Background Brucella ceti infections have been increasingly reported in cetaceans. Brucellosis in these animals is associated with meningoencephalitis, abortion, discospondylitis¿, subcutaneous abscesses, endometritis and other pathological conditions B. ceti infections have been frequently described in dolphins from both, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the Mediterranean Sea, only two reports have been made: one from the Italian Tyrrhenian Sea and the other from the Adriatic Sea.ResultsWe describe the clinical and pathological features of three cases of B. ceti infections in three dolphins stranded in the Mediterranean Catalonian coast. One striped dolphin had neurobrucellosis, showing lethargy, incoordination and lateral swimming due to meningoencephalitis, A B. ceti infected bottlenose dolphin had discospondylitis, and another striped dolphin did not show clinical signs or lesions related to Brucella infection. A detailed characterization of the three B. ceti isolates was performed by bacteriological, molecular, protein and fatty acid analyses.ConclusionsAll the B. ceti strains originating from Mediterranean dolphins cluster together in a distinct phylogenetic clade, close to that formed by B. ceti isolates from dolphins inhabiting the Atlantic Ocean. Our study confirms the severity of pathological signs in stranded dolphins and the relevance of B. ceti as a pathogen in the Mediterranean Sea.
Coordinated assembly and disassembly of actin into filaments and higher order structures such as stress fibers and lamellipodia are fundamental for cell migration and adhesion. However, the precise spatiotemporal regulation of F-actin structures is not completely understood. SWAP-70, a phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate-interacting, F-actin-binding protein, participates in actin rearrangements through yet unknown mechanisms. Here, we show that SWAP-70 is an F-actin-bundling protein that oligomerizes through a Gln/Glu-rich stretch within a coiled-coil region. SWAP-70 bundles filaments in parallel and anti-parallel fashion through its C-terminal F-actin binding domain and delays dilution-induced F-actin depolymerization. We further demonstrate that SWAP-70 co-localizes and directly interacts with cofilin, an F-actin severing and depolymerization factor, and contributes to the regulation of cofilin activity in vivo. In line with these activities, upon stem cell factor stimulation, murine bone marrow-derived mast cells lacking SWAP-70 display aberrant regulation of F-actin and actin free barbed ends dynamics. Moreover, proper stem cell factor-dependent cofilin activation via dephosphorylation and subcellular redistribution into a detergent-resistant cytoskeletal compartment also require SWAP-70. Together, these findings reveal an important role of SWAP-70 in the dynamic spatiotemporal regulation of F-actin networks.
In the early Drosophila melanogaster embryo, Dpp, a secreted molecule that belongs to the TGF-? superfamily of growth factors, activates a set of downstream genes to subdivide the dorsal region into amnioserosa and dorsal epidermis. Here, we examined the expression pattern and transcriptional regulation of Dtg, a new target gene of Dpp signaling pathway that is required for proper amnioserosa differentiation. We showed that the expression of Dtg was controlled by Dpp and characterized a 524-bp enhancer that mediated expression in the dorsal midline, as well as, in the differentiated amnioserosa in transgenic reporter embryos. This enhancer contained a highly conserved region of 48-bp in which bioinformatic predictions and in vitro assays identified three Mad binding motifs. Mutational analysis revealed that these three motifs were necessary for proper expression of a reporter gene in transgenic embryos, suggesting that short and highly conserved genomic sequences may be indicative of functional regulatory regions in D. melanogaster genes. Dtg orthologs were not detected in basal lineages of Dipterans, which unlike D. melanogaster develop two extra-embryonic membranes, amnion and serosa, nevertheless Dtg orthologs were identified in the transcriptome of Musca domestica, in which dorsal ectoderm patterning leads to the formation of a single extra-embryonic membrane. These results suggest that Dtg was recruited as a new component of the network that controls dorsal ectoderm patterning in the lineage leading to higher Cyclorrhaphan flies, such as D. melanogaster and M. domestica.
Globally, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects approximately 130 million people and 3 million new infections occur annually. HCV is also recognized as an important cause of chronic liver disease in children. The absence of proofreading properties of the HCV RNA polymerase leads to a highly error prone replication process, allowing HCV to escape host immune response. The adaptive nature of HCV evolution dictates the outcome of the disease in many ways. Here, we investigated the molecular evolution of HCV in three unrelated children who acquired chronic HCV infection as a result of mother-to-child transmission, two of whom were also coinfected with HIV-1. The persistence of discrete HCV variants and their population structure were assessed using median joining network and Bayesian approaches. While patterns of viral evolution clearly differed between subjects, immune system dysfunction related to HIV coinfection or persistent HCV seronegativity stand as potential mechanisms to explain the lack of molecular evolution observed in these three cases. In contrast, treatment of HCV infection with PegIFN, which did not lead to sustained virologic responses in all 3 cases, was not associated with commensurate variations in the complexity of the variant spectrum. Finally, the differences in the degree of divergence suggest that the mode of transmission of the virus was not the main factor driving viral evolution.
Tuberculosis is an important public health problem in Mexico. However, limited information about the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains circulating in the country is available. In this work, 109 multidrug-resistant (MDR) M. tuberculosis isolates collected in 23 different states of Mexico in 2003 were retrospectively characterized by spoligotyping and MIRU-VNTRs. All isolates, except for a single cluster containing two strains (subcluster E1), were split when information from the 12-loci MIRUs and spoligo-pattern was simultaneously analyzed. The discriminative power of 12-loci MIRU-VNTR and spoligotyping, by the Hunter-Gaston index, were 0.9998 and 0.9011, respectively. These findings suggest that almost all cases were epidemiologically unrelated. Instead, the genetic variations observed among these strains are suggestive of emergence of acquired drug-resistance during the course of treatment. The results suggest a high degree of genetic variability and a high frequency of SIT53 (T1 family) spoligotype among the MDR M. tuberculosis isolates included in the study.
The generation of plasma cells (PCs) is key for proper humoral immune responses. The transcription factors IRF-4 and BLIMP-1 (B-lymphocyte induce maturation protein-1) control PC commitment, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here we have identified SWAP-70 as being critically involved in Toll-like receptor (TLR)-triggered PC differentiation. Upon activation through various TLRs, Swap-70(-/-) B cells were activated and proliferated normally. However, expression of BLIMP-1 was markedly reduced and PC differentiation was impaired. Four hours of LPS stimulation were sufficient to drive PC differentiation, and SWAP-70 was required during this initial period. Swap-70(-/-) B cells pre-activated in vitro failed to efficiently differentiate into PCs upon adoptive transfer into recipient mice. Re-introduction of SWAP-70 into Swap-70(-/-) B cells rescued their development into PCs, and SWAP-70 over-expression in wild-type (WT) B cells increased PC generation. In the absence of SWAP-70, IRF-4 protein levels were reduced and the IRF-4(high) B220(+) CD138(-) compartment, including PC precursors, was strongly diminished. Ectopic expression of SWAP-70 increases IRF-4 protein levels and PC differentiation in WT and Swap-70(-/-) B cells, and IRF-4 over-expression in Swap-70(-/-) B cells elevates PC differentiation to WT levels. Thus, in a dose-dependent manner, SWAP-70 controls IRF-4 protein expression and thereby regulates the initiation of PC differentiation.
The brucellae are ?-Proteobacteria facultative intracellular parasites that cause an important zoonosis. These bacteria escape early detection by innate immunity, an ability associated to the absence of marked pathogen-associated molecular patterns in the cell envelope lipopolysaccharide, lipoproteins and flagellin. We show here that, in contrast to the outer membrane ornithine lipids (OL) of other Gram negative bacteria, Brucella abortus OL lack a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern activity. We identified two OL genes (olsB and olsA) and by generating the corresponding mutants found that olsB deficient B. abortus did not synthesize OL or their lyso-OL precursors. Liposomes constructed with B. abortus OL did not trigger IL-6 or TNF-? release by macrophages whereas those constructed with Bordetella pertussis OL and the olsB mutant lipids as carriers were highly active. The OL deficiency in the olsB mutant did not promote proinflammatory responses or generated attenuation in mice. In addition, OL deficiency did not increase sensitivity to polymyxins, normal serum or complement consumption, or alter the permeability to antibiotics and dyes. Taken together, these observations indicate that OL have become dispensable in the extant brucellae and are consistent within the trend observed in ?-Proteobacteria animal pathogens to reduce and eventually eliminate the envelope components susceptible of recognition by innate immunity.
Brucellosis is an important malady of productive and wildlife animals and a worldwide zoonosis. The use of effective vaccines and the corresponding diagnostic tests that allow differentiating infected from vaccinated animals are essential tools to control the disease. For this, a prototype of Brucella abortus S19 vaccine expressing green fluorescent protein (S19-GFP) was constructed. The S19-GFP was readily identified under ultraviolet light by macroscopic and microscopic examination and maintained all the biochemical characteristics of the parental S19 vaccine. S19-GFP replicated ex vivo and in vivo, and protected mice against challenge with virulent B. abortus to the same extent as the isogenic S19. An immunoenzymatic assay designed to measure anti-GFP antibodies allowed the discrimination between mice vaccinated with S19-GFP and those immunized with S19. Both vaccines raised antibodies against lipopolysaccharide molecule to similar levels. This experimental model constitutes a "proof of concept" for the use of Brucella-GFP vaccines and associated diagnostic tests to distinguish vaccinated from naturally Brucella infected animals.
During evolution, innate immunity has been tuned to recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns. However, some alpha-Proteobacteria are stealthy intracellular pathogens not readily detected by this system. Brucella members follow this strategy and are highly virulent, but other Brucellaceae like Ochrobactrum are rhizosphere inhabitants and only opportunistic pathogens. To gain insight into the emergence of the stealthy strategy, we compared these two phylogenetically close but biologically divergent bacteria.
Here, we analyze the viral divergence among hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronic cases infected with genotype 1. The intrahost viral evolution was assessed by deep sequencing using the 454 Genome Sequencer platform. The results showed a rapid nucleotide sequence divergence. This notorious short-term viral evolution is of the utmost importance for the study of HCV transmission, because direct links between related samples were virtually lost. Thus, rapid divergence of HCV significantly affects genetic relatedness studies and outbreak investigations.
Innate immunity recognizes bacterial molecules bearing pathogen-associated molecular patterns to launch inflammatory responses leading to the activation of adaptive immunity. However, the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the gram-negative bacterium Brucella lacks a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern, and it has been postulated that this delays the development of immunity, creating a gap that is critical for the bacterium to reach the intracellular replicative niche. We found that a B. abortus mutant in the wadC gene displayed a disrupted LPS core while keeping both the LPS O-polysaccharide and lipid A. In mice, the wadC mutant induced proinflammatory responses and was attenuated. In addition, it was sensitive to killing by non-immune serum and bactericidal peptides and did not multiply in dendritic cells being targeted to lysosomal compartments. In contrast to wild type B. abortus, the wadC mutant induced dendritic cell maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. All these properties were reproduced by the wadC mutant purified LPS in a TLR4-dependent manner. Moreover, the core-mutated LPS displayed an increased binding to MD-2, the TLR4 co-receptor leading to subsequent increase in intracellular signaling. Here we show that Brucella escapes recognition in early stages of infection by expressing a shield against recognition by innate immunity in its LPS core and identify a novel virulence mechanism in intracellular pathogenic gram-negative bacteria. These results also encourage for an improvement in the generation of novel bacterial vaccines.
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