Abstract: A retrospective phylogenetic characterization of the hemagglutinin, neuraminidase and nucleoprotein genes of equine influenza virus A/equine/Kirgizia/26/1974 (H7N7) which caused an outbreak in Kirgizia (a former Soviet Union republic, now Kyrgyzstan) in 1977 was conducted. It was defined that it was closely related to the strain London/1973 isolated in Europe and it shared a maximum nucleotide sequence identity at 99% with it. This Central Asian equine influenza virus isolate did not have any specific genetic signatures and can be considered as an epizootic strain of 1974 that spread in Europe. The absence of antibodies to this subtype EI virus (EIV) in recent research confirms its disappearance as of the 1990s when the antibodies were last found in unvaccinated horses.
Abstract: Streptococcus (S.) suis translocates across the intestinal barrier of piglets after intraintestinal application. Based on these findings, an oro-gastrointestinal infection route has been proposed. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the survival of S. suis in the porcine stomach. Whereas surviving bacteria of S. suis serotypes 2 and 9 were not detectable after 60 min of incubation in stomach contents with a comparatively high gastric pH of 5 due to feeding of fine pellets, the number of Salmonella Derby bacteria increased under these conditions. Further experiments confirmed the clearance of S. suis serotypes 2 and 9 within 30 min in stomach contents with a pH of 4.7 independently of the bacterial growth phase. Finally, an oral infection experiment was conducted, feeding each of 18 piglets a diet mixed with 1010 CFU of S. suis serotype 2 or 9. Thorough bacteriological screenings of various mesenteric-intestinal lymph nodes and internal organs after different times of exposure did not lead to any detection of the orally applied challenge strains. In conclusion, the porcine stomach constitutes a very efficient barrier against oro-gastrointenstinal S. suis infections. Conditions leading to the passage of S. suis through the stomach remain to be identified.
Abstract: Adult invasive disease caused by Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is increasing worldwide. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) now permits rapid identification of recombination events, a phenomenon that occurs frequently in GBS. Using WGS, we described that strain NGBS375, a capsular serotype V GBS isolate of sequence type (ST)297, has an ST1 genomic background but has acquired approximately 300 kbp of genetic material likely from an ST17 strain. Here, we examined the virulence of this strain in an in vivo model of GBS adult invasive infection. The mosaic ST297 strain showed intermediate virulence, causing significantly less systemic infection and reduced mortality than a more virulent, serotype V ST1 isolate. Bacteremia induced by the ST297 strain was similar to that induced by a serotype III ST17 strain, which was the least virulent under the conditions tested. Yet, under normalized bacteremia levels, the in vivo intrinsic capacity to induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines was similar between the ST297 strain and the virulent ST1 strain. Thus, the diminished virulence of the mosaic strain may be due to reduced capacity to disseminate or multiply in blood during a systemic infection which could be mediated by regulatory factors contained in the recombined region.
Abstract: The bronchial epithelium provides protection against pathogens from the inhaled environment through the formation of a highly-regulated barrier. In order to understand the pulmonary diseases melioidosis and tularemia caused by Burkholderia thailandensis and Fransicella tularensis, respectively, the barrier function of the human bronchial epithelium were analysed. Polarised 16HBE14o- or differentiated primary human bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) were exposed to increasing multiplicities of infection (MOI) of B. thailandensis or F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain and barrier responses monitored over 24–72 h. Challenge of polarized BECs with either bacterial species caused an MOI- and time-dependent increase in ionic permeability, disruption of tight junctions, and bacterial passage from the apical to the basolateral compartment. B. thailandensis was found to be more invasive than F. tularensis. Both bacterial species induced an MOI-dependent increase in TNF-α release. An increase in ionic permeability and TNF-α release was induced by B. thailandensis in differentiated BECs. Pretreatment of polarised BECs with the corticosteroid fluticasone propionate reduced bacterial-dependent increases in ionic permeability, bacterial passage, and TNF-α release. TNF blocking antibody Enbrel® reduced bacterial passage only. BEC barrier properties are disrupted during respiratory bacterial infections and targeting with corticosteroids or anti-TNF compounds may represent a therapeutic option.
Abstract: We have established a novel strategy to reduce the risk for recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI), where rapidly increasing antibiotic resistance poses a major threat. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) protects the host against symptomatic infections with more virulent strains. To mimic this protective effect, we deliberately establish ABU in UTI-prone patients, who are refractory to conventional therapy. The patients are inoculated with Escherichia coli (E. coli) 83972, now widely used as a prototype ABU strain. Therapeutic efficacy has been demonstrated in a placebo-controlled trial, supporting the feasibility of using E. coli 83972 as a tool to prevent recurrent UTI and, potentially, to outcompete antibiotic-resistant strains from the human urinary tract. In addition, the human inoculation protocol offers unique opportunities to study host-parasite interaction in vivo in the human urinary tract. Here, we review the clinical evidence for protection using this approach as well as some molecular insights into the pathogenesis of UTI that have been gained during these studies.
Abstract: Streptococcus (S.) suis is a zoonotic pathogen causing septicemia and meningitis in pigs and humans. During infection S. suis must metabolically adapt to extremely diverse environments of the host. CcpA and the FNR family of bacterial transcriptional regulators are important for metabolic gene regulation in various bacteria. The role of CcpA in S. suis is well defined, but the function of the FNR-like protein of S. suis, FlpS, is yet unknown. Transcriptome analyses of wild-type S. suis and a flpS mutant strain suggested that FlpS is involved in the regulation of the central carbon, arginine degradation and nucleotide metabolism. However, isotopologue profiling revealed no substantial changes in the core carbon and amino acid de novo biosynthesis. FlpS was essential for the induction of the arcABC operon of the arginine degrading pathway under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The arcABC-inducing activity of FlpS could be associated with the level of free oxygen in the culture medium. FlpS was necessary for arcABC-dependent intracellular bacterial survival but redundant in a mice infection model. Based on these results, we propose that the core function of S. suis FlpS is the oxygen-dependent activation of the arginine deiminase system.