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Microorganisms, Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2017)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Microorganisms in 2016
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010002
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Improvement of Intestinal Immune Cell Function by Lactic Acid Bacteria for Dairy Products
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010001
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) form a major component of gut microbiota and are often used as probiotics for fermented foods, such as yoghurt. In this study, we aimed to evaluate immunomodulatory activity of LAB, especially that of Lactobacillus bulgaricus ME-552 (ME552) and Streptococcus
[...] Read more.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) form a major component of gut microbiota and are often used as probiotics for fermented foods, such as yoghurt. In this study, we aimed to evaluate immunomodulatory activity of LAB, especially that of Lactobacillus bulgaricus ME-552 (ME552) and Streptococcus thermophilus ME-553 (ME553). In vivo/in vitro assay was performed in order to investigate their effects on T cell function. After oral administration of ME553 to C57BL/6 mice, the amount of both interferon γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin 17 (IL-17) produced by cluster of differentiation (CD) 4+ T cells from Peyer’s patches (PPs) were significantly enhanced. On the other hand, ME552 only up-regulated the production of IL-17 from PP cells. The extent of induction for IFN-γ production differed between ME552 and ME553. These results suggest that LAB modulate T cell effector functions and mucosal immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probiotic Microorganisms: An Intimate Gaze)
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Open AccessArticle Fluorescence Lectin Bar-Coding of Glycoconjugates in the Extracellular Matrix of Biofilm and Bioaggregate Forming Microorganisms
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010005
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Microbial biofilm systems are defined as interface-associated microorganisms embedded into a self-produced matrix. The extracellular matrix represents a continuous challenge in terms of characterization and analysis. The tools applied in more detailed studies comprise extraction/chemical analysis, molecular characterization, and visualisation using various techniques.
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Microbial biofilm systems are defined as interface-associated microorganisms embedded into a self-produced matrix. The extracellular matrix represents a continuous challenge in terms of characterization and analysis. The tools applied in more detailed studies comprise extraction/chemical analysis, molecular characterization, and visualisation using various techniques. Imaging by laser microscopy became a standard tool for biofilm analysis, and, in combination with fluorescently labelled lectins, the glycoconjugates of the matrix can be assessed. By employing this approach a wide range of pure culture biofilms from different habitats were examined using the commercially available lectins. From the results, a binary barcode pattern of lectin binding can be generated. Furthermore, the results can be fine-tuned and transferred into a heat map according to signal intensity. The lectin barcode approach is suggested as a useful tool for investigating the biofilm matrix characteristics and dynamics at various levels, e.g. bacterial cell surfaces, adhesive footprints, individual microcolonies, and the gross biofilm or bio-aggregate. Hence fluorescence lectin bar-coding (FLBC) serves as a basis for a subsequent tailor-made fluorescence lectin-binding analysis (FLBA) of a particular biofilm. So far, the lectin approach represents the only tool for in situ characterization of the glycoconjugate makeup in biofilm systems. Furthermore, lectin staining lends itself to other fluorescence techniques in order to correlate it with cellular biofilm constituents in general and glycoconjugate producers in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biofilm Matrix)
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Open AccessArticle Phylogenetic Heatmaps Highlight Composition Biases in Sequenced Reads
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 4; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010004
Received: 4 October 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Due to advancements in sequencing technology, sequence data production is no longer a constraint in the field of microbiology and has made it possible to study uncultured microbes or whole environments using metagenomics. However, these new technologies introduce different biases in metagenomic sequencing,
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Due to advancements in sequencing technology, sequence data production is no longer a constraint in the field of microbiology and has made it possible to study uncultured microbes or whole environments using metagenomics. However, these new technologies introduce different biases in metagenomic sequencing, affecting the nucleotide distribution of resulting sequence reads. Here, we illustrate such biases using two methods. One is based on phylogenetic heatmaps (PGHMs), a novel approach for compact visualization of sequence composition differences between two groups of sequences containing the same phylogenetic groups. This method is well suited for finding noise and biases when comparing metagenomics samples. We apply PGHMs to detect noise and bias in the data produced with different DNA extraction protocols, different sequencing platforms and different experimental frameworks. In parallel, we use principal component analysis displaying different clustering of sequences from each sample to support our findings and illustrate the utility of PGHMs. We considered contributions of the read length and GC-content variation and observed that in most cases biases were generally due to the GC-content of the reads. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Presence of Calcium Lowers the Expansion of Bacillus subtilis Colony Biofilms
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010007
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
Robust colony formation by Bacillus subtilis is recognized as one of the sessile, multicellular lifestyles of this bacterium. Numerous pathways and genes are responsible for the architecturally complex colony structure development. Cells in the biofilm colony secrete extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and protein components
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Robust colony formation by Bacillus subtilis is recognized as one of the sessile, multicellular lifestyles of this bacterium. Numerous pathways and genes are responsible for the architecturally complex colony structure development. Cells in the biofilm colony secrete extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and protein components (TasA and the hydrophobin BslA) that hold them together and provide a protective hydrophobic shield. Cells also secrete surfactin with antimicrobial as well as surface tension reducing properties that aid cells to colonize the solid surface. Depending on the environmental conditions, these secreted components of the colony biofilm can also promote the flagellum-independent surface spreading of B. subtilis, called sliding. In this study, we emphasize the influence of Ca2+ in the medium on colony expansion of B. subtilis. Interestingly, the availability of Ca2+ has no major impact on the induction of complex colony morphology. However, in the absence of this divalent ion, peripheral cells of the colony expand radially at later stages of development, causing colony size to increase. We demonstrate that the secreted extracellular compounds, EPS, BslA, and surfactin facilitate colony expansion after biofilm maturation. We propose that Ca2+ hinders biofilm colony expansion by modifying the amphiphilic properties of surfactin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biofilm Matrix)
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Open AccessArticle Lactobacillus gasseri PA-3 Uses the Purines IMP, Inosine and Hypoxanthine and Reduces their Absorption in Rats
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010010
Received: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 March 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
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Abstract
Excessive intake of purine-rich foods elevates serum levels of uric acid. Animal and fish meats contain high amounts of inosine and its related purines, and the reduction of taking those purines is crucial for the improvement of serum uric acid levels. We previously
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Excessive intake of purine-rich foods elevates serum levels of uric acid. Animal and fish meats contain high amounts of inosine and its related purines, and the reduction of taking those purines is crucial for the improvement of serum uric acid levels. We previously showed that Lactobacillus gasseri PA-3 (PA-3) incorporates adenosine and its related purines and that oral treatment with PA-3 reduced adenosine absorption in rats. This study investigated whether PA-3 also incorporates IMP (inosine 5′-monophosphate), inosine, and hypoxanthine, and whether it reduces their absorption in rats. PA-3 was incubated in vitro with radioisotope (RI)-labeled IMP, inosine, and hypoxanthine, and the incorporation of these compounds by PA-3 was evaluated. In addition, rats were orally administered PA-3 along with RI-labeled inosine 5′-monophosphate, inosine, or hypoxanthine, and the ability of PA-3 to attenuate the absorption of these purines was determined. PA-3 incorporated all three purines and displayed greater proliferation in the presence than in the absence of these purines. Oral administration of PA-3 to rats reduced the absorption of IMP, inosine, and hypoxanthine. These results indicate that PA-3 reduces the absorption of purines contained in foods and it is expected that PA-3 contributes attenuation of the excessive intake of dietary purines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probiotic Microorganisms: An Intimate Gaze)
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Open AccessArticle Genome Sequence of Rhodoferax antarcticus ANT.BRT; A Psychrophilic Purple Nonsulfur Bacterium from an Antarctic Microbial Mat
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 8; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010008
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 18 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Rhodoferax antarcticus is an Antarctic purple nonsulfur bacterium and the only characterized anoxygenic phototroph that grows best below 20 °C. We present here a high-quality draft genome of Rfx. antarcticus strain ANT.BRT, isolated from an Antarctic microbial mat. The circular chromosome
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Rhodoferax antarcticus is an Antarctic purple nonsulfur bacterium and the only characterized anoxygenic phototroph that grows best below 20 °C. We present here a high-quality draft genome of Rfx. antarcticus strain ANT.BRT, isolated from an Antarctic microbial mat. The circular chromosome (3.8 Mbp) of Rfx. antarcticus has a 59.1% guanine + cytosine (GC) content and contains 4036 open reading frames. In addition, the bacterium contains a sizable plasmid (198.6 kbp, 48.4% GC with 226 open reading frames) that comprises about 5% of the total genetic content. Surprisingly, genes encoding light-harvesting complexes 1 and 3 (LH1 and LH3), but not light-harvesting complex 2 (LH2), were identified in the photosynthesis gene cluster of the Rfx. antarcticus genome, a feature that is unique among purple phototrophs. Consistent with physiological studies that showed a strong capacity for nitrogen fixation in Rfx. antarcticus, a nitrogen fixation gene cluster encoding a molybdenum-type nitrogenase was present, but no alternative nitrogenases were identified despite the cold-active phenotype of this phototroph. Genes encoding two forms of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase were present in the Rfx. antarcticus genome, a feature that likely provides autotrophic flexibility under varying environmental conditions. Lastly, genes for assembly of both type IV pili and flagella are present, with the latter showing an unusual degree of clustering. This report represents the first genomic analysis of a psychrophilic anoxygenic phototroph and provides a glimpse of the genetic basis for maintaining a phototrophic lifestyle in a permanently cold, yet highly variable, environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Network Extracted Ontologies to Identify Novel Genes with Roles in Appressorium Development in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 3; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010003
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
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Abstract
Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast disease, the most important infection of rice worldwide. Half the world’s population depends on rice for its primary caloric intake and, as such, rice blast poses a serious threat to food security. The stages
[...] Read more.
Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast disease, the most important infection of rice worldwide. Half the world’s population depends on rice for its primary caloric intake and, as such, rice blast poses a serious threat to food security. The stages of M. oryzae infection are well defined, with the formation of an appressorium, a cell type that allows penetration of the plant cuticle, particularly well studied. However, many of the key pathways and genes involved in this disease stage are yet to be identified. In this study, I have used network-extracted ontologies (NeXOs), hierarchical structures inferred from RNA-Seq data, to identify pathways involved in appressorium development, which in turn highlights novel genes with potential roles in this process. This study illustrates the use of NeXOs for pathway identification from large-scale genomics data and also identifies novel genes with potential roles in disease. The methods presented here will be useful to study disease processes in other pathogenic species and these data represent predictions of novel targets for intervention in M. oryzae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Genomics to Infectious Disease of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Dietary Yogurt on the Healthy Human Gastrointestinal (GI) Microbiome
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010006
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract performs key functions that regulate the relationship between the host and the microbiota. Research has shown numerous benefits of probiotic intake in the modulation of immune responses and human metabolic processes. However, unfavorable attention has been paid to temporal
[...] Read more.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract performs key functions that regulate the relationship between the host and the microbiota. Research has shown numerous benefits of probiotic intake in the modulation of immune responses and human metabolic processes. However, unfavorable attention has been paid to temporal changes of the microbial composition and diversity of the GI tract. This study aimed to investigate the effects of yogurt consumption on the GI microbiome bacteria community composition, structure and diversity during and after a short-term period (42 days). We used a multi-approach combining classical fingerprinting techniques (T-RFLPs), Sanger analyses and Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to elucidate bacterial communities and Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria populations within healthy adults that consume high doses of yogurt daily. Results indicated that overall GI microbial community and diversity was method-dependent, yet we found individual specific changes in bacterial composition and structure in healthy subjects that consumed high doses of yogurt throughout the study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes and Food)
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Open AccessArticle Transcriptomic Complexity of Aspergillus terreus Velvet Gene Family under the Influence of Butyrolactone I
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010012
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Filamentous fungi of the Ascomycota phylum are known to contain a family of conserved conidiation regulating proteins with distinctive velvet domains. In Aspergilli, this velvet family includes four proteins, VeA, VelB, VelC and VosA, and is involved in conidiation and secondary metabolism along
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Filamentous fungi of the Ascomycota phylum are known to contain a family of conserved conidiation regulating proteins with distinctive velvet domains. In Aspergilli, this velvet family includes four proteins, VeA, VelB, VelC and VosA, and is involved in conidiation and secondary metabolism along with a global regulator LaeA. In A. terreus, the overexpression of LaeA has been observed to increase the biogenesis of the pharmaceutically-important secondary metabolite, lovastatin, while the role of the velvet family has not been studied. The secondary metabolism and conidiation of A. terreus have also been observed to be increased by butyrolactone I in a quorum-sensing manner. An enlightenment of the interplay of these regulators will give potential advancement to the industrial use of this fungus, as well as in resolving the pathogenic features. In this study, the Aspergillus terreus MUCL 38669 transcriptome was strand-specifically sequenced to enable an in-depth gene expression analysis to further investigate the transcriptional role of butyrolactone I in these processes. The sequenced transcriptome revealed intriguing properties of the velvet family transcripts, including the regulator laeA, and uncovered the velC gene in A. terreus. The reliability refining microarray gene expression analysis disclosed a positive regulatory role for butyrolactone I in laeA expression, as well as an influence on the expression of the canonical conidiation-regulating genes under submerged culture. All of this supports the suggested regulative role of butyrolactone I in A. terreus secondary metabolism, as well as conidiation.
Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungi in White Biotechnology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Microbial Biofilms and Chronic Wounds
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010009
Received: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
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Abstract
Background is provided on biofilms, including their formation, tolerance mechanisms, structure, and morphology within the context of chronic wounds. The features of biofilms in chronic wounds are discussed in detail, as is the impact of biofilm on wound chronicity. Difficulties associated with the
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Background is provided on biofilms, including their formation, tolerance mechanisms, structure, and morphology within the context of chronic wounds. The features of biofilms in chronic wounds are discussed in detail, as is the impact of biofilm on wound chronicity. Difficulties associated with the use of standard susceptibility tests (minimum inhibitory concentrations or MICs) to determine appropriate treatment regimens for, or develop new treatments for use in, chronic wounds are discussed, with alternate test methods specific to biofilms being recommended. Animal models appropriate for evaluating biofilm treatments are also described. Current and potential future therapies for treatment of biofilm-containing chronic wounds, including probiotic therapy, virulence attenuation, biofilm phenotype expression attenuation, immune response suppression, and aggressive debridement combined with antimicrobial dressings, are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Biofilms and Human Infections)
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Open AccessReview The Food Production Environment and the Development of Antimicrobial Resistance in Human Pathogens of Animal Origin
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010011
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
Food-borne pathogens are a serious human health concern worldwide, and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant food pathogens has further confounded this problem. Once-highly-efficacious antibiotics are gradually becoming ineffective against many important pathogens, resulting in severe treatment crises. Among several reasons for the development and
[...] Read more.
Food-borne pathogens are a serious human health concern worldwide, and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant food pathogens has further confounded this problem. Once-highly-efficacious antibiotics are gradually becoming ineffective against many important pathogens, resulting in severe treatment crises. Among several reasons for the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance, their overuse in animal food production systems for purposes other than treatment of infections is prominent. Many pathogens of animals are zoonotic, and therefore any development of resistance in pathogens associated with food animals can spread to humans through the food chain. Human infections by antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are increasing. Considering the human health risk due to emerging antibiotic resistance in food animal–associated bacteria, many countries have banned the use of antibiotic growth promoters and the application in animals of antibiotics critically important in human medicine. Concerted global efforts are necessary to minimize the use of antimicrobials in food animals in order to control the development of antibiotic resistance in these systems and their spread to humans via food and water. Full article
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Open AccessReview Immune Response to Coccidioidomycosis and the Development of a Vaccine
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010013
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by Coccidioides posadasii and Coccidioides immitis. It is estimated that 150,000 new infections occur in the United States each year. The incidence of this infection continues to rise in endemic regions. There is an urgent need
[...] Read more.
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by Coccidioides posadasii and Coccidioides immitis. It is estimated that 150,000 new infections occur in the United States each year. The incidence of this infection continues to rise in endemic regions. There is an urgent need for the development of better therapeutic drugs and a vaccine against coccidioidomycosis. This review discusses the features of host innate and adaptive immune responses to Coccidioides infection. The focus is on the recent advances in the immune response and host-pathogen interactions, including the recognition of spherules by the host and defining the signal pathways that guide the development of the adaptive T-cell response to Coccidioides infection. Also discussed is an update on progress in developing a vaccine against these fungal pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogenesis and Immune Defense)
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