8 research outputs found

    Effective, Broad Spectrum Control of Virulent Bacterial Infections Using Cationic DNA Liposome Complexes Combined with Bacterial Antigens

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    Protection against virulent pathogens that cause acute, fatal disease is often hampered by development of microbial resistance to traditional chemotherapeutics. Further, most successful pathogens possess an array of immune evasion strategies to avoid detection and elimination by the host. Development of novel, immunomodulatory prophylaxes that target the host immune system, rather than the invading microbe, could serve as effective alternatives to traditional chemotherapies. Here we describe the development and mechanism of a novel pan-anti-bacterial prophylaxis. Using cationic liposome non-coding DNA complexes (CLDC) mixed with crude F. tularensis membrane protein fractions (MPF), we demonstrate control of virulent F. tularensis infection in vitro and in vivo. CLDC+MPF inhibited bacterial replication in primary human and murine macrophages in vitro. Control of infection in macrophages was mediated by both reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mouse cells, and ROS in human cells. Importantly, mice treated with CLDC+MPF 3 days prior to challenge survived lethal intranasal infection with virulent F. tularensis. Similarly to in vitro observations, in vivo protection was dependent on the presence of RNS and ROS. Lastly, CLDC+MPF was also effective at controlling infections with Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia pseudomallei and Brucella abortus. Thus, CLDC+MPF represents a novel prophylaxis to protect against multiple, highly virulent pathogens

    Isolation and Mutagenesis of a Capsule-Like Complex (CLC) from Francisella tularensis, and Contribution of the CLC to F. tularensis Virulence in Mice

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    BACKGROUND: Francisella tularensis is a category-A select agent and is responsible for tularemia in humans and animals. The surface components of F. tularensis that contribute to virulence are not well characterized. An electron-dense capsule has been postulated to be present around F. tularensis based primarily on electron microscopy, but this specific antigen has not been isolated or characterized. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A capsule-like complex (CLC) was effectively extracted from the cell surface of an F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) lacking O-antigen with 0.5% phenol after 10 passages in defined medium broth and growth on defined medium agar for 5 days at 32°C in 7% CO₂. The large molecular size CLC was extracted by enzyme digestion, ethanol precipitation, and ultracentrifugation, and consisted of glucose, galactose, mannose, and Proteinase K-resistant protein. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR showed that expression of genes in a putative polysaccharide locus in the LVS genome (FTL_1432 through FTL_1421) was upregulated when CLC expression was enhanced. Open reading frames FTL_1423 and FLT_1422, which have homology to genes encoding for glycosyl transferases, were deleted by allelic exchange, and the resulting mutant after passage in broth (LVSΔ1423/1422_P10) lacked most or all of the CLC, as determined by electron microscopy, and CLC isolation and analysis. Complementation of LVSΔ1423/1422 and subsequent passage in broth restored CLC expression. LVSΔ1423/1422_P10 was attenuated in BALB/c mice inoculated intranasally (IN) and intraperitoneally with greater than 80 times and 270 times the LVS LD₅₀, respectively. Following immunization, mice challenged IN with over 700 times the LD₅₀ of LVS remained healthy and asymptomatic. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that the CLC may be a glycoprotein, FTL_1422 and -FTL_1423 were involved in CLC biosynthesis, the CLC contributed to the virulence of F. tularensis LVS, and a CLC-deficient mutant of LVS can protect mice against challenge with the parent strain

    Host-Adaptation of Francisella tularensis Alters the Bacterium's Surface-Carbohydrates to Hinder Effectors of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with both intracellular and extracellular phases and could reasonably be expected to express distinct phenotypes in these environments. The presence of a capsule on this bacterium has been controversial with some groups finding such a structure while other groups report that no capsule could be identified. Previously we reported in vitro culture conditions for this bacterium which, in contrast to typical methods, yielded a bacterial phenotype that mimics that of the bacterium's mammalian, extracellular phase.SDS-PAGE and carbohydrate analysis of differentially-cultivated F. tularensis LVS revealed that bacteria displaying the host-adapted phenotype produce both longer polymers of LPS O-antigen (OAg) and additional HMW carbohydrates/glycoproteins that are reduced/absent in non-host-adapted bacteria. Analysis of wildtype and OAg-mutant bacteria indicated that the induced changes in surface carbohydrates involved both OAg and non-OAg species. To assess the impact of these HMW carbohydrates on the access of outer membrane constituents to antibody we used differentially-cultivated bacteria in vitro to immunoprecipitate antibodies directed against outer membrane moieties. We observed that the surface-carbohydrates induced during host-adaptation shield many outer membrane antigens from binding by antibody. Similar assays with normal mouse serum indicate that the induced HMW carbohydrates also impede complement deposition. Using an in vitro macrophage infection assay, we find that the bacterial HMW carbohydrate impedes TLR2-dependent, pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. Lastly we show that upon host-adaptation, the human-virulent strain, F. tularensis SchuS4 also induces capsule production with the effect of reducing macrophage-activation and accelerating tularemia pathogenesis in mice.F. tularensis undergoes host-adaptation which includes production of multiple capsular materials. These capsules impede recognition of bacterial outer membrane constituents by antibody, complement, and Toll-Like Receptor 2. These changes in the host-pathogen interface have profound implications for pathogenesis and vaccine development

    A MyD88-dependent IFNγR-CCR2 signaling circuit is required for mobilization of monocytes and host defense against systemic bacterial challenge

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    Monocytes are mobilized to sites of infection via interaction between the chemokine MCP-1 and its receptor, CCR2, at which point they differentiate into macrophages that mediate potent antimicrobial effects. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms by which monocytes are mobilized in response to systemic challenge with the intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis. We found that mice deficient in MyD88, interferon-γ (IFNγ)R or CCR2 all had defects in the expansion of splenic monocyte populations upon F. tularensis challenge, and in control of F. tularensis infection. Interestingly, MyD88-deficient mice were defective in production of IFNγ, and IFNγR-deficient mice exhibited defective production of MCP-1, the ligand for CCR2. Transplantation of IFNγR-deficient bone marrow (BM) into wild-type mice further suggested that mobilization of monocytes in response to F. tularensis challenge required IFNγR expression on BM-derived cells. These studies define a critical host defense circuit wherein MyD88-dependent IFNγ production signals via IFNγR expressed on BM-derived cells, resulting in MCP-1 production and activation of CCR2-dependent mobilization of monocytes in the innate immune response to systemic F. tularensis challenge