Competitive fates of bacterial social parasites: persistence and self-induced extinction of Myxococcus xanthus cheaters.
Cooperative biological systems are susceptible to disruption by cheating. Using the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, we have tested the short-term competitive fates of mixed cheater and wild-type strains over multiple cycles of cooperative development. Cheater/wild-type mixes underwent several cycles of starvation-induced multicellular development followed by spore germination and vegetative population growth. The population sizes of cheater and wild-type strains in each pairwise mixture were measured at the end of each developmental phase and each growth phase. Cheater genotypes showed several distinct competitive fates, including cheater persistence at high frequencies with little effect on total population dynamics, cheater persistence after major disruption of total population dynamics, self-extinction of cheaters with wild-type survival, and total population extinction. Our results empirically demonstrate that social exploitation can destabilize a cooperative biological system and increase the risk of local extinction events. (+info
Viability testing of material derived from Mycobacterium tuberculosis prior to removal from a containment level-III laboratory as part of a Laboratory Risk Assessment Program.
BACKGROUND: In the field of clinical mycobacteriology, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) can be a difficult organism to manipulate due to the restrictive environment of a containment level 3 (CL3) laboratory. Tests for rapid diagnostic work involving smears and molecular methods do not require CL3 practices after the organism has been rendered non-viable. While it has been assumed that after organism deactivation these techniques can be performed outside of a CL3, no conclusive study has consistently confirmed that the organisms are noninfectious after the theoretical 'deactivation' steps. Previous studies have shown that initial steps (such as heating/chemical fixation) may not consistently kill MTB organisms. METHODS: An inclusive viability study (n = 226) was undertaken to determine at which point handling of culture extraction materials does not necessitate a CL3 environment. Four different laboratory protocols tested for viability included: standard DNA extractions for IS6110 fingerprinting, crude DNA preparations for PCR by boiling and mechanical lysis, protein extractions, and smear preparations. For each protocol, laboratory staff planted a proportion of the resulting material to Bactec 12B medium that was observed for growth for 8 weeks. RESULTS: Of the 208 isolates initially tested, 21 samples grew within the 8-week period. Sixteen (7.7%) of these yielded positive results for MTB that included samples of: deactivated culture resuspensions exposed to 80 degrees C for 20 minutes, smear preparations and protein extractions. Test procedures were consequently modified and tested again (n = 18), resulting in 0% viability. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that it cannot be assumed that conventional practices (i.e. smear preparation) or extraction techniques render the organism non-viable. All methodologies, new and existing, should be examined by individual laboratories to validate the safe removal of material derived from MTB to the outside of a CL3 laboratory. This process is vital to establish in house biosafety-validated practices with the aim of protecting laboratory workers conducting these procedures. (+info
Common methodology is inadequate for studies on the microbicidal activity of neutrophils.
Microbicidal activity of neutrophils is usually measured by colony-counting techniques after cell lysis in distilled water. While studying the effect of the reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) on the staphylocidal activity of neutrophils, we obtained inconsistent results: various degrees of inhibition in some experiments and no effect in others. The lysis step, i.e., dilution of neutrophils in distilled water, was the source of error. Cell-associated microorganisms were not dispersed effectively by this treatment. We overcame this problem by using water at pH 11 for cell lysis. Under these conditions, killing was inhibited completely and reproducibly by DPI. Here, we show that cell lysis in distilled water is incomplete and leads to an overestimate of microbial killing. This hinders identification of partial defects and makes complete defects appear as partial. We found that DPI-treated neutrophils and chronic granulomatous disease neutrophils were completely defective in killing of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans and partially defective in killing of Escherichia coli after lysis with water pH 11, whereas after lysis in distilled water, killing of S. aureus and C. albicans was approximately 60% and approximately 70% of control killing, respectively, and killing of E. coli was normal. Likewise, killing of S. aureus by myeloperoxidase-deficient neutrophils was severely impaired after lysis in water pH 11 but appeared normal after lysis in distilled water. As most studies about neutrophil microbicidal activity have been performed using distilled water, our findings indicate that previous data about killing defects and the effects of agents that modulate microbicidal activity of neutrophils should be re-evaluated. (+info
Abnormalities in the pulmonary innate immune system in cystic fibrosis.
Pulmonary infection is the dominant clinical feature of cystic fibrosis (CF), but the basis for this susceptibility remains incompletely understood. One hypothesis is that CF airway surface liquid (ASL) is abnormal and interferes with neutrophil function. To study this possibility, we developed an in vitro system in which we collected ASL from primary cultures of normal and CF airway epithelial cells. Microbial killing was less efficient when bacteria were incubated with neutrophils in the presence of ASL from CF epithelia compared with normal ASL. Antimicrobial functions of human neutrophils were assessed in ASL from CF and normal epithelia using a combination of quantitative bacterial culture, flow cytometry, and microfluorescence imaging. The results of these assays of neutrophil function were indistinguishable in CF and normal ASL. In contrast, the direct bactericidal activity of ASL to Escherichia coli and to clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was substantially less in CF than in normal ASL, even when highly diluted in media of identical ionic strength. Together, these observations indicate that the antimicrobial properties of ASL in CF are compromised in a manner independent of ionic strength of the ASL, and that this effect is not mediated through a direct effect of the ASL on phagocyte function. (+info
Interaction of CmeABC and CmeDEF in conferring antimicrobial resistance and maintaining cell viability in Campylobacter jejuni.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the role of CmeDEF in conferring antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter jejuni and examine the interaction of CmeABC and CmeDEF in mediating antimicrobial resistance and maintaining cell viability. METHODS: Single and double mutants of cmeF and cmeB were generated in multiple strains using insertional mutagenesis. The mutants were compared with their wild-type strains for antimicrobial susceptibility and growth characteristics. Transcription fusion was used to quantify the expression of cmeDEF and cmeABC. Ethidium bromide (EB) accumulation assay was used to measure the efflux function. RESULTS: Insertional mutagenesis of the cmeF gene in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 resulted in a 2-fold decrease in the resistance to ampicillin, polymyxin B and EB, whereas the same mutation in C. jejuni 81-176 and 21190 led to a 2-4-fold increase in the resistance to multiple antimicrobials and toxic compounds. The increased resistance in the cmeF mutants of 81-176 and 21190 was associated with the elevated efflux in the mutants. Compared with the cmeB mutant, the cmeF/cmeB double mutants of 81-176 and 21190 showed further decrease in the resistance to various antimicrobials and toxic compounds. Transcription fusion assay indicated that the expression level of cmeF was substantially lower than that of cmeB. Notably, the cmeB/cmeF double mutation, not the single mutations, impaired cell viability in Campylobacter. CONCLUSIONS: CmeDEF interacts with CmeABC in conferring antimicrobial resistance and maintaining cell viability in C. jejuni. CmeABC is the predominant efflux pump in C. jejuni, whereas CmeDEF plays a secondary role in conferring intrinsic resistance to antimicrobials. (+info
Inactivation of enzymes in fresh sake using a continuous flow system for high-pressure carbonation.
The Inactivation kinetics of alpha-glucosidase, glucoamylase, alpha-amylase, and acid carboxypeptidase in fresh sake using a continuous flow system for high-pressure carbonation were investigated. In addition, the effects of ethanol and sugar concentrations on inactivation of the enzymes in high-pressure carbonated sake were investigated. Among the enzymes investigated, alpha-glucosidase was the most stable and alpha-amylase was the most labile on inactivation under carbonation. The decimal reduction times (D values) of alpha-glucosidase, glucoamylase, alpha-amylase (extrapolated from the Z value), and acid carboxypeptidase were 29, 6, 2, and 5 min respectively at 45 degrees C. These values are lower than those subjected to heat treatment. On the carbonation treatment as well as the heat treatment, ethanol accelerated the inactivation of all four enzymes, but glucose depressed the inactivation of these enzymes, except for acid carboxypeptidase. These results suggest that this continuous flow system enabled effective inactivation of enzymes in fresh sake. (+info
Antimicrobial activities of Eugenol and Cinnamaldehyde against the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.
BACKGROUND: Eradication of Helicobacter pylori is an important objective in overcoming gastric diseases. Many regimens are currently available but none of them could achieve 100% success in eradication. Eugenol and cinnamaldehyde that are commonly used in various food preparations are known to possess antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of bacteria. AIM: The present study was performed to assess the in vitro effects of eugenol and cinnamaldehyde against indigenous and standard H. pylori strains, their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and time course lethal effects at various pH. METHODS: A total of 31 strains (29 indigenous and one standard strain of H. pylori ATCC 26695, one strain of E. coli NCIM 2089) were screened. Agar dilution method was used for the determination of drug sensitivity patterns of isolates to the commonly used antibiotics and broth dilution method for the test compounds. RESULTS: Eugenol and cinnamaldehyde inhibited the growth of all the 30 H. pylori strains tested, at a concentration of 2 mug/ml, in the 9th and 12th hours of incubation respectively. At acidic pH, increased activity was observed for both the compounds. Furthermore, the organism did not develop any resistance towards these compounds even after 10 passages grown at sub-inhibitory concentrations. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the two bioactive compounds we tested may prevent H. pylori growth in vitro, without acquiring any resistance. (+info
Viable group A streptococci in macrophages during acute soft tissue infection.
BACKGROUND: Group A streptococcal severe soft tissue infections, such as necrotizing fasciitis, are rapidly progressive infections associated with high mortality. Group A streptococcus is typically considered an extracellular pathogen, but has been shown to reside intracellularly in host cells. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We characterized in vivo interactions between group A streptococci (GAS) and cells involved in innate immune responses, using human biopsies (n = 70) collected from 17 patients with soft tissue infections. Immunostaining and in situ image analysis revealed high amounts of bacteria in the biopsies, even in those collected after prolonged antibiotic therapy. Viability of the streptococci was assessed by use of a bacterial viability stain, which demonstrated viable bacteria in 74% of the biopsies. GAS were present both extracellularly and intracellularly within phagocytic cells, primarily within macrophages. Intracellular GAS were predominantly noted in biopsies from newly involved tissue characterized by lower inflammation and bacterial load, whereas purely extracellular GAS or a combination of intra- and extracellular GAS dominated in severely inflamed tissue. The latter tissue was also associated with a significantly increased amount of the cysteine protease streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin SpeB. In vitro studies confirmed that macrophages serve as reservoirs for viable GAS, and infection with a speB-deletion mutant produced significantly lower frequencies of cells with viable GAS following infection as compared to the wild-type bacteria. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to demonstrate that GAS survive intracellularly in macrophages during acute invasive infections. This intracellular presence may have evolved as a mechanism to avoid antibiotic eradication, which may explain our finding that high bacterial load is present even in tissue collected after prolonged intravenous antibiotic therapy. This new insight into the pathogenesis of streptococcal soft tissue infections highlights a need for alternative therapeutic strategies. (+info