Pneumonia caused by Acinetobacter baumannii has become a serious threat to the elderly. However, there are no experimental studies on the relevance between aging and A. baumannii infections. Here, we established an aged pneumonia mouse model by non-invasive intratracheal inoculation with A. baumannii. Higher mortality was observed in aged mice along with increased bacterial burdens and more severe lung injury. Increased inflammatory cell infiltration and enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokines at 24 hours post infection were detected in aged mice than those in young mice. Moreover, infected aged mice had lower myeloperoxidase levels in lungs and less reactive oxygen species-positive neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid compared with infected young mice. Reduced efficacy of imipenem/cilastatin against A. baumannii was detected in aged mice. Vaccination of formalin-fixed A. baumannii provided 100% protection in young mice, whereas the efficacy of vaccine was completely diminished in aged mice. In conclusion, aging increased susceptibility to A. baumannii infection and impaired efficacies of antibiotics and vaccine. The aged mice model of A. baumannii pneumonia is a suitable model to study the effects of aging on A. baumannii infection and assess the efficacies of antibiotics and vaccines against A. baumannii for the elderly.
Objectives: Acinetobacter baumannii can cause severe nosocomial and community-acquired pneumonia.To study the pathogenesis of A. baumannii and to develop new treatments, appropriate mouse models are needed. Most reported mouse models of pulmonary A. baumannii infection are non-lethal or require mouse immunosuppression to enhance infection. These models are not suitable for studying host immune responses or evaluating immunotherapies. Methods: The virulence of 30 clinical isolates was assessed in mice. The most virulent isolate, SJZ24, was selected to develop a pneumonia model in immunocompetent mice. The cytokine mRNA expression in the lung was assessed with real-time PCR. The cell infiltration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) after SJZ24 infection was determined by flow cytometry. Vaccine efficacy was assessed using this model. Results: Intratracheal inoculation of SJZ24 (5 Â 10 7 CFU) resulted in death in 100% of the mice (5/5). SJZ24-infected mice showed high bacterial burdens in blood and organs as well as severe lung-tissue damage. Infection with SJZ24 induced increased inflammatory cytokine expression in the lung and increased neutrophil infiltration in BALF. Immunization with inactivated whole cells of SJZ24 showed 100% protection (5/5) against A. baumanni infection in this model. Conclusions: We established a lethal pneumonia model in immunocompetent mice with hypervirulent A. baumannii isolate SJZ24. This model can be used to study the immune response to A. baumannii infection and to evaluate vaccine efficacy.
Innate immune effectors constitute the first line of host defense against pathogens. However, the roles of these effectors are not clearly defined during Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) respiratory infection. In the current study, we established an acute pneumonia model of K. pneumoniae respiratory infection in mice and confirmed that the injury was most severe 48 h post infection. Flow cytometric assay demonstrated that alveolar macrophages were the predominant cells in BALF before infection, and neutrophils were quickly recruited after infection, and this was in consistent with the kinetics of chemokine expression. Further, we depleted neutrophils, macrophages, and complement pathways in vivo and challenged these mice with a sublethal dose of K. pneumonia, the result showed that 80%, 60%, and 40% of mice were died in these groups, respectively, while no deaths occurred in the control group. Besides, innate immune effector depleted mice showed higher bacterial burdens in lungs and blood, companied with more severe lung damage and increased levels of cytokine/chemokine expression. These results demonstrated that the innate immune effectors are critical in the early controlling of K. pneumoniae infection, and neutrophils are the most important. Thus, alternative strategies targeting these innate immune effectors may be effective in controlling of K. pneumoniae respiratory infection.
HI, a fusion protein that consists of the alpha-toxin (Hla) and the N2 domain of iron surface determinant B (IsdB), is one of the antigens in the previously reported S. aureus vaccine rFSAV and has already entered phase II clinical trials. Previous studies revealed that HI is highly immunogenic in both mice and healthy volunteers, and the humoral immune response plays key roles in HI-mediated protection. In this study, we further investigated the protective efficacy of immunization with HI plus four different adjuvants in a mouse bacteremia model. Results showed that HI-mediated protection was altered in response to different adjuvants. Using antisera from immunized mice, we identified seven B-cell immunodominant epitopes on Hla and IsdB, including 6 novel epitopes (Hla1-18, Hla84-101, Hla186-203, IsdB342-359, IsdB366-383, and IsdB384-401). The immunodominance of B-cell epitopes, total IgG titers and the levels of IFN-γ and IL-17A from mice immunized with HI plus different adjuvants were different from each other, which may explain the difference in protective immunity observed in each immunized group. Thus, our results indicate that adjuvants largely affected the immunodominance of epitopes and the protective efficacy of HI, which may guide further adjuvant screening for vaccine development and optimization.
To date, no vaccine or monoclonal antibody (mAb) against S. aureus has been approved for use in humans. Our lab has developed a five-antigen S. aureus vaccine (rFSAV), which is now under efficacy evaluation in a phase II clinical trial. In the current study, using overlapping peptides and antiserum from rFSAV-immunized volunteers, we identified seven B-cell immunodominant epitopes on 4 antigens in rFSAV, including five novel epitopes (Hla48-65, IsdB402-419, IsdB432-449, SEB78-95 and MntC7-24). Ten immunodominant-epitope mAbs were generated against these epitopes, and all of them exhibited partial protection in a mouse sepsis model. Four robust mAb were used together as a mAb cocktail to prevent MRSA252 infection. The results showed that the mAb cocktail was efficient in combating S. aureus infection and that its protective efficacy correlated with a reduced bacterial burden, and decreased infection pathology, which demonstrates that the mAb cocktail is a promising S. aureus vaccine candidate.
The main protease (Mpro) is one of the best-characterized drug targets among coronaviruses. In the current study, we adopted a multiple cross-docking strategy against different crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro to perform computer-based high-throughput virtual screening of possible inhibitors from a drug database using Autodock Vina and SeeSAR software, combined with our in-house automatic processing scripts. The KDs between screened candidates and Mpro were determined using Biacore. Seven drugs were found to fit the substrate-binding pocket of Mpro with a stable conformation, showing high KDs that ranged from 6.79E-7 M to 5.20E-5 M. Finally, mutagenesis studies confirmed that these drugs interact with Mpro specifically, suggesting that our method was reliable and convincing. Given the safety of these old drugs, they may serve as promising candidates to treat the infection of SARS-CoV-2. Our results also provide rational explanations for the behaviour of five drugs evaluated in clinical trials.
We report here the genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae YBQ, a clinical strain isolated from the sputum of a patient with acute Klebsiella pneumoniae infection. The genome consists of a 5,119,471-bp circular chromosome and a 184,347-bp plasmid. Genome annotation predicted 5,028 coding DNA sequences (CDSs), 84 tRNAs, 25 rRNAs, and 47 small RNAs (sRNAs).
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