Vibrio cholerae 01 exists as two major serotypes, Inaba and Ogawa, which are associated with the 0 antigen of the lipopolysaccharide and are capable of unequal reciprocal interconversion. The 20-kilobase rJb regions encoding O-antigen biosynthesis in strains 569B (Inaba) and 017 (Ogawa) have been cloned in Escherichia coi K-12 and the nucleotide sequences have been determined. Besides several base substitutions and a small deletion in the 569B sequence relative to 017, there is a single nucleotide change resulting in a TGA stop codon within the gene for the 32-kDa RfbT protein.
Acinetobacter baumannii continues to be a major health problem especially in hospital settings. Herein, features that may play a role in persistence and disease potential were investigated in a collection of clinical A. baumannii strains from Australia. Twitching motility was found to be a common trait in A. baumannii international clone I strains and in abundant biofilm formers, whereas swarming motility was only observed in isolates not classified within the international clone lineages. Bioinformatic analysis of the type IV fimbriae revealed a correlation between PilA sequence homology and motility. A high level of variability in adherence to both abiotic surfaces and epithelial cells was found. We report for the first time the motility characteristics of a large number of A. baumannii isolates and present a direct comparison of A. baumannii binding to nasopharyngeal and lung epithelial cells.
bAcinetobacter baumannii has become a major problem in the clinical setting with the prevalence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant strains on the increase. Nevertheless, only a limited number of molecular mechanisms involved in the success of A. baumannii as a human pathogen have been described. In this study, we examined the virulence features of a hypermotile derivative of A. baumannii strain ATCC 17978, which was found to display enhanced adherence to human pneumocytes and elevated levels of lethality toward Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes. Analysis of cellular lipids revealed modifications to the fatty acid composition, providing a possible explanation for the observed changes in hydrophobicity and subsequent alteration in adherence and motility. Comparison of the genome sequences of the hypermotile variant and parental strain revealed that an insertion sequence had disrupted an hns-like gene in the variant. This gene encodes a homologue of the histone-like nucleoid structuring (H-NS) protein, a known global transcriptional repressor. Transcriptome analysis identified the global effects of this mutation on gene expression, with major changes seen in the autotransporter Ata, a type VI secretion system, and a type I pilus cluster. Interestingly, isolation and analysis of a second independent hypermotile ATCC 17978 variant revealed a mutation to a residue within the DNA binding region of H-NS. Taken together, these mutants indicate that the phenotypic and transcriptomic differences seen are due to loss of regulatory control effected by H-NS.
In Escherichia coli, transcription of the ferric citrate transport genes fecABCDE is controlled by a novel signal transduction mechanism that starts at the cell surface. Binding of ferric citrate to the outer membrane protein FecA initiates a signal that is transmitted by FecR across the cytoplasmic membrane into the cytoplasm where FecI, the sigma factor, is activated. Interaction between the signaling proteins was demonstrated by utilizing two methods. In in vitro binding assays, FecR that was His tagged at the N terminus [(His)10-FecR] and bound to a Ni-nitrilotriacetic acid agarose column was able to retain FecA, and FecR that was His tagged at the C terminus [FecR-(His)6] retained FecI on the column. An N-terminally truncated, induction-negative but transport-active FecA protein did not bind to (His)10-FecR. The in vivo assay involved the determination of the FecA, FecR, and FecI interacting domains with the bacterial two-hybrid Lex-based system. FecA1–79 interacts with FecR101–317 and FecR1–85 interacts with FecI1–173. These data clearly support a model that proposes interaction of the periplasmic N terminus of FecA with the periplasmic C-terminal portion of FecR and interaction of the cytoplasmic N terminus of FecR with FecI, which results in FecI activation.
BackgroundAcinetobacter baumannii is a significant hospital pathogen, particularly due to the dissemination of highly multidrug resistant isolates. Genome data have revealed that A. baumannii is highly genetically diverse, which correlates with major variations seen at the phenotypic level. Thus far, comparative genomic studies have been aimed at identifying resistance determinants in A. baumannii. In this study, we extend and expand on these analyses to gain greater insight into the virulence factors across eight A. baumannii strains which are clonally, temporally and geographically distinct, and includes an isolate considered non-pathogenic and a community-acquired A. baumannii.ResultsWe have identified a large number of genes in the A. baumannii genomes that are known to play a role in virulence in other pathogens, such as the recently studied proline-alanine-alanine-arginine (PAAR)-repeat domains of the type VI secretion systems. Not surprising, many virulence candidates appear to be part of the A. baumannii core genome of virulent isolates but were often found to be insertionally disrupted in the avirulent A. baumannii strain SDF. Our study also reveals that many known or putative virulence determinants are restricted to specific clonal lineages, which suggests that these virulence determinants may be crucial for the success of these widespread common clones. It has previously been suggested that the high level of intrinsic and adaptive resistance has enabled the widespread presence of A. baumannii in the hospital environment. This appears to have facilitated the expansion of its repertoire of virulence traits, as in general, the nosocomial strains in this study possess more virulence genes compared to the community-acquired isolate.ConclusionsMajor genetic variation in known or putative virulence factors was seen across the eight strains included in this study, suggesting that virulence mechanisms are complex and multifaceted in A. baumannii. Overall, these analyses increase our understanding of A. baumannii pathogenicity and will assist in future studies determining the significance of virulence factors within clonal lineages and/or across the species.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1020) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Successful colonization of the upper respiratory tract by Streptococcus pneumoniae is an essential first step in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal disease. However, the bacterial and host factors that provoke the progression from asymptomatic colonization to invasive disease are yet to be fully defined. In this study, we investigated the effects of single and combined mutations in genes encoding pneumolysin (Ply), pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA), and pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC, also known as choline-binding protein A) on the pathogenicity of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 2 (D39) in mice. Following intranasal challenge with D39, stable colonization of the nasopharynx was maintained over a 7-day period at a level of approximately 10 5 bacteria per mouse. The abilities of the mutant deficient in PspA to colonize the nasopharynx and to cause lung infection and bacteremia were significantly reduced. Likewise, the PspC mutant and, to a lesser extent, the Ply mutant also had reduced abilities to colonize the nasopharynx. As expected, the double mutants colonized less well than the parent to various degrees and had difficulty translocating to the lungs and blood. A significant additive attenuation was observed for the double and triple mutants in pneumonia and systemic disease models. Surprisingly, the colonization profile of the derivative lacking all three proteins was similar to that of the wild type, indicating virulence gene compensation. These findings further demonstrate that the mechanism of pneumococcal pathogenesis is highly complex and multifactorial but ascribes a role for each of these virulence proteins, alone or in combination, in the process.
Hepatocyte clone size was measured in liver samples of 21 patients in various stages of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and from 21 to 76 years of age. Hepatocyte clones containing unique virus-cell DNA junctions formed by the integration of HBV DNA were detected using inverse nested PCR. The maximum hepatocyte clone size tended to increase with age, although there was considerable patient-to-patient variation in each age group. There was an upward trend in maximum clone size with increasing fibrosis, inflammatory activity and with seroconversion from HBV e-antigen (HBeAg)-positive to HBeAg-negative, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. Maximum hepatocyte clone size did not differ between patients with and without a coexisting hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, large hepatocyte clones containing integrated HBV DNA were detected during all stages of chronic HBV infection. Using laser microdissection, no significant difference in clone size was observed between foci of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive and HBsAg-negative hepatocytes, suggesting that expression of HBsAg is not a significant factor in clonal expansion. Laser microdissection also revealed that hepatocytes with normal-appearing histology make up a major fraction of the cells undergoing clonal expansion. Thus, preneoplasia does not appear to be a factor in the clonal expansion detected in our assays. Computer simulations suggest that the large hepatocyte clones are not produced by random hepatocyte turnover but have an as-yet-unknown selective advantage that drives increased clonal expansion in the HBV-infected liver.
The recent emergence of a pathogenic new non-01 serotype (0139) of Vibrio cholerae has led to numerous studies in an attempt to identify the origins of this new strain. Our studies indicate .that 0139 strains have clear differences in the surface polysaccharides when compared with 01 strains: the lipopolysaccharide can be described as semirough. Southern hybridization with the 01 rjb region demonstrates that 0139 strains no longer contain any of the rjb genes required for the synthesis of the 01 0-antigen or its modification and also lack at least 6 kb of additional contiguous DNA. However, 0139 strains have retained rfaD and have a single open reading frame closely related to three small open reading frames of the 01 rjb region. This region is closely related to the H-repeat of Escherichia coli and to the transposases of a number of insertion sequence elements and has all the features of an insertion sequence element that has been designated VcISI. Transposon insertion mutants defective in 0139 0-antigen (and capsule) biosynthesis map to the same fragment as VcISI. Preliminary sequence data of complementing clones indicate that this DNA encodes a galactosyltransferase and other enzymes for the utilization of galactose in polysaccharide biosynthesis. We propose a mechanism by which both the Ogawa serotype of 01 strains and the 0139 serotype strains may have evolved.
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