Identification and characterization of IS2404 and IS2606: two distinct repeated sequences for detection of Mycobacterium ulcerans by PCR.
Molecular analysis of Mycobacterium ulcerans has revealed two new insertion sequences (ISs), IS2404 and IS2606. IS2404 was identified by complete sequencing of a previously described repetitive DNA segment from M. ulcerans. This element is 1,274 bp long, contains 12-bp inverted repeats and a single open reading frame (ORF) potentially encoding a protein of 327 amino acids (aa), and apparently generates 7-bp direct repeats upon transposition. Amino acid similarity was found between the putative transposase and those encoded by ISs in other bacterial sequences from Aeromonas salmonicida (AsIs1), Escherichia coli (H repeat element), Vibrio cholerae (VcIS1), and Porphyromonas gingivalis (PGIS2). The second IS, IS2606, was discovered by sequence analysis of a HaeIII fragment of M. ulcerans genomic DNA containing a repetitive sequence. This element is 1,404 bp long, with 12-bp inverted repeats and a single ORF potentially encoding a protein of 445 aa. Database searches revealed a high degree of amino acid identity (70%) with the putative transposase of IS1554 from M. tuberculosis. Significant amino acid identity (40%) was also observed with transposases from several other microorganisms, including Rhizobium meliloti (ISRm3), Burkholderia cepacia (IS1356), Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and Yersinia pestis. PCR screening of DNA from 45 other species of mycobacteria with primers for IS2404 confirm that this element is found only in M. ulcerans. However, by PCR, IS2606 was also found in Mycobacterium lentiflavum, another slow-growing member of the genus Mycobacterium that is apparently genetically distinct from M. ulcerans. Testing the sensitivity of PCR based on IS2404 and IS2606 primers demonstrated the ability to detect 0.1 and 1 M. ulcerans genome equivalents, respectively. The ability to detect small numbers of cells by using two gene targets will be particularly useful for analyzing environmental samples, where there may be low concentrations of M. ulcerans among large numbers of other environmental mycobacteria. (+info
The inhibitory action of Mycobacterium ulcerans soluble factor on monocyte/T cell cytokine production and NF-kappa B function.
Buruli ulcer is a chronic and progressive necrotizing ulcer for which there is no medical treatment. Historically, a soluble toxin (factor) derived from the causative Mycobacterium ulcerans was found to induce the massive necrosis of skin and s.c. tissue seen in this condition. However, the persistence of the disease is thought to be caused by a lack of any immune response. We therefore investigated whether the factor was related to immunosuppression. A protocol to partially purify the factor was developed, and its effects on immune competent cells were tested. The factor produced >95% inhibition of LPS-induced release of TNF and IL-10 from human monocytes and caused a loss of adherence of these cells without cell death. The factor also blocked the production of IL-2 from activated T lymphocytes. The factor had no effect on TNF-induced cytotoxicity, but abrogated TNF-induced NF-kappa B activation. Surprisingly, a synergy was observed between the factor and phorbol ester-directed NF-kappa B activation. The factor had no effect on IL-1- or LPS-induced NF-kappa B activity, indicating selective activity of the factor. The factor did not inhibit the degradation of I kappa B alpha induced by TNF, indicating that the target for its activity lies within an undefined part of the TNF signaling mechanism. The data indicate that the localized immunosuppression associated with Buruli ulcer relates to the activity of the released factor, and this may provide a target for future therapeutic strategies for this intractable disease. (+info
Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer): first reported case in a traveler.
A chronic, painless sore developed over a 2-month period on the left calf of a Canadian man traveling for 8 months in Africa. A presumptive diagnosis of a Mycobacterium spp. infection was made despite initially negative biopsy and culture results, after failure of several courses of anti-bacterial antibiotics. Mycobacterium ulcerans was eventually isolated and the lesion progressed despite treatment with multiple anti-mycobacterial agents. The lesion finally responded to wide and repeated excision, aggressive treatment with anti-mycobacterial antibiotics, and split-thickness skin grafting. The isolation and treatment of this unusual organism are discussed. (+info
Transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans to the nine-banded armadillo.
Animal models for Mycobacterium ulcerans infections (Buruli ulcer) include guinea pigs, rats, and mice, but each has limitations in replicating the spectrum of human disease. Here, 19 adult nine-banded armadillos were inoculated intradermally with M. ulcerans. Injection sites were examined and skin samples obtained for histologic and microbiology studies. Necropsies were conducted to assess systemic involvement. In group 1 (n = 4), 2 animals developed progressive skin ulcers with undermined borders at the injection sites within 6-10 weeks. Biopsies showed features similar to human disease including extensive necrosis in the deep dermis and subcutaneous fat, mixed cellular infiltrates, and acid-fast bacilli (AFB). In group 2 (n = 15), 5 animals developed progressive skin ulcers, 3 had evanescent papulo-nodules, 3 died shortly after inoculation of unknown causes, and 4 showed no signs of infection. Lesion samples from 3 animals with progressive ulcers were culture positive for AFB. Our findings indicate that nine-banded armadillos are susceptible to M. ulcerans and may develop cutaneous lesions that closely mimic Buruli ulcer. (+info
A Mycobacterium ulcerans toxin, mycolactone, causes apoptosis in guinea pig ulcers and tissue culture cells.
Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli ulcer, a tropical ulcerative skin disease. One of the most intriguing aspects of this disease is the presence of extensive tissue damage in the absence of an acute inflammatory response. We recently purified and characterized a macrolide toxin, mycolactone, from M. ulcerans. Injection of this molecule into guinea pig skin reproduced cell death and lack of acute inflammatory response similar to that seen following the injection of viable bacteria. We also showed that mycolactone causes a cytopathic effect on mouse fibroblast L929 cells that is characterized by cytoskeletal rearrangements and growth arrest within 48 h. However, these results could not account for the extensive cell death which occurs in Buruli ulcer. The results presented here demonstrate that L929 and J774 mouse macrophage cells die via apoptosis after 3 to 5 days of exposure to mycolactone. Treatment of cells with a pan-caspase inhibitor can inhibit mycolactone-induced apoptosis. We demonstrate that injection of mycolactone into guinea pig skin results in cell death via apoptosis and that the extent of apoptosis increases as the lesion progresses. These results may help to explain why tissue damage in Buruli ulcer is not accompanied by an acute inflammatory response. (+info
In vitro activity of ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, ofloxacin, amikacin and rifampicin against Ghanaian isolates of Mycobacterium ulcerans.
MICs of ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, ofloxacin, amikacin and rifampicin were determined for 14 primary clinical isolates and three reference isolates of Mycobacterium ulcerans by modifying a standard agar dilution method for testing Mycobacterium tuberculosis sensitivity. All these antimicrobials were active against every isolate of M. ulcerans. Sparfloxacin exhibited the highest activity and ofloxacin was the least effective. Rifampicin exhibited the broadest range of activity. (+info
A simple PCR method for rapid genotype analysis of Mycobacterium ulcerans.
Two high-copy-number insertion sequences, IS2404 and IS2606, were recently identified in Mycobacterium ulcerans and were shown by Southern hybridization to possess restriction fragment length polymorphism between strains from different geographic origins. We have designed a simple genotyping method that captures these differences by PCR amplification of the region between adjacent copies of IS2404 and IS2606. We have called this system 2426 PCR. The method is rapid, reproducible, sensitive, and specific for M. ulcerans, and it has confirmed previous studies suggesting a clonal population structure of M. ulcerans within a geographic region. M. ulcerans isolates from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Surinam, Mexico, Japan, China, and several countries in Africa were easily differentiated based on an array of 4 to 14 PCR products ranging in size from 200 to 900 bp. Numerical analysis of the banding patterns suggested a close evolutionary link between M. ulcerans isolates from Africa and southeast Asia. The application of 2426 PCR to total DNA, extracted directly from M. ulcerans-infected tissue specimens without culture, demonstrated the sensitivity and specificity of this method and confirmed for the first time that both animal and human isolates from areas of endemicity in southeast Australia have the same genotype. (+info
Serologic response to culture filtrate antigens of Mycobacterium ulcerans during Buruli ulcer disease.
Buruli ulcer (BU) is an emerging necrotic skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. To assess the potential for a serodiagnostic test, we measured the humoral immune response of BU patients to M. ulcerans antigens and compared this response with delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to both Burulin and PPD. The delayed-type hypersensitivity response generally supported the diagnosis of BU, with overall reactivity to Burulin in 28 (71.8%) of 39 patients tested, compared with 3 (14%) of 21 healthy controls. However, this positive skin test response was observed primarily in patients with healed or active disease, and rarely in patients with early disease (p=0.009). When tested for a serologic response to M. ulcerans culture filtrate, 43 (70.5%) of 61 BU patients had antibodies to these antigens, compared with 10 (37.0%) of 27 controls and 4 (30. 8%) of 13 tuberculosis patients. There was no correlation between disease stage and the onset of this serum antibody response. Our findings suggest that serologic testing may be useful in the diagnosis and surveillance of BU. (+info