(9/173) Amplifiable DNA from gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria by a low strength pulsed electric field method.

An efficient electric field-based procedure for cell disruption and DNA isolation is described. Isoosmotic suspensions of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria were treated with pulsed electric fields of <60 V/cm. Pulses had an exponential decay waveform with a time constant of 3.4 micros. DNA yield was linearly dependent on time or pulse number, with several thousand pulses needed. Electrochemical side-effects and electrophoresis were minimal. The lysates contained non-fragmented DNA which was readily amplifiable by PCR. As the method was not limited to samples of high specific resistance, it should be applicable to physiological fluids and be useful for genomic and DNA diagnostic applications.  (+info)

(10/173) Bacterial cell membrane hydrolysis by secreted phospholipases A(2): a major physiological role of human group IIa sPLA(2) involving both bacterial cell wall penetration and interfacial catalysis.

The ability of human group IIa secreted phospholipase A(2) (human sPLA(2)) to hydrolyse the phospholipid membrane of whole cell suspensions of Gram-positive bacteria is demonstrated in real time using a continuous fluorescence displacement assay. Micrococcus luteus is used as a model system and demonstrates an almost absolute specificity for this human enzyme compared with porcine pancreatic and Naja naja venom sPLA(2)s. This specificity is due to selective penetration of the highly cationic human sPLA(2)50%) phospholipid hydrolysis was observed and this was confirmed by electrospray mass spectrometry that allowed the identification of several molecular species of phosphatidylglycerol as the targets for hydrolysis. However, the bactericidal activity of the human enzyme under these assay conditions was low, highlighting the capacity of the organism to survive a major phospholipid insult. In addition to pure enzyme, the human sPLA(2) activity in tears was demonstrated using M. luteus as substrate. In comparison to M. luteus, cell suspensions of Staphylococcus aureus were highly resistant to hydrolysis by human sPLA(2) as well as to the pancreatic and venom enzymes. Treatment of this organism with the specific cell wall protease lysostaphin resulted in a dramatic enhancement in cell membrane phospholipid hydrolysis by all three sPLA(2)s. Overall, the results highlight the potential of the human sPLA(2) as a selective antimicrobial agent against Gram-positive bacteria in vivo because this enzyme is essentially inactive against mammalian plasma membranes. However, the enzyme will be most effective in combination with other antimicrobial agents that enhance the permeability of the bacterial cell wall and where potentiation of the effectiveness of other antibiotics would be expected.  (+info)

(11/173) Overexpression, purification, and characterization of Bacillus subtilis N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase CwlC.

N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase CwlC of Bacillus subtilis was overproduced in Escherichia coli and purified 21-fold. The amidase hydrolyzed type A cell walls such as B. subtilis. The amidase bound slightly to the Microbacterium lacticum cell wall (type B), but did not entirely hydrolyze it. The presence of calcium or magnesium ion increased the resistance of the amidase to heat denaturation.  (+info)

(12/173) LEAP-1, a novel highly disulfide-bonded human peptide, exhibits antimicrobial activity.

We report the isolation and characterization of a novel human peptide with antimicrobial activity, termed LEAP-1 (liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide). Using a mass spectrometric assay detecting cysteine-rich peptides, a 25-residue peptide containing four disulfide bonds was identified in human blood ultrafiltrate. LEAP-1 expression was predominantly detected in the liver, and, to a much lower extent, in the heart. In radial diffusion assays, Gram-positive Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus carnosus, and Gram-negative Neisseria cinerea as well as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae dose-dependently exhibited sensitivity upon treatment with synthetic LEAP-1. The discovery of LEAP-1 extends the known families of mammalian peptides with antimicrobial activity by its novel disulfide motif and distinct expression pattern.  (+info)

(13/173) Significance of Asn-77 and Trp-78 in the catalytic function of undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase of Micrococcus luteus B-P 26.

The primary structures of cis-prenyltransferases are completely different from those of trans-prenyltransferases. To obtain information about amino acid residues relating to catalytic function, random mutation of the undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase gene of Micrococcus luteus B-P 26 was carried out to construct a mutated gene library using an error-prone polymerase chain reaction. From the library, the mutants showing poor enzymatic activity were selected by the colony autoradiography method. Among 31 negative clones selected from 3,000 mutants, two clones were found to contain only one amino acid substitution at either Asn-77 or Trp-78. To determine the functional roles of these interesting residues, we prepared six mutated enzymes with substitutions at residues Asn-77 or Trp-78 by site-directed mutagenesis. Substitution of Asn-77 with Ala, Asp, or Gln resulted in a dramatic decrease in catalytic activity, but the K(m) values for both allylic and homoallylic substrates of these mutant enzymes were comparable to those of the wild-type. On the other hand, three Trp-78 mutants, W78I, W78R, and W78D, showed 5-20-fold increased K(m) values for farnesyl diphosphate but not for Z-geranylgeranyl diphosphate. However, these mutants showed moderate levels of enzymatic activity and comparable K(m) values for isopentenyl diphosphate to that of the wild-type. These results suggest that the Asn-Trp motif is involved in the binding of farnesyl diphosphate and enzymatic catalysis.  (+info)

(14/173) Influence of microbial species on small intestinal myoelectric activity and transit in germ-free rats.

The effect of an intestinal microflora consisting of selected microbial species on myoelectric activity of small intestine was studied using germ-free rat models, with recording before and after specific intestinal colonization, in the unanesthetized state. Intestinal transit, neuropeptides in blood (RIA), and neuromessengers in the intestinal wall were determined. Clostridium tabificum vp 04 promoted regular spike burst activity, shown by a reduction of the migrating myoelectric complex (MMC) period from 30.5 +/- 3.9 min in the germ-free state to 21.2 +/- 0.14 min (P < 0.01). Lactobacillus acidophilus A10 and Bifidobacterium bifidum B11 reduced the MMC period from 27.9 +/- 4.5 to 21.5 +/- 2.1 min (P < 0.02) and accelerated small intestinal transit (P < 0.05). Micrococcus luteus showed an inhibitory effect, with an MMC period of 35.9 +/- 9.3 min compared with 27.7 +/- 6.3 min in germ-free rats (P < 0.01). Inhibition was indicated also for Escherichia coli X7 gnotobiotic rats. No consistent changes in slow wave frequency were observed. The concentration of neuropeptide Y in blood decreased after introduction of conventional intestinal microflora, suggesting reduced inhibitory control. Intestinal bacteria promote or suppress the initiation and aboral migration of the MMC depending on the species involved. Bacteria with primitive fermenting metabolism (anaerobes) emerge as important promoters of regular spike burst activity in small intestine.  (+info)

(15/173) Induction of necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in mice in vivo and in murine peritoneal macrophages and human whole blood cells in vitro by Micrococcus luteus teichuronic acids.

Earlier studies showed that Micrococcus luteus cells and cell walls induced anaphylactoid reactions leading to death, in some instances within 1 h, in C3H/HeN mice primed with muramyl dipeptide (MDP). They also induced serum cytokines in the surviving mice. The present study investigated the structural components responsible for these activities. Teichuronic acids, a component of M. luteus cell walls, induced tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in MDP-primed C3H/HeN mice. Peptidoglycans had little effect on the cytokine-inducing activities. Reducing teichuronic acids, i.e., teichuronic acids whose carboxyl groups had been reduced, lost their cytokine-inducing activities. Neither peptidoglycans nor teichuronic acids induced anaphylactoid reactions in the MDP-primed mice. Purified teichuronic acids also induced TNF-alpha and IL-6 production in C3H/HeN murine peritoneal macrophages and human whole-blood cells in the culture, but reduced teichuronic acids did not. The purified teichuronic acids induced no TNF-alpha and only low levels of IL-6 in MDP-primed C3H/HeJ mice, and neither cytokine in peritoneal macrophage cultures from C3H/HeJ mice with a single point of mutation in Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) gene. These findings suggest that induction of cytokines by teichuronic acids is mainly TLR4-dependent.  (+info)

(16/173) Antibacterial activity of a pepsin-derived bovine hemoglobin fragment.

Peptic digestion of bovine hemoglobin yields a fragment with antibacterial activity. This peptide was purified to homogeneity by a two-step procedure including anion exchange chromatography and preparative reversed-phase HPLC. Mass determination and fragmentation indicated that this peptide corresponded to the 1-23 fragment of the alpha chain of hemoglobin. The minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of this peptide towards Micrococcus luteus strain A270 were determined. Hemolytic assay, interaction with liposomes, and study of its structure in solution were also performed.  (+info)