Campylobacter species belong to the most important foodborne bacteria which cause gastroenteritis in humans in both developed and developing countries. With increasing reporting rates, the public awareness towards Campylobacter infections is growing continuously. This strengthens the necessity to establish intervention measures for prevention and control of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. along the food chain, as in particular poultry and poultry meat represent a major source of human infections. An interdisciplinary One Health approach and a combined effort of all stakeholders are necessary to ultimately reduce the burden of campylobacteriosis cases in humans. Numerous studies point out, however, that at present a complete elimination of Campylobacter in the food chain is not feasible. The present aim should therefore be to establish control measures and intervention strategies to minimize the occurrence of Campylobacter spp. in livestock (e.g. poultry flocks) and to reduce the quantitative Campylobacter burden in animals and foods. To this end, a combination of intervention methods at different stages of the food chain appears most promising. That has to be accompanied by targeted consumer advice and education campaigns to raise the awareness towards Campylobacter infections.
Recent results indicate a significant contribution of innate immune signaling to maintain mucosal homeostasis, but the precise underlying signal transduction pathways are ill-defined. By comparative analysis of intestinal epithelial cells isolated from conventionally raised and germ-free mice, as well as animals deficient in the adaptor molecules MyD88 and TRIF, the TLR3 and TLR4, as well as the type I and III IFN receptors, we demonstrate significant TLR-mediated signaling under homeostatic conditions. Surprisingly, homeostatic expression of Reg3? and Paneth cell enteric antimicrobial peptides critically relied on TRIF and, in part, TLR3 but was independent of IFN receptor signaling. Reduced antimicrobial peptide expression was associated with significantly lower numbers of Paneth cells and a reduced Paneth cell maturation and differentiation factor expression in TRIF mutant compared with wild-type epithelium. This phenotype was not transferred to TRIF-sufficient germ-free animals during cohousing. Low antimicrobial peptide expression in TRIF-deficient mice caused reduced immediate killing of orally administered bacteria but was not associated with significant alterations in the overall composition of the enteric microbiota. The phenotype was rapidly restored in a TRIF-independent fashion after transient epithelial damage. Our results identify TRIF signaling as a truly homeostatic pathway to maintain intestinal epithelial barrier function revealing fundamental differences in the innate immune signaling between mucosal homeostasis and tissue repair.
The human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori is characterised by a high mutation rate and frequent recombination during mixed infection, which result in extensive genetic diversity and rapid allelic diversification. Mixed infections are believed to be much more common in regions with a high H. pylori prevalence than in industrialised countries. To better understand the genomic flexibility of H. pylori in a low prevalence region, we used 454 sequencing technology to investigate whole genome sequences of H. pylori strains isolated from members of three generations of a family living in Coventry, UK. The genomes of four H. pylori strains isolated from a grandfather, two of his sons and one grandson were sequenced. Three of these genomes showed a high overall sequence similarity, suggesting a recent common ancestor. The genomes differed by 316-336 SNPs, and recombination events (imports) resulted in 170-251 clusters of polymorphisms (CNPs). Imports were particularly frequent in genes encoding Helicobacter outer membrane proteins, suggesting an adaptation of the strains to their individual host. The fourth strain differed substantially from these three highly related strains but still shared long fragments of identical sequence, which most likely reflect imports from the highly related family variants. The data show extensive bidirectional exchange of DNA between the strains isolated from the family members, illustrating both the convergence and divergence effect that recombination can lead to. Detailed analysis of the distribution of SNPs and imports permits to draw up a complex scenario of the transmission history involving infection with at least two, and probably more separate strains. This complexity and the resulting high frequency of recombination were unexpected for an industrialised country where the prevalence of H. pylori infection has strongly declined in recent decades.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) provide protection from infection by pathogenic microorganisms and restrict bacterial growth at epithelial surfaces to maintain mucosal homeostasis. In addition, they exert a significant anti-inflammatory activity. Here we analysed the anatomical distribution and biological activity of an orally administered AMP in the context of bacterial infection and host-microbial homeostasis.
Blood stream infections significantly contribute to mortality. An early most appropriate antimicrobial therapy is crucial for a favourable outcome of the patient. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) may speed up the diagnostic of causative micro organisms.
Here we report the first human case of an outer ear canal infection with a free-living nematode of the genus Rhabditis. Otomicroscopy revealed viable worms in the outer ear canal of a patient suffering from chronic otorrhea and hearing loss. The nematode was identified by microscopy and internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-PCR.
Helicobacter hepaticus can lead to chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma in certain strains of mice. Until now the pathogenic role of Helicobacter species on human liver tissue is still not clarified though Helicobacter species identification in human liver cancer was successful in case controlled studies. Therefore we established an in vitro model to investigate the interaction of primary human hepatocytes (PHH) with Helicobacter hepaticus. Successful co-culturing of PHH with Helicobacter hepaticus was confirmed by visualization of motile bacteria by two-photon-microscopy. Isolated human monocytes were stimulated with PHH conditioned media. Changes in mRNA expression of acute phase cytokines and proteins in PHH and stimulated monocytes were determined by Real-time PCR. Furthermore, cytokines and proteins were analyzed in PHH culture supernatants by ELISA. Co-cultivation with Helicobacter hepaticus induced mRNA expression of Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1?), Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Interleukin-8 (IL-8) and Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) in PHH (p<0.05) resulting in a corresponding increase of IL-8 and MCP-1 concentrations in PHH supernatants (p<0.05). IL-8 and IL-1? mRNA expression was induced in monocytes stimulated with Helicobacter hepaticus infected PHH conditioned media (p<0.05). An increase of Cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression was observed, with a concomitant increase of prostaglandin E2 concentration in PHH supernatants at 24 and 48 h (p<0.05). In contrast, at day 7 of co-culture, no persistent elevation of cytokine mRNA could be detected. High expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 on PHH cell membranes after co-culture was shown by two-photon-microscopy and confirmed by flow-cytometry. Finally, expression of Cytochrome P450 3A4 and albumin mRNA were downregulated, indicating an impairment of hepatocyte synthesis function by Helicobacter hepaticus presence. This is the first in vitro model demonstrating a pathogenic effect of a Helicobacter spp. on human liver cells, resulting in an inflammatory response with increased synthesis of inflammatory mediators and consecutive monocyte activation.
The genome of Helicobacter pylori is remarkable for its large number of restriction-modification (R-M) systems, and strain-specific diversity in R-M systems has been suggested to limit natural transformation, the major driving force of genetic diversification in H. pylori. We have determined the comprehensive methylomes of two H. pylori strains at single base resolution, using Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT®) sequencing. For strains 26695 and J99-R3, 17 and 22 methylated sequence motifs were identified, respectively. For most motifs, almost all sites occurring in the genome were detected as methylated. Twelve novel methylation patterns corresponding to nine recognition sequences were detected (26695, 3; J99-R3, 6). Functional inactivation, correction of frameshifts as well as cloning and expression of candidate methyltransferases (MTases) permitted not only the functional characterization of multiple, yet undescribed, MTases, but also revealed novel features of both Type I and Type II R-M systems, including frameshift-mediated changes of sequence specificity and the interaction of one MTase with two alternative specificity subunits resulting in different methylation patterns. The methylomes of these well-characterized H. pylori strains will provide a valuable resource for future studies investigating the role of H. pylori R-M systems in limiting transformation as well as in gene regulation and host interaction.
Mycobacterium abscessus, which consists of the two subspecies M. abscessus subspecies abscessus and M. abscessus subspecies bolletii, can produce rough or smooth colony morphologies. Here we analyzed 50 M. abscessus isolates cultured from the respiratory specimens of 34 patients, 28 (82%) of whom had cystic fibrosis (CF), with respect to their colony morphologies and antibiotic susceptibilities. The overall proportions of occurrences of the two morphotypes were similar, with specimens from 50% of the patients showing a rough and 38% showing a smooth morphotype. A total of 12% of the specimens from the patients showed both morphotypes simultaneously. At the subspecies level, the proportions of rough and smooth morphotypes differed substantially; 88% of rough morphotypes belonged to M. abscessus subspecies abscessus, and 85% of smooth morphotypes belonged M. abscessus subspecies bolletii. Inducible clarithromycin resistance due to the Erm(41) methylase, as well as high-level resistance to clarithromycin due to mutations within the rrl gene, occurred independently of the morphotype. The MIC50s of amikacin and cefoxitin were identical for the two morphotypes, whereas the MIC50s of tigecycline were 0.25 ?g/ml for the rough morphotype and 2.0 ?g/ml for the smooth morphotype. Our results show that the smooth morphotype was more dominant in respiratory specimens from CF patients than previously thought. With respect to resistance, colony morphology did not affect the susceptibility of Mycobacterium abscessus to the first-line antibiotics clarithromycin, amikacin, and cefoxitin.
Both anatomically modern humans and the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori originated in Africa, and both species have been associated for at least 100,000 years. Seven geographically distinct H. pylori populations exist, three of which are indigenous to Africa: hpAfrica1, hpAfrica2, and hpNEAfrica. The oldest and most divergent population, hpAfrica2, evolved within San hunter-gatherers, who represent one of the deepest branches of the human population tree. Anticipating the presence of ancient H. pylori lineages within all hunter-gatherer populations, we investigated the prevalence and population structure of H. pylori within Baka Pygmies in Cameroon. Gastric biopsies were obtained by esophagogastroduodenoscopy from 77 Baka from two geographically separated populations, and from 101 non-Baka individuals from neighboring agriculturalist populations, and subsequently cultured for H. pylori. Unexpectedly, Baka Pygmies showed a significantly lower H. pylori infection rate (20.8%) than non-Baka (80.2%). We generated multilocus haplotypes for each H. pylori isolate by DNA sequencing, but were not able to identify Baka-specific lineages, and most isolates in our sample were assigned to hpNEAfrica or hpAfrica1. The population hpNEAfrica, a marker for the expansion of the Nilo-Saharan language family, was divided into East African and Central West African subpopulations. Similarly, a new hpAfrica1 subpopulation, identified mainly among Cameroonians, supports eastern and western expansions of Bantu languages. An age-structured transmission model shows that the low H. pylori prevalence among Baka Pygmies is achievable within the timeframe of a few hundred years and suggests that demographic factors such as small population size and unusually low life expectancy can lead to the eradication of H. pylori from individual human populations. The Baka were thus either H. pylori-free or lost their ancient lineages during past demographic fluctuations. Using coalescent simulations and phylogenetic inference, we show that Baka almost certainly acquired their extant H. pylori through secondary contact with their agriculturalist neighbors.
Helicobacter pylori infects the stomachs of one in two humans and can cause sequelae that include ulcers and cancer. Here we sequenced the genomes of 97 H. pylori isolates from 52 members of two families living in rural conditions in South Africa. From each of 45 individuals, two H. pylori strains were isolated from the antrum and corpus parts of the stomach, and comparisons of their genomes enabled us to study within-host evolution. In 5 of these 45 hosts, the two genomes were too distantly related to be derived from each other and therefore represented evidence of multiple infections. From the remaining 40 genome pairs, we estimated that the synonymous mutation rate was 1.38 × 10(-5) per site per year, with a low effective population size within host probably reflecting population bottlenecks and immune selection. Some individuals showed very little evidence for recombination, whereas in others, recombination introduced up to 100-times more substitutions than mutation. These differences may reflect unequal opportunities for recombination depending on the presence or absence of multiple infections. Comparing the genomes carried by distinct individuals enabled us to establish probable transmission links. Transmission events were found significantly more frequently between close relatives, and between individuals living in the same house. We found, however, that a majority of individuals (27/52) were not linked by transmission to other individuals. Our results suggest that transmission does not always occur within families, and that coinfection with multiple strains is frequent and evolutionarily important despite a fast turnover of the infecting strains within-host.
Helicobacter pylori maintains colonization in its human host using a limited set of taxis sensors. TlpD is a proposed energy taxis sensor of H. pylori and dominant under environmental conditions of low bacterial energy yield. We studied the impact of H. pylori TlpD on colonization in vivo using a gerbil infection model which closely mimics the gastric physiology of humans. A gerbil-adapted H. pylori strain, HP87 P7, showed energy-dependent behavior, while its isogenic tlpD mutant lost it. A TlpD-complemented strain regained the wild-type phenotype. Infection of gerbils with the complemented strain demonstrated that TlpD is important for persistent infection in the antrum and corpus and suggested a role of TlpD in horizontal navigation and persistent corpus colonization. As a part of the full characterization of the model and to gain insight into the genetic basis of H. pylori adaptation to the gerbil, we determined the complete genome sequences of the gerbil-adapted strain HP87 P7, two HP87 P7 tlpD mutants before and after gerbil passage, and the original human isolate, HP87. The integrity of the genome, including that of a functional cag pathogenicity island, was maintained after gerbil adaptation. Genetic and phenotypic differences between the strains were observed. Major differences between the gerbil-adapted strain and the human isolate emerged, including evidence of recent recombination. Passage of the tlpD mutant through the gerbil selected for gain-of-function variation in a fucosyltransferase gene, futC (HP0093). In conclusion, a gerbil-adapted H. pylori strain with a stable genome has helped to establish that TlpD has important functions for persistent colonization in the stomach.
With the use of highly mobile tools like tablet PCs in clinical settings, an effective disinfection method is a necessity. Since manufacturers do not allow cleaning methods that make use of anything but a dry fleece, other approaches have to be established to ensure patient safety and to minimize risks posed by microbiological contamination.
The intestinal microbiota is an important determinant of the mucosal response. In patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), the mucosal immune system has inappropriate interactions with the intestinal microbiota. We investigated how the composition of the intestinal microbiota affects its endotoxicity and development of colitis in mice.
Retroviral gene transfer has proven therapeutic potential in clinical gene therapy trials but may also cause abnormal cell growth via perturbation of gene expression in the locus surrounding the insertion site. By establishing clonal marks, retroviral insertions are also used to describe the regenerative potential of individual cells. Deep sequencing approaches have become the method of choice to study insertion profiles in preclinical models and clinical trials. We used a protocol combining ligation-mediated polymerase chain reaction (LM-PCR) and pyrosequencing for insertion profiling and quantification in cells of various tissues transduced with various retroviral vectors. The presented method allows simultaneous analysis of a multitude of DNA-barcoded samples per pyrosequencing run, thereby allowing cost-effective insertion screening in studies with multiple samples. In addition, we investigated whether the number of pyrosequencing reads can be used to quantify clonal abundance. By comparing pyrosequencing reads against site-specific quantitative PCR and by performing spike-in experiments, we show that considerable variation exists in the quantification of insertion sites even when present in the same clone. Our results suggest that the protocol used here and similar approaches might misinterpret abundance clones defined by insertion sites, unless careful calibration measures are taken. The crucial variables causing this variation need to be defined and methodological improvements are required to establish pyrosequencing reads as a quantification measure in polyclonal situations.
The human stomach is a formidable barrier to orally ingested microorganisms and was long thought to be sterile. The discovery of Helicobacter pylori, a carcinogenic bacterial pathogen that infects the stomach mucosa of more than one half of all humans globally, has started a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the stomach as an ecological niche for bacteria. The special adaptations that enable H. pylori to colonize this well-protected habitat have been intensively studied over the last three decades. In contrast, our knowledge concerning bacteria other than H. pylori in the human stomach is still quite limited. However, a substantial body of evidence documents convincingly that bacteria can regularly be sampled from the stomachs of healthy adults. Commonly detected phyla include Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, and characteristic genera are Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Propionibacterium. In this review, we summarize the available literature about the gastric microbiota in humans and selected model animals, discuss the methods used in its characterization, and identify gaps in our knowledge that need to be addressed to advance our understanding of the bacterial colonization of the different layers of the gastric mucosa and its potential role in health and disease.
Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells, which play a central role for the maintenance of immune homeostasis and self-tolerance, are known to be both generated in the thymus (thymus-derived, tTreg cells) and in the periphery, where they are converted from conventional CD4(+) T cells (induced Treg (iTreg) cells). Recent data suggest a division of labor between these two Treg-cell subsets since their combined action was shown to be essential for protection in inflammatory disease models. Here, using the transfer colitis model, we examined whether tTreg cells and iTreg cells fill different niches within the CD4(+) T-cell compartment. When naive T cells were co-transferred with either pure tTreg cells or with a mixture of tTreg cells and iTreg cells, induction of Foxp3(+) Treg cells from naive T cells was not hampered by preoccupation of the Treg-cell niche. Using neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) as a surface marker to separate tTreg cells and iTreg cells, we demonstrate that tTreg cells and iTreg cells alone can completely fill the Treg-cell niche and display comparable TCR repertoires. However, when transferred together Nrp1(+) tTreg cells outcompeted Nrp1(-) iTreg cells and dominated the Treg-cell compartment. Taken together, our data suggest that tTreg cells and iTreg cells share a common peripheral niche.
The enterohepatic Epsilonproteobacterium Helicobacter hepaticus persistently colonizes the intestine of mice and causes chronic inflammatory symptoms in susceptible mouse strains. The bacterial factors causing intestinal inflammation are poorly characterized. A large genomic pathogenicity island, HHGI1, which encodes components of a type VI secretion system (T6SS), was previously shown to contribute to the colitogenic potential of H.?hepaticus. We have now characterized the T6SS components Hcp, VgrG1, VgrG2 and VgrG3, encoded on HHGI1, including the potential impact of the T6SS on intestinal inflammation in a mouse T-cell transfer model. The H.?hepaticus?T6SS components were expressed during the infection and secreted in a T6SS-dependent manner, when the bacteria were cultured either in the presence or in the absence of mouse intestinal epithelial cells. Mutants deficient in VgrG1 displayed a significantly lower colitogenic potential in T-cell-transferred C57BL/6 Rag2(-/-) mice, despite an unaltered ability to colonize mice persistently. Intestinal microbiota analyses demonstrated only minor changes in mice infected with wild-typeH.?hepaticus as compared with mice infected with VgrG1-deficient isogenic bacteria. In addition, competitive assays between both wild-type and T6SS-deficient H.?hepaticus, and between wild-type H.?hepaticus and Campylobacter jejuni or Enterobacteriaceae species did not show an effect of the T6SS on interbacterial competitiveness. Therefore, we suggest that microbiota alterations did not play a major role in the changes of pro-inflammatory potential mediated by the T6SS. Cellular innate pro-inflammatory responses were increased by the secreted T6SS proteins VgrG1 and VgrG2. We therefore concluded that the type VI secretion component VgrG1 can modulate and specifically exacerbate the innate pro-inflammatory effect of the chronic H.?hepaticus infection.
In May-July 2011, Germany experienced a large food-borne outbreak of Shiga toxin 2-producing Escherichia coli (STEC O104:H4) with 3842 cases, including 855 cases with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and 53 deaths.
The mouse pathobiont Helicobacter hepaticus can induce typhlocolitis in interleukin-10-deficient mice, and H. hepaticus infection of immunodeficient mice is widely used as a model to study the role of pathogens and commensal bacteria in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. C57BL/6J Il10(-/-) mice kept under specific pathogen-free conditions in two different facilities (MHH and MIT), displayed strong differences with respect to their susceptibilities to H. hepaticus-induced intestinal pathology. Mice at MIT developed robust typhlocolitis after infection with H. hepaticus, while mice at MHH developed no significant pathology after infection with the same H. hepaticus strain. We hypothesized that the intestinal microbiota might be responsible for these differences and therefore performed high resolution analysis of the intestinal microbiota composition in uninfected mice from the two facilities by deep sequencing of partial 16S rRNA amplicons. The microbiota composition differed markedly between mice from both facilities. Significant differences were also detected between two groups of MHH mice born in different years. Of the 119 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that occurred in at least half the cecum or colon samples of at least one mouse group, 24 were only found in MIT mice, and another 13 OTUs could only be found in MHH samples. While most of the MHH-specific OTUs could only be identified to class or family level, the MIT-specific set contained OTUs identified to genus or species level, including the opportunistic pathogen, Bilophila wadsworthia. The susceptibility to H. hepaticus-induced colitis differed considerably between Il10(-/-) mice originating from the two institutions. This was associated with significant differences in microbiota composition, highlighting the importance of characterizing the intestinal microbiome when studying murine models of IBD.
Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are human intestinal pathogens of global importance. Zoonotic transmission from livestock animals or animal-derived food is the likely cause for most of these infections. However, little is known about their general and host-specific mechanisms of colonization, or virulence and pathogenicity factors. In certain hosts, Campylobacter species colonize persistently and do not cause disease, while they cause acute intestinal disease in humans.
Dominant tolerance to self-antigen requires the presence of sufficient numbers of CD4(+) Foxp3(+) Treg cells with matching antigen specificity. However, the size and role of TCR repertoire diversity for antigen-specific immuno-regulation through Treg cells is not clear. Here, we developed and applied a novel high-throughput (HT) TCR sequencing approach to analyze the TCR repertoire of Treg cells and revealed the importance of high diversity for Treg-cell homeostasis and function. We found that highly polyclonal Treg cells from WT mice vigorously expanded after adoptive transfer into non-lymphopenic TCR-transgenic recipients with low Treg-cell diversity. In that system, we identified specific Treg-cell TCR preferences in distinct anatomic locations such as the mesenteric LN indicating that Treg cells continuously compete for MHC class-II-presented self-, food-, or flora-antigen. Functionally, we showed that high TCR diversity was required for optimal suppressive function of Treg cells in experimental acute graft versus host disease (GvHD). In conclusion, we suggest that efficient immuno-regulation by Treg cells requires high TCR diversity. Thereby, continuous competition of peripheral Treg cells for limited self-antigen shapes an organ-optimized, yet highly diverse, local TCR repertoire.
High genetic diversity is a hallmark of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. We used 454 sequencing technology to perform whole-genome comparisons for five sets of H. pylori strains that had been sequentially cultured from four chronically infected Colombians (isolation intervals=3-16 y) and one human volunteer experimentally infected with H. pylori as part of a vaccine trial. The four sets of genomes from Colombian H. pylori differed by 27-232 isolated SNPs and 16-441 imported clusters of polymorphisms resulting from recombination. Imports (mean length=394 bp) were distributed nonrandomly over the chromosome and frequently occurred in groups, suggesting that H. pylori first takes up long DNA fragments, which subsequently become partially integrated in multiple shorter pieces. Imports were present at significantly increased frequency in members of the hop family of outer membrane gene paralogues, some of which are involved in bacterial adhesion, suggesting diversifying selection. No evidence of recombination and few other differences were identified in the strain pair from an infected volunteer, indicating that the H. pylori genome is stable in the absence of mixed infection. Among these few differences was an OFF/ON switch in the phase-variable adhesin gene hopZ, suggesting strong in vivo selection for this putative adhesin during early colonization.
New high-throughput sequencing technologies promise a very sensitive and high-resolution analysis of DNA methylation patterns in quantitative terms. However, a detailed and comprehensive comparison with existing validated DNA methylation analysis methods is not yet available. Therefore, a systematic cross-validation of 454 sequencing and conventional pyrosequencing, both of which offer exact quantification of methylation levels with a single CpG dinucleotide resolution, was performed.
Helicobacter pylori is a genetically diverse organism that is adapted for colonization of the human stomach. All strains contain a gene encoding a secreted, pore-forming toxin known as VacA. Genetic variation at this locus could be under strong selection as H. pylori adapts to the host immune response, colonizes new human hosts, or inhabits different host environments. Here, we analyze the molecular evolution of VacA. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate the subdivision of VacA sequences into three main groups with distinct geographic distributions. Divergence of the three groups is principally due to positively selected sequence changes in the p55 domain, a central region required for binding of the toxin to host cells. Divergent amino acids map to surface-exposed sites in the p55 crystal structure. Comparative phylogenetic analyses of vacA sequences and housekeeping gene sequences indicate that vacA does not share the same evolutionary history as the core genome. Further, rooting the VacA tree with outgroup sequences from the close relative Helicobacter acinonychis reveals that the ancestry of VacA is different from the African origin that typifies the core genome. Finally, sequence analyses of the virulence determinant CagA reveal three main groups strikingly similar to the three groups of VacA sequences. Taken together, these results indicate that positive selection has shaped the phylogenetic structure of VacA and CagA, and each of these virulence determinants has evolved separately from the core genome.
Transgenic FVB/N insulin-gastrin (INS-GAS) mice have high circulating gastrin levels, and develop spontaneous atrophic gastritis and gastrointestinal intraepithelial neoplasia (GIN) with 80% prevalence 6 months after Helicobacter pylori infection. GIN is associated with gastric atrophy and achlorhydria, predisposing mice to nonhelicobacter microbiota overgrowth. We determined if germfree INS-GAS mice spontaneously develop GIN and if H pylori accelerates GIN in gnotobiotic INS-GAS mice.
The Helicobacter pylori cag pathogenicity island (cagPAI) encodes a type IV secretion system. Humans infected with cagPAI-carrying H. pylori are at increased risk for sequelae such as gastric cancer. Housekeeping genes in H. pylori show considerable genetic diversity; but the diversity of virulence factors such as the cagPAI, which transports the bacterial oncogene CagA into host cells, has not been systematically investigated. Here we compared the complete cagPAI sequences for 38 representative isolates from all known H. pylori biogeographic populations. Their gene content and gene order were highly conserved. The phylogeny of most cagPAI genes was similar to that of housekeeping genes, indicating that the cagPAI was probably acquired only once by H. pylori, and its genetic diversity reflects the isolation by distance that has shaped this bacterial species since modern humans migrated out of Africa. Most isolates induced IL-8 release in gastric epithelial cells, indicating that the function of the Cag secretion system has been conserved despite some genetic rearrangements. More than one third of cagPAI genes, in particular those encoding cell-surface exposed proteins, showed signatures of diversifying (Darwinian) selection at more than 5% of codons. Several unknown gene products predicted to be under Darwinian selection are also likely to be secreted proteins (e.g. HP0522, HP0535). One of these, HP0535, is predicted to code for either a new secreted candidate effector protein or a protein which interacts with CagA because it contains two genetic lineages, similar to cagA. Our study provides a resource that can guide future research on the biological roles and host interactions of cagPAI proteins, including several whose function is still unknown.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, is a major human health problem. The bacteria that live in the gut play an important part in the pathogenesis of IBD. However, owing to the complexity of the gut microbiota, our understanding of the roles of commensal and pathogenic bacteria in establishing a healthy intestinal barrier and in its disruption is evolving only slowly. In recent years, mouse models of intestinal inflammatory disorders based on defined bacterial infections have been used intensively to dissect the roles of individual bacterial species and specific bacterial components in the pathogenesis of IBD. In this Review, we focus on the impact of pathogenic and commensal bacteria on IBD-like pathogenesis in mouse infection models and summarize important recent developments.
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori colonizes the human stomach, with individual infections persisting for decades. The spread of the bacterium has been shown to reflect both ancient and recent human migrations. We have sequenced housekeeping genes from H. pylori isolated from 147 Iranians with well-characterized geographical and ethnic origins sampled throughout Iran and compared them with sequences from strains from other locations. H. pylori from Iran are similar to others isolated from Western Eurasia and can be placed in the previously described HpEurope population. Despite the location of Iran at the crossroads of Eurasia, we found no evidence that the region been a major source of ancestry for strains across the continent. On a smaller scale, we found genetic affinities between the H. pylori isolated from particular Iranian populations and strains from Turks, Uzbeks, Palestinians and Israelis, reflecting documented historical contacts over the past two thousand years.
Our understanding of basic evolutionary processes in bacteria is still very limited. For example, multiple recent dating estimates are based on a universal inter-species molecular clock rate, but that rate was calibrated using estimates of geological dates that are no longer accepted. We therefore estimated the short-term rates of mutation and recombination in Helicobacter pylori by sequencing an average of 39,300 bp in 78 gene fragments from 97 isolates. These isolates included 34 pairs of sequential samples, which were sampled at intervals of 0.25 to 10.2 years. They also included single isolates from 29 individuals (average age: 45 years) from 10 families. The accumulation of sequence diversity increased with time of separation in a clock-like manner in the sequential isolates. We used Approximate Bayesian Computation to estimate the rates of mutation, recombination, mean length of recombination tracts, and average diversity in those tracts. The estimates indicate that the short-term mutation rate is 1.4 x 10(-6) (serial isolates) to 4.5 x 10(-6) (family isolates) per nucleotide per year and that three times as many substitutions are introduced by recombination as by mutation. The long-term mutation rate over millennia is 5-17-fold lower, partly due to the removal of non-synonymous mutations due to purifying selection. Comparisons with the recent literature show that short-term mutation rates vary dramatically in different bacterial species and can span a range of several orders of magnitude.
Helicobacter pylori requires flagellar motility and orientation to persist actively in its habitat. A particular feature of flagella in most Helicobacter species including H. pylori is a membraneous flagellar sheath. The anti-sigma factor FlgM of H. pylori is unusual, since it lacks an N-terminal domain present in other FlgM homologs, e.g., FlgM of Salmonella spp., whose regulatory function is intimately coupled to its secretion through the flagellar type III secretion system. The aim of the present study was to characterize the localization and secretion of the short H. pylori FlgM in the presence of a flagellar sheath and to elucidate its interaction with other flagellar proteins, such as the basal body protein FlhA, which was previously shown to cooperate with FlgM for regulation. H. pylori FlgM was only released into the medium in minor amounts in wild-type bacteria, where the bulk amount of the protein was retained in the cytoplasm. Some FlgM was detected in the flagellar fraction. FlgM was expressed in flhA mutants and was less soluble and differentially localized in bacterial fractions of the flhA mutant in comparison to wild-type bacteria. FlgM-green fluorescent protein and FlgM-V5 translational fusions were generated and expressed in H. pylori. FlgM displayed a predominantly polar distribution and interacted with the C-terminal domain of FlhA (FlhA(C)). We suggest that, in H. pylori, FlgM secretion may not be paramount for its regulatory function and that protein interactions at the flagellar basal body may determine the turnover and localization of functional FlgM.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a critical public health issue; more and more people are affected, but treatment options remain limited. Complement activation and the anaphylatoxin C5a have been shown to play a role in IBD. In this study, mouse models of acute and chronic dextran sulfate-induced colitis were used to further elucidate the impact of C5a and its receptor (C5aR) on disease development.
The risk of Helicobacter pylori infection is highest in childhood, but the colonization process of the stomach mucosa is poorly understood. We used anesthetized Mongolian gerbils to study the initial stages of H. pylori colonization. Prandial and postprandial gastric conditions characteristic of humans of different ages were simulated. The fraction of bacteria that reached the deep mucus layer varied strongly with the modelled postprandial conditions. Colonization success was weak with fast gastric reacidification typical of adults. The efficiency of deep mucus entry was also low with a slow pH decrease as seen in pH profiles simulating the situation in babies. Initial colonization was most efficient under conditions simulating the postprandial reacidification and pepsin activation profiles in young children. In conclusion, initial H. pylori colonization depends on age-related gastric physiology, providing evidence from an in vivo infection model that suggests an explanation why the bacterium is predominantly acquired in early childhood.
The Helicobacter pylori outer membrane protein HopZ is regulated by a phase-variable CT repeat and occurs in two distinct allelic variants. Whole-genome comparisons of isolates from one human volunteer recently provided evidence for in vivo selection for the hopZ ON status. We explored the frequency of sequence variation in hopZ during acute and chronic human infection and studied the association of hopZ with the phylogeographic population structure of H. pylori. hopZ ON variants were cultured from 24 out of 33 volunteers challenged with the hopZ OFF strain BCS 100. Transmission of H. pylori within families was also frequently associated with a status change of hopZ. In contrast, hopZ sequences obtained from 26 sets of sequential isolates from chronically infected individuals showed no changes of status, suggesting that the hopZ status selected during early infection is subsequently stable. Mutations leading to amino acid changes in HopZ occurred more frequently in ON than in OFF status isolates during chronic infection, indicating that sequence changes are more likely the result of positive selection in ON isolates than of a loss of negative selection pressure in OFF isolates. Analysis of 63 isolates from chronically infected individuals revealed no significant correlation of hopZ status with chronic atrophic gastritis. hopZ sequences were obtained from a globally representative collection of 54 H. pylori strains. All H. pylori populations contained hopZ-positive isolates. The data suggest that hopZ has been acquired and split into the two variants before the human migration out of Africa.
Helicobacter pylori colonizes about half of the worlds population. It is a causative agent of stomach diseases, including malignant tumors. We report the genome sequence of strain N6, which is widely used in H. pylori research and appreciated for its large cell size and high transformation efficiency.
When modern humans left Africa ca. 60,000 years ago (60 kya), they were already infected with Helicobacter pylori, and these bacteria have subsequently diversified in parallel with their human hosts. But how long were humans infected by H. pylori prior to the out-of-Africa event? Did this co-evolution predate the emergence of modern humans, spanning the species divide? To answer these questions, we investigated the diversity of H. pylori in Africa, where both humans and H. pylori originated. Three distinct H. pylori populations are native to Africa: hpNEAfrica in Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan speakers, hpAfrica1 in Niger-Congo speakers and hpAfrica2 in South Africa. Rather than representing a sustained co-evolution over millions of years, we find that the coalescent for all H. pylori plus its closest relative H. acinonychis dates to 88-116 kya. At that time the phylogeny split into two primary super-lineages, one of which is associated with the former hunter-gatherers in southern Africa known as the San. H. acinonychis, which infects large felines, resulted from a later host jump from the San, 43-56 kya. These dating estimates, together with striking phylogenetic and quantitative human-bacterial similarities show that H. pylori is approximately as old as are anatomically modern humans. They also suggest that H. pylori may have been acquired via a single host jump from an unknown, non-human host. We also find evidence for a second Out of Africa migration in the last 52,000 years, because hpEurope is a hybrid population between hpAsia2 and hpNEAfrica, the latter of which arose in northeast Africa 36-52 kya, after the Out of Africa migrations around 60 kya.
Extensive genetic diversity and rapid allelic diversification are characteristics of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori, and are believed to contribute to its ability to cause chronic infections. Both a high mutation rate and frequent imports of short fragments of exogenous DNA during mixed infections play important roles in generating this allelic diversity. In this study, we used a genetic approach to investigate the roles of nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway components in H. pylori mutation and recombination.
Systematic assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients has been hampered by lack of a reliable, uniform MRD marker applicable to all patients. We evaluated next-generation sequencing (NGS) for MRD assessment in AML patients (n = 80 samples). The ability of NGS technologies to generate thousands of clonal sequences makes it possible to determine the allelic ratio of sequence variants. Using NGS, we were able to determine the allelic ratio of different FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) clones within one patient sample, in addition to resolution of FLT3-ITD insertion site, length, and sequence in a single analysis. Furthermore, NGS allowed us to study emergence of clonal dominance. Parallel assessment of MRD by NGS and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in NPM1 mutated patients was concordant in 95% of analyzed samples (n = 38). The frequency of mutated alleles was linearly quantified by NGS. As NGS sensitivity is scalable depending on sequence coverage, it reflects a highly flexible and reliable tool to assess MRD in leukemia patients.
Intestinal immunoglobulin A (IgA) ensures host defense and symbiosis with our commensal microbiota. Yet previous studies hint at a surprisingly low diversity of intestinal IgA, and it is unknown to what extent the diverse Ig arsenal generated by somatic recombination and diversification is actually used. In this study, we analyze more than one million mouse IgA sequences to describe the shaping of the intestinal IgA repertoire, its determinants, and stability over time. We show that expanded and infrequent clones combine to form highly diverse polyclonal IgA repertoires with very little overlap between individual mice. Selective homing allows expanded clones to evenly seed the small but not large intestine. Repertoire diversity increases during aging in a dual process. On the one hand, microbiota-, T cell-, and transcription factor ROR?t-dependent but Peyers patch-independent somatic mutations drive the diversification of expanded clones, and on the other hand, new clones are introduced into the repertoire of aged mice. An individuals IgA repertoire is stable and recalled after plasma cell depletion, which is indicative of functional memory. These data provide a conceptual framework to understand the dynamic changes in the IgA repertoires to match environmental and intrinsic stimuli.
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