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Microorganisms, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Beneficial Microorganisms for Food Manufacturing—Fermented and Biopreserved Foods and Beverages
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 71; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040071
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
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Abstract
Food fermentation is an ancient technology, disseminated worldwide, which harness microorganisms and their enzymes to improve and diversify the human diet [...]
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Research

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Open AccessCommunication Markers of Microbial Translocation and Immune Activation Predict Cognitive Processing Speed in Heavy-Drinking Men Living with HIV
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 64; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040064
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
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Abstract
HIV infection and alcohol use disorder are associated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Emerging evidence points to pro-inflammatory perturbations of the gut-brain axis as potentially contributing to neurocognitive impairment in the context of HIV and chronic heavy alcohol use. This study examined whether
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HIV infection and alcohol use disorder are associated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Emerging evidence points to pro-inflammatory perturbations of the gut-brain axis as potentially contributing to neurocognitive impairment in the context of HIV and chronic heavy alcohol use. This study examined whether plasma markers of microbial translocation (LPS) from the gastrointestinal tract and related immune activation (sCD14, EndoCAb) were associated with neurocognition in 21 men living with HIV who were virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy. All participants met federal criteria for heavy drinking and were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief alcohol intervention. This secondary analysis utilized blood samples and cognitive scores (learning, memory, executive function, verbal fluency, and processing speed) obtained at baseline and three-month follow-up of the RCT. In generalized estimating equation models, LPS, sCD14, and EndoCAb individually were significant predictors of processing speed. In a model with all biomarkers, higher LPS and sCD14 both remained significant predictors of lower processing speed. These preliminary findings suggest that inflammation stemming from HIV and/or alcohol could have negative effects on the gut-brain axis, manifested as diminished processing speed. Associations of microbial translocation and immune activation with processing speed in heavy-drinking PLWH warrant further investigation in larger-scale studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiome Gut Brain Axis)
Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Bioconversion Process for Canolol Production from Rapeseed Meal Combining an Aspergillus niger Feruloyl Esterase and the Fungus Neolentinus lepideus
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 67; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040067
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 14 October 2017
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Abstract
Rapeseed meal is a cheap and abundant raw material, particularly rich in phenolic compounds of biotechnological interest. In this study, we developed a two-step bioconversion process of naturally occurring sinapic acid (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxycinnamic acid) from rapeseed meal into canolol by combining the complementary potentialities
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Rapeseed meal is a cheap and abundant raw material, particularly rich in phenolic compounds of biotechnological interest. In this study, we developed a two-step bioconversion process of naturally occurring sinapic acid (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxycinnamic acid) from rapeseed meal into canolol by combining the complementary potentialities of two filamentous fungi, the micromycete Aspergillus niger and the basidiomycete Neolentinus lepideus. Canolol could display numerous industrial applications because of its high antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. In the first step of the process, the use of the enzyme feruloyl esterase type-A (named AnFaeA) produced with the recombinant strain A. niger BRFM451 made it possible to release free sinapic acid from the raw meal by hydrolysing the conjugated forms of sinapic acid in the meal (mainly sinapine and glucopyranosyl sinapate). An amount of 39 nkat AnFaeA per gram of raw meal, at 55 °C and pH 5, led to the recovery of 6.6 to 7.4 mg of free sinapic acid per gram raw meal, which corresponded to a global hydrolysis yield of 68 to 76% and a 100% hydrolysis of sinapine. Then, the XAD2 adsorbent (a styrene and divinylbenzene copolymer resin), used at pH 4, enabled the efficient recovery of the released sinapic acid, and its concentration after elution with ethanol. In the second step, 3-day-old submerged cultures of the strain N. lepideus BRFM15 were supplied with the recovered sinapic acid as the substrate of bioconversion into canolol by a non-oxidative decarboxylation pathway. Canolol production reached 1.3 g/L with a molar yield of bioconversion of 80% and a productivity of 100 mg/L day. The same XAD2 resin, when used at pH 7, allowed the recovery and purification of canolol from the culture broth of N. lepideus. The two-step process used mild conditions compatible with green chemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungi in White Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle Linking Compositional and Functional Predictions to Decipher the Biogeochemical Significance in DFAA Turnover of Abundant Bacterioplankton Lineages in the North Sea
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 68; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040068
Received: 17 September 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 5 November 2017
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Abstract
Deciphering the ecological traits of abundant marine bacteria is a major challenge in marine microbial ecology. In the current study, we linked compositional and functional predictions to elucidate such traits for abundant bacterioplankton lineages in the North Sea. For this purpose, we investigated
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Deciphering the ecological traits of abundant marine bacteria is a major challenge in marine microbial ecology. In the current study, we linked compositional and functional predictions to elucidate such traits for abundant bacterioplankton lineages in the North Sea. For this purpose, we investigated entire and active bacterioplankton composition along a transect ranging from the German Bight to the northern North Sea by pyrotag sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and transcripts. Functional profiles were inferred from 16S rRNA data using Tax4Fun. Bacterioplankton communities were dominated by well-known marine lineages including clusters/genera that are affiliated with the Roseobacter group and the Flavobacteria. Variations in community composition and function were significantly explained by measured environmental and microbial properties. Turnover of dissolved free amino acids (DFAA) showed the strongest correlation to community composition and function. We applied multinomial models, which enabled us to identify bacterial lineages involved in DFAA turnover. For instance, the genus Planktomarina was more abundant at higher DFAA turnover rates, suggesting its vital role in amino acid degradation. Functional predictions further indicated that Planktomarina is involved in leucine and isoleucine degradation. Overall, our results provide novel insights into the biogeochemical significance of abundant bacterioplankton lineages in the North Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response of Microbial Communities to Environmental Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Unexpected High Diversity of Terrestrial Cyanobacteria from the Campus of the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 69; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040069
Received: 25 September 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Terrestrial cyanobacterial strains were isolated from the Nishihara campus of the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. The 13 sampling sites were distributed in a 200 m radius and appeared as dry, blackened stains. From these small areas, 143 cyanobacterial strains were established.
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Terrestrial cyanobacterial strains were isolated from the Nishihara campus of the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. The 13 sampling sites were distributed in a 200 m radius and appeared as dry, blackened stains. From these small areas, 143 cyanobacterial strains were established. The strains were divided into five morphotypes, including unicells, unicells with baeocytes, non-branching filaments, false-branching filaments, and heterocystous strains. From the strains, 105 partial 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained and could be classified into 30 generic types. Among them, 22 unique strains and over 1100 bps of data were selected for further phylogenetic analyses. These sequences were positioned into six main clades corresponding to cyanobacterial orders: Nostocales, Chroococidiopsidales, Chroococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, and Synechococcales. Almost all sequences had no identical matching data in GenBank and many of them had no closely related data. These data suggest that the terrestrial cyanobacteria are very divese even within close sampling areas, such as within the campus of the University of the Ryukyus. The established strains are not only important for classification of terrestrial cyanobacteria but also for possible application studies in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Microbiology)
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Open AccessArticle Paralytic Shellfish Toxins and Cyanotoxins in the Mediterranean: New Data from Sardinia and Sicily (Italy)
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 72; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040072
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 12 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
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Abstract
Harmful algal blooms represent a severe issue worldwide. They affect ecosystem functions and related services and goods, with consequences on human health and socio-economic activities. This study reports new data on paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) from Sardinia and Sicily (Italy), the largest Mediterranean
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Harmful algal blooms represent a severe issue worldwide. They affect ecosystem functions and related services and goods, with consequences on human health and socio-economic activities. This study reports new data on paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) from Sardinia and Sicily (Italy), the largest Mediterranean islands where toxic events, mainly caused by Alexandrium species (Dinophyceae), have been ascertained in mussel farms since the 2000s. The toxicity of the A. minutum, A. tamarense and A. pacificum strains, established from the isolation of vegetative cells and resting cysts, was determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The analyses indicated the highest toxicity for A. pacificum strains (total PSTs up to 17.811 fmol cell−1). The PSTs were also assessed in a strain of A. tamarense. The results encourage further investigation to increase the knowledge of toxic species still debated in the Mediterranean. This study also reports new data on microcystins (MCs) and β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) from a Sardinian artificial lake (Lake Bidighinzu). The presence of MCs and BMAA was assessed in natural samples and in cell cultures by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). BMAA positives were found in all the analysed samples with a maximum of 17.84 µg L−1. The obtained results added further information on cyanotoxins in Mediterranean reservoirs, particularly BMAA, which have not yet been thoroughly investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Cyanobacteria and Toxic Dinoflagellates)
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Open AccessArticle Physiological Peculiarities of Lignin-Modifying Enzyme Production by the White-Rot Basidiomycete Coriolopsis gallica Strain BCC 142
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 73; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040073
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Sixteen white-rot Basidiomycota isolates were screened for production of lignin-modifying enzymes (LME) in glycerol- and mandarin peel-containing media. In the synthetic medium, Cerrena unicolor strains were the only high laccase (Lac) (3.2–9.4 U/mL) and manganese peroxidase (MnP) (0.56–1.64 U/mL) producers while one isolate
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Sixteen white-rot Basidiomycota isolates were screened for production of lignin-modifying enzymes (LME) in glycerol- and mandarin peel-containing media. In the synthetic medium, Cerrena unicolor strains were the only high laccase (Lac) (3.2–9.4 U/mL) and manganese peroxidase (MnP) (0.56–1.64 U/mL) producers while one isolate Coriolopsis gallica was the only lignin peroxidase (LiP) (0.07 U/mL) producer. Addition of mandarin peels to the synthetic medium promoted Lac production either due to an increase in fungal biomass (Funalia trogii, Trametes hirsuta, and T. versicolor) or enhancement of enzyme production (C. unicolor, Merulius tremellosus, Phlebia radiata, Trametes ochracea). Mandarin peels favored enhanced MnP and LiP secretion by the majority of the tested fungi. The ability of LiP activity production by C. gallica, C. unicolor, F. trogii, T. ochracea, and T. zonatus in the medium containing mandarin-peels was reported for the first time. Several factors, such as supplementation of the nutrient medium with a variety of lignocellulosic materials, nitrogen source or surfactant (Tween 80, Triton X-100) significantly influenced production of LME by a novel strain of C. gallica. Moreover, C. gallica was found to be a promising LME producer with a potential for an easy scale up cultivation in a bioreactor and high enzyme yields (Lac-9.4 U/mL, MnP-0.31 U/mL, LiP-0.45 U/mL). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungi in White Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle Pan-Cellulosomics of Mesophilic Clostridia: Variations on a Theme
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 74; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040074
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 18 November 2017
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Abstract
The bacterial cellulosome is an extracellular, multi-enzyme machinery, which efficiently depolymerizes plant biomass by degrading plant cell wall polysaccharides. Several cellulolytic bacteria have evolved various elaborate modular architectures of active cellulosomes. We present here a genome-wide analysis of a dozen mesophilic clostridia species,
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The bacterial cellulosome is an extracellular, multi-enzyme machinery, which efficiently depolymerizes plant biomass by degrading plant cell wall polysaccharides. Several cellulolytic bacteria have evolved various elaborate modular architectures of active cellulosomes. We present here a genome-wide analysis of a dozen mesophilic clostridia species, including both well-studied and yet-undescribed cellulosome-producing bacteria. We first report here, the presence of cellulosomal elements, thus expanding our knowledge regarding the prevalence of the cellulosomal paradigm in nature. We explored the genomic organization of key cellulosome components by comparing the cellulosomal gene clusters in each bacterial species, and the conserved sequence features of the specific cellulosomal modules (cohesins and dockerins), on the background of their phylogenetic relationship. Additionally, we performed comparative analyses of the species-specific repertoire of carbohydrate-degrading enzymes for each of the clostridial species, and classified each cellulosomal enzyme into a specific CAZy family, thus indicating their putative enzymatic activity (e.g., cellulases, hemicellulases, and pectinases). Our work provides, for this large group of bacteria, a broad overview of the blueprints of their multi-component cellulosomal complexes. The high similarity of their scaffoldin clusters and dockerin-based recognition residues suggests a common ancestor, and/or extensive horizontal gene transfer, and potential cross-species recognition. In addition, the sporadic spatial organization of the numerous dockerin-containing genes in several of the genomes, suggests the importance of the cellulosome paradigm in the given bacterial species. The information gained in this work may be utilized directly or developed further by genetically engineering and optimizing designer cellulosome systems for enhanced biotechnological biomass deconstruction and biofuel production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Microbiology)
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Open AccessCommunication The Small Regulatory RNA Spot42 Inhibits Indole Biosynthesis to Negatively Regulate the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 78; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040078
Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 28 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
The locus of enterocyte effacement is necessary for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E lesions are characterized by intimate bacterial adherence to intestinal cells and destruction of microvilli, which leads to diarrhea. Therefore, studies interrogating the regulation
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The locus of enterocyte effacement is necessary for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E lesions are characterized by intimate bacterial adherence to intestinal cells and destruction of microvilli, which leads to diarrhea. Therefore, studies interrogating the regulation of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) are critical for understanding the molecular epidemiology of EPEC infections and developing interventional strategies. Hitherto, most studies have centered on protein-based regulators, whereas the role of small regulatory RNAs remains underappreciated. Previously, we identified the first sRNAs—MgrR, RyhB, and McaS—that regulate the LEE of EPEC. This study was undertaken to identify additional sRNAs that impact the LEE. Our results suggest that the catabolite-responsive sRNA, Spot42, indirectly controls the LEE by inhibiting synthesis of its inducer, indole. Spot42 base-pairs with the tnaCAB mRNA and presumably destabilizes the transcript, thereby preventing expression of the regulatory and structural proteins that are involved in the import and hydrolysis of tryptophan into indole. The absence of intracellular indole leads to reduced transcription of the LEE1-encoded master transcriptional activator Ler, thereby maintaining the LEE in its silenced state and delaying A/E lesion morphogenesis. Our results highlight the importance of riboregulators that synchronize metabolic and virulence pathways in bacterial infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Relationship among Phosphorus Circulation Activity, Bacterial Biomass, pH, and Mineral Concentration in Agricultural Soil
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 79; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040079
Received: 4 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
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Abstract
Improvement of phosphorus circulation in the soil is necessary to enhance phosphorus availability to plants. Phosphorus circulation activity is an index of soil’s ability to supply soluble phosphorus from organic phosphorus in the soil solution. To understand the relationship among phosphorus circulation activity;
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Improvement of phosphorus circulation in the soil is necessary to enhance phosphorus availability to plants. Phosphorus circulation activity is an index of soil’s ability to supply soluble phosphorus from organic phosphorus in the soil solution. To understand the relationship among phosphorus circulation activity; bacterial biomass; pH; and Fe, Al, and Ca concentrations (described as mineral concentration in this paper) in agricultural soil, 232 soil samples from various agricultural fields were collected and analyzed. A weak relationship between phosphorus circulation activity and bacterial biomass was observed in all soil samples (R2 = 0.25), and this relationship became significantly stronger at near-neutral pH (6.0–7.3; R2 = 0.67). No relationship between phosphorus circulation activity and bacterial biomass was observed at acidic (pH < 6.0) or alkaline (pH > 7.3) pH. A negative correlation between Fe and Al concentrations and phosphorus circulation activity was observed at acidic pH (R2 = 0.72 and 0.73, respectively), as well as for Ca at alkaline pH (R2 = 0.64). Therefore, bacterial biomass, pH, and mineral concentration should be considered together for activation of phosphorus circulation activity in the soil. A relationship model was proposed based on the effects of bacterial biomass and mineral concentration on phosphorus circulation activity. The suitable conditions of bacterial biomass, pH, and mineral concentration for phosphorus circulation activity could be estimated from the relationship model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms for Environmental and Industrial Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Bioactive Compounds Produced by Hypoxylon fragiforme against Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 80; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040080
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 3 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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Abstract
Treating infections organized in biofilms is a challenge due to the resistance of the pathogens against antibiotics and host immune cells. Many fungi grow in a wet environment, favorable for the growth of bacterial biofilms, and we speculated that fungi possess some strategies
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Treating infections organized in biofilms is a challenge due to the resistance of the pathogens against antibiotics and host immune cells. Many fungi grow in a wet environment, favorable for the growth of bacterial biofilms, and we speculated that fungi possess some strategies to control these bacterial biofilms. A fungus identified as Hypoxylon fragiforme, was collected in the Harz Mountains, Germany, and its mycelial culture was fermented in different culture media for 67 days to test its biological potential against bacterial biofilms. Sclerin, sclerin diacid and its 3-methyl monoester (methyl 1-(5-hydroxy-6-carboxylic-2,3,4-trimethylphenyl) propionate) are here described for the first time from this fungus. Sclerin and its diacid interfered with the biofilm formation of the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, inhibiting 86% and 80% of the biofilm at 256 μg mL−1, respectively, but not killing the bacterium. Interestingly, the monomethylester of sclerin diacid was inactive. Although these compounds did not possess any activity against a pre-formed biofilm, they prevented its formation at subtoxic concentrations. Furthermore, sclerin and its diacid displayed a high specificity against Staphylococcus aureus, indicating a good strategy against pathogenic biofilms when combined with antibiotics. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Nutritional Requirements and Their Importance for Virulence of Pathogenic Cryptococcus Species
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 65; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040065
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
Cryptococcus sp. are basidiomycete yeasts which can be found widely, free-living in the environment. Interactions with natural predators, such as amoebae in the soil, are thought to have promoted the development of adaptations enabling the organism to survive inside human macrophages. Infection with
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Cryptococcus sp. are basidiomycete yeasts which can be found widely, free-living in the environment. Interactions with natural predators, such as amoebae in the soil, are thought to have promoted the development of adaptations enabling the organism to survive inside human macrophages. Infection with Cryptococcus in humans occurs following inhalation of desiccated yeast cells or spore particles and may result in fatal meningoencephalitis. Human disease is caused almost exclusively by the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex, which predominantly infects immunocompromised patients, and the Cryptococcus gattii species complex, which is capable of infecting immunocompetent individuals. The nutritional requirements of Cryptococcus are critical for its virulence in animals. Cryptococcus has evolved a broad range of nutrient acquisition strategies, many if not most of which also appear to contribute to its virulence, enabling infection of animal hosts. In this review, we summarise the current understanding of nutritional requirements and acquisition in Cryptococcus and offer perspectives to its evolution as a significant pathogen of humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Nutrition Assimilation Strategies and Pathogenicity)
Open AccessReview The Gut Microbiome Feelings of the Brain: A Perspective for Non-Microbiologists
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 66; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040066
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
Objectives: To comprehensively review the scientific knowledge on the gut–brain axis. Methods: Various publications on the gut–brain axis, until 31 July 2017, were screened using the Medline, Google, and Cochrane Library databases. The search was performed using the following keywords: “gut-brain axis”, “gut-microbiota-brain
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Objectives: To comprehensively review the scientific knowledge on the gut–brain axis. Methods: Various publications on the gut–brain axis, until 31 July 2017, were screened using the Medline, Google, and Cochrane Library databases. The search was performed using the following keywords: “gut-brain axis”, “gut-microbiota-brain axis”, “nutrition microbiome/microbiota”, “enteric nervous system”, “enteric glial cells/network”, “gut-brain pathways”, “microbiome immune system”, “microbiome neuroendocrine system” and “intestinal/gut/enteric neuropeptides”. Relevant articles were selected and reviewed. Results: Tremendous progress has been made in exploring the interactions between nutrients, the microbiome, and the intestinal, epithelium–enteric nervous, endocrine and immune systems and the brain. The basis of the gut–brain axis comprises of an array of multichannel sensing and trafficking pathways that are suggested to convey the enteric signals to the brain. These are mediated by neuroanatomy (represented by the vagal and spinal afferent neurons), the neuroendocrine–hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis (represented by the gut hormones), immune routes (represented by multiple cytokines), microbially-derived neurotransmitters, and finally the gate keepers of the intestinal and brain barriers. Their mutual and harmonious but intricate interaction is essential for human life and brain performance. However, a failure in the interaction leads to a number of inflammatory-, autoimmune-, neurodegenerative-, metabolic-, mood-, behavioral-, cognitive-, autism-spectrum-, stress- and pain-related disorders. The limited availability of information on the mechanisms, pathways and cause-and-effect relationships hinders us from translating and implementing the knowledge from the bench to the clinic. Implications: Further understanding of this intricate field might potentially shed light on novel preventive and therapeutic strategies to combat these disorders. Nutritional approaches, microbiome manipulations, enteric and brain barrier reinforcement and sensing and trafficking modulation might improve physical and mental health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiome Gut Brain Axis)
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Open AccessReview Transmission of Bacterial Endophytes
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 70; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040070
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Plants are hosts to complex communities of endophytic bacteria that colonize the interior of both below- and aboveground tissues. Bacteria living inside plant tissues as endophytes can be horizontally acquired from the environment with each new generation, or vertically transmitted from generation to
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Plants are hosts to complex communities of endophytic bacteria that colonize the interior of both below- and aboveground tissues. Bacteria living inside plant tissues as endophytes can be horizontally acquired from the environment with each new generation, or vertically transmitted from generation to generation via seed. A better understanding of bacterial endophyte transmission routes and modes will benefit studies of plant–endophyte interactions in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. In this review, we provide an overview of the transmission routes that bacteria can take to colonize plants, including vertically via seeds and pollen, and horizontally via soil, atmosphere, and insects. We discuss both well-documented and understudied transmission routes, and identify gaps in our knowledge on how bacteria reach the inside of plants. Where little knowledge is available on endophytes, we draw from studies on bacterial plant pathogens to discuss potential transmission routes. Colonization of roots from soil is the best studied transmission route, and probably the most important, although more studies of transmission to aerial parts and stomatal colonization are needed, as are studies that conclusively confirm vertical transfer. While vertical transfer of bacterial endophytes likely occurs, obligate and strictly vertically transferred symbioses with bacteria are probably unusual in plants. Instead, plants appear to benefit from the ability to respond to a changing environment by acquiring its endophytic microbiome anew with each generation, and over the lifetime of individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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Open AccessReview Combating Fusarium Infection Using Bacillus-Based Antimicrobials
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 75; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040075
Received: 14 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
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Abstract
Despite efforts to control toxigenic Fusarium species, wilt and head-blight infections are destructive and economically damaging diseases that have global effects. The utilization of biological control agents in disease management programs has provided an effective, safe, and sustainable means to control Fusarium-induced
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Despite efforts to control toxigenic Fusarium species, wilt and head-blight infections are destructive and economically damaging diseases that have global effects. The utilization of biological control agents in disease management programs has provided an effective, safe, and sustainable means to control Fusarium-induced plant diseases. Among the most widely used microbes for biocontrol agents are members of the genus Bacillus. These species influence plant and fungal pathogen interactions by a number of mechanisms such as competing for essential nutrients, antagonizing pathogens by producing fungitoxic metabolites, or inducing systemic resistance in plants. The multivariate interactions among plant-biocontrol agent-pathogen are the subject of this study, in which we survey the advances made regarding the research on the Bacillus-Fusarium interaction and focus on the principles and mechanisms of action among plant-growth promoting Bacillus species. In particular, we highlight their use in limiting and controlling Fusarium spread and infestations of economically important crops. This knowledge will be useful to define strategies for exploiting this group of beneficial bacteria for use as inoculants by themselves or in combination with other microbes for enhanced crop protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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Open AccessReview Biotechnological Applications of Microbial (Per)chlorate Reduction
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 76; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040076
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
While the microbial degradation of a chloroxyanion-based herbicide was first observed nearly ninety years ago, only recently have researchers elucidated the underlying mechanisms of perchlorate and chlorate [collectively, (per)chlorate] respiration. Although the obvious application of these metabolisms lies in the bioremediation and attenuation
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While the microbial degradation of a chloroxyanion-based herbicide was first observed nearly ninety years ago, only recently have researchers elucidated the underlying mechanisms of perchlorate and chlorate [collectively, (per)chlorate] respiration. Although the obvious application of these metabolisms lies in the bioremediation and attenuation of (per)chlorate in contaminated environments, a diversity of alternative and innovative biotechnological applications has been proposed based on the unique metabolic abilities of dissimilatory (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria (DPRB). This is fueled in part by the unique ability of these organisms to generate molecular oxygen as a transient intermediate of the central pathway of (per)chlorate respiration. This ability, along with other novel aspects of the metabolism, have resulted in a wide and disparate range of potential biotechnological applications being proposed, including enzymatic perchlorate detection; gas gangrene therapy; enhanced xenobiotic bioremediation; oil reservoir bio-souring control; chemostat hygiene control; aeration enhancement in industrial bioreactors; and, biogenic oxygen production for planetary exploration. While previous reviews focus on the fundamental science of microbial (per)chlorate reduction (for example see Youngblut et al., 2016), here, we provide an overview of the emerging biotechnological applications of (per)chlorate respiration and the underlying organisms and enzymes to environmental and biotechnological industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms for Environmental and Industrial Applications)
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Open AccessReview Bacterial Endophyte Colonization and Distribution within Plants
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 77; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040077
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 25 November 2017
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Abstract
The plant endosphere contains a diverse group of microbial communities. There is general consensus that these microbial communities make significant contributions to plant health. Both recently adopted genomic approaches and classical microbiology techniques continue to develop the science of plant-microbe interactions. Endophytes are
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The plant endosphere contains a diverse group of microbial communities. There is general consensus that these microbial communities make significant contributions to plant health. Both recently adopted genomic approaches and classical microbiology techniques continue to develop the science of plant-microbe interactions. Endophytes are microbial symbionts residing within the plant for the majority of their life cycle without any detrimental impact to the host plant. The use of these natural symbionts offers an opportunity to maximize crop productivity while reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture. Endophytes promote plant growth through nitrogen fixation, phytohormone production, nutrient acquisition, and by conferring tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Colonization by endophytes is crucial for providing these benefits to the host plant. Endophytic colonization refers to the entry, growth and multiplication of endophyte populations within the host plant. Lately, plant microbiome research has gained considerable attention but the mechanism allowing plants to recruit endophytes is largely unknown. This review summarizes currently available knowledge about endophytic colonization by bacteria in various plant species, and specifically discusses the colonization of maize plants by Populus endophytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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