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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
The effect of skin fatty acids on Staphylococcus aureus.
Arch. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-23-2014
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Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal of the human nose and skin. Human skin fatty acids, in particular cis-6-hexadecenoic acid (C-6-H), have high antistaphylococcal activity and can inhibit virulence determinant production. Here, we show that sub-MIC levels of C-6-H result in induction of increased resistance. The mechanism(s) of C-6-H activity was investigated by combined transcriptome and proteome analyses. Proteome analysis demonstrated a pleiotropic effect of C-6-H on virulence determinant production. In response to C-6-H, transcriptomics revealed altered expression of over 500 genes, involved in many aspects of virulence and cellular physiology. The expression of toxins (hla, hlb, hlgBC) was reduced, whereas that of host defence evasion components (cap, sspAB, katA) was increased. In particular, members of the SaeRS regulon had highly reduced expression, and the use of specific mutants revealed that the effect on toxin production is likely mediated via SaeRS.
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Characterization of the biological anti-staphylococcal functionality of hUK-66 IgG1, a humanized monoclonal antibody as substantial component for an immunotherapeutic approach.
Hum Vaccin Immunother
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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Multi-antigen immunotherapy approaches against Staphylococcus aureus are expected to have the best chance of clinical success when used in combinatorial therapy, potentially incorporating opsonic killing of bacteria and toxin neutralization. We recently reported the development of a murine monoclonal antibody specific for the immunodominant staphylococcal antigen A (IsaA), which showed highly efficient staphylococcal killing in experimental infection models of S. aureus. If IsaA-specific antibodies are to be used as a component of combination therapy in humans, the binding specificity and biological activity of the humanized variant must be preserved. Here, we describe the functional characterization of a humanized monoclonal IgG1 variant designated, hUK-66. The humanized antibody showed comparable binding kinetics to those of its murine parent, and recognized the target antigen IsaA on the surface of clinically relevant S. aureus lineages. Furthermore, hUK-66 enhances the killing of S. aureus in whole blood (a physiological environment) samples from healthy subjects and patients prone to staphylococcal infections such as diabetes and dialysis patients, and patients with generalized artery occlusive disease indicating no interference with already present natural antibodies. Taken together, these data indicate that hUK-66 mediates bacterial killing even in high risk patients and thus, could play a role for immunotherapy strategies to combat severe S. aureus infections.
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Evolution of resistance to a last-resort antibiotic in Staphylococcus aureus via bacterial competition.
Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-25-2014
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Antibiotic resistance is a key medical concern, with antibiotic use likely being an important cause. However, here we describe an alternative route to clinically relevant antibiotic resistance that occurs solely due to competitive interactions among bacterial cells. We consistently observe that isolates of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus diversify spontaneously into two distinct, sequentially arising strains. The first evolved strain outgrows the parent strain via secretion of surfactants and a toxic bacteriocin. The second is resistant to the bacteriocin. Importantly, this second strain is also resistant to intermediate levels of vancomycin. This so-called VISA (vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus) phenotype is seen in many hard-to-treat clinical isolates. This strain diversification also occurs during in vivo infection in a mouse model, which is consistent with the fact that both coevolved phenotypes resemble strains commonly found in clinic. Our study shows how competition between coevolving bacterial strains can generate antibiotic resistance and recapitulate key clinical phenotypes.
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The phosphoproteome and its physiological dynamics in Staphylococcus aureus.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-25-2014
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Phosphorylation events on proteins during growth and stress/starvation can represent crucial regulation processes inside the bacterial cell. Therefore, serine, threonine and tyrosine phosphorylation patterns were analyzed by two powerful complementary proteomic methods for the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Using 2D-gel analysis with a phosphosensitive stain (Pro-Q Diamond) and gel-free titanium dioxide based phosphopeptide enrichment, 103 putative phosphorylated proteins with successfully mapped 68 different phosphorylation sites were found in the soluble proteome of S. aureus. Additionally, in a proof of concept study, 8 proteins phosphorylated on arginine residues have been identified. Most important for functional analyses of S. aureus, proteins related to pathogenicity and virulence were found to be phosphorylated: the virulence regulator SarA, the potential antimicrobial target FbaA and the elastin-binding protein EbpS. Besides newly identified phosphorylation sites we compared our dataset with existing data from literature and subsequent experiments revealed additional phosphorylation events on highly conserved localizations in FbaA. Differential analysis of phosphorylation signals on the 2D-gels showed significant changes in phosphorylation under different physiological conditions for 10 proteins. Among these, we were able to detect newly appearing signals for phosphorylated isoforms of FdaB and HchA under nitrosative stress conditions.
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Bioluminescence and 19F magnetic resonance imaging visualize the efficacy of lysostaphin alone and in combination with oxacillin against Staphylococcus aureus in murine thigh and catheter-associated infection models.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 12-23-2013
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Staphylococci are the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections worldwide. Increasingly, they resist antibiotic treatment owing to the development of multiple antibiotic resistance mechanisms in most strains. Therefore, the activity and efficacy of recombinant lysostaphin as a drug against this pathogen have been evaluated. Lysostaphin exerts high activity against antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The therapeutic value of lysostaphin has been analyzed in two different clinical relevant in vivo models, a catheter-associated infection model and a thigh infection model. We infected mice with luciferase-expressing S. aureus Xen 29, and the efficacies of lysostaphin, vancomycin, oxacillin, and combined lysostaphin/oxacillin were investigated through determination of colony-forming units, bioluminescent signals, andby measuring the accumulation of perfluorocarbon emulsion at the site of infection by (19)F magnetic resonance imaging. Lysostaphin treatment significantly reduced the bacterial burden in infected thigh muscles and after systemic spreading from the catheter in inner organs. The efficiency of lysostaphin treatment was even more pronounced in combinatorial therapy with oxacillin. These results suggest that recombinant lysostaphin may have potential as an anti-S. aureus drug worthy of further clinical development. In addition, both imaging technologies demonstrated efficacy patterns similar to colony-forming unit determination, although they proved to be less sensitive. Nonetheless they served as powerful tools to provide additional information about the course and gravity of infection in a non-invasive manner, possibly allowing a reduction in the number of animals needed for research evaluation of new antibiotics in future studies.
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Real-time in vivo imaging of invasive- and biomaterial-associated bacterial infections using fluorescently labelled vancomycin.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2013
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Invasive and biomaterial-associated infections in humans are often difficult to diagnose and treat. Here, guided by recent advances in clinically relevant optical imaging technologies, we explore the use of fluorescently labelled vancomycin (vanco-800CW) to specifically target and detect infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. The application potential of vanco-800CW for real-time in vivo imaging of bacterial infections is assessed in a mouse myositis model and a human post-mortem implant model. We show that vanco-800CW can specifically detect Gram-positive bacterial infections in our mouse myositis model, discriminate bacterial infections from sterile inflammation in vivo and detect biomaterial-associated infections in the lower leg of a human cadaver. We conclude that vanco-800CW has a high potential for enhanced non-invasive diagnosis of infections with Gram-positive bacteria and is a promising candidate for early-phase clinical trials.
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The mevalonate auxotrophic mutant of Staphylococcus aureus can adapt to mevalonate depletion.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 08-19-2013
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In this study, we attempted to adopt the auxotrophic mevalonate synthase mutant (?mvaS mutant) of Staphylococcus aureus to study whether a nongrowing but viable cell population is tolerant to bactericidal antibiotics. The mevalonate-depleted nongrowing ?mvaS mutant was found tolerant to antibiotics. Surprisingly, after prolonged cultivation, we obtained stable ?mvaS variants that were able to grow without mevalonate, which suggested unknown mechanisms for compensating undecaprenyl pyrophosphate production without mevalonate in S. aureus.
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Cytoplasmic replication of Staphylococcus aureus upon phagosomal escape triggered by phenol-soluble modulin ?
Cell. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-05-2013
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Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive human pathogen that is readily internalized by professional phagocytes such as macrophages and neutrophils but also by non-professional phagocytes such as epithelial or endothelial cells. Intracellular bacteria have been proposed to play a role in evasion of the innate immune system and may also lead to dissemination within migrating phagocytes. Further, S.?aureus efficiently lyses host cells with a battery of cytolytic toxins. Recently, phenol-soluble modulins (PSM) have been identified to comprise a genus-specific family of cytolytic peptides. Of these the PSM? peptides have been implicated in killing polymorphonuclear leucocytes after phagocytosis. We questioned if the peptides were active in destroying endosomal membranes to avoid lysosomal killing of the pathogen and monitored integrity of infected host cell endosomes by measuring the acidity of the intracellular bacterial microenvironment via flow cytometry and by a reporter recruitment technique. Isogenic mutants of the methicillin-resistant S.?aureus (MRSA) strains USA300 LAC, USA400 MW2 as well as the strongly cytolytic methicillin-sensitive strain 6850 were compared with their respective wild type strains. In all three genetic backgrounds, PSM? mutants were unable to escape from phagosomes in non-professional (293, HeLa, EAhy.926) and professional phagocytes (THP-1), whereas mutants in PSM? and ?-toxin as well as ?-toxin, phosphatidyl inositol-dependent phospholipase C and Panton Valentine leucotoxin escaped with efficiencies of the parental strains. S.?aureus replicated intracellularly only in presence of a functional PSM? operon thereby illustrating that bacteria grow in the host cell cytoplasm upon phagosomal escape.
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Roles of different peptide transporters in nutrient acquisition in Candida albicans.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 02-02-2013
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Fungi possess two distinct proton-coupled peptide transport systems, the dipeptide/tripeptide transporters (PTR) and the oligopeptide transporters (OPT), which enable them to utilize peptides as nutrients. In the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans, peptide transporters are encoded by gene families consisting of two PTR genes and eight OPT genes. To gain insight into the functions and importance of specific peptide transporters, we generated mutants lacking the two dipeptide/tripeptide transporters Ptr2 and Ptr22, as well as the five major oligopeptide transporters Opt1 to Opt5. These mutants were unable to grow in media containing peptides as the sole nitrogen source. Forced expression of individual peptide transporters in the septuple mutants showed that Ptr2 and Ptr22 could utilize all tested dipeptides as substrates but differed in their abilities to transport specific tripeptides. Interestingly, several oligopeptide transporters, which are thought to transport peptides consisting of more than three amino acids, also mediated the uptake of tripeptides. Opt1 especially turned out to be a highly flexible transporter that enabled growth on all tripeptides tested and could even utilize a dipeptide, a function that has never been ascribed to this family of peptide transporters. Despite their inability to grow on proteins or peptides, the opt1? opt2? opt3? opt4? opt5? ptr2? ptr22? septuple mutants had no in vivo fitness defect in a mouse model of gastrointestinal colonization. Therefore, the nutritional versatility of C. albicans enables it to utilize alternative nitrogen sources in this host niche, which probably contributes to its success as a commensal and pathogen in mammalian hosts.
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Trapping and proteomic identification of cellular substrates of the ClpP protease in Staphylococcus aureus.
J. Proteome Res.
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2013
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In the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus the cytoplasmic ClpP protease is essential for mounting cellular stress responses and for virulence. To directly identify substrates of the ClpP protease, we expressed in vivo a proteolytic inactive form of ClpP (ClpP(trap)) that will retain but not degrade substrates translocated into its proteolytic chamber. Substrates captured inside the proteolytic barrel were co-purified along with the His-tagged ClpP complex and identified by mass spectrometry. In total, approximately 70 proteins were trapped in both of the two S. aureus strains NCTC8325-4 and Newman. About one-third of the trapped proteins are previously shown to be unstable or to be substrates of ClpP in other bacteria, supporting the validity of the ClpP-TRAP. This group of proteins encompassed the transcriptional regulators CtsR and Spx, the ClpC adaptor proteins McsB and MecA, and the cell division protein FtsZ. Newly identified ClpP substrates include the global transcriptional regulators PerR and HrcA, proteins involved in DNA damage repair (RecA, UvrA, UvrB), and proteins essential for protein synthesis (RpoB and Tuf). Our study hence underscores the central role of Clp-proteolysis in a number of pathways that contribute to the success of S. aureus as a human pathogen.
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19F magnetic resonance imaging of perfluorocarbons for the evaluation of response to antibiotic therapy in a Staphylococcus aureus infection model.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in recent decades has highlighted the importance of developing new drugs to treat infections. However, in addition to the design of new drugs, the development of accurate preclinical testing methods is essential. In vivo imaging technologies such as bioluminescence imaging (BLI) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are promising approaches. In a previous study, we showed the effectiveness of (19)F MRI using perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsions for detecting the site of Staphylococcus aureus infection. In the present follow-up study, we investigated the use of this method for in vivo visualization of the effects of antibiotic therapy.
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Quaternary ammonium salts and their antimicrobial potential: targets or nonspecific interactions?
ChemMedChem
PUBLISHED: 08-23-2011
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For more than 50 years dequalinium chloride has been used successfully as an antiseptic drug and disinfectant, particularly for clinical purposes. Given the success of dequalinium chloride, several series of mono- and bisquaternary ammonium compounds have been designed and reported to have improved antimicrobial activity. Furthermore, many of them exhibit high activity against mycobacteria and protozoa, especially against plasmodia. This review discusses the structure-activity relationships and the modes of action of the various series of (bis)quaternary ammonium compounds.
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The alternative sigma factor B modulates virulence gene expression in a murine Staphylococcus aureus infection model but does not influence kidney gene expression pattern of the host.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-22-2011
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Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus are associated with significant morbidity and mortality and are an increasing threat not only in hospital settings. The expression of the staphylococcal virulence factor repertoire is known to be affected by the alternative sigma factor B (SigB). However, its impact during infection still is a matter of debate. Kidney tissues of controls or mice infected with S. aureus HG001 or its isogenic sigB mutant were analyzed by transcriptome profiling to monitor the host response, and additionally expression of selected S. aureus genes was monitored by RT-qPCR. Direct transcript analysis by RT-qPCR revealed significant SigB activity in all mice infected with the wild-type strain, but not in its isogenic sigB mutant (p<0.0001). Despite a clear-cut difference in the SigB-dependent transcription pattern of virulence genes (clfA, aur, and hla), the host reaction to infection (either wild type or sigB mutant) was almost identical. Despite its significant activity in vivo, loss of SigB did neither have an effect on the outcome of infection nor on murine kidney gene expression pattern. Thus, these data support the role of SigB as virulence modulator rather than being a virulence determinant by itself.
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Modeling antibiotic and cytotoxic effects of the dimeric isoquinoline IQ-143 on metabolism and its regulation in Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and human cells.
Genome Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-14-2011
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Xenobiotics represent an environmental stress and as such are a source for antibiotics, including the isoquinoline (IQ) compound IQ-143. Here, we demonstrate the utility of complementary analysis of both host and pathogen datasets in assessing bacterial adaptation to IQ-143, a synthetic analog of the novel type N,C-coupled naphthyl-isoquinoline alkaloid ancisheynine.
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Visualization of abscess formation in a murine thigh infection model of Staphylococcus aureus by 19F-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 03-01-2011
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During the last years, (19)F-MRI and perfluorocarbon nanoemulsion (PFC) emerged as a powerful contrast agent based MRI methodology to track cells and to visualize inflammation. We applied this new modality to visualize deep tissue abscesses during acute and chronic phase of inflammation caused by Staphylococcus aureus infection.
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Integrin-mediated uptake of fibronectin-binding bacteria.
Eur. J. Cell Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-23-2011
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Invasion of mammalian cells via cell adhesion molecules of the integrin family is a common theme in bacterial pathogenesis. Whereas some microorganisms directly bind to integrins, other pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus indirectly engage these receptors via fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBPs). In this review, we summarize the structure-function relationship of FnBPs and the current view of the role of these proteins during pathogenesis in vivo. A major focus will be on recent findings on the role of cholesterol- and sphingolipid-rich membrane microdomains for integrin-initiated uptake of fibronectin-binding bacteria and the surprising inhibitory function of caveolin-1 in this process. The detailed mechanistic understanding of host cell invasion by fibronectin-binding S. aureus can not only serve as a paradigm for other fibronectin-binding pathogenic bacteria, but might also reveal the physiological regulation of endocytosis of ligand-occupied integrins.
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The influence of SaeRS and ?(B) on the expression of superantigens in different Staphylococcus aureus isolates.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-06-2011
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Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen. Superantigens (SAg) are important virulence factors in S. aureus, but the regulation of SAg gene expression is largely unknown. Using 2 sequenced S. aureus strains (COL and Newman) and 4 clinical isolates, regulation of gene expression was investigated in more detail for 12 SAgs. The SAg-encoding genes were expressed in a growth phase-dependent manner: while the egc operon was mainly transcribed at low optical densities, the transcription of seb was induced at high optical densities. The transcript levels of sea, sek, seq, sep, and tst-1 did not change significantly during growth. The T cell-mitogenic activity of supernatants correlated with the transcription data. SaeRS and ?(B) strongly influenced SAg gene transcription. ?(B) activated transcription of seh, tst-1, and of the egc operon. A possible ?(B)-dependent promoter was identified in front of the egc operon. In contrast, a loss of ?(B) enhanced the transcript level of seb, suggesting an indirect effect of the alternative sigma factor on the transcription of this gene. Transcriptional studies of an saeS mutant showed that the two-component system only activates transcription of seb. The influence of ?(B) and SaeRS on the expression of SAg genes was validated by T cell proliferation assays. For sigB mutants in different strains, different effects on the T cell-mitogenic potential were observed depending on the SAg gene repertoire of the isolates.
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Caveolin limits membrane microdomain mobility and integrin-mediated uptake of fibronectin-binding pathogens.
J. Cell. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 11-23-2010
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Staphylococcus aureus, which is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, binds via fibronectin to integrin ?5?1, a process that can promote host colonization in vivo. Integrin engagement induces actin cytoskeleton rearrangements that result in the uptake of S. aureus by non-professional phagocytic cells. Interestingly, we found that fibronectin-binding S. aureus trigger the redistribution of membrane microdomain components. In particular, ganglioside GM1 and GPI-linked proteins were recruited upon integrin ?1 engagement, and disruption of membrane microdomains blocked bacterial internalization. Several membrane-microdomain-associated proteins, such as flotillin-1 and flotillin-2, as well as caveolin, were recruited to sites of bacterial attachment. Whereas dominant-negative versions of flotillin-2 did not affect bacterial attachment or internalization, cells deficient for caveolin-1 (Cav1(-/-)) showed increased uptake of S. aureus and other Fn-binding pathogens. Recruitment of membrane microdomains to cell-associated bacteria was unaltered in Cav1(-/-) cells. However, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) revealed an enhanced mobility of membrane-microdomain-associated proteins in the absence of caveolin-1. Enhanced membrane microdomain mobility and increased uptake of S. aureus was repressed by expression of wild-type caveolin-1, but not caveolin-1 G83S, which harbors a point mutation in the caveolin scaffolding domain. Similarly, chemical or physical stimulation of membrane fluidity led to increased uptake of S. aureus. These results highlight a crucial role for caveolin-1 in negative regulation of membrane microdomain mobility, thereby affecting endocytosis of bacteria-engaged integrins. This process might not only limit host cell invasion by integrin-binding bacterial pathogens, but might also be physiologically relevant for integrin-mediated cell adhesion.
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Functional antibodies targeting IsaA of Staphylococcus aureus augment host immune response and open new perspectives for antibacterial therapy.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 10-18-2010
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Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of nosocomial infections. Multiple antibiotic resistance and severe clinical outcomes provide a strong rationale for development of immunoglobulin-based strategies. Traditionally, novel immunological approaches against bacterial pathogens involve antibodies directed against cell surface-exposed virulence-associated epitopes or toxins. In this study, we generated a monoclonal antibody targeting the housekeeping protein IsaA, a suggested soluble lytic transglycosylase of S. aureus, and tested its therapeutic efficacy in two experimental mouse infection models. A murine anti-IsaA antibody of the IgG1 subclass (UK-66P) showed the highest binding affinity in Biacore analysis. This antibody recognized all S. aureus strains tested, including hospital-acquired and community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains. Therapeutic efficacy in vivo in mice was analyzed using a central venous catheter-related infection model and a sepsis survival model. In both models, anti-IsaA IgG1 conferred protection against staphylococcal infection. Ex vivo, UK-66P activates professional phagocytes and induces highly microbicidal reactive oxygen metabolites in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in bacterial killing. The study provides proof of concept that monoclonal IgG1 antibodies with high affinity to the ubiquitously expressed, single-epitope-targeting IsaA are effective in the treatment of staphylococcal infection in different mouse models. Anti-IsaA antibodies might be a useful component in an antibody-based therapeutic for prophylaxis or adjunctive treatment of human cases of S. aureus infections.
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Mode-of-action studies of the novel bisquaternary bisnaphthalimide MT02 against Staphylococcus aureus.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 10-11-2010
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Screening of various bisquaternary bisnaphthalimides against a variety of human pathogens revealed one compound, designated MT02, with strong inhibitory effects against Gram-positive bacteria. The MICs ranged from 0.31 ?g/ml against community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lineage USA300 to 20 ?g/ml against Streptococcus pneumoniae. Radioactive whole-cell labeling experiments indicated a strong impact of MT02 on bacterial DNA replication. DNA microarray studies generated a transcriptional signature characterized by stronger expression of genes involved in DNA metabolism, DNA replication, SOS response, and transport of positively charged compounds. Furthermore, surface plasmon resonance and gel retardation experiments demonstrated direct binding of MT02 to DNA in a concentration-dependent, reversible, and non-sequence-specific manner. The data presented suggest that the bisquaternary bisnaphthalimide MT02 exerts anti-Gram-positive activity by binding to DNA and thereby preventing appropriate DNA replication.
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A metabolomic view of Staphylococcus aureus and its ser/thr kinase and phosphatase deletion mutants: involvement in cell wall biosynthesis.
Chem. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-24-2010
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Little is known about intracellular metabolite pools in pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. We have studied a particular metabolome by means of the presented LC-MS method. By investigating the central carbon metabolism which includes most of the energy transfer molecules like nucleotides, sugar mono- and biphosphates, and cofactors, a conclusion about phenotypes and stress answers in microorganisms is possible. Quantitative metabolite levels of S. aureus grown in complex lysogeny broth and in minimal medium were compared in the wild-type S. aureus strain 8325 and the isogenic eukaryotic-like protein serine/threonine kinase (DeltapknB) and phosphatase (Deltastp) deletion mutants. Detection of several remarkable differences, e.g., in nucleotide metabolism and especially cell wall precursor metabolites, indicates a previously unreported importance of serine/threonine kinase/phosphatase on peptidoglycan and wall teichoic acid biosynthesis. These findings may lead to new insights into the regulation of staphylococcal cell wall metabolism.
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Immunotherapeutic strategies to combat staphylococcal infections.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-23-2010
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Antibiotic-resistant staphylococci are the leading cause of nosocomial infections in many hospitals around the world. Meanwhile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) spread also in the community where highly virulent strains infect healthy adults that have no predisposing risk factors. Although a few novel antibiotics have been recently introduced into clinical practice, the search for alternative strategies to efficiently combat staphylococcal infections is urgently demanded to decrease the enormous burden caused by pathogenic staphylococci. In particular, immunological strategies based on vaccine development or therapeutic antibodies may significantly enhance the efficiency of anti-staphylococcal therapy. Most approaches are directed against surface components of staphylococci such as cell wall-linked adhesins, teichoic acids, capsule, the biofilm component PIA/PNAG, or soluble virulence determinants such as alpha-toxin, Panton-Valentine leukocidin, or superantigenic enterotoxins. Although 2 recent clinical trials have failed, several novel promising vaccines and therapeutic antibodies are currently in preclinical and clinical development.
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Synthetic effects of secG and secY2 mutations on exoproteome biogenesis in Staphylococcus aureus.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 05-14-2010
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The gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus secretes various proteins into its extracellular milieu. Bioinformatics analyses have indicated that most of these proteins are directed to the canonical Sec pathway, which consists of the translocation motor SecA and a membrane-embedded channel composed of the SecY, SecE, and SecG proteins. In addition, S. aureus contains an accessory Sec2 pathway involving the SecA2 and SecY2 proteins. Here, we have addressed the roles of the nonessential channel components SecG and SecY2 in the biogenesis of the extracellular proteome of S. aureus. The results show that SecG is of major importance for protein secretion by S. aureus. Specifically, the extracellular accumulation of nine abundant exoproteins and seven cell wall-bound proteins was significantly affected in an secG mutant. No secretion defects were detected for strains with a secY2 single mutation. However, deletion of secY2 exacerbated the secretion defects of secG mutants, affecting the extracellular accumulation of one additional exoprotein and one cell wall protein. Furthermore, an secG secY2 double mutant displayed a synthetic growth defect. This might relate to a slightly elevated expression of sraP, encoding the only known substrate for the Sec2 pathway, in cells lacking SecG. Additionally, the results suggest that SecY2 can interact with the Sec1 channel, which would be consistent with the presence of a single set of secE and secG genes in S. aureus.
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Identification of specific genes in Staphylococcus aureus strains associated with bovine mastitis.
Vet. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2010
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Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of bovine mastitis that is responsible for the main economic loss to the dairy industry. For identification of putative, bovine-specific molecular marker a genome comparison between bovine S. aureus strain RF122 and 52 previously sequenced S. aureus isolates associated with human infections using genome viewer, annotation tool Artemis Comparison Tool (ACT), KEGG and NCBI BLAST databases was carried out. This led to the identification of 16 unique RF122 gene sequences that may be used as molecular marker to distinguish bovine from human strains. The distribution of these genes was analyzed in a collection of bovine mastitis strains from the Netherlands and human clinical isolates by PCR and Southern blotting. Only four genes within the pathogenicity island SaPIbov3 (sab1890, sab1891, sab1892, sab1893) were present in the majority of isolates from cattle but were absent from human clinical S. aureus isolates. These results suggest that there is no gene/ORF uniformly shared by all bovine S. aureus strains that could be uniformly used as a diagnostic marker gene.
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Repair of global regulators in Staphylococcus aureus 8325 and comparative analysis with other clinical isolates.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 03-08-2010
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The pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus strains varies tremendously (as seen with animals). It is largely dependent on global regulators, which control the production of toxins, virulence, and fitness factors. Despite the vast knowledge of staphylococcal molecular genetics, there is still widespread dispute over what factors must come together to make a strain highly virulent. S. aureus NCTC8325 (RN1 and derivatives) is a widely used model strain for which an incomparable wealth of knowledge has accumulated in the almost 50 years since its isolation. Although RN1 has functional agr, sarA, and sae global regulators, it is defective in two regulatory genes, rsbU (a positive activator of SigB) and tcaR (an activator of protein A transcription), and is therefore considered by many to be a poor model for studies of regulation and virulence. Here, we repaired these genes and compared the resulting RN1 derivatives with other widely used strains, Newman, USA300, UAMS-1, and COL, plus the parental RN1, with respect to growth, extracellular protein pattern, hemolytic activity, protein A production, pigmentation, biofilm formation, and mouse lethality. The tcaR-repaired strain, showed little alteration in these properties. However, the rsbU-repaired strain was profoundly altered. Hemolytic activity was largely decreased, the exoprotein pattern became much more similar to that of typical wild-type (wt) S. aureus, and there was a surprising increase in mouse lethality. We note that each of the strains tested has a mutational alteration in one or more other regulatory functions, and we conclude that the repaired RN1 is a good model strain for studies of staphylococcal regulation and pathobiology; although strain Newman has been used extensively for such studies in recent years, it has a missense mutation in saeS, the histidine kinase component of the sae signaling module, which profoundly alters its regulatory phenotype. If this mutation were repaired, Newman would be considerably improved as a model strain.
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Role of the (p)ppGpp synthase RSH, a RelA/SpoT homolog, in stringent response and virulence of Staphylococcus aureus.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 03-08-2010
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In most bacteria, nutrient limitations provoke the stringent control through the rapid synthesis of the alarmones pppGpp and ppGpp. Little is known about the stringent control in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, partly due to the essentiality of the major (p)ppGpp synthase/hydrolase enzyme RSH (RelA/SpoT homolog). Here, we show that mutants defective only in the synthase domain of RSH (rsh(syn)) are not impaired in growth under nutrient-rich conditions. However, these mutants were more sensitive toward mupirocin and were impaired in survival when essential amino acids were depleted from the medium. RSH is the major enzyme responsible for (p)ppGpp synthesis in response to amino acid deprivation (lack of Leu/Val) or mupirocin treatment. Transcriptional analysis showed that the RSH-dependent stringent control in S. aureus is characterized by repression of genes whose products are predicted to be involved in the translation machinery and by upregulation of genes coding for enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism and transport which are controlled by the repressor CodY. Amino acid starvation also provoked stabilization of the RNAs coding for major virulence regulators, such as SaeRS and SarA, independently of RSH. In an animal model, the rsh(syn) mutant was shown to be less virulent than the wild type. Virulence could be restored by the introduction of a codY mutation into the rsh(syn) mutant. These results indicate that stringent conditions are present during infection and that RSH-dependent derepression of CodY-regulated genes is essential for virulence in S. aureus.
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Staphylococcal PknB as the first prokaryotic representative of the proline-directed kinases.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-18-2010
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In eukaryotic cell types, virtually all cellular processes are under control of proline-directed kinases and especially MAP kinases. Serine/threonine kinases in general were originally considered as a eukaryote-specific enzyme family. However, recent studies have revealed that orthologues of eukaryotic serine/threonine kinases exist in bacteria. Moreover, various pathogenic species, such as Yersinia and Mycobacterium, require serine/threonine kinases for successful invasion of human host cells. The substrates targeted by bacterial serine/threonine kinases have remained largely unknown. Here we report that the serine/threonine kinase PknB from the important pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is released into the external milieu, which opens up the possibility that PknB does not only phosphorylate bacterial proteins but also proteins of the human host. To identify possible human targets of purified PknB, we studied in vitro phosphorylation of peptide microarrays and detected 68 possible human targets for phosphorylation. These results show that PknB is a proline-directed kinase with MAP kinase-like enzymatic activity. As the potential cellular targets for PknB are involved in apoptosis, immune responses, transport, and metabolism, PknB secretion may help the bacterium to evade intracellular killing and facilitate its growth. In apparent agreement with this notion, phosphorylation of the host-cell response coordinating transcription factor ATF-2 by PknB was confirmed by mass spectrometry. Taken together, our results identify PknB as the first prokaryotic representative of the proline-directed kinase/MAP kinase family of enzymes.
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Emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in different animal species.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-16-2009
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The emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in animals such as horses, pet animals and productive livestock has raised questions of a probable human origin and in more general of host specificity of S. aureus. Particular clonal lineages are obviously specific for humans (e.g. ST15, ST25, ST45) and other for ruminants (e.g. ST151). MRSA associated with veterinary nosocomial infections (e.g. ST8 and ST254 in horses, ST22 in small animals) very likely have their origin in health care facilities. MRSA ST398 which became first known from widespread colonization in industrially raised pigs seems to have a limited host specificity and is able to colonize and to cause infections in various hosts. Mechanisms of host adaptation and their genomic background are poorly understood so far.
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Recombination between ccrC genes in a type V (5C2&5) staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) of Staphylococcus aureus ST398 leads to conversion from methicillin resistance to methicillin susceptibility in vivo.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 12-07-2009
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Various types of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) are known to confer methicillin resistance on the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Such cassettes are not always stably maintained. The present studies were aimed at identifying the mechanism underlying the in vivo conversion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) to methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) derivatives as encountered in two patients suffering from pneumonia and an umbilicus infection, respectively. All MRSA and MSSA isolates identified belong to multilocus sequence type (MLST) 398, have spa type t034, and are Panton-Valentine leukocidin positive. Sequencing of 27,616 nucleotides from the chromosomal SCCmec insertion site in orfX to the hsdR gene for a restriction enzyme revealed a type V (5C2&5) SCCmec. Sequence comparisons show that parts of the cassette are highly similar to sequences within SCCmec elements from coagulase-negative staphylococci, indicating a possible common origin. The cassette investigated contains ccrC-carrying units on either side of its class C2b mec gene complex. In vivo loss of the mec gene complex was caused by recombination between the recombinase genes ccrC1 allele 8 and ccrC1 allele 10. In vitro, the SCCmec was very stable, and low-frequency MRSA-to-MSSA conversion was only observed when MRSA isolates were cultivated at 41 degrees C for prolonged periods of time. In this case also, loss of the mec complex was due to ccrC gene recombination. Interestingly, the MRSA and MSSA isolates studied displayed no detectable differences in competitive growth and virulence, suggesting that the presence of the intact type V (5C2&5) SCCmec has no negative bearing on staphylococcal fitness under the conditions used.
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Novel antibiotics for the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus.
Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol
PUBLISHED: 11-01-2009
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Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of nosocomial and community-acquired infection associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Antibiotic treatment of infections owing to S. aureus have become increasingly challenging as the pathogen has acquired a broad spectrum of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. In particular, emergence and spread of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) progressed to a global health threat. The glycopeptides antibiotics vancomycin and teicoplanin have remained as the drugs of last resort for more than 20 years. Fortunately, in addition to the glycopeptides, several novel antibiotics including linezolid, daptomycin, tigecycline, quinupristin/dalfopristin and ceftobiprole acting against MRSA have been recently introduced into clinical practice broadening therapeutic options. Although the arsenal of antistaphylococcal drugs has filled up in recent years, the rate of MRSA infection continues to be high in most countries. This demands an ongoing search for new antibacterials and lead compounds as well as development of alternative therapies and faster diagnostics to ensure effective anti-staphylococcal therapy in the future.
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The impact of serine/threonine phosphorylation in Staphylococcus aureus.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 09-23-2009
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In prokaryotes and eukaryotes, phosphotransfer represents a common mechanism to regulate cellular functions. Recent work revealed that modulation of cellular processes by eukaryote-like serine/threonine kinases (STKs) and phosphatases (STPs) are widespread in bacteria. During the last two years, first evidence on the role of Ser/Thr phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in Staphylococcus aureus has emerged leading to the identification of a functional STK and corresponding STP. Due to homology to known STKs/STPs in other bacterial species the kinase was designated PknB or alternatively Stk/Stk1, and the phosphatase Stp. The role of these enzymes in S. aureus has been examined by use of knock-out mutants and a kinase-overexpressing strain. These studies uncovered PknB/Stk and Stp as modulators of cell wall structure and susceptibility to cell wall-acting antibiotics such as certain beta-lactams and tunicamycin. By utilizing transcriptional profile analysis a strong regulatory impact of PknB/Stk on the expression of genes encoding proteins which are involved in purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis, cell wall metabolism, autolysis, and glutamine synthesis could be identified. Moreover, PknB/Stk is able to phosphorylate MgrA, thereby regulating activity of the efflux pump NorA. In a mouse pyelonephritis model PknB/Stk has been shown to play a role in virulence. Overall, Ser/Thr phosphorylation/dephosphorylation is a common theme in regulation of cellular functions determining metabolic activity and virulence also in the major human pathogen S. aureus.
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Role of the twin-arginine translocation pathway in Staphylococcus.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 07-24-2009
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In Staphylococcus, the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway is present only in some species and is composed of TatA and TatC. The tatAC operon is associated with the fepABC operon, which encodes homologs to an iron-binding lipoprotein, an iron-dependent peroxidase (FepB), and a high-affinity iron permease. The FepB protein has a typical twin-arginine (RR) signal peptide. The tat and fep operons constitute an entity that is not present in all staphylococcal species. Our analysis was focused on Staphylococcus aureus and S. carnosus strains. Tat deletion mutants (DeltatatAC) were unable to export active FepB, indicating that this enzyme is a Tat substrate. When the RR signal sequence from FepB was fused to prolipase and protein A, their export became Tat dependent. Since no other protein with a Tat signal could be detected, the fepABC-tatAC genes comprise not only a genetic but also a functional unit. We demonstrated that FepABC drives iron import, and in a mouse kidney abscess model, the bacterial loads of DeltatatAC and Deltatat-fep mutants were decreased. For the first time, we show that the Tat pathway in S. aureus is functional and serves to translocate the iron-dependent peroxidase FepB.
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Transcriptome and functional analysis of the eukaryotic-type serine/threonine kinase PknB in Staphylococcus aureus.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2009
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The function of the Staphylococcus aureus eukaryotic-like serine/threonine protein kinase PknB was investigated by performing transcriptome analysis using DNA microarray technology and biochemical assays. The transcriptional profile revealed a strong regulatory impact of PknB on the expression of genes encoding proteins which are involved in purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis, cell wall metabolism, autolysis, and glutamine synthesis. Functional activity of overexpressed and purified PknB kinase was demonstrated using the myelin basic protein as a surrogate substrate. Phosphorylation occurred in a time-dependent manner with Mn(2+) as a preferred cofactor. Furthermore, biochemical characterization revealed regulation of adenylosuccinate synthase (PurA) activity by phosphorylation. Phosphorylated PurA showed a 1.8-fold decrease in enzymatic activity compared to unphosphorylated PurA. Loss of PknB led to formation of larger cell clusters, and a pknB deletion strain showed 32-fold-higher sensitivity to the cell wall-active antibiotic tunicamycin. The results of this study strongly indicate that PknB has a role in regulation of purine biosynthesis, autolysis, and central metabolic processes in S. aureus.
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Growth phase-dependent regulation of the global virulence regulator Rot in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus.
Int. J. Med. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 03-28-2009
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Current models for global virulence regulation in Staphylococcus aureus are mainly based on studies performed with only a limited number of laboratory strains derived from NCTC8325. In these strains the small regulatory RNA, RNAIII, has a central role in virulence gene regulation. Recently, RNAIII was suggested to control transcription of target genes partly by inhibiting translation of the transcriptional regulator Rot. The present study was undertaken to examine if the model for RNAIII/Rot-dependent virulence regulation is conserved among clinical strains. To this end, we used Rot antibodies to directly assess the amount of Rot protein in 4 well-characterized S. aureus laboratory strains (8325-4, COL, Newman, and UAMS-1) and in 9 strains of clinical origin (encompassing USA300 and Mu50). Additionally, the cellular amount of RNAIII and rot mRNA was determined in all strains. The experiments revealed considerable variation in the Rot and RNAIII levels between strains. However, in the majority of strains the cellular amount of Rot was inversely correlated to the RNAIII level. As we demonstrate that Rot is a stable protein and that the level of rot transcript appeared similar in all strains, our data support that the model for RNAIII-mediated inhibition of rot mRNA translation is conserved among clinical strains. Assessment of Rot-dependent regulation of target genes revealed that Rot is a positive regulator of spa (protein A) transcription in all strains examined. In contrast, Rot repression of sspA (serine protease) and hlb (beta-hemolysin) transcription was not conserved between strains. From this study, we conclude that while the paradigm for understanding RNAIII-dependent regulation of Rot is well-conserved, regulation of single genes is subject to considerable strain variation. We propose that variation in global regulatory networks contribute considerably to the phenotypic variation observed between S. aureus isolates.
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The stepwise acquisition of fluconazole resistance mutations causes a gradual loss of fitness in Candida albicans.
Mol. Microbiol.
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The pathogenic yeast Candida albicans can develop resistance to the widely used antifungal agent fluconazole, which inhibits ergosterol biosynthesis. Resistance is often caused by gain-of-function mutations in the transcription factors Mrr1, Tac1 and Upc2, which result in constitutive overexpression of multidrug efflux pumps and ergosterol biosynthesis genes respectively. It is not known how the permanently changed gene expression program in resistant strains affects their fitness in the absence of drug selection pressure. We have systematically investigated the effects of activating mutations in Mrr1, Tac1 and Upc2, individually and in all possible combinations, on the degree of fluconazole resistance and on the fitness of C.?albicans in an isogenic strain background. All combinations of different resistance mechanisms resulted in a stepwise increase in drug resistance, culminating in 500-fold increased fluconazole resistance in strains possessing mutations in the three transcription factors and an additional resistance mutation in the drug target enzyme Erg11. The acquisition of resistance mutations was associated with reduced fitness under non-selective conditions in vitro as well as in vivo during colonization of a mammalian host. Therefore, without compensatory mutations, the inability to appropriately regulate gene expression results in a loss of competitive fitness of drug-resistant C.?albicans strains.
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RNase Y of Staphylococcus aureus and its role in the activation of virulence genes.
Mol. Microbiol.
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RNase Y of Bacillus subtilis is a key member of the degradosome and important for bulk mRNA turnover. In contrast to B. subtilis, the RNase Y homologue (rny/cvfA) of Staphylococcus aureus is not essential for growth. Here we found that RNase Y plays a major role in virulence gene regulation. Accordingly, rny deletion mutants demonstrated impaired virulence in a murine bacteraemia model. RNase Y is important for the processing and stabilization of the immature transcript of the global virulence regulator system SaePQRS. Moreover, RNase Y is involved in the activation of virulence gene expression at the promoter level. This control is independent of both the virulence regulator agr and the saePQRS processing and may be mediated by small RNAs some of which were shown to be degraded by RNase Y. Besides this regulatory effect, mRNA levels of several operons were significantly increased in the rny mutant and the half-life of one of these operons was shown to be extremely extended. However, the half-life of many mRNA species was not significantly altered. Thus, RNase Y in S. aureus influences mRNA expression in a tightly controlled regulatory manner and is essential for coordinated activation of virulence genes.
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Structural analysis of Staphylococcus aureus serine/threonine kinase PknB.
PLoS ONE
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Effective treatment of infections caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus remains a worldwide challenge, in part due to the constant emergence of new strains that are resistant to antibiotics. The serine/threonine kinase PknB is of particular relevance to the life cycle of S. aureus as it is involved in the regulation of purine biosynthesis, autolysis, and other central metabolic processes of the bacterium. We have determined the crystal structure of the kinase domain of PknB in complex with a non-hydrolyzable analog of the substrate ATP at 3.0 Å resolution. Although the purified PknB kinase is active in solution, it crystallized in an inactive, autoinhibited state. Comparison with other bacterial kinases provides insights into the determinants of catalysis, interactions of PknB with ligands, and the pathway of activation.
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Surface display of Gaussia princeps luciferase allows sensitive fungal pathogen detection during cutaneous aspergillosis.
Virulence
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Non-invasive imaging techniques in microbial disease models have delivered valuable insights in the intimate pathogen-host interplay during infection. Here we describe evaluation and validation of a transgenic bioluminescence reporter strain of the human-pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus, one of the main fungal pathogens affecting immunocompromised individuals. Expression and surface display of the Gaussia princeps luciferase allowed sensitive and rapid detection of luminescence emitted from this strain after substrate addition, with photon fluxes strongly correlating to the amounts of fungal conidia or germlings. The reporter strain allowed spatio-temporal monitoring of infection in a cutaneous model of aspergillosis, where neutropenic mice maintained the fungal burden while immunocompetent ones were able to clear it entirely. Most importantly, antifungal therapy could be followed in this type of disease model making use of the bioluminescent A. fumigatus strain. In conclusion, combining sensitivity of the Gaussia luciferase with a surface display expression system in the fungal host allows longitudinal infection studies on cutaneous forms of aspergillosis, providing perspective on drug screening approaches at high-throughput.
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