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Microorganisms, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 260 articles

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Open AccessReview
The Gut Microbiota of the Insect Infraorder Pentatomomorpha (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) for the Light of Ecology and Evolution
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020464 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 134
Abstract
The stinkbugs of the infraorder Pentatomomorpha are a group of important plant sap-feeding insects, which host diverse microorganisms. Some are located in their complex morphological midgut compartments, while some within the specialized bacteriomes of insect hosts. This perpetuation of symbioses through host generations [...] Read more.
The stinkbugs of the infraorder Pentatomomorpha are a group of important plant sap-feeding insects, which host diverse microorganisms. Some are located in their complex morphological midgut compartments, while some within the specialized bacteriomes of insect hosts. This perpetuation of symbioses through host generations is reinforced via the diverse routes of vertical transmission or environmental acquisition of the symbionts. These symbiotic partners, reside either through the extracellular associations in midgut or intracellular associations in specialized cells, not only have contributed nutritional benefits to the insect hosts but also shaped their ecological and evolutionary basis. The stinkbugs and gut microbe symbioses present a valuable model that provides insights into symbiotic interactions between agricultural insects and microorganisms and may become potential agents for insect pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Gut Microbiology and Symbiosis)
Open AccessArticle
Direct and Indirect Effects of Management Intensity and Environmental Factors on the Functional Diversity of Lichens in Central European Forests
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020463 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 162
Abstract
Using 642 forest plots from three regions in Germany, we analyzed the direct and indirect effects of forest management intensity and of environmental variables on lichen functional diversity (FDis). Environmental stand variables were affected by management intensity and acted as an environmental filter: [...] Read more.
Using 642 forest plots from three regions in Germany, we analyzed the direct and indirect effects of forest management intensity and of environmental variables on lichen functional diversity (FDis). Environmental stand variables were affected by management intensity and acted as an environmental filter: summing direct and indirect effects resulted in a negative total effect of conifer cover on FDis, and a positive total effect of deadwood cover and standing tree biomass. Management intensity had a direct positive effect on FDis, which was compensated by an indirect negative effect via reduced standing tree biomass and lichen species richness, resulting in a negative total effect on FDis and the FDis of adaptation-related traits (FDisAd). This indicates environmental filtering of management and stronger niche partitioning at a lower intensity. In contrast, management intensity had a positive total effect on the FDis of reproduction-, dispersal- and establishment-related traits (FDisRe), mainly because of the direct negative effect of species richness, indicating functional over-redundancy, i.e., most species cluster into a few over-represented functional entities. Our findings have important implications for forest management: high lichen functional diversity can be conserved by promoting old, site-typical deciduous forests with a high richness of woody species and large deadwood quantity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Functional Traits and Ecosystem Functions)
Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Physiology of the Obligate Alkaliphilic Bacillus marmarensis GMBE 72T Considering Its Alkaline Adaptation Mechanism for Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) Synthesis
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020462 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 107
Abstract
The novel extreme obligate alkaliphilic Bacillus marmarensis DSM 21297 is known to produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). However, the detailed mechanism of PHB synthesis in B. marmarensis is still unknown. Here, we investigated which metabolic pathways and metabolic enzymes are responsible for PHB synthesis in [...] Read more.
The novel extreme obligate alkaliphilic Bacillus marmarensis DSM 21297 is known to produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). However, the detailed mechanism of PHB synthesis in B. marmarensis is still unknown. Here, we investigated which metabolic pathways and metabolic enzymes are responsible for PHB synthesis in order to understand the regulatory pathway and optimize PHB synthesis in B. marmarensis. In accordance with the fact that beta-galactosidase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, and Enoyl-CoA hydratase together with acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and lipase were annotated in B. marmarensis according to the RAST server, we used glucose, lactose, and olive oil to understand the preferred metabolic pathway for the PHB synthesis. It was found that B. marmarensis produces PHB from glucose, lactose, and olive oil. However, the highest PHB titer and the highest amount of PHB synthesized per dry cell mass (YP/X) were achieved in the presence of lactose, as compared to glucose and olive oil. Additionally, in the absence of peptone, the amount of PHB synthesized is reduced for each carbon source. Interestingly, none of the carbon sources studied yielded an efficient PHB synthesis, and supplementation of the medium with potassium ions did not enhance PHB synthesis. According to these experimental results and the presence of annotated metabolic enzymes based on the RAST server, PHB accumulation in the cells of B. marmarensis could be improved by the level of the expression of 3-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase (1.1.1.157), which increases the production of NADPH. Additionally, the accumulation of 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA could enhance the production of PHB in B. marmarensis in the presence of fatty acids. To our knowledge, this is the first report investigating the regulatory system involved in the control of PHB metabolism of B. marmarensis. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Role of Duration of Vaccine Protection with MenAfriVac: Simulating Alternative Vaccination Strategies
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020461 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 115
Abstract
We previously developed a transmission dynamic model of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A (NmA) with the aim of forecasting the relative benefits of different immunisation strategies with MenAfriVac. Our findings suggested that the most effective strategy in maintaining disease control was the introduction of [...] Read more.
We previously developed a transmission dynamic model of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A (NmA) with the aim of forecasting the relative benefits of different immunisation strategies with MenAfriVac. Our findings suggested that the most effective strategy in maintaining disease control was the introduction of MenAfriVac into the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). This strategy is currently being followed by the countries of the meningitis belt. Since then, the persistence of vaccine-induced antibodies has been further studied and new data suggest that immune response is influenced by the age at vaccination. Here, we aim to investigate the influence of both the duration and age-specificity of vaccine-induced protection on our model predictions and explore how the optimal vaccination strategy may change in the long-term. We adapted our previous model and considered plausible alternative immunization strategies, including the addition of a booster dose to the current schedule, as well as the routine vaccination of school-aged children for a range of different assumptions regarding the duration of protection. To allow for a comparison between the different strategies, we use several metrics, including the median age of infection, the number of people needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one case, the age distribution of cases for each strategy, as well as the time it takes for the number of cases to start increasing after the honeymoon period (resurgence). None of the strategies explored in this work is superior in all respects. This is especially true when vaccine-induced protection is the same regardless of the age at vaccination. Uncertainty in the duration of protection is important. For duration of protection lasting for an average of 18 years or longer, the model predicts elimination of NmA cases. Assuming that vaccine protection is more durable for individuals vaccinated after the age of 5 years, routine immunization of older children would be more efficient in reducing disease incidence and would also result in a fewer number of doses necessary to prevent one case. Assuming that elimination does not occur, adding a booster dose is likely to lead to prevent most cases but the caveat will be a more costly intervention. These results can be used to understand important sources of uncertainty around MenAfriVac and support decisions by policymakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Meningitis: Epidemiology and Vaccination)
Open AccessArticle
Shift from Carbon Flow through the Microbial Loop to the Viral Shunt in Coastal Antarctic Waters during Austral Summer
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020460 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 187
Abstract
The relative flow of carbon through the viral shunt and the microbial loop is a pivotal factor controlling the contribution of secondary production to the food web and to rates of nutrient remineralization and respiration. The current study examines the significance of these [...] Read more.
The relative flow of carbon through the viral shunt and the microbial loop is a pivotal factor controlling the contribution of secondary production to the food web and to rates of nutrient remineralization and respiration. The current study examines the significance of these processes in the coastal waters of the Antarctic during the productive austral summer months. Throughout the study a general trend towards lower bacterioplankton and heterotrophic nanoflagellate (HNF) abundances was observed, whereas virioplankton concentration increased. A corresponding decline of HNF grazing rates and shift towards viral production, indicative of viral infection, was measured. Carbon flow mediated by HNF grazing decreased by more than half from 5.7 µg C L−1 day−1 on average in December and January to 2.4 µg C L−1 day−1 in February. Conversely, carbon flow through the viral shunt increased substantially over the study from on average 0.9 µg C L−1 day−1 in December to 7.6 µg C L−1 day−1 in February. This study shows that functioning of the coastal Antarctic microbial community varied considerably over the productive summer months. In early summer, the system favors transfer of matter and energy to higher trophic levels via the microbial loop, however towards the end of summer carbon flow is redirected towards the viral shunt, causing a switch towards more recycling and therefore increased respiration and regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polar Microbes)
Open AccessArticle
A Mucoralean White Collar-1 Photoreceptor Controls Virulence by Regulating an Intricate Gene Network during Host Interactions
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020459 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 109
Abstract
Mucolares are an ancient group of fungi encompassing the causal agents for the lethal infection mucormycosis. The high lethality rates, the emerging character of this disease, and the broad antifungal resistance of its causal agents are mucormycosis features that are alarming clinicians and [...] Read more.
Mucolares are an ancient group of fungi encompassing the causal agents for the lethal infection mucormycosis. The high lethality rates, the emerging character of this disease, and the broad antifungal resistance of its causal agents are mucormycosis features that are alarming clinicians and researchers. Thus, the research field around mucormycosis is currently focused on finding specific weaknesses and targets in Mucorales for developing new treatments. In this work, we tested the role of the white-collar genes family in the virulence potential of Mucor lusitanicus. Study of the three genes of this family, mcwc-1a, mcwc-1b, and mcwc-1c, resulted in a marked functional specialization, as only mcwc-1a was essential to maintain the virulence potential of M. lusitanicus. The traditional role of wc-1 genes regulating light-dependent responses is a thoroughly studied field, whereas their role in virulence remains uncharacterized. In this work, we investigated the mechanism involving mcwc-1a in virulence from an integrated transcriptomic and functional approach during the host–pathogen interaction. Our results revealed mcwc-1a as a master regulator controlling an extensive gene network. Further dissection of this gene network clustering its components by type of regulation and functional criteria disclosed a multifunctional mechanism depending on diverse pathways. In the absence of phagocytic cells, mcwc-1a controlled pathways related to cell motility and the cytoskeleton that could be associated with the essential tropism during tissue invasion. After phagocytosis, several oxidative response pathways dependent on mcwc-1a were activated during the germination of M. lusitanicus spores inside phagocytic cells, which is the first stage of the infection. The third relevant group of genes involved in virulence and regulated by mcwc-1a belonged to the “unknown function,” indicating that new and hidden pathways are involved in virulence. The unknown function category is especially pertinent in the study of mucormycosis, as it is highly enriched in specific fungal genes that represent the most promising targets for developing new antifungal compounds. These results unveil a complex multifunctional mechanism used by wc-1 genes to regulate the pathogenic potential in Mucorales that could also apply to other fungal pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Host-Pathogen Interaction to Host-Directed Therapies)
Open AccessArticle
The Autotrophic Core: An Ancient Network of 404 Reactions Converts H2, CO2, and NH3 into Amino Acids, Bases, and Cofactors
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020458 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 158
Abstract
The metabolism of cells contains evidence reflecting the process by which they arose. Here, we have identified the ancient core of autotrophic metabolism encompassing 404 reactions that comprise the reaction network from H2, CO2, and ammonia (NH3) [...] Read more.
The metabolism of cells contains evidence reflecting the process by which they arose. Here, we have identified the ancient core of autotrophic metabolism encompassing 404 reactions that comprise the reaction network from H2, CO2, and ammonia (NH3) to amino acids, nucleic acid monomers, and the 19 cofactors required for their synthesis. Water is the most common reactant in the autotrophic core, indicating that the core arose in an aqueous environment. Seventy-seven core reactions involve the hydrolysis of high-energy phosphate bonds, furthermore suggesting the presence of a non-enzymatic and highly exergonic chemical reaction capable of continuously synthesizing activated phosphate bonds. CO2 is the most common carbon-containing compound in the core. An abundance of NADH and NADPH-dependent redox reactions in the autotrophic core, the central role of CO2, and the circumstance that the core’s main products are far more reduced than CO2 indicate that the core arose in a highly reducing environment. The chemical reactions of the autotrophic core suggest that it arose from H2, inorganic carbon, and NH3 in an aqueous environment marked by highly reducing and continuously far from equilibrium conditions. Such conditions are very similar to those found in serpentinizing hydrothermal systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial One-Carbon Metabolism of Natural and Engineered Systems)
Open AccessArticle
Native Vineyard Non-Saccharomyces Yeasts Used for Biological Control of Botrytis cinerea in Stored Table Grape
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020457 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Postharvest spoilage fungi, such as Botrytis cinerea, are considered the main cause of losses of fresh fruit quality and vegetables during storage, distribution, and consumption. The current control strategy is the use of SO2 generator pads whose application is now largely [...] Read more.
Postharvest spoilage fungi, such as Botrytis cinerea, are considered the main cause of losses of fresh fruit quality and vegetables during storage, distribution, and consumption. The current control strategy is the use of SO2 generator pads whose application is now largely under observation. A high quantity of SO2 can be deleterious for fresh fruits and vegetables and it is not allowed in organic agriculture. For this reason, great attention has been recently focused on identifying Biological Control Agents (BCA) to implement biological approaches devoid of chemicals. In this direction, we carried out our study in isolating five different non-Saccharomyces yeast strains from local vineyards in the South of Italy as possible BCA. We performed both in vitro and in vivo assays in semi-commercial conditions on detached grape berries stored at 0 °C, simulating the temperature normally used during cold storage, and obtained relevant results. We isolated three M. pulcherrima strains and one L. thermotolerans strain able to largely antagonize the development of the B. cinerea, at both in vitro and in vivo conditions. In particular, we detected the ability of the three isolates of M. pulcherrima strains Ale4, N20/006, and Pr7 and the L. thermotolerans strain N10 to completely inhibit (100% in reduction) the mycelial growth of B. cinerea by producing fungistatic compounds. We found, using an extracellular lytic enzymes activity assay, that such activity could be related to lipid hydrolyzation, b-1,3-glucanase and pectinase activity, and pectinase and protease activity, depending on the yeasts used. Results from our in vitro assays allowed us to hypothesize for M. pulcherrima strains Ale4 and N20/006 a possible combination of both the production of soluble metabolites and volatile organic compounds to antagonize against B. cinerea growth. Moreover, in semi-commercial conditions, the M. pulcherrima strain N20/006 and L. thermotolerans strain N10 showed relevant antagonistic effect also at low concentrations (with a significantly reduction of ‘slip skin’ incidence of 86.4% and 72.7%, respectively), thus highlighting a peculiar property to use in commercial development for organic agriculture and the handling process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Pb(II), Cd(II), and Al(III) Removal Capacity of Bacteria from Food and Gut Ecological Niches: Insights into Biodiversity to Limit Intestinal Biodisponibility of Toxic Metals
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020456 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 202
Abstract
Toxic metals (such as lead, cadmium, and, to a lesser extent, aluminum) are detrimental to health when ingested in food or water or when inhaled. By interacting with heavy metals, gut and food-derived microbes can actively and/or passively modulate (by adsorption and/or sequestration) [...] Read more.
Toxic metals (such as lead, cadmium, and, to a lesser extent, aluminum) are detrimental to health when ingested in food or water or when inhaled. By interacting with heavy metals, gut and food-derived microbes can actively and/or passively modulate (by adsorption and/or sequestration) the bioavailability of these toxins inside the gut. This “intestinal bioremediation” involves the selection of safe microbes specifically able to immobilize metals. We used inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to investigate the in vitro ability of 225 bacteria to remove the potentially harmful trace elements lead, cadmium, and aluminum. Interspecies and intraspecies comparisons were performed among the Firmicutes (mostly lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus spp., with some Lactococcus, Pediococcus, and Carnobacterium representatives), Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. The removal of a mixture of lead and cadmium was also investigated. Although the objective of the study was not to elucidate the mechanisms of heavy metal removal for each strain and each metal, we nevertheless identified promising candidate bacteria as probiotics for the intestinal bioremediation of Pb(II) and Cd(II). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benefical Properties and Safety of Lactic Acid Bacteria)
Open AccessArticle
Impact of Marine Aquaculture on the Microbiome Associated with Nearby Holobionts: The Case of Patella caerulea Living in Proximity of Sea Bream Aquaculture Cages
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020455 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 175
Abstract
Aquaculture plays a major role in the coastal economy of the Mediterranean Sea. This raises the issue of the impact of fish cages on the surrounding environment. Here, we explore the impact of aquaculture on the composition of the digestive gland microbiome of [...] Read more.
Aquaculture plays a major role in the coastal economy of the Mediterranean Sea. This raises the issue of the impact of fish cages on the surrounding environment. Here, we explore the impact of aquaculture on the composition of the digestive gland microbiome of a representative locally dwelling wild holobiont, the grazer gastropod Patella caerulea, at an aquaculture facility located in Southern Sicily, Italy. The microbiome was assessed in individuals collected on sea bream aquaculture cages and on a rocky coastal tract located about 1.2 km from the cages, as the control site. Patella caerulea microbiome variations were explained in the broad marine metacommunity context, assessing the water and sediment microbiome composition at both sites, and characterizing the microbiome associated with the farmed sea bream. The P. caerulea digestive gland microbiome at the aquaculture site was characterized by a lower diversity, the loss of microorganisms sensitive to heavy metal contamination, and by the acquisition of fish pathogens and parasites. However, we also observed possible adaptive responses of the P. caerulea digestive gland microbiome at the aquaculture site, including the acquisition of putative bacteria able to deal with metal and sulfide accumulation, highlighting the inherent microbiome potential to drive the host acclimation to stressful conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiomes for the Sustainable Production of Safe and Secure Foods)
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Madrid, Spain, during the First Wave of the Pandemic: Fast Spread and Early Dominance by D614G Variants
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020454 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Madrid, Spain, on 25 February 2020. It increased in frequency very fast and by the end of May more than 70,000 cases had been confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). To [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Madrid, Spain, on 25 February 2020. It increased in frequency very fast and by the end of May more than 70,000 cases had been confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). To study the lineages and the diversity of the viral population during this first epidemic wave in Madrid we sequenced 224 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes collected from three hospitals from February to May 2020. All the known major lineages were found in this set of samples, though B.1 and B.1.5 were the most frequent ones, accounting for more than 60% of the sequences. In parallel with the B lineages and sublineages, the D614G mutation in the Spike protein sequence was detected soon after the detection of the first coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) case in Madrid and in two weeks became dominant, being found in 80% of the samples and remaining at this level during all the study periods. The lineage composition of the viral population found in Madrid was more similar to the European population than to the publicly available Spanish data, underlining the role of Madrid as a national and international transport hub. In agreement with this, phylodynamic analysis suggested multiple independent entries before the national lockdown and air transportation restrictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2: Epidemiology and Pathogenesis)
Open AccessArticle
Morphological and Chemical Traits of Cladonia Respond to Multiple Environmental Factors in Acidic Dry Grasslands
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020453 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 189
Abstract
Terricolous lichen communities in lowlands occur especially in open dry habitats. Such communities are often dominated by species of the genus Cladonia, which are very variable in morphology, reproduction strategies, and secondary metabolites. In this work, we investigated traits-environment relationships considering vegetation [...] Read more.
Terricolous lichen communities in lowlands occur especially in open dry habitats. Such communities are often dominated by species of the genus Cladonia, which are very variable in morphology, reproduction strategies, and secondary metabolites. In this work, we investigated traits-environment relationships considering vegetation dynamics, substrate pH, disturbance, and climate. A total of 122 plots were surveyed in 41 acidic dry grasslands in the western Po Plain (Northern Italy). Relationships between Cladonia traits and environmental variables were investigated by means of a model-based Fourth Corner Analysis. Thallus morphology and metabolites responded to vegetation dynamics, substrate pH, disturbance, and climate, whereas reproduction strategies responded only to vegetation dynamics. Traits’ correlations with vegetation dynamics elucidate their colonization patterns in open dry habitats or suggest biotic interactions with bryophytes and vascular plants. In addition, correlations between metabolites and environmental factors support interpretations of their ecological roles. Our results also stress the importance of studying traits’ relationships with climatic factors as an alert towards lichen reactions to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Functional Traits and Ecosystem Functions)
Open AccessArticle
Supernatants of Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus plantarum Strains Exhibited Antioxidative Effects on A7R5 Cells
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020452 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 197
Abstract
Vascular reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an essential role in cardiovascular diseases and the antioxidative effects of probiotics have been widely reported. To screen the probiotic strains that may prevent cardiovascular diseases, we tested the antioxidative effects of supernatants of different Bifidobacterium and [...] Read more.
Vascular reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an essential role in cardiovascular diseases and the antioxidative effects of probiotics have been widely reported. To screen the probiotic strains that may prevent cardiovascular diseases, we tested the antioxidative effects of supernatants of different Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains on A7R5 cells. Preincubation with supernatants of B. longum CCFM752, L. plantarum CCFM1149, or L. plantarum CCFM10 significantly suppressed the angiotensin II-induced increases in ROS levels and increased catalase (CAT) activity in A7R5, whereas CCFM752 inhibited NADPH oxidase activation and CCFM1149 enhanced the intracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity simultaneously. Treatment with CCFM752, CCFM1149, or CCFM10 supernatants had no significant impact on transcriptional levels of Cat, Sod1, Sod2, Nox1, p22phox, or p47phox, but altered the overall transcriptomic profile and the expression of genes relevant to protein biosynthesis, and up-regulated the 60S ribosomal protein L7a (Rpl7a). A positive correlation between Rpl7a expression and intracellular CAT activity implied that Rpl7a may participate in CAT synthesis in A7R5. Supernatant of CCFM752 could also down-regulate the expression of NADPH oxidase activator 1 (Noxa1) and angiotensinogen in A7R5. Collectively, the probiotic strains CCFM752, CCFM1149, and CCFM10 exhibited antioxidative attributes on A7R5 cells and might help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Open AccessReview
The Shigella Type III Secretion System: An Overview from Top to Bottom
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020451 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 123
Abstract
Shigella comprises four species of human-restricted pathogens causing bacillary dysentery. While Shigella possesses multiple genetic loci contributing to virulence, a type III secretion system (T3SS) is its primary virulence factor. The Shigella T3SS nanomachine consists of four major assemblies: the cytoplasmic sorting platform; [...] Read more.
Shigella comprises four species of human-restricted pathogens causing bacillary dysentery. While Shigella possesses multiple genetic loci contributing to virulence, a type III secretion system (T3SS) is its primary virulence factor. The Shigella T3SS nanomachine consists of four major assemblies: the cytoplasmic sorting platform; the envelope-spanning core/basal body; an exposed needle; and a needle-associated tip complex with associated translocon that is inserted into host cell membranes. The initial subversion of host cell activities is carried out by the effector functions of the invasion plasmid antigen (Ipa) translocator proteins, with the cell ultimately being controlled by dedicated effector proteins that are injected into the host cytoplasm though the translocon. Much of the information now available on the T3SS injectisome has been accumulated through collective studies on the T3SS from three systems, those of Shigella flexneri, Salmonella typhimurium and Yersinia enterocolitica/Yersinia pestis. In this review, we will touch upon the important features of the T3SS injectisome that have come to light because of research in the Shigella and closely related systems. We will also briefly highlight some of the strategies being considered to target the Shigella T3SS for disease prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Type III Secretion Systems in Human/Animal Pathogenic Bacteria)
Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Anti-Biofilm and Antibacterial Properties of Streptococcus downii sp. nov.
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020450 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 124
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential anti-biofilm and antibacterial activities of Streptococcus downii sp. nov. To test anti-biofilm properties, Streptococcus mutans, Actinomyces naeslundii, Veillonella parvula, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were grown in a biofilm model in [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential anti-biofilm and antibacterial activities of Streptococcus downii sp. nov. To test anti-biofilm properties, Streptococcus mutans, Actinomyces naeslundii, Veillonella parvula, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were grown in a biofilm model in the presence or not of S. downii sp. nov. for up to 120 h. For the potential antibacterial activity, 24 h-biofilms were exposed to S. downii sp. nov for 24 and 48 h. Biofilms structures and bacterial viability were studied by microscopy, and the effect in bacterial load by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A generalized linear model was constructed, and results were considered as statistically significant at p < 0.05. The presence of S. downii sp. nov. during biofilm development did not affect the structure of the community, but an anti-biofilm effect against S. mutans was observed (p < 0.001, after 96 and 120 h). For antibacterial activity, after 24 h of exposure to S. downii sp. nov., counts of S. mutans (p = 0.019) and A. actinomycetemcomitans (p = 0.020) were significantly reduced in well-structured biofilms. Although moderate, anti-biofilm and antibacterial activities of S. downii sp. nov. against oral bacteria, including some periodontal pathogens, were demonstrated in an in vitro biofilm model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multispecies Biofilms and Microbial Interactions)
Open AccessReview
A Narrative Review of the Molecular Epidemiology and Laboratory Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Bacterial Meningitis Agents: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus agalactiae
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020449 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 163
Abstract
This narrative review describes the public health importance of four most common bacterial meningitis agents, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, and S. agalactiae (group B Streptococcus). Three of them are strict human pathogens that normally colonize the nasopharynx [...] Read more.
This narrative review describes the public health importance of four most common bacterial meningitis agents, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, and S. agalactiae (group B Streptococcus). Three of them are strict human pathogens that normally colonize the nasopharynx and may invade the blood stream to cause systemic infections and meningitis. S. agalactiae colonizes the genito-gastrointestinal tract and is an important meningitis agent in newborns, but also causes invasive infections in infants or adults. These four bacteria have polysaccharide capsules that protect them against the host complement defense. Currently licensed conjugate vaccines (against S. pneumoniae, H. influenza, and N. meningitidis only but not S. agalactiae) can induce protective serum antibodies in infants as young as two months old offering protection to the most vulnerable groups, and the ability to eliminate carriage of homologous serotype strains in vaccinated subjects lending further protection to those not vaccinated through herd immunity. However, the serotype-specific nature of these vaccines have driven the bacteria to adapt by mechanisms that affect the capsule antigens through either capsule switching or capsule replacement in addition to the possibility of unmasking of strains or serotypes not covered by the vaccines. The post-vaccine molecular epidemiology of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis is discussed based on findings obtained with newer genomic laboratory surveillance methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Meningitis: Epidemiology and Vaccination)
Open AccessReview
Dysbiosis in Pediatrics Is Associated with Respiratory Infections: Is There a Place for Bacterial-Derived Products?
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020448 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 165
Abstract
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are common in childhood because of the physiologic immaturity of the immune system, a microbial community under development in addition to other genetic, physiological, environmental and social factors. RTIs tend to recur and severe lower viral RTIs in early [...] Read more.
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are common in childhood because of the physiologic immaturity of the immune system, a microbial community under development in addition to other genetic, physiological, environmental and social factors. RTIs tend to recur and severe lower viral RTIs in early childhood are not uncommon and are associated with increased risk of respiratory disorders later in life, including recurrent wheezing and asthma. Therefore, a better understanding of the main players and mechanisms involved in respiratory morbidity is necessary for a prompt and improved care as well as for primary prevention. The inter-talks between human immune components and microbiota as well as their main functions have been recently unraveled; nevertheless, more is still to be discovered or understood in the above medical conditions. The aim of this review paper is to provide the most up-to-date overview on dysbiosis in pre-school children and its association with RTIs and their complications. The potential role of non-harmful bacterial-derived products, according to the old hygiene hypothesis and the most recent trained-innate immunity concept, will be discussed together with the need of proof-of-concept studies and larger clinical trials with immunological and microbiological endpoints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Respiratory Tract Infection in Children)
Open AccessArticle
Glucose-Binding of Periplasmic Protein GltB Activates GtrS-GltR Two-Component System in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020447 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 307
Abstract
A two-component system GtrS-GltR is required for glucose transport activity in P. aeruginosa and plays a key role during P. aeruginosa-host interactions. However, the mechanism of action of GtrS-GltR has not been definitively established. Here, we show that gltB, which encodes [...] Read more.
A two-component system GtrS-GltR is required for glucose transport activity in P. aeruginosa and plays a key role during P. aeruginosa-host interactions. However, the mechanism of action of GtrS-GltR has not been definitively established. Here, we show that gltB, which encodes a periplasmic glucose binding protein, is essential for the glucose-induced activation of GtrS-GltR in P. aeruginosa. We determined that GltB is capable of binding to membrane regulatory proteins including GtrS, the sensor kinase of the GtrS-GltR TCS. We observed that alanine substitution of glucose-binding residues abolishes the ability of GltB to promote the activation of GtrS-GltR. Importantly, like the gtrS deletion mutant, gltB deletion mutant showed attenuated virulence in both Drosophila melanogaster and mouse models of infection. In addition, using CHIP-seq experiments, we showed that the promoter of gltB is the major in vivo target of GltR. Collectively, these data suggest that periplasmic binding protein GltB and GtrS-GltR TCS form a complex regulatory circuit that regulates the virulence of P. aeruginosa in response to glucose. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Competitive Exclusion of Intra-Genus Salmonella in Neonatal Broilers
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020446 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 398
Abstract
Salmonellosis is a zoonotic infection caused by Salmonella enterica serotypes contracted from contaminated products. We hypothesized that competitive exclusion between Salmonella serotypes in neonatal broilers would reduce colonization and affect the host immune response. Day of hatch broilers were randomly allocated to one [...] Read more.
Salmonellosis is a zoonotic infection caused by Salmonella enterica serotypes contracted from contaminated products. We hypothesized that competitive exclusion between Salmonella serotypes in neonatal broilers would reduce colonization and affect the host immune response. Day of hatch broilers were randomly allocated to one of six treatment groups: (1) control, which received saline, (2) Salmonella Kentucky (SK) only on day 1 (D1), (3) Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) or Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) only on D1, (4) SK on D1 then ST or SE on day 2 (D2), (5) ST or SE on D1 then SK on D2, and (6) SK and ST or SE concurrently on D1. Salmonella gut colonization and incidence were measured from cecal contents. Livers and spleens were combined and macerated to determine systemic translocation. Relative mRNA levels of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, IL-18, and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) were measured in cecal tonsils and liver to investigate local and systemic immune responses. When a serotype was administered first, it was able to significantly reduce colonization of the following serotype. Significant changes were found in mRNA expression of cytokines. These results suggest competitive exclusion by Salmonella enterica serotypes affect local and systemic immune responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Open AccessReview
Beyond the Wall: Exopolysaccharides in the Biofilm Lifestyle of Pathogenic and Beneficial Plant-Associated Pseudomonas
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020445 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 194
Abstract
The formation of biofilms results from a multicellular mode of growth, in which bacteria remain enwrapped by an extracellular matrix of their own production. Many different bacteria form biofilms, but among the most studied species are those that belong to the Pseudomonas genus [...] Read more.
The formation of biofilms results from a multicellular mode of growth, in which bacteria remain enwrapped by an extracellular matrix of their own production. Many different bacteria form biofilms, but among the most studied species are those that belong to the Pseudomonas genus due to the metabolic versatility, ubiquity, and ecological significance of members of this group of microorganisms. Within the Pseudomonas genus, biofilm studies have mainly focused on the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa due to its clinical importance. The extracellular matrix of P. aeruginosa is mainly composed of exopolysaccharides, which have been shown to be important for the biofilm architecture and pathogenic features of this bacterium. Notably, some of the exopolysaccharides recurrently used by P. aeruginosa during biofilm formation, such as the alginate and polysaccharide synthesis loci (Psl) polysaccharides, are also used by pathogenic and beneficial plant-associated Pseudomonas during their interaction with plants. Interestingly, their functions are multifaceted and seem to be highly dependent on the bacterial lifestyle and genetic context of production. This paper reviews the functions and significance of the exopolysaccharides produced by plant-associated Pseudomonas, particularly the alginate, Psl, and cellulose polysaccharides, focusing on their equivalents produced in P. aeruginosa within the context of pathogenic and beneficial interactions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Energy Status of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cells during Dehydration and Rehydration
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020444 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 170
Abstract
Anhydrobiosis is the state of life when cells are exposed to waterless conditions and gradually cease their metabolism. In this study, we determined the sequence of events in Saccharomyces cerevisiae energy metabolism during processes of dehydration and rehydration. The intensities of respiration and [...] Read more.
Anhydrobiosis is the state of life when cells are exposed to waterless conditions and gradually cease their metabolism. In this study, we determined the sequence of events in Saccharomyces cerevisiae energy metabolism during processes of dehydration and rehydration. The intensities of respiration and acidification of the medium, the amounts of phenyldicarbaundecaborane (PCB) bound to yeast membranes, and the capabilities of cells to accumulate K+ were assayed using an electrochemical monitoring system, and the intracellular content of ATP was measured using a bioluminescence assay. Mesophilic, semi-resistant to desiccation S. cerevisiae strain 14 and thermotolerant, very resistant to desiccation S. cerevisiae strain 77 cells were compared. After 22 h of drying, it was possible to restore the respiration activity of very resistant to desiccation strain 77 cells, especially when glucose was available. PCB binding also indicated considerably higher metabolic activity of dehydrated S. cerevisiae strain 77 cells. Electrochemical K+ content and medium acidification assays indicated that permeabilization of the plasma membrane in cells of both strains started almost simultaneously, after 8–10 h of desiccation, but semi-resistant strain 14 cells maintained the K+ gradient for longer and more strongly acidified the medium. For both cells, the fast rehydration in water was less efficient compared to reactivation in the growth medium, indicating the need for nutrients for the recovery. Higher viability of strain 77 cells after rehydration could be due to the higher stability of their mitochondria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle
Co-Cultivation of Fusarium, Alternaria, and Pseudomonas on Wheat-Ears Affects Microbial Growth and Mycotoxin Production
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020443 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 209
Abstract
Mycotoxigenic fungal pathogens Fusarium and Alternaria are a leading cause of loss in cereal production. On wheat-ears, they are confronted by bacterial antagonists such as pseudomonads. Studies on these groups’ interactions often neglect the infection process’s temporal aspects and the associated priority effects. [...] Read more.
Mycotoxigenic fungal pathogens Fusarium and Alternaria are a leading cause of loss in cereal production. On wheat-ears, they are confronted by bacterial antagonists such as pseudomonads. Studies on these groups’ interactions often neglect the infection process’s temporal aspects and the associated priority effects. In the present study, the focus was on how the first colonizer affects the subsequent ones. In a climate chamber experiment, wheat-ears were successively inoculated with two different strains (Alternaria tenuissima At625, Fusarium graminearum Fg23, or Pseudomonas simiae Ps9). Over three weeks, microbial abundances and mycotoxin concentrations were analyzed and visualized via Self Organizing Maps with Sammon Mapping (SOM-SM). All three strains revealed different characteristics and strategies to deal with co-inoculation: Fg23, as the first colonizer, suppressed the establishment of At625 and Ps9. Nevertheless, primary inoculation of At625 reduced all of the Fusarium toxins and stopped Ps9 from establishing. Ps9 showed priority effects in delaying and blocking the production of the fungal mycotoxins. The SOM-SM analysis visualized the competitive strengths: Fg23 ranked first, At625 second, Ps9 third. Our findings of species-specific priority effects in a natural environment and the role of the mycotoxins involved are relevant for developing biocontrol strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Associated Pseudomonads)
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Open AccessReview
The History of Colistin Resistance Mechanisms in Bacteria: Progress and Challenges
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020442 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 134
Abstract
Since 2015, the discovery of colistin resistance genes has been limited to the characterization of new mobile colistin resistance (mcr) gene variants. However, given the complexity of the mechanisms involved, there are many colistin-resistant bacterial strains whose mechanism remains unknown and [...] Read more.
Since 2015, the discovery of colistin resistance genes has been limited to the characterization of new mobile colistin resistance (mcr) gene variants. However, given the complexity of the mechanisms involved, there are many colistin-resistant bacterial strains whose mechanism remains unknown and whose exploitation requires complementary technologies. In this review, through the history of colistin, we underline the methods used over the last decades, both old and recent, to facilitate the discovery of the main colistin resistance mechanisms and how new technological approaches may help to improve the rapid and efficient exploration of new target genes. To accomplish this, a systematic search was carried out via PubMed and Google Scholar on published data concerning polymyxin resistance from 1950 to 2020 using terms most related to colistin. This review first explores the history of the discovery of the mechanisms of action and resistance to colistin, based on the technologies deployed. Then we focus on the most advanced technologies used, such as MALDI-TOF-MS, high throughput sequencing or the genetic toolbox. Finally, we outline promising new approaches, such as omics tools and CRISPR-Cas9, as well as the challenges they face. Much has been achieved since the discovery of polymyxins, through several innovative technologies. Nevertheless, colistin resistance mechanisms remains very complex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Biofilm Activity of Cannabidiol against Candida albicans
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020441 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 169
Abstract
Candida albicans is a common fungal pathogen in humans. Biofilm formation is an important virulence factor of C. albicans infections. We investigated the ability of the plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to inhibit the formation and removal of fungal biofilms. Further, we evaluated its mode [...] Read more.
Candida albicans is a common fungal pathogen in humans. Biofilm formation is an important virulence factor of C. albicans infections. We investigated the ability of the plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to inhibit the formation and removal of fungal biofilms. Further, we evaluated its mode of action. Our findings demonstrate that CBD exerts pronounced time-dependent inhibitory effects on biofilm formation as well as disruption of mature biofilm at a concentration range below minimal inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations. CBD acts at several levels. It modifies the architecture of fungal biofilm by reducing its thickness and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production accompanied by downregulation of genes involved in EPS synthesis. It alters the fungal morphology that correlated with upregulation of yeast-associated genes and downregulation of hyphae-specific genes. Importantly, it represses the expression of C. albicans virulence-associated genes. In addition, CBD increases ROS production, reduces the intracellular ATP levels, induces mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization, modifies the cell wall, and increases the plasma membrane permeability. In conclusion, we propose that CBD exerts its activity towards C. albicans biofilm through a multi-target mode of action, which differs from common antimycotic agents, and thus can be explored for further development as an alternative treatment against fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal and Polymicrobial Biofilms)
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Open AccessReview
Emerging Human Babesiosis with “Ground Zero” in North America
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020440 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 131
Abstract
The first case of human babesiosis was reported in the literature in 1957. The clinical disease has sporadically occurred as rare case reports in North America and Europe in the subsequent decades. Since the new millennium, especially in the last decade, many more [...] Read more.
The first case of human babesiosis was reported in the literature in 1957. The clinical disease has sporadically occurred as rare case reports in North America and Europe in the subsequent decades. Since the new millennium, especially in the last decade, many more cases have apparently appeared not only in these regions but also in Asia, South America, and Africa. More than 20,000 cases of human babesiosis have been reported in North America alone. In several cross-sectional surveys, exposure to Babesia spp. has been demonstrated within urban and rural human populations with clinical babesiosis reported in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent humans. This review serves to highlight the widespread distribution of these tick-borne pathogens in humans, their tick vectors in readily accessible environments such as parks and recreational areas, and their phylogenetic relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonotic Pathogens: A One Health Approach)
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Open AccessArticle
DNA Polymerase B1 Binding Protein 1 Is Important for DNA Repair by Holoenzyme PolB1 in the Extremely Thermophilic Crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020439 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 159
Abstract
DNA polymerase B1 (PolB1) is a member of the B-family DNA polymerase family and is a replicative DNA polymerase in Crenarchaea. PolB1 is responsible for the DNA replication of both the leading and lagging strands in the thermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. Recently, [...] Read more.
DNA polymerase B1 (PolB1) is a member of the B-family DNA polymerase family and is a replicative DNA polymerase in Crenarchaea. PolB1 is responsible for the DNA replication of both the leading and lagging strands in the thermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. Recently, two subunits, PolB1-binding protein (PBP)1 and PBP2, were identified in Saccharolobus solfataricus. Previous in vitro studies suggested that PBP1 and PBP2 influence the core activity of apoenzyme PolB1 (apo-PolB1). PBP1 contains a C-terminal acidic tail and modulates the strand-displacement synthesis activity of PolB1 during the synthesis of Okazaki fragments. PBP2 modestly enhances the DNA polymerase activity of apo-PolB1. These subunits are present in Sulfolobales, Acidilobales, and Desulfurococcales, which belong to Crenarchaea. However, it has not been determined whether these subunits are essential for the activity of apo-PolB1. In this study, we constructed a pbp1 deletion strain in S. acidocaldarius and characterized its phenotypes. However, a pbp2 deletion strain was not obtained, indicating that PBP2 is essential for replication by holoenzyme PolB1. A pbp1 deletion strain was sensitive to various types of DNA damage and exhibited an increased mutation rate, suggesting that PBP1 contribute to the repair or tolerance of DNA damage by holoenzyme PolB1. The results of our study suggest that PBP1 is important for DNA repair by holoenzyme PolB1 in S. acidocaldarius. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Phylogenetic Characterization of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Detected in African Blue Ticks Feeding on Cattle in a Ugandan Abattoir
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020438 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 162
Abstract
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is the most geographically widespread of the tick-borne viruses. However, African strains of CCHFV are poorly represented in sequence databases. In addition, almost all sequence data collected to date have been obtained from cases of human disease, while [...] Read more.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is the most geographically widespread of the tick-borne viruses. However, African strains of CCHFV are poorly represented in sequence databases. In addition, almost all sequence data collected to date have been obtained from cases of human disease, while information regarding the circulation of the virus in tick and animal reservoirs is severely lacking. Here, we characterize the complete coding region of a novel CCHFV strain, detected in African blue ticks (Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus) feeding on cattle in an abattoir in Kampala, Uganda. These cattle originated from a farm in Mbarara, a major cattle-trading hub for much of Uganda. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the newly sequenced strain belongs to the African genotype II clade, which predominantly contains the sequences of strains isolated from West Africa in the 1950s, and South Africa in the 1980s. Whilst the viral S (nucleoprotein) and L (RNA polymerase) genome segments shared >90% nucleotide similarity with previously reported genotype II strains, the glycoprotein-coding M segment shared only 80% nucleotide similarity with the next most closely related strains, which were derived from ticks in Western India and Northern China. This genome segment also displayed a large number of non-synonymous mutations previously unreported in the genotype II strains. Characterization of this novel strain adds to our limited understanding of the natural diversity of CCHFV circulating in both ticks and in Africa. Such data can be used to inform the design of vaccines and diagnostics, as well as studies exploring the epidemiology and evolution of the virus for the establishment of future CCHFV control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses: Pathogenesis and Countermeasures)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of the Habitat- and Season-Independent Increase in Fungal Biomass Induced by the Invasive Giant Goldenrod and Its Impact on the Fungivorous Nematode Community
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020437 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Outside its native range, the invasive plant species giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) has been shown to increase belowground fungal biomass. This non-obvious effect is poorly characterized; we don’t know whether it is plant developmental stage-dependent, which fractions of the fungal community [...] Read more.
Outside its native range, the invasive plant species giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) has been shown to increase belowground fungal biomass. This non-obvious effect is poorly characterized; we don’t know whether it is plant developmental stage-dependent, which fractions of the fungal community are affected, and whether it is reflected in the next trophic level. To address these questions, fungal assemblages in soil samples collected from invaded and uninvaded plots in two soil types were compared. Although using ergosterol as a marker for fungal biomass demonstrated a significant increase in fungal biomass, specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays did not point at a quantitative shift. MiSeq-based characterization of the belowground effects of giant goldenrod revealed a local increase of mainly Cladosporiaceae and Glomeraceae. This asymmetric boost in the fungal community was reflected in a specific shift in the fungivorous nematode community. Our findings provide insight into the potential impact of invasive plants on local fungal communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Ecology in Plant Decomposition)
Open AccessArticle
An Engineered Reporter Phage for the Fluorometric Detection of Escherichia coli in Ground Beef
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020436 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 286
Abstract
Despite enhanced sanitation implementations, foodborne bacterial pathogens still remain a major threat to public health and generate high costs for the food industry. Reporter bacteriophage (phage) systems have been regarded as a powerful technology for diagnostic assays for their extraordinary specificity to target [...] Read more.
Despite enhanced sanitation implementations, foodborne bacterial pathogens still remain a major threat to public health and generate high costs for the food industry. Reporter bacteriophage (phage) systems have been regarded as a powerful technology for diagnostic assays for their extraordinary specificity to target cells and cost-effectiveness. Our study introduced an enzyme-based fluorescent assay for detecting the presence of E. coli using the T7 phage engineered with the lacZ operon which encodes beta-galactosidase (β-gal). Both endogenous and overexpressed β-gal expression was monitored using a fluorescent-based method with 4-methylumbelliferyl β-d-galactopyranoside (MUG) as the substrate. The infection of E. coli with engineered phages resulted in a detection limit of 10 CFU/mL in ground beef juice after 7 h of incubation. In this study, we demonstrated that the overexpression of β-gal coupled with a fluorogenic substrate can provide a straightforward and sensitive approach to detect the potential biological contamination in food samples. The results also suggested that this system can be applied to detect E. coli strains isolated from environmental samples, indicating a broader range of bacterial detection. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Bacterial Interactions with Aspergillus fumigatus in the Immunocompromised Lung
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020435 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
The immunocompromised airways are susceptible to infections caused by a range of pathogens which increases the opportunity for polymicrobial interactions to occur. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the predominant causes of pulmonary infection for individuals with respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis [...] Read more.
The immunocompromised airways are susceptible to infections caused by a range of pathogens which increases the opportunity for polymicrobial interactions to occur. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the predominant causes of pulmonary infection for individuals with respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis (CF). The spore-forming fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, is most frequently isolated with P. aeruginosa, and co-infection results in poor outcomes for patients. It is therefore clinically important to understand how these pathogens interact with each other and how such interactions may contribute to disease progression so that appropriate therapeutic strategies may be developed. Despite its persistence in the airways throughout the life of a patient, A. fumigatus rarely becomes the dominant pathogen. In vitro interaction studies have revealed remarkable insights into the molecular mechanisms that drive agonistic and antagonistic interactions that occur between A. fumigatus and pulmonary bacterial pathogens such as P. aeruginosa. Crucially, these studies demonstrate that although bacteria may predominate in a competitive environment, A. fumigatus has the capacity to persist and contribute to disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspergillus and Health)
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