Corynebacterium diphtheriae is one of the most prominent human pathogens and the causative agent of the communicable disease diphtheria. The genomes of 12 strains isolated from patients with classical diphtheria, endocarditis, and pneumonia were completely sequenced and annotated. Including the genome of C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129, we herewith present a comprehensive comparative analysis of 13 strains and the first characterization of the pangenome of the species C. diphtheriae . Comparative genomics showed extensive synteny and revealed a core genome consisting of 1,632 conserved genes. The pangenome currently comprises 4,786 protein-coding regions and increases at an average of 65 unique genes per newly sequenced strain. Analysis of prophages carrying the diphtheria toxin gene tox revealed that the toxoid vaccine producer C. diphtheriae Park-Williams no. 8 has been lysogenized by two copies of the ω tox + phage, whereas C. diphtheriae 31A harbors a hitherto-unknown tox + corynephage. DNA binding sites of the tox -controlling regulator DtxR were detected by genome-wide motif searches. Comparative content analysis showed that the DtxR regulons exhibit marked differences due to gene gain, gene loss, partial gene deletion, and DtxR binding site depletion. Most predicted pathogenicity islands of C. diphtheriae revealed characteristics of horizontal gene transfer. The majority of these islands encode subunits of adhesive pili, which can play important roles in adhesion of C. diphtheriae to different host tissues. All sequenced isolates contain at least two pilus gene clusters. It appears that variation in the distributed genome is a common strategy of C. diphtheriae to establish differences in host-pathogen interactions.
BackgroundCorynebacterium ulcerans has been detected as a commensal in domestic and wild animals that may serve as reservoirs for zoonotic infections. During the last decade, the frequency and severity of human infections associated with C. ulcerans appear to be increasing in various countries. As the knowledge of genes contributing to the virulence of this bacterium was very limited, the complete genome sequences of two C. ulcerans strains detected in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro were determined and characterized by comparative genomics: C. ulcerans 809 was initially isolated from an elderly woman with fatal pulmonary infection and C. ulcerans BR-AD22 was recovered from a nasal sample of an asymptomatic dog.ResultsThe circular chromosome of C. ulcerans 809 has a total size of 2,502,095 bp and encodes 2,182 predicted proteins, whereas the genome of C. ulcerans BR-AD22 is 104,279 bp larger and comprises 2,338 protein-coding regions. The minor difference in size of the two genomes is mainly caused by additional prophage-like elements in the C. ulcerans BR-AD22 chromosome. Both genomes show a highly similar order of orthologous coding regions; and both strains share a common set of 2,076 genes, demonstrating their very close relationship. A screening for prominent virulence factors revealed the presence of phospholipase D (Pld), neuraminidase H (NanH), endoglycosidase E (EndoE), and subunits of adhesive pili of the SpaDEF type that are encoded in both C. ulcerans genomes. The rbp gene coding for a putative ribosome-binding protein with striking structural similarity to Shiga-like toxins was additionally detected in the genome of the human isolate C. ulcerans 809.ConclusionsThe molecular data deduced from the complete genome sequences provides considerable knowledge of virulence factors in C. ulcerans that is increasingly recognized as an emerging pathogen. This bacterium is apparently equipped with a broad and varying set of virulence factors, including a novel type of a ribosome-binding protein. Whether the respective protein contributes to the severity of human infections (and a fatal outcome) remains to be elucidated by genetic experiments with defined bacterial mutants and host model systems.
Aims: This investigation aimed to isolate enteric rods from subgingival sites of patients presenting chronic periodontitis lesions, and to assess antimicrobial resistance and expression of hydrolytic enzymes. Methods and Results: Enterobacteriaceae were isolated from 20% patients, and assayed for antimicrobial susceptibility and hydrolytic enzymes with specificity to different substrates. Isolates comprised seven Enterobacter cloacae (43·75%), five Serratia marcescens (31·25%), one Klebsiella pneumoniae (6·25%), one Enterobacter aerogenes (6·25%), one Pantoea agglomerans (6·25%), and one Citrobacter freundii (6·25%). Gelatinase activity was observed for 75% strains; caseinase and elastase was produced by six and two strains, respectively. DNase, lecithinase and lipase were expressed by S. marcescens. Most of strains were resistant to ampicillin (93·75%) and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (81·25%). The majority of strains were susceptible to cephalosporins and aztreonam. Enterobacteria remained susceptible to imipenem, streptomycin and fluoroquinolones. Resistance to gentamicin, amikacin, sulfamethoxazole/thrimethoprim, tetracycline, and chloramphenicol were also observed. Eight strains presented multiple drug resistance. Conclusions: Subgingival sites from periodontal diseases contain multi‐resistant and hydrolytic enzyme‐producing enterobacteria that may contribute to overall tissue destruction and spreading. Significance and Impact of the Study: Enterobacteria isolated from patients generally considered as healthy individuals poses periodontal diseases as reservoir for systemic infections particularly in immunocompromised and hospitalized hosts.
The adaptability of pathogenic bacteria to hosts is influenced by the genomic plasticity of the bacteria, which can be increased by such mechanisms as horizontal gene transfer. Pathogenicity islands play a major role in this type of gene transfer because they are large, horizontally acquired regions that harbor clusters of virulence genes that mediate the adhesion, colonization, invasion, immune system evasion, and toxigenic properties of the acceptor organism. Currently, pathogenicity islands are mainly identified in silico based on various characteristic features: (1) deviations in codon usage, G+C content or dinucleotide frequency and (2) insertion sequences and/or tRNA genetic flanking regions together with transposase coding genes. Several computational techniques for identifying pathogenicity islands exist. However, most of these techniques are only directed at the detection of horizontally transferred genes and/or the absence of certain genomic regions of the pathogenic bacterium in closely related non-pathogenic species. Here, we present a novel software suite designed for the prediction of pathogenicity islands (pathogenicity island prediction software, or PIPS). In contrast to other existing tools, our approach is capable of utilizing multiple features for pathogenicity island detection in an integrative manner. We show that PIPS provides better accuracy than other available software packages. As an example, we used PIPS to study the veterinary pathogen Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, in which we identified seven putative pathogenicity islands.
Endodontic E. faecalis isolates exhibit high level of resistance to tetracycline, an antibiotic that has use in local treatment of dental infections. This opens up a much-needed debate on the role and efficacy of this antibiotic for oral infections. Furthermore, these isolates were shown to possess genes that could contribute to pathogenicity in the pulp cavity.
Corynebacterium diphtheriae is typically recognized as an extracellular pathogen. However, a number of studies revealed its ability to invade epithelial cells, indicating a more complex pathogen-host interaction. The molecular mechanisms controlling and facilitating internalization of Cor. diphtheriae are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the role of DIP0733 as virulence factor to elucidate how it contributes to the process of pathogen-host cell interaction. Based on in vitro experiments, it was suggested recently that the DIP0733 protein might be involved in adhesion, invasion of epithelial cells and induction of apoptosis. A corresponding Cor. diphtheriae mutant strain generated in this study was attenuated in its ability to colonize and kill the host in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model system. Furthermore, the mutant showed an altered adhesion pattern and a drastically reduced ability to adhere and invade epithelial cells. Subsequent experiments showed an influence of DIP0733 on binding of Cor. diphtheriae to extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen and fibronectin. Furthermore, based on its fibrinogen-binding activity, DIP0733 may play a role in avoiding recognition of Cor. diphtheriae by the immune system. In summary, our findings support the idea that DIP0733 is a multi-functional virulence factor of Cor. diphtheriae.
Corynebacterium diphtheriae still represents a global medical challenge, particularly due to the significant number of individuals susceptible to diphtheria and the emergence of non-toxigenic strains as the causative agents of invasive infections. In this study, we characterized the clinical and microbiological features of what we believe to be the first case of C. diphtheriae infection of a percutaneous nephrostomy catheter insertion site in an elderly patient with a fatal bladder cancer. Moreover, we demonstrated the potential role of adherence, biofilm formation and fibrin deposition traits in C. diphtheriae from the catheter-related infection. Non-toxigenic C. diphtheriae isolated from the purulent discharge (named strain BR-CAT5003748) was identified by the API Coryne system (code 1 010 324) and a multiplex PCR for detection of dtxR and tox genes. Strain BR-CAT5003748 showed resistance to oxacillin, ceftazidime and ciprofloxacin. In experiments performed in vitro, the catheter isolate was classified as moderately hydrophobic and as moderately adherent to polystyrene surfaces. Glass provided a more effective surface for biofilm formation than polystyrene. Micro-organisms adhered to (.1.5¾10 6 c.f.u.) and multiplied on surfaces of polyurethane catheters. Microcolony formation (a hallmark of biofilm formation) and amorphous accretions were observed by scanning electron microscopy on both external and luminal catheter surfaces. Micro-organisms yielded simultaneous expression of localized adherence-like and aggregative-like (LAL/AAL) adherence patterns to HEp-2 cells. Interestingly, the coagulase tube test resulted in the formation of a thin layer of fibrin embedded in rabbit plasma by the non-toxigenic BR-CAT5003748 strain. In conclusion, C. diphtheriae should be recognized as a potential cause of catheter-related infections in at-risk populations such as elderly and cancer patients. LAL/AAL strains may be associated with virulence traits that enable C. diphtheriae to effectively produce biofilms on catheter surfaces. Biofilm formation and fibrin deposition could have contributed to the persistence of C. diphtheriae at the infected insertion site and the obstruction of the nephrostomy catheter. INTRODUCTIONInfections due to bacteria that form biofilms are a clinical problem (Donlan, 2001;Rao et al., 2008 Non-diphtherial corynebacteria have been reported to be infecting pathogens or copathogens in at-risk populations such as immunocompromised patients and patients with indwelling medical devices (Cavendish et al., 1994;Esteban et al., 1999;Wang et al., 2001;Dobler & Braveny, 2003;Schiffl et al., 2004;Lee et al., 2005;Teixido et al., 2007;Dalal & Likhi, 2008).Corynebacterium diphtheriae infections represent a global medical challenge, particularly due to the significant rise in the percentage of adults susceptible to diphtheria (MattosGuaraldi et al., 2001) and the emergence of non-toxigenic strains as the causative agents of endocarditis and other systemic infections . This pathogen is also becoming successful i...
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