75 research outputs found

    [18F]FDG-6-P as a novel in vivo tool for imaging staphylococcal infections

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    Background Management of infection is a major clinical problem. Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive bacterium which colonises approximately one third of the adult human population. Staphylococcal infections can be life-threatening and are frequently complicated by multi-antibiotic resistant strains including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) imaging has been used to identify infection sites; however, it is unable to distinguish between sterile inflammation and bacterial load. We have modified [18F]FDG by phosphorylation, producing [18F]FDG-6-P to facilitate specific uptake and accumulation by S. aureus through hexose phosphate transporters, which are not present in mammalian cell membranes. This approach leads to the specific uptake of the radiopharmaceutical into the bacteria and not the sites of sterile inflammation. Methods [18F]FDG-6-P was synthesised from [18F]FDG. Yield, purity and stability were confirmed by RP-HPLC and iTLC. The specificity of [18F]FDG-6-P for the bacterial universal hexose phosphate transporter (UHPT) was confirmed with S. aureus and mammalian cell assays in vitro. Whole body biodistribution and accumulation of [18F]FDG-6-P at the sites of bioluminescent staphylococcal infection were established in a murine foreign body infection model. Results In vitro validation assays demonstrated that [18F]FDG-6-P was stable and specifically transported into S. aureus but not mammalian cells. [18F]FDG-6-P was elevated at the sites of S. aureus infection in vivo compared to uninfected controls; however, the increase in signal was not significant and unexpectedly, the whole-body biodistribution of [18F]FDG-6-P was similar to that of [18F]FDG. Conclusions Despite conclusive in vitro validation, [18F]FDG-6-P did not behave as predicted in vivo. However at the site of known infection, [18F]FDG-6-P levels were elevated compared with uninfected controls, providing a higher signal-to-noise ratio. The bacterial UHPT can transport hexose phosphates other than glucose, and therefore alternative sugars may show differential biodistribution and provide a means for specific bacterial detection

    Comprehensive molecular, genomic and phenotypic analysis of a major clone of Enterococcus faecalis MLST ST40

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    Large-Scale Screening of a Targeted Enterococcus faecalis Mutant Library Identifies Envelope Fitness Factors

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    Spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria responsible for nosocomial and community-acquired infections urges for novel therapeutic or prophylactic targets and for innovative pathogen-specific antibacterial compounds. Major challenges are posed by opportunistic pathogens belonging to the low GC% Gram-positive bacteria. Among those, Enterococcus faecalis is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections associated with life-threatening issues and increased hospital costs. To better understand the molecular properties of enterococci that may be required for virulence, and that may explain the emergence of these bacteria in nosocomial infections, we performed the first large-scale functional analysis of E. faecalis V583, the first vancomycin-resistant isolate from a human bloodstream infection. E. faecalis V583 is within the high-risk clonal complex 2 group, which comprises mostly isolates derived from hospital infections worldwide. We conducted broad-range screenings of candidate genes likely involved in host adaptation (e.g., colonization and/or virulence). For this purpose, a library was constructed of targeted insertion mutations in 177 genes encoding putative surface or stress-response factors. Individual mutants were subsequently tested for their i) resistance to oxidative stress, ii) antibiotic resistance, iii) resistance to opsonophagocytosis, iv) adherence to the human colon carcinoma Caco-2 epithelial cells and v) virulence in a surrogate insect model. Our results identified a number of factors that are involved in the interaction between enterococci and their host environments. Their predicted functions highlight the importance of cell envelope glycopolymers in E. faecalis host adaptation. This study provides a valuable genetic database for understanding the steps leading E. faecalis to opportunistic virulence

    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

    Comparative Genomic Analysis of Pathogenic and Probiotic Enterococcus faecalis Isolates, and Their Transcriptional Responses to Growth in Human Urine

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    Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common infection caused by enterococci, and Enterococcus faecalis accounts for the majority of enterococcal infections. Although a number of virulence related traits have been established, no comprehensive genomic or transcriptomic studies have been conducted to investigate how to distinguish pathogenic from non-pathogenic E. faecalis in their ability to cause UTI. In order to identify potential genetic traits or gene regulatory features that distinguish pathogenic from non-pathogenic E. faecalis with respect to UTI, we have performed comparative genomic analysis, and investigated growth capacity and transcriptome profiling in human urine in vitro. Six strains of different origins were cultivated and all grew readily in human urine. The three strains chosen for transcriptional analysis showed an overall similar response with respect to energy and nitrogen metabolism, stress mechanism, cell envelope modifications, and trace metal acquisition. Our results suggest that citrate and aspartate are significant for growth of E. faecalis in human urine, and manganese appear to be a limiting factor. The majority of virulence factors were either not differentially regulated or down-regulated. Notably, a significant up-regulation of genes involved in biofilm formation was observed. Strains from different origins have similar capacity to grow in human urine. The overall similar transcriptional responses between the two pathogenic and the probiotic strain suggest that the pathogenic potential of a certain E. faecalis strain may to a great extent be determined by presence of fitness and virulence factors, rather than the level of expression of such traits
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