Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are the first line of defense against microbial pathogens. In addition to their role in innate immunity, PMNs may also regulate events related to adaptive immunity. To investigate the influence of PMNs in the immune response during chronic bacterial infections, we explored the course of brucellosis in antibody PMN-depleted C57BL/6 mice and in neutropenic mutant Genista mouse model. We demonstrate that at later times of infection, Brucella abortus is killed more efficiently in the absence of PMNs than in their presence. The higher bacterial removal was concomitant to the: i) comparatively reduced spleen swelling; ii) augmented infiltration of epithelioid histiocytes corresponding to macrophages/dendritic cells (DCs); iii) higher recruitment of monocytes and monocyte/DCs phenotype; iv) significant activation of B and T lymphocytes, and v) increased levels of INF-? and negligible levels of IL4 indicating a balance of Th1 over Th2 response. These results reveal that PMNs have an unexpected influence in dampening the immune response against intracellular Brucella infection and strengthen the notion that PMNs actively participate in regulatory circuits shaping both innate and adaptive immunity.
Rapid and specific identification of Brucella suis at the biovar level is necessary because some of the biovars that infect animals are pathogenic for humans. None of the molecular typing methods described so far are able to discriminate B. suis biovars in a single test and differentiation of B. suis from Brucella canis by molecular approaches can be difficult. This article describes a new multiplex PCR assay, Suis-ladder, for fast and accurate identification of B. suis at the biovar level and the differentiation of B. suis, B. canis and Brucella microti. An advancement of the original Bruce-ladder PCR protocol which allows the correct discrimination of all known Brucella species is also described.
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.
Chromobacterium violaceum is a gram-negative saprobe bacterium that is a rare opportunistic pathogen in mammals. There are numerous reports in humans including fatalities, but no record exists in free-ranging nonhuman primates. Here we report an infection by C. violaceum in a wild adult male howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) captured at Ballena Marine National Park, in southwestern Costa Rica. The individual had severe skin lesions over its extremities; gross findings included multiple skin ulcers, white foci in liver, and lymphoid hyperplasia. Histologic results included deep dermatitis with presence of necrotic epithelial cells where clusters of coccoid-shaped bacteria were detected. In the liver, numerous neutrophils forming microabscesses, telangiectasia, and focal necrotic areas were observed. Necrotic liver tissue sampled for bacteriologic culture resulted in the isolation of C. violaceum. We could not ascertain the source or mechanism of infection in this case, although infection through skin microabrasions is suspected. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report for this pathogen in a wild, nonhuman primate. This report also draws attention to this infectious agent as a potential emerging wildlife disease and consideration should be paid by regional veterinary and epidemiologic vigilance services.
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.
Brucella ceti causes disease in Odontoceti. The absence of control serum collections and the diversity of cetaceans have hampered the standardization of serological tests for the diagnosis of cetacean brucellosis. Without a "gold" standard for sensitivity and specificity determination, an alternative approach was followed. We designed an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA) that recognizes immunoglobulins G (IgGs) from 17 odontocete species as a single group. For the standardization, we used Brucella melitensis and Brucella abortus lipopolysaccharides, serum samples from seven resident odontocetes with no history of infectious disease displaying negative rose bengal test (RBT) reactions, and serum samples from seven dolphins infected with B. ceti. We compared the performance of the iELISA with those of the protein G ELISA (gELISA), the competitive ELISA (cELISA), and the immunofluorescence (IF) and dot blot (DB) tests, using 179 odontocete serum samples and RBT as the reference. The diagnostic potential based on sensitivity and specificity of the iELISA was superior to that of gELISA and cELISA. The correlation and agreement between the iELISA and the gELISA were relatively good (R(i/g)2 = 0.65 and kappa(i/g) = 0.66, respectively), while the correlation and agreement of these two ELISAs with cELISA were low (R(i/c)2 = 0.46, R(g/c)2 = 0.37 and kappa(i/c) = 0.62, kappa(g/c) = 0.42). In spite of using the same anti-odontocete IgG antibody, the iELISA was more specific than were the IF and DB tests. An association between high antibody titers and the presence of neurological symptoms in dolphins was observed. The prediction is that iELISA based on broadly cross-reacting anti-dolphin IgG antibody would be a reliable test for the diagnosis of brucellosis in odontocetes, including families not covered in this study.
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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