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  • Munson, Robert S  (6)
  • Fortney, Kate R.  (6)
  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Infection and Immunity, 2012, Vol. 80(2), p.679
    Description: Sialylated glycoconjugates on the surfaces of mammalian cells play important roles in intercellular communication and self-recognition. The sialic acid preferentially expressed in human tissues is N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac). In a process called molecular mimicry, many bacterial pathogens decorate their cell surface glycolipids with Neu5Ac. Incorporation of Neu5Ac into bacterial glycolipids promotes bacterial interactions with host cell receptors called Siglecs. These interactions affect bacterial adherence, resistance to serum killing and phagocytosis, and innate immune responses. Haemophilus ducreyi, the etiologic agent of chancroid, expresses lipooligosaccharides (LOS) that are highly sialylated. However, an H. ducreyi sialyltransferase (lst) mutant, whose LOS contain reduced levels of Neu5Ac, is fully virulent in human volunteers. Recently, a second sialyltransferase gene (Hd0053) was discovered in H. ducreyi, raising the possibility that Hd0053 compensated for the loss of lst during human infection. CMP-Neu5Ac is the obligate nucleotide sugar donor for all bacterial sialyltransferases; LOS derived from an H. ducreyi CMP-Neu5Ac synthetase (neuA) mutant has no detectable Neu5Ac. Here, we compared an H. ducreyi neuA mutant to its wild-type parent in several models of pathogenesis. In human inoculation experiments, the neuA mutant formed papules and pustules at rates that were no different than those of its parent. When grown in media with and without Neu5Ac supplementation, the neuA mutant and its parent had similar phenotypes in bactericidal, macrophage uptake, and dendritic cell activation assays. Although we cannot preclude a contribution of LOS sialylation to ulcerative disease, these data strongly suggest that sialylation of LOS is dispensable for H. ducreyi pathogenesis in humans.
    Keywords: Bacterial Proteins -- Metabolism ; Chancroid -- Microbiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Metabolism ; Lipopolysaccharides -- Metabolism ; N-Acetylneuraminic Acid -- Metabolism;
    ISSN: 1098-5522
    ISSN: 10985522
    ISSN: 00199567
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Infection and immunity, September 2010, Vol.78(9), pp.3898-904
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi must adapt to the environment of the human host to establish and maintain infection in the skin. Bacteria generally utilize stress response systems, such as the CpxRA two-component system, to adapt to hostile environments. CpxRA is the only obvious two-component system contained in the H. ducreyi genome and negatively regulates the lspB-lspA2 operon, which encodes proteins that enable the organism to resist phagocytosis. We constructed an unmarked, in-frame H. ducreyi cpxA deletion mutant, 35000HPDeltacpxA. In human inoculation experiments, 35000HPDeltacpxA formed papules at a rate and size that were significantly less than its parent and was unable to form pustules compared to the parent. CpxA usually has kinase and phosphatase activities for CpxR, and the deletion of CpxA leads to the accumulation of activated CpxR due to the loss of phosphatase activity and the ability of CpxR to accept phosphate groups from other donors. Using a reporter construct, the lspB-lspA2 promoter was downregulated in 35000HPDeltacpxA, confirming that CpxR was activated. Deletion of cpxA downregulated DsrA, the major determinant of serum resistance in the organism, causing the mutant to become serum susceptible. Complementation in trans restored parental phenotypes. 35000HPDeltacpxA is the first H. ducreyi mutant that is impaired in its ability to form both papules and pustules in humans. Since a major function of CpxRA is to control the flow of protein traffic across the periplasm, uncontrolled activation of this system likely causes dysregulated expression of multiple virulence determinants and cripples the ability of the organism to adapt to the host.
    Keywords: Bacterial Proteins -- Physiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Pathogenicity ; Protein Kinases -- Physiology
    ISSN: 00199567
    E-ISSN: 1098-5522
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  • 3
    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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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: The Journal of infectious diseases, 01 June 2008, Vol.197(11), pp.1531-6
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi 35000HP contains a cluster of homologues of genes required for the synthesis of enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), suggesting that H. ducreyi may express a putative ECA-like glycoconjugate. WecA initiates the synthesis of ECA by transferring N-acetylglucosamine to undecaprenyl-P, to form lipid I. A wecA mutant (35000HPwecA) was constructed, and 5 volunteers were inoculated at 3 sites with fixed doses of 35000HP on one arm and at 3 sites with varying doses of 35000HPwecA on the other arm. 35000HPwecA caused pustules to form at 3 sites inoculated with a dose 2.5-fold higher than that of 35000HP. However, at sites inoculated with similar doses of 35000HP and 35000HPwecA, pustules developed at 46.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.3%-70.0%) of 15 parent-strain sites and at 8.3% (95% CI, 0.01%-23.6%) of 12 mutant-strain sites (P = .013). Thus, the expression of wecA contributes to the ability of H. ducreyi to cause pustules in humans.
    Keywords: Multigene Family ; Antigens, Bacterial -- Genetics ; Chancroid -- Microbiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Genetics
    ISSN: 0022-1899
    E-ISSN: 15376613
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  • 5
    In: BMC Microbiology, 2011, Vol.11(1), p.208
    Description: Background Haemophilus ducreyi, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease chancroid, contains a flp (fimbria like protein) operon that encodes proteins predicted to contribute to adherence and pathogenesis. H. ducreyi mutants that lack expression of Flp1 and Flp2 or TadA, which has homology to NTPases of type IV secretion systems, have decreased abilities to attach to and form microcolonies on human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF). A tadA mutant is attenuated in its ability to cause disease in human volunteers and in the temperature dependent rabbit model, but a flp1flp2 mutant is virulent in rabbits. Whether a flp deletion mutant would cause disease in humans is not clear. Results We constructed 35000HPΔflp1-3, a deletion mutant that lacks expression of all three Flp proteins but has an intact tad secretion system. 35000HPΔflp1-3 was impaired in its ability to form microcolonies and to attach to HFF in vitro when compared to its parent (35000HP). Complementation of the mutant with flp1-3 in trans restored the parental phenotype. To test whether expression of Flp1-3 was necessary for virulence in humans, ten healthy adult volunteers were experimentally infected with a fixed dose of 35000HP (ranging from 54 to 67 CFU) on one arm and three doses of 35000HPΔflp1-3 (ranging from 63 to 961 CFU) on the other arm. The overall papule formation rate for the parent was 80% (95% confidence interval, CI, 55.2%-99.9%) and for the mutant was 70.0% (95% CI, 50.5%-89.5%) (P = 0.52). Mutant papules were significantly smaller (mean, 11.2 mm2) than were parent papules (21.8 mm2) 24 h after inoculation (P = 0.018). The overall pustule formation rates were 46.7% (95% CI 23.7-69.7%) at 30 parent sites and 6.7% (95% CI, 0.1-19.1%) at 30 mutant sites (P = 0.001). Conclusion These data suggest that production and secretion of the Flp proteins contributes to microcolony formation and attachment to HFF cells in vitro. Expression of flp1-3 is also necessary for H. ducreyi to initiate disease and progress to pustule formation in humans. Future studies will focus on how Flp proteins contribute to microcolony formation and attachment in vivo.
    Keywords: Adult–Genetics ; Bacterial Adhesion–Metabolism ; Bacterial Proteins–Microbiology ; Bacterial Proteins–Genetics ; Chancroid–Pathogenicity ; Female–Physiology ; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial–Physiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi–Physiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi–Physiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi–Physiology ; Human Experimentation–Physiology ; Humans–Physiology ; Male–Physiology ; Middle Aged–Physiology ; Operon–Physiology ; Sequence Deletion–Physiology ; Virulence–Physiology ; Bacteria ; Microbiology ; Pathogenesis ; Volunteers ; Manuscripts ; Colleges & Universities ; Standard Deviation ; Experiments ; Immunization ; Confidence Intervals ; Public Health ; Health Services ; Bacterial Proteins ; Flp Protein, Bacteria;
    ISSN: 1471-2180
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: mBio, 11 February 2014, Vol.5(1), pp.e01081-13
    Description: To adapt to stresses encountered in stationary phase, Gram-negative bacteria utilize the alternative sigma factor RpoS. However, some species lack RpoS; thus, it is unclear how stationary-phase adaptation is regulated in these organisms. Here we defined the growth-phase-dependent transcriptomes of Haemophilus ducreyi, which lacks an RpoS homolog. Compared to mid-log-phase organisms, cells harvested from the stationary phase upregulated genes encoding several virulence determinants and a homolog of hfq. Insertional inactivation of hfq altered the expression of ~16% of the H. ducreyi genes. Importantly, there were a significant overlap and an inverse correlation in the transcript levels of genes differentially expressed in the hfq inactivation mutant relative to its parent and the genes differentially expressed in stationary phase relative to mid-log phase in the parent. Inactivation of hfq downregulated genes in the flp-tad and lspB-lspA2 operons, which encode several virulence determinants. To comply with FDA guidelines for human inoculation experiments, an unmarked hfq deletion mutant was constructed and was fully attenuated for virulence in humans. Inactivation or deletion of hfq downregulated Flp1 and impaired the ability of H. ducreyi to form microcolonies, downregulated DsrA and rendered H. ducreyi serum susceptible, and downregulated LspB and LspA2, which allow H. ducreyi to resist phagocytosis. We propose that, in the absence of an RpoS homolog, Hfq serves as a major contributor of H. ducreyi stationary-phase and virulence gene regulation. The contribution of Hfq to stationary-phase gene regulation may have broad implications for other organisms that lack an RpoS homolog. Pathogenic bacteria encounter a wide range of stresses in their hosts, including nutrient limitation; the ability to sense and respond to such stresses is crucial for bacterial pathogens to successfully establish an infection. Gram-negative bacteria frequently utilize the alternative sigma factor RpoS to adapt to stresses and stationary phase. However, homologs of RpoS are absent in some bacterial pathogens, including Haemophilus ducreyi, which causes chancroid and facilitates the acquisition and transmission of HIV-1. Here, we provide evidence that, in the absence of an RpoS homolog, Hfq serves as a major contributor of stationary-phase gene regulation and that Hfq is required for H. ducreyi to infect humans. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing Hfq as a major contributor of stationary-phase gene regulation in bacteria and the requirement of Hfq for the virulence of a bacterial pathogen in humans.
    Keywords: Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Genetics ; Host Factor 1 Protein -- Metabolism ; Virulence Factors -- Biosynthesis
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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