Open AccessArticle
Presence of Calcium Lowers the Expansion of Bacillus subtilis Colony Biofilms
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010007 -
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
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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 -
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
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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
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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 -
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
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Open AccessArticle
Phylogenetic Heatmaps Highlight Composition Biases in Sequenced Reads
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 4; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010004 -
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
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 -
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
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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
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Microorganisms in 2016
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010002 -
Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Intestinal Immune Cell Function by Lactic Acid Bacteria for Dairy Products
Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010001 -
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
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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
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Open AccessReview
Immunoregulation in Fungal Diseases
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 47; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040047 -
Abstract
This review addresses specific regulatory mechanisms involved in the host immune response to fungal organisms. We focus on key cells and regulatory pathways involved in these responses, including a brief overview of their broader function preceding a discussion of their specific relevance to
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This review addresses specific regulatory mechanisms involved in the host immune response to fungal organisms. We focus on key cells and regulatory pathways involved in these responses, including a brief overview of their broader function preceding a discussion of their specific relevance to fungal disease. Important cell types discussed include dendritic cells and regulatory T cells, with a focus on specific studies relating to their effects on immune responses to fungi. We highlight the interleukin-10, programmed cell death 1, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 signaling pathways and emphasize interrelationships between these pathways and the regulatory functions of dendritic cells and regulatory T cells. Throughout our discussion, we identify selected studies best illustrating the role of these cells and pathways in response to specific fungal pathogens to provide a contextual understanding of the tightly-controlled network of regulatory mechanisms critical to determining the outcome of exposure to fungal pathogens. Lastly, we discuss two unique phenomena relating to immunoregulation, protective tolerance and immune reactivation inflammatory syndrome. These two clinically-relevant conditions provide perspective as to the range of immunoregulatory mechanisms active in response to fungi. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microbiological Quality of Fresh Nopal Juice
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 46; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040046 -
Abstract
The consumption of fresh nopal cactus juice is widely popular among health-conscious consumers in Mexico. The juice is prepared from fresh cladodes that have only been rinsed with tap water and are not subjected to a pasteurization or terminal bacterial reduction process. The
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The consumption of fresh nopal cactus juice is widely popular among health-conscious consumers in Mexico. The juice is prepared from fresh cladodes that have only been rinsed with tap water and are not subjected to a pasteurization or terminal bacterial reduction process. The aim of this study was to evaluate the microbial quality of commercially available fresh juices (n = 162) made with nopal in Texcoco, State of Mexico, during the summer and spring season. Standard microbiological methods, the PCR technique and the serological method were used for isolation and identification of bacteria. All samples contained total coliforms and 91% were positive for Escherichia coli. Although total coliforms and E. coli were detected throughout the study, their populations were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in winter and spring, respectively. Citrobacter youngae was found in 20% of the samples, an unidentified species of Citrobacter in 10%, C. freundii and Proteus mirabilis in 3%, and Salmonella Javiana in 1%. The presence of these microorganisms, especially Salmonella, in the nopal juices is unacceptable due to its health significance. The information generated in this study is relevant for human health risk assessment associated with the consumption of unpasteurized nopal juices and potential interventions to minimize pathogen contamination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pb2+ Effects on Growth, Lipids, and Protein and DNA Profiles of the Thermophilic Bacterium Thermus Thermophilus
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 45; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040045 -
Abstract
Extremophiles are organisms able to thrive in extreme environmental conditions and some of them show the ability to survive high doses of heavy metals thanks to defensive mechanisms provided by primary and secondary metabolic products, i.e., extremolytes, lipids, and extremozymes. This is why
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Extremophiles are organisms able to thrive in extreme environmental conditions and some of them show the ability to survive high doses of heavy metals thanks to defensive mechanisms provided by primary and secondary metabolic products, i.e., extremolytes, lipids, and extremozymes. This is why there is a growing scientific and industrial interest in the use of thermophilic bacteria in a host of tasks, from the environmental detoxification of heavy metal to industrial activities, such as bio-machining and bio-metallurgy. In this work Thermus thermophilus was challenged against increasing Pb2+ concentrations spanning from 0 to 300 ppm in order to ascertain the sensitiveness of this bacteria to the Pb environmental pollution and to give an insight on its heavy metal resistance mechanisms. Analysis of growth parameters, enzyme activities, protein profiles, and lipid membrane modifications were carried out. In addition, genotyping analysis of bacteria grown in the presence of Pb2+, using random amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR and DNA melting evaluation, were also performed. A better knowledge of the response of thermophilic bacteria to the different pollutants, as heavy metals, is necessary for optimizing their use in remediation or decontamination processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Lactic Fermentation of Gowé Using Lactobacillus Starter Culture
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 44; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040044 -
Abstract
A global model of the lactic fermentation step of gowé was developed by assembling blocks hosting models for bacterial growth, lactic acid production, and the drop of pH during fermentation. Commercial strains of Lactobacillus brevis and of Lactobacillus plantarum were used; their growth
[...] Read more.
A global model of the lactic fermentation step of gowé was developed by assembling blocks hosting models for bacterial growth, lactic acid production, and the drop of pH during fermentation. Commercial strains of Lactobacillus brevis and of Lactobacillus plantarum were used; their growth was modeled using Rosso’s primary model and the gamma concept as a secondary model. The optimum values of pH and temperature were 8.3 ± 0.3, 44.6 ± 1.2 °C and 8.3 ± 0.3, 3.2 ± 37.1 °C with μmax values of 1.8 ± 0.2 and 1.4 ± 0.1 for L. brevis and L. plantarum respectively. The minimum inhibitory concentration of undissociated lactic acid was 23.7 mM and 35.6 mM for L. brevis and L. plantarum, respectively. The yield of lactic acid was five times higher for L. plantarum than for L. brevis, with a yield of glucose conversion to lactic acid close to 2.0 for the former and 0.8 for the latter. A model was developed to predict the pH drop during gowé fermentation. The global model was partially validated during manufacturing of gowé. The global model could be a tool to aid in the choice of suitable starters and to determine the conditions for the use of the starter. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Lead Discovery Strategies for Identification of Chlamydia pneumoniae Inhibitors
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 43; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040043 -
Abstract
Throughout its known history, the gram-negative bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae has remained a challenging target for antibacterial chemotherapy and drug discovery. Owing to its well-known propensity for persistence and recent reports on antimicrobial resistence within closely related species, new approaches for targeting this ubiquitous
[...] Read more.
Throughout its known history, the gram-negative bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae has remained a challenging target for antibacterial chemotherapy and drug discovery. Owing to its well-known propensity for persistence and recent reports on antimicrobial resistence within closely related species, new approaches for targeting this ubiquitous human pathogen are urgently needed. In this review, we describe the strategies that have been successfully applied for the identification of nonconventional antichlamydial agents, including target-based and ligand-based virtual screening, ethnopharmacological approach and pharmacophore-based design of antimicrobial peptide-mimicking compounds. Among the antichlamydial agents identified via these strategies, most translational work has been carried out with plant phenolics. Thus, currently available data on their properties as antichlamydial agents are described, highlighting their potential mechanisms of action. In this context, the role of mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in the intracellular growth and survival of C. pneumoniae is discussed. Owing to the complex and often complementary pathways applied by C. pneumoniae in the different stages of its life cycle, multitargeted therapy approaches are expected to provide better tools for antichlamydial therapy than agents with a single molecular target. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dirty Money: A Matter of Bacterial Survival, Adherence, and Toxicity
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 42; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040042 -
Abstract
In this study we report the underlying reasons to why bacteria are present on banknotes and coins. Despite the use of credit cards, mobile phone apps, near-field-communication systems, and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins which are replacing the use of hard currencies, cash exchanges
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In this study we report the underlying reasons to why bacteria are present on banknotes and coins. Despite the use of credit cards, mobile phone apps, near-field-communication systems, and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins which are replacing the use of hard currencies, cash exchanges still make up a significant means of exchange for a wide range of purchases. The literature is awash with data that highlights that both coins and banknotes are frequently identified as fomites for a wide range of microorganisms. However, most of these publications fail to provide any insight into the extent to which bacteria adhere and persist on money. We treated the various currencies used in this study as microcosms, and the bacterial loading from human hands as the corresponding microbiome. We show that the substrate from which banknotes are produced have a significant influence on both the survival and adherence of bacteria to banknotes. Smooth, polymer surfaces provide a poor means of adherence and survival, while coarser and more fibrous surfaces provide strong bacterial adherence and an environment to survive on. Coins were found to be strongly inhibitory to bacteria with a relatively rapid decline in survival on almost all coin surfaces tested. The inhibitory influence of coins was demonstrated through the use of antimicrobial disks made from coins. Despite the toxic effects of coins on many bacteria, bacteria do have the ability to adapt to the presence of coins in their environment which goes some way to explain the persistent presence of low levels of bacteria on coins in circulation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
EPS—Then and Now
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 41; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040041 -
Abstract
“Slime” played a brief and spectacular role in the 19th century founded by the theory of primordial slime by Ernst Haeckel. However, that substance was never found and eventually abandoned. Further scientific attention slowly began in the 1930s referring to slime as a
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“Slime” played a brief and spectacular role in the 19th century founded by the theory of primordial slime by Ernst Haeckel. However, that substance was never found and eventually abandoned. Further scientific attention slowly began in the 1930s referring to slime as a microbial product and then was inspired by “How bacteria stick” by Costerton et al. in 1978, and the matrix material was considered to be polysaccharides. Later, it turned out that proteins, nucleic acids and lipids were major other constituents of the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), an acronym which was highly discussed. The role of the EPS matrix turns out to be fundamental for biofilms, in terms of keeping cells in proximity and allowing for extended interaction, resource capture, mechanical strength and other properties, which emerge from the life of biofilm organisms, including enhanced tolerance to antimicrobials and other stress. The EPS components are extremely complex and dynamic and fulfil many functional roles, turning biofilms into the most ubiquitous and successful form of life on Earth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human Lactobacillus Strains from the Intestine can Suppress IgE-Mediated Degranulation of Rat Basophilic Leukaemia (RBL-2H3) Cells
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 40; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040040 -
Abstract
Mast cells play a critical role in immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergic diseases, and the degranulation of mast cells is important in the pathogenesis of these diseases. A disturbance of the intestinal microflora, especially of endogenous lactic acid bacteria, might be a contributing factor
[...] Read more.
Mast cells play a critical role in immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergic diseases, and the degranulation of mast cells is important in the pathogenesis of these diseases. A disturbance of the intestinal microflora, especially of endogenous lactic acid bacteria, might be a contributing factor for IgE-mediated allergic diseases. Additional knowledge regarding the interaction of human intestinal Lactobacilli with mast cells is still necessary. Twenty-three strains of Lactobacilli, including commercial and reference strains and strains from the human intestine, were tested for their ability to regulate degranulation of cells from rat basophilic leukemia RBL-2H3 cells (RBL-2H3) in vitro based on a β-hexosaminidase release assay. Each of the tested Lactobacilli characteristically suppressed IgE-mediated degranulation of RBL-2H3 cells, and Lactobacillus GG showed the strongest inhibitory effect on the cells. Furthermore, the bacteria isolated from the human intestine significantly suppressed degranulation of RBL-2H3 cellsin comparison with the reference strains. These results suggest that Lactobacilli, particularly those from the human intestine, can affect the activation of mast cells in a strain-dependent manner. Further study should be conducted to analyse the understanding mechanism. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Natural Products for the Treatment of Chlamydiaceae Infections
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 39; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040039 -
Abstract
Due to the global prevalence of Chlamydiae, exploring studies of diverse antichlamydial compounds is important in the development of effective treatment strategies and global infectious disease management. Chlamydiaceae is the most widely known bacterial family of the Chlamydiae order. Among the species
[...] Read more.
Due to the global prevalence of Chlamydiae, exploring studies of diverse antichlamydial compounds is important in the development of effective treatment strategies and global infectious disease management. Chlamydiaceae is the most widely known bacterial family of the Chlamydiae order. Among the species in the family Chlamydiaceae, Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia pneumoniae cause common human diseases, while Chlamydia abortus, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia suis represent zoonotic threats or are endemic in human food sources. Although chlamydial infections are currently manageable in human populations, chlamydial infections in livestock are endemic and there is significant difficulty achieving effective treatment. To combat the spread of Chlamydiaceae in humans and other hosts, improved methods for treatment and prevention of infection are needed. There exist various studies exploring the potential of natural products for developing new antichlamydial treatment modalities. Polyphenolic compounds can inhibit chlamydial growth by membrane disruption, reestablishment of host cell apoptosis, or improving host immune system detection. Fatty acids, monoglycerides, and lipids can disrupt the cell membranes of infective chlamydial elementary bodies (EBs). Peptides can disrupt the cell membranes of chlamydial EBs, and transferrins can inhibit chlamydial EBs from attachment to and permeation through the membranes of host cells. Cellular metabolites and probiotic bacteria can inhibit chlamydial infection by modulating host immune responses and directly inhibiting chlamydial growth. Finally, early stage clinical trials indicate that polyherbal formulations can be effective in treating chlamydial infections. Herein, we review an important body of literature in the field of antichlamydial research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flavin-Dependent Redox Transfers by the Two-Component Diketocamphane Monooxygenases of Camphor-Grown Pseudomonas putida NCIMB 10007
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 38; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040038 -
Abstract
The progressive titres of key monooxygenases and their requisite native donors of reducing power were used to assess the relative contribution of various camphor plasmid (CAM plasmid)- and chromosome-coded activities to biodegradation of (rac)-camphor at successive stages throughout growth of Pseudomonas
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The progressive titres of key monooxygenases and their requisite native donors of reducing power were used to assess the relative contribution of various camphor plasmid (CAM plasmid)- and chromosome-coded activities to biodegradation of (rac)-camphor at successive stages throughout growth of Pseudomonas putida NCIMB 10007 on the bicylic monoterpenoid. A number of different flavin reductases (FRs) have the potential to supply reduced flavin mononucleotide to both 2,5- and 3,6-diketocamphane monooxygenase, the key isoenzymic two-component monooxygenases that delineate respectively the (+)- and (−)-camphor branches of the convergent degradation pathway. Two different constitutive chromosome-coded ferric reductases able to act as FRs can serve such as role throughout all stages of camphor-dependent growth, whereas Fred, a chromosome-coded inducible FR can only play a potentially significant role in the relatively late stages. Putidaredoxin reductase, an inducible CAM plasmid-coded flavoprotein that serves an established role as a redox intermediate for plasmid-coded cytochrome P450 monooxygenase also has the potential to serve as an important FR for both diketocamphane monooxygenases (DKCMOs) throughout most stages of camphor-dependent growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biotin Auxotrophy and Biotin Enhanced Germ Tube Formation in Candida albicans
Microorganisms 2016, 4(3), 37; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4030037 -
Abstract
Due to the increased number of immunocompromised patients, infections with the pathogen Candida albicans have significantly increased in recent years. C. albicans transition from yeast to germ tubes is one of the essential factors for virulence. In this study we noted that Lee’s
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Due to the increased number of immunocompromised patients, infections with the pathogen Candida albicans have significantly increased in recent years. C. albicans transition from yeast to germ tubes is one of the essential factors for virulence. In this study we noted that Lee’s medium, commonly used to induce filamentation, contained 500-fold more biotin than needed for growth and 40-fold more biotin than is typically added to growth media. Thus, we investigated the effects of excess biotin on growth rate and filamentation by C. albicans in different media. At 37 °C, excess biotin (4 µM) enhanced germ tube formation (GTF) ca. 10-fold in both Lee’s medium and a defined glucose-proline medium, and ca. 4-fold in 1% serum. Two biotin precursors, desthiobiotin and 7-keto-8-aminopelargonic acid (KAPA), also stimulated GTF. During these studies we also noted an inverse correlation between the number of times the inoculum had been washed and the concentration of serum needed to stimulate GTF. C. albicans cells that had been washed eight times achieved 80% GTF with only 0.1% sheep serum. The mechanism by which 1–4 µM biotin enhances GTF is still unknown except to note that equivalent levels of biotin are needed to create an internal supply of stored biotin and biotinylated histones. Biotin did not restore filamentation for any of the four known filamentation defective mutants tested. C. albicans is auxotrophic for biotin and this biotin auxotrophy was fulfilled by biotin, desthiobiotin, or KAPA. However, biotin auxotrophy is not temperature dependent or influenced by the presence of 5% CO2. Biotin starvation upregulated the biotin biosynthetic genes BIO2, BIO3, and BIO4 by 11-, 1500-, and 150-fold, respectively, and BIO2p is predicted to be mitochondrion-localized. Based on our findings, we suggest that biotin has two roles in the physiology of C. albicans, one as an enzymatic cofactor and another as a morphological regulator. Finally, we found no evidence supporting prior claims that C. albicans only forms hyphae at very low biotin (0.1 nM) growth conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Streptokinase Treatment Reverses Biofilm-Associated Antibiotic Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus
Microorganisms 2016, 4(3), 36; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4030036 -
Abstract
Biofilms formed by Staphylococcus aureus is a serious complication to the use of medical implants. A central part of the pathogenesis relies on S. aureus’ ability to adhere to host extracellular matrix proteins, which adsorb to medical implants and stimulate biofilm formation. Being
[...] Read more.
Biofilms formed by Staphylococcus aureus is a serious complication to the use of medical implants. A central part of the pathogenesis relies on S. aureus’ ability to adhere to host extracellular matrix proteins, which adsorb to medical implants and stimulate biofilm formation. Being coagulase positive, S. aureus furthermore induces formation of fibrin fibers from fibrinogen in the blood. Consequently, we hypothesized that fibrin is a key component of the extracellular matrix of S. aureus biofilms under in vivo conditions, and that the recalcitrance of biofilm infections can be overcome by combining antibiotic treatment with a fibrinolytic drug. We quantified S. aureus USA300 biofilms grown on peg-lids in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth with 0%–50% human plasma. Young (2 h) and mature (24 h) biofilms were then treated with streptokinase to determine if this lead to dispersal. Then, the minimal biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) of 24 h old biofilms was measured for vancomycin and daptomycin alone or in combination with 10 µg/mL rifampicin in the presence or absence of streptokinase in the antibiotic treatment step. Finally, biofilms were visualized by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Addition of human plasma stimulated biofilm formation in BHI in a dose-dependent manner, and biofilms could be partially dispersed by streptokinase. The biofilms could be eradicated with physiologically relevant concentrations of streptokinase in combination with rifampicin and vancomycin or daptomycin, which are commonly used antibiotics for treatment of S. aureus infections. Fibronolytic drugs have been used to treat thromboembolic events for decades, and our findings suggest that their use against biofilm infections has the potential to improve the efficacy of antibiotics in treatment of S. aureus biofilm infections. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biofilm Forming Lactobacillus: New Challenges for the Development of Probiotics
Microorganisms 2016, 4(3), 35; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4030035 -
Abstract
Probiotics are live bacteria, generally administered in food, conferring beneficial effects to the host because they help to prevent or treat diseases, the majority of which are gastrointestinal. Numerous investigations have verified the beneficial effect of probiotic strains in biofilm form, including increased
[...] Read more.
Probiotics are live bacteria, generally administered in food, conferring beneficial effects to the host because they help to prevent or treat diseases, the majority of which are gastrointestinal. Numerous investigations have verified the beneficial effect of probiotic strains in biofilm form, including increased resistance to temperature, gastric pH and mechanical forces to that of their planktonic counterparts. In addition, the development of new encapsulation technologies, which have exploited the properties of biofilms in the creation of double coated capsules, has given origin to fourth generation probiotics. Up to now, reviews have focused on the detrimental effects of biofilms associated with pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, this work aims to amalgamate information describing the biofilms of Lactobacillus strains which are used as probiotics, particularly L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, and L. fermentum. Additionally, we have reviewed the development of probiotics using technology inspired by biofilms. Full article