20,431 research outputs found

    Species status of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Evolutionary and epidemiological inferences from multilocus sequence typing

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    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited - Copyright @ 2007 Bennett et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.Background: Various typing methods have been developed for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, but none provide the combination of discrimination, reproducibility, portability, and genetic inference that allows the analysis of all aspects of the epidemiology of this pathogen from a single data set. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has been used successfully to characterize the related organisms Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria lactamica. Here, the same seven locus Neisseria scheme was used to characterize a diverse collection of N. gonorrhoeae isolates to investigate whether this method would allow differentiation among isolates, and to distinguish these three species. Results: A total of 149 gonococcal isolates were typed and submitted to the Neisseria MLST database. Although relatively few (27) polymorphisms were detected among the seven MLST loci, a total of 66 unique allele combinations (sequence types, STs), were observed, a number comparable to that seen among isolate collections of the more diverse meningococcus. Patterns of genetic variation were consistent with high levels of recombination generating this diversity. There was no evidence for geographical structuring among the isolates examined, with isolates collected in Liverpool, UK, showing levels of diversity similar to a global collection of isolates. There was, however, evidence that populations of N. meningitidis, N. gonorrhoeae and N. lactamica were distinct, with little support for frequent genetic recombination among these species, with the sequences from the gdh locus alone grouping the species into distinct clusters. Conclusion: The seven loci Neisseria MLST scheme was readily adapted to N. gonorrhoeae isolates, providing a highly discriminatory typing method. In addition, these data permitted phylogenetic and population genetic inferences to be made, including direct comparisons with N. meningitidis and N. lactamica. Examination of these data demonstrated that alleles were rarely shared among the three species. Analysis of variation at a single locus, gdh, provided a rapid means of identifying misclassified isolates and determining whether mixed cultures were present.This study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and European Unio

    Development of a SimpleProbe real-Time PCR Assay for rapid detection and identification of the US novel urethrotropic clade of Neisseria meningitidis ST-11 (US_NmUC)

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    Urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, is one of the most common reasons men seek clinical care. Sexually transmitted pathogens including Neisseria gonorrhoeae are responsible for over half of the symptomatic urethritis cases in U.S. men. Recently, clinics in Indianapolis, Columbus, Atlanta, and other U.S. cities began to note increasing numbers of men presenting with urethritis and Gram-negative intracellular diplococci in their urethral smears who test negative for N. gonorrhoeae. Many of these discordant cases, which have periodically reached highs of more than 25% of presumed gonococcal cases in some sexually transmitted infection clinics in the U.S. Midwest, are infected with strains in a novel urethrotropic clade of Neisseria meningitidis ST-11 (US_NmUC). However, no cultivation-independent tests are available for the US_NmUC strains, and prior studies relied on microbial culture and genome sequencing to identify them. Here, we describe a PCR test that can identify the US_NmUC strains and distinguish them from commensal and invasive N. meningitidis strains as well as N. gonorrhoeae. Our SimpleProbe®-based real-time PCR assay targets a conserved nucleotide substitution in a horizontally acquired region of US_NmUC strain genomes. We applied the assay to 241 urine specimens whose microbial compositions had previously been determined by deep shotgun metagenomic sequencing. The assay detected the single US_NmUC positive case in this cohort, with no false positives. Overall, our simple and readily adaptable assay could facilitate investigation of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of the US_NmUC clade

    Distinct Binding and Immunogenic Properties of the Gonococcal Homologue of Meningococcal Factor H Binding Protein

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    Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis. The bacterium recruits factor H (fH), a negative regulator of the complement system, to its surface via fH binding protein (fHbp), providing a mechanism to avoid complement-mediated killing. fHbp is an important antigen that elicits protective immunity against the meningococcus and has been divided into three different variant groups, V1, V2 and V3, or families A and B. However, immunisation with fHbp V1 does not result in cross-protection against V2 and V3 and vice versa. Furthermore, high affinity binding of fH could impair immune responses against fHbp. Here, we investigate a homologue of fHbp in Neisseria gonorrhoeae, designated as Gonococcal homologue of fHbp (Ghfp) which we show is a promising vaccine candidate for N. meningitidis. We demonstrate that Gfhp is not expressed on the surface of the gonococcus and, despite its high level of identity with fHbp, does not bind fH. Substitution of only two amino acids in Ghfp is sufficient to confer fH binding, while the corresponding residues in V3 fHbp are essential for high affinity fH binding. Furthermore, immune responses against Ghfp recognise V1, V2 and V3 fHbps expressed by a range of clinical isolates, and have serum bactericidal activity against N. meningitidis expressing fHbps from all variant groups

    Adjuvants : an essential component of neisseria vaccines

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    Adjuvants may be classified into delivery systems and immune potentiator or modulator molecules based on their mechanism of action. Neisseria vaccines containing traditional adjuvants such as aluminium salts have existed for long time, but meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups, particularly serogroup B, continues to be a global health problem. Novel strategies have applied in silico and recombinant technologies to develop "universal" antigens (e.g. proteins, peptides and plasmid DNA) for vaccines, but these antigens have been shown to be poorly immunogenic even when alum adjuvanted, implying a need for better vaccine design. In this work we review the use of natural, detoxified, or synthetic molecules in combination with antigens to activate the innate immune system and to modulate the adaptive immune responses. In the main, antigenic and imune potentiator signals are delivered using nano-, micro-particles, alum, or emulsions. The importance of interaction between adjuvants and antigens to activate and target dendritic cells, the bridge between the innate and adaptive immune systems, will be discussed. In addition, nasal vaccine strategies based on the development of mucosal adjuvants and Neisseria derivatives to eliminate the pathogen at the site of infection provide promising adjuvants effective not only against respiratory pathogens, but also against pathogens responsible for enteric and sexually transmitted diseases

    Meningococcal genetic variation mechanisms viewed through comparative analysis of Serogroup C strain FAM18

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    Copyright @ 2007 Public Library of ScienceThe bacterium Neisseria meningitidis is commonly found harmlessly colonising the mucosal surfaces of the human nasopharynx. Occasionally strains can invade host tissues causing septicaemia and meningitis, making the bacterium a major cause of morbidity and mortality in both the developed and developing world. The species is known to be diverse in many ways, as a product of its natural transformability and of a range of recombination and mutation-based systems. Previous work on pathogenic Neisseria has identified several mechanisms for the generation of diversity of surface structures, including phase variation based on slippage-like mechanisms and sequence conversion of expressed genes using information from silent loci. Comparison of the genome sequences of two N. meningitidis strains, serogroup B MC58 and serogroup A Z2491, suggested further mechanisms of variation, including C-terminal exchange in specific genes and enhanced localised recombination and variation related to repeat arrays. We have sequenced the genome of N. meningitidis strain FAM18, a representative of the ST-11/ET-37 complex, providing the first genome sequence for the disease-causing serogroup C meningococci; it has 1,976 predicted genes, of which 60 do not have orthologues in the previously sequenced serogroup A or B strains. Through genome comparison with Z2491 and MC58 we have further characterised specific mechanisms of genetic variation in N. meningitidis, describing specialised loci for generation of cell surface protein variants and measuring the association between noncoding repeat arrays and sequence variation in flanking genes. Here we provide a detailed view of novel genetic diversification mechanisms in N. meningitidis. Our analysis provides evidence for the hypothesis that the noncoding repeat arrays in neisserial genomes (neisserial intergenic mosaic elements) provide a crucial mechanism for the generation of surface antigen variants. Such variation will have an impact on the interaction with the host tissues, and understanding these mechanisms is important to aid our understanding of the intimate and complex relationship between the human nasopharynx and the meningococcus.This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust through the Beowulf Genomics Initiative

    Genome wide expression profiling reveals suppression of host defence responses during colonisation by Neisseria meningitides but not N. lactamica.

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    Both Neisseria meningitidis and the closely related bacterium Neisseria lactamica colonise human nasopharyngeal mucosal surface, but only N. meningitidis invades the bloodstream to cause potentially life-threatening meningitis and septicaemia. We have hypothesised that the two neisserial species differentially modulate host respiratory epithelial cell gene expression reflecting their disease potential. Confluent monolayers of 16HBE14 human bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to live and/or dead N. meningitidis (including capsule and pili mutants) and N. lactamica, and their transcriptomes were compared using whole genome microarrays. Changes in expression of selected genes were subsequently validated using Q-RT-PCR and ELISAs. Live N. meningitidis and N. lactamica induced genes involved in host energy production processes suggesting that both bacterial species utilise host resources. N. meningitidis infection was associated with down-regulation of host defence genes. N. lactamica, relative to N. meningitidis, initiates up-regulation of proinflammatory genes. Bacterial secreted proteins alone induced some of the changes observed. The results suggest N. meningitidis and N. lactamica differentially regulate host respiratory epithelial cell gene expression through colonisation and/or protein secretion, and that this may contribute to subsequent clinical outcomes associated with these bacteria

    Development of Multi-Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis for Outbreak Detection of Neisseria meningitidis

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    Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of septicemia and meningitis worldwide. Traditional typing methods like pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for identifying outbreaks are subjective and time consuming. Multi-locus variable number tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) is an objective typing method amenable to automation that has been used to type other bacterial pathogens. This report describes the development of MLVA for outbreak detection of N. meningitidis. Tandem Repeats Finder software was used to identify variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) from 3 sequenced N. meningitidis genomes. PCR amplification of identified VNTRs was performed on DNA from 7 serogroup representative isolates. PCR products were sequenced and repeats were manually counted. VNTR loci identified by this screen were evaluated on a collection of 46 outbreak and sporadic serogroup C isolates. Alleles at each locus were concatenated to define the MLVA type for each isolate. Minimum spanning tree (MST) analysis was performed to determine the genetic relationships among the isolates. The genetic distance was defined as the summed tandem repeat difference (STRD) between isolates MLVA types. Outbreak clusters were defined by a STRD less than or equal to 3. These data was compared to PFGE data to determine the utility of MLVA for outbreak detection. Twenty-one VNTR loci with variable copy numbers among the sequenced genomes were identified that met the established criteria of short repeat length and consensus sequence > 85%. Seven VNTR loci were reliably amplified among the 7 serogroups tested. These loci had repeat lengths between 4 and 20 nucleotides and exhibited between 10 and 26 alleles among 61 isolates belonging to 7 different serogroups. MST analysis with 7 loci differentiated serogroups, discriminated sporadic isolates and identified 7 out of 8 serogroup C outbreaks. In summary, MLVA with 5 VNTR loci distinguished N. meningitidis isolates from 7 different serogroups and sporadic isolates within each serogroup. In addition, MLVA identified 88% of PFGE-defined serogroup C outbreaks. Further investigation of these and other outbreak-associated isolates is necessary to define the optimal combination of VNTR loci and to evaluate MST analysis criteria in order to determine the utility of MLVA for N. meningitidis outbreak detection

    Genealogical typing of Neisseria meningitidis

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    Despite the increasing popularity of multilocus sequence typing (MLST), the most appropriate method for characterizing bacterial variation and facilitating epidemiological investigations remains a matter of debate. Here, we propose that different typing schemes should be compared on the basis of their power to infer clonal relationships and investigate the utility of sequence data for genealogical reconstruction by exploiting new statistical tools and data from 20 housekeeping loci for 93 isolates of the bacterial pathogen Neisseria meningitidis. Our analysis demonstrated that all but one of the hyperinvasive isolates established by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis and MLST were grouped into one of six genealogical lineages, each of which contained substantial variation. Due to the confounding effect of recombination, evolutionary relationships among these lineages remained unclear, even using 20 loci. Analyses of the seven loci in the standard MLST scheme using the same methods reproduced this classification, but were unable to support finer inferences concerning the relationships between the members within each complex

    Field evaluation of two rapid diagnostic tests for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A during the 2006 outbreak in Niger.

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    The Pastorex((R)) (BioRad) rapid agglutination test is one of the main rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for meningococcal disease currently in use in the "meningitis belt". Earlier evaluations, performed after heating and centrifugation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, under good laboratory conditions, showed high sensitivity and specificity. However, during an epidemic, the test may be used without prior sample preparation. Recently a new, easy-to-use dipstick RDT for meningococcal disease detection on CSF was developed by the Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire in Niger and the Pasteur Institute in France. We estimate diagnostic accuracy in the field during the 2006 outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A in Maradi, Niger, for the dipstick RDT and Pastorex((R)) on unprepared CSF, (a) by comparing each test's sensitivity and specificity with previously reported values; and (b) by comparing results for each test on paired samples, using McNemar's test. We also (c) estimate diagnostic accuracy of the dipstick RDT on diluted whole blood. We tested unprepared CSF and diluted whole blood from 126 patients with suspected meningococcal disease presenting at four health posts. (a) Pastorex((R)) sensitivity (69%; 95%CI 57-79) was significantly lower than found previously for prepared CSF samples [87% (81-91); or 88% (85-91)], as was specificity [81% (95%CI 68-91) vs 93% (90-95); or 93% (87-96)]. Sensitivity of the dipstick RDT [89% (95%CI 80-95)] was similar to previously reported values for ideal laboratory conditions [89% (84-93) and 94% (90-96)]. Specificity, at 62% (95%CI 48-75), was significantly lower than found previously [94% (92-96) and 97% (94-99)]. (b) McNemar's test for the dipstick RDT vs Pastorex((R)) was statistically significant (p<0.001). (c) The dipstick RDT did not perform satisfactorily on diluted whole blood (sensitivity 73%; specificity 57%).Sensitivity and specificity of Pastorex((R)) without prior CSF preparation were poorer than previously reported results from prepared samples; therefore we caution against using this test during an epidemic if sample preparation is not possible. For the dipstick RDT, sensitivity was similar to, while specificity was not as high as previously reported during a more stable context. Further studies are needed to evaluate its field performance, especially for different populations and other serogroups

    Detection of the United States Neisseria meningitidis urethritis clade in the United Kingdom, August and December 2019 - emergence of multiple antibiotic resistance calls for vigilance.

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    Since 2015 in the United States (US), the US Neisseria meningitidis urethritis clade (US_NmUC) has caused a large multistate outbreak of urethritis among heterosexual males. Its 'parent' strain caused numerous outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease among men who have sex with men in Europe and North America. We highlight the arrival and dissemination of US_NmUC in the United Kingdom and the emergence of multiple antibiotic resistance. Surveillance systems should be developed that include anogenital meningococci
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