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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Infection and immunity, August 2015, Vol.83(8), pp.3281-92
    Description: The (p)ppGpp-mediated stringent response is important for bacterial survival in nutrient limiting conditions. For maximal effect, (p)ppGpp interacts with the cofactor DksA, which stabilizes (p)ppGpp's interaction with RNA polymerase. We previously demonstrated that (p)ppGpp was required for the virulence of Haemophilus ducreyi in humans. Here, we constructed an H. ducreyi dksA mutant and showed it was also partially attenuated for pustule formation in human volunteers. To understand the roles of (p)ppGpp and DksA in gene regulation in H. ducreyi, we defined genes potentially altered by (p)ppGpp and DksA deficiency using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). In bacteria collected at stationary phase, lack of (p)ppGpp and DksA altered expression of 28% and 17% of H. ducreyi open reading frames, respectively, including genes involved in transcription, translation, and metabolism. There was significant overlap in genes differentially expressed in the (p)ppGpp mutant relative to the dksA mutant. Loss of (p)ppGpp or DksA resulted in the dysregulation of several known virulence determinants. Deletion of dksA downregulated lspB and rendered the organism less resistant to phagocytosis and increased its sensitivity to oxidative stress. Both mutants had reduced ability to attach to human foreskin fibroblasts; the defect correlated with reduced expression of the Flp adhesin proteins in the (p)ppGpp mutant but not in the dksA mutant, suggesting that DksA regulates the expression of an unknown cofactor(s) required for Flp-mediated adherence. We conclude that both (p)ppGpp and DksA serve as major regulators of H. ducreyi gene expression in stationary phase and have both overlapping and unique contributions to pathogenesis.
    Keywords: Bacterial Proteins -- Metabolism ; Chancroid -- Microbiology ; Guanosine Tetraphosphate -- Metabolism ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Metabolism
    ISSN: 00199567
    E-ISSN: 1098-5522
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2015, Vol.10(4), p.e0124373
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi resists the cytotoxic effects of human antimicrobial peptides (APs), including α-defensins, β-defensins, and the cathelicidin LL-37. Resistance to LL-37, mediated by the sensitive to antimicrobial peptide (Sap) transporter, is required for H. ducreyi virulence in humans. Cationic APs are attracted to the negatively charged bacterial cell surface. In other gram-negative bacteria, modification of lipopolysaccharide or lipooligosaccharide (LOS) by the addition of positively charged moieties, such as phosphoethanolamine (PEA), confers AP resistance by means of electrostatic repulsion. H. ducreyi LOS has PEA modifications at two sites, and we identified three genes (lptA, ptdA, and ptdB) in H. ducreyi with homology to a family of bacterial PEA transferases. We generated non-polar, unmarked mutants with deletions in one, two, or all three putative PEA transferase genes. The triple mutant was significantly more susceptible to both α- and β-defensins; complementation of all three genes restored parental levels of AP resistance. Deletion of all three PEA transferase genes also resulted in a significant increase in the negativity of the mutant cell surface. Mass spectrometric analysis revealed that LptA was required for PEA modification of lipid A; PtdA and PtdB did not affect PEA modification of LOS. In human inoculation experiments, the triple mutant was as virulent as its parent strain. While this is the first identified mechanism of resistance to α-defensins in H. ducreyi, our in vivo data suggest that resistance to cathelicidin LL-37 may be more important than defensin resistance to H. ducreyi pathogenesis.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, July 2015, Vol.59(7), pp.3789-99
    Description: CpxRA is a two-component signal transduction system (2CSTS) found in many drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. In response to periplasmic stress, CpxA autophosphorylates and donates a phosphoryl group to its cognate response regulator, CpxR. Phosphorylated CpxR (CpxR-P) upregulates genes involved in membrane repair and downregulates multiple genes that encode virulence factors, which are trafficked across the cell membrane. Mutants that constitutively activate CpxRA in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Haemophilus ducreyi are avirulent in mice and humans, respectively. Thus, the activation of CpxRA has high potential as a novel antimicrobial/antivirulence strategy. Using a series of Escherichia coli strains containing a CpxR-P-responsive lacZ reporter and deletions in genes encoding CpxRA system components, we developed and validated a novel cell-based high-throughput screen (HTS) for CpxRA activators. A screen of 36,000 compounds yielded one hit compound that increased reporter activity in wild-type cells. This is the first report of a compound that activates, rather than inhibits, a 2CSTS. The activity profile of the compound against CpxRA pathway mutants in the presence of glucose suggested that the compound inhibits CpxA phosphatase activity. We confirmed that the compound induced the accumulation of CpxR-P in treated cells. Although the hit compound contained a nitro group, a derivative lacking this group retained activity in serum and had lower cytotoxicity than that of the initial hit. This HTS is amenable for the screening of larger libraries to find compounds that activate CpxRA by other mechanisms, and it could be adapted to find activators of other two-component systems.
    Keywords: Anti-Bacterial Agents -- Pharmacology ; Bacterial Proteins -- Agonists ; Carbazoles -- Pharmacology ; High-Throughput Screening Assays -- Methods
    ISSN: 00664804
    E-ISSN: 1098-6596
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: 2015, Vol.9(7), p.e0003918
    Description: Although cutaneous ulcers (CU) in the tropics is frequently attributed to Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue , the causative agent of yaws, Haemophilus ducreyi has emerged as a major cause of CU in yaws-endemic regions of the South Pacific islands and Africa. H . ducreyi is generally susceptible to macrolides, but CU strains persist after mass drug administration of azithromycin for yaws or trachoma. H . ducreyi also causes genital ulcers (GU) and was thought to be exclusively transmitted by microabrasions that occur during sex. In human volunteers, the GU strain 35000HP does not infect intact skin; wounds are required to initiate infection. These data led to several questions: Are CU strains a new variant of H . ducreyi or did they evolve from GU strains? Do CU strains contain additional genes that could allow them to infect intact skin? Are CU strains susceptible to azithromycin? ; To address these questions, we performed whole-genome sequencing and antibiotic susceptibility testing of 5 CU strains obtained from Samoa and Vanuatu and 9 archived class I and class II GU strains. Except for single nucleotide polymorphisms, the CU strains were genetically almost identical to the class I strain 35000HP and had no additional genetic content. Phylogenetic analysis showed that class I and class II strains formed two separate clusters and CU strains evolved from class I strains. Class I strains diverged from class II strains ~1.95 million years ago (mya) and CU strains diverged from the class I strain 35000HP ~0.18 mya. CU and GU strains evolved under similar selection pressures. Like 35000HP, the CU strains were highly susceptible to antibiotics, including azithromycin. ; These data suggest that CU strains are derivatives of class I strains that were not recognized until recently. These findings require confirmation by analysis of CU strains from other regions. ; Cutaneous ulcers (CU) in children living in equatorial Africa and the South Pacific islands have long been attributed to yaws, which is caused by subsp. . However, PCR-based cross sectional surveys done in yaws-endemic regions show that is the leading cause of CU in these regions. . classically causes the genital ulcer (GU) disease chancroid and was once thought to be exclusively sexually transmitted. We show that CU strains obtained from Samoa and Vanuatu are genetically nearly identical to class 1 GU strains and contain no additional genetic content. The CU strains are highly susceptible to antibiotics, including azithromycin. The data suggest an urgent need to obtain and analyze CU isolates from Africa and other countries in the South Pacific and to search for environmental sources of the organism.
    Keywords: Research Article
    ISSN: 19352727
    E-ISSN: 1935-2735
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: mBio, 15 September 2015, Vol.6(5), pp.e01315-15
    Description: The influence of the skin microbiota on host susceptibility to infectious agents is largely unexplored. The skin harbors diverse bacterial species that may promote or antagonize the growth of an invading pathogen. We developed a human infection model for Haemophilus ducreyi in which human volunteers are inoculated on the upper arm. After inoculation, papules form and either spontaneously resolve or progress to pustules. To examine the role of the skin microbiota in the outcome of H. ducreyi infection, we analyzed the microbiomes of four dose-matched pairs of "resolvers" and "pustule formers" whose inoculation sites were swabbed at multiple time points. Bacteria present on the skin were identified by amplification and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) using Bray-Curtis dissimilarity between the preinfection microbiomes of infected sites showed that sites from the same volunteer clustered together and that pustule formers segregated from resolvers (P = 0.001, permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA]), suggesting that the preinfection microbiomes were associated with outcome. NMDS using Bray-Curtis dissimilarity of the endpoint samples showed that the pustule sites clustered together and were significantly different than the resolved sites (P = 0.001, PERMANOVA), suggesting that the microbiomes at the endpoint differed between the two groups. In addition to H. ducreyi, pustule-forming sites had a greater abundance of Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Micrococcus, Corynebacterium, Paracoccus, and Staphylococcus species, whereas resolved sites had higher levels of Actinobacteria and Propionibacterium species. These results suggest that at baseline, resolvers and pustule formers have distinct skin bacterial communities which change in response to infection and the resultant immune response. Human skin is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. Some resident bacteria are thought to protect the skin from infection by outcompeting pathogens for resources or by priming the immune system's response to invaders. However, the influence of the skin microbiome on the susceptibility to or protection from infection has not been prospectively evaluated in humans. We characterized the skin microbiome before, during, and after experimental inoculation of the arm with Haemophilus ducreyi in matched volunteers who subsequently resolved the infection or formed abscesses. Our results suggest that the preinfection microbiomes of pustule formers and resolvers have distinct community structures which change in response to the progression of H. ducreyi infection to abscess formation.
    Keywords: Microbiota ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Growth & Development ; Skin -- Microbiology ; Skin Diseases, Bacterial -- Microbiology
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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