Invasive group B streptococcal infection is a major problem not only in pregnant women and neonates but also in nonpregnant adults, especially those who are elderly and those who have chronic diseases.
We investigated the use of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) as a probe for molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens. The chromosomal DNA of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas cepacia, and nontypable Haemophilus influenzae was digested with EcoRI. Agarose gel electrophoresis, Southern blotting, and hybridization by 32P-labeled rRNA revealed eight to 13 bands. The P. cepacia and H. influenzae banding patterns, observed by using an E. coli rRNA probe, were identical to those produced with homologous rRNA probes. Polymorphism of several hybridization bands distinguished all E. coli isolates, nine of 10 H. influenzae isolates, and seven of eight P. cepacia isolates. Two to four bands were common to all P. cepacia and E. coli isolates. The banding patterns of H. influenzae isolates cultured from the trachea and blood of an infant and from the mother's cervix were identical. These data demonstrate that this method is a widely applicable system for determining the molecular epidemiology of genetically diverse gram-negative organisms.
Traditional ribotyping detects genomic restriction fragment length polymorphisms by probing chromosomal DNA with rRNA. Although it is a powerful method for determining the molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens, technical difficulties limit its application. As an alternative, polymorphisms were sought in the 16S-23S spacer regions of bacterial rRNA genes by use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Chromosomal DNA from isolates of Pseudomonas cepacia was used as a template in the PCR with oligonucleotide primers complementary to highly conserved sequences flanking the spacer regions of the rRNA genes. Length polymorphisms in the amplified DNA distinguished unrelated isolates of P. cepacia. Isolates of P. cepacia previously implicated in person-to-person transmission were shown to have identical amplification patterns. These data demonstrate the utility of this new PCR ribotyping method for determining the molecular epidemiology of bacterial species.
Although Haemophilus influenzae requires heme for growth, the source of heme during invasive infections is not known. We compared heme, lactoperoxidase, catalase, cytochrome c, myoglobin, and hemoglobin as sources of heme for growth in defined media. The minimum concentration of heme permitting unrestricted growth of strain E1a, an H. influenzae type b isolate from cerebrospinal fluid, was 0.02 micrograms/ml. Using molar equivalents of heme as lactoperoxidase, catalase, cytochrome c, myoglobin, and hemoglobin, we determined that myoglobin and hemoglobin permitted unrestricted growth at this concentration. To determine the ability of host defenses to sequester heme from H. influenzae, we used affinity chromatography to purify human haptoglobin and hemopexin, serum proteins which bind hemoglobin and heme. Plate assays revealed that 12 strains of H. influenzae acquired heme from hemoglobin, hemoglobin-haptoglobin, heme-hemopexin, and heme-albumin. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of outer membrane proteins of strain E1a grown in heme-replete and heme-restricted conditions revealed a heme-repressible outer membrane protein with an apparent molecular mass of 38 kilodaltons. These results demonstrated that, unlike Escherichia coli, H. influenzae may acquire heme from hemoglobin-haptoglobin. H. influenzae also may acquire heme from hemopexin and albumin, which have not been previously investigated. The role of outer membrane proteins in the acquisition of heme is not yet clear.
Ampicillin resistance in Haemophilus influenzae is most often due to the plasmid-mediated production of TEM I-lactamase. We studied four strains with high-level ampicillin resistance (MIC of 32 ,ug/ml with an inoculum of 105 CFU on solid media) which did not produce detectable ,B-lactamase activity with two different detection methods. Two of the four strains contained extrachromosomal DNA by agarose gel electrophoresis. Conjugation failed to transfer ampicillin resistance; in contrast, transformation yielded ampicillin-resistant transformants in three of the four strains. These transformants did not contain detectable extrachromosomal DNA. In addition, mobilization of the resistance determinant by transformation to, or conjugation with, recombination-deficient strains was unsuccessful. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments revealed no homology of the DNA of these strains with two R plasmids (one coding for ampicillin resistance, the other for chloramphenicol and tetracycline resistance). We conclude that the genetic basis of the non-j8-lactamase ampicillin resistance in these strains appears to be chromosomally mediated. We investigated the mechanism of resistance in these strains. Enzymatic modification of penicillin was not detected by autoradiography of a thinlayer chromatogram of cell sonic extracts of three ampicillin-resistant transformant strains incubated with[14C]penicillin. To assess changes in permeability of the cell envelope, a plasmid coding for I-lactamase was conjugated into these strains, and the hydrolysis of penicillin by intact cells and cell sonic extracts was compared. Only one of three transformant strains had significantly diminished permeability. Outer membrane proteins of these strains analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed apparent differences in comparison with the isogenic ampicillin-susceptible recipient strain. Autofluorography of a sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of Sarkosyl-solubilized crude membrane (the putative inner membranes) from these ampicillin-resistant transformant strains incubated with [3H]penicillin compared with the isogenic ampicillin-susceptible recipient strain revealed reduced binding to PBP 3 and 6, 3 and 4, or 4. In addition, affinity binding studies revealed decreased affinity of PBP 4 for ampicillin of all four transformants tested. We conclude that the major mechanism of resistance in these strains is altered penicillinbinding proteins; however, other mechanisms, including permeability, may also play a role.Plasmid-mediated f3-lactamase production is the most common mechanism of ampicillin resistance in gram-negative bacteria; however, chromosomal-mediated 1-lactamase production has also been previously described (19,27,33 311, 1982). This resistance is due to the R-plasmid-mediated production of ,B-lactamase and is believed responsible for the increase in ampicillin resistance seen in clinical isolates (3,5,35,44,45). No chromosomal-mediated 1-lactamase production has been reported in H. influ...
PCR assays targeting rRNA genes were developed to identify species (genomovars) within the Burkholderia cepacia complex. Each assay was tested with 177 bacterial isolates that also underwent taxonomic analysis by whole-cell protein profile. These isolates were from clinical and environmental sources and included 107 B. cepacia complex strains, 23 Burkholderia gladiolistrains, 20 Ralstonia pickettii strains, 10Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains, 8 Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strains, and 9 isolates belonging to nine other species. The sensitivity and specificity of the 16S rRNA-based assay for Burkholderia multivorans (genomovar II) were 100 and 99%, respectively; for Burkholderia vietnamiensis(genomovar V), sensitivity and specificity were 87 and 92%, respectively. An assay based on 16S and 23S rRNA gene analysis ofB. cepacia ATCC 25416 (genomovar I) was useful in identifying genomovars I, III, and IV as a group (sensitivity, 100%, and specificity, 99%). Another assay, designed to be specific at the genus level, identified all but one of the Burkholderia andRalstonia isolates tested (sensitivity, 99%, and specificity, 96%). The combined use of these assays offers a significant improvement over previously published PCR assays forB. cepacia.
The opportunistic human pathogen Achromobacter (Alcaligenes) xylosoxidans has been recovered with increasing frequency from respiratory tract culture of persons with cystic fibrosis (CF). However, confusion of this species with other closely related respiratory pathogens has limited studies to better elucidate its epidemiology, natural history, and pathogenic role in CF. Misidentification of A. xylosoxidans as Burkholderia cepacia complex is especially problematic and presents a challenge to effective infection control in CF. To address the problem of accurate identification of A. xylosoxidans, we developed a PCR assay based on a 16S ribosomal DNA sequence. In an analysis of 149 isolates that included 47 A. xylosoxidans and several related glucose-nonfermenting species recovered from CF sputum, the sensitivity and specificity of this PCR assay were determined to be 100 and 97%, respectively. The availability of this assay will enhance identification of A. xylosoxidans, thereby facilitating study of the pathogenic role of this species and improving infection control efforts in CF.
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