71 research outputs found

    JJo, a recombinant dimer of conformationally restricted peptide elicits protective response against Group A Streptococcus (GAS) isolates from a GAS-endemic region

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    A peptide (J14) containing conformationally restricted epitopes from the M protein of Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is capable of eliciting protective immune response against GAS infection. However, the protective response may be lost possibly due to its weak secondary-structure when the antigen is fused with other antigens in a recombinant polyepitope vaccine construct. We previously showed that JJo, a conformationally stabilized derivative of dimeric J14, overcomes this problem. We now show that anti JJo antibodies react with diverse GAS isolates found in the Indian sub-continent and that these antibodies are opsonic for GAS. The GAS strains used in this study were isolated from throat and skin swabs from Mumbai, Chennai and Vellore. Sera from mice immunized with recombinant JJo peptide were tested by ELISA, immunofluorescence, flow-cytometry, indirect bactericidal assay and mouse challenge assays to determine specific immunogenicity, opsonic functions and protection against an Indian isolate. We propose that JJo is a robust antigen suitable for inclusion in recombinant multi-epitope vaccines which are potentially affordable option for the pediatric population of developing countries

    Conjugative transfer of ICESde3396 between three β-hemolytic streptococcal species

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    Background: Integrative conjugative elements (ICEs) are mobile genetic elements (MGEs) that possess all genes necessary for excision, transfer and integration into recipient genome. They also carry accessory genes that impart new phenotypic features to recipient strains. ICEs therefore play an important role in genomic plasticity and population structure. We previously characterised ICESde 3396, the first ICE identified in the β-hemolytic Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp equisimilis (SDSE) and demonstrated its transfer to single isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus, GAS) and Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus, GBS). While molecular studies found the ICE in multiple SDSE and GBS isolates, it was absent in all GAS isolates examined. Results: Here we demonstrate that ICESde 3396:km is transferable from SDSE to multiple SDSE, GAS and GBS isolates. However not all strains of these species were successful recipients under the same growth conditions. To address the role that host factors may have in conjugation we also undertook conjugation experiments in the presence of A549 epithelial cells and DMEM. While Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) occurred, conjugation efficiencies were no greater than when similar experiments were conducted in DMEM. Additionally transfer to GAS NS235 was successful in the presence of DMEM but not in Todd Hewitt Broth suggesting that nutritional factors may also influence HGT. The GAS and GBS transconjugants produced in this study are also able to act as donors of the ICE. Conclusion: We conclude that ICEs are major sources of interspecies HGT between β-hemolytic streptococci, and by introducing accessory genes imparting novel phenotypic characteristics, have the potential to alter the population structure of these species

    Microbiological pattern of arterial catheters in the intensive care unit

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Intravascular catheter related infection (CRI) is one of the most serious nosocomial infections. Diagnostic criteria include a positive culture from the catheter tip along with blood, yet in many patients with signs of infection, current culture techniques fail to identify pathogens on catheter segments. We hypothesised that a molecular examination of the bacterial community on short term arterial catheters (ACs) would improve our understanding of the variety of organisms that are present in this niche environment and would help develop new methods for the diagnosis of CRI.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The whole bacterial community presenting on all ACs was evaluated by molecular methods, i.e., a strategy of whole community DNA extraction, PCR amplification followed by cloning and 16S rDNA sequence analysis. Ten ACs were removed from patients suspected of CRI and 430 clones from 5 "colonised" and 5 "uncolonised" (semi-quantitative method) AC libraries were selected for sequencing and subsequent analysis. A total of 79 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified at the level of 97% similarity belonging to six bacterial divisions. An average of 20 OTUs were present in each AC, irrespective of colonisation status. Conventional culture failed to reveal the majority of these bacteria.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>There was no significant difference in the bacterial diversity between the 'uncolonised' and 'colonised' ACs. This suggests that vascular devices cultured conventionally and reported as non infective may at times potentially be a significant source of sepsis in critically ill patients. Alternative methods may be required for the accurate diagnosis of CRI in critically ill patients.</p

    Requirements for a Robust Animal Model to Investigate the Disease Mechanism of Autoimmune Complications Associated With ARF/RHD

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    The pathogenesis of Acute Rheumatic Fever/Rheumatic Heart Disease (ARF/RHD) and associated neurobehavioral complications including Sydenham's chorea (SC) is complex. Disease complications triggered by Group A streptococcal (GAS) infection are confined to human and determining the early events leading to pathology requires a robust animal model that reflects the hallmark features of the disease. However, modeling these conditions in a laboratory animal, of a uniquely human disease is challenging. Animal models including cattle, sheep, pig, dog, cat, guinea pigs rats and mice have been used extensively to dissect molecular mechanisms of the autoimmune inflammatory responses in ARF/RHD. Despite the characteristic limitations of some animal models, several rodent models have significantly contributed to better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underpinning features of ARF/RHD. In the Lewis rat autoimmune valvulitis model the development of myocarditis and valvulitis with the infiltration of mononuclear cells along with generation of antibodies that cross-react with cardiac tissue proteins following exposure to GAS antigens were found to be similar to ARF/RHD. We have recently shown that Lewis rats injected with recombinant GAS antigens simultaneously developed cardiac and neurobehavioral changes. Since ARF/RHD is multifactorial in origin, an animal model which exhibit the characteristics of several of the cardinal diagnostic criteria observed in ARF/RHD, would be advantageous to determine the early immune responses to facilitate biomarker discovery as well as provide a suitable model to evaluate treatment options, safety and efficacy of vaccine candidates. This review focuses on some of the common small animals and their advantages and limitations

    Predicted Coverage and Immuno-Safety of a Recombinant C-Repeat Region Based Streptococcus pyogenes Vaccine Candidate

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    The C-terminal region of the M-protein of Streptococcus pyogenes is a major target for vaccine development. The major feature is the C-repeat region, consisting of 35-42 amino acid repeat units that display high but not perfect identity. SV1 is a S. pyogenes vaccine candidate that incorporates five 14mer amino acid sequences (called J14i variants) from differing C-repeat units in a single recombinant construct. Here we show that the J14i variants chosen for inclusion in SV1 are the most common variants in a dataset of 176 unique M-proteins. Murine antibodies raised against SV1 were shown to bind to each of the J14i variants present in SV1, as well as variants not present in the vaccine. Antibodies raised to the individual J14i variants were also shown to bind to multiple but different combinations of J14i variants, supporting the underlying rationale for the design of SV1. A Lewis Rat Model of valvulitis was then used to assess the capacity of SV1 to induce deleterious immune response associated with rheumatic heart disease. In this model, both SV1 and the M5 positive control protein were immunogenic. Neither of these antibodies were cross-reactive with cardiac myosin or collagen. Splenic T cells from SV1/CFA and SV1/alum immunized rats did not proliferate in response to cardiac myosin or collagen. Subsequent histological examination of heart tissue showed that 4 of 5 mice from the M5/CFA group had valvulitis and inflammatory cell infiltration into valvular tissue, whereas mice immunised with SV1/CFA, SV1/alum showed no sign of valvulitis. These results suggest that SV1 is a safe vaccine candidate that will elicit antibodies that recognise the vast majority of circulating GAS M-types

    R17 coat protein binding site: a convenient reporter for in vitro

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    Genomic Location and Variation of the Gene for CRS, a Complement Binding Protein in the M57 Strains of Streptococcus pyogenes

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    All isolates of serotype M1 of group A streptococci possess a gene for streptococcal inhibitor of complement (SIC) in the mga regulon, which harbors genes for other virulence factors, such as M and M-like proteins, C5a peptidase, and a regulator. In serotype M57 the gene for a protein that is closely related to SIC (crs57) is located outside the mga regulon. We mapped the location of the crs57 gene in six strains of emm57 (gene encoding the M57 protein) sequence types to an intergenic region between the ABC transporter gene (SPy0778) and the gene for a small ribosomal protein (rpsU). The noncoding sequences on both sides of crs57 exhibited high degrees of identity to the corresponding regions of sic from M1 strains. This included one of the inverted repeat sequences of IS1562 but not the insertion element itself. These observations suggest that crs57 was recently acquired by serotype M57 or its progenitor via horizontal acquisition from serotype M1. The six emm57 sequence type isolates analyzed in this study belong to two distinct molecular types (vir types VT8 and VT101). Although the crs57 sequences from VT8 strains had very few substitution mutations, the VT101 crs57 sequence had a large number of such mutations. The CRS57 proteins from these strains are secretory products and have the ability to bind to complement proteins. All these proteins contain several tryptophan-rich repeats designated DWS motifs and internal repeat sequences. In all of these structural and biochemical characteristics CRS57 resembles SIC from M1 strains. Hence, CRS57 has a functional role similar to that of SIC in an M1 strain

    Genetic variation in group A streptococci.

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    Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a range of human diseases that vary in their clinical manifestations and severity. While numerous virulence factors have been described, the way these factors interact to promote different streptococcal diseases is less clear. In order to identify multifactorial relationships between GAS and the human host, novel high-throughput techniques such as microarrays are necessary. We have performed comparative studies using custom-designed virulence arrays to enhance our understanding of the high degree of genotypic variation that occurs in streptococci. This study has pointed to mobile genetic elements as the major agents that promote variation. Our results show that multiple combinations of genes might bring about similar clinical pictures. This adds further complexity to the intricate relationship between pathogen and host
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