to recirculate. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fiscus SA, Wiener J, Abrams EJ, Bulterys M, Cachafeiro A, Respess RA
Ultrasensitive p24 antigen assay for diagnosis of perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2274-7.
We evaluated an ultrasensitive p24 antigen enzyme immunosorbent assay on 802 plasma specimens from 582 infants and children of 0 to 180 days of age. Overall sensitivity and specificity were 91.7% and 98.5%, respectively. After exclusion of infants of less than 7 days of age, the sensitivity and specificity were 93.7% and 98.3%, respectively. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Neske F, Blessing K, Tollmann F, Schubert J, Rethwilm A, Kreth HW, Weissbrich B
Real-time PCR for diagnosis of human bocavirus infections and phylogenetic analysis.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2116-22.
The human bocavirus (hBoV) was first described in 2005 in respiratory tract samples. The clinical relevance of hBoV is still unclear. The aim of our study was to establish a real-time PCR assay for the detection and quantification of hBoV DNA, to apply the real-time assay for the analysis of stool and serum samples for the presence of hBoV DNA, and to perform a phylogenetic analysis of the hBoV positive samples. A total of 834 nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA), 10 serum samples, and 31 stool samples of children with acute respiratory diseases were retrospectively tested. For phylogenetic analysis, 968 bp of the VP2 gene were sequenced from 69 hBoV-positive NPA samples. The qualitative results of the real-time hBoV PCR were in good agreement with a conventional hBoV PCR. We found that 12% of the NPA were positive for hBoV DNA. The median viral load in the NPA was 4.9 x 10(3) copies/ml (range, 2.7 x 10 degrees to 1.5 x 10(11) copies/ml). There was no difference of the hBoV load in NPA between children with or without known coinfection, but the load was significantly higher in children with bronchitis than in children with the diagnosis of febrile seizures. hBoV DNA was found in 1 of 10 serum samples and in 14 of 31 stool samples. hBoV sequence identity was >99% in the VP2 region. In conclusion, hBoV DNA can be found in NPA samples at very high titers. In addition to being found in the respiratory tract, hBoV was found in stool samples. The clinical relevance of these findings remains to be determined. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lam MM, Clarridge JE, Young EJ, Mizuki S
The other group G Streptococcus: increased detection of Streptococcus canis ulcer infections in dog owners.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2327-9.
beta-Hemolytic Lancefield group G Streptococcus dysgalactiae and Streptococcus canis cannot be distinguished when only Lancefield typing is performed. Phenotypic testing and 16S rRNA gene sequencing identified S. canis associated with ulcer infections in dog owners. Because S. canis may be incorrectly identified (published biochemical descriptions are inconsistent), there may be an underestimation of the true number of infections. Identification of group G streptococci to the species level could have epidemiological and clinical implications. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Espinel-Ingroff A, Fothergill A, Ghannoum M, Manavathu E, Ostrosky-Zeichner L, Pfaller MA, Rinaldi MG, Schell W, Walsh TJ
Quality control and reference guidelines for CLSI broth microdilution method (M38-A document) for susceptibility testing of anidulafungin against molds.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2180-2.
The CLSI (formerly NCCLS) M38-A document for antifungal susceptibility testing of filamentous fungi does not describe guidelines for echinocandins. A multicenter study (eight centers) evaluated inter- and intralaboratory reproducibilities of two reading times (24 and 48 h or 48 and 72 h) and two end points (MICs and minimum effective concentrations [MECs]) for evaluating anidulafungin against molds. Anidulafungin MICs (>or=50% inhibition) and MECs (morphological hyphal changes) were determined for seven Aspergillus isolates (four species) and one isolate each of Fusarium moniliforme, Fusarium solani, and Paecilomyces variotii and for two Scedosporium apiospermum isolates. The inter- and intralaboratory reproducibilities of 10 replicate tests performed in each laboratory on 10 different days for each isolate was 100% at 24 h (MECs, <or=0.015 microg/ml) for six Aspergillus and P. variotii isolates. The reproducibility was 94 to 96.7% at 72 h (MECs, 1 to 8 microg/ml) for S. apiospermum and 96.7 to 97.5% at 48 h (MICs, >or=32 microg/ml) for both Fusarium isolates. Introduction of these identified optimum testing conditions for anidulafungin into future versions of the M38 document is warranted. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Affolabi D, Odoun M, Martin A, Palomino JC, Anagonou S, Portaels F
Evaluation of direct detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis rifampin resistance by a nitrate reductase assay applied to sputum samples in Cotonou, Benin.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2123-5.
The aim of this study was to evaluate a nitrate reductase assay (NRA) performed on smear-positive sputa for the direct detection of rifampin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A total of 213 smear-positive sputa with a positivity score of 1+ or more (>1 acid-fast bacillus per field by fluorescence microscopy) were used in the study. The samples were decontaminated using the modified Petroff method, and portions of the resulting suspension were used to perform the NRA. The NRA results were compared with the reference indirect proportion method for 177 specimens for which comparable results were available. NRA results were obtained at day 10 for 15 specimens (9%), results for 88 specimens (50%) were obtained at day 14, results for 66 specimens (37%) were obtained at day 18, and results for the remaining 8 specimens (4%) were obtained at day 28. Thus, 96% of NRA results were obtained in 18 days. Of the 177 specimens, there was only one discrepancy (susceptible according to the NRA and resistant according to the indirect proportion method). NRA is simple to perform and provides a rapid, accurate, and cost-effective means for the detection of rifampin resistance in M. tuberculosis isolates. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wright PF, Deatly AM, Karron RA, Belshe RB, Shi JR, Gruber WC, Zhu Y, Randolph VB
Comparison of results of detection of rhinovirus by PCR and viral culture in human nasal wash specimens from subjects with and without clinical symptoms of respiratory illness.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2126-9.
Human rhinoviruses (HRV) cause acute upper respiratory illness. The frequency of HRV-associated illnesses appears greater when PCR assays are used to detect rhinoviruses. The present study performed PCR-based detection of HRV upon entry of subjects into respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza type 3 vaccine trials when subjects were symptom-free and upon subsequent development of clinical symptoms of respiratory illness during the trial. The background of HRV PCR positivity in symptom-free individuals (30/139 [22%]) was only slightly lower than in those with respiratory illness (28/77 [36%]). For subjects with multiple samples, it was estimated that HRV was detectable by PCR for approximately 100 days before, during, and after clinical symptoms were documented. PCR is a remarkably more sensitive method of detecting HRV than is tissue culture. The presence of HRV RNA may not always reflect an association with infectious virus production. The limited association of HRV RNA with illness suggests caution in assigning causality of HRV PCR positivity to clinical symptoms of respiratory illness. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Massung RF, Levin ML, Munderloh UG, Silverman DJ, Lynch MJ, Gaywee JK, Kurtti TJ
Isolation and propagation of the Ap-Variant 1 strain of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in a tick cell line.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2138-43.
The first tissue culture isolates of the unique Anaplasma phagocytophilum strain, Ap-Variant 1, were obtained in the Ixodes scapularis tick-derived cell line ISE6. Two isolates were from goat blood samples: one from a goat infected with I. scapularis ticks from Rhode Island and a second from a goat infected by serial passage of blood from the first infected goat. Eight isolates were made directly from I. scapularis ticks collected from white-tailed deer in Minnesota and represent the first isolations of an Anaplasma species directly from ticks. Each of the 10 isolates had a 16S rRNA gene sequence identical to that previously described for Ap-Variant 1, but differences within the ank gene were found that suggest natural variation. Prevalence of Anaplasma in the Minnesota ticks was 63.9%; 23 of 36 ticks tested by PCR were positive. Six of the tick-derived isolates were obtained from a set of 18 PCR-positive ticks, for a 33.3% isolation success rate. The conservation of host tropism among the Rhode Island and Minnesota isolates of Ap-Variant 1 was examined by use of experimental infections of mice and a goat. A Minnesota tick-derived isolate (MN-61-2) was used to inoculate naïve animals, and this isolate was able to infect a goat but unable to infect each of five mice, confirming that the Minnesota isolates have the same host tropism as Ap-Variant 1 from the northeastern United States. Light and electron microscopy of the Ap-Variant 1 isolate MN-61-2 in ISE6 cells showed cytoplasmic inclusions characteristic of A. phagocytophilum with pleomorphic bacteria in membrane-bound vacuoles and both electron-dense and electron-lucent forms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hanekom M, van der Spuy GD, Gey van Pittius NC, McEvoy CR, Ndabambi SL, Victor TC, Hoal EG, van Helden PD, Warren RM
Evidence that the spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains with the Beijing genotype is human population dependent.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2263-6.
This study describes a comparative analysis of the Beijing mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit types of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from Cape Town, South Africa, and East Asia. The results show a significant association between the frequency of occurrence of strains from defined Beijing sublineages and the human population from whom they were cultured (P < 0.0001). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Geissdörfer W, Tandler R, Schlundt C, Weyand M, Daniel WG, Schoerner C
Fatal bioprosthetic aortic valve endocarditis due to Cardiobacterium valvarum.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2324-6.
Cardiobacterium valvarum was isolated from the blood of a 71-year-old man with fatal aortic valve endocarditis. The API NH system was used for phenotypic characterization of the C. valvarum strain. This is the first case of infective endocarditis caused by C. valvarum in Germany and the first case worldwide affecting a prosthetic valve and lacking an obvious dental focus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Conville PS, Witebsky FG
Organisms designated as Nocardia asteroides drug pattern type VI are members of the species Nocardia cyriacigeorgica.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2257-9.
Nocardia cyriacigeorgica has recently been described as an "emerging" pathogen. However, DNA-DNA hybridization results confirm that Nocardia asteroides drug pattern type VI, which has long been recognized as a common and significant pathogen in the United States, belongs to the species N. cyriacigeorgica. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ozawa S, Eda H, Ishii Y, Ban F, Funabashi T, Hata S, Hayashi K, Iga H, Ikushima T, Ishiko H, Itagaki T, Kawana R, Kobayashi S, Ogino T, Sekizawa T, Shimomura Y, Shiota H, Mori R, Nakakita T, Numazaki Y, Ozaki Y, Yamamoto S, Yoshino K, Yanagi K
The herpes simplex virus type 1 BgKL variant, unlike the BgOL variant, shows a higher association with orolabial infection than with infections at other sites, supporting the variant-dispersion-replacement hypothesis.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2183-90.
The identification and geographic distribution of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) BglII restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) variants named BgK(L) and BgO(L) in clinical isolates from orolabial and cutaneous sites were described in our previous reports, in which the dispersion and replacement of HSV-1 variants were proposed. The base substitution sites deduced from the BgK(L) multiple RFLP variations were mapped to the U(L)12 (DNase), R(L)2 (alpha0 transactivator), and latency-associated transcript genes in the present study. The results show that the relative frequencies (RFs) of BgK(L) are significantly higher in orolabial and cutaneous HSV-1 infections than in ocular infections. For the BgO(L) variant, the opposite was found; i.e., the RF of BgO(L) was significantly lower in orolabial and cutaneous infections than in ocular infections. No significant differences in the RFs of non-BgK(L):non-BgO(L) isolates were observed. The ratio of the BgK(L) RF to the BgO(L) RF was much higher for the orolabial and cutaneous infection groups than for the ocular infection group, whereas the BgK(L) RF-to-non-BgK(L):non-BgO(L) RF ratios for the former groups were slightly higher than those for the latter group. The higher efficiency of orolabial and cutaneous infections caused by BgK(L) compared to the efficiency of infections caused by BgO(L) allows BgK(L) to spread more efficiently in human populations and to displace BgO(L), because the mouth and lips are the most common HSV-1 infection sites in children. The present study supports our HSV-1 dispersion-and-replacement hypothesis and suggests that HSV-1, the latency-reactivation of which allows variants to accumulate in human populations, has evolved under competitive conditions, providing a new perspective on the polymorphism or variation of HSV-1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mokaddas EM, Salako NO, Philip L, Rotimi VO
Discrepancy in antimicrobial susceptibility test results obtained for oral streptococci with the Etest and agar dilution.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2162-5.
A total of 270 viridans group streptococci (VS) isolated from healthy children, identified to the species level, were tested for their susceptibilities to penicillin, imipenem, erythromycin, and vancomycin. A total of 270 isolates and 1,080 organism-antibiotic combinations were evaluated. The overall susceptibility rates of all isolates obtained by the Etest (ET) versus agar dilution (AD) were 60.4% versus 61.8% for penicillin, 63.8% versus 63.9% for erythromycin, 90.6% versus 96% for vancomycin, and 99.1% versus 96.0% for imipenem, respectively. Major discrepancies occurred in the testing of the susceptibility of Streptococcus mutans to vancomycin, with 59.5% (ET) versus 100% (AD), followed by S. salivarius, with 84.1% versus 100%; S. oralis, with 82.1% versus 96.4%; and S. mitis, with 90% versus 100%, respectively. There were also differences in the rates of susceptibility of S. mutans, 66.5% (ET) versus 85.1% (AD), and S. intermedius, 82.9% versus 72.1%, respectively, to penicillin. General agreement between the results of ET and AD was obtained for 973 organism-antibiotic combinations out of 1,080 antibiotic combinations, i.e., 90.1%. Very major errors were found for 6.8% of isolates, and major errors were found for 3.2% of isolates; the minor errors were negligible. Agreement between the results of the two methods was 98.7% for penicillin, 94.6% for vancomycin, 96.9% for imipenem, and 99.9% for erythromycin. The highest rate of very major errors was for vancomycin, at 5.4%. The ET appears to be as efficient as AD for susceptibility testing of VS, except for vancomycin, where very major errors in the results were relatively high. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Foulet F, Botterel F, Buffet P, Morizot G, Rivollet D, Deniau M, Pratlong F, Costa JM, Bretagne S
Detection and identification of Leishmania species from clinical specimens by using a real-time PCR assay and sequencing of the cytochrome B gene.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2110-5.
Visceral and cutaneous leishmaniases are heterogenous entities. The Leishmania species that a given patient harbors usually cannot be determined clinically, and this identification is essential to prescribe the best species-specific therapeutic regimen. Our diagnosis procedure includes a real-time PCR assay targeted at the 18S rRNA gene, which detects all Leishmania species but which is not specific for a given Leishmania species. We developed a species identification based on sequencing of the cytochrome b (cyt b) gene directly from the DNA extracted from the clinical specimen. The sequences were analyzed using the Sequence Analysis/Seqscape v2.1 software (Applied Biosystems). This software is designed to automatically identify the closest sequences from a reference library after analysis of all known or unknown polymorphic positions. The library was built with the Leishmania cyt b gene sequences available in GenBank. Fifty-three consecutive real-time PCR-positive specimens were studied for species identification. The cyt b gene was amplified in the 53 specimens. Sequencing resulted in the identification of six different species with >or=99% identity with the reference sequences over 872 nucleotides. The identification was obtained in two working days and was in accordance with the multilocus enzyme electrophoresis identification when available. Real-time PCR followed by sequencing of the cyt b gene confirmed the diagnosis of leishmaniasis and rapidly determined the infecting species directly from the clinical specimen without the need for the isolation of parasites. This technique has the potential to significantly accelerate species-adapted therapeutic decisions regarding treatment of leishmaniasis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ellis JS, Smith JW, Braham S, Lock M, Barlow K, Zambon MC
Design and validation of an H5 TaqMan real-time one-step reverse transcription-PCR and confirmatory assays for diagnosis and verification of influenza A virus H5 infections in humans.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 May;45(5):1535-43.
Increasing diversity among influenza H5N1 viruses has resulted in the need for sensitive and specific diagnostic assays, fully validated for the detection of H5 viruses belonging to all hemagglutinin (HA) clades, particularly the recently circulating H5N1 viruses of clade 2. In this report, the development and validation of a real-time, one-step TaqMan reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay specific for the detection of influenza A H5 viruses from clades 1, 1', 2, and 3 is described. The real-time assay for H5 virus was shown to be highly sensitive, detecting H5 virus levels of <1 PFU from each of the HA clades. Specificity of the H5 RT-PCR for influenza A H5 viruses was demonstrated by using influenza A viruses of different subtypes, clinical samples containing influenza A viruses H1N1, H3N2, and H5N1, influenza B viruses, and other respiratory viruses. The usefulness of the inclusion of a distinguishable assay positive control and of confirmatory assays for the laboratory diagnosis and verification of H5 virus infections was demonstrated. A real-time RT-PCR pyrosequencing assay, a restriction enzyme digestion assay, and direct sequencing of the H5 real-time RT-PCR amplicon were validated for the confirmation of H5 detection by the diagnostic real-time assay. The H5 real-time assay was applied to diagnostic testing for suspected cases of influenza A virus H5 infection in the United Kingdom. Influenza A H5 viruses were not detected in the cases analyzed; however, influenza A H3N2 virus was detected in 57% of the suspected cases of H5. The H5 TaqMan real-time RT-PCR and confirmatory assays will be useful tools for the laboratory surveillance and rapid diagnosis of H5 infections in humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhou J, Law DK, Sill ML, Tsang RS
Nucleotide sequence diversity of the bexA gene in serotypeable Haemophilus influenzae strains recovered from invasive disease patients in Canada.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1996-9.
The bexA genes of 36 Haemophilus influenzae isolates were sequenced to reveal their nucleotide sequence diversity, which divided them into two groups, similar to clonal divisions I and II. This sequence diversity may lead to false-negative PCR results for H. influenzae infections if bexA is the chosen gene target. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Friães A, Ramirez M, Melo-Cristino J
Nonoutbreak surveillance of group A streptococci causing invasive disease in Portugal identified internationally disseminated clones among members of a genetically heterogeneous population.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2044-7.
The typing of 160 invasive Streptococcus pyogenes isolates confirmed the importance of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing for defining clones. The results identified an extremely diverse population and highlighted the importance of both internationally disseminated and local clones not previously associated with invasive disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Boutrouille A, Bakkali-Kassimi L, Crucière C, Pavio N
Prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus antibodies in French blood donors.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2009-10.
Accumulating evidence suggests that hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is an emerging disease in regions where HEV is nonendemic. In France, the prevalence of anti-HEV antibodies in the general population has never been studied. Using blood donors' samples, we have found a prevalence of 3.20%, which is similar to that of other industrialized countries. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Abiko C, Mizuta K, Itagaki T, Katsushima N, Ito S, Matsuzaki Y, Okamoto M, Nishimura H, Aoki Y, Murata T, Hoshina H, Hongo S, Ootani K
Outbreak of human metapneumovirus detected by use of the Vero E6 cell line in isolates collected in Yamagata, Japan, in 2004 and 2005.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1912-9.
A number of epidemiological studies have shown human metapneumovirus (hMPV) to be one of the most important viral agents associated with acute respiratory infections in humans. However, due to the difficulty in growing the virus, all epidemiological studies of hMPV infection have been performed on the basis of the molecular method. Thus, the development of a cell line suitable for the isolation of hMPV from clinical specimens is a crucial step for further research. Using the Vero E6 cell line, which could be stably maintained for 1 month without passage or medium change, we succeeded in isolating 79 strains from 4,112 specimens obtained in Yamagata, Japan, in 2004 and 2005. The total isolation rate was 1.9% (79/4,112). The monthly distribution revealed that hMPV infections occurred between February and April in 2004 and throughout most of the year in 2005. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that subgenogroup B2 was predominant in 2004, whereas three subgenogroups, A2, B1, and B2, had cocirculated in 2005. Although multiple subgenogroups cocirculated in 2005, each individual subgenogroup strain was found to predominate at specific sites. An infectivity assay of hMPV strains also indicated that the infection efficiency in Vero E6 cells was better than that in LLC-MK2 cells. Finally, we found that Vero E6 cells are useful for the isolation of hMPVs and that this utility might aid further research into hMPVs beyond the epidemiological data shown in this study. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lari N, Rindi L, Bonanni D, Rastogi N, Sola C, Tortoli E, Garzelli C
Three-year longitudinal study of genotypes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates in Tuscany, Italy.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1851-7.
The genetic diversity of 829 strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated during a 3-year period in Tuscany, Italy, a country with a low prevalence of tuberculosis, from 480 Italian-born and 349 foreign-born patients was determined by spoligotyping. The predominant spoligotype families were T (30.2% of isolates), Haarlem (19.9%), and the Latino-American and Mediterranean family (LAM) (11.2%); the remaining isolates were distributed among the Beijing (6.5%), S (4.2%), East Africa-India (EAI) (3.0%), Bovis (2.3%), Central Asia (CAS) (2.1%), Africanum (1.3%), and X (1.2%) families or were undefined (2.7%) or orphan (14.1%) isolates. Isolates of the families T, Haarlem, Bovis, and X were distributed among Italian- and foreign-born patients almost proportionally to the patients' numbers. Isolates of the LAM family were prevalent in foreign-born people (13.5%, versus 9.6% in Italian-born patients). Isolates of the S family were found almost exclusively in Italian-born patients, while strains of families EAI and CAS were isolated almost exclusively from foreign-born patients; Africanum isolates were all from African-born patients. The isolates of the Beijing family showed a trend to a steady increase during the survey. The prevalence of Beijing strains was 11.7% among foreign-born people and 2.7% among Italian-born patients. The Beijing strains were typed by the standardized IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism assay, which yielded a total of 38 distinct IS6110 patterns; 21 isolates (39.6%) occurred in six distinct clusters; of these, three contained two isolates and the other three contained four, five and six isolates, thus demonstrating that Beijing strains caused several tuberculosis outbreaks in the region. These findings indicate that transmission of Beijing strains between immigrants and the autochthonous population has occurred frequently and suggests an ongoing active transmission of the Beijing genotype in the region. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Andreoletti L, Skrabal K, Perrin V, Chomont N, Saragosti S, Gresenguet G, Moret H, Jacques J, Longo Jde D, Matta M, Mammano F, Belec L
Genetic and phenotypic features of blood and genital viral populations of clinically asymptomatic and antiretroviral-treatment-naive clade a human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected women.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1838-42.
In the present study, we assessed whether human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genetic compartmentalization was associated with phenotypic CCR5 (R5) or CXCR4 (X4) coreceptor usage differences between the systemic and the genital viral populations. Four clinically asymptomatic and treatment-naïve clade A HIV-1-infected patients were selected from a cohort of 274 African women, because they were free of all the biological cofactors known to modify the kinetics of viral production in the genital tract. HIV RNA envelope sequences (V1 to V3) derived from plasma and cervicovaginal secretions (CVS) were amplified, subcloned, and sequenced. CCR5 or CXCR4 coreceptor usage was determined by production of recombinant viral particles, followed by single-cycle infection assays of indicator cell lines, using the tropism recombinant test. In these four selected patients, CVS-derived sequences appeared to be genetically distinct from blood-derived sequences (P < or = 0.001). Two patients were found to harbor virus populations with only the R5 phenotype in both compartments, whereas viruses using CXCR4 in addition to CCR5 were detected in two other patients. In particular, one woman harbored genital virus populations with mixed R5 and X4 phenotypes associated with peripheral blood populations with only the R5 phenotype. These results demonstrate genetic compartmentalization of HIV between the plasma and genital secretions of clinically asymptomatic, treatment-naïve, clade A-infected women. Also, for one patient, we report phenotypic coreceptor usage differences between the systemic (R5) and genital (R5/X4) viral populations. These features may be critical for the development of further mucosal vaccines, therapies, or new preventive strategies to block heterosexual transmission. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jones MS, Lukashov VV, Ganac RD, Schnurr DP
Discovery of a novel human picornavirus in a stool sample from a pediatric patient presenting with fever of unknown origin.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jul;45(7):2144-50.
Fever of unknown origin (FUO) is a serious problem in the United States. An unidentified agent was cultured from the stool of an infant who presented with FUO. This virus showed growth in HFDK cells and suckling mice. Using DNase sequence-independent single-primer amplification, we identified several nucleotide sequences with a high homology to Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. Nearly full-length viral genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis demonstrate that this virus is a member of the Cardiovirus genus of the Picornaviridae family. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tumbarello M, Posteraro B, Trecarichi EM, Fiori B, Rossi M, Porta R, de Gaetano Donati K, La Sorda M, Spanu T, Fadda G, Cauda R, Sanguinetti M
Biofilm production by Candida species and inadequate antifungal therapy as predictors of mortality for patients with candidemia.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1843-50.
Nosocomial Candida bloodstream infections rank among infections with highest mortality rates. A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted at Catholic University Hospital to estimate the risk factors for mortality of patients with candidemia. We reviewed records for patients with a Candida bloodstream infection over a 5-year period (January 2000 through December 2004). Two hundred ninety-four patients (42.1% male; mean age +/- standard deviation, 65 +/- 12 years) were studied. Patients most commonly were admitted with a surgical diagnosis (162 patients [55.1%]), had a central venous catheter (213 [72.4%]), cancer (118 [40.1%]), or diabetes (58 [19.7%]). One hundred fifty-four (52.3%) patients died within 30 days. Of 294 patients, 168 (57.1%) were infected by Candida albicans, 64 (21.7%) by Candida parapsilosis, 28 (9.5%) by Candida tropicalis, and 26 (8.8%) by Candida glabrata. When fungal isolates were tested for biofilm formation capacity, biofilm production was most commonly observed for isolates of C. tropicalis (20 of 28 patients [71.4%]), followed by C. glabrata (6 of 26 [23.1%]), C. albicans (38 of 168 [22.6%]), and C. parapsilosis (14 of 64 [21.8%]). Multivariable analysis identified inadequate antifungal therapy (odds ratio [OR], 2.35; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.09 to 5.10; P = 0.03), infection with overall biofilm-forming Candida species (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.26 to 4.30; P = 0.007), and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III scores (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.15; P < 0.001) as independent predictors of mortality. Notably, if mortality was analyzed according to the different biofilm-forming Candida species studied, only infections caused by C. albicans (P < 0.001) and C. parapsilosis (P = 0.003) correlated with increased mortality. Together with well-established factors, Candida biofilm production was therefore shown to be associated with greater mortality of patients with candidemia, probably by preventing complete organism eradication from the blood. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

McDonough EA, Metzgar D, Hansen CJ, Myers CA, Russell KL
A cluster of Legionella-associated pneumonia cases in a population of military recruits.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2075-7.
A Legionella cluster was identified through retrospective PCR analysis of 240 throat swab samples from X-ray-confirmed pneumonia cases. These were identified among young and otherwise healthy U.S. military recruits during population-based surveillance for pneumonia pathogens. Results were confirmed by sequence analysis. Cases clustered tightly, suggesting a local environmental etiology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Diederen BM, Peeters MF
Are oropharyngeal swabs suitable as samples for Legionella-specific PCR testing?
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Oct;45(10):3482; author reply 3482-3. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brown AR, Govan JR
Assessment of fluorescent in situ hybridization and PCR-based methods for rapid identification of Burkholderia cepacia complex organisms directly from sputum samples.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1920-6.
Several species within the Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) have emerged as significant opportunistic pathogens of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). BCC infection is typically associated with a poor clinical prognosis and decreased survival. These factors, combined with the existence of highly transmissible epidemic strains, have resulted in strict segregation of BCC- and non-BCC-infected patients to minimize cross infection. Accurate and rapid diagnosis of infections is essential to enable appropriate patient management. However, the rapidly evolving taxonomy of BCC poses a considerable challenge to diagnostics. In the present study, we assessed a commercially available fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay (seaFAST Cystic Fibrosis I kit) and a novel rRNA gene-based PCR assay for the rapid identification of BCC-positive sputa, irrespective of the BCC species. We report that, while the FISH assay fails to identify all BCC species, it does identify the majority of species, including the two most clinically relevant species, B. multivorans and B. cenocepacia. The sensitivity of the assay applied to sputum was limited by nonspecific background fluorescence. While sputum processing was optimized to minimize background, the resulting sensitivity for BCC detection was 8 x 10(5) CFU/ml. In contrast, the novel PCR assay reported herein exhibits 100% sensitivity and specificity for all BCC species and can detect 10(4) CFU/ml when applied to sputum. This novel rRNA gene-based assay is currently the most sensitive BCC-specific PCR assay for the detection of BCC direct from clinical samples and as such is a valuable addition to the field of BCC diagnostics. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

dos Santos LF, Gonçalves EM, Vaz TM, Irino K, Guth BE
Distinct pathotypes of O113 Escherichia coli strains isolated from humans and animals in Brazil.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2028-30.
Two distinct diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes, enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, were observed in association with O113 strains isolated from human and nonhuman sources in Brazil, respectively. The O113 strains from human diarrhea belonged to a diversity of serotypes, and nine (53%) of them harbored virulence traits of typical EAEC. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Marín M, Muñoz P, Sánchez M, del Rosal M, Rodríguez-Créixems M, Bouza E
Tropheryma whipplei infective endocarditis as the only manifestation of Whipple's disease.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2078-81.
Here we describe a case of infective endocarditis caused by Tropheryma whipplei in a patient with no other symptoms of Whipple's disease. The case was diagnosed using broad-range PCR and confirmed by specific PCRs. We review the cases of infective endocarditis presenting as the only manifestation of Whipple's disease reported in the literature. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Persson S, Olsen KE, Ethelberg S, Scheutz F
Subtyping method for Escherichia coli shiga toxin (verocytotoxin) 2 variants and correlations to clinical manifestations.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2020-4.
Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) from Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) was subtyped by a method involving partial sequencing of the stxAB2 operon. Of 255 strains from the Danish STEC cohort, all 20 cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome were associated with subtype Stx2 (11 cases), subtype Stx2c (1 case), or the two combined (8 cases). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ooi MH, Solomon T, Podin Y, Mohan A, Akin W, Yusuf MA, del Sel S, Kontol KM, Lai BF, Clear D, Chieng CH, Blake E, Perera D, Wong SC, Cardosa J
Evaluation of different clinical sample types in diagnosis of human enterovirus 71-associated hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1858-66.
Human enterovirus 71 and coxsackievirus A16 are important causes of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). Like other enteroviruses, they can be isolated from a range of sterile and nonsterile sites, but which clinical sample, or combination of samples, is the most useful for laboratory diagnosis of HFMD is not clear. We attempted virus culture for 2,916 samples from 628 of 725 children with HFMD studied over a 3 1/2-year period, which included two large outbreaks. Overall, throat swabs were the single most useful specimen, being positive for any enterovirus for 288 (49%) of 592 patients with a full set of samples. Vesicle swabs were positive for 169 (48%) of 333 patients with vesicles, the yield being greater if two or more vesicles were swabbed. The combination of throat plus vesicle swabs enabled the identification of virus for 224 (67%) of the 333 patients with vesicles; for this patient group, just 27 (8%) extra patients were diagnosed when rectal and ulcer swabs were added. Of 259 patients without vesicles, use of the combination of throat plus rectal swab identified virus for 138 (53%). For 60 patients, virus was isolated from both vesicle and rectal swabs, but for 12 (20%) of these, the isolates differed. Such discordance occurred for just 11 (10%) of 112 patients with virus isolated from vesicle and throat swabs. During large HFMD outbreaks, we suggest collecting swabs from the throat plus one other site: vesicles, if these are present (at least two should be swabbed), or the rectum if there are no vesicles. Vesicle swabs give a high diagnostic yield, with the added advantage of being from a sterile site. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Iona E, Giannoni F, Brunori L, de Gennaro M, Mattei R, Fattorini L
Isolation of Nocardia asiatica from cutaneous ulcers of a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient in Italy.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2088-9.
A strain of Nocardia was isolated from cutaneous ulcers of a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient in Italy. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the isolate represented a strain of Nocardia asiatica. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was essential to guide the clinicians to successfully treat this infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tang YW, Kilic A, Yang Q, McAllister SK, Li H, Miller RS, McCormac M, Tracy KD, Stratton CW, Han J, Limbago B
StaphPlex system for rapid and simultaneous identification of antibiotic resistance determinants and Panton-Valentine leukocidin detection of staphylococci from positive blood cultures.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1867-73.
Phenotypic methods take several days for identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of staphylococcal isolates after gram-positive cocci in clusters (GPCC) are observed in positive blood cultures. We developed and validated a StaphPlex system that amplifies and detects 18 gene targets simultaneously in 1 reaction for species-level identification of staphylococci, detection of genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), and antimicrobial resistance determinants of staphylococci. The StaphPlex system was compared to phenotypic methods for organism identification and antimicrobial resistance detection for positive blood culture specimens in which GPCC were observed. Among a total of 360 GPCC specimens, 273 (75.8%), 37 (10.3%), 37 (10.3%), 1 (0.3%), 3 (0.8%), and 9 (2.5%) were identified by StaphPlex as coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), or mixed infections of CoNS and MRSA, CoNS and MSSA, or nonstaphylococci, respectively, with an overall accuracy of 91.7%. The 277 CoNS-containing specimens were further identified to the species level as containing 203 (73.3%) Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates, 10 (3.6%) Staphylococcus haemolyticus isolates, 27 (9.7%) Staphylococcus hominis isolates, 1 (0.4%) Staphylococcus lugdunensis isolate, and 36 (13.0%) other CoNS isolates, with an overall accuracy of 80.1% compared to an API STAPH test and CDC reference identification. Numerous very major errors were noticed when detection of aacA, ermA, ermC, tetM, and tetK was used to predict in vitro antimicrobial resistance, but relatively few major errors were observed when the absence of these genes was used to predict susceptibility. The StaphPlex system demonstrated 100% sensitivity and specificity, ranging from 95.5% to 100.0% when used for staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing and PVL detection. StaphPlex provides simultaneous staphylococcal identification and detection of PVL and antimicrobial resistance determinants within 5 h, significantly shortening the time needed for phenotypic identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen SY, Chang YC, Lee YS, Chao HC, Tsao KC, Lin TY, Ko TY, Tsai CN, Chiu CH
Molecular epidemiology and clinical manifestations of viral gastroenteritis in hospitalized pediatric patients in Northern Taiwan.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2054-7.
By reverse transcription-PCR or PCR, among 257 children with nonbacterial acute gastroenteritis (AGE), rotavirus, norovirus, astrovirus, enteric adenovirus, and multiple viruses were identified in 78 (30.4%), 21 (8.2%), 7 (2.7%), 51 (19.8%), and 53 (20.6%) patients, respectively. Higher disease severity was found for AGE caused by multiple viruses and by rotavirus alone. The majority of rotaviruses isolated from 2004 to 2006 belonged to genotypes G1 (20.4%), G2 (16.5%), G3 (27.2%), and G9 (21.4%). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Abed Y, Wolf D, Dagan R, Boivin G
Development of a serological assay based on a synthetic peptide selected from the VP0 capsid protein for detection of human parechoviruses.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2037-9.
A serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed using a synthetic peptide from the VP0 protein of human parechoviruses (HPeVs). Seroprevalence for HPeVs was 70% in children of < or = 5 years of age and 95% in adults. For children from whom serial sera were sampled, seropositivity increased from 22% to 88% between 2 and 24 months of age. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cruz AT, Cazacu AC, Allen CH
Pantoea agglomerans, a plant pathogen causing human disease.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1989-92.
We present 53 pediatric cases of Pantoea agglomerans infections cultured from normally sterile sites in patients seen at a children's hospital over 6 years. Isolates included 23 from the bloodstream, 14 from abscesses, 10 from joints/bones, 4 from the urinary tract, and 1 each from the peritoneum and the thorax. P. agglomerans was most associated with penetrating trauma by vegetative material and catheter-related bacteremia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Abdel-Rahman SM, Preuett B, Gaedigk A
Multilocus genotyping identifies infections by multiple strains of Trichophyton tonsurans.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1949-53.
Acquisition of multiple genetic strains of a single dermatophyte species should not be unexpected in areas of high endemicity, and yet multistrain infections are infrequently reported. This communication details mixed Trichophyton tonsurans infections and highlights the need to confirm the presence of multiple strains in a clinical single isolate by use of a multilocus approach. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brunel D, Jacques J, Motte J, Andréoletti L
Fatal echovirus 18 leukoencephalitis in a child.
J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):2068-71.
Rare cases of leukoencephalitis have been reported in infants with documented enterovirus (EV) central nervous system (CNS) infections. A case of fatal encephalitis with white matter lesions caused by echovirus 18 is described, and it highlights the role of EV CNS infection as a potential cause of leukoencephalitis in infants. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Journal of Immune Based Therapies and Vaccines

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Recent Articles in Journal of Virology

Gaudreault E, Fiola S, Olivier M, Gosselin J
Epstein-Barr virus induces MCP-1 secretion by human monocytes via TLR2.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8016-24.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a gammaherpesvirus infecting the majority of the human adult population in the world. TLR2, a member of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family, has been implicated in the immune responses to different viruses including members of the herpesvirus family, such as human cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus type 1, and varicella-zoster virus. In this report, we demonstrate that infectious and UV-inactivated EBV virions lead to the activation of NF-kappaB through TLR2 using HEK293 cells cotransfected with TLR2-expressing vector along with NF-kappaB-Luc reporter plasmid. NF-kappaB activation in HEK293-TLR2 cells (HEK293 cells transfected with TLR2) by EBV was not enhanced by the presence of CD14. The effect of EBV was abrogated by pretreating HEK293-TLR2 cells with blocking anti-TLR2 antibodies or by preincubating viral particles with neutralizing anti-EBV antibodies 72A1. In addition, EBV infection of primary human monocytes induced the release of MCP-1 (monocyte chemotactic protein 1), and the use of small interfering RNA targeting TLR2 significantly reduced such a chemokine response to EBV. Taken together, these results indicate that TLR2 may be an important pattern recognition receptor in the immune response directed against EBV infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ackermann A, Staeheli P, Schneider U
Adaptation of Borna disease virus to new host species attributed to altered regulation of viral polymerase activity.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7933-40.
Borna disease virus (BDV) can persistently infect the central nervous system of a broad range of mammalian species. Mice are resistant to infections with primary BDV isolates, but certain laboratory strains can be adapted to replicate in mice. We determined the molecular basis of adaptation by studying mutations acquired by a cDNA-derived BDV strain during one brain passage in rats and three passages in mice. The adapted virus propagated efficiently in mouse brains and induced neurological disease. Its genome contained seven point mutations, three of which caused amino acid changes in the L polymerase (L1116R and N1398D) and in the polymerase cofactor P (R66K). Recombinant BDV carrying these mutations either alone or in combination all showed enhanced multiplication speed in Vero cells, indicating improved intrinsic viral polymerase activity rather than adaptation to a mouse-specific factor. Mutations R66K and L1116R, but not N1398D, conferred replication competence of recombinant BDV in mice if introduced individually. Virus propagation in mouse brains was substantially enhanced if both L mutations were present simultaneously, but infection remained mostly nonsymptomatic. Only if all three amino acid substitutions were combined did BDV replicate vigorously and induce early disease in mice. Interestingly, the virulence-enhancing effect of the R66K mutation in P could be attributed to reduced negative regulation of polymerase activity by the viral X protein. Our data demonstrate that BDV replication competence in mice is mediated by the polymerase complex rather than the viral envelope and suggest that altered regulation of viral gene expression can favor adaptation to new host species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kwun HJ, da Silva SR, Shah IM, Blake N, Moore PS, Chang Y
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency-associated nuclear antigen 1 mimics Epstein-Barr virus EBNA1 immune evasion through central repeat domain effects on protein processing.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8225-35.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/human herpesvirus 8 [HHV8]) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/HHV4) are distantly related gammaherpesviruses causing tumors in humans. KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen 1 (LANA1) is functionally similar to the EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) protein expressed during viral latency, although they have no amino acid similarities. EBNA1 escapes cytotoxic lymphocyte (CTL) antigen processing by inhibiting its own proteosomal degradation and retarding its own synthesis to reduce defective ribosomal product processing. We show here that the LANA1 QED-rich central repeat (CR) region, particularly the CR2CR3 subdomain, also retards LANA1 synthesis and markedly enhances LANA1 stability in vitro and in vivo. LANA1 isoforms have half-lives greater than 24 h, and fusion of the LANA1 CR2CR3 domain to a destabilized heterologous protein markedly decreases protein turnover. Unlike EBNA1, the LANA1 CR2CR3 subdomain retards translation regardless of whether it is fused to the 5' or 3' end of a heterologous gene construct. Manipulation of sequence order, orientation, and composition of the CR2 and CR3 subdomains suggests that specific peptide sequences rather than RNA structures are responsible for synthesis retardation. Although mechanistic differences exist between LANA1 and EBNA1, the primary structures of both proteins have evolved to minimize provoking CTL immune responses. Simple strategies to eliminate these viral inhibitory regions may markedly improve vaccine effectiveness by maximizing CTL responses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Beer C, Pedersen L
Matrix fibronectin binds gammaretrovirus and assists in entry: new light on viral infections.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8247-57.
A major entry route for the gammaretrovirus amphotropic murine leukemia virus (A-MLV) into NIH 3T3 fibroblasts is via caveola-dependent endocytosis. However, during the infection time, few viral particles can be observed intracellularly. Analyzing the dynamics of the A-MLV infection process by using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, we show that the majority of viruses are extracellular and bound to the fibronectin matrix. Moreover, the amounts of bound virus and of fibronectin correlated. Using confocal microscopy, nanoparticles targeted to fibronectin by a III1C-fibronectin fragment or anti-fibronectin antibody were detected intracellularly in NIH 3T3 cells; unconjugated nanoparticles neither bound to cells nor were detectable intracellularly. Furthermore, A-MLV colocalized intracellularly with the fibronectin-targeted nanoparticles, suggesting that they were taken up by the same cellular pathway. Both A-MLV entry and fibronectin turnover depend on caveolar endocytosis, and we found that inhibiting viral binding to the extracellular NIH 3T3 fibronectin-matrix dramatically reduced A-MLV infection, indeed, showing an active role of fibronectin in infection. We suggest that binding to the cellular fibronectin matrix provides a new mechanism by which viruses can enter cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Opi S, Kao S, Goila-Gaur R, Khan MA, Miyagi E, Takeuchi H, Strebel K
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vif inhibits packaging and antiviral activity of a degradation-resistant APOBEC3G variant.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8236-46.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vif counteracts the antiviral activity of the human cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G (APO3G) by inhibiting its incorporation into virions. This has been attributed to the Vif-induced degradation of APO3G by cytoplasmic proteasomes. We recently demonstrated that although APO3G has a natural tendency to form RNA-dependent homo-multimers, multimerization was not essential for encapsidation into HIV-1 virions or antiviral activity. We now demonstrate that a multimerization-defective APO3G variant (APO3G C97A) is able to assemble into RNase-sensitive high-molecular-mass (HMM) complexes, suggesting that homo-multimerization of APO3G and assembly into HMM complexes are unrelated RNA-dependent processes. Interestingly, APO3G C97A was highly resistant to Vif-induced degradation even though the two proteins were found to interact in coimmunoprecipitation experiments and exhibited partial colocalization in transfected HeLa cells. Surprisingly, encapsidation and antiviral activity of APO3G C97A were both inhibited by Vif despite resistance to degradation. These results demonstrate that targeting of APO3G to proteasome degradation and interference with viral encapsidation are distinct functional properties of Vif. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Djavani MM, Crasta OR, Zapata JC, Fei Z, Folkerts O, Sobral B, Swindells M, Bryant J, Davis H, Pauza CD, Lukashevich IS, Hammamieh R, Jett M, Salvato MS
Early blood profiles of virus infection in a monkey model for Lassa fever.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7960-73.
Acute arenavirus disease in primates, like Lassa hemorrhagic fever in humans, begins with flu-like symptoms and leads to death approximately 2 weeks after infection. Our goal was to identify molecular changes in blood that are related to disease progression. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) infected intravenously with a lethal dose of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) provide a model for Lassa virus infection of humans. Blood samples taken before and during the course of infection were used to monitor gene expression changes that paralleled disease onset. Changes in blood showed major disruptions in eicosanoid, immune response, and hormone response pathways. Approximately 12% of host genes alter their expression after LCMV infection, and a subset of these genes can discriminate between virulent and non-virulent LCMV infection. Major transcription changes have been given preliminary confirmation by quantitative PCR and protein studies and will be valuable candidates for future validation as biomarkers for arenavirus disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Joo CH, Shin YC, Gack M, Wu L, Levy D, Jung JU
Inhibition of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7)-mediated interferon signal transduction by the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus viral IRF homolog vIRF3.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8282-92.
Upon viral infection, the major defense mounted by the host immune system is activation of the interferon (IFN)-mediated antiviral pathway that is mediated by IFN regulatory factors (IRFs). In order to complete their life cycle, viruses must modulate the host IFN-mediated immune response. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a human tumor-inducing herpesvirus, has developed a unique mechanism for antagonizing cellular IFN-mediated antiviral activity by incorporating viral homologs of the cellular IRFs, called vIRFs. Here, we report a novel immune evasion mechanism of KSHV vIRF3 to block cellular IRF7-mediated innate immunity in response to viral infection. KSHV vIRF3 specifically interacts with either the DNA binding domain or the central IRF association domain of IRF7, and this interaction leads to the inhibition of IRF7 DNA binding activity and, therefore, suppression of alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) production and IFN-mediated immunity. Remarkably, the central 40 amino acids of vIRF3, containing the double alpha helix motifs, are sufficient not only for binding to IRF7, but also for inhibiting IRF7 DNA binding activity. Consequently, the expression of the double alpha helix motif-containing peptide effectively suppresses IRF7-mediated IFN-alpha production. This demonstrates a remarkably efficient means of viral avoidance of host antiviral activity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gould PS, Easton AJ
Coupled translation of the second open reading frame of M2 mRNA is sequence dependent and differs significantly within the subfamily Pneumovirinae.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(16):8488-96.
Coupled translation, first described in the M2 gene of pneumovirus respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is an alternative mechanism of translational initiation in which the ribosomes which translate the first (M2-1) open reading frame (ORF) move a short distance upstream after termination and reinitiate translation from a second (M2-2) overlapping ORF. Here, we show that the same mechanism occurs in two closely related viruses, avian pneumovirus (APV) and pneumonia virus of mice (PVM), although with markedly different efficiencies. To identify the reasons for the variation in efficiency of coupled expression between RSV and APV, we used chimeric M2-1 genes containing different lengths of the M2-1 ORF from each virus. An essential component allowing coupled expression in the chimeras was a segment from the RSV M2-1 coding region containing a high degree of secondary structure. Additional sequences at the 5' end of the RSV M2-1 ORF also promoted coupled translation when the region with high levels of secondary structure was present. These data indicate that at least two distant parts of the mRNA transcript, together with a suitable overlapping region, are involved in the coupling process. Replacement of the last 102 nucleotides of the RSV M2-1 ORF with the equivalent APV sequence showed identical levels of coupled translation. Thus, the overlapping region can direct the ribosome back onto the start codon of the second ORF while the upstream coding sequence of the M2-1 ORF determines the levels of coupled expression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jolly C, Sattentau QJ
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 assembly, budding, and cell-cell spread in T cells take place in tetraspanin-enriched plasma membrane domains.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7873-84.
Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) egress from infected CD4+ T cells is thought to be via assembly and budding at the plasma membrane and may involve components of the T-cell secretory apparatus, including tetraspanins. However, many studies on HIV-1 assembly have examined the trafficking of viral proteins in isolation, and most have used immortalized epithelial, fibroblastic, or hematopoietic cell lines that may not necessarily reflect natural infection of susceptible T cells. Here we have used immunofluorescence and cryoimmunoelectron microscopy (CEM) to examine protein transport during HIV-1 assembly in productively infected Jurkat CD4+ T cells and primary CD4+ T cells. The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) and the core protein (Gag) colocalize strongly with CD63 and CD81 and less strongly with CD9, whereas no colocalization was seen between Env or Gag and the late endosome/lysosomal marker Lamp2. CEM revealed incorporation of CD63 and CD81 but not Lamp2 into virions budding at the plasma membrane, and this was supported by immunoprecipitation studies, confirming that HIV-1 egress in T cells is trafficked via tetraspanin-enriched membrane domains (TEMs) that are distinct from lysosomal compartments. CD63, CD81, and, to a lesser extent, CD9 were recruited to the virological synapse (VS), and antibodies against these tetraspanins reduced VS formation. We propose that HIV-1 promotes virus assembly and cell-cell transfer in T cells by targeting plasma membrane TEMs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lin TW, Lo CW, Lai SY, Fan RJ, Lo CJ, Chou YM, Thiruvengadam R, Wang AH, Wang MY
Chicken heat shock protein 90 is a component of the putative cellular receptor complex of infectious bursal disease virus.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(16):8730-41.
Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) causes a highly contagious disease in young chicks and leads to significant economic losses in the poultry industry. The capsid protein VP2 of IBDV plays an important role in virus binding and cell recognition. VP2 forms a subviral particle (SVP) with immunogenicity similar to that of the IBDV capsid. In the present study, we first showed that SVP could inhibit IBDV infection to an IBDV-susceptible cell line, DF-1 cells, in a dose-dependent manner. Second, the localizations of the SVP on the surface of DF-1 cells were confirmed by fluorescence microscopy, and the specific binding of the SVP to DF-1 cells occurred in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, the attachment of SVP to DF-1 cells was inhibited by an SVP-induced neutralizing monoclonal antibody against IBDV but not by denatured-VP2-induced polyclonal antibodies. Third, the cellular factors in DF-1 cells involved in the attachment of SVP were purified by affinity chromatography using SVP bound on the immobilized Ni(2+) ions. A dominant factor was identified as being chicken heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) (cHsp90) by mass spectrometry. Results of biotinylation experiments and indirect fluorescence assays indicated that cHsp90 is located on the surface of DF-1 cells. Virus overlay protein binding assays and far-Western assays also concluded that cHsp90 interacts with IBDV and SVP, respectively. Finally, both Hsp90 and anti-Hsp90 can inhibit the infection of DF-1 cells by IBDV. Taken together, for the first time, our results suggest that cHsp90 is part of the putative cellular receptor complex essential for IBDV entry into DF-1 cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aldaz-Carroll L, Xiao Y, Whitbeck JC, de Leon MP, Lou H, Kim M, Yu J, Reinherz EL, Isaacs SN, Eisenberg RJ, Cohen GH
Major neutralizing sites on vaccinia virus glycoprotein B5 are exposed differently on variola virus ortholog B6.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8131-9.
Immunization against smallpox (variola virus) with Dryvax, a live vaccinia virus (VV), was effective, but now safety is a major concern. To overcome this issue, subunit vaccines composed of VV envelope proteins from both forms of infectious virions, including the extracellular enveloped virion (EV) protein B5, are being developed. However, since B5 has 23 amino acid differences compared with its B6 variola virus homologue, B6 might be a better choice for such a strategy. Therefore, we compared the properties of both proteins using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to B5 that we had previously characterized and grouped according to structural and functional properties. The B6 gene was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the ectodomain was cloned and expressed in baculovirus as previously done with B5, allowing us to compare the antigenic properties of the proteins. Polyclonal antibodies to B5 or B6 cross-reacted with the heterologous protein, and 16 of 26 anti-B5 MAbs cross-reacted with B6. Importantly, 10 anti-B5 MAbs did not cross-react with B6. Of these, three have important anti-VV biologic properties, including their ability to neutralize EV infectivity and block comet formation. Here, we found that one of these three MAbs protected mice from a lethal VV challenge by passive immunization. Thus, epitopes that are present on B5 but not on B6 would generate an antibody response that would not recognize B6. Assuming that B6 contains similar variola virus-specific epitopes, our data suggest that a subunit vaccine using the variola virus homologues might exhibit improved protective efficacy against smallpox. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stoltz M, Ahlm C, Lundkvist A, Klingström J
Lambda interferon (IFN-lambda) in serum is decreased in hantavirus-infected patients, and in vitro-established infection is insensitive to treatment with all IFNs and inhibits IFN-gamma-induced nitric oxide production.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(16):8685-91.
Hantaviruses, causing hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), are known to be sensitive to nitric oxide (NO) and to pretreatment with type I and II interferons (alpha interferon [IFN-alpha]/IFN-beta and IFN-gamma, respectively). Elevated serum levels of NO and IFN-gamma have been observed in HFRS patients, but little is known regarding the systemic levels of other IFNs and the possible effects of hantaviruses on innate antiviral immune responses. In Puumala virus-infected HFRS patients (n = 18), we report that the levels of IFN-alpha and IFN-beta are similar, whereas the level of IFN-lambda (type III IFN) is significantly decreased, during acute (day of hospitalization) compared to the convalescent phase. The possible antiviral effects of IFN-lambda on the prototypic hantavirus Hantaan virus (HTNV) replication was then investigated. Pretreatment of A549 cells with IFN-lambda alone inhibited HTNV replication, and IFN-lambda combined with IFN-gamma induced additive antiviral effects. We then studied the effect of postinfection treatment with IFNs. Interestingly, an already-established HTNV infection was insensitive to subsequent IFN-alpha, -beta, -gamma, and -lambda stimulation, and HTNV-infected cells produced less NO compared to noninfected cells when stimulated with IFN-gamma and IL-1beta. Furthermore, less phosphorylated STAT1 after IFN treatment was observed in the nuclei of infected cells than in those of noninfected cells. The results suggest that hantavirus can interfere with the activation of antiviral innate immune responses in patients and inhibit the antiviral effects of all IFNs. We believe that future studies addressing the mechanisms by which hantaviruses interfere with the activation and shaping of immune responses may bring more knowledge regarding HFRS and HCPS pathogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stanton RJ, McSharry BP, Rickards CR, Wang EC, Tomasec P, Wilkinson GW
Cytomegalovirus destruction of focal adhesions revealed in a high-throughput Western blot analysis of cellular protein expression.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7860-72.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) systematically manages the expression of cellular functions, rather than exerting the global shutoff of host cell protein synthesis commonly observed with other herpesviruses during the lytic cycle. While microarray technology has provided remarkable insights into viral control of the cellular transcriptome, HCMV is known to encode multiple mechanisms for posttranscriptional and post-translation regulation of cellular gene expression. High-throughput Western blotting (BD Biosciences Powerblot technology) with 1,009 characterized antibodies was therefore used to analyze and compare the effects of infection with attenuated high-passage strain AD169 and virulent low-passage strain Toledo at 72 hpi across gels run in triplicate for each sample. Six hundred ninety-four proteins gave a positive signal in the screen, of which 68 from strain AD169 and 71 from strain Toledo were defined as being either positively or negatively regulated by infection with the highest level of confidence (BD parameters). In follow-up analyses, a subset of proteins was selected on the basis of the magnitude of the observed effect or their potential to contribute to defense against immune recognition. In analyses performed at 24, 72, and 144 hpi, connexin 43 was efficiently downregulated during HCMV infection, implying a breakdown of intercellular communication. Mitosis-associated protein Eg-5 was found to be differentially upregulated in the AD169 and Toledo strains of HCMV. Focal adhesions link the actin cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix and have key roles in initiating signaling pathways and substrate adhesion and regulating cell migration. HCMV suppressed expression of the focal-adhesion-associated proteins Hic-5, paxillin, and alpha-actinin. Focal adhesions were clearly disrupted in HCMV-infected fibroblasts, with their associated intracellular and extracellular proteins being dispersed. Powerblot shows potential for rapid screening of the cellular proteome during HCMV infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Agrawal L, Jin Q, Altenburg J, Meyer L, Tubiana R, Theodorou I, Alkhatib G
CCR5Delta32 protein expression and stability are critical for resistance to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in vivo.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8041-9.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of individuals carrying the two alleles of the CCR5Delta32 mutation (CCR5(-/-)) has rarely been reported, but how the virus overcomes the CCR5Delta32 protective effect in these cases has not been delineated. We have investigated this in 6 infected (HIV(+)) and 25 HIV(-) CCR5(-/-) individuals. CD4(+) T lymphocytes isolated from HIV(-) CCR5(-/-) peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) showed lower levels of CXCR4 expression that correlated with lower X4 Env-mediated fusion. Endogenous CCR5Delta32 protein was detected in all HIV(-) CCR5(-/-) PBMC samples (n = 25) but not in four of six unrelated HIV(+) CCR5(-/-) PBMC samples. Low levels were detected in another two HIV(+) CCR5(-/-) PBMC samples. The expression of adenovirus 5 (Ad5)-encoded CCR5Delta32 protein restored the protective effect in PBMCs from three HIV(+) CCR5(-/-) individuals but failed to restore the protective effect in PBMCs isolated from another three HIV(+) CCR5(-/-) individuals. In the latter samples, pulse-chase analyses demonstrated the disappearance of endogenous Ad5-encoded CCR5Delta32 protein and the accumulation of Ad5-encoded CCR5 during the chase periods. PBMCs isolated from CCR5(-/-) individuals showed resistance to primary X4 but were readily infected by a lab-adapted X4 strain. Low levels of Ad5-encoded CCR5Delta32 protein conferred resistance to primary X4 but not to lab-adapted X4 virus. These data provide strong support for the hypothesis that the CCR5Delta32 protein actively confers resistance to HIV-1 in vivo and suggest that the loss or reduction of CCR5Delta32 protein expression may account for HIV-1 infection of CCR5(-/-) individuals. The results also suggest that other cellular or virally induced factors may be involved in the stability of CCR5Delta32 protein. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kou YH, Chang MF, Wang YM, Hung TM, Chang SC
Differential requirements of NS4A for internal NS3 cleavage and polyprotein processing of hepatitis C virus.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7999-8008.
The NS3 protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) possesses protease activity responsible for the proteolytic cleavage of the viral polyprotein at the junctions of nonstructural proteins downstream of NS3. The NS3 protein was also found to be internally cleaved. In this study, we demonstrated that internal cleavages occurred on the NS3 protein of genotype 1b in the presence of NS4A, both in culture cells and with a mouse model system. No internal cleavage products were detected with the NS3 and NS4A proteins of genotype 2a. Three potential cleavage sites were detected in the NS3 protein (genotype 1b), with IPT(402)|S being the major one. The internal cleavage requires the polyprotein processing activity of NS3 protease, but when supplemented in trans, the internal cleavage efficiency is reduced. In addition, several mutations in NS4A disrupted the internal cleavage of NS3 but did not affect polyprotein processing, indicating that NS4A contributes differently to these two proteolytic activities. Furthermore, Ile-25, Val-26, and Ile-29 of the NS4A protein, important for the NS4A-dependent internal cleavages, were also shown to be critical for the transforming activity of NS3, but mutations at these critical residues resulted only in a slight increase of HCV replicating efficiency. The internal cleavage-associated enhancement of the transforming activity of NS3 was reduced when a T402A substitution at the major internal cleavage site was introduced. The multiple roles of NS4A in viral multiplication and pathogenesis make NS4A an ideal molecular target for HCV therapy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Snyder A, Bruun B, Browne HM, Johnson DC
A herpes simplex virus gD-YFP fusion glycoprotein is transported separately from viral capsids in neuronal axons.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8337-40.
Two models describing how alphaherpesviruses exit neurons differ with respect to whether nucleocapsids and envelope glycoproteins travel toward axon termini separately or as assembled enveloped virions. Recently, a pseudorabies virus glycoprotein D (gD)-green fluorescent protein fusion was found to colocalize with viral capsids, supporting anterograde transport of enveloped virions. Previous antibody staining experiments demonstrated that herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins and capsids are separately transported in axons. Here, we generated an HSV expressing a gD-yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fusion and found that gD-YFP and capsids were transported separately in neuronal axons. Anti-gD antibodies colocalized with gD-YFP, indicating that gD-YFP behaves like wild-type HSV gD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hoshino Y, Pesnicak L, Cohen JI, Straus SE
Rates of reactivation of latent herpes simplex virus from mouse trigeminal ganglia ex vivo correlate directly with viral load and inversely with number of infiltrating CD8+ T cells.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8157-64.
Herpes simplex viruses (HSV) reactivate at rates proportional to the viral loads in latently infected ganglia. However, these rates vary substantially among infected animals. We assessed whether the numbers of HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells infiltrating latently infected ganglia also affect reactivation rates and contribute to their variability. Following corneal infection of mice with HSV type 2 (HSV-2), we quantified the latent viral loads in dissociated trigeminal ganglia by real-time PCR, the numbers of infiltrating CD8(+) T cells by flow cytometry, and the rates of reactivation by the detection of cell-free virus released from ganglion cells cultured in 96-well plates. The reactivation rates correlated directly with the latent viral loads (P = 0.001) but did so more strongly (P = 10(-7)) when cultures were depleted of CD8(+) T cells. Reactivation rates were reduced in a dose-dependent fashion by adding back ganglion CD8(+) T cells to the cultures (P = 0.003). We related the latent viral loads, numbers of CD8(+) T cells, and reactivation rates by mathematical equations. The rates of reactivation predicted from latent viral loads and numbers of infiltrating CD8(+) T cells in dissociated ganglia correlated with the observed rates of reactivation (P = 0.04). The reactivation of HSV-2 from ganglia ex vivo is determined both by the latent viral load and the number of infiltrating CD8(+) T cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sun Y, Permar SR, Buzby AP, Letvin NL
Memory CD4+ T-lymphocyte loss and dysfunction during primary simian immunodeficiency virus infection.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8009-15.
It has long been appreciated that CD4+ T lymphocytes are dysfunctional in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected individuals, and it has recently been shown that HIV/SIV infections are associated with a dramatic early destruction of memory CD4+ T lymphocytes. However, the relative contributions of CD4+ T-lymphocyte dysfunction and loss to immune dysregulation during primary HIV/SIV infection have not been fully elucidated. In the current study, we evaluated CD4+ T lymphocytes and their functional repertoire during primary SIVmac251 infection in rhesus monkeys. We show that the extent of loss of memory CD4+ T lymphocytes and staphylococcal enterotoxin B-stimulated cytokine production by total CD4+ T lymphocytes during primary SIVmac251 infection is tightly linked in a cohort of six rhesus monkeys to set point plasma viral RNA levels, with greater loss and dysfunction being associated with higher steady-state viral replication. Moreover, in exploring the mechanism underlying this phenomenon, we demonstrate that the loss of functional CD4+ T lymphocytes during primary SIVmac251 infection is associated with both a selective depletion of memory CD4+ T cells and a loss of the functional capacity of the memory CD4+ T lymphocytes that escape viral destruction. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Castorena KM, Weeks SA, Stapleford KA, Cadwallader AM, Miller DJ
A functional heat shock protein 90 chaperone is essential for efficient flock house virus RNA polymerase synthesis in Drosophila cells.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(16):8412-20.
The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is involved in multiple cellular processes including protein maturation, complex assembly and disassembly, and intracellular transport. We have recently shown that a disruption of Hsp90 activity in cultured Drosophila melanogaster cells suppresses Flock House virus (FHV) replication and the accumulation of protein A, the FHV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In the present study, we investigated whether the defect in FHV RNA polymerase accumulation induced by Hsp90 suppression was secondary to an effect on protein A synthesis, degradation, or intracellular membrane association. Treatment with the Hsp90-specific inhibitor geldanamycin selectively reduced FHV RNA polymerase synthesis by 80% in Drosophila S2 cells stably transfected with an inducible protein A expression plasmid. The suppressive effect of geldanamycin on protein A synthesis was not attenuated by proteasome inhibition, nor was it sensitive to changes in either the mRNA untranslated regions or protein A intracellular membrane localization. Furthermore, geldanamycin did not promote premature protein A degradation, nor did it alter the extremely rapid kinetics of protein A membrane association. These results identify a novel role for Hsp90 in facilitating viral RNA polymerase synthesis in Drosophila cells and suggest that FHV subverts normal cellular pathways to assemble functional replication complexes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhou Z, Hamming OJ, Ank N, Paludan SR, Nielsen AL, Hartmann R
Type III interferon (IFN) induces a type I IFN-like response in a restricted subset of cells through signaling pathways involving both the Jak-STAT pathway and the mitogen-activated protein kinases.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7749-58.
Type III interferon (IFN) is a novel member of the interferon family. Type III IFN utilizes a receptor complex different from that of type I IFN, but both types of IFN induce STAT1, STAT2, and STAT3 activation. Here we describe a detailed comparison of signal transduction initiated by type I and type III IFN. Gene expression array analysis showed that IFN types I and III induced a similar subset of genes. In particular, no genes were induced uniquely by type III IFN. Next, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis to investigate the promoter activation by types I and III IFN. The ChIP assays demonstrated that stimulation of cells with both type I and type III IFN resulted in the recruitment of ISGF3 transcription factor components to the promoter region of responsive genes and in an increase of polymerase II loading and histone acetylation. Whereas IFN type I signaling was observed for a broad spectrum of cell lines, type III IFN signaling was more restricted. The lack of IFN type III signaling was correlated with a low expression of the IL28Ra component of the IFN type III receptor, and IL28Ra overexpression was sufficient to restore IFN type III signaling. We also tested the activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases by type III IFN and found that type III IFN relies strongly upon both p38 and JNK MAP kinases for gene induction. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Agosto MA, Middleton JK, Freimont EC, Yin J, Nibert ML
Thermolabilizing pseudoreversions in reovirus outer-capsid protein micro 1 rescue the entry defect conferred by a thermostabilizing mutation.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7400-9.
Heat-resistant mutants selected from infectious subvirion particles of mammalian reoviruses have determinative mutations in the major outer-capsid protein micro 1. Here we report the isolation and characterization of intragenic pseudoreversions of one such thermostabilizing mutation. From a plaque that had survived heat selection, a number of viruses with one shared mutation but different second-site mutations were isolated. The effect of the shared mutation alone or in combination with second-site mutations was examined using recoating genetics. The shared mutation, D371A, was found to confer (i) substantial thermostability, (ii) an infectivity defect that followed attachment but preceded viral protein synthesis, and (iii) resistance to micro 1 rearrangement in vitro, with an associated failure to lyse red blood cells. Three different second-site mutations were individually tested in combination with D371A and found to wholly or partially revert these phenotypes. Furthermore, when tested alone in recoated particles, each of these three second-site mutations conferred demonstrable thermolability. This and other evidence suggest that pseudoreversion of micro 1-based thermostabilization can occur by a general mechanism of micro 1-based thermolabilization, not requiring a specific compensatory mutation. The thermostabilizing mutation D371A as well as 9 of the 10 identified second-site mutations are located near contact regions between micro 1 trimers in the reovirus outer capsid. The availability of both thermostabilizing and thermolabilizing mutations in micro 1 should aid in defining the conformational rearrangements and mechanisms involved in membrane penetration during cell entry by this structurally complex nonenveloped animal virus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Crump CM, Yates C, Minson T
Herpes simplex virus type 1 cytoplasmic envelopment requires functional Vps4.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7380-7.
The assembly and egress of herpesviruses are complex processes that require the budding of viral nucleocapsids into the lumen of cytoplasmic compartments to form mature infectious virus. This envelopment stage shares many characteristics with the formation of luminal vesicles in multivesicular endosomes. Through expression of dominant-negative Vps4, an enzyme that is essential for the formation of luminal vesicles in multivesicular endosomes, we now show that Vps4 function is required for the cytoplasmic envelopment of herpes simplex virus type 1. This is the first example of a large enveloped DNA virus engaging the multivesicular endosome sorting machinery to enable infectious virus production. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Morello CS, Kelley LA, Munks MW, Hill AB, Spector DH
DNA immunization using highly conserved murine cytomegalovirus genes encoding homologs of human cytomegalovirus UL54 (DNA polymerase) and UL105 (helicase) elicits strong CD8 T-cell responses and is protective against systemic challenge.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7766-75.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) establishes a lifelong infection with the potential for reinfection or viral transmission even in the presence of strong and diverse CD8 T-lymphocyte responses. This suggests that the CMVs skew the host T-cell response in order to favor viral persistence. In this study, we hypothesized that the essential, nonstructural proteins that are highly conserved among the CMVs may represent a novel class of T-cell targets for vaccine-mediated protection due to their requirements for expression and sequence stability, but that the observed subdominance of these antigens in the CMV-infected host results from the virus limiting the T-cell responses to otherwise-protective specificities. We found that DNA immunization of mice with the murine CMV (MCMV) homologs of HCMV DNA polymerase (M54) or helicase (M105) was protective against virus replication in the spleen following systemic challenge, with the protection level elicited by the M54 DNA being comparable to that of DNA expressing the immunodominant IE1 (pp89). Intracellular gamma interferon staining of CD8 T cells from mice immunized with either the M54 or M105 DNAs showed strong primary responses that recalled rapidly after viral challenge. M54- and M105-specific CD8 T cells were detected after the primary MCMV infection, but their levels were not consistently above the background level. The conserved, essential proteins of the CMVs thus represent a novel class of CD8 T-cell targets that may contribute to a successful HCMV vaccine strategy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Richards KA, Chaves FA, Krafcik FR, Topham DJ, Lazarski CA, Sant AJ
Direct ex vivo analyses of HLA-DR1 transgenic mice reveal an exceptionally broad pattern of immunodominance in the primary HLA-DR1-restricted CD4 T-cell response to influenza virus hemagglutinin.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7608-19.
The recent threat of an avian influenza pandemic has generated significant interest in enhancing our understanding of the events that dictate protective immunity to influenza and in generating vaccines that can induce heterosubtypic immunity. Although antigen-specific CD4 T cells are known to play a key role in protective immunity to influenza through the provision of help to B cells and CD8 T cells, little is known about the specificity and diversity of CD4 T cells elicited after infection, particularly those elicited in humans. In this study, we used HLA-DR transgenic mice to directly and comprehensively identify the specificities of hemagglutinin (HA)-specific CD4 T cells restricted to a human class II molecule that were elicited following intranasal infection with a strain of influenza virus that has been endemic in U.S. human populations for the last decade. Our results reveal a surprising degree of diversity among influenza virus-specific CD4 T cells. As many as 30 different peptides, spanning the entire HA protein, were recognized by CD4 T cells, including epitopes genetically conserved among H1, H2, and H5 influenza A viruses. We also compared three widely used major histocompatibility class II algorithms to predict HLA-DR binding peptides and found these as yet inadequate for identifying influenza virus-derived epitopes. The results of these studies offer key insights into the spectrum of peptides recognized by HLA-DR-restricted CD4 T cells that may be the focus of immune responses to infection or to experimental or clinical vaccines in humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ou Y, Davis KA, Traina-Dorge V, Gray WL
Simian varicella virus expresses a latency-associated transcript that is antisense to open reading frame 61 (ICP0) mRNA in neural ganglia of latently infected monkeys.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8149-56.
Simian varicella virus (SVV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) are closely related alphaherpesviruses that cause varicella (chickenpox) in nonhuman primates and humans, respectively. After resolution of the primary disease, SVV and VZV establish latent infection of neural ganglia and may later reactivate to cause a secondary disease (herpes zoster). This study investigated SVV gene expression in neural ganglia derived from latently infected vervet monkeys. SVV transcripts were detected in neural ganglia, but not in liver or lung tissues, of latently infected animals. A transcript mapping to open reading frame (ORF) 61 (herpes simplex virus type 1 [HSV-1] ICP0 homolog) was consistently detected in latently infected trigeminal, cervical, and lumbar ganglia by reverse transcriptase PCR. Further analysis confirmed that this SVV latency-associated transcript (LAT) was oriented antisense to the gene 61 mRNA. SVV ORF 21 transcripts were also detected in 42% of neural ganglia during latency. In contrast, SVV ORF 28, 29, 31, 62, and 63 transcripts were not detected in ganglia, liver, or lung tissues of latently infected animals. The results demonstrate that viral gene expression is limited during SVV latency and that a LAT antisense to an ICP0 homolog is expressed. In this regard, SVV gene expression during latency is similar to that of HSV-1 and other neurotropic animal alphaherpesviruses but differs from that reported for VZV. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Finzi A, Orthwein A, Mercier J, Cohen EA
Productive human immunodeficiency virus type 1 assembly takes place at the plasma membrane.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7476-90.
Gag proteins are necessary and sufficient to direct human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) particle assembly and budding. Recent evidence suggests that Gag targeting to late endosomal/multivesicular body (LE/MVB) compartments occurs prior to viral particle budding at the plasma membrane (PM). However, the route that Gag follows before reaching its steady-state destinations still remains a subject of debate. Using a subcellular fractionation method that separates PM from LE/MVB combined with pulse-chase labeling, we analyzed Gag trafficking in HIV-1-producing HEK 293T cells. Our results reveal that the majority of newly synthesized Gag is primarily targeted to the PM. While PM-targeted Gag was efficiently released, a significant fraction of the remaining cell surface-associated Gag was found to be subsequently internalized to LE/MVB, where it accumulated, thus accounting for the majority of LE/MVB-associated Gag. Importantly, this accumulation of Gag in LE/MVB was found to be cholesterol dependent since it was sensitive to the sterol-binding drugs filipin and methyl-beta-cyclodextrin. These results point towards the PM as being the primary site of productive HIV-1 assembly in cells that also support Gag accumulation in intracellular compartments. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Apetrei C, Gautam R, Sumpter B, Carter AC, Gaufin T, Staprans SI, Else J, Barnes M, Cao R, Garg S, Milush JM, Sodora DL, Pandrea I, Silvestri G
Virus subtype-specific features of natural simian immunodeficiency virus SIVsmm infection in sooty mangabeys.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):7913-23.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) SIV(smm) naturally infects sooty mangabeys (SMs) and is the source virus of pathogenic infections with human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and SIV(mac) of humans and macaques, respectively. In previous studies we characterized SIV(smm) diversity in naturally SIV-infected SMs and identified nine different phylogenetic subtypes whose genetic distances are similar to those reported for the different HIV-1 group M subtypes. Here we report that, within the colony of SMs housed at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, at least four SIV(smm) subtypes cocirculate, with the vast majority of animals infected with SIV(smm) subtype 1, 2, or 3, resulting in the emergence of occasional recombinant forms. While SIV(smm)-infected SMs show a typically nonpathogenic course of infection, we have observed that different SIV(smm) subtypes are in fact associated with specific immunologic features. Notably, while subtypes 1, 2, and 3 are associated with a very benign course of infection and preservation of normal CD4+ T-cell counts, three out of four SMs infected with subtype 5 show a significant depletion of CD4+ T cells. The fact that virus replication in SMs infected with subtype 5 is similar to that in SMs infected with other SIV(smm) subtypes suggests that the subtype 5-associated CD4+ T-cell depletion is unlikely to simply reflect higher levels of virus-mediated direct killing of CD4+ T-cells. Taken together, this systematic analysis of the subtype-specific features of SIV(smm) infection in natural SM hosts identifies subtype-specific differences in the pathogenicity of SIV(smm) infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ehlers B, Küchler J, Yasmum N, Dural G, Voigt S, Schmidt-Chanasit J, Jäkel T, Matuschka FR, Richter D, Essbauer S, Hughes DJ, Summers C, Bennett M, Stewart JP, Ulrich RG
Identification of novel rodent herpesviruses, including the first gammaherpesvirus of Mus musculus.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8091-100.
Rodent herpesviruses such as murine cytomegalovirus (host, Mus musculus), rat cytomegalovirus (host, Rattus norvegicus), and murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (hosts, Apodemus species) are important tools for the experimental study of human herpesvirus diseases. However, alphaherpesviruses, roseoloviruses, and lymphocryptoviruses, as well as rhadinoviruses, that naturally infect Mus musculus (house mouse) and other Old World mice are unknown. To identify hitherto-unknown rodent-associated herpesviruses, we captured M. musculus, R. norvegicus, and 14 other rodent species in several locations in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Thailand. Samples of trigeminal ganglia, dorsal root ganglia, brains, spleens, and other organs, as well as blood, were analyzed with a degenerate panherpesvirus PCR targeting the DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene. Herpesvirus-positive samples were subjected to a second degenerate PCR targeting the glycoprotein B (gB) gene. The sequences located between the partial DPOL and gB sequences were amplified by long-distance PCR and sequenced, resulting in a contiguous sequence of approximately 3.5 kbp. By DPOL PCR, we detected 17 novel betaherpesviruses and 21 novel gammaherpesviruses but no alphaherpesvirus. Of these 38 novel herpesviruses, 14 were successfully analyzed by the complete bigenic approach. Most importantly, the first gammaherpesvirus of Mus musculus was discovered (Mus musculus rhadinovirus 1 [MmusRHV1]). This virus is a member of a novel group of rodent gammaherpesviruses, which is clearly distinct from murine herpesvirus 68-like rodent gammaherpesviruses. Multigenic phylogenetic analysis, using an 8-kbp locus, revealed that MmusRHV1 diverged from the other gammaherpesviruses soon after the evolutionary separation of Epstein-Barr virus-like lymphocryptoviruses from human herpesvirus 8-like rhadinoviruses and alcelaphine herpesvirus 1-like macaviruses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pastore C, Nedellec R, Ramos A, Hartley O, Miamidian JL, Reeves JD, Mosier DE
Conserved changes in envelope function during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 coreceptor switching.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8165-79.
We studied the evolution of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope function during the process of coreceptor switching from CCR5 to CXCR4. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to introduce most of the possible intermediate mutations in the envelope for four distinct coreceptor switch mutants, each with a unique pattern of CCR5 and CXCR4 utilization that extended from highly efficient use of both coreceptors to sole use of CXCR4. Mutated envelopes with some preservation of entry function on either CCR5- or CXCR4-expressing target cells were further characterized for their sensitivity to CCR5 or CXCR4 inhibitors, soluble CD4, and the neutralizing antibodies b12-IgG and 4E10. A subset of mutated envelopes was also studied in direct CD4 or CCR5 binding assays and in envelope-mediated fusion reactions. Coreceptor switch intermediates displayed increased sensitivity to CCR5 inhibitors (except for a few envelopes with mutations in V2 or C2) that correlated with a loss in CCR5 binding. As use of CXCR4 improved, infection mediated by the mutated envelopes became more resistant to soluble CD4 inhibition and direct binding to CD4 increased. These changes were accompanied by increasing resistance to the CXCR4 inhibitor AMD3100. Sensitivity to neutralizing antibody was more variable, although infection of CXCR4-expressing targets was generally more sensitive to neutralization by both b12-IgG and 4E10 than infection of CCR5-expressing target cells. These changes in envelope function were uniform in all four series of envelope mutations and thus were independent of the final use of CCR5 and CXCR4. Decreased CCR5 and increased CD4 binding appear to be common features of coreceptor switch intermediates. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Duan L, Campitelli L, Fan XH, Leung YH, Vijaykrishna D, Zhang JX, Donatelli I, Delogu M, Li KS, Foni E, Chiapponi C, Wu WL, Kai H, Webster RG, Shortridge KF, Peiris JS, Smith GJ, Chen H, Guan Y
Characterization of low-pathogenic H5 subtype influenza viruses from Eurasia: implications for the origin of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses.
J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(14):7529-39.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are now endemic in many Asian countries, resulting in repeated outbreaks in poultry and increased cases of human infection. The immediate precursor of these HPAI viruses is believed to be A/goose/Guangdong/1/96 (Gs/GD)-like H5N1 HPAI viruses first detected in Guangdong, China, in 1996. From 2000 onwards, many novel reassortant H5N1 influenza viruses or genotypes have emerged in southern China. However, precursors of the Gs/GD-like viruses and their subsequent reassortants have not been fully determined. Here we characterize low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H5 subtype viruses isolated from poultry and migratory birds in southern China and Europe from the 1970s to the 2000s. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that Gs/GD-like virus was likely derived from an LPAI H5 virus in migratory birds. However, its variants arose from multiple reassortments between Gs/GD-like virus and viruses from migratory birds or with those Eurasian viruses isolated in the 1970s. It is of note that unlike HPAI H5N1 viruses, those recent LPAI H5 viruses have not become established in aquatic or terrestrial poultry. Phylogenetic analyses revealed the dynamic nature of the influenza virus gene pool in Eurasia with repeated transmissions between the eastern and western extremities of the continent. The data also show reassortment between influenza viruses from domestic and migratory birds in this region that has contributed to the expanded diversity of the influenza virus gene pool among poultry in Eurasia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Waris G, Felmlee DJ, Negro F, Siddiqui A
Hepatitis C virus induces proteolytic cleavage of sterol regulatory element binding proteins and stimulates their phosphorylation via oxidative stress.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8122-30.
Hepatic steatosis is a common histological feature of chronic hepatitis C. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) gene expression has been shown to alter host cell cholesterol/lipid metabolism and thus induce hepatic steatosis. Since sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) are major regulators of lipid metabolism, we sought to determine whether genotype 2a-based HCV infection induces the expression and posttranslational activation of SREBPs. HCV infection stimulates the expression of genes related to lipogenesis. HCV induces the proteolytic cleavage of SREBPs. HCV core and NS4b derived from genotype 3a are also individually capable of inducing the proteolytic processing of SREBPs. Further, we demonstrate that HCV stimulates the phosphorylation of SREBPs. Our studies show that HCV-induced oxidative stress and subsequent activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)-Akt pathway and inactivation (phosphorylation) of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue) mediate the transactivation of SREBPs. HCV-induced SREBP-1 and -2 activities were sensitive to antioxidant (pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate), Ca(2+) chelator 1,2-bis(aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid-tetra(acetoxymethyl) ester (BAPTA-AM), and PI3-K inhibitor (LY294002). Collectively, these studies provide insight into the mechanisms of hepatic steatosis associated with HCV infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Catanese MT, Graziani R, von Hahn T, Moreau M, Huby T, Paonessa G, Santini C, Luzzago A, Rice CM, Cortese R, Vitelli A, Nicosia A
High-avidity monoclonal antibodies against the human scavenger class B type I receptor efficiently block hepatitis C virus infection in the presence of high-density lipoprotein.
J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(15):8063-71.
The human scavenger class B type 1 receptor (SR-B1/Cla1) was identified as a putative receptor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) because it binds to soluble recombinant HCV envelope glycoprotein E2 (sE2). High-density lipoprotein (HDL), a natural SR-B1 ligand, was shown to increase the in vitro infectivity of retroviral pseudoparticles bearing HCV envelope glycoproteins and of cell culture-derived HCV (HCVcc), suggesting that SR-B1 promotes viral entry in an HDL-dependent manner. To determine whether SR-B1 participates directly in HCV infection or facilitates HCV entry through lipoprotein uptake, we generated a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against native human SR-B1. Two of them, 3D5 and C167, bound to conformation-dependent SR-B1 determinants and inhibited the interaction of sE2 with SR-B1. These antibodies efficiently blocked HCVcc infection of Huh-7.5 hepatoma cells in a dose-dependent manner. To examine the role of HDL in SR-B1-mediated HCVcc infection, we set up conditions for HCVcc production and infection in serum-free medium. HCVcc efficiently infected Huh-7.5 cells in the absence of serum lipoproteins, and addition of HDL led to a twofold increase in infectivity. However, the HDL-induced enhancement of infection had no impact on the neutralization potency of MAb C167, despite its ability to inhibit both HDL binding to cells and SR-B1-mediated lipid transfer. Of note, MAb C167 also potently blocked Huh-7.5 infection by an HCV strain recovered from HCVcc-infected chimpanzees. These results demonstrate that SR-B1 is essential for infection with HCV produced in vitro and in vivo and suggest the possible use of anti-SR-B1 antibodies as therapeutic agents. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Medical Immunology

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Recent Articles in Microbiology and Immunology

Chen YL, Chen YS, Lin HH, Chan CW, Chen SC, Chen CH
Immunostimulatory flagellin from Burkholderia pseudomallei effects on an increase in the intracellular calcium concentration and up-regulation of TNF-alpha by mononuclear cells.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):81-6.
Using flow cytometry analysis, the flagellin of Burkholderia pseudomallei acts as a signalling inducer, and evokes an increase in the intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The cells with increased [Ca(2+)]i segregate into the live monocyte gate and not into the live lymphocyte gates. The stimulated [Ca(2+)]i increase can be neutralized with anti-flagellin antibodies. In the absence of [Ca(2+)], [Ca(2+)]i was increased rapidly in flagellin-treated cells compared to non-flagellin-treated cells only after the addition of 1 mM CaCl(2). Selective calcium antagonists were used to effectively block the [Ca(2+)]i signal, revealing that this signal was decreased by the addition of L-type calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, nifedipine and verapamil) and La(2+) but was not changed by the addition of a T-type calcium channel blocker (flunarizine). It seemed that flagellin facilitates [Ca(2+)]i influx via a La(2+) sensitive L-type cellular membrane channel. Furthermore, flagellin also acts as a TNF-alpha inducer in a time- and concentration-dependent manner when adhered mononuclear cells are treated with flagellin. This ability to induce TNF-alpha production was affected by the presence of [Ca(2+)] in the culture medium. It suggested that B. pseudomallei flagellin is an immuno-stimulatory molecule, causing an increase in [Ca(2+)]i and an up-regulation of TNF-alpha, which may play an important role in the inflammation process. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Costa DL, Dias-Melicio LA, Acorci MJ, Bordon AP, Tavian EG, Peraçoli MT, Soares AM
Effect of interleukin-10 on the Paracoccidioides brasiliensis killing by gamma-interferon activated human neutrophils.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):73-80.
Paracoccidioidomycosis, a deep mycosis endemic in Latin America, is a chronic granulomatous disease caused by the fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Phagocytic cells play a critical role against this fungus, and several studies have shown the effects of activator and suppressive cytokines on macrophage and monocyte functions. However, studies on polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), that are the first cells recruited to the infection sites, are scarcer. Thus, the objective of this paper was to assess whether interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine, is able to block the activity of IFN-gamma-activated human PMNs upon P. brasiliensis intracellular killing, in vitro. The results showed that IFN-gamma-activated PMNs have an effective fungicidal activity against the fungus. This activity was associated with the release of high levels of H(2)O(2), the metabolite involved in phagocytic cells antifungal activities. However, the concomitant incubation of these cells with IFN-gamma and IL-10 significantly blocked IFN-gamma activation. As a consequence, PMNs killing activity and H(2)O(2) release were inhibited. Together, our results show the importance of PMNs exposure to activator or suppressor cytokines in the early stages of paracoccidioidomycosis infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shinji H, Kamada M, Seki K, Tajima A, Iwase T, Masuda S
Expression and distribution of very late antigen-5 in mouse peritoneal macrophages upon ingestion of fibronectin-bound Staphylococcus aureus.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):63-71.
Many pathogens colonize host tissues by binding to the extracellular matrix via their cell surface adhesion molecules, which are called MSCRAMMs (microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules). Staphylococcus aureus expresses several of these adhesion molecules, some of which bind to fibronectin. Of these adhesion molecules, fibronectin-binding proteins play a role in the pathogenicity of S. aureus, although it is not yet clear whether they enhance its virulence. We have previously shown that fibronectin-bound S. aureus is efficiently phagocytosed by thioglycolate-induced mouse peritoneal macrophages. Bacterial ingestion is mediated by Very Late Antigen-5 (VLA-5; alpha5beta1 integrin) and is accompanied by the formation of adhesion complexes. Here we show that the expression of VLA-5 is restricted to thioglycolate-induced inflammatory macrophages and is not found in the resident macrophages. When cells were in suspension, alpha5 integrin was not expressed on the surface of either resident or inflammatory macrophages, whereas in adherent cells, this integrin was distributed on the surface of inflammatory but not resident macrophages. A high level of this integrin was present in the cytoplasmic region only in inflammatory macrophages. In agreement with this, fibronectin-mediated phagocytosis of S. aureus was observed only in the inflammatory macrophages. In inflammatory macrophages ingesting fibronectin-bound S. aureus, alpha5 integrin was concentrated close to the phagocytosed bacteria. This change in distribution was not found in macrophages ingesting untreated bacteria. Together with our previous work, these results indicate that, upon ingestion of fibronectin-bound S. aureus, VLA-5 accumulates in the area of phagocytosis in inflammatory macrophages, where it forms adhesion complexes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kashiwagi Y, Kawashima H, Sato S, Ioi H, Amaha M, Takekuma K, Hoshika A, Oshiro H, Matsubayashi J, Mukai K
Virological and immunological characteristics of fatal virus-associated haemophagocytic syndrome (VAHS).
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):53-62.
We report three infants and one teenager with fatal virus-associated haemophagocytic syndrome (VAHS). Two infants were admitted to our hospital because of cardio-pulmonary arrest (CPA). The third infant was admitted to our department because of fever and liver dysfunction, and he was diagnosed as combined immunodeficiency with predominant T cell defect. The teenager was diagnosed as systemic lupus erythema (SLE) when she was 10 years old and admitted to our department because of fever and thrombocytopenia . The histological findings for the four patients' organs revealed many haemophagocytic cells . The patients were infected by Parainfluenza virus type 2 (PIV2), Enterovirus (EV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), respectively. Their laboratory data revealed elevated levels of ferritin and IL-6, which also suggested virus-associated haemophagocytic syndrome (VAHS). Although aggressive therapies were performed in all cases, the outcome was fatal. Further investigation would be needed to clarify the mechanism of VAHS and an effective therapeutic regimen is needed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yoshihara E, Eda S
Diversity in the oligomeric channel structure of the multidrug efflux pumps in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):47-52.
MexAB-OprM, the multidrug efflux pump of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, contributes to the high resistance of this organism to a wide variety of antibiotics. To investigate the structure and function of OprM, the outer membrane channel of MexAB-OprM, we examined the oligomeric states of OprM and its homologues OprJ and OprN. These proteins were treated with crosslinking reagent after their reconstitution into liposome membranes. The crosslinked products indicated that OprM and OprN formed trimers, while OprJ unexpectedly appeared to form a tetramer. In order to test whether differences in oligomeric structure might be intimately related to channel function, we examined the channel-forming activity of these proteins by liposome swelling assay. However, no significant differences in channel characteristics were detected among OprM, OprJ, and OprN. We proposed the probable explanation for the diversity in the oligomeric structure of the channel proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matsumoto M, Kakizoe K, Benno Y
Comparison of fecal microbiota and polyamine concentration in adult patients with intractable atopic dermatitis and healthy adults.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):37-46.
Fecal microbiota and polyamine concentration obtained from eleven intractable adult-type atopic dermatitis (AD) patients and thirteen healthy adults were compared. Fecal microbiota were analyzed using terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. The fecal microbiota of volunteers were divided into two clusters, A (n=16) and B (n=8), and the number of AD patients was found to be higher in Cluster B than Cluster A, suggesting that there are relationships between the obstinacy of intractable adult-type AD and intestinal microbiota in Cluster B. Fecal spermidine concentration in Cluster B were lower than that in Cluster A significantly (P<0.05). Fecal putrescine concentration in Cluster B also tended to be lower than that in Cluster A. Terminal-restriction fragment (T-RF) of 122 bp generated by digestion with Hha I, which were predicted as unknown bacteria, were detected characteristically in Cluster A. In contrast, T-RFs of 368/9 bp generated by digestion with Hha I, which were predicted as Enterobacteriaceae, were detected characteristically in Cluster B. These bacteria are closely associated with intestinal polyamine concentration. These findings raise the possibility that a low concentration of intestinal polyamines produced by intestinal microbiota is one of the important factors in the onset of intractable adult-type AD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matsumoto M, Benno Y
The relationship between microbiota and polyamine concentration in the human intestine: a pilot study.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):25-35.
The fecal microbiota of 10 hospitalized elderly subjects and 14 healthy adults were analyzed by terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis using Hha I, Msp I, Hae III, and Alu I, as well as fecal polyamine (PA) concentration. The T-RFLP profiles of the fecal microbiota of the subjects were roughly divided into 2 clusters-I (9 out of 11 were derived from hospitalized elderly subjects) and II (12 out of 13 were derived from healthy adults). The average concentration of putrescine in Cluster II was 5.8 times higher than that of putrescine in Cluster I (P=0.0015). Using a phylogenetic assignment database for T-RFLP analysis of human colonic microbiota, the terminal-restriction fragments (T-RFs) characteristically detected in the case of subjects with high fecal PA concentration were predicted to be derived from bacterial species and phylotypes belonging to Clostridium subcluster XIVa, particularly including Clostridium xylanolyticum, Clostridium saccharolyticum, the uncultured human intestinal bacterium clone JW1H4 (a relative of Desulfotomaculum guttoideum), Roseburia intestinalis, the uncultured bacterium clone 41F10 (a relative of Eubacterium ramulus), Roseburia cecicola, Ruminococcus obeum and its relatives. From these results, we concluded that fecal microbiota may be linked with fecal PA concentration and that some bacterial species belonging to Clostridium subcluster XIVa may play a major role in the control of intestinal PA concentration in humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Saito-Ito A, Kasahara M, Kasai M, Dantrakool A, Kawai A, Fujita H, Yano Y, Kawabata H, Takada N
Survey of Babesia microti infection in field rodents in Japan: records of the Kobe-type in new foci and findings of a new type related to the Otsu-type.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):15-24.
Of 247 rodents comprising 5 genera and 7 species collected at 17 sites throughout Japan from 2003 to 2005, Babesia microti was detected microscopically and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 36 rodents comprising 2 genera and 3 species from 12 sites. Based on the analysis of small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSUrDNA) sequences, the Kobe-type, the etiological type of the first Japanese case of human infection was found in Apodemus speciosus and Apodemus argenteus in Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of the Japanese mainland, while the U.S.-type was found on Hokkaido Island and the Otsu-type was widely distributed. In addition, a new Otsu-related type was detected exclusively in Eothenomys andersoni in Nagano, a prefecture in central Japan. The sequences of internal transcribed spacer 1 to 2 (ITS1/2) of the present Kobe- and Otsu-types were almost identical to those of the same types previously identified. The ITS1/2 sequence of the U.S.-type identified in Hokkaido in this survey was somewhat different from that of the U.S.-type strain originating from the U.S.A., with approximately 95% identity. This value was similar to the 94% identity found between the ITS1/2 sequences of the Otsu-type and the new Otsu-related type. The new Otsu-related type of B. microti was isolated as the Nagano strain, which was serologically differentiated from the other type strains of B. microti. The divergence and distribution of genotypes are important factors in investigating the epidemiology of human B. microti infection in Japan. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sakudo A, Onodera T, Ikuta K
Prion protein gene-deficient cell lines: powerful tools for prion biology.
Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):1-13.
Prion diseases are zoonotic infectious diseases commonly transmissible among animals via prion infections with an accompanying deficiency of cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) and accumulation of an abnormal isoform of prion protein (PrP(Sc)), which are observed in neurons in the event of injury and disease. To understand the role of PrP(C) in the neuron in health and diseases, we have established an immortalized neuronal cell line HpL3-4 from primary hippocampal cells of prion protein (PrP) gene-deficient mice by using a retroviral vector encoding Simian Virus 40 Large T antigen (SV40 LTag). The HpL3-4 cells exhibit cell-type-specific proteins for the neuronal precursor lineage. Recently, this group and other groups have established PrP-deficient cell lines from many kinds of cell types including glia, fibroblasts and neuronal cells, which will have a broad range of applications in prion biology. In this review, we focus on recently obtained information about PrP functions and possible studies on prion infections using the PrPdeficient cell lines. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Keshi H, Sakamoto T, Kawai T, Ohtani K, Katoh T, Jang SJ, Motomura W, Yoshizaki T, Fukuda M, Koyama S, Fukuzawa J, Fukuoh A, Yoshida I, Suzuki Y, Wakamiya N
Identification and characterization of a novel human collectin CL-K1.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):1001-13.
Collectins are a family of C-type lectins with two characteristic structures, collagen like domains and carbohydrate recognition domains. They recognize carbohydrate antigens on microorganisms and act as host-defense. Here we report the cloning and characterization of a novel collectin CL-K1. RT-PCR analyses showed CL-K1 mRNA is present in all organs. The deduced amino acid sequence and the data from immunostaining of CL-K1 cDNA expressing CHO cells revealed that CL-K1 is expressed as a secreted protein. CL-K1 is found in blood by immunoblotting and partial amino acid analyses. CL-K1 showed Ca(2+)-dependent sugar binding activity of fucose and weakly mannose but not N-acetyl-galactosamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, or maltose, though mannose-binding lectin (MBL) containing similar amino acid motif. CL-K1 can recognize specially several bacterial saccharides due to specific sugar-binding character. Elucidation of the role of two ancestor collectins of CL-K1 and CL-L1 could lead to see the biological function of collectin family. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Okamura T, Someya K, Matsuo K, Hasegawa A, Yamamoto N, Honda M
Recombinant vaccinia DIs expressing simian immunodeficiency virus gag and pol in mammalian cells induces efficient cellular immunity as a safe immunodeficiency virus vaccine candidate.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):989-1000.
A highly attenuated vaccinia virus substrain of Dairen-I (DIs) shows promise as a candidate vector for eliciting positive immunity against immune deficiency virus. DIs was randomly obtained by serial 1-day egg passages of a chorioarantoic membrane-adapted Dairen strain (DIE), resulting in substantial genomic deletion, including various genes regulating the virus-host-range. To investigate the impact of that deletion and of the subsequent insertion of a foreign gene into that region of DIs on the ability of the DIs recombinant to induce antigen-specific immunity, we generated a recombinant vaccinia DIs expressing fulllength gag and pol genes of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) (rDIsSIV gag/pol) and studied the biological and immunological characteristics of the recombinant natural mutant. The rDIsSIV gag/pol developed a tiny plaque on the chick embryo fibroblast (CEF). Viral particles of rDIsSIV gag/pol as well as SIV Gag-like particles were electromicroscopically detected in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, the recombinant DIs strain grows well in CEF cells but not in mammalian cells. While rDIsSIV gag/pol produces SIV proteins in mammalian HeLa and CV-1 cells, recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara strain (MVA) expressing SIV gag and pol genes (MVA/SIV239 gag/pol) clearly replicates in HeLa and CV-1 cell lines under synchronized growth conditions and produces the SIV protein in all cell lines. Moreover, intradermal administration of rDIsSIV gag/pol or of MVA/SIV239 gag/pol elicited similar levels of IFN-gamma spot-forming cells specific for SIV Gag. If the non-productive infection characteristically induced by recombinant DIs is sufficient to trigger immune induction, as we believe it is, then a human immunodeficiency virus vaccine employing the DIs recombinant would have the twin advantages of being both effective and safe. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nagafuchi S, Katsuta H, Koyanagi-Katsuta R, Yamasaki S, Inoue Y, Shimoda K, Ikeda Y, Shindo M, Yoshida E, Matsuo T, Ohno Y, Kogawa K, Anzai K, Kurisaki H, Kudoh J, Harada M, Shimizu N
Autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene is expressed in human activated CD4+ T-cells and regulated by mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):979-87.
The autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene is a gene responsible for autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy. Here we show that AIRE is expressed in human peripheral CD4-positive T-cells, and most highly in antigen-and interleukin 2-stimulated T (IL-2T) cells. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including MAPK kinase (MEK) 1/2 and p38 MAPK, were phosphorylated in IL-2T cells and the expression of the AIRE gene was inhibited by a specific p38 MAPK inhibitor (SB203580), thereby indicating that AIRE gene expression is controlled by the MAPK pathway in IL-2T cells. These data suggested the possible significance of the AIRE gene in the peripheral immune system. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shimizu K, Ito N, Sugiyama M, Minamoto N
Sensitivity of rabies virus to type I interferon is determined by the phosphoprotein gene.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):975-8.
The growth of a virulent strain of fixed rabies virus, Nishigahara, in mouse neuroblastoma NA cells treated with type I interferon (IFN) was compared with that of a derivative avirulent strain, Ni-CE. Nishigahara strain was slightly sensitive to IFN treatment but still grew more efficiently than did Ni-CE strain in IFN-treated NA cells. Furthermore, a virulent chimeric virus with the phosphoprotein gene from Nishigahara strain in the Ni-CE genome was less sensitive to IFN treatment than was Ni-CE strain, indicating that the IFN sensitivity is determined by the phosphoprotein gene of the virus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jaïdane H, Gharbi J, Lobert PE, Lucas B, Hiar R, M'hadheb MB, Brilot F, Geenen V, Aouni M, Hober D
Prolonged viral RNA detection in blood and lymphoid tissues from coxsackievirus B4 E2 orally-inoculated Swiss mice.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):971-4.
The spreading of viral RNA within Swiss Albino mice orally inoculated with coxsackievirus B4 E2 strain (CVB4 E2) was studied by using RT-PCR and semi-nested-RT-PCR methods. Viral RNA was detected in various organs: pancreas, heart, small intestine, spleen, thymus, and blood at various postinfectious (p.i.) times ranging from 8 hr to 150 days. Our results show that (i) outbred mice can be infected with CVB4 E2 following an oral inoculation, which results in systemic spreading of viral RNA, (ii) CVB4 E2 infection can be associated with a prolonged detection of viral RNA in spleen, thymus and blood, up to 70 days p.i. and further in other organ tissues. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ozcelik P, Bezirci FB, Suzuki Y, Uzawa H, Nishida Y, Kobayashi K, Suzuki T, Miyamoto D, Nagatake T, Ahmed K
Sulfatide and its synthetic analogues recognition by Moraxella catarrhalis.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):967-70.
Moraxella catarrhalis is one of the major pathogens of respiratory and middle ear infections. Attachment of this bacterium to the surface of human pharyngeal epithelial cells is the first step in the pathogenesis of infections. This study revealed that sulfatide might act as a binding molecule for the attachment of M. catarrhalis to human pharyngeal epithelial cells. Furthermore, six different synthetic sulfatides were found to inhibit the attachment of M. catarrhalis significantly at an optimum concentration of 10 microg/ml. Synthetic sulfatides may have the potential to be used as a therapy to prevent M. catarrhalis infections. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kawano M, Yaguchi K, Osawa R
Genotypic analyses of Escherichia coli isolated from chickens with colibacillosis and apparently healthy chickens in Japan.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):961-6.
A genotypic comparison using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), amplified ribosomal restriction analysis (ARDRA) as well as PCRs targeting virulence associated genes reported elsewhere in avian pathogenic Escherichia coli(APEC) was made between E. coli strains isolated from chickens with colibacillosis and those from the feces of apparently healthy chickens in Japan. The majority (67%) of clinical isolates belonged to a certain phylogenetic ARDRA but not PFGE cluster, with virulence-related genes carried by ColV plasmid being markedly prevalent. The result suggests that APEC strains originated from the same "ancestor" in the course of E. coli evolution. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ubol S, Kasisith J, Mitmoonpitak C, Pitidhamabhorn D
Screening of upregulated genes in suckling mouse central nervous system during the disease stage of rabies virus infection.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):951-9.
The pathogenesis of hydrophobia remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify the differentially upregulated genes that correlated with disease development in an experimental mouse model to provide better understanding of pathological mechanisms in rabies. The present work employed Clontech mouse array 1.2 II containing 1,176 gene transcripts. Suckling mice were intracerebrally infected with canine rabies virus. The gene expression profiles on day 2, 4 and 6 post inoculation were followed. The results show genes whose expression increased at least twofold above the control, mock-infected brain. The numbers of genes showing altered expression level were 29, 109 and 98 genes on day 2, 4 and 6, respectively. The genes with altered expression were classified into eight major groups, namely immune response, metabolism, receptor and transporter, growth factors, death mediated factors, transcription and translation factors, proteases, and kinases. The numbers of upregulated genes during the disease stage was much higher than during the asymptomatic stage. This suggested that direct interaction between RABV and target cells induced massive destruction of a cellular homeostasis which may lead to functional termination of the CNS. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Niu SQ, Fukushima J, Jiang Y, Ishikawa Y, Ueda T, Matsumoto S
Analysis of bacterial community structure in the natural circulation system wastewater bioreactor by using a 16S rRNA gene clone library.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):937-50.
A variety of physical and chemical parameters are routinely monitored during operation of the Natural Circulation System, a wastewater purification bioreactor in which only natural materials and no synthetic chemicals are used. However, the microbial community structures existing in the Natural Circulation System have not been well characterized. Thus, bacterial community structure and composition in this system were studied using clone library analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA genes amplified using PCR with universal bacterial primer sets. The PCR products were then subcloned into the pGEM-T vector. Each unique restriction fragment length polymorphism pattern, created by using two pairs of restriction endonucleases, was designated as an operational taxonomic unit (OTU). The Natural Circulation System comprises five tanks, the second and third of which play a major role in the bioreactor. Clone library pro-files and principal component analysis revealed differences in the bacterial community structures of the second (anaerobic chamber) and the third (aerobic chamber) tanks. However, the beta-proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes/ Chlorobi and gamma-proteobacteria groups were dominant in both tanks. Bacterial composition was more complex in the second tank (107 OTUs) than in the third tank (68 OTUs). Of a total of 154 OTUs in the clone libraries, only 21 were common to the two tanks. The results obtained in this study should provide important information for future research into and management of the Natural Circulation System wastewater bioreactor. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Li Q, Zhu Y, Chu J, Wang Y, Xu Y, Hou Q, Zhang S, Guo X
Protective immunity against Bordetella pertussis by a recombinant DNA vaccine and the effect of coinjection with a granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor gene.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):929-36.
A recombinant pertussis DNA vaccine was described here with its immunogenicity and the ability to induce protection against B. pertussis infection in mice. Three immunodominant antigen gene fragments of pertussis, pertussis toxin subunit 1 (pts1), fragments of pertactin (prn) and filamentous hemagglutinin (fha), were recombined as fragment pts1-prn-fha named ppf, and it was cloned to plasmid pVAX1 as pVAX1/ppf. Compared to those injected with pVAX1, the mice injected with pVAX1/ppf significantly elicited more antigen specific antibody anti-PTS1, anti-PRN, anti-FHA and cytokine IL-10, IFN-gamma. When pGM-CSF was coinjected with pVAX1/ppf, the mice showed significantly increases of the three antibodies and cytokine IL-10, IL-4, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha compared to those injected with pVAX1 only. The mice in group pVAX1/ppf & pGM-CSF, in particular; induced much more anti-PTS1, IL-4 and TNF-alpha than those in group pVAX1/ppf. In the intracerebral mouse protection test, the mice immunized with pVAX1/ppf or pVAX1/ppf & pGM-CSF induced protection to a lethal dose of B. pertussis. The results indicate that recombinant DNA vaccine and pGM-CSF coinjection can induce protective immunity against B. pertussis, demonstrating a valuable method to prevent pertussis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Provenzano D, Kovác P, Wade WF
The ABCs (Antibody, B cells, and Carbohydrate epitopes) of cholera immunity: considerations for an improved vaccine.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(12):899-927.
Cholera, a diarrheal disease, is known for explosive epidemics that can quickly kill thousands. Endemic cholera is a seasonal torment that also has a significant mortality. Not all nations with extensive rural communities can achieve the required infrastructure or behavioral changes to prevent epidemic or endemic cholera. For some communities, a single-dose cholera vaccine that protects those at risk is the most efficacious means to reduce morbidity and mortality. It is clear that our understanding of what a protective cholera immune response is has not progressed at the rate our understanding of the pathogenesis and molecular biology of cholera infection has. This review addresses V. cholerae lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-based immunogens because LPS is the only immunogen proven to induce protective antibody in humans. We discuss the role of anti-LPS antibodies in protection from cholera, the importance and the potential role of B cell subsets in protection that is based on their anatomical location and the intrinsic antigen-receptor specificity of various subsets is introduced. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Masaki T, Ohkusu K, Hata H, Fujiwara N, Iihara H, Yamada-Noda M, Nhung PH, Hayashi M, Asano Y, Kawamura Y, Ezaki T
Mycobacterium kumamotonense Sp. Nov. recovered from clinical specimen and the first isolation report of Mycobacterium arupense in Japan: Novel slowly growing, nonchromogenic clinical isolates related to Mycobacterium terrae complex.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):889-97.
Three mycobacterium strains isolated from clinical specimens in Japan were provisionally assigned to the genus Mycobacterium based on their phenotypical characteristics. These isolates were further investigated to determine their specific taxonomic statuses. Mycolic acid analysis and 16S rRNA gene, rpoB, and hsp65 sequence data for the isolates showed that they are most similar to M. terrae complex. DNA-DNA hybridization studies indicated that the three strains were of two species and were distinguishable from M. terrae, M. nonchromogenicum, and M. hiberniae. Therefore, these strains represent two novel species within the genus Mycobacterium. However, one potential new species should have been considered as M. arupense with the 16S rRNA gene and hsp65 sequences similarities of 99.8% and 100% respectively; it was isolated from human specimens in the United States and was proposed in June 2006 as a new species. This report describes the first isolation of M. arupense in Japan, suggesting that the organism is clinically relevant. In addition, we propose the novel species designation Mycobacterium kumamotonense sp. nov. The type strain is CST 7247(T) (=GTC 2729(T), =JCM 13453(T), =CCUG 51961(T)). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tanaka T, Kitamoto N, Jiang X, Estes MK
High efficiency cross-reactive monoclonal antibody production by oral immunization with recombinant norwalk virus-like particles.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):883-8.
Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are important for in-depth antigenic characterization and diagnosis of infections with human caliciviruses that cause almost all outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis. We compared different routes of immunization with nonreplicating virus-like particles (VLPs) from recombinant Norwalk virus (rNV) and recombinant Mexico virus (rMX) administered to BALB/c mice to determine the efficiency of hybridoma production. Oral immunization with VLPs without adjuvant resulted in high yields of MAb-secreting hybridomas (90%) to these VLPs of IgG (61%), IgM (29%) and IgA (10%) isotypes. Fusions with mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes yielded MAbs of various subclasses including IgG2a, IgG3, IgM and IgA. These results suggest that an immunization route that mimics the natural route of viral infection pathway may facilitate MAb technology by increasing the yields of antibody secreting hybridoma cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bessler HC, de Oliveira IR, Giugliano LG
Human milk glycoproteins inhibit the adherence of Salmonella typhimurium to HeLa cells.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):877-82.
The ability of human milk, as well as its protein fractions, to inhibit the adhesion and invasion of Salmonella typhimurium to HeLa cells was investigated. The results revealed that milk secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) inhibited neither the adherence nor the bacterial invasion; however, free secretory component and lactoferrin inhibited the bacterial adhesion and interacted with several bacterial proteins. Our data indicated that glycoproteins such as free secretory component and lactoferrin could act as protective compounds against infant enteric diseases, possibly binding to bacterial surface and blocking adhesion, the primordial step of S. typhimurium infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tanabe T, Nakao H, Kuroda T, Tsuchiya T, Yamamoto S
Involvement of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus pvsC gene in export of the siderophore vibrioferrin.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):871-6.
The pvsC gene of unknown function has been found in the iron-regulated vibrioferrin biosynthesis operon of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Tanabe, T. et al., J. Bacteriol. 185: 6938-6949, 2003). The amino acid sequence deduced from the gene showed significant similarity to 12-transmembrane segment efflux pumps belonging to the major facilitator superfamily. A nonpolar deletion of pvsC in V. parahaemolyticus resulted in a reduced release of vibrioferrin into the medium. Vibrioferrin release could be regained by introducing the intact pvsC gene on a complementing plasmid. These results indicate that the pvsC gene product functions as an inner membrane exporter of vibrioferrin. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Takahashi H, Fujita T, Suzuki Y, Benno Y
Monitoring and survival of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in the human intestinal tract.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):867-70.
The monitoring and survival of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in the human intestinal tract was investigated with seven healthy subjects having a low number of fecal lactobacilli. An increase of fecal lactobacilli (10(3.2-5.2) CFU/g feces) was recognized after ingestion of yogurt with SBT2055 by the subjects. A high positive rate of L. gasseri in fecal lactobacilli detected from the subjects (over 70% at 2nd weeks of feeding) was also observed during the ingestion period using the species-specific PCR system. These findings indicate that the SBT2055 strain in yogurt survived in the human intestinal tract and was recovered from human feces. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang Y, Takao Y, Harada M, Yutani S, Ide T, Sata M, Itoh K, Yamada A
New epitope peptides derived from hepatitis C virus (HCV) 2a which have the capacity to induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes in HLA-A2+ HCV-infected patients.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):857-65.
Because cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play an important role in the specific immunotherapy of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a series of CTL epitopes has been defined from HCV genotype 1a or 1b protein. Here, we attempted to identify HCV2a-derived epitopes that are capable of inducing HLA-A2-restricted and peptide-specific CTLs. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of HLA-A2+ HCV2ainfected patients or healthy donors were stimulated in vitro with each of the HCV2a-derived peptides, which were prepared based on the HLA-A2-binding motif, and their peptide-specific and HLA-A2-restricted cytotoxicities were examined. The HCV2a 432-441, HCV2a 716-724, and HCV2a 2251-2260 peptides were found to efficiently induce peptide-specific CTLs from the PBMCs of HLA-A2+ HCV2ainfected patients. Cytotoxicity was mainly mediated by CD8+ T cells in a HLA class I-restricted manner. These results indicate that the HCV2a 432-441, HCV2a 716-724, and HCV2a 2251-2260 peptides might be applicable for peptide-based immunotherapy of HLA-A2+ HCV2a-infected patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kato H, Sugita T, Ishibashi Y, Nishikawa A
Detection and quantification of specific IgE antibodies against eight Malassezia species in sera of patients with atopic dermatitis by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):851-6.
The lipophilic yeast Malassezia, a member of the cutaneous microflora, is an exacerbating factor in atopic dermatitis (AD). Of the 11 currently recognized species, M. globosa and M. restricta are found to frequently colonize the skin of AD patients. In this study, we attempted to quantify specific IgE antibodies against eight Malassezia species, namely, M. dermatitis, M. furfur, M. globosa, M. obtusa, M. pachydermatis, M. slooffiae, M. sympodialis, and M. restricta, in sera from AD patients by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The specific IgE value against M. restricta was greater than those against other Malassezia species. Competitive ELISA inhibition tests revealed that M. restricta contained species specific as well as shared antigens. Therefore, M. restricta could be considered as a candidate diagnostic antigen for detecting anti-Malassezia IgE in sera from AD patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Alam M, Miyoshi S, Ahmed KU, Hasan NA, Tomochika K, Shinoda S
Proteolytic activation of Vibrio mimicus (Vm) major outer membrane protein haemagglutinin (HA) with Vm-HA/protease: Implication for understanding bacterial adherence.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(11):845-50.
Vibrio mimicus (Vm) haemagglutinins (HAs), such as an extracellular HA/protease (Vm-HA/protease) and a major outer membrane protein-HA (Vm-OMPHA), have been recognized as the putative adherence factors for the bacterium. However, the mechanism by which HAs coordinate the adherence function of the bacterium remains as yet unknown. We report herein the positive interaction between Vm-HA/protease and Vm-OMPHA resulting in significant enhancement of the haemagglutinating ability. In this interaction, no cleaved polypeptide was detected; however, limited proteolysis of Vm-OMPHA was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. The proteolytic activation of the native cell-associated Vm-OMPHA by limited proteolysis was also demonstrated in several V. mimicus strains. Proteolytic activation of OMPHA was also achieved with various proteases from bacterial and eukaryotic sources. These findings may indicate a novel coordination of V. mimicus HAs in the adherence of the bacterium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kondo S, Takahashi Y, Shiozawa S, Ichise H, Yoshida N, Kanegae Y, Saito I
Efficient sequential gene regulation via FLP-and Cre-recombinase using adenovirus vector in mammalian cells including mouse ES cells.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(10):831-43.
Site-specific recombinase is widely applied for the regulation of gene expression because its regulatory action is strict and efficient. However, each system can mediate regulation of only one gene at a time. Here, we demonstrate efficient "sequential" gene regulation using Cre-and FLP-expressing recombinant adenovirus (rAd) in two different monitor cell lines, for regulation of one gene (OFF-ON-OFF) and for two genes (ON-OFF and OFF-ON, independently). Generally, serial use of Cre-and FLP-expressing rAd tends to cause significant cytotoxicity, but we here described optimum dose of the rAds for serial regulation. We also established an efficient method of rAd infection to mouse ES cell lines after removing feeder cells, showing that this system is useful for removal of FRT-flanked drug-resistance gene cassette from recombinant ES cells prior to introduction of ES cells into blastocytes for chimeric mice production. Because our sequential gene-regulation system offers efficient purpose-gene regulation and strict OFF-regulation, it is potentially valuable for elucidating not only novel gene functions using cDNA microarray analysis but also for "gene switching" in development and regeneration research. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shin JH, Sakoda Y, Kim JH, Tanaka T, Kida H, Kimura T, Ochiai K, Umemura T
Efficacy of intracerebral immunization against pseudorabies virus in mice.
Microbiol Immunol. 2006;50(10):823-30.
To evaluate the efficacy of intracerebral (IC) immunization, mice were immunized with formalin-inactivated pseudorabies virus (PRV) by either subcutaneous (SC) or IC injection, and then 10(6) plaque-forming units of PRV were introduced into the hindleg of the immunized or non-immunized mice by intramuscular injection. The antibody titer in serum was elevated and boosted by additional immunization via both the SC and IC routes, but was higher after IC immunization. Intracerebrally immunized mice were completely protected from mortality and neurological signs, whereas all the non-immunized and 80% of the subcutaneously immunized mice died after developing neurological signs. In mouse models, IC immunization is more effective at inducing a protective immune response against the transneural spread of PRV than SC immunization. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in International Microbiology

Berkenheger I, Fischer U
Competition for polymers among heterotrophic bacteria, isolated from particles of the Equatorial Atlantic.
Int Microbiol. 2004 Mar;7(1):13-8.
Three heterotrophic bacterial strains, isolated from organic particles of the upper water column of the Equatorial Atlantic, taken during a cruise on the R/V METEOR (1997), were investigated concerning their physiological and phylogenetic properties using classic microbiological and modern molecular-biological methods. All isolates are gram-negative rods able to use polymers such as cellulose, chitin or starch as sole carbon source. The phylogeny of these isolates was investigated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and 16S rDNA sequencing. The three isolated strains belong to the Cytophaga/Flavobacteria, gamma-Proteobacteria (Marinobacter sp.), and alpha-Proteobacteria (Sulfitobacter pontiacus). In order to study succession during growth on polymers naturally occurring in marine habitats, FISH was used as a new approach to detect cells from different phylogenetic clusters in the course of a single growth experiment. Mixed cultures consisting of the isolated strains in equal amounts were incubated with cellulose, chitin or starch. Isolate 4301-10/2, a member of the gamma-Proteobacteria, dominated in mixed cultures growing on cellulose, chitin, or starch after only 10 days, with 55, 60, and 95%, respectively, of cells hybridizing with 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Beuzón CR, Chessa D, Casadesús J
IS200: an old and still bacterial transposon.
Int Microbiol. 2004 Mar;7(1):3-12.
IS200 is a mobile element found in a variety of eubacterial genera, such as Salmonella, Escherichia, Shigella, Vibrio, Enterococcus, Clostridium, Helicobacter, and Actinobacillus. In addition, IS200-like elements are found in archaea. IS200 elements are very small (707-711 bp) and contain a single gene. Cladograms constructed with IS200 DNA sequences suggest that IS200 has not spread among eubacteria by horizontal transfer; thus it may be an ancestral component of the bacterial genome. Self-restraint may have favored this evolutionary endurance; in fact, unlike typical mobile elements, IS200 transposes rarely. Tight repression of transposase synthesis is achieved by a combination of mechanisms: inefficient transcription, protection from impinging transcription by a transcriptional terminator, and repression of translation by a stem-loop mRNA structure. A consequence of IS200 self-restraint is that the number and distribution of IS200 elements remain fairly constant in natural populations of bacteria. This stability makes IS200 a suitable molecular marker for epidemiological and ecological studies, especially when the number of IS200 copies is high. In Salmonella enterica, IS200 fingerprinting is extensively used for strain discrimination. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mas-Castellà J
Opportunities for microbiologists in an emerging industry.
Int Microbiol. 2004 Mar;7(1):1-2. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Retrovirology

Epie N, Ammosova T, Turner W, Nekhai S
Inhibition of PP2A by LIS1 increases HIV-1 gene expression.
Retrovirology. 2006;365.
BACKGROUND: Lissencephaly is a severe brain malformation in part caused by mutations in the LIS1 gene. LIS1 interacts with microtubule-associated proteins, and enhances transport of microtubule fragments. Previously we showed that LIS1 interacts with HIV-1 Tat protein and that this interaction was mediated by WD40 domains of LIS1. In the present study, we analyze the effect of LIS1 on Tat-mediated transcription of HIV-1 LTR. RESULTS: Tat-mediated HIV-1 transcription was upregulated in 293 cells transfected with LIS1 expression vector. The WD5 but not the N-terminal domain of LIS1 increases Tat-dependent HIV-1 transcription. The effect of LIS1 was similar to the effect of okadaic acid, an inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). We then analyzed the effect of LIS1 on the activity of PP2A in vitro. We show that LIS1 and its isolated WD5 domain but not the N-terminal domain of LIS1 blocks PP2A activity. CONCLUSION: Our results show that inhibition of PP2A by LIS1 induces HIV-1 transcription. Our results also point to a possibility that LIS1 might function in the cells as a yet unrecognized regulatory subunit of PP2A. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sung TL, Rice AP
Effects of prostratin on Cyclin T1/P-TEFb function and the gene expression profile in primary resting CD4+ T cells.
Retrovirology. 2006;366.
BACKGROUND: The latent reservoir of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in resting CD4+ T cells is a major obstacle to the clearance of infection by highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Recent studies have focused on searches for adjuvant therapies to activate this reservoir under conditions of HAART. Prostratin, a non tumor-promoting phorbol ester, is a candidate for such a strategy. Prostratin has been shown to reactivate latent HIV-1 and Tat-mediated transactivation may play an important role in this process. We examined resting CD4+ T cells from healthy donors to determine if prostratin induces Cyclin T1/P-TEFb, a cellular kinase composed of Cyclin T1 and Cyclin-dependent kinase-9 (CDK9) that mediates Tat function. We also examined effects of prostratin on Cyclin T2a, an alternative regulatory subunit for CDK9, and 7SK snRNA and the HEXIM1 protein, two factors that associate with P-TEFb and repress its kinase activity. RESULTS: Prostratin up-regulated Cyclin T1 protein expression, modestly induced CDK9 protein expression, and did not affect Cyclin T2a protein expression. Although the kinase activity of CDK9 in vitro was up-regulated by prostratin, we observed a large increase in the association of 7SK snRNA and the HEXIM1 protein with CDK9. Using HIV-1 reporter viruses with and without a functional Tat protein, we found that prostratin stimulation of HIV-1 gene expression appears to require a functional Tat protein. Microarray analyses were performed and several genes related to HIV biology, including APOBEC3B, DEFA1, and S100 calcium-binding protein genes, were found to be regulated by prostratin. CONCLUSION: Prostratin induces Cyclin T1 expression and P-TEFb function and this is likely to be involved in prostratin reactivation of latent HIV-1 proviruses. The large increase in association of 7SK and HEXIM1 with P-TEFb following prostratin treatment may reflect a requirement in CD4+ T cells for a precise balance between active and catalytically inactive P-TEFb. Additionally, genes regulated by prostratin were identified that have the potential to regulate HIV-1 replication both positively and negatively. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dayton AI
Beyond open access: open discourse, the next great equalizer.
Retrovirology. 2006;355.
The internet is expanding the realm of scientific publishing to include free and open public debate of published papers. Journals are beginning to support web posting of comments on their published articles and independent organizations are providing centralized web sites for posting comments about any published article. The trend promises to give one and all access to read and contribute to cutting edge scientific criticism and debate. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jeeninga RE, Jan B, van den Berg H, Berkhout B
Construction of doxycyline-dependent mini-HIV-1 variants for the development of a virotherapy against leukemias.
Retrovirology. 2006;364.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a high-risk type of blood-cell cancer. We describe the improvement of a candidate therapeutic virus for virotherapy of leukemic cells. Virotherapy is based on the exclusive replication of a virus in leukemic cells, leading to the selective removal of these malignant cells. To improve the safety of such a virus, we constructed an HIV-1 variant that replicates exclusively in the presence of the nontoxic effector doxycycline (dox). This was achieved by replacement of the viral TAR-Tat system for transcriptional activation by the Escherichia coli-derived Tet system for inducible gene expression. This HIV-rtTA virus replicates in a strictly dox-dependent manner. In this virus, additional deletions and/or inactivating mutations were introduced in the genes for accessory proteins. These proteins are essential for virus replication in untransformed cells, but dispensable in leukemic T cells. These minimized HIV-rtTA variants contain up to 7 deletions/inactivating mutations (TAR, Tat, vif, vpR, vpU, nef and U3) and replicate efficiently in the leukemic SupT1 T cell line, but do not replicate in normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These virus variants are also able to efficiently remove leukemic cells from a mixed culture with untransformed cells. The therapeutic viruses use CD4 and CXCR4 for cell entry and could potentially be used against CXCR4 expressing malignancies such as T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma, NK leukemia and some myeloid leukemias. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Taylor GP, Goon P, Furukawa Y, Green H, Barfield A, Mosley A, Nose H, Babiker A, Rudge P, Usuku K, Osame M, Bangham CR, Weber JN
Zidovudine plus lamivudine in Human T-Lymphotropic Virus type-I-associated myelopathy: a randomised trial.
Retrovirology. 2006;363.
BACKGROUND: No therapies have been proven to persistently improve the outcome of HTLV-I-associated myelopathy. Clinical benefit has been reported with zidovudine and with lamivudine in observational studies. We therefore conducted a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study of six months combination therapy with these nucleoside analogues in sixteen patients. RESULTS: Primary outcomes were change in HTLV-I proviral load in PBMCs and clinical measures. Secondary endpoints were changes in T-cell subsets and markers of activation and proliferation.Six patients discontinued zidovudine. No significant changes in pain, bladder function, disability score, gait, proviral load or markers of T-cell activation or proliferation were seen between the two arms. Active therapy was associated with an unexplained decrease in CD8 and non-T lymphocyte counts. CONCLUSION: Failure to detect clinical improvement may have been due irreversible nerve damage in these patients with a long clinical history and future studies should target patients presenting earlier. The lack of virological effect but may reflect a lack of activity of these nucleoside analogues against HTLV-I RT in vivo, inadequate intracellular concentrations of the active moiety or the contribution of new cell infection to maintaining proviral load at this stage of infection may be relatively small masking the effects of RT inhibition. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Blot V, Lopez-Vergès S, Breton M, Pique C, Berlioz-Torrent C, Grange MP
The conserved dileucine- and tyrosine-based motifs in MLV and MPMV envelope glycoproteins are both important to regulate a common Env intracellular trafficking.
Retrovirology. 2006;362.
BACKGROUND: Retrovirus particles emerge from the assembly of two structural protein components, Gag that is translated as a soluble protein in the cytoplasm of the host cells, and Env, a type I transmembrane protein. Because both components are translated in different intracellular compartments, elucidating the mechanisms of retrovirus assembly thus requires the study of their intracellular trafficking. RESULTS: We used a CD25 (Tac) chimera-based approach to study the trafficking of Moloney murine leukemia virus and Mason-Pfizer monkey virus Env proteins. We found that the cytoplasmic tails (CTs) of both Env conserved two major signals that control a complex intracellular trafficking. A dileucine-based motif controls the sorting of the chimeras from the trans-Golgi network (TGN) toward endosomal compartments. Env proteins then follow a retrograde transport to the TGN due to the action of a tyrosine-based motif. Mutation of either motif induces the mis-localization of the chimeric proteins and both motifs are found to mediate interactions of the viral CTs with clathrin adaptors. CONCLUSION: This data reveals the unexpected complexity of the intracellular trafficking of retrovirus Env proteins that cycle between the TGN and endosomes. Given that Gag proteins hijack endosomal host proteins, our work suggests that the endosomal pathway may be used by retroviruses to ensure proper encountering of viral structural Gag and Env proteins in cells, an essential step of virus assembly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Smith SM
The pathogenesis of HIV infection: stupid may not be so dumb after all.
Retrovirology. 2006;360.
In the mid-1990's, researchers hypothesized, based on new viral load data, that HIV-1 causes CD4+ T-cell depletion by direct cytopathic effect. New data from non-human primate studies has raised doubts about this model of HIV-1 pathogenesis. Despite having high levels of viremia, most SIV infections are well tolerated by their natural hosts. Two recent studies of these models provide information, which may be useful in determining how HIV-1 causes CD4+ T-cell loss. A full understanding of pathogenesis may lead to novel therapies, which preserve the immune system without blocking virus replication. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pando MA, Eyzaguirre LM, Segura M, Bautista CT, Marone R, Ceballos A, Montano SM, Sánchez JL, Weissenbacher M, Avila MM, Carr JK
First report of an HIV-1 triple recombinant of subtypes B, C and F in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Retrovirology. 2006;359.
We describe the genetic diversity of currently transmitted strains of HIV-1 in men who have sex with men (MSM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina between 2000 and 2004. Nearly full-length sequence analysis of 10 samples showed that 6 were subtype B, 3 were BF recombinant and 1 was a triple recombinant of subtypes B, C and F. The 3 BF recombinants were 3 different unique recombinant forms. Full genome analysis of one strain that was subtype F when sequenced in pol was found to be a triple recombinant. Gag and pol were predominantly subtype F, while gp120 was subtype B; there were regions of subtype C interspersed throughout. The young man infected with this strain reported multiple sexual partners and sero-converted between May and November of 2004. This study reported for the first time the full genome analysis of a triple recombinant between subtypes B, C and F, that combines in one virus the three most common subtypes in South America. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

M'Barek NB, Audoly G, Raoult D, Gluschankof P
HIV-2 Protease resistance defined in yeast cells.
Retrovirology. 2006;358.
BACKGROUND: Inhibitors of the HIV-1 Protease currently used in therapeutic protocols, have been found to inhibit, although at higher concentrations, the HIV-2 encoded enzyme homologue. Similar to observations in HIV-1 infected individuals, therapeutic failure has also been observed for some patients infected with HIV-2 as a consequence of the emergence of viral strains resistant to the anti-retroviral molecules. In order to be able to define the specific mutations in the Protease that confer loss of susceptibility to Protease Inhibitors, we set up an experimental model system based in the expression of the viral protein in yeast. RESULTS : Our results show that the HIV-2 Protease activity kills the yeast cell, and this process can be abolished by inhibiting the viral enzyme activity. Since this inhibition is dose dependent, IC50 values can be assessed for each anti-retroviral molecule tested. We then defined the susceptibility of HIV-2 Proteases to Protease Inhibitors by comparing the IC50 values of Proteases from 7 infected individuals to those of a sensitive wild type laboratory adapted strain. CONCLUSION : This functional assay allowed us to show for the first time that the L90M substitution, present in a primary HIV-2 isolate, modifies the HIV-2 Protease susceptibility to Saquinavir but not Lopinavir. Developing a strategy based on the proposed yeast expressing system will contribute to define amino acid substitutions conferring HIV-2 Protease resistance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Westerhout EM, ter Brake O, Berkhout B
The virion-associated incoming HIV-1 RNA genome is not targeted by RNA interference.
Retrovirology. 2006;357.
BACKGROUND: RNA interference (RNAi) has proven to be a powerful tool to suppress gene expression and can be used as a therapeutic strategy against human pathogenic viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Theoretically, RNAi-mediated inhibition can occur at two points in the replication cycle, upon viral entry before reverse transcription of the RNA genome, and on the newly transcribed viral RNA transcripts. There have been conflicting results on whether RNAi can target the RNA genome of infecting HIV-1 particles. We have addressed this issue with HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors. RESULTS: We determined the transduction efficiency of a lentiviral vector, as measured by GFP expressing cells, which reflects the number of successful integration events in a cell line stably expressing shNef. We did not observe a difference in the transduction efficiency comparing lentiviral vectors with or without the Nef target sequence in their genome. The results were similar with particles pseudotyped with either the VSV-G or HIV-1 envelope. Additionally, no reduced transduction efficiencies were observed with multiple other shRNAs targeting the vector genome or with synthetic siNef when transiently transfected prior to transduction. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that the incoming HIV-1 RNA genome is not targeted by RNAi, probably due to inaccessibility to the RNAi machinery. Thus, therapeutic RNAi strategies aimed at preventing proviral integration should be targeting cellular receptors or co-factors involved in pre-integration events. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sorin M, Yung E, Wu X, Kalpana GV
HIV-1 replication in cell lines harboring INI1/hSNF5 mutations.
Retrovirology. 2006;356.
BACKGROUND: INI1/hSNF5 is a cellular protein that directly interacts with HIV-1 integrase (IN). It is specifically incorporated into HIV-1 virions. A dominant negative mutant derived from INI1 inhibits HIV-1 replication. Recent studies indicate that INI1 is associated with pre-integration and reverse transcription complexes that are formed upon viral entry into the target cells. INI1 also is a tumor suppressor, biallelically deleted/mutated in malignant rhabdoid tumors. We have utilized cell lines derived from the rhabdoid tumors, MON and STA-WT1, that harbor either null or truncating mutations of INI1 respectively, to assess the effect of INI1 on HIV-1 replication. RESULTS: We found that while HIV-1 virions produced in 293T cells efficiently transduced MON and STA-WT1 cells, HIV-1 particle production was severely reduced in both of these cells. Reintroduction of INI1 into MON and STA-WT1 significantly enhanced the particle production in both cell lines. HIV-1 particles produced in MON cells were reduced for infectivity, while those produced in STA-WT1 were not. Further analysis indicated the presence of INI1 in those virions produced from STA-WT1 but not from those produced from MON cells. HIV-1 produced in MON cells were defective for synthesis of early and late reverse transcription products in the target cells. Furthermore, virions produced in MON cells were defective for exogenous reverse transcriptase activity carried out using exogenous template, primer and substrate. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that INI1-deficient cells exhibit reduced particle production that can be partly enhanced by re-introduction of INI1. Infectivity of HIV-1 produced in some but not all INI1 defective cells, is affected and this defect may correlate to the lack of INI1 and/or some other proteins in these virions. The block in early events of virion produced from MON cells appears to be at the stage of reverse transcription. These studies suggest that presence of INI1 or some other host factor in virions and reverse transcription complexes may be important for early events of HIV-1 replication. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goldschmidt V, Bleiber G, May M, Martinez R, Ortiz M, Telenti A
Role of common human TRIM5alpha variants in HIV-1 disease progression.
Retrovirology. 2006;354.
BACKGROUND: The retroviral restriction factor tripartite motif protein (TRIM)5alpha, is characterized by marked amino acid diversity among primates, including specific clusters of residues under positive selection. The identification of multiple non-synonymous changes in humans suggests that TRIM5alpha variants might be relevant to retroviral pathogenesis. Previous studies have shown that such variants are unlikely to modify susceptibility to HIV-1 infection, or the course of early infection. However, the longterm effect of carrying Trim5alpha variants on disease progression in individuals infected with HIV-1 has not previously been investigated. METHODS: In a cohort of 979 untreated individuals infected with HIV-1 with median follow up 3.2 years and 9,828 CD4 T cell measurements, we analysed common amino acid variations: H43Y, V112F, R136Q, G249D, and H419Y. The rate of CD4 T cell decline before treatment was used as the phenotype. In addition, we extended previous work on the in vitro susceptibility of purified donor CD4 T cells (n = 125) to HIV-1 infection, and on the susceptibility of HeLa cells that were stably transduced with the different TRIM5 variants. Haplotypes were analysed according to the most parsimonious evolutionary structure, where two main human TRIM5alpha groups can be defined according to the residue at amino acid 136. Humans present both Q136 and R136 at similar frequency, and additional TRIM5alpha amino acid variants are almost exclusively derived from R136-carrying haplotypes. RESULTS: We observed modest differences in disease progression for evolutionary branches carrying R136-derived haplotypes, and with the non-synonymous polymorphisms G249D and H419Y. In vitro analysis of susceptibility of donor CD4 T cells, and of the various transduced HeLa cell lines supported the absence of significant differential restriction of HIV-1 infection by the various huTRIM5alpha alleles. CONCLUSION: Common human variants of TRIM5alpha have no effect or modest effect on HIV-1 disease progression. These variants occur at sites conserved throughout evolution, and are remote from clusters of positive selection in the primate lineage. The evolutionary value of the substitutions remains unclear. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Siddappa NB, Venkatramanan M, Venkatesh P, Janki MV, Jayasuryan N, Desai A, Ravi V, Ranga U
Transactivation and signaling functions of Tat are not correlated: biological and immunological characterization of HIV-1 subtype-C Tat protein.
Retrovirology. 2006;353.
BACKGROUND: Of the diverse subtypes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1), subtype-C strains cause a large majority of infections worldwide. The reasons for the global dominance of HIV-1 subtype-C infections are not completely understood. Tat, being critical for viral infectivity and pathogenesis, may differentially modulate pathogenic properties of the viral subtypes. Biochemical studies on Tat are hampered by the limitations of the current purification protocols. Tat purified using standard protocols often is competent for transactivation activity but defective for a variety of other biological functions. Keeping this limitation in view, we developed an efficient protein purification strategy for Tat. RESULTS: Tat proteins obtained using the novel strategy described here were free of contaminants and retained biological functions as evaluated in a range of assays including the induction of cytokines, upregulation of chemokine coreceptor, transactivation of the viral promoter and rescue of a Tat-defective virus. Given the highly unstable nature of Tat, we evaluated the effect of the storage conditions on the biological function of Tat following purification. Tat stored in a lyophilized form retained complete biological activity regardless of the storage temperature. To understand if variations in the primary structure of Tat could influence the secondary structure of the protein and consequently its biological functions, we determined the CD spectra of subtype-C and -B Tat proteins. We demonstrate that subtype-C Tat may have a relatively higher ordered structure and be less flexible than subtype-B Tat. We show that subtype-C Tat as a protein, but not as a DNA expression vector, was consistently inferior to subtype-B Tat in a variety of biological assays. Furthermore, using ELISA, we evaluated the anti-Tat antibody titers in a large number of primary clinical samples (n = 200) collected from all four southern Indian states. Our analysis of the Indian populations demonstrated that Tat is non-immunodominant and that a large variation exists in the antigen-specific antibody titers. CONCLUSION: Our report not only describes a simple protein purification strategy for Tat but also demonstrates important structural and functional differences between subtype-B and -C Tat proteins. Furthermore, this is the first report of protein purification and characterization of subtype-C Tat. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Groot F, van Capel TM, Schuitemaker J, Berkhout B, de Jong EC
Differential susceptibility of naïve, central memory and effector memory T cells to dendritic cell-mediated HIV-1 transmission.
Retrovirology. 2006;352.
BACKGROUND: Dendritic cells (DC) have been proposed to facilitate sexual transmission of HIV-1 by capture of the virus in the mucosa and subsequent transmission to CD4+ T cells. Several T cell subsets can be identified in humans: naïve T cells (TN) that initiate an immune response to new antigens, and memory T cells that respond to previously encountered pathogens. The memory T cell pool comprises central memory (TCM) and effector memory cells (TEM), which are characterized by distinct homing and effector functions. The TEM cell subset, which can be further divided into effector Th1 and Th2 cells, has been shown to be the prime target for viral replication after HIV-1 infection, and is abundantly present in mucosal tissues. RESULTS: We determined the susceptibility of TN, TCM and TEM cells to DC-mediated HIV-1 transmission and found that co-receptor expression on the respective T cell subsets is a decisive factor for transmission. Accordingly, CCR5-using (R5) HIV-1 was most efficiently transmitted to TEM cells, and CXCR4-using (X4) HIV-1 was preferentially transmitted to TN cells. CONCLUSION: The highly efficient R5 transfer to TEM cells suggests that mucosal T cells are an important target for DC-mediated transmission. This may contribute to the initial burst of virus replication that is observed in these cells. TN cells, which are the prime target for DC-mediated X4 virus transmission in our study, are considered to inefficiently support HIV-1 replication. Our results thus indicate that DC may play a decisive role in the susceptibility of TN cells to X4 tropic HIV-1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mok HP, Lever A
A method to estimate the efficiency of gene expression from an integrated retroviral vector.
Retrovirology. 2006;351.
BACKGROUND: Proviral gene expression is a critical step in the retroviral life cycle and an important determinant in the efficiency of retrovirus based gene therapy vectors. There is as yet no method described that can assess the efficiency of proviral gene expression while vigorously excluding the contribution from unstable species such as passively transferred plasmid and LTR circles. Here, we present a method that can achieve this. RESULTS: Proviral gene expression was detected by the activity of the puromycin resistance gene encoded in the viral vector, and quantified by comparing the growth curve of the sample under puromycin selection to that of a series of calibration cultures. Reproducible estimates of the efficiency of proviral gene expression could be derived. We confirm that contamination from unstable species such as passively transferred plasmid used in viral vector production and unintegrated viral DNA can seriously confound estimates of the efficiency of transduction. This can be overcome using a PCR based on limiting dilution analysis. CONCLUSION: A simple, low cost method was developed that should be useful in studying the biology of retroviruses and for the development of expression systems for retrovirus based gene therapy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pumfery A, de la Fuente C, Kashanchi F
HTLV-1 Tax: centrosome amplification and cancer.
Retrovirology. 2006;350.
During interphase, each cell contains a single centrosome that acts as a microtubule organizing center for cellular functions in interphase and in mitosis. Centrosome amplification during the S phase of the cell cycle is a tightly regulated process to ensure that each daughter cell receives the proper complement of the genome. The controls that ensure that centrosomes are duplicated exactly once in the cell cycle are not well understood. In solid tumors and hematological malignancies, centrosome abnormalities resulting in aneuploidy is observed in the majority of cancers. These phenotypes are also observed in cancers induced by viruses, including adult T cell lymphoma which is caused by the human T cell lymphotrophic virus Type 1 (HTLV-1). Several reports have indicated that the HTLV-1 transactivator, Tax, is directly responsible for the centrosomal abnormalities observed in ATL cells. A recent paper in Nature Cell Biology by Ching et al. has shed some new light into how Tax may be inducing centrosome abnormalities. The authors demonstrated that 30% of ATL cells contained more than two centrosomes and expression of Tax alone induced supernumerary centrosomes. A cellular coiled-coil protein, Tax1BP2, was shown to interact with Tax and disruption of this interaction led to failure of Tax to induce centrosome amplification. Additionally, down-regulation of Tax1BP2 led to centrosome amplification. These results suggest that Tax1BP2 may be an important block to centrosome re-duplication that is observed in normal cells. Presently, a specific cellular protein that prevents centrosome re-duplication has not been identified. This paper has provided further insight into how Tax induces centrosome abnormalities that lead to ATL. Lastly, additional work on Tax1BP2 will also provide insight into how the cell suppresses centrosome re-duplication during the cell cycle and the role that Tax1BP2 plays in this important cellular pathway. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bukrinsky M
SNFing HIV transcription.
Retrovirology. 2006;349.
The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex is an essential regulator of transcription of cellular genes. HIV-1 infection induces exit of a core component of SWI/SNF, Ini1, into the cytoplasm and its association with the viral pre-integration complex. Several recent papers published in EMBO Journal, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Retrovirology provide new information regarding possible functions of Ini1 and SWI/SNF in HIV life cycle. It appears that Ini1 has an inhibitory effect on pre-integration steps of HIV replication, but also contributes to stimulation of Tat-mediated transcription. This stimulation involves displacement of the nucleosome positioned at the HIV promoter. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Agbottah E, Deng L, Dannenberg LO, Pumfery A, Kashanchi F
Effect of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex on HIV-1 Tat activated transcription.
Retrovirology. 2006;348.
BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the etiologic agent of acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS). Following entry into the host cell, the viral RNA is reverse transcribed into DNA and subsequently integrated into the host genome as a chromatin template. The integrated proviral DNA, along with the specific chromatinized environment in which integration takes place allows for the coordinated regulation of viral transcription and replication. While the specific roles of and interplay between viral and host proteins have not been fully elucidated, numerous reports indicate that HIV-1 retains the ability for self-regulation via the pleiotropic effects of its viral proteins. Though viral transcription is fully dependent upon host cellular factors and the state of host activation, recent findings indicate a complex interplay between viral proteins and host transcription regulatory machineries including histone deacetylases (HDACs), histone acetyltransferases (HATs), cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs), and histone methyltransferases (HMTs). RESULTS: Here, we describe the effect of Tat activated transcription at the G1/S border of the cell cycle and analyze the interaction of modified Tat with the chromatin remodeling complex, SWI/SNF. HIV-1 LTR DNA reconstituted into nucleosomes can be activated in vitro using various Tat expressing extracts. Optimally activated transcription was observed at the G1/S border of the cell cycle both in vitro and in vivo, where chromatin remodeling complex, SWI/SNF, was present on the immobilized LTR DNA. Using a number of in vitro binding as well as in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we detected the presence of both BRG1 and acetylated Tat in the same complex. Finally, we demonstrate that activated transcription resulted in partial or complete removal of the nucleosome from the start site of the LTR as evidenced by a restriction enzyme accessibility assay. CONCLUSION: We propose a model where unmodified Tat is involved in binding to the CBP/p300 and cdk9/cyclin T1 complexes facilitating transcription initiation. Acetylated Tat dissociates from the TAR RNA structure and recruits bromodomain-binding chromatin modifying complexes such as p/CAF and SWI/SNF to possibly facilitate transcription elongation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ariumi Y, Serhan F, Turelli P, Telenti A, Trono D
The integrase interactor 1 (INI1) proteins facilitate Tat-mediated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transcription.
Retrovirology. 2006;347.
Integration of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into the host genome is catalyzed by the viral integrase (IN) and preferentially occurs within transcriptionally active genes. During the early phase of HIV-1 infection, the incoming viral preintegration complex (PIC) recruits the integrase interactor 1 (INI1)/hSNF5, a chromatin remodeling factor which directly binds to HIV-1 IN. The impact of this event on viral replication is so far unknown, although it has been hypothesized that it could tether the preintegration complex to transcriptionally active genes, thus contributing to the bias of HIV integration for these regions of the genome. Here, we demonstrate that while INI1 is dispensable for HIV-1 transduction, it can facilitate HIV-1 transcription by enhancing Tat function. INI1 bound to Tat and both the repeat (Rpt) 1 and Rpt 2 domains of INI1 were required for efficient activation of Tat-mediated transcription. These results suggest that the incoming PICs might recruit INI1 to facilitate proviral transcription. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fletcher PS, Wallace GS, Mesquita PM, Shattock RJ
Candidate polyanion microbicides inhibit HIV-1 infection and dissemination pathways in human cervical explants.
Retrovirology. 2006;346.
BACKGROUND: Heterosexual intercourse remains the major route of HIV-1 transmission worldwide, with almost 5 million new infections occurring each year. Women increasingly bear a disproportionate burden of the pandemic, thus there is an urgent need to develop new strategies to reduce HIV-1 transmission that could be controlled by women themselves. The potential of topical microbicides to reduce HIV transmission across mucosal surfaces has been clearly identified, and some agents are currently under evaluation in clinical trials. Many of these "first generation" microbicides consist of polyanionic compounds designed to interfere with viral attachment. Here we have evaluated two candidate polyanion compounds in clinical trials, PRO 2000 and dextrin sulphate (DxS) to determine their safety and efficacy against in vitro HIV-1 and HSV-2 infection using cellular and tissue explant models. RESULTS: PRO 2000 and DxS potently inhibited infection by HIV-1 X4 and R5 isolates when present during viral exposure. However PRO 2000 required 10-fold and DxS 2000-fold more compound to block infection with R5 virus than X4. While both compounds were virucidal for X4 HIV-1, neither was virucidal for R5 virus. PRO 2000 efficiently inhibited infection of cervical explants and dissemination of virus by migratory DC. DxS was less active, able to completely inhibit cervical explant infection, but providing only partial reduction of virus dissemination by DC. PRO 2000, but not DxS, also inhibited HIV-1 binding to DC-SIGN+ cells and trans infection of co-cultured target cells. The inflammatory potential of both compounds was screened by measurement of cytokine production from cervical explants, and statistically significant increases were only observed for IL-1beta and RANTES following treatment with PRO 2000. Both compounds also demonstrated potent activity against HSV-2 infection of cervical epithelial cells. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that PRO 2000 is a potent inhibitor of R5 HIV-1 infection and dissemination pathways in human cervical explants. DxS, while demonstrating significant inhibition of R5 infection, was less active against DC mediated dissemination pathways. PRO 2000 has now entered human phase III efficacy trials. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lever AM
Science--a life fully lived: Joe Sodroski wins the 2006 Retrovirology Prize.
Retrovirology. 2006;345. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nellåker C, Yao Y, Jones-Brando L, Mallet F, Yolken RH, Karlsson H
Transactivation of elements in the human endogenous retrovirus W family by viral infection.
Retrovirology. 2006;344.
BACKGROUND: Aberrant expression of human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) elements in the W family has previously been associated with schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and preeclampsia. Little is know regarding the basal expression, transcriptional regulation and functional significance of individual HERV-elements. Since viral infections have previously been reported to transactivate retroviral long terminal repeat regions we examined the basal expression of HERV-W elements and following infections by influenza A/WSN/33 and Herpes simplex 1 viruses in human cell-lines. METHODS: Relative levels of transcripts encoding HERV-W elements and cellular genes were analyzed by qPCR methods. An analysis of amplicon melting temperatures was used to detect variations in the frequencies of amplicons in discrete ranges of such melting temperatures. These frequency-distributions were taken as proxy markers for the repertoires of transcribed HERV-W elements in the cells. RESULTS: We report cell-specific expression patterns of HERV-W elements during base-line conditions. Expressed elements include those with intact regulatory long terminal repeat regions (LTRs) as well as elements flanked by truncated LTRs. Subsets of HERV-W elements were transactivated by viral infection in the different cell-lines. Transcriptional activation of these elements, including that encoding syncytin, was dependent on viral replication and was not induced by antiviral responses. Serum deprivation of cells induced similar changes in the expression of HERV-W elements suggesting that the observed phenomena are, in part, an effect of cellular stress. CONCLUSION: We found that HERV-W elements, including elements lacking regulatory LTRs, are expressed in cell-specific patterns which can be modulated by environmental influences. This brings into light that mechanisms behind the regulation of expression of HERV-W elements are more complex than previously assumed and suggests biological functions of these transcripts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

de la Fuente C, Gupta MV, Klase Z, Strouss K, Cahan P, McCaffery T, Galante A, Soteropoulos P, Pumfery A, Fujii M, Kashanchi F
Involvement of HTLV-I Tax and CREB in aneuploidy: a bioinformatics approach.
Retrovirology. 2006;343.
BACKGROUND: Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) is a complex and multifaceted disease associated with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-I) infection. Tax, the viral oncoprotein, is considered a major contributor to cell cycle deregulation in HTLV-I transformed cells by either directly disrupting cellular factors (protein-protein interactions) or altering their transcription profile. Tax transactivates these cellular promoters by interacting with transcription factors such as CREB/ATF, NF-kappaB, and SRF. Therefore by examining which factors upregulate a particular set of promoters we may begin to understand how Tax orchestrates leukemia development. RESULTS: We observed that CTLL cells stably expressing wild-type Tax (CTLL/WT) exhibited aneuploidy as compared to a Tax clone deficient for CREB transactivation (CTLL/703). To better understand the contribution of Tax transactivation through the CREB/ATF pathway to the aneuploid phenotype, we performed microarray analysis comparing CTLL/WT to CTLL/703 cells. Promoter analysis of altered genes revealed that a subset of these genes contain CREB/ATF consensus sequences. While these genes had diverse functions, smaller subsets of genes were found to be involved in G2/M phase regulation, in particular kinetochore assembly. Furthermore, we confirmed the presence of CREB, Tax and RNA Polymerase II at the p97Vcp and Sgt1 promoters in vivo through chromatin immunoprecipitation in CTLL/WT cells. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the development of aneuploidy in Tax-expressing cells may occur in response to an alteration in the transcription profile, in addition to direct protein interactions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ramakrishnan R, Mehta R, Sundaravaradan V, Davis T, Ahmad N
Characterization of HIV-1 envelope gp41 genetic diversity and functional domains following perinatal transmission.
Retrovirology. 2006;342.
BACKGROUND: HIV-1 envelope gp41 is a transmembrane protein that promotes fusion of the virus with the plasma membrane of the host cells required for virus entry. In addition, gp41 is an important target for the immune response and development of antiviral and vaccine strategies, especially when targeting the highly variable envelope gp120 has not met with resounding success. Mutations in gp41 may affect HIV-1 entry, replication, pathogenesis, and transmission. We, therefore, characterized the molecular properties of gp41, including genetic diversity, functional motifs, and evolutionary dynamics from five mother-infant pairs following perinatal transmission. RESULTS: The gp41 open reading frame (ORF) was maintained with a frequency of 84.17% in five mother-infant pairs' sequences following perinatal transmission. There was a low degree of viral heterogeneity and estimates of genetic diversity in gp41 sequences. Both mother and infant gp41 sequences were under positive selection pressure, as determined by ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions. Phylogenetic analysis of 157 mother-infant gp41 sequences revealed distinct clusters for each mother-infant pair, suggesting that the epidemiologically linked mother-infant pairs were evolutionarily closer to each other as compared with epidemiologically unlinked sequences. The functional domains of gp41, including fusion peptide, heptad repeats, glycosylation sites and lentiviral lytic peptides were mostly conserved in gp41 sequences analyzed in this study. The CTL recognition epitopes and motifs recognized by fusion inhibitors were also conserved in the five mother-infant pairs. CONCLUSION: The maintenance of an intact envelope gp41 ORF with conserved functional domains and a low degree of genetic variability as well as positive selection pressure for adaptive evolution following perinatal transmission is consistent with an indispensable role of envelope gp41 in HIV-1 replication and pathogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cheynet V, Oriol G, Mallet F
Identification of the hASCT2-binding domain of the Env ERVWE1/syncytin-1 fusogenic glycoprotein.
Retrovirology. 2006;341.
The cellular HERV-W envelope/syncytin-1 protein, encoded by the envelope gene of the ERVWE1 proviral locus is a fusogenic glycoprotein probably involved in the formation of the placental syncytiotrophoblast layer. Syncytin-1-induced in vitro cell-cell fusion is dependent on the interaction with hASCT2. As no receptor binding domain has been clearly defined in the SU of neither the HERV-W Env nor the retroviruses of the same interference group, we designed an in vitro binding assay to evaluate the interaction of the HERV-W envelope with the hASCT2 receptor. Using truncated HERV-W SU subunits, a region consisting of the N-terminal 124 amino acids of the mature SU glycoprotein was determined as the minimal receptor-binding domain. This domain contains several sub-domains which are poorly conserved among retroviruses of this interference group but a region of 18 residus containing the SDGGGX2DX2R conserved motif was proved to be essential for syncytin-1-hASCT2 interaction. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Njai HF, Gali Y, Vanham G, Clybergh C, Jennes W, Vidal N, Butel C, Mpoudi-Ngolle E, Peeters M, Ariën KK
The predominance of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form 02 (CRF02_AG) in West Central Africa may be related to its replicative fitness.
Retrovirology. 2006;340.
BACKGROUND: CRF02_AG is the predominant HIV strain circulating in West and West Central Africa. The aim of this study was to test whether this predominance is associated with a higher in vitro replicative fitness relative to parental subtype A and G viruses. Primary HIV-1 isolates (10 CRF02_AG, 5 subtype A and 5 subtype G) were obtained from a well-described Cameroonian cohort. Growth competition experiments were carried out at equal multiplicity of infection in activated T cells and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MO-DC) in parallel. RESULTS: Dual infection/competition experiments in activated T cells clearly indicated that CRF02_AG isolates had a significant replication advantage over the subtype A and subtype G viruses. The higher fitness of CRF02_AG was evident for isolates from patients with CD4+ T cell counts >200 cells/microL (non-AIDS) or CD4+ T cell counts <200 cells/microL (AIDS), and was independent of the co-receptor tropism. In MO-DC cultures, CRF02_AG isolates showed a slightly but not significantly higher replication advantage compared to subtype A or G isolates. CONCLUSION: We observed a higher ex vivo replicative fitness of CRF02_AG isolates compared to subtype A and G viruses from the same geographic region and showed that this was independent of the co-receptor tropism and irrespective of high or low CD4+ T cell count. This advantage in replicative fitness may contribute to the dominant spread of CRF02_AG over A and G subtypes in West and West Central Africa. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Binley JM, Ngo-Abdalla S, Moore P, Bobardt M, Chatterji U, Gallay P, Burton DR, Wilson IA, Elder JH, de Parseval A
Inhibition of HIV Env binding to cellular receptors by monoclonal antibody 2G12 as probed by Fc-tagged gp120.
Retrovirology. 2006;339.
During natural HIV infection, an array of host receptors are thought to influence virus attachment and the kinetics of infection. In this study, to probe the interactions of HIV envelope (Env) with various receptors, we assessed the inhibitory properties of various anti-Env monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in binding assays. To assist in detecting Env in attachment assays, we generated Fc fusions of full-length wild-type gp120 and several variable loop-deleted gp120s. Through investigation of the inhibition of Env binding to cell lines expressing CD4, CCR5, DC-SIGN, syndecans or combinations thereof, we found that the broadly neutralizing mAb, 2G12, directed to a unique carbohydrate epitope of gp120, inhibited Env-CCR5 binding, partially inhibited Env-DC-SIGN binding, but had no effect on Env-syndecan association. Furthermore, 2G12 inhibited Env attachment to primary monocyte-derived dendritic cells, that expressed CD4 and CCR5 primary HIV receptors, as well as DC-SIGN, and suggested that the dual activities of 2G12 could be valuable in vivo for inhibiting initial virus dissemination and propagation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Arhel NJ, Souquere-Besse S, Charneau P
Wild-type and central DNA flap defective HIV-1 lentiviral vector genomes: intracellular visualization at ultrastructural resolution levels.
Retrovirology. 2006;338.
HIV-1 and other lentiviruses have the unique ability among retroviruses to efficiently replicate in non-dividing cells as a result of the active nuclear import of their DNA genome across an interphasic nuclear membrane. Previous work has shown that a three-stranded DNA structure synthesized during HIV-1 reverse transcription, called the central DNA flap, acts as a cis-determinant of HIV-1 genome nuclear import. Concordantly, DNA Flap re-insertion in lentiviral-derived gene therapy vectors stimulates gene transfer efficiencies and complements the level of nuclear import to wild-type levels quantitatively indistinguishable from wild-type virus in all cell types and tissues examined so far. In order to define the precise nature of the replicative defect of DNA flap mutant viruses, we carried out in situ DNA hybridization experiments with electron microscopy to determine the subcellular localization of DNA flap mutant and wild-type HIV-1 genomes. We found that Flap defective DNA genomes accumulate at the cytoplasmic face of the nuclear membrane with no overlap across the nuclear membrane, whereas wild-type genomes localize throughout the nuclear compartment. These data provide an unequivocal confirmation of the role of the DNA flap in HIV-1 nuclear import and further establish that the DNA flap controls a step that immediately precedes translocation through the nuclear pore. Further, the widespread distribution of wild-type genomes within the open chromatin confirms the recent genome-wide mapping of HIV-1 cDNA integration sites and points to an as-yet poorly understood step of intranuclear transport of HIV-1 pre-integration complexes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ploquin MJ, Desoutter JF, Santos PR, Pandrea I, Diop OM, Hosmalin A, Butor C, Barre-Sinoussi F, Müller-Trutwin MC
Distinct expression profiles of TGF-beta1 signaling mediators in pathogenic SIVmac and non-pathogenic SIVagm infections.
Retrovirology. 2006;337.
BACKGROUND: The generalized T-cell activation characterizing HIV-1 and SIVmac infections in humans and macaques (MACs) is not found in the non-pathogenic SIVagm infection in African green monkeys (AGMs). We have previously shown that TGF-beta1, Foxp3 and IL-10 are induced very early after SIVagm infection. In SIVmac-infected MACs, plasma TGF-beta1 induction persists during primary infection 1. We raised the hypothesis that MACs are unable to respond to TGF-beta1 and thus cannot resorb virus-driven inflammation. We therefore compared the very early expression dynamics of pro- and anti-inflammatory markers as well as of factors involved in the TGF-beta1 signaling pathway in SIV-infected AGMs and MACs. METHODS: Levels of transcripts encoding for pro- and anti-inflammatory markers (tnf-alpha, ifn-gamma, il-10, t-bet, gata-3) as well as for TGF-beta1 signaling mediators (smad3, smad4, smad7) were followed by real time PCR in a prospective study enrolling 6 AGMs and 6 MACs. RESULTS: During primary SIVmac infection, up-regulations of tnf-alpha, ifn-gamma and t-bet responses (days 1-16 p.i.) were stronger whereas il-10 response was delayed (4th week p.i.) compared to SIVagm infection. Up-regulation of smad7 (days 3-8 p.i.), a cellular mediator inhibiting the TGF-beta1 signaling cascade, characterized SIV-infected MACs. In AGMs, we found increases of gata-3 but not t-bet, a longer lasting up-regulation of smad4 (days 1-21 p.i), a mediator enhancing TGF-beta1 signaling, and no smad7 up-regulations. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that the inability to resorb virus-driven inflammation and activation during the pathogenic HIV-1/SIVmac infections is associated with an unresponsiveness to TGF-beta1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kfutwah AK, Mary JY, Nicola MA, Blaise-Boisseau S, Barré-Sinoussi F, Ayouba A, Menu E
Tumour necrosis factor-alpha stimulates HIV-1 replication in single-cycle infection of human term placental villi fragments in a time, viral dose and envelope dependent manner.
Retrovirology. 2006;336.
BACKGROUND: The placenta plays an important role in the control of in utero HIV-1 mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Proinflammatory cytokines in the placental environment are particularly implicated in this control. We thus investigated the effect of TNF-alpha on HIV-1 expression in human placental tissues in vitro. RESULTS: Human placental chorionic villi fragments were infected with varying doses of luciferase reporter HIV-1 pseudotypes with the R5, X4-Env or the vesicular stomatitis virus protein G (VSV-G). Histocultures were then performed in the presence or absence of recombinant human TNF-alpha. Luciferase activity was measured at different time points in cell lysates or on whole fragments using ex vivo imaging systems.A significant increase in viral expression was detected in placental fragments infected with 0.2 ng of p24 antigen/fragment (P = 0.002) of VSV-G pseudotyped HIV-1 in the presence of TNF-alpha seen after 120 hours of culture. A time independent significant increase of viral expression by TNF-alpha was observed with higher doses of VSV-G pseudotyped HIV-1. When placental fragments were infected with R5-Env pseudotyped HIV-1, a low level of HIV expression at 168 hours of culture was detected for 3 of the 5 placentas tested, with no statistically significant enhancement by TNF-alpha. Infection with X4-Env pseudotyped HIV-1 did not lead to any detectable luciferase activity at any time point in the absence or in the presence of TNF-alpha. CONCLUSION: TNF-alpha in the placental environment increases HIV-1 expression and could facilitate MTCT of HIV-1, particularly in an inflammatory context. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Virology Journal

Zhang Y, Zhu Z, Rota PA, Jiang X, Hu J, Wang J, Tang W, Zhang Z, Li C, Wang C, Wang T, Zheng L, Tian H, Ling H, Zhao C, Ma Y, Lin C, He J, Tian J, Ma Y, Li P, Guan R, He W, Zhou J, Liu G, Zhang H, Yan X, Yang X, Zhang J, Lu Y, Zhou S, Ba Z, Liu W, Yang X, Ma Y, Liang Y, Li Y, Ji Y, Featherstone D, Bellini WJ, Xu S, Liang G, Xu W
Molecular epidemiology of measles viruses in China, 1995-2003.
Virol J. 2007;414.
This report describes the genetic characterization of 297 wild-type measles viruses that were isolated in 24 provinces of China between 1995 and 2003. Phylogenetic analysis of the N gene sequences showed that all of the isolates belonged to genotype H1 except 3 isolates, which were genotype A. The nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid homologies of the 294-genotype H1 strains were 94.7%-100% and 93.3%-100%, respectively. The genotype H1 isolates were divided into 2 clusters, which differed by approximately 2.9% at the nucleotide level. Viruses from both clusters were distributed throughout China with no apparent geographic restriction and multiple co-circulating lineages were present in many provinces. Even though other measles genotypes have been detected in countries that border China, this report shows that genotype H1 is widely distributed throughout the country and that China has a single, endemic genotype. This important baseline data will help to monitor the progress of measles control in China. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Workenhe ST, Wadowska DW, Wright GM, Kibenge MJ, Kibenge FS
Demonstration of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) endocytosis in erythrocytes of Atlantic salmon.
Virol J. 2007;413.
Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus (ISAV) is a fish orthomyxovirus that has recently been assigned to the new genus Isavirus within the family Orthomyxoviridae. It possesses the major functional characteristics of the virus family including haemagglutinating, receptor destroying enzyme (RDE), and fusion activities associated with the virion surface proteins. It is generally accepted that ISAV agglutinates erythrocytes of several fish species and that the ISAV RDE activity dissolves this haemagglutination reaction except for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) erythrocytes. We used electron microscopy to examine the physical interaction between ISAV and erythrocytes from Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during haemagglutination. We present evidence that ISAV enters into Atlantic salmon erythrocytes. Atlantic salmon erythrocytes incubated with ISAV for 4 hours showed endocytosis of the virus particles, which is consistent with virus infection. These observations suggest that the lack of dissolution of ISAV-induced haemagglutination of Atlantic salmon erythrocytes favours virus infection of the erythrocytes. Moreover, such a haemagglutination-infection phenotype is fundamentally different from haemagglutination by avian and mammalian orthomyxoviruses, and is indicative of a different pathogenesis for the fish orthomyxovirus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Keller J, Leulliot N, Cambillau C, Campanacci V, Porciero S, Prangishvilli D, Forterre P, Cortez D, Quevillon-Cheruel S, van Tilbeurgh H
Crystal structure of AFV3-109, a highly conserved protein from crenarchaeal viruses.
Virol J. 2007;412.
The extraordinary morphologies of viruses infecting hyperthermophilic archaea clearly distinguish them from bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. Moreover, their genomes code for proteins that to a large extend have no related sequences in the extent databases. However, a small pool of genes is shared by overlapping subsets of these viruses, and the most conserved gene, exemplified by the ORF109 of the Acidianus Filamentous Virus 3, AFV3, is present on genomes of members of three viral familes, the Lipothrixviridae, Rudiviridae, and "Bicaudaviridae", as well as of the unclassified Sulfolobus Turreted Icosahedral Virus, STIV. We present here the crystal structure of the protein (Mr = 13.1 kD, 109 residues) encoded by the AFV3 ORF 109 in two different crystal forms at 1.5 and 1.3 A resolution. The structure of AFV3-109 is a five stranded beta-sheet with loops on one side and three helices on the other. It forms a dimer adopting the shape of a cradle that encompasses the best conserved regions of the sequence. No protein with a related fold could be identified except for the ortholog from STIV1, whose structure was deposited at the Protein Data Bank. We could clearly identify a well bound glycerol inside the cradle, contacting exclusively totally conserved residues. This interaction was confirmed in solution by fluorescence titration. Although the function of AFV3-109 cannot be deduced directly from its structure, structural homology with the STIV1 protein, and the size and charge distribution of the cavity suggested it could interact with nucleic acids. Fluorescence quenching titrations also showed that AFV3-109 interacts with dsDNA. Genomic sequence analysis revealed bacterial homologs of AFV3-109 as a part of a putative previously unidentified prophage sequences in some Firmicutes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Eaton HE, Metcalf J, Penny E, Tcherepanov V, Upton C, Brunetti CR
Comparative genomic analysis of the family Iridoviridae: re-annotating and defining the core set of iridovirus genes.
Virol J. 2007;411.
BACKGROUND: Members of the family Iridoviridae can cause severe diseases resulting in significant economic and environmental losses. Very little is known about how iridoviruses cause disease in their host. In the present study, we describe the re-analysis of the Iridoviridae family of complex DNA viruses using a variety of comparative genomic tools to yield a greater consensus among the annotated sequences of its members. RESULTS: A series of genomic sequence comparisons were made among, and between the Ranavirus and Megalocytivirus genera in order to identify novel conserved ORFs. Of these two genera, the Megalocytivirus genomes required the greatest number of altered annotations. Prior to our re-analysis, the Megalocytivirus species orange-spotted grouper iridovirus and rock bream iridovirus shared 99% sequence identity, but only 82 out of 118 potential ORFs were annotated; in contrast, we predict that these species share an identical complement of genes. These annotation changes allowed the redefinition of the group of core genes shared by all iridoviruses. Seven new core genes were identified, bringing the total number to 26. CONCLUSION: Our re-analysis of genomes within the Iridoviridae family provides a unifying framework to understand the biology of these viruses. Further re-defining the core set of iridovirus genes will continue to lead us to a better understanding of the phylogenetic relationships between individual iridoviruses as well as giving us a much deeper understanding of iridovirus replication. In addition, this analysis will provide a better framework for characterizing and annotating currently unclassified iridoviruses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mubin M, Mansoor S, Hussain M, Zafar Y
Silencing of the AV2 gene by antisense RNA protects transgenic plants against a bipartite begomovirus.
Virol J. 2007;410.
Whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses (genus Begomovirus) are phytopathogens that cause heavy losses to crops worldwide. Efforts to engineer resistance against these viruses are focused mainly on silencing of complementary-sense virus genes involved in virus replication. Here we have targeted a virion-sense gene (AV2) to develop resistance against Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus, a bipartite begomovirus prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent. We show that tobacco plants transformed with an antisense construct targeting this gene are resistant to the virus. Following challenged with the virus, transgenic plants remained symptomless, although viral DNA could be detected in some plants by PCR. This is the first report of transgenic resistance against a bipartite begomovirus obtained by targeting a virion-sense gene. The relatively conserved nature of the gene suggests that the technology may be useful to develop broad-spectrum resistance which is required because of the fact that plants are often infected with multiple begomoviruses in the field. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Coleman JR
The PB1-F2 protein of Influenza A virus: increasing pathogenicity by disrupting alveolar macrophages.
Virol J. 2007;49.
With the prospect of another pandemic Influenza fresh in our consciousness, the pathogenic nature of the Influenza A virus and its ability to induce high rates of mortality are ever more pertinent. Recently a novel protein encoded by an alternate reading frame in the PB1 Gene segment of Influenza A virus has been discovered and in turn shown to enhance viral virulence in a mouse model 1. This protein has been shown to specifically target and destroy alveolar macrophages 2. This review suggests that this protein, present in all previous pandemic strains, may reappear as a virulence factor in a subsequent pandemic strain. This PB1-F2 protein will enhance the mortality rate of the virus by increasing the likelihood of a secondary bacterial infection, which is the primary cause of death to a patient infected with Influenza A. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sliva K, Schnierle B
From actually toxic to highly specific--novel drugs against poxviruses.
Virol J. 2007;48.
The potential use of variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox, as a bioweapon and the endemic presence of monkeypox virus in Africa demonstrate the need for better therapies for orthopoxvirus infections. Chemotherapeutic approaches to control viral infections have been less successful than those targeting bacterial infections. While bacteria commonly reproduce themselves outside of cells and have metabolic functions against which antibiotics can be directed, viruses replicate in the host cells using the cells' metabolic pathways. This makes it very difficult to selectively target the virus without damaging the host. Therefore, the development of antiviral drugs against poxviruses has initially focused on unique properties of the viral replication cycle or of viral proteins that can be selectively targeted. However, recent advances in molecular biology have provided insights into host factors that represent novel drug targets. The latest anti-poxvirus drugs are kinase inhibitors, which were originally developed to treat cancer progression but in addition block egress of poxviruses from infected cells. This review will summarize the current understanding of anti-poxvirus drugs and will give an overview of the development of the latest second generation poxvirus drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bhattacharya B, Noad RJ, Roy P
Interaction between Bluetongue virus outer capsid protein VP2 and vimentin is necessary for virus egress.
Virol J. 2007;47.
BACKGROUND: The VP2 outer capsid protein Bluetongue Virus (BTV) is responsible for receptor binding, haemagglutination and eliciting host-specific immunity. However, the assembly of this outer capsid protein on the transcriptionally active viral core would block transcription of the virus. Thus assembly of the outer capsid on the core particle must be a tightly controlled process during virus maturation. Earlier studies have detected mature virus particles associated with intermediate filaments in virus infected cells but the viral determinant for this association and the effect of disrupting intermediate filaments on virus assembly and release are unknown. RESULTS: In this study it is demonstrated that BTV VP2 associates with vimentin in both virus infected cells and in the absence of other viral proteins. Further, the determinants of vimentin localisation are mapped to the N-terminus of the protein and deletions of amino acids between residues 65 and 114 are shown to disrupt VP2-vimentin association. Site directed mutation also reveals that amino acid residues Gly 70 and Val 72 are important in the VP2-vimentin association. Mutation of these amino acids resulted in a soluble VP2 capable of forming trimeric structures similar to unmodified protein that no longer associated with vimentin. Furthermore, pharmacological disruption of intermediate filaments, either directly or indirectly through the disruption of the microtubule network, inhibited virus release from BTV infected cells. CONCLUSION: The principal findings of the research are that the association of mature BTV particles with intermediate filaments are driven by the interaction of VP2 with vimentin and that this interaction contributes to virus egress. Furthermore, i) the N-terminal 118 amino acids of VP2 are sufficient to confer vimentin interaction. ii) Deletion of amino acids 65-114 or mutation of amino acids 70-72 to DVD abrogates vimentin association. iii) Finally, disruption of vimentin structures results in an increase in cell associated BTV and a reduction in the amount of released virus from infected cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ruiz-Tachiquín ME, Valdez-Salazar HA, Juárez-Barreto V, Dehesa-Violante M, Torres J, Muñoz-Hernández O, Alvarez-Muñoz MT
Molecular analysis of hepatitis B virus "a" determinant in asymptomatic and symptomatic Mexican carriers.
Virol J. 2007;46.
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small DNA-containing virus with 4 genes, C, S, X and P. The S gene codes for the surface antigen (HBsAg), which contains the "a" determinant, the main region for induction of a protective humoral immune response. To compare the genotype and sequence of the "a" determinant between strains isolated from asymptomatic and symptomatic Mexican HBV carriers. RESULTS: 21 asymptomatic (blood donors) and 12 symptomatic (with clinical signs and with >1 year lamivudine treatment) HBV carriers were studied; all patients were positive for the HBsAg in serum. Viral load, genotypes, and subtypes were determined in plasma. A fragment of the S gene including the "a" determinant was PCR amplified and sequenced to determine genotype, subtype and to identify mutations. Mean viral load was 0.7965 x 104 copies/ml in asymptomatic carriers and 2.73 x 106 copies/ml in symptomatic patients. Genotypes H, C, and F were identified in asymptomatic individuals; whereas H was dominant in symptomatic patients. A fragment of 279 bp containing the "a" determinant was amplified from all 33 carriers and sequences aligned with S gene sequences in the GenBank. Mutations identified were Y100N, T126I, Q129H and N146K in the asymptomatic group, and F93I and A128V in the symptomatic group. CONCLUSION: Differences in genotype and in mutations in the "a" determinant were found between strains from asymptomatic and symptomatic HBV Mexican carriers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yu W, McCulley A, Morrow CD
Mutations in the TPsiC loop of E. coli tRNALys,3 have varied effects on in trans complementation of HIV-1 replication.
Virol J. 2007;45.
BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) exclusively selects and utilizes tRNALys,3 as the primer for initiation of reverse transcription. Several elements within the TPsiC stem loop of tRNALys,3 are postulated to be important for selection and use in reverse transcription. The post-transcriptional modification at nucleotide 58 could play a role during plus-strand synthesis to stop reverse transcriptase from re-copying the tRNA primer. Nucleotides 53 and 54 within the TPsiC stem loop of the tRNA have been shown to be important to form the complex between tRNA and the HIV-1 viral genome during initiation of reverse transcription. RESULTS: To further delineate the features of the TPsiC stem loop of tRNALys,3 in reverse transcription, we have developed a complementation system in which E. coli tRNALys,3 is provided in trans to an HIV-1 genome in which the PBS is complementary to this tRNA. Successful selection and use of E. coli tRNALys,3 results in the production of infectious virus. We have used this single round infectious system to ascertain the effects that different mutants in the TPsiC stem loop of tRNALys,3 have on complementation. Mutants were designed within the TPsiC loop (nucleotide 58) and within the stem and loop of the TPsiC loop (nucleotides 53 and 54). Analysis of the expression of E. coli tRNALys,3 mutants revealed differences in the capacity for aminoacylation, which is an indication of intracellular stability of the tRNA. Alteration of nucleotide 58 from A to U (A58U), T54G and TG5453CC all resulted in tRNALys,3 that was aminoacylated when expressed in cells, while a T54C mutation resulted in a tRNALys,3 that was not aminoacylated. Both the A58U and T54G mutated tRNALys,3 complemented HIV-1 replication similar to wild type E. coli tRNALys,3. In contrast, the TG5453CC tRNALys,3 mutant did not complement replication. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that post-transcriptional modification of nucleotide 58 in tRNALys,3 is not essential for HIV-1 reverse transcription. In contrast, nucleotides 53 and 54 of tRNALys,3 are important for aminoacylation and selection and use of the tRNALys,3 in reverse transcription. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ni N, Xu W, Morrow CD
Importance of A-loop complementarity with tRNAHis anticodon for continued selection of tRNAHis as the HIV reverse transcription primer.
Virol J. 2007;44.
BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) preferentially selects tRNALys,3 as the primer for reverse transcription. HIV-1 can be forced to select alternative tRNAs through mutation in the primer-binding site (PBS) and a region upstream of the PBS designated as the A-loop. Alteration of the PBS and A-loop to be complementary to the 3' terminal nucleotides and anticodon of tRNAHis results in HIV-1 that can stably utilize this tRNA for replication. RESULTS: In the current study, we have investigated the effect that mutations within the A-loop have on the stability of HIV-1 with a PBS complementary to tRNAHis. For these studies, we have altered the A-loop to be complementary to tRNAMet, tRNAGln, tRNAIle, tRNAThr and tRNASer. All substitutions of the A-loops with the PBS complementary to tRNAHis resulted in a reduction of infectious virus obtained following transfection of proviral genomes in the 293T cells. Virus replication in SupT1 cells was also impaired as a result of the alteration of the A-loop. Viruses with the A-loop complementary to tRNALys,3 and tRNASer reverted to utilize tRNALys,3 following in vitro replication. In contrast, viruses with the A-loop complementary to the other tRNAs remained stable and continued to use tRNAHis. RNA modeling of the stem-loop structure revealed that nucleotides were displayed on the loop region that could potentially interact with the anticodon of tRNAHis. To further explore the effects of the A-loop mutations on virus replication, the A-loops complementary to tRNASer or tRNAHis were cloned into the wild type genome with the PBS complementary to tRNALys,3. Transfection of proviral genomes which contained the wild type PBS and A-loops complementary to tRNASer or tRNAHis into 293 T cells did not impact on the production of viruses as measured by p24 antigen ELISA. However, viruses with the A-loop complementary to tRNAHis had greatly reduced infectivity and replicated poorly in SupT1 compared to the wild type or viruses with the A-loop complementary to tRNASer. CONCLUSION: These studies demonstrate that complementarity of A-loop region with the anticodon of tRNAHis has a pronounced effect on the capacity of HIV-1 to utilize tRNAHis as the primer for reverse transcription. Complementarity between A-loop and anticodon of the tRNA then is important for the selection of the tRNA primer used for reverse transcription. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bishop B, Dasgupta J, Chen XS
Structure-based engineering of papillomavirus major capsid l1: controlling particle assembly.
Virol J. 2007;43.
The outer shell of the papillomavirus particle is comprised of 72 pentamers of the major capsid L1 protein arranged on a T = 7 icosahedral lattice. The recombinant L1 can form T = 7 virus-like particles in vitro. The crystal structure of a T = 7 papilloma virion has not yet been determined; however, the crystal structure of a T = 1 particle containing 12 pentamers is known. The T = 1 structure reveals that helix-helix interactions, through three helices-h2, h3, and h4-near the C-terminus of L1, mediate the inter-pentameric bonding that is responsible for T = 1 assembly. Based on the T = 1 crystal structure, we have generated a set of internal deletions to test the role of the three C-terminal helices in T = 7 assembly. We have demonstrated that the h2, h3, and h4 near the C-terminal end of L1 are important for the L1 structure and particle assembly. In particular, we found that h2 and h3 are essential for L1 folding and pentamer formation, whereas h4 is indispensable for the assembly of not only T1, but also of the T7 virus-like particle. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Legoff J, Bouhlal H, Lecerf M, Klein C, Hocini H, Si-Mohamed A, Muggeridge M, Bélec L
HSV-2- and HIV-1- permissive cell lines co-infected by HSV-2 and HIV-1 co-replicate HSV-2 and HIV-1 without production of HSV-2/HIV-1 pseudotype particles.
Virol J. 2007;42.
BACKGROUND: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a major cofactor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sexual acquisition and transmission. In the present study, we investigated whether HIV-1 and HSV-2 may interact at the cellular level by forming HIV-1 hybrid virions pseudotyped with HSV-2 envelope glycoproteins, as was previously reported for HSV type 1. METHODS: We evaluated in vitro the production of HSV-2/HIV-1 pseudotypes in mononuclear CEM cells and epithelial HT29 and P4P cells. We analyzed the incorporation into the HIV-1 membrane of HSV-2 gB and gD, two major HSV-2 glycoproteins required for HSV-2 fusion with the cell membrane, in co-infected cells and in HIV-1-infected P4P cells transfected by plasmids coding for gB or gD. RESULTS: We show that HSV-2 and HIV-1 co-replicated in dually infected cells, and gB and gD were co-localized with gp160. However, HIV-1 particles, produced in HIV-1-infected cells expressing gB or gD after transfection or HSV-2 superinfection, did not incorporate either gB or gD in the viral membrane, and did not have the capacity to infect cells normally non-permissive for HIV-1, such as epithelial cells. CONCLUSION: Our results do not support the hypothesis of HSV-2/HIV-1 pseudotype formation and involvement in the synergistic genital interactions between HIV-1 and HSV-2. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Patch JR, Crameri G, Wang LF, Eaton BT, Broder CC
Quantitative analysis of Nipah virus proteins released as virus-like particles reveals central role for the matrix protein.
Virol J. 2007;41.
BACKGROUND: Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging paramyxovirus distinguished by its ability to cause fatal disease in both animal and human hosts. Together with Hendra virus (HeV), they comprise the genus Henipavirus in the Paramyxoviridae family. NiV and HeV are also restricted to Biosafety Level-4 containment and this has hampered progress towards examining details of their replication and morphogenesis. Here, we have established recombinant expression systems to study NiV particle assembly and budding through the formation of virus-like particles (VLPs). RESULTS: When expressed by recombinant Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA) or plasmid transfection, individual NiV matrix (M), fusion (F) and attachment (G) proteins were all released into culture supernatants in a membrane-associated state as determined by sucrose density gradient flotation and immunoprecipitation. However, co-expression of F and G along with M revealed a shift in their distribution across the gradient, indicating association with M in VLPs. Protein release was also altered depending on the context of viral proteins being expressed, with F, G and nucleocapsid (N) protein reducing M release, and N release dependent on the co-expression of M. Immunoelectron microscopy and density analysis revealed VLPs that were similar to authentic virus. Differences in the budding dynamics of NiV proteins were also noted between rMVA and plasmid based strategies, suggesting that over-expression by poxvirus may not be appropriate for studying the details of recombinant virus particle assembly and release. CONCLUSION: Taken together, the results indicate that NiV M, F, and G each possess some ability to bud from expressing cells, and that co-expression of these viral proteins results in a more organized budding process with M playing a central role. These findings will aid our understanding of paramyxovirus particle assembly in general and could help facilitate the development of a novel vaccine approach for henipaviruses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dijkman R, Jebbink MF, Wilbrink B, Pyrc K, Zaaijer HL, Minor PD, Franklin S, Berkhout B, Thiel V, van der Hoek L
Human coronavirus 229E encodes a single ORF4 protein between the spike and the envelope genes.
Virol J. 2006;3106.
BACKGROUND: The genome of coronaviruses contains structural and non-structural genes, including several so-called accessory genes. All group 1b coronaviruses encode a single accessory protein between the spike and envelope genes, except for human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E. The prototype virus has a split gene, encoding the putative ORF4a and ORF4b proteins. To determine whether primary HCoV-229E isolates exhibit this unusual genome organization, we analyzed the ORF4a/b region of five current clinical isolates from The Netherlands and three early isolates collected at the Common Cold Unit (CCU) in Salisbury, UK. RESULTS: All Dutch isolates were identical in the ORF4a/b region at amino acid level. All CCU isolates are only 98% identical to the Dutch isolates at the nucleotide level, but more closely related to the prototype HCoV-229E (>98%). Remarkably, our analyses revealed that the laboratory adapted, prototype HCoV-229E has a 2-nucleotide deletion in the ORF4a/b region, whereas all clinical isolates carry a single ORF, 660 nt in size, encoding a single protein of 219 amino acids, which is a homologue of the ORF3 proteins encoded by HCoV-NL63 and PEDV. CONCLUSION: Thus, the genome organization of the group 1b coronaviruses HCoV-NL63, PEDV and HCoV-229E is identical. It is possible that extensive culturing of the HCoV-229E laboratory strain resulted in truncation of ORF4. This may indicate that the protein is not essential in cell culture, but the highly conserved amino acid sequence of the ORF4 protein among clinical isolates suggests that the protein plays an important role in vivo. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Delboy MG, Patterson JL, Hollander AM, Nicola AV
Nectin-2-mediated entry of a syncytial strain of herpes simplex virus via pH-independent fusion with the plasma membrane of Chinese hamster ovary cells.
Virol J. 2006;3105.
BACKGROUND: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can utilize multiple pathways to enter host cells. The factors that determine which route is taken are not clear. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells that express glycoprotein D (gD)-binding receptors are model cells that support a pH-dependent, endocytic entry pathway for all HSV strains tested to date. Fusion-from-without (FFWO) is the induction of target cell fusion by addition of intact virions to cell monolayers in the absence of viral protein expression. The receptor requirements for HSV-induced FFWO are not known. We used the syncytial HSV-1 strain ANG path as a tool to evaluate the complex interplay between receptor usage, membrane fusion, and selection of entry pathway. RESULTS: Inhibitors of endocytosis and endosome acidification blocked ANG path entry into CHO cells expressing nectin-1 receptors, but not CHO-nectin-2 cells. Thus, under these conditions, nectin-2 mediates pH-independent entry at the plasma membrane. In addition, CHO-nectin-2 cells supported pH-dependent, endocytic entry of different strains of HSV-1, including rid1 and HFEM. The kinetics of ANG path entry was rapid (t1/2 of 5-10 min) regardless of entry route. However, HSV-1 ANG path entry by fusion with the CHO-nectin-2 cell plasma membrane was more efficient and resulted in larger syncytia. ANG path virions added to the surface of CHO-nectin-2 cells, but not receptor-negative CHO cells or CHO-nectin-1 cells, induced rapid FFWO. CONCLUSION: HSV-1 ANG path can enter CHO cells by either endocytic or non-endocytic pathways depending on whether nectin-1 or nectin-2 is present. In addition to these cellular receptors, one or more viral determinants is important for the selection of entry pathway. HSV-induced FFWO depends on the presence of an appropriate gD-receptor in the target membrane. Nectin-1 and nectin-2 target ANG path to divergent cellular pathways, and these receptors may have different roles in triggering viral membrane fusion. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ablan S, Rawat SS, Viard M, Wang JM, Puri A, Blumenthal R
The role of cholesterol and sphingolipids in chemokine receptor function and HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein-mediated fusion.
Virol J. 2006;3104.
BACKGROUND: HIV-1 entry into cells is a multifaceted process involving target cell CD4 and the chemokine receptors, CXCR4 or CCR5. The lipid composition of the host cell plays a significant role in the HIV fusion process as it orchestrates the appropriate disposition of CD4 and co-receptors required for HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-mediated fusion. The cell membrane is primarily composed of sphingolipids and cholesterol. The effects of lipid modulation on CD4 disposition in the membrane and their role in HIV-1 entry have extensively been studied. To focus on the role of lipid composition on chemokine receptor function, we have by-passed the CD4 requirement for HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion by using a CD4-independent strain of HIV-1 Env. RESULTS: Cell fusion mediated by a CD4-independent strain of HIV-1 Env was monitored by observing dye transfer between Env-expressing cells and NIH3T3 cells bearing CXCR4 or CCR5 in the presence or absence of CD4. Chemokine receptor signaling was assessed by monitoring changes in intracellular [Ca2+] mobilization induced by CCR5 or CXCR4 ligand. To modulate target membrane cholesterol or sphingolipids we used Methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MbetaCD) or 1-phenyl-2-hexadecanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PPMP), respectively. Treatment of the target cells with these agents did not change the levels of CD4 or CXCR4, but reduced levels of CCR5 on the cell surface. Chemokine receptor signalling was inhibited by cholesterol removal but not by treatment with PPMP. HIV-1 Env mediated fusion was inhibited by >50% by cholesterol removal. Overall, PPMP treatment appeared to slow down the rates of CD4-independent HIV-1 Env-mediated Fusion. However, in the case of CXCR4-dependent fusion, the differences between untreated and PPMP-treated cells did not appear to be significant. CONCLUSION: Although modulation of cholesterol and sphingolipids has similar effects on CD4-dependent HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion, sphingolipid modulation had little effect on CD4-independent HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion. Chemokine receptor function remained intact following treatment of cells with PPMP. Therefore such treatment may be considered a more suitable agent to inhibit CD4 dependent HIV-1 infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hraber PT, Fischer W, Bruno WJ, Leitner T, Kuiken C
Comparative analysis of hepatitis C virus phylogenies from coding and non-coding regions: the 5' untranslated region (UTR) fails to classify subtypes.
Virol J. 2006;3103.
BACKGROUND: The duration of treatment for HCV infection is partly indicated by the genotype of the virus. For studies of disease transmission, vaccine design, and surveillance for novel variants, subtype-level classification is also needed. This study used the Shimodaira-Hasegawa test and related statistical techniques to compare phylogenetic trees obtained from coding and non-coding regions of a whole-genome alignment for the reliability of subtyping in different regions. RESULTS: Different regions of the HCV genome yield inconsistent phylogenies, which can lead to erroneous conclusions about classification of a given infection. In particular, the highly conserved 5' untranslated region (UTR) yields phylogenetic trees with topologies that differ from the HCV polyprotein and complete genome phylogenies. Phylogenetic trees from the NS5B gene reliably cluster related subtypes, and yield topologies consistent with those of the whole genome and polyprotein. CONCLUSION: These results extend those from previous studies and indicate that, unlike the NS5B gene, the 5' UTR contains insufficient variation to resolve HCV classifications to the level of viral subtype, and fails to distinguish genotypes reliably. Use of the 5' UTR for clinical tests to characterize HCV infection should be replaced by a subtype-informative test. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Feng J, Zhang M, Mozdzanowska K, Zharikova D, Hoff H, Wunner W, Couch RB, Gerhard W
Influenza A virus infection engenders a poor antibody response against the ectodomain of matrix protein 2.
Virol J. 2006;3102.
BACKGROUND: Matrix protein 2 (M2) is an integral tetrameric membrane protein of influenza A virus (IAV). Its ectodomain (M2e) shows remarkably little diversity amongst human IAV strains. As M2e-specific antibodies (Abs) have been shown to reduce the severity of infection in animals, M2e is being studied for its capability of providing protection against a broad range of IAV strains. Presently, there is little information about the concentration of M2e-specific Abs in humans. Two previous studies made use of ELISA and Western blot against M2e peptides and recombinant M2 protein as immunosorbents, respectively, and reported Ab titers to be low or undetectable. An important caveat is that these assays may not have detected all Abs capable of binding to native tetrameric M2e. Therefore, we developed an assay likely to detect all M2e tetramer-specific Abs. RESULTS: We generated a HeLa cell line that expressed full length tetrameric M2 (HeLa-M2) or empty vector (HeLa-C10) under the control of the tetracycline response element. These cell lines were then used in parallel as immunosorbents in ELISA. The assay was standardized and M2e-specific Ab titers quantified by means of purified murine or chimeric (mouse variable regions, human constant regions) M2e-specific Abs in the analysis of mouse and human sera, respectively. We found that the cell-based ELISA was substantially more effective than immobilized M2e peptide in detecting M2e-specific Abs in sera of mice that had recovered from repetitive IAV infections. Still, titers remained low (< 5 microg/ml) even after two consecutive infections but increased to approximately 50 microg/ml after the third infection. Competition with free M2e peptide indicated that approximately 20% of M2e-specific Abs engendered by infection reacted with M2e peptide. In humans presenting with naturally acquired influenza virus infection, 11 of 24 paired sera showed a > or = 4-fold increase in M2e-specific Ab titer. The Ab response appeared to be of short duration as titers were very low (average 0.2 mug/ml) in all patients at onset of infection and in controls, in spite of evidence for previous exposure to IAV. CONCLUSION: The results provide convincing evidence that M2e-specific Ab-mediated protection is currently lacking or suboptimal in humans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Howard TM, Sheng Z, Wang M, Wu Y, Rasheed S
Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of a new amphotropic murine leukemia virus (MuLV-1313).
Virol J. 2006;3101.
BACKGROUND: The amphotropic murine leukemia viruses (MuLV-A's) are naturally occurring, exogenously acquired gammaretroviruses that are indigenous to the Southern California wild mice. These viruses replicate in a wide range of cell types including human cells in vitro and they can cause both hematological and neurological disorders in feral as well as in the inbred laboratory mice. Since MuLV-A's also exhibit discrete interference and neutralization properties, the envelope proteins of these viruses have been extremely useful for studying virus-host cell interactions and as vehicles for transfer of foreign genes into a variety of hosts including human cells. However, the genomic structure of any of the several known MuLV-A's has not been established and the evolutionary relationship of amphotropic retroviruses to the numerous exogenous or endogenous MuLV strains remains elusive. Herein we present a complete genetic structure of a novel amphotropic virus designated MuLV-1313 and demonstrate that this retrovirus together with other MuLV-A's belongs to a distinct molecular, biological and phylogenetic class among the MuLV strains isolated from a large number of the laboratory inbred or feral mice. RESULTS: The host range of MuLV-1313 is similar to the previously isolated MuLV-A's except that this virus replicates efficiently in mammalian as well as in chicken cells. Compared to ENV proteins of other MuLV-A's (4070A, 1504A and 10A-1), the gp70 protein of MuLV-1313 exhibits differences in its signal peptides and the proline-rich hinge regions. However, the MuLV-1313 envelope protein is totally unrelated to those present in a broad range of murine retroviruses that have been isolated from various inbred and feral mice globally. Genetic analysis of the entire MuLV-1313 genome by dot plot analyses, which compares each nucleotide of one genome with the corresponding nucleotide of another, revealed that the genome of this virus, with the exception of the env gene, is more closely related to the biologically distinct wild mouse ecotropic retrovirus (Cas-Br-E) isolated from another region of the Southern California, than to any of the 15 MuLV strains whose full-length sequences are present in the GenBank. This finding was corroborated by phylogenetic analyses and hierarchical clustering of the entire genomic sequence of MuLV-1313, which also placed all MULV-A's in a genetically distinct category among the large family of retroviruses isolated from numerous mouse strains globally. Likewise, construction of separate dendrograms for each of the Gag, Pol and Env proteins of MuLV-1313 demonstrated that the amphotropic retroviruses belong to a phylogenetically exclusive group of gammaretroviruses compared to all known MuLV strains. CONCLUSION: The molecular, biological and phylogenetic properties of amphotropic retroviruses including MuLV-1313 are distinct compared to a large family of exogenously- or endogenously-transmitted ecotropic, polytropic and xenotropic MuLV strains of the laboratory and feral mice. Further, both the naturally occurring amphotropic and a biologically discrete ecotropic retrovirus of the Southern California wild mice are more closely related to each other on the evolutionary tree than any other mammalian gammaretrovirus indicating a common origin of these viruses. This is the first report of a complete genomic analysis of a unique group of phylogenetically distinct amphotropic virus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Prabhu R, Garry RF, Dash S
Small interfering RNA targeted to stem-loop II of the 5' untranslated region effectively inhibits expression of six HCV genotypes.
Virol J. 2006;3100.
BACKGROUND: The antiviral action of interferon alpha targets the 5' untranslated region (UTR) used by hepatitis C virus (HCV) to translate protein by an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) mechanism. Although this sequence is highly conserved among different clinical strains, approximately half of chronically infected hepatitis C patients do not respond to interferon therapy. Therefore, development of small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to the 5'UTR to inhibit IRES mediated translation may represent an alternative approach that could circumvent the problem of interferon resistance. RESULTS: Four different plasmid constructs were prepared for intracellular delivery of siRNAs targeting the stem loop II-III of HCV 5' UTR. The effect of siRNA production on IRES mediated translation was investigated using chimeric clones between the gene for green fluorescence protein (GFP) and IRES sequences of six different HCV genotypes. The siRNA targeted to stem loop II effectively mediated degradation of HCV IRES mRNA and inhibited GFP expression in the case of six different HCV genotypes, where as siRNAs targeted to stem loop III did not. Furthermore, intracytoplasmic expression of siRNA into transfected Huh-7 cells efficiently degraded HCV genomic RNA and inhibited core protein expression from infectious full-length infectious clones HCV 1a and HCV 1b strains. CONCLUSION: These in vitro studies suggest that siRNA targeted to stem-loop II is highly effective inhibiting IRES mediated translation of the major genotypes of HCV. Stem-loop II siRNA may be a good target for developing an intracellular immunization strategy based antiviral therapy to inhibit hepatitis C virus strains that are not inhibited by interferon. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Habte HH, Mall AS, de Beer C, Lotz ZE, Kahn D
The role of crude human saliva and purified salivary MUC5B and MUC7 mucins in the inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 in an inhibition assay.
Virol J. 2006;399.
BACKGROUND: Despite the continuous shedding of HIV infected blood into the oral cavity and the detectable presence of the AIDS virus at a high frequency, human saliva is reported to inhibit oral transmission of HIV through kissing, dental treatment, biting, and aerosolization. The purpose of this study was to purify salivary MUC5B and MUC7 mucins from crude saliva and determine their anti-HIV-1 activities. METHODS: Following Sepharose CL-4B column chromatography and caesium chloride isopycnic density-gradient ultra-centrifugation, the purity and identity of the mucins was determined by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting analysis respectively. Subsequently an HIV-1 inhibition assay was carried out to determine the anti-HIV-1 activity of the crude saliva and purified salivary mucins by incubating them with subtype D HIV-1 prior to infection of the CD4+ CEM SS cells. RESULTS: Western blotting analysis confirmed that the mucin in the void volume is MUC5B and the mucin in the included volume is MUC7. The HIV inhibition assay revealed that both the crude saliva and salivary MUC5B and MUC7 mucins inhibited HIV-1 activity by 100%. CONCLUSION: Although the mechanism of action is not clear the carbohydrate moieties of the salivary mucins may trap or aggregate the virus and prevent host cell entry. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lederer SL, Walters KA, Proll S, Paeper B, Robinzon S, Boix L, Fausto N, Bruix J, Katze MG
Distinct cellular responses differentiating alcohol- and hepatitis C virus-induced liver cirrhosis.
Virol J. 2006;398.
BACKGROUND: Little is known at the molecular level concerning the differences and/or similarities between alcohol and hepatitis C virus induced liver disease. Global transcriptional profiling using oligonucleotide microarrays was therefore performed on liver biopsies from patients with cirrhosis caused by either chronic alcohol consumption or chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). RESULTS: Global gene expression patterns varied significantly depending upon etiology of liver disease, with a greater number of differentially regulated genes seen in HCV-infected patients. Many of the gene expression changes specifically observed in HCV-infected cirrhotic livers were expectedly associated with activation of the innate antiviral immune response. We also compared severity (CTP class) of cirrhosis for each etiology and identified gene expression patterns that differentiated ethanol-induced cirrhosis by class. CTP class A ethanol-cirrhotic livers showed unique expression patterns for genes implicated in the inflammatory response, including those related to macrophage activation and migration, as well as lipid metabolism and oxidative stress genes. CONCLUSION: Stages of liver cirrhosis could be differentiated based on gene expression patterns in ethanol-induced, but not HCV-induced, disease. In addition to genes specifically regulating the innate antiviral immune response, mechanisms responsible for differentiating chronic liver damage due to HCV or ethanol may be closely related to regulation of lipid metabolism and to effects of macrophage activation on deposition of extracellular matrix components. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gene profiling of liver diseases.
Liver Transpl. 2007 Apr;13(4):621-2. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jaalouk DE, Lejeune L, Couture C, Galipeau J
A self-inactivating retrovector incorporating the IL-2 promoter for activation-induced transgene expression in genetically engineered T-cells.
Virol J. 2006;397.
BACKGROUND: T-cell activation leads to signaling pathways that ultimately result in induction of gene transcription from the interleukin-2 (IL-2) promoter. We hypothesized that the IL-2 promoter or its synthetic derivatives can lead to T-cell specific, activation-induced transgene expression. Our objective was to develop a retroviral vector for stable and activation-induced transgene expression in T-lymphocytes. RESULTS: First, we compared the transcriptional potency of the full-length IL-2 promoter with that of a synthetic promoter composed of 3 repeats of the Nuclear Factor of Activated T-Cells (NFAT) element following activation of transfected Jurkat T-cells expressing the large SV40 T antigen (Jurkat TAg). Although the NFAT3 promoter resulted in a stronger induction of luciferase reporter expression post stimulation, the basal levels of the IL-2 promoter-driven reporter expression were much lower indicating that the IL-2 promoter can serve as a more stringent activation-dependent promoter in T-cells. Based on this data, we generated a self-inactivating retroviral vector with the full-length human IL-2 promoter, namely SINIL-2pr that incorporated the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fused to herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase as a reporter/suicide "bifunctional" gene. Subsequently, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-G Protein pseudotyped retroparticles were generated for SINIL-2pr and used to transduce the Jurkat T-cell line and the ZAP-70-deficient P116 cell line. Flow cytometry analysis showed that EGFP expression was markedly enhanced post co-stimulation of the gene-modified cells with 1 muM ionomycin and 10 ng/ml phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). This activation-induced expression was abrogated when the cells were pretreated with 300 nM cyclosporin A. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that the SINIL-2pr retrovector leads to activation-inducible transgene expression in Jurkat T-cell lines. We propose that this design can be potentially exploited in several cellular immunotherapy applications. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Feare CJ, Yasué M
Asymptomatic infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in wild birds: how sound is the evidence?
Virol J. 2006;396.
BACKGROUND: Widespread deaths of wild birds from which highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 has been isolated suggest that the virus continues to be lethal to them. However, asymptomatic carriage by some wild birds could allow birds to spread the virus on migration. Confirmation of such carriage is therefore important for the design of mitigation measures for the disease in poultry. DISCUSSION: Two recent papers have reported the isolation of H5N1 from a small number of water birds in China and Russia and have concluded that wild birds can spread the viruses over long distances on migration. However, both papers contain weaknesses in the provision of ornithological and associated data that compromise conclusions that can be reached about the role of wild birds in the spread of H5N1. We describe the weaknesses of these studies and highlight the need for improved methodological description and methodology, where appropriate, and further research. SUMMARY: A rigorous assessment of whether wild birds can carry H5N1 asymptomatically is critical to evaluating the risks of spread by migratory birds on long-distance migration. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Moreau I, Hegarty S, Levis J, Sheehy P, Crosbie O, Kenny-Walsh E, Fanning LJ
Serendipitous identification of natural intergenotypic recombinants of hepatitis C in Ireland.
Virol J. 2006;395.
BACKGROUND: Recombination between hepatitis C single stranded RNA viruses is a rare event. Natural viable intragenotypic and intergenotypic recombinants between 1b-1a, 1a-1c and 2k-1b, 2i-6p, respectively, have been reported. Diagnostically recombinants represent an intriguing challenge. Hepatitis C genotype is defined by interrogation of the sequence composition of the 5' untranslated region [5'UTR]. Occasionally, ambiguous specimens require further investigation of the genome, usually by interrogation of the NS5B region. The original purpose of this study was to confirm the existence of a suspected mixed genotype infection of genotypes 2 and 4 by clonal analysis at the NS5B region of the genome in two specimens from two separate individuals. This initial identification of genotype was based on analysis of the 5'UTR of the genome by reverse line probe hybridisation [RLPH]. RESULTS: The original diagnosis of a mixed genotype infection was not confirmed by clonal analysis of the NS5B region of the genome. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that both specimens were natural intergenotypic recombinant forms of HCV. The recombination was between genotypes 2k and 1b for both specimens. The recombination break point was identified as occurring within the NS2 region of the genome. CONCLUSION: The viral recombinants identified here resemble the recombinant form originally identified in Russia. The RLPH pattern observed in this study may be a signature indicative of this particular type of intergenotype recombinant of hepatitis C meriting clonal analysis of NS2. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lorrot M, Vasseur M
Rotavirus NSP4 114-135 peptide has no direct, specific effect on chloride transport in rabbit brush-border membrane.
Virol J. 2006;394.
The direct effect of the rotavirus NSP4 114-135 and Norovirus NV464-483 peptides on 36Cl uptake was studied by using villus cell brush border membrane (BBM) isolated from young rabbits. Both peptides inhibited the Cl-/H+ symport activity about equally and partially. The interaction involved one peptide-binding site per carrier unit. Whereas in vitro NSP4 114-135 caused nonspecific inhibition of the Cl-/H+ symporter, the situation in vivo is different. Because rotavirus infection in young rabbits accelerated both Cl- influx and Cl- efflux rates across villi BBM without stimulating Cl- transport in crypt BBM, we conclude that the NSP4 114-135 peptide, which causes diarrhea in young rodents, did not have any direct, specific effect on either intestinal absorption or secretion of chloride. The lack of direct effect of NSP4 on chloride transport strengthens the hypothesis that NSP4 would trigger signal transduction pathways to enhance net chloride secretion at the onset of rotavirus diarrhea. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Strecker T, Maisa A, Daffis S, Eichler R, Lenz O, Garten W
The role of myristoylation in the membrane association of the Lassa virus matrix protein Z.
Virol J. 2006;393.
The Z protein is the matrix protein of arenaviruses and has been identified as the main driving force for budding. Both LCMV and Lassa virus Z proteins bud from cells in the absence of other viral proteins as enveloped virus-like particles. Z accumulates near the inner surface of the plasma membrane where budding takes place. Furthermore, biochemical data have shown that Z is strongly membrane associated. The primary sequence of Z lacks a typical transmembrane domain and until now it is not understood by which mechanism Z is able to interact with cellular membranes. In this report, we analyzed the role of N-terminal myristoylation for the membrane binding of Lassa virus Z. We show that disruption of the N-terminal myristoylation signal by substituting the N-terminal glycine with alanine (Z-G2A mutant) resulted in a significant reduction of Z protein association with cellular membranes. Furthermore, removal of the myristoylation site resulted in a relocalization of Z from a punctuate distribution to a more diffuse cellular distribution pattern. Finally, treatment of Lassa virus-infected cells with various myristoylation inhibitors drastically reduced efficient Lassa virus replication. Our data indicate that myristoylation of Z is critical for its binding ability to lipid membranes and thus, for effective virus budding. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gupta E, Dar L, Kapoor G, Broor S
The changing epidemiology of dengue in Delhi, India.
Virol J. 2006;392.
BACKGROUND: A major DHF outbreak occurred in Delhi in 1996. Following this another outbreak was reported in the year 2003. In the years 2004 and 2005, though no outbreak was reported, a definitely higher number of samples were received in the virology laboratory of A.I.I.M.S. from suspected cases of dengue infection. This study was designed to compare the serological and virological profiles of confirmed dengue cases in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005. RESULTS: Out of 1820 serum samples received from suspected cases in all three years, 811 (44.56%) were confirmed as dengue infection serologically. Out of these confirmed dengue cases maximum cases, in all three years, were seen in the age group 21-30 years. There was an increase in the number of samples received in the post monsoon period (September to November) with a peak in the second and third week of October. More samples were received from DHF cases in the year 2005 than 2004 and 2003. All four dengue serotypes were seen co-circulating in the year 2003, followed by complete predominance of dengue serotype 3 in 2005. CONCLUSION: Epidemiology of dengue is changing rapidly in Delhi. Dengue infections are seen every year thus making it an endemic disease. After co-circulation of all serotypes in 2003, now dengue serotype 3 is emerging as the predominant serotype. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martin SI, Wilkinson R, Fishman JA
Genomic presence of recombinant porcine endogenous retrovirus in transmitting miniature swine.
Virol J. 2006;391.
The replication of porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) in human cell lines suggests a potential infectious risk in xenotransplantation. PERV isolated from human cells following cocultivation with porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells is a recombinant of PERV-A and PERV-C. We describe two different recombinant PERV-AC sequences in the cellular DNA of some transmitting miniature swine. This is the first evidence of PERV-AC recombinant virus in porcine genomic DNA that may have resulted from autoinfection following exogenous viral recombination. Infectious risk in xenotransplantation will be defined by the activity of PERV loci in vivo. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Microbial Cell Factories

Danchin A
The bag or the spindle: the cell factory at the time of systems' biology.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 11 10;3(1):13.
Genome programs changed our view of bacteria as cell factories, by making them amenable to systematic rational improvement. As a first step, isolated genes (including those of the metagenome), or small gene clusters are improved and expressed in a variety of hosts. New techniques derived from functional genomics (transcriptome, proteome and metabolome studies) now allow users to shift from this single-gene approach to a more integrated view of the cell, where it is more and more considered as a factory. One can expect in the near future that bacteria will be entirely reprogrammed, and perhaps even created de novo from bits and pieces, to constitute man-made cell factories. This will require exploration of the landscape made of neighbourhoods of all the genes in the cell. Present work is already paving the way for that futuristic view of bacteria in industry. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

de Marco A
A step ahead: combining protein purification and correct folding selection.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 10 7;3(1):12.
The success of recombinant protein expression seems unpredictable and even good yields of soluble proteins do not guarantee the correct folding. The search for soluble constructs can be performed by exploiting libraries and speeded up by automation, but these approaches are money and time consuming and the tags used for affinity purification can mask the real stability of the target proteins. The ideal purification protocol would include the structure quality control. A recent paper commented in this article describes a phage-display method to screen for antibodies that are able to re-fold after heat-denaturation and can be selectively affinity-purified only if monodispersed. It turned out that the proteins with high recovery performance after heat-shock were also suitable for efficient recombinant expression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vallejo LF, Rinas U
Strategies for the recovery of active proteins through refolding of bacterial inclusion body proteins.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Sep 2;3(1):11.
Recent advances in generating active proteins through refolding of bacterial inclusion body proteins are summarized in conjunction with a short overview on inclusion body isolation and solubilization procedures. In particular, the pros and cons of well-established robust refolding techniques such as direct dilution as well as less common ones such as diafiltration or chromatographic processes including size exclusion chromatography, matrix- or affinity-based techniques and hydrophobic interaction chromatography are discussed. Moreover, the effect of physical variables (temperature and pressure) as well as the presence of buffer additives on the refolding process is elucidated. In particular, the impact of protein stabilizing or destabilizing low- and high-molecular weight additives as well as micellar and liposomal systems on protein refolding is illustrated. Also, techniques mimicking the principles encountered during in vivo folding such as processes based on natural and artificial chaperones and propeptide-assisted protein refolding are presented. Moreover, the special requirements for the generation of disulfide bonded proteins and the specific problems and solutions, which arise during process integration are discussed. Finally, the different strategies are examined regarding their applicability for large-scale production processes or high-throughput screening procedures. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Garcia-Arellano H, Alcalde M, Ballesteros A
Use and improvement of microbial redox enzymes for environmental purposes.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Aug 2;3(1):10.
Industrial development may result in the increase of environmental risks. The enzymatic transformation of polluting compounds to less toxic or even innocuous products is an alternative to their complete removal. In this regard, a number of different redox enzymes are able to transform a wide variety of toxic pollutants, such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, phenols, azo dyes, heavy metals, etc. Here, novel information on chromate reductases, enzymes that carry out the reduction of highly toxic Cr(VI) to the less toxic insoluble Cr(III), is discussed. In addition, the properties and application of bacterial and eukaryotic proteins (lignin-modifying enzymes, peroxidases and cytochromes) useful in environmental enzymology is also discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shokri A, Larsson G
Characterisation of the Escherichia coli membrane structure and function during fedbatch cultivation.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Jul 28;3(1):9.
BACKGROUND: Important parameters during recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli, such as productivity and protein activity, are affected by the growth rate. This includes the translocation of protein over the membrane to gain better folding capacity or reduced proteolysis. To vary the growth rate two techniques are available: fedbatch and continuous cultivation, both controlled by the ingoing feed rate. RESULTS: During fedbatch cultivation, E. coli contains phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin and saturated fatty acids in amounts which are stable with growth rate. However, the levels of cardiolipin are very high compared to continuous cultivation. The reason for fedbatch triggering of this metabolism is not known but hypothesised to result from an additional need for carbon and energy. The reason could be the dynamic and sometimes rapid changes in growth rate to which the fedbatch cell has at all times to adjust. The membrane flexibility, essential for translocation of various components, is however to some degree sustained by production of increased amounts of unsaturated fatty acids in phosphatidylglycerol. The result is a functionally stiff membrane which generally promotes low cell lysis and is constant with respect to protein leakage to the medium. At comparatively high growth rates, when the further stabilising effect of cyclic fatty acids is gone, the high level of unsaturated fatty acids results in a pronounced effect upon sonication. This is very much in contrast to the membrane function in continuous cultivation which shows very specific characteristics as a function of growth rate. CONCLUSIONS: The stiff and unchanging fedbatch membrane should promote a stable behaviour during downstream processing and is less dependent on the time of harvest. However, optimisation of protein leakage can only be achieved in the continuously cultivated cell where leakage is twice as high compared to the constant leakage level in fedbatch. If leakage is undesired, continuous cultivation is also preferred since it can be designed to lead to the lowest values detected. Induction at low growth rate (<0.2 h-1) should be avoided with respect to productivity, in any system, since the specific and total protein production shows their lowest values at this point. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lioliou EE, Kyriakidis DA
The role of bacterial antizyme: From an inhibitory protein to AtoC transcriptional regulator.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Jun 16;3(1):8.
This review considers the role of bacterial antizyme in the regulation of polyamine biosynthesis and gives new perspectives on the involvement of antizyme in other significant cellular mechanisms. Antizyme is a protein molecule induced by the end product of the enzymic reaction that it inhibits, in a non-competitive manner. The bacterial ornithine decarboxylase is regulated by nucleotides, phosphorylation and antizyme. The inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase by antizyme can be relieved to different degrees by DNA or by a variety of synthetic nucleic acid polymers, attributed to a specific interaction between nucleic acid and antizyme. Recently, this interplay between bacterial antizyme and nucleic acid was determined by discerning an additional function to antizyme that proved to be the atoC gene product, encoding the response regulator of the bacterial two-component system AtoS-AtoC. The gene located just upstream of atoC encodes the sensor kinase, named AtoS, that modulates AtoC activity. AtoC regulates expression of atoDAEB operon which is involved in short-chain fatty acid metabolism. Antizyme is thus referred to as AtoC, functioning both as a post-translational and transcriptional regulator. Also, the AtoS-AtoC signal transduction system in E. coli has a positive regulatory role on poly-(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate biosynthesis. The properties and gene structural similarities of antizymes from different organisms were compared. It was revealed that conserved domains are present mostly in the C-domain of all antizymes. BLAST analysis of the E. coli antizyme protein (AtoC) showed similarities around 69-58% among proteobacteria, g-proteobacteria, enterobacteria and the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus. A working hypothesis is proposed for the metabolic role of antizyme (AtoC) describing the significant biological implications of this protein molecule. Whether antizymes exist to other enzymes in different tissues, meeting the criteria discussed in the text remains to be elucidated. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mahato S, De D, Dutta D, Kundu M, Bhattacharya S, Schiavone MT, Bhattacharya SK
Potential use of sugar binding proteins in reactors for regeneration of CO2 fixation acceptor D-Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Jun 2;3(1):7.
Sugar binding proteins and binders of intermediate sugar metabolites derived from microbes are increasingly being used as reagents in new and expanding areas of biotechnology. The fixation of carbon dioxide at emission source has recently emerged as a technology with potentially significant implications for environmental biotechnology. Carbon dioxide is fixed onto a five carbon sugar D-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate. We present a review of enzymatic and non-enzymatic binding proteins, for 3-phosphoglycerate (3PGA), 3-phosphoglyceraldehyde (3PGAL), dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP), xylulose-5-phosphate (X5P) and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) which could be potentially used in reactors regenerating RuBP from 3PGA. A series of reactors combined in a linear fashion has been previously shown to convert 3-PGA, (the product of fixed CO2 on RuBP as starting material) into RuBP (Bhattacharya et al., 2004; Bhattacharya, 2001). This was the basis for designing reactors harboring enzyme complexes/mixtures instead of linear combination of single-enzyme reactors for conversion of 3PGA into RuBP. Specific sugars in such enzyme-complex harboring reactors requires removal at key steps and fed to different reactors necessitating reversible sugar binders. In this review we present an account of existing microbial sugar binding proteins and their potential utility in these operations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Baneyx F
Keeping up with protein folding.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 May 14;3(1):6. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lioliou EE, Pantazaki AA, Kyriakidis DA
Thermus thermophilus genome analysis: benefits and implications.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 May 10;3(1):5.
The genome sequence analysis of Thermus thermophilus HB27, a microorganism with high biotechnological potential, has recently been published. In that report, the chromosomal and the megaplasmid sequence were compared to those of other organisms and discussed on the basis of their physiological and metabolic features. Out of the 2,218 putative genes identified through the large genome sequencing project, a significant number has potential interest for biotechnology. The present communication will discuss the accumulating information on molecules participating in fundamental biological processes or having potential biotechnological importance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Miot M, Betton JM
Protein quality control in the bacterial periplasm.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 May 7;3(1):4.
The proper functioning of extracytoplasmic proteins requires their export to, and productive folding in, the correct cellular compartment. All proteins in Escherichia coli are initially synthesized in the cytoplasm, then follow a pathway that depends upon their ultimate cellular destination. Many proteins destined for the periplasm are synthesized as precursors carrying an N-terminal signal sequence that directs them to the general secretion machinery at the inner membrane. After translocation and signal sequence cleavage, the newly exported mature proteins are folded and assembled in the periplasm. Maintaining quality control over these processes depends on chaperones, folding catalysts, and proteases. This article summarizes the general principles which control protein folding in the bacterial periplasm by focusing on the periplasmic maltose-binding protein. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Villaverde A
A new editorial board for a new editorial period.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Apr 23;3(1):3. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gabig-Ciminska M, Andresen H, Albers J, Hintsche R, Enfors SO
Identification of pathogenic microbial cells and spores by electrochemical detection on a biochip.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Apr 16;3(1):2.
BACKGROUND: Bacillus cereus constitutes a significant cause of acute food poisoning in humans. Despite the recent development of different detection methods, new effective control measures and better diagnostic tools are required for quick and reliable detection of pathogenic micro-organisms. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine a simple method for rapid identification of enterotoxic Bacillus strains. Here, a special attention is given to an electrochemical biosensor since it meets the requirements of minimal size, lower costs and decreased power consumption. RESULTS: A bead-based sandwich hybridization system was employed in conjugation with electric chips for detection of vegetative cells and spores of Bacillus strains based on their toxin-encoding genes. The system consists of a silicon chip based potentiometric cell, and utilizes paramagnetic beads as solid carriers of the DNA probes. The specific signals from 20 amol of bacterial cell or spore DNA were achieved in less than 4 h. The method was also successful when applied directly to unpurified spore and cell extract samples. The assay for the haemolytic enterotoxin genes resulted in reproducible signals from B. cereus and B. thuringiensis while haemolysin-negative B. subtilis strain did not yield any signal. CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity, convenience and specificity of the system have shown its potential. In this respect an electrochemical detection on a chip enabling a fast characterization and monitoring of pathogens in food is of interest. This system can offer a contribution in the rapid identification of bacteria based on the presence of specific genes without preceding nucleic acid amplification. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Weibezahn J, Bukau B, Mogk A
Unscrambling an egg: protein disaggregation by AAA+ proteins.
Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Jan 16;3(1):1.
Aprotein quality control system, consisting of molecular chaperones and proteases, controls the folding status of proteins and prevents the aggregation of misfolded proteins by either refolding or degrading aggregation-prone species. During severe stress conditions this protection system can be overwhelmed by high substrate load, resulting in the formation of protein aggregates. In such emergency situations, Hsp104/ClpB becomes a key player for cell survival, as it has the extraordinary capacity to rescue proteins from an aggregated state in cooperation with an Hsp70 chaperone system. The ring-forming Hsp104/ClpB chaperone belongs to the AAA+ protein superfamily, which in general drives the assembly and disassembly of protein complexes by ATP-dependent remodelling of protein substrates. A disaggregation activity was also recently attributed to other eubacterial AAA+ proteins, while such an activity has not yet been identified in mammalian cells. In this review, we report on new insights into the mechanism of protein disaggregation by AAA+ proteins, suggesting that these chaperones act as molecular crowbars or ratchets. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jahic M, Wallberg F, Bollok M, Garcia P, Enfors SO
Temperature limited fed-batch technique for control of proteolysis in Pichia pastoris bioreactor cultures.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 Jun 18;2(1):6.
BACKGROUND: A temperature limited fed-batch (TLFB) technique is described and used for Pichia pastoris Mut+ strain cultures and compared with the traditional methanol limited fed-batch (MLFB) technique. A recombinant fusion protein composed of a cellulose-binding module (CBM) from Neocallimastix patriciarum cellulase 6A and lipase B from Candida antarctica (CALB), was produced and secreted by this strain. RESULTS: A protein concentration of about 1 g L-1 was produced in the MLFB process. However, this product was considerably degraded by protease(s). By applying the TLFB process, the yield was increased to 2 g L-1 full-length product and no proteolytic degradation was observed. Flow cytometry analysis showed that the percentage of dead cells increased rapidly during the initial methanol feed phase in the MLFB process and reached a maximum of about 12% after about 40-70 hours of methanol feeding. In the TLFB process, cell death rate was low and constant and reached 4% dead cells at the end of cultivation (about 150 hours methanol feeding time). The lower cell death rate in the TLFB correlated with a lower protease activity in the culture supernatant. The specific alcohol oxidase (AOX) activity in the TLFB process was 3.5 times higher than in the MLFB process. CONCLUSION: Three mechanisms that may contribute to the much higher accumulation of product in the TLFB process are: 1) reduced proteolysis due to lower temperature, 2) reduced proteolysis due to lower cell death and protease release to the medium, 3) increased synthesis rate due to higher AOX activity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Flores FJ, Rincón J, Martín JF
Characterization of the iron-regulated desA promoter of Streptomyces pilosus as a system for controlled gene expression in actinomycetes.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 May 19;2(1):5.
BACKGROUND: The bioavailability of iron is quite low since it is usually present as insoluble complexes. To solve the bioavailability problem microorganisms have developed highly efficient iron-scavenging systems based on the synthesis of siderophores that have high iron affinity. The systems of iron assimilation in microorganisms are strictly regulated to control the intracellular iron levels since at high concentrations iron is toxic for cells. Streptomyces pilosus synthesizes the siderofore desferrioxamine B. The first step in desferrioxamine biosynthesis is decarboxylation of L-lysine to form cadaverine, a desferrioxamine B precursor. This reaction is catalyzed by the lysine decarboxylase, an enzyme encoded by the desA gene that is repressed by iron. RESULTS: The binding of the DmdR (acronym for divalent metal dependent repressor) to the desA promoter in presence of Fe2+ or other divalent ions has been characterized. A 51 bp DNA fragment of the desA promoter containing the 9 bp inverted repeat was sufficient for binding of the DmdR repressor, as observed by the electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The desA mobility shift was prevented by neutralizing DmdR with anti-DmdR antibodies or by chelating the divalent metal in the binding reaction with 2,2'-dipyridyl. Binding to the desA promoter was observed with purified DmdR repressors of Streptomyces coelicolor or Rhodococcus fascians suggesting that there is a common mechanism of iron-regulation in actinomycetes. The complete desA promoter region was coupled using transcriptional fusions to the amy reporter gene (encoding alpha-amylase) in low copy or multicopy Streptomyces vectors. The iron-regulated desA promoter was induced by addition of the iron chelating agent 2,2'-dipyridyl resulting in a strong expression of the reporter gene. CONCLUSIONS: The iron-regulated desA promoter can be used for inducible expression of genes in Streptomyces species, as shown by de-repression of the promoter when coupled to a reporter gene. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rautio J, Barken KB, Lahdenperä J, Breitenstein A, Molin S, Neubauer P
Sandwich hybridisation assay for quantitative detection of yeast RNAs in crude cell lysates.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 Apr 28;2(1):4.
BACKGROUND: A rapid microtiter plate based sandwich hybridization assay was developed for detection and quantification of single RNA species using magnetic beads. Following solution hybridization target RNA molecules were collected by biotin-streptavidin affinity binding and detected by fluorescence signal generated by alkaline phosphatase. The 18S rRNA and SUC2 mRNA of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were used as model RNA target molecules. RESULTS: The sensitivity of the assay was approximately 1.2 x 109 (2 fmol) molecules of target RNA. The developed method was feasible with crude cell lysates of S. cerevisiae carlsbergensis and was evaluated by measuring the levels of 18S rRNA during cell growth and SUC2 mRNA under repressive and inductive conditions. The 18S rRNA expression level followed the changes in the specific growth rate. SUC2 mRNA levels were in good correlation with the measured invertase enzyme activities. CONCLUSIONS: The here presented sandwich hybridisation method was succefully applied for monitoring the amounts of ribosomal RNA and mRNA with high expression level in shake flask cultivation conditions. Sandwich hybridisation method offers a fast and convenient tool for following single key RNA species of interest in the production conditions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Viitanen MI, Vasala A, Neubauer P, Alatossava T
Cheese whey-induced high-cell-density production of recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 Apr 9;2(1):2.
BACKGROUND: Use of lactose-rich concentrates from dairy processes for the induction of recombinant gene's expression has not received much attention although they are interesting low cost substrates for production of recombinant enzymes. Applicability of dairy waste for induction of recombinant genes in Escherichia coli was studied. Clones expressing Lactobacillus phage muramidase and Lactobacillus alcohol dehydrogenase were used for the experiments. RESULTS: Shake flask cultivations in mineral salt medium showed that cheese whey or deproteinised whey induced gene expression as efficiently as IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside) or pure lactose. Addition of yeast extract or proteolytically degraded whey proteins did not improve the recombinant protein yield. In contrast, addition of yeast extract to the well-balanced mineral salt medium decreased the product yield. Feeding with glycerol provided sufficient amount of easily assimilable carbon source during the induction period without preventing lactose intake and induction by lactose. High-cell-density fed-batch cultivations showed that product yields comparable to IPTG-induction can be achieved by feeding bacteria with a mixture of glycerol and concentrated whey permeate during the induction. CONCLUSION: Whey and concentrated whey permeate can be applied as an alternative inducer in recombinant high-cell-density fed-batch fermentations. The yield of the recombinant product was comparable to fermentations induced by IPTG. In low-cell-density shake flask experiments the yield was higher with whey or whey permeate than with IPTG. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bhattacharya S, Chakrabarti S, Nayak A, Bhattacharya SK
Metabolic networks of microbial systems.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 Apr 11;2(1):3.
In contrast to bioreactors the metabolites within the microbial cells are converted in an impure atmosphere, yet the productivity seems to be well regulated and not affected by changes in operation variables. These features are attributed to integral metabolic network within the microorganism. With the advent of neo-integrative proteomic approaches the understanding of integration of metabolic and protein-protein interaction networks have began. In this article we review the methods employed to determine the protein-protein interaction and their integration to define metabolite networks. We further present a review of current understanding of network properties, and benefit of studying the networks. The predictions using network structure, for example, in silico experiments help illustrate the importance of studying the network properties. The cells are regarded as complex system but their elements unlike complex systems interact selectively and nonlinearly to produce coherent rather than complex behaviors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Joosten V, Lokman C, Van Den Hondel CA, Punt PJ
The production of antibody fragments and antibody fusion proteins by yeasts and filamentous fungi.
Microb Cell Fact. 2003 Jan 30;2(1):1.
In this review we will focus on the current status and views concerning the production of antibody fragments and antibody fusion proteins by yeasts and filamentous fungi. We will focus on single-chain antibody fragment production (scFv and VHH) by these lower eukaryotes and the possible applications of these proteins. Also the coupling of fragments to relevant enzymes or other components will be discussed. As an example of the fusion protein strategy, the 'magic bullet' approach for industrial applications, will be highlighted. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

DeLisa MP, Bentley WE
Bacterial autoinduction: looking outside the cell for new metabolic engineering targets.
Microb Cell Fact. 2002 Dec 20;1(1):5.
Recent evidence has demonstrated that cell-to-cell signaling is a fundamental activity carried out by numerous microorganisms. A number of specialized processes are reported to be regulated by density-dependent signaling molecules including antibiotic production, bioluminescence, biofilm formation, genetic competence, sporulation, swarming motility and virulence. However, a more centralized role for quorum sensing is emerging where quorum signaling pathways overlap with stress and starvation circuits to regulate cellular adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The interplay of these phenomena is especially critical in the expression of recombinant proteins where elicitation of stress responses can dramatically impact cellular productivity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Villaverde A
Old bugs for new tasks; the microbial offer in the proteomics era.
Microb Cell Fact. 2002 Oct 25;1(1):4. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rosso AM, Ferrarotti SA, Krymkiewicz N, Nudel BC
Optimisation of batch culture conditions for cyclodextrin glucanotransferase production from Bacillus circulans DF 9R.
Microb Cell Fact. 2002 Sep 12;1(1):3.
BACKGROUND: The extracellular enzyme cyclodextrin glucanotransferase (CGTase) synthesizes cyclic malto-oligosaccharides called cyclodextrins (CDs) from starch and related alpha-1,4-glucans. CGTases are produced by a variety of bacteria, mainly Bacillus species, by submerged culture in complex medium. CGTases differ in the amount and types of CDs produced. In addition, CGTase production is highly dependent on the strain, medium composition and culture conditions. Therefore we undertook this study with a newly isolated strain of Bacillus circulans. RESULTS: CGTase activity produced from Bacillus circulans DF 9R was optimised in shake flasks using a combination of conventional sequential techniques and statistical experimental design. Effects of nutrients, including several carbon, nitrogen and mineral sources, were assayed. The selected minimal medium consisted of 1.5 % cassava starch, 0.4 % ammonium sulphate, 0.1 M phosphate buffer, 0.002 % MgSO4 and 0.002 % FeSO4. The optimal concentrations of carbon and nitrogen sources were determined using a central composite design. Maximum CGTase activity obtained in supernatants was 5.8 U/mL in 48 h of incubation. Optimal conditions for enzyme production also included an initial pH of 8.3 and 37 degrees C as the incubation temperature.Cell growth and CGTase production profile were not linked to each other, suggesting that enzyme production/secretion is not growth-associated but mainly a late-log phase event. CONCLUSION: We have screened conditions for optimal CGTase production. The selected minimal medium contained starch, ammonium, Mg2+ and Fe2+ as essential nutrients. As an additional advantage, this medium does not require complex nitrogen sources with varying and unknown composition. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martirani L, Varcamonti M, Naclerio G, De Felice M
Purification and partial characterization of bacillocin 490, a novel bacteriocin produced by a thermophilic strain of Bacillus licheniformis.
Microb Cell Fact. 2002 Apr 18;1(1):1.
BACKGROUND: Applications of bacteriocins as food preservatives have been so far limited, principally because of their low antimicrobial activity in foods. Nisin is the only bacteriocin of significant use, but applications are restricted principally because of its very low activity at neutral or alkaline pH. Thus the isolation of new bacteriocins active in foods is desirable. RESULTS: We isolated a Bacillus licheniformis thermophilic strain producing a bacteriocin with some novel features, named here bacillocin 490. This bacteriocin was inactivated by pronase E and proteinase K and was active against closely related Bacillus spp. both in aerobic and in anaerobic conditions. Bactericidal activity was kept during storage at 4 degrees C and was remarkably stable in a wide pH range. The bacteriocin was partially purified by elution after adhesion to cells of the food-isolated strain Bacillus smithii and had a rather low mass (2 KDa). Antimicrobial activity against B. smithii was observed also when this organism was grown in water buffalo milk. CONCLUSIONS: Bacillocin 490 is a novel candidate as a food anti-microbial agent since it displays its activity in milk, is stable to heat treatment and during storage, is active in a wide pH range and has bactericidal activity also at high temperature. These features may allow the use of bacillocin 490 during processes performed at high temperature and as a complementary antimicrobial agent of nisin against some Bacillus spp. in non-acidic foods. The small size suggests its use on solid foods. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wegrzyn G, Wegrzyn A
Stress responses and replication of plasmids in bacterial cells.
Microb Cell Fact. 2002 May 13;1(1):2.
Plasmids, DNA (or rarely RNA) molecules which replicate in cells autonomously (independently of chromosomes) as non-essential genetic elements, play important roles for microbes grown under specific environmental conditions as well as in scientific laboratories and in biotechnology. For example, bacterial plasmids are excellent models in studies on regulation of DNA replication, and their derivatives are the most commonly used vectors in genetic engineering. Detailed mechanisms of replication initiation, which is the crucial process for efficient maintenance of plasmids in cells, have been elucidated for several plasmids. However, to understand plasmid biology, it is necessary to understand regulation of plasmid DNA replication in response to different environmental conditions in which host cells exist. Knowledge of such regulatory processes is also very important for those who use plasmids as expression vectors to produce large amounts of recombinant proteins. Variable conditions in large-scale fermentations must influence replication of plasmid DNA in cells, thus affecting the efficiency of recombinant gene expression significantly. Contrary to extensively investigated biochemistry of plasmid replication, molecular mechanisms of regulation of plasmid DNA replication in response to various environmental stress conditions are relatively poorly understood. There are, however, recently published studies that add significant data to our knowledge on relations between cellular stress responses and control of plasmid DNA replication. In this review we focus on plasmids derived from bacteriophage lambda that are among the best investigated replicons. Nevertheless, recent results of studies on other plasmids are also discussed shortly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

San Millan A, Escudero JA, Catalan A, Nieto S, Farelo F, Gibert M, Moreno MA, Dominguez L, Gonzalez-Zorn B
Beta-lactam resistance in Haemophilus parasuis Is mediated by plasmid pB1000 bearing blaROB-1.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2260-4.
beta-Lactam resistance in Haemophilus parasuis is an emerging phenomenon that has not yet been characterized from a molecular perspective. Clinical high-level beta-lactam-resistant isolates from Spain bore a novel plasmid, pB1000, expressing a functionally active ROB-1 beta-lactamase. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was applied for the first time to H. parasuis and showed that beta-lactam resistance is due to clonal spread of a resistant strain, BB1018, bearing pB1000. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Siddiqi S, Takhar P, Baldeviano C, Glover W, Zhang Y
Isoniazid induces its own resistance in nonreplicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2100-4.
Isoniazid (INH) resistance is most frequent among drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates. This study was conducted to investigate whether INH could induce its own resistance. During INH susceptibility testing in BACTEC 12B and MGIT 960 media, weekly subcultures were made from the drug-containing media into fresh medium without drug and susceptibility testing was performed. Rifampin (RIF) was used as a control drug. M. tuberculosis H37Rv and three clinical isolates were tested in this study. INH-resistant subcultures were analyzed for catalase activity, INH susceptibility, and mutations associated with INH resistance. With inoculum size (10(4) bacilli) smaller than a size that contains spontaneously INH-resistant mutants, INH was found to induce resistance to itself in INH-tolerant persisters but not to other drugs. The minimum time required for induction of INH resistance was 5 to 6 days. In contrast, RIF did not induce RIF resistance. Eight subcultures with INH-induced resistance were analyzed, and two had a MIC of 0.4 microg/ml INH and six had MICs of over 2 microg/ml INH. Four of the eight subcultures with INH-induced resistance had lost catalase activity, with three having katG mutations. Despite being a powerful frontline tuberculosis drug, INH has the potential drawback of inducing its own stable genetic resistance in INH-tolerant persisters. This finding helps to explain the higher frequency and prevalence of INH-resistant isolates than isolates with resistance to other drugs in patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Driscoll DG, Young CL, Ochsner UA
Transient loss of high-level mupirocin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus due to MupA polymorphism.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2247-8.
Spontaneous loss of MupA-mediated high-level mupirocin resistance was observed in Staphylococcus aureus, although the isolate gave a PCR-positive test result for mupA. Sequencing of the mupA gene identified a single base-pair deletion that resulted in a frameshift mutation and loss of functional protein. Reversion to the wild-type allele and restoration of high-level resistance occurred with high frequency (>10(-6)), indicating the transient nature of MupA polymorphism. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Durand-Gasselin L, Da Silva D, Benech H, Pruvost A, Grassi J
Evidence and possible consequences of the phosphorylation of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors in human red blood cells.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2105-11.
The intracellular metabolism of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) in mononuclear cells has been thoroughly studied, but that in red blood cells (RBC) has been disregarded. However, the phosphorylation of other analogous nucleosides (in particular, ribavirin) has been described previously. In this study, we investigated for the first time the phosphorylation of NRTI in human RBC. The presence of intracellular zidovudine (AZT) monophosphate, AZT triphosphate, lamivudine (3TC) triphosphate, and tenofovir (TFV) diphosphate, as well as endogenous dATP, dGTP, and dTTP, in RBC collected from human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients was examined. We observed evidence of a selective phosphorylation of 3TC, TFV, and endogenous purine deoxynucleosides to generate their triphosphate moieties. Conversely, no trace of AZT phosphate metabolites was found, and only faint dTTP signals were visible. A comparison of intracellular TFV diphosphate and 3TC triphosphate levels in RBC and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) further highlighted the specificity of NRTI metabolism in each cell type. These findings raise the issue of RBC involvement in drug-drug interaction, drug pharmacokinetics, and drug-induced toxicity. Moreover, the typical preparation of PBMC samples by gradient density centrifugation does not prevent their contamination with RBC. We demonstrated that the presence of RBC within PBMC hampers an accurate determination of intracellular TFV diphosphate and dATP levels in clinical PBMC samples. Thus, we recommend removing RBC during PBMC preparation by using an ammonium chloride solution to enhance both the accuracy and the precision of intracellular drug monitoring. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Toleman MA, Vinodh H, Sekar U, Kamat V, Walsh TR
blaVIM-2-harboring integrons isolated in India, Russia, and the United States arise from an ancestral class 1 integron predating the formation of the 3' conserved sequence.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2636-8.
The metallo-beta-lactamase gene bla(VIM-2) was identified in a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated in India. The integron encoding bla(VIM-2) was virtually identical to those recently found in the United States and Russia. These unusual structures are likely to have arisen from an ancestral integron predating the formation of the 3' conserved sequence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Power P, Di Conza J, Rodríguez MM, Ghiglione B, Ayala JA, Casellas JM, Radice M, Gutkind G
Biochemical characterization of PER-2 and genetic environment of blaPER-2.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2359-65.
PER-2 was the first detected and the second most prevalent extended-spectrum beta-lactamase in clinical pathogens isolated in Argentina and was also reported only in other South American countries. Citrobacter freundii 33587 was isolated in 1999 in Buenos Aires and was resistant to all tested beta-lactams except cephamycins and carbapenems. The strain produced both plasmid-borne TEM-1 and PER-2 (pI 5.4), which could be transferred by conjugation. By PCR screening, thermal asymmetric interlaced PCR, and DNA sequencing, we detected an ISPa12/IS1387a insertion sequence upstream of bla(PER-2), previously reported as also being associated with bla(PER-1). The presence of similar structures upstream of bla(PER-1) and bla(PER-2) suggests a common origin and mobilization. Compared to bla(PER-1) genes, an additional putative promoter for bla(PER-2) was found. PER-2 kinetic analysis showed its high hydrolysis efficiencies toward both CTX and CAZ (k(cat)/K(m), 0.76 and 0.43 microM(-1).s(-1), respectively). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

de Andrade-Neto VF, da Silva T, Lopes LM, do Rosário VE, de Pilla Varotti F, Krettli AU
Antiplasmodial activity of aryltetralone lignans from Holostylis reniformis.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2346-50.
Extracts from Holostylis reniformis were tested in vivo against Plasmodium berghei and in vitro against a chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum. The hexane extract of the roots was the most active, causing 67% reduction of parasitemia in vivo. From this extract, six lignans, including a new (7'R,8S,8'S)-3',4'-methylenedioxy-4,5-dimethoxy-2,7'-cyclolignan-7-one, were isolated and tested in vitro against P. falciparum. The three most active lignans showed 50% inhibitor concentrations of < or =0.32 microM. An evaluation of minimum lethal dose (30%) values showed low toxicity for these lignans in a hepatic cell line (Hep G2A16). Therefore, these compounds are potential candidates for the development of antimalarial drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Alvarado-Ramírez E, Torres-Rodríguez JM
In vitro susceptibility of Sporothrix schenckii to six antifungal agents determined using three different methods.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2420-3.
The in vitro susceptibility of Sporothrix schenckii to antifungal drugs has been determined with three different methods. Nineteen Peruvian clinical isolates of S. schenckii were tested against amphotericin B (AB), flucytosine (FC), fluconazole (FZ), itraconazole (IZ), voriconazole (VZ), and ketoconazole (KZ). Modified NCCLS M38-A, Sensititre YeastOne (SYO), and ATB Fungus 2 (ATBF2) methods were used to determine the MICs. ATCC isolates of Candida parapsilosis, Candida krusei, and Aspergillus flavus were used for quality control. Sporothrix inocula were prepared with the mycelial form growing on potato dextrose agar at 28 +/- 2 degrees C. MICs of AB, FC, FZ, and IZ were determined with all three methods, VZ with M38-A and SYO, and KZ with only SYO. The three methods showed high MICs of FZ and FC (MIC(90) of 0.5 microg/ml), being homogeneously lower than those of IZ and KZ. The M38-A method showed a variable MIC range of VZ (4.0 to 16 microg/ml); the geometric mean (GM) was 9.3 mug/ml. The MIC range of AB was wide (0.06 to 16 microg/ml), but the GM was 1.2 microg/ml, suggesting that the MIC is strain dependent. Agreement (two log(2) dilutions) between commercial techniques and the modified M38-A method was very high with FZ, IZ, and FC. In AB and VZ, the agreement was lower, being related to the antifungal concentrations of each method. The highest activity against S. schenckii was found with IZ and KZ. Lack of activity was observed with FZ, VZ, and FC. When AB is indicated for sporotrichosis, the susceptibility of the strain must be analyzed. Commercial quantitative antifungal methods have a limited usefulness in S. schenckii. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Warner N, Locarnini S, Kuiper M, Bartholomeusz A, Ayres A, Yuen L, Shaw T
The L80I substitution in the reverse transcriptase domain of the hepatitis B virus polymerase is associated with lamivudine resistance and enhanced viral replication in vitro.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2285-92.
Long-term lamivudine (LMV) treatment of chronic hepatitis B almost inevitably engenders viral resistance. Mutations that result in the replacement of the methionine at position 204 of the deoxynucleoside triphosphate-binding site of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) reverse transcriptase (rt) by isoleucine, valine, or (rarely) serine (rtM204I/V/S) confer high-level resistance to LMV but reduce replication efficiency. The subsequent selection or coselection of secondary mutations that partially restore replication efficiency is common and may influence drug resistance. Genotyping has shown that LMV treatment can select for HBV rtL80V/I mutants, but their prevalence and phenotype have not been documented. Analysis of a large sequence database revealed that rtL80V/I occurred almost exclusively in association with LMV resistance, and 85% of these isolates encoded rtL80I. Coselection of rtL80V/I occurred in 46% of isolates in which LMV resistance was attributable to rtM204I but only 9% of those in which resistance was attributable to rtM204V. Moreover, rtL80V/I did not occur in HBV genotype A isolates but occurred at similar frequencies in genotype B, C, and D isolates. In vitro phenotyping showed that although the rtL80I mutant by itself replicated less efficiently and was hypersensitive to LMV compared to the replication efficiency and sensitivity of its wild-type parent, the presence of rtL80I enhanced the replication efficiency of rt204I/V mutants without significantly affecting LMV resistance. Molecular modeling revealed that rt80 does not interact directly with the enzyme's substrates. Collectively, these results suggest that coselection of rtL80V/I and rtM204I/V occurs because the former compensates for the loss of replication efficiency associated with the acquisition of LMV resistance, particularly in the case of rtM204I. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Freifeld A, Arnold S, Ooi W, Chen F, Meyer T, Wheat LJ, Smedema M, Lemonte A, Connolly P
Relationship of blood level and susceptibility in voriconazole treatment of histoplasmosis.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2656-7. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Turnidge J, Bordash G
Statistical methods for establishing quality control ranges for antibacterial agents in Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute susceptibility testing.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2483-8.
Quality control (QC) ranges for antimicrobial agents against QC strains for both dilution and disk diffusion testing are currently set by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), using data gathered in predefined structured multilaboratory studies, so-called tier 2 studies. The ranges are finally selected by the relevant CLSI subcommittee, based largely on visual inspection and a few simple rules. We have developed statistical methods for analyzing the data from tier 2 studies and applied them to QC strain-antimicrobial agent combinations from 178 dilution testing data sets and 48 disk diffusion data sets, including a method for identifying possible outlier data from individual laboratories. The methods are based on the fact that dilution testing MIC data were log normally distributed and disk diffusion zone diameter data were normally distributed. For dilution testing, compared to QC ranges actually set by CLSI, calculated ranges were identical in 68% of cases, narrower in 7% of cases, and wider in 14% of cases. For disk diffusion testing, calculated ranges were identical to CLSI ranges in 33% of cases, narrower in 8% of cases, and 1 to 2 mm wider in 58% of cases. Possible outliers were detected in 8% of diffusion test data but none of the disk diffusion data. Application of statistical techniques to the analysis of QC tier 2 data and the setting of QC ranges is relatively simple to perform on spreadsheets, and the output enhances the current CLSI methods for setting of QC ranges. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shen X, Shen GM, Wu J, Gui XH, Li X, Mei J, DeRiemer K, Gao Q
Association between embB codon 306 mutations and drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2618-20.
embB306 mutants were detected in both ethambutol (EMB)-resistant and EMB-susceptible strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains had a higher proportion of embB306 mutants than non-MDR strains (odds ratio, 6.78; P < 0.001). The embB306 locus is a candidate marker for rapid detection of MDR and extremely drug resistant tuberculosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gumbo T, Louie A, Liu W, Brown D, Ambrose PG, Bhavnani SM, Drusano GL
Isoniazid bactericidal activity and resistance emergence: integrating pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics to predict efficacy in different ethnic populations.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2329-36.
Isoniazid, administered as part of combination antituberculosis therapy, is responsible for most of the early bactericidal activity (EBA) of the regimen. However, the emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance to isoniazid is a major problem. We examined the relationship between isoniazid exposure and M. tuberculosis microbial kill, as well as the emergence of resistance, in our in vitro pharmacodynamic model of tuberculosis. Since single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the N-acetyltransferase-2 gene lead to two different clearances of isoniazid from serum in patients, we simulated the isoniazid concentration-time profiles encountered in both slow and fast acetylators. Both microbial kill and the emergence of resistance during monotherapy were associated with the ratio of the area under the isoniazid concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC(0-24)) to the isoniazid MIC. The time in mutant selection window hypothesis was rejected. Next, we utilized the in vitro relationship between the isoniazid AUC(0-24)/MIC ratio and microbial kill, the distributions of isoniazid clearance in populations with different percentages of slow and fast acetylators, and the distribution of isoniazid MICs for isonazid-susceptible M. tuberculosis clinical isolates in Monte Carlo simulations to calculate the EBA expected for approximately 10,000 patients treated with 300 mg of isoniazid. For those patient populations in which the proportion of fast acetylators and the isoniazid MICs were high, the average EBA of the standard dose was approximately 0.3 log(10) CFU/ml/day and was thus suboptimal. Our approach, which utilizes preclinical pharmacodynamics and the genetically determined multimodal distributions of serum clearances, is a preclinical tool that may be able to predict the EBAs of various doses of new antituberculosis drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bertini A, Poirel L, Bernabeu S, Fortini D, Villa L, Nordmann P, Carattoli A
Multicopy blaOXA-58 gene as a source of high-level resistance to carbapenems in Acinetobacter baumannii.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2324-8.
The mechanisms at the origin of heterogeneous carbapenem resistance levels observed among Acinetobacter baumannii isolates collected in 2005 in a large University Hospital of Rome, Italy, were investigated. These isolates were related and possessed similar plasmids carrying the carbapenem-hydrolyzing oxacillinase gene bla(OXA-58) but showed variable levels of resistance to carbapenems. Analysis of sequences surrounding the bla(OXA-58) gene showed genetic variability, with the presence in several isolates of multiple copies of the bla(OXA-58) gene; this extra copy number was likely related to an IS26-mediated transposition or recombination process. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Peleg AY, Adams J, Paterson DL
Tigecycline Efflux as a Mechanism for Nonsusceptibility in Acinetobacter baumannii.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2065-9.
Tigecycline has an extended spectrum of in vitro antimicrobial activities, including that against multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter. After identifying bloodstream isolates of Acinetobacter with reduced susceptibilities to tigecycline, we performed a study to assess tigecycline efflux mediated by the resistance-nodulation-division-type transporter AdeABC. After exposure of two tigecycline-nonsusceptible isolates to the efflux pump inhibitor phenyl-arginine-beta-naphthylamide (PABN), a fourfold reduction in the tigecycline MIC was observed. Both tigecycline-susceptible and -nonsusceptible isolates were found to carry the gene coding for the transmembrane component of the AdeABC pump, adeB, and the two-component regulatory system comprising adeS and adeR. Previously unreported point mutations were identified in the regulatory system in tigecycline-nonsusceptible isolates. Real-time PCR identified 40-fold and 54-fold increases in adeB expression in the two tigecycline-nonsusceptible isolates compared to that in a tigecycline-susceptible isolate. In vitro exposure of a tigecycline-susceptible clinical strain to tigecycline caused a rapid rise in the MIC of tigecycline from 2 microg/ml to 24 microg/ml, which was reversible with PABN. A 25-fold increase in adeB expression was observed in a comparison between this tigecycline-susceptible isolate and its isogenic tigecycline-nonsusceptible mutant. These results indicate that an efflux-based mechanism plays a role in reduced tigecycline susceptibility in Acinetobacter. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lindberg R, Fredlund H, Nicholas R, Unemo M
Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates with reduced susceptibility to cefixime and ceftriaxone: association with genetic polymorphisms in penA, mtrR, porB1b, and ponA.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2117-22.
The recent emergence and transmission of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates with reduced susceptibility to expanded-spectrum cephalosporins such as cefixime and ceftriaxone have been reported. The aim of this study was to determine the correlation of different polymorphisms in the penA, mtrR, porB1b (penB), and ponA genes of N. gonorrhoeae with reduced susceptibility to cefixime and ceftriaxone. Eighteen gonococcal isolates with reduced cefixime and ceftriaxone susceptibility (Cef(i)) and two susceptible isolates were characterized using serovar determination, antibiograms, N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST), and sequencing of penA, mtrR, porB1b, and ponA alleles. For the Cef(i) isolates (n = 18), the MICs of cefixime and ceftriaxone ranged between 0.032 to 0.38 mug/ml and 0.064 to 0.125 mug/ml, respectively. These isolates were assigned five different serovars and six divergent NG-MAST sequence types. Eleven isolates (61%) with higher MICs of cefixime and ceftriaxone contained a nearly identical penA mosaic allele and previously described polymorphisms in mtrR (a single nucleotide [A] deletion in the promoter), penB (mutations in porB1b encoding loop 3 of PorB1b), and ponA (ponA1 polymorphism). The remaining seven Cef(i) isolates (39%), which had somewhat lower MICs of cefixime and ceftriaxone, contained an aspartic acid insertion (Asp-345a) in PBP 2 in conjunction with alterations of 4 to 10 amino acid residues in the C-terminal region of the transpeptidase domain of penA. In conclusion, an unambiguous association between penA mosaic alleles, in conjunction with genetic polymorphisms in mtrR, porB1b, and ponA, and greater reduced susceptibility to cefixime and ceftriaxone was identified. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Julander JG, Furuta Y, Shafer K, Sidwell RW
Activity of T-1106 in a hamster model of yellow Fever virus infection.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):1962-6.
Yellow fever virus (YFV) causes 30,000 deaths worldwide, despite the availability of a vaccine. There are no approved antiviral therapies for the treatment of YFV disease in humans, and, therefore, these studies were designed to investigate the anti-YFV properties of T-1106, a substituted pyrazine, in a hamster model of YFV disease. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) treatment with 100 mg/kg of body weight/day of T-1106 starting 4 h prior to virus inoculation and continuing twice daily through 7 days post-virus inoculation (dpi) resulted in significantly improved survival, alanine aminotransferase levels in the serum, weight gain, and mean day to death. Virus titer in the liver at 4 dpi was significantly reduced in treated animals, as determined by both quantitative real-time PCR and infectious cell culture assay. No toxicity (weight loss or mortality) was observed at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day in sham-infected control animals. The observed minimal effective dose of T-1106 was 32 mg/kg/day administered either by oral or i.p. treatment. Therapeutic treatment was effective in significantly improving survival when T-1106 was administered beginning as late as 4 days after virus challenge with twice-daily treatment for 8 days at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day. With favorable safety, bioavailability, and postviral challenge treatment efficacy, T-1106 was effective in the treatment of disease in hamsters infected with YFV and should be further studied for potential use as a therapy for human YFV disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lebeau I, Andrei G, Krecmerová M, De Clercq E, Holy A, Snoeck R
Inhibitory activities of three classes of acyclic nucleoside phosphonates against murine polyomavirus and primate simian virus 40 strains.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2268-73.
Murine polyomavirus and simian virus 40 were used to evaluate the potencies of the compounds of three classes of acyclic nucleoside phosphonates: (i) the original HPMP (3-hydroxy-2-phosphonomethoxypropyl) and PME (2-phosphonomethoxyethyl) derivatives, (ii) the 6-[2-(phosphonomethoxy)alkoxy]-2,4-diaminopyrimidine (DAPy) derivatives, and (iii) a new class of HPMP derivatives containing a 5-azacytosine moiety. The last class showed the highest activities and selectivities against both polyomaviruses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Poirel L, Corvec S, Rapoport M, Mugnier P, Petroni A, Pasteran F, Faccone D, Galas M, Drugeon H, Cattoir V, Nordmann P
Identification of the novel narrow-spectrum beta-lactamase SCO-1 in Acinetobacter spp. from Argentina.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2179-84.
By studying the beta-lactamase content of several Acinetobacter spp. isolates from Argentina, producing the expanded-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) VEB-1a or PER-2, a novel Ambler class A beta-lactamase gene was identified. It encoded the narrow-spectrum beta-lactamase SCO-1, whose activity was inhibited by clavulanic acid. SCO-1 hydrolyzes penicillins at a high level and cephalosporins and carbapenems at a very low level. beta-Lactamase SCO-1 was identified from unrelated VEB-1a-positive or PER-2-positive Acinetobacter spp. isolates recovered from three hospitals. The bla(SCO-1) gene was apparently located on a plasmid of ca. 150 kb from all cases but was not associated with any ESBL-encoding gene. The G+C content of the bla(SCO) gene was 52%, a value that does not correspond to that of the A. baumannii genome (39%). beta-Lactamase SCO-1 shares 47% amino acid identity with CARB-5 and ca. 40% with the enzymes TEM, SHV, and CTX-M. A gene encoding a putative resolvase was identified downstream of the bla(SCO-1) gene, but its precise way of acquisition remains to be determined. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Oluola O, Kong L, Fein M, Weisman LE
Lysostaphin in treatment of neonatal Staphylococcus aureus infection.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2198-200.
This study describes lysostaphin's effect against methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus in suckling rats. Standard techniques determined minimal inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy. The numbers of surviving rats after vancomycin, oxacillin, and lysostaphin treatment were comparable and were different from that of controls (P < 0.00001). Lysostaphin appears effective in the treatment of neonatal S. aureus infection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Paderu P, Garcia-Effron G, Balashov S, Delmas G, Park S, Perlin DS
Serum differentially alters the antifungal properties of echinocandin drugs.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2253-6.
Antifungal efficacies of the echinocandin drugs caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin were reduced significantly in the presence of 50% human serum, which yielded nearly equivalent MICs or minimum effective concentrations against diverse Candida spp. and Aspergillus spp. Consistent with a direct drug interaction, serum decreased the sensitivity of glucan synthase to echinocandin drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yum JH, Kim CK, Yong D, Lee K, Chong Y, Kim CM, Kim JM, Ro S, Cho JM
In vitro activities of CG400549, a novel FabI inhibitor, against recently isolated clinical staphylococcal strains in Korea.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2591-3.
The in vitro activities of CG400549, a novel FabI inhibitor, were compared to those of linezolid and commonly used antimicrobials against recent bacterial isolates. CG400549 had an MIC(90) of 0.5 microg/ml for Staphylococcus aureus strains and was more potent than either linezolid or vancomycin. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zorrilla CD, Van Dyke R, Bardeguez A, Acosta EP, Smith B, Hughes MD, Huang S, Watts DH, Heckman B, Jiménez E, McSherry G, Mofenson L
Clinical response and tolerability to and safety of saquinavir with low-dose ritonavir in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected mothers and their infants.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2208-10.
Saquinavir boosted with low-dose ritonavir given with zidovudine and lamivudine was well tolerated by pregnant women and their infants. All mothers had <400 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNA copies/ml at delivery. Two had elevated liver transaminases and amylase. Seven infant adverse events were possibly treatment related (anemia, neutropenia, and hyperbilirubinemia). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Poirel L, Wenger A, Bille J, Bernabeu S, Naas T, Nordmann P
SME-2-producing Serratia marcescens isolate from Switzerland.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2282-3. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Peña C, Guzmán A, Suarez C, Dominguez MA, Tubau F, Pujol M, Gudiol F, Ariza J
Effects of carbapenem exposure on the risk for digestive tract carriage of intensive care unit-endemic carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains in critically ill patients.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):1967-71.
To determine the epidemiology and risk factors for carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CR-PA) digestive tract colonization, weekly rectal and pharyngeal swabs were obtained in two serial incidence surveys (266 patients). Forty-two (16%) patients were CR-PA colonized (12 [29%] on admission and 30 [71%] in intensive care units). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed extensive clonal diversity, although one specific clone (type B) was isolated from 11 patients. The presence of similar genotypes of CR-PA colonizing 30% of the CR-PA-colonized patients suggests the occurrence of cross-colonization; in addition, 10 pairs of carbapenem-susceptible P. aeruginosa (CS-PA) and subsequent CR-PA strains isolated from the same patients were found to be clonally identical and were considered to have been endogenously acquired (33%). All endogenously acquired CR-PA strains were isolated after exposure to a carbapenem, and 80% showed a phenotype of imipenem resistance (IR pattern) alone, while 67% of the CR-PA strains acquired by cross-transmission exhibited a multiresistant (MR) phenotype, with previous carbapenem exposure in 44%. Logistic regression analysis identified severity of acute illness (odds ratio [OR], 1.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 1.1), prior carbapenem use (OR, 7.8; 95% CI, 1.7 to 35.3), and prior use of fluoroquinolones (OR, 11.0; 95% CI, 1.7 to 67.9) as independent risk factors for CR-PA digestive tract colonization. Overall, the local epidemiology of CR-PA digestive tract colonization was characterized by polyclonal endemicity with phenotype patterns of IR and MR divided evenly between patients. Restricting the use of particular agents, such as carbapenems and fluoroquinolones, should be considered advisable to minimize the problem of this antibiotic resistance. However, the possible risk for development of collateral unexpected bacterial resistance patterns should be accurately monitored. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Li Y, Zhang Y
PhoU is a persistence switch involved in persister formation and tolerance to multiple antibiotics and stresses in Escherichia coli.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2092-9.
When a bactericidal antibiotic is added to a growing bacterial culture, the great majority of the bacterial population is killed but a small number of metabolically quiescent bacteria called persisters survive antibiotic treatment. The mechanism of this bacterial persistence is poorly understood. In Escherichia coli, we identified a new persistence gene, phoU, whose inactivation leads to a generalized higher susceptibility than that of the parent strain to a diverse range of antibiotics, including ampicillin, norfloxacin, and gentamicin, and stresses, such as starvation, acid pH, heat, peroxide, weak acids, and energy inhibitors, especially in stationary phase. The PhoU mutant phenotype could be complemented by a functional phoU gene. Mutation in PhoU leads to a metabolically hyperactive status of the cell, as shown by an increased expression of energy production genes, flagella, and chemotaxis genes and a defect in persister formation. PhoU, whose expression is regulated by environmental changes like nutrient availability and age of culture, is a global negative regulator beyond its role in phosphate metabolism and facilitates persister formation by the suppression of many important cellular metabolic processes. A new model of persister formation based on PhoU as a persister switch is proposed. PhoU may be an ideal drug target for designing new drugs that kill persister bacteria for more effective control of bacterial infections. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yano M, Ikeda M, Abe K, Dansako H, Ohkoshi S, Aoyagi Y, Kato N
Comprehensive analysis of the effects of ordinary nutrients on hepatitis C virus RNA replication in cell culture.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2016-27.
To date, only a limited number of studies have reported finding an influence of ordinary nutrients on hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA replication. However, the effects of other nutrients on HCV RNA replication remain largely unknown. We recently developed a reporter assay system for genome-length HCV RNA replication in hepatoma-derived HuH-7 cells (OR6). Here, using this OR6 assay system, we comprehensively examined 46 nutrients from four nutrient groups: vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, and salts. We found that three nutrients-beta-carotene, vitamin D(2), and linoleic acid-inhibited HCV RNA replication and that their combination caused additive and/or synergistic effects on HCV RNA replication. In addition, combined treatment with each of the three nutrients and interferon alpha or beta or fluvastatin inhibited HCV RNA replication in an additive manner, while combined treatment with cyclosporine synergistically inhibited HCV RNA replication. In contrast, we found that vitamin E enhanced HCV RNA replication and negated the effects of the three anti-HCV nutrients and cyclosporine but not those of interferon or fluvastatin. These results will provide useful information for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C patients who also take anti-HCV nutrients as an adjunctive therapy in combination with interferon. In conclusion, among the ordinary nutrients tested, beta-carotene, vitamin D(2), and linoleic acid possessed anti-HCV activity in a cell culture system, and these nutrients are therefore considered to be potential candidates for enhancing the effects of interferon therapy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gentry DR, Rittenhouse SF, McCloskey L, Holmes DJ
Stepwise exposure of Staphylococcus aureus to pleuromutilins is associated with stepwise acquisition of mutations in rplC and minimally affects susceptibility to retapamulin.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2048-52.
To assess their effects on susceptibility to retapamulin in Staphylococcus aureus, first-, second-, and third-step mutants with elevated MICs to tiamulin and other investigational pleuromutilin compounds were isolated and characterized through exposure to high drug concentrations. All first- and second-step mutations were in rplC, encoding ribosomal protein L3. Most third-step mutants acquired a third mutation in rplC. While first- and second-step mutations did cause an elevation in tiamulin and retapamulin MICs, a significant decrease in activity was not seen until a third mutation was acquired. All third-step mutants exhibited severe growth defects, and faster-growing variants arose at a high frequency from most isolates. These faster-growing variants were found to be more susceptible to pleuromutilins. In the case of a mutant with three alterations in rplC, the fast-growing variants acquired an additional mutation in rplC. In the case of fast-growing variants of isolates with two mutations in rplC and at least one mutation at an unmapped locus, one of the two rplC mutations reverted to wild type. These data indicate that mutations in rplC that lead to pleuromutilin resistance have a direct, negative effect on fitness. While reduction in activity of retapamulin against S. aureus can be seen through mutations in rplC, it is likely that target-specific resistance to retapamulin will be slow to emerge due to the need for three mutations for a significant effect on activity and the fitness cost of each mutational step. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Roth S, Monsour M, Dowland A, Guenthner PC, Hancock K, Ou CY, Dezzutti CS
Effect of topical microbicides on infectious human immunodeficiency virus type 1 binding to epithelial cells.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):1972-8.
Topical microbicides (cellulose acetate 1,2 benzene dicarboxylate [CAP], PRO 2000, SPL7013, and UC781) are being investigated to reduce the sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). These products were shown to prevent the transfer of infectious HIV-1 from urogenital and colorectal epithelial cell lines to peripheral blood mononuclear cells. However, it was unclear if the topical microbicides rendered the virus noninfectious and/or reduced the binding to the epithelial cells. To test this, epithelial cells were cultured with HIV-1 in the presence or absence of topical microbicides or their placebos. The cells were washed, RNA lysates were made, and real-time PCR was performed for HIV-1. PRO 2000 and SPL7013 significantly (P < 0.0001) reduced the amount of bound HIV-1 to the colorectal epithelial cell line across clades A, B, C, and CRF01-AE. While none of the products reduced the binding of HIV-1 clades A and C to the urogenital cell line, CAP, PRO 2000, and SPL7013 significantly (P </= 0.002) reduced the binding of clades B and CRF01-AE. In general, PRO 2000 and SPL7013 placebos significantly (P < 0.0001) reduced the amount of bound HIV-1 but were less than the active products. UC781, its placebo, and hydroxyethyl cellulose (placebo for CAP) minimally affected the amount of bound HIV-1. These results suggest that rendering HIV-1 noninfectious may not correlate to the amount of HIV-1 bound to epithelial cells and possible shedding into mucosal secretions. Therefore, functional virological assays in addition to measuring viral RNA should be included when clinically evaluating topical microbicide use by infected persons. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rodríguez-Martínez JM, Velasco C, García I, Cano ME, Martínez-Martínez L, Pascual A
Mutant prevention concentrations of fluoroquinolones for Enterobacteriaceae expressing the plasmid-carried quinolone resistance determinant qnrA1.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2236-9.
The influence of qnrA1 on the development of quinolone resistance in Enterobacteriaceae was evaluated by using the mutant prevention concentration parameter. The expression of qnrA1 considerably increased the mutant prevention concentration compared to strains without this gene. In the presence of qnrA1, mutations in gyrA and parC genes were easily selected to produce high levels of quinolone resistance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matthes E, Funk A, Krahn I, Gaertner K, von Janta-Lipinski M, Lin L, Will H, Sirma H
Strong and selective inhibitors of hepatitis B virus replication among novel N4-hydroxy- and 5-methyl-beta-L-deoxycytidine analogues.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2523-30.
Novel N(4)-hydroxy- and 5-methyl-modified beta-L-deoxycytidine analogues were synthesized and evaluated as anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) agents. Their in vitro efficiencies were investigated in HepG2.2.15 cells stably transfected with HBV. beta-L-2',3'-Didehydro-2',3'-dideoxy-N(4)-hydroxycytidine (beta-L-Hyd4C) was most effective in reducing secreted HBV DNA (50% effective concentration [EC(50)], 0.03 microM), followed by beta-L-2',3'-dideoxy-3'-thia-N(4)-hydroxycytidine (EC(50), 0.51 microM), beta-L-2',3'-dideoxy-N(4)-hydroxycytidine (EC(50), 0.55 microM), and beta-L-5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine (EC(50), 0.9 microM). The inhibition of the presumed target, the HBV DNA polymerase, by the triphosphates of some of the beta-L-cytidine derivatives was also assessed. In accordance with the cell culture data, beta-L-Hyd4C triphosphate was the most active inhibitor, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 0.21 microM. The cytotoxicities of some of the 4-NHOH-modified beta-L-nucleosides were dramatically lower than those of the corresponding cytidine analogues with the unmodified 4-NH(2) group. The 50% cytotoxic concentrations for beta-L-Hyd4C in HepG2 and HL-60 cells were 2,500 microM and 3,500 microM, respectively. In summary, our results demonstrate that at least beta-L-Hyd4C can be recommended as a highly efficient and extremely selective inhibitor of HBV replication for further investigations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Malaria Journal

Valecha N, Bhatia S, Mehta S, Biswas S, Dash AP
Congenital malaria with atypical presentation: a case report from low transmission area in India.
Malar J. 2007;643.
BACKGROUND: Malaria during first few months of life may be due to transplacental transfer of parasitized maternal erythrocytes. Although IgG and IgM antimalarial antibodies can be detected in maternal blood, only IgG antibodies are present in the infant's blood. These antibodies can delay and modify the onset of clinical manifestations. CASE PRESENTATION: An infant is described who presented with irritability and feeding problems. Clinical examination and investigations revealed that the infant was afebrile, had jaundice, hepatosplenomegaly and haemolytic anaemia. Peripheral smear demonstrated Plasmodium vivax. While the mother had significant levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG), the infant was found negative for IgG and had low immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels. The mother had a history of febrile illness during pregnancy and her peripheral smear was also positive for P. vivax. Both were successfully treated with chloroquine in the dose of 25 mg/kg/day over three days. CONCLUSION: The case emphasizes the importance of considering the diagnosis of malaria even in infants in low transmission area, who may not present with typical symptoms of malaria, such as fever, but have other clinical manifestations like jaundice and haemolytic anaemia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Srinivas R, Agarwal R, Gupta D
Severe sepsis due to severe falciparum malaria and leptospirosis co-infection treated with activated protein C.
Malar J. 2007;642.
Co-infection with falciparum malaria and leptospirosis is uncommon. The aim of this study is to report a case of severe sepsis secondary to dual infection with falciparum malaria and leptospirosis. The literature is also reviewed on the clinical course of such co-infections, and the possible mechanisms and treatment of patients with life-threatening malaria and leptospirosis with activated protein C. The patient was a 25-year old male admitted in the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (RICU) with fever, haemolysis, acute renal failure, hepatitis, acute lung injury (ALI) and altered sensorium. A syndromic evaluation was done and investigations revealed falciparum parasitaemia. He was treated with parenteral artesunate, ceftriaxone and doxycycline, and adjunctive therapies as for severe sepsis. Infusion of activated protein C was started 20 hours after onset of organ dysfunction, and intensive haemodialysis was instituted. Over the next four days the patient became afebrile with progressive resolution of ALI, renal failure and hepatitis. His Leptospira serology (requested as part of the evaluation) was reported positive on day 5. Dual infections are common and under-recognized in the tropics. Failure to treat potential co-infections may lead to poor outcomes. Acute lung injury in falciparum malaria has high mortality rates and therapy as for severe sepsis may improve survival. Adjunctive therapies, including activated protein C, cannot replace source eradication. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ojurongbe O, Ogungbamigbe TO, Fagbenro-Beyioku AF, Fendel R, Kremsner PG, Kun JF
Rapid detection of Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 mutations in Plasmodium falciparum isolates by FRET and in vivo response to chloroquine among children from Osogbo, Nigeria.
Malar J. 2007;641.
BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) has been in use in Africa for a long time. Because of misuse, this drug has now lost its efficacy due to the emergence of resistance strains in most parts of Africa. Recently, it was shown that after chloroquine has been withdrawn from the market, chloroquine-sensitive Plasmodium falciparum re-emerged and chloroquine could again be used successfully as an antimalarial. Surveillance of parasite populations is, therefore, important to decide whether chloroquine could be re-introduced. METHODS: To estimate the prevalence of the most pivotal polymorphisms, including Pfcrt K76T, Pfmdr1 N86Y and Pfmdr1 Y184F mutations, and their contributions to the outcome of CQ treatment, isolates from Osogbo Western Nigeria were tested using the Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) method on a real-time PCR instrument. RESULTS: 116 children with acute uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria infections were treated with the standard dosage of CQ and followed-up for 28 days. Blood samples were collected on filter paper at enrollment and during follow-up for identification of parasite carrying the chloroquine resistant transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum-multi drug resistance (pfmdr1) gene mutations. Parasitological assessment of response to treatment showed that 62% of the patients were cured and 38% failed the CQ treatment. The presence of single mutant pfcrt (T76) alleles (P = 0.003) and in combination with mutant pfmdr1 Y86 (P = 0.028) was significantly associated with in vivo CQR. No other mutation on its own or in combinations was significantly associated with treatment outcome. Mutant pfcrt was more prevalent in both pre- and post-treatment isolates. No association was observed between age or initial level of parasitaemia and chloroquine treatment outcome. CONCLUSION: The result established the usefulness and accuracy of real time PCR in pfcrt and pfmdr1 mutation detection and also give further evidence to the reliability of the pfcrt T76 point mutation as a molecular marker for CQ resistance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kazembe LN, Appleton CC, Kleinschmidt I
Choice of treatment for fever at household level in Malawi: examining spatial patterns.
Malar J. 2007;640.
BACKGROUND: Although malaria imposes an enormous burden on Malawi, it remains a controllable disease. The key strategies for control are based on early diagnosis and prompt treatment with effective antimalarials. Its success, however, depends on understanding the factors influencing health care decision making at household level, which has implications for implementing policies aimed at promoting health care practices and utilization. METHODS: An analysis of patterns of treatment-seeking behaviour among care-givers of children of malarial fever in Malawi, based on the 2000 Malawi demographic and health survey, is presented. The choice of treatment provider (home, shop, or formal hospital care, others) was considered as a multi-categorical response, and a multinomial logistic regression model was used to investigate determinants of choosing any particular provider. The model incorporated random effects, at subdistrict level, to measure the influence of geographical location on the choice of any treatment provider. Inference was Bayesian and based on Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Spatial variation was found in the choice of a provider and determinants of choice of any provider differed. Important risk factors included place of residence, access to media, care-giver's age and care factors including unavailability and inaccessibility of care. A greater effort is needed to improve the quality of malaria home treatment or expand health facility utilization, at all levels of administration if reducing malaria is to be realised in Malawi. Health promotion and education interventions should stress promptness of health facility visits, improved access to appropriate drugs, and accurate dosing for home-based treatments. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ndyomugyenyi R, Magnussen P, Clarke S
Diagnosis and treatment of malaria in peripheral health facilities in Uganda: findings from an area of low transmission in south-western Uganda.
Malar J. 2007;639.
BACKGROUND: Early recognition of symptoms and signs perceived as malaria are important for effective case management, as few laboratories are available at peripheral health facilities. The validity and reliability of clinical signs and symptoms used by health workers to diagnose malaria were assessed in an area of low transmission in south-western Uganda. METHODS: The study had two components: 1) passive case detection where all patients attending the out patient clinic with a febrile illness were included and 2) a longitudinal active malaria case detection survey was conducted in selected villages. A malaria case was defined as any slide-confirmed parasitaemia in a person with an axillary temperature > or = 37.5 degrees C or a history of fever within the last 24 hrs and no signs suggestive of other diseases. RESULTS: Cases of malaria were significantly more likely to report joint pains, headache, vomiting and abdominal pains. However, due to the low prevalence of malaria, the predictive values of these individual signs alone, or in combination, were poor. Only 24.8% of 1627 patients had malaria according to case definition and > 75% of patients were unnecessarily treated for malaria and few slide negative cases received alternative treatment. CONCLUSION: In low-transmission areas, more attention needs to be paid to differential diagnosis of febrile illnesses In view of suggested changes in anti-malarial drug policy, introducing costly artemisinin combination therapy accurate, rapid diagnostic tools are necessary to target treatment to people in need. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pennetier C, Corbel V, Boko P, Odjo A, N'Guessan R, Lapied B, Hougard JM
Synergy between repellents and non-pyrethroid insecticides strongly extends the efficacy of treated nets against Anopheles gambiae.
Malar J. 2007;638.
BACKGROUND: To manage the kdr pyrethroid-resistance in Anopheline malaria vectors, new compounds or new strategies are urgently needed. Recently, mixing repellents (DEET) and a non-pyrethroid insecticide (propoxur) was shown to be as effective as deltamethrin, a standard pyrethroid, under laboratory conditions, because of a strong synergy between the two compounds. In the present study, the interactions between two repellents (DEET and KBR 3023) and a non-pyrethroid insecticide (pyrimiphos methyl or PM) on netting were investigated. The residual efficacy and the inhibition of blood feeding conferred by these mixtures were assessed against Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. METHODS: DEET and KBR 3023 were mixed with pyrimiphos methyl (PM), a organophosphate (OP) insecticide. The performance of mono- and bi-impregnated nets against adult mosquitoes was assessed using a miniaturized, experimental hut system (laboratory tunnel tests) that allows expression of behavioural responses to insecticide, particularly the mortality and blood feeding effects. RESULTS: Both mixtures (PM+DEET and PM+KBR3023) induced 95% mortality for more than two months compared with less than one week for each compound used alone, then reflecting a strong synergy between the repellents and PM. A similar trend was observed with the blood feeding rates, which were significantly lower for the mixtures than for each component alone. CONCLUSION: Synergistic interactions between organophosphates and repellents may be of great interest for vector control as they may contribute to increase the residual life of impregnated materials and improve the control of pyrethroid-resistance mosquitoes. These results prompt the need to evaluate the efficacy of repellent/non-pyrethroid insecticide mixtures against field populations of An. gambiae showing high level of resistance to Ops and pyrethroids. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Incardona S, Vong S, Chiv L, Lim P, Nhem S, Sem R, Khim N, Doung S, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Fandeur T
Large-scale malaria survey in Cambodia: novel insights on species distribution and risk factors.
Malar J. 2007;637.
BACKGROUND: In Cambodia, estimates of the malaria burden rely on a public health information system that does not record cases occurring among remote populations, neither malaria cases treated in the private sector nor asymptomatic carriers. A global estimate of the current malaria situation and associated risk factors is, therefore, still lacking. METHODS: A large cross-sectional survey was carried out in three areas of multidrug resistant malaria in Cambodia, enrolling 11,652 individuals. Fever and splenomegaly were recorded. Malaria prevalence, parasite densities and spatial distribution of infection were determined to identify parasitological profiles and the associated risk factors useful for improving malaria control programmes in the country. RESULTS: Malaria prevalence was 3.0%, 7.0% and 12.3% in Sampovloun, Koh Kong and Preah Vihear areas. Prevalences and Plasmodium species were heterogeneously distributed, with higher Plasmodium vivax rates in areas of low transmission. Malaria-attributable fevers accounted only for 10-33% of malaria cases, and 23-33% of parasite carriers were febrile. Multivariate multilevel regression analysis identified adults and males, mostly involved in forest activities, as high risk groups in Sampovloun, with additional risks for children in forest-fringe villages in the other areas along with an increased risk with distance from health facilities. CONCLUSION: These observations point to a more complex malaria situation than suspected from official reports. A large asymptomatic reservoir was observed. The rates of P. vivax infections were higher than recorded in several areas. In remote areas, malaria prevalence was high. This indicates that additional health facilities should be implemented in areas at higher risk, such as remote rural and forested parts of the country, which are not adequately served by health services. Precise malaria risk mapping all over the country is needed to assess the extensive geographical heterogeneity of malaria endemicity and risk populations, so that current malaria control measures can be reinforced accordingly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

O'Meara WP, Hall BF, McKenzie FE
Malaria vaccine efficacy: the difficulty of detecting and diagnosing malaria.
Malar J. 2007;636.
New sources of funding have revitalized efforts to control malaria. An effective vaccine would be a tremendous asset in the fight against this devastating disease and increasing financial and scientific resources are being invested to develop one. A few candidates have been tested in Phase I and II clinical trials, and several others are poised to begin trials soon. Some studies have been promising, and others disappointing.It is difficult to compare the results of these clinical trials; even independent trials of the same vaccine give highly discrepant results. One major obstacle in evaluating malaria vaccines is the difficulty of diagnosing clinical malaria. This analysis evaluates the impact of diagnostic error, particularly that introduced by microscopy, on the outcome of efficacy trials of malaria vaccines and make recommendations for improving future trials. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fernandes N, Figueiredo P, do Rosário VE, Cravo P
Analysis of sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine resistance-conferring mutations of Plasmodium falciparum from Mozambique reveals the absence of the dihydrofolate reductase 164L mutant.
Malar J. 2007;635.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum is the predominant human malaria species in Mozambique and a lead cause of mortality among children and pregnant women nationwide. Sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (S/P) is used as first line antimalarial treatment as a partner drug in combination with artesunate. METHODS: A total of 92 P. falciparum-infected blood samples, from children with uncomplicated malaria attending the Centro de Saude de Bagamoyo in the Province of Maputo-Mozambique, were screened for S/P resistance-conferring mutations in the pfdhfr and pfdhps genes using a nested mutation-specific polymerase chain reaction and restriction digestion (PCR-RFLP). The panel of genetic polymorphisms analysed included the pfdhfr 164L mutation, previously reported to be absent or rare in Africa. RESULTS: The frequency of the S/P resistance-associated pfdhfr triple mutants (51I/59R/108N) and of pfdhfr/pfdhps quintuple mutants (51I/59R/108N + 437G/540E) was 93% and 47%, respectively. However, no pfdhfr 164L mutants were detected. CONCLUSION: The observation that a considerably high percentage of P. falciparum parasites contained S/P resistance-associated mutations raises concerns about the validity of this drug as first-choice treatment in Mozambique. On the other hand, no pfdhfr 164L mutant was disclosed, corroborating the view that that this allele is still rare in Africa. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

DaRe JT, Mehlotra RK, Michon P, Mueller I, Reeder J, Sharma YD, Stoneking M, Zimmerman PA
Microsatellite polymorphism within pfcrt provides evidence of continuing evolution of chloroquine-resistant alleles in Papua New Guinea.
Malar J. 2007;634.
BACKGROUND: Polymorphism in the pfcrt gene underlies Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance (CQR), as sensitive strains consistently carry lysine (K), while CQR strains carry threonine (T) at the codon 76. Previous studies have shown that microsatellite (MS) haplotype variation can be used to study the evolution of CQR polymorphism and to characterize intra- and inter-population dispersal of CQR in Papua New Guinea (PNG). METHODS: Here, following identification of new polymorphic MS in introns 2 and 3 within the pfcrt gene (msint2 and msint3, respectively), locus-by-locus and haplotype heterozygosity (H) analyses were performed to determine the distribution of this intronic polymorphism among pfcrt chloroquine-sensitive and CQR alleles. RESULTS: For MS flanking the pfcrt CQR allele, H ranged from 0.07 (B5M77, -18 kb) to 0.094 (9B12, +2 kb) suggesting that CQ selection pressure was responsible for strong homogenisation of this gene locus. In a survey of 206 pfcrt-SVMNT allele-containing field samples from malaria-endemic regions of PNG, H for msint2 was 0.201. This observation suggests that pfcrt msint2 exhibits a higher level of diversity than what is expected from the analyses of pfcrt flanking MS. Further analyses showed that one of the three haplotypes present in the early 1980's samples has become the predominant haplotype (frequency = 0.901) in CQR parasite populations collected after 1995 from three PNG sites, when CQR had spread throughout malaria-endemic regions of PNG. Apparent localized diversification of pfcrt haplotypes at each site was also observed among samples collected after 1995, where minor CQR-associated haplotypes were found to be unique to each site. CONCLUSION: In this study, a higher level of diversity at MS loci within the pfcrt gene was observed when compared with the level of diversity at pfcrt flanking MS. While pfcrt (K76T) and its immediate flanking region indicate homogenisation in PNG CQR parasite populations, pfcrt intronic MS variation provides evidence that the locus is still evolving. Further studies are needed to determine whether these intronic MS introduce the underlying genetic mechanisms that may generate pfcrt allelic diversity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cerutti C, Boulos M, Coutinho AF, Hatab Mdo C, Falqueto A, Rezende HR, Duarte AM, Collins W, Malafronte RS
Epidemiologic aspects of the malaria transmission cycle in an area of very low incidence in Brazil.
Malar J. 2007;633.
BACKGROUND: Extra-Amazonian autochthonous Plasmodium vivax infections have been reported in mountainous regions surrounded by the Atlantic Forest in Espírito Santo state, Brazil. METHODS: Sixty-five patients and 1,777 residents were surveyed between April 2001 and March 2004. Laboratory methods included thin and thick smears, multiplex-PCR, immunofluorescent assay (IFA) against P. vivax and Plasmodium malariae crude blood-stage antigens and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for antibodies against the P. vivax-complex (P. vivax and variants) and P. malariae/Plasmodium brasilianum circumsporozoite-protein (CSP) antigens. RESULTS: Average patient age was 35.1 years. Most (78.5%) were males; 64.6% lived in rural areas; 35.4% were farmers; and 12.3% students. There was no relevant history of travel. Ninety-five per cent of the patients were experiencing their first episode of malaria. Laboratory data from 51 patients were consistent with P. vivax infection, which was determined by thin smear. Of these samples, 48 were assayed by multiplex-PCR. Forty-five were positive for P. vivax, confirming the parasitological results, while P. malariae was detected in one sample and two gave negative results. Fifty percent of the 50 patients tested had IgG antibodies against the P. vivax-complex or P. malariae CSP as determined by ELISA. The percentages of residents with IgM and IgG antibodies detected by IFA for P. malariae, P. vivax and Plasmodium falciparum who did not complain of malaria symptoms at the time blood was collected were 30.1% and 56.5%, 6.2% and 37.7%, and 13.5% and 13%, respectively. The same sera that reacted to P. vivax also reacted to P. malariae. The following numbers of samples were positive in multiplex-PCR: 23 for P. vivax; 15 for P. malariae; 9 for P. falciparum and only one for P. falciparum and P. malariae. All thin and thick smears were negative. ELISA against CSP antigens was positive in 25.4%, 6.3%, 10.7% and 15.1% of the samples tested for "classical" P. vivax (VK210), VK247, P. vivax-like and P. malariae, respectively. Anopheline captures in the transmission area revealed only zoophilic and exophilic species. CONCLUSION: The low incidence of malaria cases, the finding of asymptomatic inhabitants and the geographic separation of patients allied to serological and molecular results raise the possibility of the existence of a simian reservoir in these areas. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cunha-Rodrigues M, Portugal S, Febbraio M, Mota MM
Bone marrow chimeric mice reveal a dual role for CD36 in Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection.
Malar J. 2007;632.
BACKGROUND: Adhesion of Plasmodium-infected red blood cells (iRBC) to different host cells, ranging from endothelial to red blood cells, is associated to malaria pathology. In vitro studies have shown the relevance of CD36 for adhesion phenotypes of Plasmodium falciparum iRBC such as sequestration, platelet mediated clumping and non-opsonic uptake of iRBC. Different adhesion phenotypes involve different host cells and are associated with different pathological outcomes of disease. Studies with different human populations with CD36 polymorphisms failed to attribute a clear role to CD36 expression in human malaria. Up to the present, no in vivo model has been available to study the relevance of different CD36 adhesion phenotypes to the pathological course of Plasmodium infection. METHODS: Using CD36-deficient mice and their control littermates, CD36 bone marrow chimeric mice, expressing CD36 exclusively in haematopoietic cells or in non-haematopoietic cells, were generated. Irradiated CD36-/- and wild type mice were also reconstituted with syngeneic cells to control for the effects of irradiation. The reconstituted mice were infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA and analysed for the development of blood parasitaemia and neurological symptoms. RESULTS: All mice reconstituted with syngeneic bone marrow cells as well as chimeric mice expressing CD36 exclusively in non-haematopoietic cells died from experimental cerebral malaria between day 6 and 12 after infection. A significant proportion of chimeric mice expressing CD36 only in haematopoietic cells did not die from cerebral malaria. CONCLUSION: The analysis of bone marrow chimeric mice reveals a dual role of CD36 in P. berghei ANKA infection. Expression of CD36 in haematopoietic cells, most likely macrophages and dendritic cells, has a beneficial effect that is masked in normal mice by adverse effects of CD36 expression in non-haematopoietic cells, most likely endothelial cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zurovac D, Ndhlovu M, Sipilanyambe N, Chanda P, Hamer DH, Simon JL, Snow RW
Paediatric malaria case-management with artemether-lumefantrine in Zambia: a repeat cross-sectional study.
Malar J. 2007;631.
BACKGROUND: Zambia was the first African country to change national antimalarial treatment policy to artemisinin-based combination therapy--artemether-lumefantrine. An evaluation during the early implementation phase revealed low readiness of health facilities and health workers to deliver artemether-lumefantrine, and worryingly suboptimal treatment practices. Improvements in the case-management of uncomplicated malaria two years after the initial evaluation and three years after the change of policy in Zambia are reported. METHODS: Data collected during the health facility surveys undertaken in 2004 and 2006 at all outpatient departments of government and mission facilities in four Zambian districts were analysed. The surveys were cross-sectional, using a range of quality of care assessment methods. The main outcome measures were changes in health facility and health worker readiness to deliver artemether-lumefantrine, and changes in case-management practices for children below five years of age presenting with uncomplicated malaria as defined by national guidelines. RESULTS: In 2004, 94 health facilities, 103 health workers and 944 consultations for children with uncomplicated malaria were evaluated. In 2006, 104 facilities, 135 health workers and 1125 consultations were evaluated using the same criteria of selection. Health facility and health worker readiness improved from 2004 to 2006: availability of artemether-lumefantrine from 51% (48/94) to 60% (62/104), presence of artemether-lumefantrine dosage wall charts from 20% (19/94) to 75% (78/104), possession of guidelines from 58% (60/103) to 92% (124/135), and provision of in-service training from 25% (26/103) to 41% (55/135). The proportions of children with uncomplicated malaria treated with artemether-lumefantrine also increased from 2004 to 2006: from 1% (6/527) to 27% (149/552) in children weighing 5 to 9 kg, and from 11% (42/394) to 42% (231/547) in children weighing 10 kg or more. In both weight groups and both years, 22% (441/2020) of children with uncomplicated malaria were not prescribed any antimalarial drug. CONCLUSION: Although significant improvements in malaria case-management have occurred over two years in Zambia, the quality of treatment provided at the point of care is not yet optimal. Strengthening weak health systems and improving the delivery of effective interventions should remain high priority in all countries implementing new treatment policies for malaria.