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  • Fortney, Kate R.  (36)
  • Spinola, SM  (36)
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PloS one, 2015, Vol.10(4), pp.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: Bacterial Proteins -- Genetics ; Drug Resistance, Bacterial -- Genetics ; Ethanolaminephosphotransferase -- Genetics ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Genetics ; Lipid A -- Metabolism
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: The Journal of infectious diseases, 15 June 2011, Vol.203(12), pp.1859-65
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi 35000HP contains a homolog of the CpxRA 2-component signal transduction system, which controls the cell envelope stress response system in other gram-negative bacteria and regulates some important H. ducreyi virulence factors. A H. ducreyi cpxR mutant was compared with its parent for virulence in the human challenge model of experimental chancroid. The pustule formation rate in 5 volunteers was 33% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3%-65.3%) at 15 parent sites and 40% (95% CI, 18.1%-61.9%) at 15 mutant sites (P = .35). Thus, the cpxR mutant was not attenuated for virulence. Inactivation of the H. ducreyi cpxR gene did not reduce the ability of this mutant to express certain proven virulence factors, including the DsrA serum resistance protein and the LspA2 protein, which inhibits phagocytosis. These results expand our understanding of the involvement of the CpxRA system in regulating virulence expression in H. ducreyi.
    Keywords: Bacterial Proteins -- Genetics ; Chancroid -- Microbiology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Genetics
    ISSN: 00221899
    E-ISSN: 1537-6613
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: The Journal of infectious diseases, November 2012, Vol.206(9), pp.1407-14
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi encounters several classes of antimicrobial peptides (APs) in vivo and utilizes the sensitive-to-antimicrobial-peptides (Sap) transporter as one mechanism of AP resistance. A mutant lacking the periplasmic solute-binding component, SapA, was somewhat more sensitive to the cathelicidin LL-37 than the parent strain and was partially attenuated for virulence. The partial attenuation led us to question whether the transporter is fully abrogated in the sapA mutant. We generated a nonpolar sapBC mutant, which lacks both inner membrane permeases of the Sap transporter, and tested the mutant for virulence in human volunteers. In vitro, we compared LL-37 resistance phenotypes of the sapBC and sapA mutants. Unlike the sapA mutant, the sapBC mutant was fully attenuated for virulence in human volunteers. In vitro, the sapBC mutant exhibited significantly greater sensitivity than the sapA mutant to killing by LL-37. Similar to the sapA mutant, the sapBC mutant did not affect H. ducreyi's resistance to human defensins. Compared with the sapA mutant, the sapBC mutant exhibited greater attenuation in vivo, which directly correlated with increased sensitivity to LL-37 in vitro. These results strongly suggest that the SapBC channel retains activity when SapA is removed.
    Keywords: Drug Resistance, Bacterial ; Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides -- Pharmacology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Enzymology ; Membrane Transport Proteins -- Metabolism ; Virulence Factors -- Metabolism
    ISSN: 00221899
    E-ISSN: 1537-6613
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: The Journal of infectious diseases, 15 June 2010, Vol.201(12), pp.1839-48
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi causes chancroid, a genital ulcer disease. Among human volunteers, the majority of experimentally infected individuals fail to clear the infection and form pustules. Here, we investigated the role played by CD4(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells in the formation of pustules. In pustules, there was a significant enrichment of CD4(+)FOXP3(+) T cells, compared with that in peripheral blood. The majority of lesional FOXP3(+) T cells were CD4(+), CD25(+), CD127(lo/-), and CTLA-4(+). FOXP3(+) T cells were found throughout pustules but were most abundant at their base. Significantly fewer lesional CD4(+)FOXP3(+) T cells expressed interferon gamma, compared with lesional CD4(+)FOXP3(-) effector T cells. Depletion of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from the peripheral blood of infected and uninfected volunteers significantly enhanced proliferation of H. ducreyi-reactive CD4(+) T cells. Our results indicate that the population of CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(lo/-)FOXP3(+) T(reg) cells are expanded at H. ducreyi-infected sites and that these cells may play a role in suppressing the host immune response to the bacterium.
    Keywords: Immune Tolerance ; Cd4-Positive T-Lymphocytes -- Immunology ; Forkhead Transcription Factors -- Analysis ; Haemophilus Infections -- Immunology ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Immunology ; T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory -- Immunology
    ISSN: 00221899
    E-ISSN: 1537-6613
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Infection and immunity, February 2013, Vol.81(2), pp.608-17
    Description: The carbon storage regulator A (CsrA) controls a wide variety of bacterial processes, including metabolism, adherence, stress responses, and virulence. Haemophilus ducreyi, the causative agent of chancroid, harbors a homolog of csrA. Here, we generated an unmarked, in-frame deletion mutant of csrA to assess its contribution to H. ducreyi pathogenesis. In human inoculation experiments, the csrA mutant was partially attenuated for pustule formation compared to its parent. Deletion of csrA resulted in decreased adherence of H. ducreyi to human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF); Flp1 and Flp2, the determinants of H. ducreyi adherence to HFF cells, were downregulated in the csrA mutant. Compared to its parent, the csrA mutant had a significantly reduced ability to tolerate oxidative stress and heat shock. The enhanced sensitivity of the mutant to oxidative stress was more pronounced in bacteria grown to stationary phase compared to that in bacteria grown to mid-log phase. The csrA mutant also had a significant survival defect within human macrophages when the bacteria were grown to stationary phase but not to mid-log phase. Complementation in trans partially or fully restored the mutant phenotypes. These data suggest that CsrA contributes to virulence by multiple mechanisms and that these contributions may be more profound in bacterial cell populations that are not rapidly dividing in the human host.
    Keywords: Bacterial Proteins -- Metabolism ; Carbon -- Metabolism ; Chancroid -- Metabolism ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Metabolism
    ISSN: 00199567
    E-ISSN: 1098-5522
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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    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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  • 8
    In: Infection and Immunity, 2010, Vol. 78(3), p.1176
    Description: Haemophilus ducreyi is an extracellular pathogen of human epithelial surfaces that resists human antimicrobial peptides (APs). The organism's genome contains homologs of genes sensitive to antimicrobial peptides (sap operon) in nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae. In this study, we characterized the sap-containing loci of H. ducreyi 35000HP and demonstrated that sapA is expressed in broth cultures and H. ducreyi-infected tissue; sapA is also conserved among both class I and class II H. ducreyi strains. We constructed a nonpolar sapA mutant of H. ducreyi 35000HP, designated 35000HPsapA, and compared the percent survival of wild-type 35000HP and 35000HPsapA exposed to several human APs, including alpha-defensins, beta-defensins, and the cathelicidin LL-37. Unlike an H. influenzae sapA mutant, strain 35000HPsapA was not more susceptible to defensins than strain 35000HP was. However, we observed a significant decrease in the survival of strain 35000HPsapA after exposure to LL-37, which was complemented by introducing sapA in trans. Thus, the Sap transporter plays a role in resistance of H. ducreyi to LL-37. We next compared mutant strain 35000HPsapA with strain 35000HP for their ability to cause disease in human volunteers. Although both strains caused papules to form at similar rates, the pustule formation rate at sites inoculated with 35000HPsapA was significantly lower than that of sites inoculated with 35000HP (33.3% versus 66.7%; P = 0.007). Together, these data establish that SapA acts as a virulence factor and as one mechanism for H. ducreyi to resist killing by antimicrobial peptides. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that an antimicrobial peptide resistance mechanism contributes to bacterial virulence in humans.
    Keywords: Medicine ; Biology;
    ISSN: 0019-9567
    ISSN: 00199567
    E-ISSN: 10985522
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Infection and immunity, August 2014, Vol.82(8), pp.3492-502
    Description: (p)ppGpp responds to nutrient limitation through a global change in gene regulation patterns to increase survival. The stringent response has been implicated in the virulence of several pathogenic bacterial species. Haemophilus ducreyi, the causative agent of chancroid, has homologs of both relA and spoT, which primarily synthesize and hydrolyze (p)ppGpp in Escherichia coli. We constructed relA and relA spoT deletion mutants to assess the contribution of (p)ppGpp to H. ducreyi pathogenesis. Both the relA single mutant and the relA spoT double mutant failed to synthesize (p)ppGpp, suggesting that relA is the primary synthetase of (p)ppGpp in H. ducreyi. Compared to the parent strain, the double mutant was partially attenuated for pustule formation in human volunteers. The double mutant had several phenotypes that favored attenuation, including increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. The increased sensitivity to oxidative stress could be complemented in trans. However, the double mutant also exhibited phenotypes that favored virulence. When grown to the mid-log phase, the double mutant was significantly more resistant than its parent to being taken up by human macrophages and exhibited increased transcription of lspB, which is involved in resistance to phagocytosis. Additionally, compared to the parent, the double mutant also exhibited prolonged survival in the stationary phase. In E. coli, overexpression of DksA compensates for the loss of (p)ppGpp; the H. ducreyi double mutant expressed higher transcript levels of dksA than the parent strain. These data suggest that the partial attenuation of the double mutant is likely the net result of multiple conflicting phenotypes.
    Keywords: Guanosine Pentaphosphate -- Deficiency ; Haemophilus Ducreyi -- Pathogenicity ; Ligases -- Metabolism ; Pyrophosphatases -- Metabolism
    ISSN: 00199567
    E-ISSN: 1098-5522
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  • 10
    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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