The significance of cagA and vacA subtypes of Helicobacter pylori in the pathogenesis of inflammation and peptic ulceration. (1/8457)

AIMS: To assess the significance of cagA and vacA subtypes of Helicobacter pylori in relation to inflammation and density of bacterial colonisation in vivo within a dyspeptic UK population. METHODS: Dyspeptic patients who were Helicobacter pylori positive had antral samples taken for histology and culture. Gastroduodenal pathology was noted. The grade of bacterial density and inflammation was assessed using the Sydney system. Bacterial DNA was extracted and the vacA alleles and the cagA/gene typed using PCR. RESULTS: 120 patients were studied. There was high rate of cagA positive strains in this population. Bacterial density did not correlate with the presence of peptic ulceration. There was a significant association between cagA positive strains and increased inflammation and bacterial density. The vacA s1 type independently correlated with extensive chronic inflammation but there was no association with bacterial density. The vacA m type did not correlate with extent of inflammation or bacterial density. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that cagA is important in the pathogenesis of inflammation and peptic ulceration. These findings are in keeping with the hypothesis that cagA acts as a marker for a cag pathogenicity island which encodes several genes involved in inflammation. The vacA s1 allele correlates with inflammation independently of cagA, possibly through its enhanced ability to produce the vacuolating cytotoxin.  (+info)

Synergistic activation of JNK/SAPK by interleukin-1 and platelet-derived growth factor is independent of Rac and Cdc42. (2/8457)

The c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) are activated strongly by inflammatory cytokines and environmental stresses, but only weakly by growth factors. Here we show that platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) strongly potentiates activation of JNK by interleukin 1 (IL-1) in human fibroblasts and a pig aortic endothelial (PAE) cell line. This synergistic activation of JNK by IL-1 and PDGF was unaffected by bacterial toxins that inactivate Rho proteins and Ras. Since Rho proteins have been implicated in JNK activation, their possible involvement was investigated further using stably expressed, inducible N17 or V12 mutants in PAE cell lines. N17 Rac non-selectively reduced JNK activity by 30% in resting or stimulated cells (IL-1 alone, or with PDGF). N17 Cdc42 had no effect. V12 Rac weakly activated JNK and synergized with IL-1, but not with PDGF. V12 Cdc42 weakly activated JNK, but synergized with PDGF and not IL-1. Our results imply that Rho GTPases are not directly involved in mediating IL-1-induced JNK activation, or in the potentiation of this activation by PDGF.  (+info)

Alpha-toxin and gamma-toxin jointly promote Staphylococcus aureus virulence in murine septic arthritis. (3/8457)

Septic arthritis is a common and feared complication of staphylococcal infections. Staphylococcus aureus produces a number of potential virulence factors including certain adhesins and enterotoxins. In this study we have assessed the roles of cytolytic toxins in the development of septic arthritis by inoculating mice with S. aureus wild-type strain 8325-4 or isogenic mutants differing in the expression of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-toxin production patterns. Mice inoculated with either an alpha- or beta-toxin mutant showed degrees of inflammation, joint damage, and weight decrease similar to wild-type-inoculated mice. In contrast, mice inoculated with either double (alpha- and gamma-toxin-deficient)- or triple (alpha-, beta-, and gamma-toxin-deficient)-mutant S. aureus strains showed lower frequency and severity of arthritis, measured both clinically and histologically, than mice inoculated with the wild-type strain. We conclude that simultaneous production of alpha- and gamma-toxin is a virulence factor in S. aureus arthritis.  (+info)

Role of Listeria monocytogenes exotoxins listeriolysin and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C in activation of human neutrophils. (4/8457)

Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) are essential for resolution of infections with Listeria monocytogenes. The present study investigated the role of the listerial exotoxins listeriolysin (LLO) and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PlcA) in human neutrophil activation. Different Listeria strains, mutated in individual virulence genes, as well as purified LLO were used. Coincubation of human neutrophils with wild-type L. monocytogenes provoked PMN activation, occurring independently of phagocytosis events, with concomitant elastase secretion, leukotriene generation, platelet-activating factor (PAF) synthesis, respiratory burst, and enhanced phosphoinositide hydrolysis. Degranulation and leukotriene formation were noted to be solely dependent on LLO expression, as these features were absent when the LLO-defective mutant EGD- and the avirulent strain L. innocua were used. These effects were fully reproduced by a recombinant L. innocua strain expressing LLO (INN+) and by the purified LLO molecule. LLO secretion was also required for PAF synthesis. However, wild-type L. monocytogenes was more potent in eliciting PAF formation than mutants expressing LLO, suggesting the involvement of additional virulence factors. This was even more obvious for phosphoinositide hydrolysis and respiratory burst: these events were provoked not only by INN+ but also by the LLO-defective mutant EGD- and by a recombinant L. innocua strain producing listerial PlcA. We conclude that human neutrophils react to extracellularly provided listerial exotoxins by rapid cell activation. Listeriolysin is centrally involved in triggering degranulation and lipid mediator generation, and further virulence factors such as PlcA apparently contribute to trigger neutrophil phosphoinositide hydrolysis and respiratory burst. In this way, listerial exotoxins may influence the host defense against infections with L. monocytogenes.  (+info)

Identification of a cytolethal distending toxin gene locus and features of a virulence-associated region in Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. (5/8457)

A genetic locus for a cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) was identified in a polymorphic region of the chromosome of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a predominant oral pathogen. The locus was comprised of three open reading frames (ORFs) that had significant amino acid sequence similarity and more than 90% sequence identity to the cdtABC genes of some pathogenic Escherichia coli strains and Haemophilus ducreyi, respectively. Sonic extracts from recombinant E. coli, containing the A. actinomycetemcomitans ORFs, caused the distension and killing of Chinese hamster ovary cells characteristic of a CDT. Monoclonal antibodies made reactive with the CdtA, CdtB, and CdtC proteins of H. ducreyi recognized the corresponding gene products from the recombinant strain. CDT-like activities were no longer expressed by the recombinant strain when an OmegaKan-2 interposon was inserted into the cdtA and cdtB genes. Expression of the CDT-like activities in A. actinomycetemcomitans was strain specific. Naturally occurring expression-negative strains had large deletions within the region of the cdt locus. The cdtABC genes were flanked by an ORF (virulence plasmid protein), a partial ORF (integrase), and DNA sequences (bacteriophage integration site) characteristic of virulence-associated regions. These results provide evidence for a functional CDT in a human oral pathogen.  (+info)

Zonula occludens toxin is a powerful mucosal adjuvant for intranasally delivered antigens. (6/8457)

Zonula occludens toxin (Zot) is produced by toxigenic strains of Vibrio cholerae and has the ability to reversibly alter intestinal epithelial tight junctions, allowing the passage of macromolecules through the mucosal barrier. In the present study, we investigated whether Zot could be exploited to deliver soluble antigens through the nasal mucosa for the induction of antigen-specific systemic and mucosal immune responses. Intranasal immunization of mice with ovalbumin (Ova) and recombinant Zot, either fused to the maltose-binding protein (MBP-Zot) or with a hexahistidine tag (His-Zot), induced anti-Ova serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers that were approximately 40-fold higher than those induced by immunization with antigen alone. Interestingly, Zot also stimulated high anti-Ova IgA titers in serum, as well as in vaginal and intestinal secretions. A comparison with Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) revealed that the adjuvant activity of Zot was only sevenfold lower than that of LT. Moreover, Zot and LT induced similar patterns of Ova-specific IgG subclasses. The subtypes IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b were all stimulated, with a predominance of IgG1 and IgG2b. In conclusion, our results highlight Zot as a novel potent mucosal adjuvant of microbial origin.  (+info)

Hyperproduction of alpha-hemolysin in a sigB mutant is associated with elevated SarA expression in Staphylococcus aureus. (7/8457)

To evaluate the role of SigB in modulating the expression of virulence determinants in Staphylococcus aureus, we constructed a sigB mutant of RN6390, a prototypic S. aureus strain. The mutation in the sigB gene was confirmed by the absence of the SigB protein in the mutant on an immunoblot as well as the failure of the mutant to activate sigmaB-dependent promoters (e.g., the sarC promoter) of S. aureus. Phenotypic analysis indicated that both alpha-hemolysin level and fibrinogen-binding capacity were up-regulated in the mutant strain compared with the parental strain. The increase in fibrinogen-binding capacity correlated with enhanced expression of clumping factor and coagulase on immunoblots. The effect of the sigB mutation on the enhanced expression of the alpha-hemolysin gene (hla) was primarily transcriptional. Upon complementation with a plasmid containing the sigB gene, hla expression returned to near parental levels in the mutant. Detailed immunoblot analysis as well as a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of the cell extract of the sigB mutant with anti-SarA monoclonal antibody 1D1 revealed that the expression of SarA was higher in the mutant than in the parental control. Despite an elevated SarA level, the transcription of RNAII and RNAIII of the agr locus remained unaltered in the sigB mutant. Because of a lack of perturbation in agr, we hypothesize that inactivation of sigB leads to increased expression of SarA which, in turn, modulates target genes via an agr-independent but SarA-dependent pathway.  (+info)

Responses of human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells to Shiga toxins 1 and 2 and pathogenesis of hemorrhagic colitis. (8/8457)

Endothelial damage is characteristic of infection with Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Because Stx-mediated endothelial cell damage at the site of infection may lead to the characteristic hemorrhagic colitis of STEC infection, we compared the effects of Stx1 and Stx2 on primary and transformed human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells (HIMEC) to those on macrovascular endothelial cells from human saphenous vein (HSVEC). Adhesion molecule, interleukin-8 (IL-8), and Stx receptor expression, the effects of cytokine activation and Stx toxins on these responses, and Stx1 and Stx2 binding kinetics and bioactivity were measured. Adhesion molecule and IL-8 expression increased in activated HIMEC, but these responses were blunted in the presence of toxin, especially in the presence of Stx1. In contrast to HSVEC, unstimulated HIMEC constitutively expressed Stx receptor at high levels, bound large amounts of toxin, were highly sensitive to toxin, and were not further sensitized by cytokines. Although the binding capacities of HIMEC for Stx1 and Stx2 were comparable, the binding affinity of Stx1 to HIMEC was 50-fold greater than that of Stx2. Nonetheless, Stx2 was more toxic to HIMEC than an equivalent amount of Stx1. The decreased binding affinity and increased toxicity for HIMEC of Stx2 compared to those of Stx1 may be relevant to the preponderance of Stx2-producing STEC involved in the pathogenesis of hemorrhagic colitis and its systemic complications. The differences between primary and transformed HIMEC in these responses were negligible. We conclude that transformed HIMEC lines could represent a simple physiologically relevant model to study the role of Stx in the pathogenesis of hemorrhagic colitis.  (+info)