Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a major component of the Neisseria meningitidis outer membrane. Here we report a patient with meningococcal meningitis of which the causative isolate lacked LPS. Thus far, no naturally occurring LPS-deficient meningococcal isolate has been known to cause clinical disease.
Antibiotic resistance increases costs for health care and causes therapy failure. An important mechanism for spreading resistance is transfer of plasmids containing resistance genes and subsequent selection. Yet the factors that influence the rate of transfer are poorly known. Rates of plasmid transfer were measured in co-cultures in chemostats of a donor and a acceptor strain under various selective pressures. To document whether specific mutations in either plasmid or acceptor genome are associated with the plasmid transfer, whole genome sequencing was performed. The DM0133 TetR tetracycline resistance plasmid was transferred between Escherichia coli K-12 strains during co-culture at frequencies that seemed higher at increased growth rate. Modeling of the take-over of the culture by the transformed strain suggests that in reality more transfer events occurred at low growth rates. At moderate selection pressure due to an antibiotic concentration that still allowed growth, a maximum transfer frequency was determined of once per 10(11) cell divisions. In the absence of tetracycline or in the presence of high concentrations the frequency of transfer was sometimes zero, but otherwise reduced by at least a factor of 5. Whole genome sequencing showed that the plasmid was transferred without mutations, but two functional mutations in the genome of the recipient strain accompanied this transfer. Exposure to concentrations of antibiotics that fall within the mutant selection window stimulated transfer of the resistance plasmid most.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a major human pathogen causing pneumonia, sepsis and bacterial meningitis. Using a clinical phenotype based approach with bacterial whole-genome sequencing we identified pneumococcal arginine biosynthesis genes to be associated with outcome in patients with pneumococcal meningitis. Pneumococci harboring these genes show increased growth in human blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Mouse models of meningitis and pneumonia showed that pneumococcal strains without arginine biosynthesis genes were attenuated in growth or cleared, from lung, blood and CSF. Thus, S. pneumoniae arginine synthesis genes promote growth and virulence in invasive pneumococcal disease.
Studies of meningococcal evolution and genetic population structure, including the long-term stability of non-random associations between variants of surface proteins, are essential for vaccine development. We analyzed the sequence variability of factor H-binding protein (fHbp), Neisserial Heparin-Binding Antigen (NHBA) and Neisseria adhesin A (NadA), three major antigens in the multicomponent meningococcal serogroup B vaccine 4CMenB. A panel of invasive isolates collected in the Netherlands over a period of 50 years was used. To our knowledge, this strain collection covers the longest time period of any collection available worldwide. Long-term persistence of several antigen sub/variants and of non-overlapping antigen sub/variant combinations was observed. Our data suggest that certain antigen sub/variants including those used in 4CMenB are conserved over time and promoted by selection.
Chlamydia psittaci primarily infects birds, but zoonotic transmission occurs in people in close contact with infected birds. The clinical outcome ranges from inapparent disease to pneumonia. Here we report the genome sequences of all 9 Chlamydia psittaci genotype reference strains.
Factor H Binding protein (fHbp) is an important meningococcal virulence factor, enabling the meningococcus to evade the complement system, and a main target for vaccination. Recently, the structure of fHBP complexed with factor H (fH) was published. Two fHbp glutamic acids, E(283) and E(304), form salt bridges with fH, influencing interaction between fHbp and fH. Fifteen amino acids were identified forming hydrogen bonds with fH. We sequenced fHbp of 254 meningococcal isolates from adults with meningococcal meningitis included in a prospective clinical cohort to study the effect of fHbp variants on meningococcal disease severity and outcome. All fHbp of subfamily A had E304 substituted with T304. Of the 15 amino acids in fHbp making hydrogen bonds to fH, 3 were conserved, 11 show a similar distribution between the two fHbp subfamilies as the polymorphism at position 304. The proportion of patients infected with meningococci with fHbp of subfamily A with unfavorable outcome was 2.5-fold lower than that of patients infected with meningococci with fHbp of subfamily B (2 of 40 (5%) vs. 27 of 213 (13%) (P?=?0.28). The charge of 2 of 15 amino acids (at position 184 and 306) forming hydrogen bonds was either basic or acidic. The affinity of fHbp(K184) and of fHbp(D184) for recombinant purified human fH was assessed by Surface Plasmon Resonance and showed average K(D) of 2.60×10(-8) and 1.74×10(-8), respectively (ns). Patients infected with meningococci with fHbp(D184) were more likely to develop septic shock during admission (11 of 42 [26%] vs. 19 of 211 [9%]; P?=?0.002) resulting in more frequent unfavorable outcome (9 of 42 [21%] vs. 20 of 211 [10%]; P?=?0.026). In conclusion, we dentified fHBP(D184) to be associated with septic shock in patients with meningococcal meningitis.
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