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Microorganisms, Volume 7, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM-LFD) image representing bifidobacterial cells [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Insights into Escherichia coli Shiga Toxin (Stx) Glycosphingolipid Receptors of Porcine Renal Epithelial Cells and Inhibition of Stx-Mediated Cellular Injury Using Neoglycolipid-Spiked Glycovesicles
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110582 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Shiga toxin (Stx) producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cause the edema disease in pigs by releasing the swine-pathogenic Stx2e subtype as the key virulence factor. Stx2e targets endothelial cells of animal organs including the kidney harboring the Stx receptor glycosphingolipids (GSLs) globotriaosylceramide (Gb3Cer, Galα1-4Galβ1-4Glcβ1-1Cer) [...] Read more.
Shiga toxin (Stx) producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cause the edema disease in pigs by releasing the swine-pathogenic Stx2e subtype as the key virulence factor. Stx2e targets endothelial cells of animal organs including the kidney harboring the Stx receptor glycosphingolipids (GSLs) globotriaosylceramide (Gb3Cer, Galα1-4Galβ1-4Glcβ1-1Cer) and globotetraosylceramide (Gb4Cer, GalNAcβ1-3Galα1-4Galβ1-4Glcβ1-1Cer). Since the involvement of renal epithelial cells in the edema disease is unknown, in this study, we analyzed the porcine kidney epithelial cell lines, LLC-PK1 and PK-15, regarding the presence of Stx-binding GSLs, their sensitivity towards Stx2e, and the inhibitory potential of Gb3- and Gb4-neoglycolipids, carrying phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) as the lipid anchor, towards Stx2e. Immunochemical and mass spectrometric analysis revealed various Gb3Cer and Gb4Cer lipoforms as the dominant Stx-binding GSLs in both LLC-PK1 and PK-15 cells. A dihexosylceramide with proposed Galα1-4Gal-sequence (Gal2Cer) was detected in PK-15 cells, whereas LLC-PK1 cells lacked this compound. Both cell lines were susceptible towards Stx2e with LLC-PK1 representing an extremely Stx2e-sensitive cell line. Gb3-PE and Gb4-PE applied as glycovesicles significantly reduced the cytotoxic activity of Stx2e towards LLC-PK1 cells, whereas only Gb4-PE exhibited some protection against Stx2e for PK-15 cells. This is the first report identifying Stx2e receptors of porcine kidney epithelial cells and providing first data on their Stx2e-mediated damage suggesting possible involvement in the edema disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli)
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Open AccessReview
Microbial Surfactants: The Next Generation Multifunctional Biomolecules for Applications in the Petroleum Industry and Its Associated Environmental Remediation
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110581 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Surfactants are a broad category of tensio-active biomolecules with multifunctional properties applications in diverse industrial sectors and processes. Surfactants are produced synthetically and biologically. The biologically derived surfactants (biosurfactants) are produced from microorganisms, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis Candida albicans, and [...] Read more.
Surfactants are a broad category of tensio-active biomolecules with multifunctional properties applications in diverse industrial sectors and processes. Surfactants are produced synthetically and biologically. The biologically derived surfactants (biosurfactants) are produced from microorganisms, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis Candida albicans, and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus as dominant species. Rhamnolipids, sophorolipids, mannosylerithritol lipids, surfactin, and emulsan are well known in terms of their biotechnological applications. Biosurfactants can compete with synthetic surfactants in terms of performance, with established advantages over synthetic ones, including eco-friendliness, biodegradability, low toxicity, and stability over a wide variability of environmental factors. However, at present, synthetic surfactants are a preferred option in different industrial applications because of their availability in commercial quantities, unlike biosurfactants. The usage of synthetic surfactants introduces new species of recalcitrant pollutants into the environment and leads to undesired results when a wrong selection of surfactants is made. Substituting synthetic surfactants with biosurfactants resolves these drawbacks, thus interest has been intensified in biosurfactant applications in a wide range of industries hitherto considered as experimental fields. This review, therefore, intends to offer an overview of diverse applications in which biosurfactants have been found to be useful, with emphases on petroleum biotechnology, environmental remediation, and the agriculture sector. The application of biosurfactants in these settings would lead to industrial growth and environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Mechanisms and Applications of Microbial Electrocatalysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Staphylococcus arlettae Genomics: Novel Insights on Candidate Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence Genes in an Emerging Opportunistic Pathogen
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110580 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (CoNS) are becoming increasingly recognized as an important cause of human and animal infections. Notwithstanding their clinical relevance, annotation of genes potentially involved in pathogenicity and/or antibiotic resistance in the CoNS species Staphylococcus arlettae (SAR) is currently very limited. In [...] Read more.
Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (CoNS) are becoming increasingly recognized as an important cause of human and animal infections. Notwithstanding their clinical relevance, annotation of genes potentially involved in pathogenicity and/or antibiotic resistance in the CoNS species Staphylococcus arlettae (SAR) is currently very limited. In the current work we describe the genome of a novel methicillin resistant isolate of SAR, which we named Bari, and present a comprehensive analysis of predicted antibiotic resistance profiles and virulence determinants for all the 22 currently available SAR genomes. By comparing predicted antibiotic resistance and virulence-associated genes with those obtained from a manual selection of 148 bacterial strains belonging to 14 different species of staphylococci and to two “outgroup” species, Bacillus subtilis (BS) and Macrococcus caseoliticus (MC), we derived some interesting observations concerning the types and number of antibiotic resistance-related and virulence-like genes in SAR. Interestingly, almost 50% of the putative antibiotic resistance determinants identified in this work, which include the clinically relevant mec, van, and cls genes, were shared among all the SAR strains herein considered (Bari included). Moreover, comparison of predicted antibiotic resistance profiles suggest that SAR is closely related to well-known pathogenic Staphylococcus species, such as Staphylococcus aureus (SA) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (SE). A similar analysis of predicted virulence factors, revealed that several genes associated with pathogenesis (including, for example, ica, nuc, and ssp), which are commonly found in the genomes of pathogenic staphylococci such as Staphylococcus haemolyticus (SH) and Staphylococcus saprophyticus (SS), are observed also in the SAR strains for which a genomic sequence is available. All in all, we believe that the analyses presented in the current study, by providing a consistent and comprehensive annotation of virulence and antibiotic resistance-related genes in SAR, can constitute a valuable resource for the study of molecular mechanisms of opportunistic pathogenicity in this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Pathogenesis of Staphylococcus Infection)
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Open AccessArticle
Hyper-Aerotolerant Campylobacter coli from Duck Sources and Its Potential Threat to Public Health: Virulence, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Genetic Relatedness
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110579 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Campylobacter, a common foodborne human pathogen, is considered sensitive to oxygen. Recently, aerotolerant (AT) Campylobacter jejuni with the ability to survive under aerobic stress has been reported. Here, we investigated the prevalence of hyper-aerotolerant (HAT) Campylobacter coli from duck sources (118 carcasses [...] Read more.
Campylobacter, a common foodborne human pathogen, is considered sensitive to oxygen. Recently, aerotolerant (AT) Campylobacter jejuni with the ability to survive under aerobic stress has been reported. Here, we investigated the prevalence of hyper-aerotolerant (HAT) Campylobacter coli from duck sources (118 carcasses and meat) and its characteristics to assess potential impacts on public health. Half of 56 C. coli isolates were HAT and most harbored various virulence genes including flaA, cadF, cdtA, ceuB, and wlaN. Moreover, 98.2% of C. coli isolates showed resistance to quinolones, including ciprofloxacin (CIP), and nine (16.1%) showed high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration, MIC ≥ 32 μg/mL) and most of these were HAT. Based on genetic relatedness between C. coli from duck sources and those from human sources (PubMLST and NCBI), HAT isolates sharing the same MLST sequence types were significantly more prevalent than those not sharing the same sequence types as those from human sources. Therefore, HAT C. coli is prevalent in duck sources, and is most likely transmitted to humans through the food chain given its aerotolerance. This being so, it might pose a threat to public health given its virulence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This study will assist in improving control strategies to reduce farm-to-table HAT C. coli transmission to humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foodborne Pathogen Campylobacter)
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Metabolic Adaptation of Red Yeasts to Waste Animal Fat Substrate
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110578 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Carotenogenic yeasts are non-conventional oleaginous microorganisms capable of utilizing various waste substrates. In this work, four red yeast strains (Rhodotorula, Cystofilobasidium, and Sporobolomyces sp.) were cultivated in media containing crude, emulsified, and enzymatically hydrolyzed animal waste fat, compared with glucose and glycerol, as [...] Read more.
Carotenogenic yeasts are non-conventional oleaginous microorganisms capable of utilizing various waste substrates. In this work, four red yeast strains (Rhodotorula, Cystofilobasidium, and Sporobolomyces sp.) were cultivated in media containing crude, emulsified, and enzymatically hydrolyzed animal waste fat, compared with glucose and glycerol, as single C-sources. Cell morphology (cryo-SEM (cryo-scanning electron microscopy), TEM (transmission electron microscopy)), production of biomass, lipase, biosurfactants, lipids (gas chromatography/flame ionization detection, GC/FID) carotenoids, ubiquinone, and ergosterol (high performance liquid chromatography, HPLC/PDA) in yeast cells was studied depending on the medium composition, the C source, and the carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio. All studied strains are able to utilize solid and processed fat. Biomass production at C/N = 13 was higher on emulsified/hydrolyzed fat than on glucose/glycerol. The production of lipids and lipidic metabolites was enhanced for several times on fat; the highest yields of carotenoids (24.8 mg/L) and lipids (54.5%/CDW (cell dry weight)) were found in S. pararoseus. Simultaneous induction of lipase and biosurfactants was observed on crude fat substrate. An increased C/N ratio (13–100) led to higher biomass production in fat media. The production of total lipids increased in all strains to C/N = 50. Oppositely, the production of carotenoids, ubiquinone, and ergosterol dramatically decreased with increased C/N in all strains. Compounds accumulated in stressed red yeasts have a great application potential and can be produced efficiently during the valorization of animal waste fat under the biorefinery concept. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Life in High Salt Concentrations with Changing Environmental Conditions: Insights from Genomic and Phenotypic Analysis of Salinivibrio sp.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110577 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Life in salt pans with varying chemical compositions require special adaptation strategies at both the physiological and molecular level. The Marakkanam salt pan in South India is characterized with a high fluctuation in salinity (19–490 ppt), Ultravioletradiation, and heavy metal concentrations. Several bacterial [...] Read more.
Life in salt pans with varying chemical compositions require special adaptation strategies at both the physiological and molecular level. The Marakkanam salt pan in South India is characterized with a high fluctuation in salinity (19–490 ppt), Ultravioletradiation, and heavy metal concentrations. Several bacterial species have been isolated and identified in the view of phylogenetic analysis and for the subsequent production of industrially important enzymes. However, limited information exists on the genomic basis of their survival under variable environmental conditions. To this extent, we sequenced the whole genome of the Salinivibrio sp. HTSP, a moderately halophilic bacterium. We analysed the physiological and genomic attributes of Salinivibrio sp. HTSP to elucidate the strategies of adaptation under various abiotic stresses. The genome size is estimated to be 3.39 Mbp with a mean G + C content of 50.6%, including 3150 coding sequences. The genome possessed osmotic stress-related coding sequences, and genes involved in different pathways of DNA repair mechanisms and genes related to the resistance to toxic metals were identified. The periplasmic stress response genes and genes of different oxidative stress mechanisms were also identified. The tolerance capacity of the bacterial isolates to heavy metals, UV-radiation, and salinity was also confirmed through appropriate laboratory experiments under controlled conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Extreme Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Phylogeny of Anoxygenic Photosynthesis Based on Sequences of Photosynthetic Reaction Center Proteins and a Key Enzyme in Bacteriochlorophyll Biosynthesis, the Chlorophyllide Reductase
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110576 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Photosynthesis is a key process for the establishment and maintenance of life on earth, and it is manifested in several major lineages of the prokaryote tree of life. The evolution of photosynthesis in anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria is of major interest as these have [...] Read more.
Photosynthesis is a key process for the establishment and maintenance of life on earth, and it is manifested in several major lineages of the prokaryote tree of life. The evolution of photosynthesis in anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria is of major interest as these have the most ancient roots of photosynthetic systems. The phylogenetic relations between anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria were compared on the basis of sequences of key proteins of the type-II photosynthetic reaction center, including PufLM and PufH (PuhA), and a key enzyme of bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis, the light-independent chlorophyllide reductase BchXYZ. The latter was common to all anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria, including those with a type-I and those with a type-II photosynthetic reaction center. The phylogenetic considerations included cultured phototrophic bacteria from several phyla, including Proteobacteria (138 species), Chloroflexi (five species), Chlorobi (six species), as well as Heliobacterium modesticaldum (Firmicutes), Chloracidobacterium acidophilum (Acidobacteria), and Gemmatimonas phototrophica (Gemmatimonadetes). Whenever available, type strains were studied. Phylogenetic relationships based on a photosynthesis tree (PS tree, including sequences of PufHLM-BchXYZ) were compared with those of 16S rRNA gene sequences (RNS tree). Despite some significant differences, large parts were congruent between the 16S rRNA phylogeny and photosynthesis proteins. The phylogenetic relations demonstrated that bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis had evolved in ancestors of phototrophic green bacteria much earlier as compared to phototrophic purple bacteria and that multiple events independently formed different lineages of aerobic phototrophic purple bacteria, many of which have very ancient roots. The Rhodobacterales clearly represented the youngest group, which was separated from other Proteobacteria by a large evolutionary gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Biology of Phototrophic Bacteria)
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Open AccessArticle
A Role for COX20 in Tolerance to Oxidative Stress and Programmed Cell Death in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110575 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Industrial production of bioethanol from lignocellulosic materials (LCM′s) is reliant on a microorganism being tolerant to the stresses inherent to fermentation. Previous work has highlighted the importance of a cytochrome oxidase chaperone gene (COX20) in improving yeast tolerance to acetic acid, [...] Read more.
Industrial production of bioethanol from lignocellulosic materials (LCM′s) is reliant on a microorganism being tolerant to the stresses inherent to fermentation. Previous work has highlighted the importance of a cytochrome oxidase chaperone gene (COX20) in improving yeast tolerance to acetic acid, a common inhibitory compound produced during pre-treatment of LCM’s. The presence of acetic acid has been shown to induce oxidative stress and programmed cell death, so the role of COX20 in oxidative stress was determined. Analysis using flow cytometry revealed that COX20 expression was associated with reduced levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in hydrogen peroxide and metal-induced stress, and there was a reduction in apoptotic and necrotic cells when compared with a strain without COX20. Results on the functionality of COX20 have revealed that overexpression of COX20 induced respiratory growth in Δimp1 and Δcox18, two genes whose presence is essential for yeast respiratory growth. COX20 also has a role in protecting the yeast cell against programmed cell death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Flavomycin and Colistin Sulfate Pre-Treatment on Ileal Bacterial Community Composition, the Response to Salmonella typhimurium and Host Gene Expression in Broiler Chickens
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110574 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
The composition of the bacterial community affects the intestinal health and growth performance of broiler chickens. The main purpose of this study was to explore the effects of flavomycin and colistin sulfate on the resistance to Salmonella typhimurium infection, ileal bacteria and intestinal [...] Read more.
The composition of the bacterial community affects the intestinal health and growth performance of broiler chickens. The main purpose of this study was to explore the effects of flavomycin and colistin sulfate on the resistance to Salmonella typhimurium infection, ileal bacteria and intestinal health. In total, 396 1-day-old broiler chickens were randomly divided into six groups. Two groups were fed each one of the diets—the control diet (CON), the flavomycin at 10 mg/kg diet (AntiG+), and the colistin sulfate at 40 mg/kg diet (AntiG−), for 5 days. Then, one of each of the two groups was challenged with S. typhimurium on the 8th day; these were named CONS, AntiG+S and AntiG−S, respectively. The results showed that S. typhimurium significantly reduced the feed intake and body weight gain, and increased the feed conversion ratio (p < 0.05). It also increased the inflammatory expressions of NF-κB and MyD88 genes (p < 0.05); and reduced the expressions of claudin-1, occludin and mucin-2 (p < 0.05) tight junction genes in the intestines. S. typhimurium significantly reduced ileal bacterial diversity indexes of observed-species, chao1 and Shannon (p < 0.05). Compared with AntiG+S group, AntiG−S group increased the body weight gain of broiler chickens (p < 0.05), reduced the expression of inflammatory genes (p < 0.05) and intestinal permeability to fluorescein isothiocyanate (p < 0.05). AntiG-S group also improved the ileal bacterial diversity indexes of observed-species and Shannon (p < 0.05). There were many significant correlations between intestinal bacteria, intestinal gene expressions and intestinal morphology (p < 0.05). This study indicated that pre-constructed AntiG− bacteria could against a S. typhimurium infection by inhibiting the expressions of intestinal inflammation genes and increasing the diversity of intestinal bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gut Microbiota)
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Open AccessArticle
Kinematic Locomotion Changes in C57BL/6 Mice Infected with Toxoplasma Strain ME49
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 573; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110573 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Chronic infection with the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii produces an accumulation of cysts in the brain and muscle, causing tissue damage. The cysts in the brain motor regions affect some kinematic locomotion parameters in the host. To localize the brain cysts from Toxoplasma [...] Read more.
Chronic infection with the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii produces an accumulation of cysts in the brain and muscle, causing tissue damage. The cysts in the brain motor regions affect some kinematic locomotion parameters in the host. To localize the brain cysts from Toxoplasma gondii and study the changes in kinematic locomotion in C57BL/6 mice. Female adult C57BL/6 mice were infected orally with 30 ME-49 Toxoplasma gondii cysts. An uninfected group (n = 7) and two infected groups, examined 15 and 40 days postinfection, were used for this study. To evaluate kinematic locomotion, the mice were marked with indelible ink on the iliac crest, hip, knee, ankle, and phalangeal metatarsus of the left and right hindlimbs. At least three recordings were carried out to obtain videos of the left and right hindlimbs. Mice were video recorded at 90 fps at a resolution of 640 × 480 pixels while walking freely in a transparent Plexiglass tunnel. We measured the hindlimb pendular movement and the hindlimb transfer [linear displacement] curves for each step and evaluated them statistically with Fréchet dissimilarity tests. Afterward, the mice were sacrificed, and the brain, heart, skeletal muscle, lung, liver, and kidney were obtained. The different tissues were stained with hematoxylin and eosin for analysis with optical microscopy. Topographic localization of the cysts was made using bregma coordinates for the mouse brain. The cysts were distributed in several brain regions. In one mouse, cyst accumulation occurred in the hippocampus, coinciding with an alteration in foot displacement. The step length was different among the different studied groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Type III Accessory Protein HrpE of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae Surpasses the Secretion Role, and Enhances Plant Resistance and Photosynthesis
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110572 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Many species of plant-pathogenic gram-negative bacteria deploy the type III (T3) secretion system to secrete virulence components, which are mostly characteristic of protein effectors targeting the cytosol of the plant cell following secretion. Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), a rice pathogen [...] Read more.
Many species of plant-pathogenic gram-negative bacteria deploy the type III (T3) secretion system to secrete virulence components, which are mostly characteristic of protein effectors targeting the cytosol of the plant cell following secretion. Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), a rice pathogen causing bacterial blight disease, uses the T3 accessory protein HrpE to assemble the pilus pathway, which in turn secretes transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors. The hrpE gene can execute extensive physiological and pathological functions beyond effector secretion. As evidenced in this study, when the hrpE gene was deleted from the Xoo genome, the bacteria incur seriouimpairments in multiplication, motility, and virulence. The virulence nullification is attributed to reduced secretion and translocation of PthXo1, which is a TAL effector that determines the bacterial virulence in the susceptible rice varieties. When the HrpE protein produced by prokaryotic expression is applied to plants, the recombinant protein is highly effective at inducing the defense response. Moreover, leaf photosynthesis efficiency is enhanced in HrpE-treated plants. These results provide experimental avenues to modulate the plant defense and growth tradeoff by manipulating a bacterial T3 accessory protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Microbial Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Mycotoxins in Flanders’ Fields: Occurrence and Correlations with Fusarium Species in Whole-Plant Harvested Maize
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110571 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mycotoxins are well-known contaminants of several food- and feedstuffs, including silage maize for dairy cattle. Climate change and year-to-year variations in climatic conditions may cause a shift in the fungal populations infecting maize, and therefore alter the mycotoxin load. In this research, 257 [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are well-known contaminants of several food- and feedstuffs, including silage maize for dairy cattle. Climate change and year-to-year variations in climatic conditions may cause a shift in the fungal populations infecting maize, and therefore alter the mycotoxin load. In this research, 257 maize samples were taken from fields across Flanders, Belgium, over the course of three years (2016–2018) and analyzed for 22 different mycotoxins using a multi-mycotoxin liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. DNA of Fusarium graminearum, F. culmorum and F. verticillioides was quantified using the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Multi-mycotoxin contamination occurred frequently, with 47% of samples containing five or more mycotoxins. Nivalenol (NIV) was the most prevalent mycotoxin, being present in 99% of the samples, followed by deoxynivalenol (DON) in 86% and zearalenone (ZEN) in 50% of the samples. Fumonisins (FUMs) were found in only 2% of the samples in the wet, cold year of 2016, but in 61% in the extremely hot and dry year of 2018. Positive correlations were found between DON and NIV and between F. graminearum and F. culmorum, among others. FUM concentrations were not correlated with any other mycotoxin, nor with any Fusarium sp., except F. verticillioides. These results show that changing weather conditions can influence fungal populations and the corresponding mycotoxin contamination of maize significantly, and that multi-mycotoxin contamination increases the risk of mycotoxicosis in dairy cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fusarium: Mycotoxins, Taxonomy and Pathogenicity)
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Open AccessReview
Bacteriophages as Potential Tools for Detection and Control of Salmonella spp. in Food Systems
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110570 - 17 Nov 2019
Abstract
The global problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is quickly developing in most antibiotics used in hospitals and livestock. Recently, the infections with multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria become a major cause of death worldwide. Current antibiotics are not very effective in treating MDR [...] Read more.
The global problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is quickly developing in most antibiotics used in hospitals and livestock. Recently, the infections with multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria become a major cause of death worldwide. Current antibiotics are not very effective in treating MDR Salmonella infections, which have become a public health threat. Therefore, novel approaches are needed to rapidly detect and effectively control antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Bacteriophages (phages) have seen renewed attention for satisfying those requirements due to their host-specific properties. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the possibility of using phages as a detection tool for recognizing bacterial cell surface receptors and an alternative approach for controlling antibiotic-resistant pathogens in food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control and Detection of Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens)
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Fish Vaccine Development Strategies: Conventional Methods and Modern Biotechnological Approaches
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110569 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Fish immunization has been carried out for over 50 years and is generally accepted as an effective method for preventing a wide range of bacterial and viral diseases. Vaccination efforts contribute to environmental, social, and economic sustainability in global aquaculture. Most licensed fish [...] Read more.
Fish immunization has been carried out for over 50 years and is generally accepted as an effective method for preventing a wide range of bacterial and viral diseases. Vaccination efforts contribute to environmental, social, and economic sustainability in global aquaculture. Most licensed fish vaccines have traditionally been inactivated microorganisms that were formulated with adjuvants and delivered through immersion or injection routes. Live vaccines are more efficacious, as they mimic natural pathogen infection and generate a strong antibody response, thus having a greater potential to be administered via oral or immersion routes. Modern vaccine technology has targeted specific pathogen components, and vaccines developed using such approaches may include subunit, or recombinant, DNA/RNA particle vaccines. These advanced technologies have been developed globally and appear to induce greater levels of immunity than traditional fish vaccines. Advanced technologies have shown great promise for the future of aquaculture vaccines and will provide health benefits and enhanced economic potential for producers. This review describes the use of conventional aquaculture vaccines and provides an overview of current molecular approaches and strategies that are promising for new aquaculture vaccine development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fish Vaccination)
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Open AccessArticle
Multiple Lineages of Usutu Virus (Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) in Blackbirds (Turdus merula) and Mosquitoes (Culex pipiens, Cx. modestus) in the Czech Republic (2016–2019)
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110568 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Usutu virus (USUV) is a flavivirus (Flaviviridae: Flavivirus) of an African origin transmitted among its natural hosts (diverse species of birds) by mosquitoes. The virus was introduced multiple times to Europe where it caused mortality of blackbirds (Turdus merula [...] Read more.
Usutu virus (USUV) is a flavivirus (Flaviviridae: Flavivirus) of an African origin transmitted among its natural hosts (diverse species of birds) by mosquitoes. The virus was introduced multiple times to Europe where it caused mortality of blackbirds (Turdus merula) and certain other susceptible species of birds. In this study, we report detection of USUV RNA in blackbirds, Culex pipiens and Cx. modestus mosquitoes in the Czech Republic, and isolation of 10 new Czech USUV strains from carcasses of blackbirds in cell culture. Multiple lineages (Europe 1, 2 and Africa 3) of USUV were found in blackbirds and mosquitoes in the southeastern part of the country. A single USUV lineage (Europe 3) was found in Prague and was likely associated with increased mortalities in the local blackbird population seen in this area in 2018. USUV genomic RNA (lineage Europe 2) was detected in a pool of Cx. pipiens mosquitoes from South Bohemia (southern part of the country), where no major mortality of birds has been reported so far, and no flavivirus RNA has been found in randomly sampled cadavers of blackbirds. The obtained data contributes to our knowledge about USUV genetic variability, distribution and spread in Central Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Vector Borne Infections: A Novel Threat for Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Analysis of Choke Stroma and Asymptomatic Inflorescence Tissues Reveals Changes in Gene Expression in Both Epichloë festucae and Its Host Plant Festuca rubra subsp. rubra
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110567 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Many cool-season grasses have symbiotic relationships with Epichloë (Ascomycota, Clavicipitaceae) fungal endophytes that inhabit the intercellular spaces of the above-ground parts of the host plants. The presence of the Epichloë endophytes is generally beneficial to the hosts due to enhanced tolerance to biotic [...] Read more.
Many cool-season grasses have symbiotic relationships with Epichloë (Ascomycota, Clavicipitaceae) fungal endophytes that inhabit the intercellular spaces of the above-ground parts of the host plants. The presence of the Epichloë endophytes is generally beneficial to the hosts due to enhanced tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses conferred by the endophytes. Many Epichloë spp. are asexual, and those infections always remain asymptomatic. However, some Epichloë spp. have a sexual stage and produce a macroscopic fruiting body, a stroma, that envelops the developing inflorescence causing a syndrome termed “choke disease”. Here, we report a fungal and plant gene expression analysis of choke stroma tissue and asymptomatic inflorescence tissue of Epichloë festucae-infected strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra subsp. rubra). Hundreds of fungal genes and over 10% of the plant genes were differentially expressed when comparing the two tissue types. The differentially expressed fungal genes in the choke stroma tissue indicated a change in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, as well as a change in expression of numerous genes for candidate effector proteins. Plant stress-related genes were up-regulated in the stroma tissue, suggesting the plant host was responding to the epiphytic stage of E. festucae as a pathogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes and Their Interactions with Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of A Novel Arsenic Resistance Transposon Nested in A Mercury Resistance Transposon of Bacillus sp. MB24
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110566 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
A novel TnMERI1-like transposon designated as TnMARS1 was identified from mercury resistant Bacilli isolated from Minamata Bay sediment. Two adjacent ars operon-like gene clusters, ars1 and ars2, flanked by a pair of 78-bp inverted repeat sequences, which resulted [...] Read more.
A novel TnMERI1-like transposon designated as TnMARS1 was identified from mercury resistant Bacilli isolated from Minamata Bay sediment. Two adjacent ars operon-like gene clusters, ars1 and ars2, flanked by a pair of 78-bp inverted repeat sequences, which resulted in a 13.8-kbp transposon-like fragment, were found to be sandwiched between two transposable genes of the TnMERI1-like transposon of a mercury resistant bacterium, Bacillus sp. MB24. The presence of a single transcription start site in each cluster determined by 5′-RACE suggested that both are operons. Quantitative real time RT-PCR showed that the transcription of the arsR genes contained in each operon was induced by arsenite, while arsR2 responded to arsenite more sensitively and strikingly than arsR1 did. Further, arsenic resistance complementary experiments showed that the ars2 operon conferred arsenate and arsenite resistance to an arsB-knocked out Bacillus host, while the ars1 operon only raised arsenite resistance slightly. This transposon nested in TnMARS1 was designated as TnARS1. Multi-gene cluster blast against bacteria and Bacilli whole genome sequence databases suggested that TnMARS1 is the first case of a TnMERI1-like transposon combined with an arsenic resistance transposon. The findings of this study suggested that TnMERI1-like transposons could recruit other mobile elements into its genetic structure, and subsequently cause horizontal dissemination of both mercury and arsenic resistances among Bacilli in Minamata Bay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Degradation of Xenobiotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Epitopes of a Novel Peptidoglycan Cross-Linking Enzyme Cwp22 Recognized by Human Sera Obtained from Patients with Clostridioides difficile Infection and Cord Blood
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110565 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Clostridioides difficile (CD) cause a severe diarrhea which can lead to pseudomembranous colitis and even patient death. CD infection (CDI) is connected mainly with changes in intestinal microbiota as a consequence of antibiotic treatment. The growing resistance to antibiotics, justifies the search for [...] Read more.
Clostridioides difficile (CD) cause a severe diarrhea which can lead to pseudomembranous colitis and even patient death. CD infection (CDI) is connected mainly with changes in intestinal microbiota as a consequence of antibiotic treatment. The growing resistance to antibiotics, justifies the search for new methods of combating CD. Despite of ongoing research on the immunity against the pathogen, there is still lack of any reliable vaccine. Most recently, Cwp22, that is a cross-linking enzyme involved in the production of CD peptidoglycan, seems to be a promising target to prevent CDI in high-risk patients. In this paper, the Cwp22 protein polypeptide-specific epitopes were mapped in silico and using PEPSCAN procedure. They were recognized not only by antibodies from CDI patients’ but also by umbilical cord blood sera. We identified three epitopes 54EFRVAT59, 201KVNGKM206 and 268WQEKNGKKYY277 of Cwp22 protein. Since Cwp22 protein has key functionality and the described above epitopes are also recognized by umbilical cord blood serum, we postulate that they could have important protective properties. In this paper, we propose Cwp22 protein as a good antigen candidate for CDI preventive vaccine. Our results open the possibility to use 54EFRVAT59, 201KVNGKM206 and 268WQEKNGKKYY277, epitopes as suitable anti-CD vaccine antigens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clostridium difficile)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Colicin Production Rates on Allelopathic Interactions in Escherichia coli Populations
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110564 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Allelopathic interactions mediated by bacteriocins production serve microorganisms in the never-ending battle for resources and living space. Competition between the bacteriocin producer and sensitive populations results in the exclusion of one or the other depending on their initial frequencies, the structure of their [...] Read more.
Allelopathic interactions mediated by bacteriocins production serve microorganisms in the never-ending battle for resources and living space. Competition between the bacteriocin producer and sensitive populations results in the exclusion of one or the other depending on their initial frequencies, the structure of their habitat, their community density and their nutrient availability. These interactions were extensively studied in bacteriocins produced by Escherichia coli, the colicins. In spatially structured environments where interactions are local, colicin production has been shown to be advantageous to the producer population, allowing them to compete even when initially rare. Yet, in a well-mixed, unstructured environment where interactions are global, rare producer populations cannot invade a common sensitive population. Here we are showing, through an experimental model, that colicin-producers can outcompete sensitive and producer populations when the colicin production rates are enhanced. In fact, colicin production rates were proportional to the producer competitive fitness and their overall success in out-competing opponents when invading at very low initial frequencies. This ability of rare populations to invade established communities maintains diversity and allows the dispersal of beneficial traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression Indicate Dynamic Prevalence and Moderators of Foodborne Pathogens in African Indigenous Fermented Milk
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110563 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
As more microbiological data for indigenous fermented milk (IFM) becomes available, concern about their microbial safety becomes eminent. Nonetheless, these data are highly fragmented, and a tool is required to integrate existing data and to provide a basis for data-driven decision making for [...] Read more.
As more microbiological data for indigenous fermented milk (IFM) becomes available, concern about their microbial safety becomes eminent. Nonetheless, these data are highly fragmented, and a tool is required to integrate existing data and to provide a basis for data-driven decision making for IFM’s safety. Therefore, meta-analysis and meta-regression were conducted to estimate the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in IFM and to determine factors influencing the estimated values. Using Africa as a case, searches were systematically made for published data and relevant grey literature. Data from 18 studies in 15 countries were analyzed. Staphylococcus aureus (37%), pathogenic Escherichia coli (16%), Listeria monocytogenes (6%), and Salmonella spp. (3%) were the most prevalent pathogens with a pooled prevalence estimate of 12%. Heterogeneity among prevalence estimates was attributed to sampling point and microbial group but could be moderated by publication year, country cluster, and methods for microbial confirmation. The pooled prevalence estimates increased over time as more studies became available, whereby the odds were higher in studies from 2010 onwards than studies before 2010. From the analyses, S. aureus presented the greatest safety concern in African IFM. Future microbiological studies should take into consideration different IFM sampling points and advanced analytical methods to identify pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Safety of Fermented Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Perilla frutescens Leaf Alters the Rumen Microbial Community of Lactating Dairy Cows
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110562 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt., an annual herbaceous plant, has antibacterial, anti-inflammation, and antioxidant properties. To understand the effects of P. frutescens leaf on the ruminal microbial ecology of cattle, Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA sequencing technology was used. Fourteen cows were used in a [...] Read more.
Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt., an annual herbaceous plant, has antibacterial, anti-inflammation, and antioxidant properties. To understand the effects of P. frutescens leaf on the ruminal microbial ecology of cattle, Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA sequencing technology was used. Fourteen cows were used in a randomized complete block design trial. Two diets were fed to these cattle: a control diet (CON); and CON supplemented with 300 g/d P. frutescens leaf (PFL) per cow. Ruminal fluid was sampled at the end of the experiment for microbial DNA extraction. Overall, our findings revealed that supplementation with PFL could increase ruminal fluid pH value. The ruminal bacterial community of cattle was dominated by Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. The addition of PFL had a positive effect on Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Spirochaetes, but had no effect on Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria compared with the CON. The supplementation with PFL significantly increased the abundance of Marvinbryantia, Acetitomaculum, Ruminococcus gauvreauii, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, Selenomonas_1, Pseudoscardovia, norank_f__Muribaculaceae, and Sharpea, and decreased the abundance of Treponema_2 compared to CON. Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, and norank_f__Muribaculaceae were positively correlated with ruminal pH value. It was found that norank_f__Muribaculaceae and Acetitomaculum were positively correlated with milk yield, indicating that these different genera are PFL associated bacteria. This study suggests that PFL supplementation could increase the ruminal pH value and induce shifts in the ruminal bacterial composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gut Microbiota)
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Open AccessReview
Gut Bacteria and their Metabolites: Which One Is the Defendant for Colorectal Cancer?
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110561 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a worldwide health concern which requires efficient therapeutic strategies. The mechanisms underlying CRC remain an essential subject of investigations in the cancer biology field. The evaluation of human microbiota can be critical in this regard, since the disruption of [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a worldwide health concern which requires efficient therapeutic strategies. The mechanisms underlying CRC remain an essential subject of investigations in the cancer biology field. The evaluation of human microbiota can be critical in this regard, since the disruption of the normal community of gut bacteria is an important issue in the development of CRC. However, several studies have already evaluated the different aspects of the association between microbiota and CRC. The current study aimed at reviewing and summarizing most of the studies on the modifications of gut bacteria detected in stool and tissue samples of CRC cases. In addition, the importance of metabolites derived from gut bacteria, their relationship with the microbiota, and epigenetic modifications have been evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Gut Microbiota Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Indole Diterpene Gene Cluster for Biosynthesis of the Epoxy-Janthitrems in Epichloë Endophytes
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110560 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Epoxy-janthitrems are a class of indole diterpenes with structural similarity to lolitrem B. Two taxa of asexual Epichloë endophytes have been reported to produce epoxy-janthitrems, LpTG-3 (Lolium perenne Taxonomic Group 3; e.g., NEA12) and LpTG-4 (e.g., E1). Epichloë epoxy-janthitrems are [...] Read more.
Epoxy-janthitrems are a class of indole diterpenes with structural similarity to lolitrem B. Two taxa of asexual Epichloë endophytes have been reported to produce epoxy-janthitrems, LpTG-3 (Lolium perenne Taxonomic Group 3; e.g., NEA12) and LpTG-4 (e.g., E1). Epichloë epoxy-janthitrems are not well understood, the biosynthetic pathway and associated gene complement have not been described and while the literature suggests they are associated with superior protection against pasture insect pests and are tremorgenic in grazing mammals, these properties have not been confirmed using isolated and purified compounds. Whole genome sequence analysis was used to identify candidate genes for epoxy-janthitrem biosynthesis that are unique to epoxy-janthitrem producing strains of Epichloë. A gene, jtmD, was identified with homology to aromatic prenyl transferases involved in synthesis of indole diterpenes. The location of the epoxy-janthitrem biosynthesis gene cluster (JTM locus) was determined in the assembled nuclear genomes of NEA12 and E1. The JTM locus contains cluster 1 and cluster 2 of the lolitrem B biosynthesis gene cluster (LTM locus), as well as four genes jtmD, jtmO, jtm01, and jtm02 that are unique to Epichloë spp. that produce epoxy-janthitrems. Expression of each of the genes identified was confirmed using transcriptome analysis of perennial ryegrass-NEA12 and perennial ryegrass-E1 symbiota. Sequence analysis confirmed the genes are functionally similar to those involved in biosynthesis of related indole diterpene compounds. RNAi silencing of jtmD and in planta assessment in host-endophyte associations confirms the role of jtmD in epoxy-janthitrem production. Using LCMS/MS technologies, a biosynthetic pathway for the production of epoxy-janthitrems I–IV in Epichloë endophytes is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes and Their Interactions with Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Cell-Wall Hydrolases as Antimicrobials against Staphylococcus Species: Focus on Sle1
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110559 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Some staphylococcal species are opportunistic pathogens of humans and/or animals with Staphylococcus epidermidis as one of the most important. It causes a broad spectrum of diseases in humans and animals. This species is able to form biofilms and has developed antibiotic resistance, which [...] Read more.
Some staphylococcal species are opportunistic pathogens of humans and/or animals with Staphylococcus epidermidis as one of the most important. It causes a broad spectrum of diseases in humans and animals. This species is able to form biofilms and has developed antibiotic resistance, which has motivated research on new antibacterial agents. Cell-wall hydrolases (CWHs) can constitute a potential alternative. Following a hijacking strategy, we inventoried the CWHs of S. epidermidis. The lytic potential of representative CWHs that could be turned against staphylococci was explored by turbidity assays which revealed that cell wall glycosidases were not efficient, while cell wall amidases and cell wall peptidases were able to lyse S. epidermidis. Sle1, which is encoded by chromosomal gene and composed of three anchoring LysM domains and a C-terminal CHAP (cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase) domain, was one of the most active CWHs. The phylogeny of Sle1 revealed seven clusters mostly identified among staphylococci. Sle1 was able to lyse several staphylococcal species, including Staphylococcus aureus, both in planktonic and sessile forms, but not Micrococcus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Pathogenesis of Staphylococcus Infection)
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics of a Colistin-Resistant Escherichia coli ST695 Harboring the Chromosomally-Encoded mcr-1 Gene
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110558 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Enterobacteriaceae having chromosomally-encoded mcr-1 is rarely reported. In this study, we recovered a chromosomal mcr-1 carrying Escherichia coli, designated HeN100, from the feces of a diarrheal pig in China. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing showed that HeN100 was resistant to three aminoglycosides, twelve β-lactams [...] Read more.
Enterobacteriaceae having chromosomally-encoded mcr-1 is rarely reported. In this study, we recovered a chromosomal mcr-1 carrying Escherichia coli, designated HeN100, from the feces of a diarrheal pig in China. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing showed that HeN100 was resistant to three aminoglycosides, twelve β-lactams including three carbapenems, one phenicol, two tetracyclines, two fluoroquinolones, nitrofurantoin, and colistin tested. Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencing revealed that the complete genomes of the multidrug resistant (MDR) HeN100 consisted of a single circular chromosome and five circular plasmids. Bioinformatical analysis determined HeN100 as ST695 and it contained many acquired resistance genes responsible for its MDR phenotypes, including colistin resistance mcr-1 and the carbapenem resistance blaNDM-1, and most of these genes were located on plasmids. However, the mcr-1 was found on the chromosome, and it was located between an IS30-like element ISApl1 and a PAP2-like encoding gene. These three genes consisted of an “ISApl1-mcr-1-orf” segment and inserted in high AT-rich regions. Finally, we found the blaNDM-1 was carried on an IncFII type conjugative plasmid. The conjugation frequency of this plasmid was 7.61  ± 2.11  ×  10−5 per recipient, and its conjugation conferred resistance to carbapenems and other β-lactams, as well as aminoglycosides. The spread of this mcr-1/blaNDM-1-carrying E. coli ST695 represents a great concern of public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance in Livestock)
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Open AccessArticle
Sexually Transmitted Infections and Behavioral Determinants of Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Allahabad District (India) Based on Data from the ChlamIndia Study
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110557 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (CT and NG, respectively) are linked to an important sexual and reproductive health (SRH) burden worldwide. Behavior is an important predictor for SRH, as it dictates the risk for STIs. Assessing the [...] Read more.
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (CT and NG, respectively) are linked to an important sexual and reproductive health (SRH) burden worldwide. Behavior is an important predictor for SRH, as it dictates the risk for STIs. Assessing the behavior of a population helps to assess its risk profile. Methods: Study participants were recruited at a gynecology outpatient department (OPD) in the Allahabad district in Uttar Pradesh India, and a questionnaire was used to assess demographics, SRH, and obstetric history. Patients provided three samples (urine, vaginal swab, and whole blood). These samples were used to identify CT and NG using PCR/NAAT and CT IgG ELISA. Results: A total of 296 women were included for testing; mean age was 29 years. No positive cases of CT and NG were observed using PCR/NAAT. A 7% (22/296) positivity rate for CT was observed using IgG ELISA. No positive association was found between serology and symptoms (vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, dysuria, and dyspareunia) or adverse pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage and stillbirth). Positive relations with CT could be observed with consumption of alcohol, illiteracy, and tenesmus (p-value 0.02–0.03). Discussion: STI prevalence in this study was low, but a high burden of SRH morbidity was observed, with a high symptomatic load. High rates of miscarriage (31%) and stillbirth (8%) were also observed among study subjects. No associations could be found between these ailments and CT infection. These rates are high even for low- and middle-income country standards. Conclusion: This study puts forward high rates of SRH morbidity, and instances of adverse reproductive health outcomes are highlighted in this study, although no associations with CT infection could be found. This warrants more investigation into the causes leading to these complaints in the Indian scenario and potential biases to NAAT testing, such as consumption of over-the-counter antimicrobials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chlamydiae and Chlamydia like Bacteria)
Open AccessArticle
Combined Use of the Ab105-2φΔCI Lytic Mutant Phage and Different Antibiotics in Clinical Isolates of Multi-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110556 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Phage therapy is an abandoned antimicrobial therapy that has been resumed in recent years. In this study, we mutated a lysogenic phage from Acinetobacter baumannii into a lytic phage (Ab105-2phiΔCI) that displayed antimicrobial activity against A. baumannii clinical strain Ab177_GEIH-2000 (isolated in the [...] Read more.
Phage therapy is an abandoned antimicrobial therapy that has been resumed in recent years. In this study, we mutated a lysogenic phage from Acinetobacter baumannii into a lytic phage (Ab105-2phiΔCI) that displayed antimicrobial activity against A. baumannii clinical strain Ab177_GEIH-2000 (isolated in the GEIH-REIPI Spanish Multicenter A. baumannii Study II 2000/2010, Umbrella Genbank Bioproject PRJNA422585, and for which meropenem and imipenem MICs of respectively, 32 µg/mL, and 16 µg/mL were obtained). We observed an in vitro synergistic antimicrobial effect (reduction of 4 log–7 log CFU/mL) between meropenem and the lytic phage in all combinations analyzed (Ab105-2phiΔCI mutant at 0.1, 1 and 10 MOI and meropenem at 1/4 and 1/8 MIC). Moreover, bacterial growth was reduced by 8 log CFU/mL for the combination of imipenem at 1/4 MIC plus lytic phage (Ab105-2phiΔCI mutant) and by 4 log CFU/mL for the combination of imipenem at 1/8 MIC plus lytic phage (Ab105-2phiΔCI mutant) at both MOI 1 and 10. These results were confirmed in an in vivo model (G. mellonella), and the combination of imipenem and mutant Ab105-2phiΔCI was most effective (p < 0.05). This approach could help to reduce the emergence of phage resistant bacteria and restore sensitivity to antibiotics used to combat multi-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Asymmetrical Flow Field-Flow Fractionation on Virus and Virus-Like Particle Applications
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110555 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) separates sample components based on their sizes in the absence of a stationary phase. It is well suited for high molecular weight samples such as virus-sized particles. The AF4 experiment can potentially separate molecules within a broad size [...] Read more.
Asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) separates sample components based on their sizes in the absence of a stationary phase. It is well suited for high molecular weight samples such as virus-sized particles. The AF4 experiment can potentially separate molecules within a broad size range (~103−109 Da; particle diameter from 2 nm to 0.5−1 μm). When coupled to light scattering detectors, it enables rapid assays on the size, size distribution, degradation, and aggregation of the studied particle populations. Thus, it can be used to study the quality of purified viruses and virus-like particles. In addition to being an advanced analytical characterization technique, AF4 can be used in a semi-preparative mode. Here, we summarize and provide examples on the steps that need optimization for obtaining good separation with the focus on virus-sized particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle
Prevalence, Distribution, and Phylogeny of Type Two Toxin-Antitoxin Genes Possessed by Cronobacter Species where C. sakazakii Homologs Follow Sequence Type Lineages
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110554 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Cronobacter species are a group of foodborne pathogenic bacteria that cause both intestinal and systemic human disease in individuals of all age groups. Little is known about the mechanisms that Cronobacter employ to survive and persist in foods and other environments. Toxin–antitoxin (TA) [...] Read more.
Cronobacter species are a group of foodborne pathogenic bacteria that cause both intestinal and systemic human disease in individuals of all age groups. Little is known about the mechanisms that Cronobacter employ to survive and persist in foods and other environments. Toxin–antitoxin (TA) genes are thought to play a role in bacterial stress physiology, as well as in the stabilization of horizontally-acquired re-combinatorial elements such as plasmids, phage, and transposons. TA systems have been implicated in the formation of a persistence phenotype in some bacterial species including Escherichia coli and Salmonella. This project’s goal was to understand the phylogenetic relatedness among TA genes present in Cronobacter. Preliminary studies showed that two typical toxin genes, fic and hipA followed species evolutionary lines. A local database of 22 TA homologs was created for Cronobacter sakazakii and a Python version 3 shell script was generated to extract TA FASTA sequences present in 234 C. sakazakii genomes previously sequenced as part of Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) GenomeTrakr project. BLAST analysis showed that not every C. sakazakii strain possessed all twenty-two TA loci. Interestingly, some strains contained either a toxin or an antitoxin component, but not both. Five common toxin genes: ESA_00258 (parDE toxin-antitoxin family), ESA_00804 (relBE family), ESA_01887 (relBE family), ESA_03838 (relBE family), and ESA_04273 (YhfG-Fic family) were selected for PCR analysis and the primers were designed to detect these genes. PCR analysis showed that 55 of 63 strains possessed three of these genes Sequence analysis identified homologs of the target genes and some of the strains were PCR-negative for one or more of the genes, pointing to potential nucleotide polymorphisms in those loci or that these toxin genes were absent. Phylogenetic studies using a Cronobacter pan genomic microarray showed that for the most part TAs follow species evolutionary lines except for a few toxin genes possessed by some C. malonaticus and C. universalis strains; this demonstrates that some TA orthologues share a common phylogeny. Within the C. sakazakii strains, the prevalence and distribution of these TA homologs by C. sakazakii strain BAA-894 (a powdered infant formula isolate) followed sequence-type evolutionary lineages. Understanding the phylogeny of TAs among the Cronobacter species is essential to design future studies to realize the physiological mechanisms and roles for TAs in stress adaptation and persistence of Cronobacter within food matrices and food processing environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antitoxin Systems I)
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Open AccessArticle
Computational Modelling of Metabolic Burden and Substrate Toxicity in Escherichia coli Carrying a Synthetic Metabolic Pathway
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110553 - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
In our previous work, we designed and implemented a synthetic metabolic pathway for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) biodegradation in Escherichia coli. Significant effects of metabolic burden and toxicity exacerbation were observed on single cell and population levels. Deeper understanding of mechanisms underlying these effects [...] Read more.
In our previous work, we designed and implemented a synthetic metabolic pathway for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) biodegradation in Escherichia coli. Significant effects of metabolic burden and toxicity exacerbation were observed on single cell and population levels. Deeper understanding of mechanisms underlying these effects is extremely important for metabolic engineering of efficient microbial cell factories for biotechnological processes. In this paper, we present a novel mathematical model of the pathway. The model addresses for the first time the combined effects of toxicity exacerbation and metabolic burden in the context of bacterial population growth. The model is calibrated with respect to the real data obtained with our original synthetically modified E. coli strain. Using the model, we explore the dynamics of the population growth along with the outcome of the TCP biodegradation pathway considering the toxicity exacerbation and metabolic burden. On the methodological side, we introduce a unique computational workflow utilising algorithmic methods of computer science for the particular modelling problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Degradation of Xenobiotics)
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