5 research outputs found

    Differential Growth of Francisella tularensis, Which Alters Expression of Virulence Factors, Dominant Antigens, and Surface-Carbohydrate Synthases, Governs the Apparent Virulence of Ft SchuS4 to Immunized Animals

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft) is both a potential biological weapon and a naturally occurring microbe that survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with distinct phenotypes in various environments. Previously, we used a number of measurements to characterize Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) broth as (1) more similar to infection-derived bacteria, and (2) slightly more virulent in naïve animals, compared to Ft grown in Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). In these studies we observed that the free amino acids in MHB repress expression of select Ft virulence factors by an unknown mechanism. Here, we tested the hypotheses that Ft grown in BHI (BHI-Ft) accurately displays a full protein composition more similar to that reported for infection-derived Ft and that this similarity would make BHI-Ft more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity than MHB-Ft. We performed comprehensive proteomic analysis of Ft grown in MHB, BHI, and BHI supplemented with casamino acids (BCA) and compared our findings to published “omics” data derived from Ft grown in vivo. Based on the abundance of ~1,000 proteins, the fingerprint of BHI-Ft is one of nutrient-deprived bacteria that—through induction of a stringent-starvation-like response—have induced the FevR regulon for expression of the bacterium's virulence factors, immuno-dominant antigens, and surface-carbohydrate synthases. To test the notion that increased abundance of dominant antigens expressed by BHI-Ft would render these bacteria more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity, we employed a battery of LVS-vaccination and S4-challenge protocols using MHB- and BHI-grown Ft S4. Contrary to our hypothesis, these experiments reveal that LVS-immunization provides a barrier to infection that is significantly more effective against an MHB-S4 challenge than a BHI-S4 challenge. The differences in apparent virulence to immunized mice are profoundly greater than those observed with primary infection of naïve mice. Our findings suggest that tularemia vaccination studies should be critically evaluated in regard to the growth conditions of the challenge agent

    Rickettsial pathogen inhibits tick cell death through tryptophan metabolite mediated activation of p38 MAP kinase

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    Summary: Anaplasma phagocytophilum modulates various cell signaling pathways in mammalian cells for its survival. In this study, we report that A. phagocytophilum modulates tick tryptophan pathway to activate arthropod p38 MAP kinase for the survival of both this bacterium and its vector host. Increased level of tryptophan metabolite, xanthurenic acid (XA), was evident in A. phagocytophilum-infected ticks and tick cells. Lower levels of cell death markers and increased levels of total and phosphorylated p38 MAPK was noted in A. phagocytophilum-infected ticks and tick cells. Treatment with XA increased phosphorylated p38 MAPK levels and reduced cell death in A. phagocytophilum-infected tick cells. Furthermore, treatment with p38 MAPK inhibitor affected bacterial replication, decreased phosphorylated p38 MAPK levels and increased tick cell death. However, XA reversed these effects. Taken together, we provide evidence that rickettsial pathogen modulates arthropod tryptophan and p38 MAPK pathways to inhibit cell death for its survival in ticks

    Immunization against arthropod protein impairs transmission of rickettsial pathogen from ticks to the vertebrate host

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    Abstract Human anaplasmosis caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States. The black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, vector and transmit this bacterium to humans. In this study, we provide evidence that targeting I. scapularis membrane-bound organic anion transporting polypeptide 4056 (IsOATP4056) with an anti-vector vaccine affects transmission of A. phagocytophilum from ticks to the vertebrate host. Anaplasma phagocytophilum induces expression of IsOATP4056 in ticks and tick cells. Increased membrane localization of IsOATP4056 was evident in A. phagocytophilum-infected tick cells. Treatment with high dose (10 µg/ml) but not low dose (5 µg/ml) of EL-6 antibody that targets the largest extracellular loop of IsOATP4056 showed cytotoxic effects in tick cells but not in human keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT). Passive immunization, tick-mediated transmission and in vitro studies performed with mice ordered from two commercial vendors and with tick cells showed that EL-6 antibody not only impairs A. phagocytophilum transmission from ticks to the murine host but also aids in the reduction in the bacterial loads within engorged ticks and in tick cells by activation of arthropod Toll pathway. Furthermore, reduced molting efficiency was noted in ticks fed on EL-6 antibody-immunized mice. Collectively, these results provide a good candidate for the development of anti-tick vaccine to target the transmission of A. phagocytophilum and perhaps other tick-borne pathogens of medical importance

    Differential Growth of Francisella tularensis, Which Alters Expression of Virulence Factors, Dominant Antigens, and Surface-Carbohydrate Synthases, Governs the Apparent Virulence of Ft SchuS4 to Immunized Animals

    Get PDF
    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft) is both a potential biological weapon and a naturally occurring microbe that survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with distinct phenotypes in various environments. Previously, we used a number of measurements to characterize Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) broth as (1) more similar to infection-derived bacteria, and (2) slightly more virulent in naïve animals, compared to Ft grown in Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). In these studies we observed that the free amino acids in MHB repress expression of select Ft virulence factors by an unknown mechanism. Here, we tested the hypotheses that Ft grown in BHI (BHI-Ft) accurately displays a full protein composition more similar to that reported for infection-derived Ft and that this similarity would make BHI-Ft more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity than MHB-Ft. We performed comprehensive proteomic analysis of Ft grown in MHB, BHI, and BHI supplemented with casamino acids (BCA) and compared our findings to published “omics” data derived from Ft grown in vivo. Based on the abundance of ~1,000 proteins, the fingerprint of BHI-Ft is one of nutrient-deprived bacteria that—through induction of a stringent-starvation-like response—have induced the FevR regulon for expression of the bacterium's virulence factors, immuno-dominant antigens, and surface-carbohydrate synthases. To test the notion that increased abundance of dominant antigens expressed by BHI-Ft would render these bacteria more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity, we employed a battery of LVS-vaccination and S4-challenge protocols using MHB- and BHI-grown Ft S4. Contrary to our hypothesis, these experiments reveal that LVS-immunization provides a barrier to infection that is significantly more effective against an MHB-S4 challenge than a BHI-S4 challenge. The differences in apparent virulence to immunized mice are profoundly greater than those observed with primary infection of naïve mice. Our findings suggest that tularemia vaccination studies should be critically evaluated in regard to the growth conditions of the challenge agent
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