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- Detection of Rickettsia felis, Rickettsia typhi, Bartonella Species and Yersinia pestis in Fleas (Siphonaptera) from Africa. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2014 Oct; 8(10):e3152.
Little is known about the presence/absence and prevalence of Rickettsia spp, Bartonella spp. and Yersinia pestis in domestic and urban flea populations in tropical and subtropical African countries.Fleas collected in Benin, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were investigated for the presence and identity of Rickettsia spp., Bartonella spp. and Yersinia pestis using two qPCR systems or qPCR and standard PCR. In Xenopsylla cheopis fleas collected from Cotonou (Benin), Rickettsia typhi was detected in 1% (2/199), and an uncultured Bartonella sp. was detected in 34.7% (69/199). In the Lushoto district (United Republic of Tanzania), R. typhi DNA was detected in 10% (2/20) of Xenopsylla brasiliensis, and Rickettsia felis was detected in 65% (13/20) of Ctenocephalides felis strongylus, 71.4% (5/7) of Ctenocephalides canis and 25% (5/20) of Ctenophthalmus calceatus calceatus. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, R. felis was detected in 56.5% (13/23) of Ct. f. felis from Kinshasa, in 26.3% (10/38) of Ct. f. felis and 9% (1/11) of Leptopsylla aethiopica aethiopica from Ituri district and in 19.2% (5/26) of Ct. f. strongylus and 4.7% (1/21) of Echidnophaga gallinacea. Bartonella sp. was also detected in 36.3% (4/11) of L. a. aethiopica. Finally, in Ituri, Y. pestis DNA was detected in 3.8% (1/26) of Ct. f. strongylus and 10% (3/30) of Pulex irritans from the villages of Wanyale and Zaa.Most flea-borne infections are neglected diseases which should be monitored systematically in domestic rural and urban human populations to assess their epidemiological and clinical relevance. Finally, the presence of Y. pestis DNA in fleas captured in households was unexpected and raises a series of questions regarding the role of free fleas in the transmission of plague in rural Africa, especially in remote areas where the flea density in houses is high.
- A Non-Stationary Relationship between Global Climate Phenomena and Human Plague Incidence in Madagascar. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2014 Oct; 8(10):e3155.
Plague, a zoonosis caused by Yersinia pestis, is found in Asia and the Americas, but predominantly in Africa, with the island of Madagascar reporting almost one third of human cases worldwide. Plague's occurrence is affected by local climate factors which in turn are influenced by large-scale climate phenomena such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The effects of ENSO on regional climate are often enhanced or reduced by a second large-scale climate phenomenon, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). It is known that ENSO and the IOD interact as drivers of disease. Yet the impacts of these phenomena in driving plague dynamics via their effect on regional climate, and specifically contributing to the foci of transmission on Madagascar, are unknown. Here we present the first analysis of the effects of ENSO and IOD on plague in Madagascar.We use a forty-eight year monthly time-series of reported human plague cases from 1960 to 2008. Using wavelet analysis, we show that over the last fifty years there have been complex non-stationary associations between ENSO/IOD and the dynamics of plague in Madagascar. We demonstrate that ENSO and IOD influence temperature in Madagascar and that temperature and plague cycles are associated. The effects on plague appear to be mediated more by temperature, but precipitation also undoubtedly influences plague in Madagascar. Our results confirm a relationship between plague anomalies and an increase in the intensity of ENSO events and precipitation.This work widens the understanding of how climate factors acting over different temporal scales can combine to drive local disease dynamics. Given the association of increasing ENSO strength and plague anomalies in Madagascar it may in future be possible to forecast plague outbreaks in Madagascar. The study gives insight into the complex and changing relationship between climate factors and plague in Madagascar.
- Caenorhabditis elegans Bacterial Pathogen Resistant bus-4 Mutants Produce Altered Mucins. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2014; 9(10):e107250.
Caenorabditis elegans bus-4 glycosyltransferase mutants are resistant to infection by Microbacterium nematophilum, Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and have altered susceptibility to two Leucobacter species Verde1 and Verde2. Our objective in this study was to define the glycosylation changes leading to this phenotype to better understand how these changes lead to pathogen resistance. We performed MALDI-TOF MS, tandem MS and GC/MS experiments to reveal fine structural detail for the bus-4 N- and O-glycan pools. We observed dramatic changes in O-glycans and moderate ones in N-glycan pools compared to the parent strain. Ce core-I glycans, the nematode's mucin glycan equivalent, were doubled in abundance, halved in charge and bore shifts in terminal substitutions. The fucosyl O-glycans, Ce core-II and neutral fucosyl forms, were also increased in abundance as were fucosyl N-glycans. Quantitative expression analysis revealed that two mucins, let-653 and osm-8, were upregulated nearly 40 fold and also revealed was a dramatic increase in GDP-Man 4,6 dehydratease expression. We performed detailed lectin binding studies that showed changes in glycoconjugates in the surface coat, cuticle surface and intestine. The combined changes in cell surface glycoconjugate distribution, increased abundance and altered properties of mucin provide an environment where likely the above pathogens are not exposed to normal glycoconjugate dependent cues leading to barriers to these bacterial infections.
- Effect of nanovaccine chemistry on humoral immune response kinetics and maturation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Nanoscale 2014 Oct 6.
Acute respiratory infections represent a significant portion of global morbidity and mortality annually. There is a critical need for efficacious vaccines against respiratory pathogens. To vaccinate against respiratory disease, pulmonary delivery is an attractive route because it mimics the route of natural infection and can confer both mucosal and systemic immunity. We have previously demonstrated that a single dose, intranasal vaccine based on polyanhydride nanoparticles elicited a protective immune response against Yersinia pestis for at least 40 weeks after immunization with F1-V. Herein, we investigate the effect of nanoparticle chemistry and its attributes on the kinetics and maturation of the antigen-specific serum antibody response. We demonstrate that manipulation of polyanhydride nanoparticle chemistry facilitated differential kinetics of development of antibody titers, avidity, and epitope specificity. The results provide new insights into the underlying role(s) of nanoparticle chemistry in providing long-lived humoral immunity and aid in the rational design of nanovaccine formulations to induce long-lasting and mature antibody responses.
- [Development and testing of an enzyme immunoassay-based monoclonal test system for the detection of the Yersinia pestis V antigen]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol 2014 Mar-Apr; 50(2):211-8.
An enzyme immunoassay-based test system for Y. pestis V antigen detection was developed. The specificity and sensitivity of this system met the requirements for medical immunobiological preparations for the identification of causative agents of highly fatal diseases. The sensitivity of the test system was assessed, and its high specificity was also demonstrated: the test system did not detect bacterial cells of closely related (four Y. pseudotuberculosis strains) and heterologous microorganism strains. The test system developed was able to detect the V antigen at concentrations as low as 2.0 ng/mL in cells of nine experimental Y. pestis cultures. The obtained preparation can be recommended for use in laboratory diagnostics of plaque.
- ` Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis¿ and Wolbachia spp. in Ctenocephalides felis and Pulex irritans fleas removed from dogs in Ecuador. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Parasit Vectors 2014 Sep 30; 7(1):455.
BackgroundFlea-borne infections are distributed worldwide. Up to date there are no reports about microorganisms associated to fleas in Ecuador.MethodsSeventy-one Pulex irritans and 8 Ctenocephalides felis fleas were removed from dogs in two Ecuadorian areas (Pastaza and Chimborazo Provinces) in December 2012. DNA extracts were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting universal 16S rRNA, as well as screened for the presence of Rickettsia spp. (gltA, htrA, ompB, sca4 and ompA genes) and Bartonella spp. (rpoB, gltA and ITS genes).ResultsOur results showed the presence of `Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis¿ (highly similar to R. felis) in C. felis and Wolbachia spp. endosimbionts in P. irritans collected from animals in Ecuador. No fleas were found to be positive for any Bartonella species or Yersinia pestis.ConclusionsClinicians should be aware of the potential risk of this new Candidatus Rickettsia sp. and keep in mind other flea-borne infections since these flea species frequently bite humans.
- The multifaceted nature of NLRP12. [REVIEW]
- J Leukoc Biol 2014 Sep 23.
NLRs are a class of cytoplasmic PRRs with various functions, ranging from pathogen/damage sensing to the modulation of inflammatory signaling and transcriptional control of MHC and related genes. In addition, some NLRs have been implicated in preimplantation and prenatal development. NLRP12 (also known as RNO, PYPAF7, and Monarch-1), a member of the family containing an N-terminal PYD, a NBD, and a C-terminal LRR region, is one of the first described NLR proteins whose role remains controversial. The interest toward NLRP12 has been boosted by its recent involvement in colon cancer, as well as in the protection against some severe infections, such as that induced by Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. As NLRP12 is mainly expressed by the immune cells, and its expression is down-regulated in response to pathogen products and inflammatory cytokines, it has been predicted to play a role as a negative regulator of the inflammatory response. Herein, we present an overview of the NLR family and summarize recent insights on NLRP12 addressing its contribution to inflammatory signaling, host defense, and carcinogenesis.
- ISEcp1-Mediated Transposition of blaKPC into the Chromosome of a Clinical Isolate of Acinetobacter baumannii from Puerto Rico. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Med Microbiol 2014 Sep 22.
Carbapenems are the last resort antibiotics for the treatment of infections caused by multidrug resistant gram-negative bacilli. The KPC enzyme hydrolyzes all known beta lactam antibiotics including the carbapenems. They have been detected in Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates worldwide associated to transposon Tn4401 commonly located in plasmids. Acinetobacter baumannii has become an important multidrug resistant nosocomial pathogen capable of hydrolyzing the carbapenem antibiotics. KPC-producing A. baumannii has been so far reported only in Puerto Rico. During a surveillance study, four KPC-producing A. baumannii with identical pulsetype were identified in a single institution. The objectives of this study were to characterize the KPC genetic background and the allelic diversity of one of the isolates. Next generation sequencing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed. Molecular characterization of the isolate demonstrated the blaKPC in Tn4401b located in the bacterial chromosome within a 26.5-kb DNA fragment, which includes a KQ-like element (18.9-kb) very similar to the one previously described in a Klebsiella pneumoniae plasmid and a 7.6-kb of DNA with 98% homology to a putative plasmid from Yersinia pestis PY-95 strain. Our data suggest that the 26.5-kb DNA fragment harboring the blaKPC was integrated in the chromosome by a transposition event mediated by the transposase of ISEcp1 found in the KQ-like element. MLST shows a novel sequence type, ST250. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the identification of the genetic background of blaKPC in A. baumannii.
- The use of the HRM method for identifying possible mutations in the ymoA gene region and evaluating their influence on the enterotoxic properties of Y. enterocolitica strains. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Vet Res 2014 Sep 19; 10(1):207.
BackgroundThe yst gene that encodes the production of Yst enterotoxins is one of the most important and reliable virulence markers. Its ability to produce Yst has been demonstrated in pathogenic strains isolated from clinical cases of yersiniosis with diarrhea. However, not all yst positive strains produce enterotoxins. According to some authors, Yst production can be restored in a silent strain by ymoA mutation. In this study, the HRM method was applied to identify ymoA single nucleotide polymorphism with the aim of evaluating their influence on the enterotoxic properties of Y. enterocolitica strains.ResultsTwo genotypes (A and G) of the examined nucleotide sequence and some variations were detected in the HRM analysis. A phylogenetic analysis of 10 genotype A nucleotide sequences revealed 100% similarity with the Yersinia enterocolitica subsp. enterocolitica 8081 genome NCBI Acc. No. AM286415. An analysis of 10 genotype G nucleotide sequences and 3 variations sequences revealed two point mutations in the examined region: transition A3387326G and insertion A in position 3387368. However, no mutations were observed in the coding region of any of the examined ymoA gene fragments. Genotype G was identified in nearly all Y. enterocolitica strains isolated from pigs. Only 4 nucleotide sequences were similar to AM286415 and did not feature point mutations. In case of human Y. enterocolitica strains 31 were classified as belonging to genotype A, the remaining 59 belonged to genotype G and were characterized by the presence of point mutations.ConclusionsNo correlations were observed between enterotoxic properties and the presence of mutations in the ymoA gene region of Y. enterocolitica strains isolated from both humans and pigs.
- Detection and prevalence of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica in refrigerated and frozen dairy products by duplex PCR and dot hybridization targeting the virF and ail genes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Dairy Sci 2014 Sep 10.
Pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica is involved in yersiniosis through expression of chromosome-borne or plasmid-borne virulence factors. Yersinia enterocolitica is a cold-tolerant pathogen frequently isolated from refrigerated or frozen foods. However, little attention has been focused on the prevalence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in refrigerated or frozen dairy samples in China. In this study, we developed a new duplex PCR targeting the plasmid-borne virF gene and chromosome-borne ail gene for detection of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica isolates. We established a detection limit for the duplex PCR of 6.5 × 10(2) cfu/mL in artificially contaminated dairy samples. In addition, the duplex PCR could detect directly 4.5 to 5.7 cfu of Y. enterocolitica in 5 mL of brain heart infusion broth after 6 h of enrichment at 28°C. A newly developed dot hybridization assay further confirmed specificity of the duplex PCR for detection of virulent Y. enterocolitica. Furthermore, 13 Y. enterocolitica and 5 pathogenic strains, from 88 commercial frozen or refrigerated dairy products, were detected successfully by the China National Standard method (GB/T4789.8-2008) and the duplex PCR, respectively. Finally, biotypes and serotypes of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica strains were further characterized. The duplex PCR developed here is reliable for large-scale screening, routine monitoring, and risk assessment of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in refrigerated or frozen dairy products.