98 research outputs found

    Biodefense: Trends and challenges in combating biological warfare agents

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    Attaching NorA efflux pump inhibitors to methylene blue enhances antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation of Escherichia coli and Acinetobacter baumannii in vitro and in vivo

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    Resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is a public health concern worldwide due to the increasing failure of standard antibiotic therapies. Antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation (aPDI) is a promising non-antibiotic alternative for treating localized bacterial infections that uses non-toxic photosensitizers and harmless visible light to produce reactive oxygen species and kill microbes. Phenothiazinium photosensitizers like methylene blue (MB) and toluidine blue O are hydrophobic cations that are naturally expelled from bacterial cells by multidrug efflux pumps, which reduces their effectiveness. We recently reported the discovery of a NorA efflux pump inhibitor-methylene blue (EPI-MB) hybrid compound INF55-(Ac)en-MB that shows enhanced photodynamic inactivation of the Gram-positive bacterium methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) relative to MB, both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we report the surprising observation that INF55-(Ac)en-MB and two related hybrids bearing the NorA efflux pump inhibitors INF55 and INF271 also show enhanced aPDI activity in vitro (relative to MB) against the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Acinetobacter baumannii, despite neither species expressing the NorA pump. Two of the hybrids showed superior effects to MB in murine aPDI infection models. The findings motivate wider exploration of aPDI with EPI-MB hybrids against Gram-negative pathogens and more detailed studies into the molecular mechanisms underpinning their activity

    Assessing the dynamics and complexity of disease pathogenicity using 4-dimensional immunological data

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    Investigating disease pathogenesis and personalized prognostics are major biomedical needs. Because patients sharing the same diagnosis can experience different outcomes, such as survival or death, physicians need new personalized tools, including those that rapidly differentiate several inflammatory phases. To address these topics, a pattern recognition-based method (PRM) that follows an inverse problem approach was designed to assess, in <10min, eight concepts: synergy, pleiotropy, complexity, dynamics, ambiguity, circularity, personalized outcomes, and explanatory prognostics (pathogenesis). By creating thousands of secondary combinations derived from blood leukocyte data, the PRM measures synergic, pleiotropic, complex and dynamic data interactions, which provide personalized prognostics while some undesirable features—such as false results and the ambiguity associated with data circularity-are prevented. Here, this method is compared to Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and evaluated with data collected from hantavirus-infected humans and birds that appeared to be healthy. When human data were examined, the PRM predicted 96.9 % of all surviving patients while PCA did not distinguish outcomes. Demonstrating applications in personalized prognosis, eight PRM data structures sufficed to identify all but one of the survivors. Dynamic data patterns also distinguished survivors from non-survivors, as well as one subset of non-survivors, which exhibited chronic inflammation. When the PRM explored avian data, it differentiated immune profiles consistent with no, early, or late inflammation. Yet, PCA did not recognize patterns in avian data. Findings support the notion that immune responses, while variable, are rather deterministic: a low number of complex and dynamic data combinations may be enough to, rapidly, unmask conditions that are neither directly observable nor reliably forecasted.Conacyt of Mexico (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologíahttp://www.frontiersin.org/Immunologyam2020Veterinary Tropical Disease

    Antimicrobial and Efflux Pump Inhibitory Activity of Caffeoylquinic Acids from Artemisia absinthium against Gram-Positive Pathogenic Bacteria

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    Background: Traditional antibiotics are increasingly suffering from the emergence of multidrug resistance amongst pathogenic bacteria leading to a range of novel approaches to control microbial infections being investigated as potential alternative treatments. One plausible antimicrobial alternative could be the combination of conventional antimicrobial agents/antibiotics with small molecules which block multidrug efflux systems known as efflux pump inhibitors. Bioassay-driven purification and structural determination of compounds from plant sources have yielded a number of pump inhibitors which acted against gram positive bacteria. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study we report the identification and characterization of 4′,5′-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid (4′,5′-ODCQA) from Artemisia absinthium as a pump inhibitor with a potential of targeting efflux systems in a wide panel of Gram-positive human pathogenic bacteria. Separation and identification of phenolic compounds (chlorogenic acid, 3′,5′-ODCQA, 4′,5′-ODCQA) was based on hyphenated chromatographic techniques such as liquid chromatography with post column solid-phase extraction coupled with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy. Microbial susceptibility testing and potentiation of well know pump substrates revealed at least two active compounds; chlorogenic acid with weak antimicrobial activity and 4′,5′-ODCQA with pump inhibitory activity whereas 3′,5′-ODCQA was ineffective. These intitial findings were further validated with checkerboard, berberine accumulation efflux assays using efflux-related phenotypes and clinical isolates as well as molecular modeling methodology. Conclusions/Significance: These techniques facilitated the direct analysis of the active components from plant extracts, as well as dramatically reduced the time needed to analyze the compounds, without the need for prior isolation. The calculated energetics of the docking poses supported the biological information for the inhibitory capabilities of 4′,5′-ODCQA and furthermore contributed evidence that CQAs show a preferential binding to Major Facilitator Super family efflux systems, a key multidrug resistance determinant in gram-positive bacteria.National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (grant R01GM59903)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (grant R01AI050875)Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (VICI grant 700.56.442)Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (grant 5U54MH084690-02

    Effect of Virulence Factors on the Photodynamic Inactivation of Cryptococcus neoformans

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    Opportunistic fungal pathogens may cause an array of superficial infections or serious invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogen causing cryptococcosis in HIV/AIDS patients, but treatment is limited due to the relative lack of potent antifungal agents. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) uses the combination of non-toxic dyes called photosensitizers and harmless visible light, which produces singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species that produce cell inactivation and death. We report the use of five structurally unrelated photosensitizers (methylene blue, Rose Bengal, selenium derivative of a Nile blue dye, a cationic fullerene and a conjugate between poly-L-lysine and chlorin(e6)) combined with appropriate wavelengths of light to inactivate C. neoformans. Mutants lacking capsule and laccase, and culture conditions that favoured melanin production were used to probe the mechanisms of PDI and the effect of virulence factors. The presence of cell wall, laccase and melanin tended to protect against PDI, but the choice of the appropriate photosensitizers and dosimetry was able to overcome this resistance.Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (2010/13313–9

    Involvement of Skeletal Muscle Gene Regulatory Network in Susceptibility to Wound Infection Following Trauma

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    Despite recent advances in our understanding the pathophysiology of trauma, the basis of the predisposition of trauma patients to infection remains unclear. A Drosophila melanogaster/Pseudomonas aeruginosa injury and infection model was used to identify host genetic components that contribute to the hyper-susceptibility to infection that follows severe trauma. We show that P. aeruginosa compromises skeletal muscle gene (SMG) expression at the injury site to promote infection. We demonstrate that activation of SMG structural components is under the control of cJun-N-terminal Kinase (JNK) Kinase, Hemipterous (Hep), and activation of this pathway promotes local resistance to P. aeruginosa in flies and mice. Our study links SMG expression and function to increased susceptibility to infection, and suggests that P. aeruginosa affects SMG homeostasis locally by restricting SMG expression in injured skeletal muscle tissue. Local potentiation of these host responses, and/or inhibition of their suppression by virulent P. aeruginosa cells, could lead to novel therapies that prevent or treat deleterious and potentially fatal infections in severely injured individuals

    Photodynamic and Antibiotic Therapy Impair the Pathogenesis of Enterococcus faecium in a Whole Animal Insect Model

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    Enterococcus faecium has emerged as one of the most important pathogens in healthcare-associated infections worldwide due to its intrinsic and acquired resistance to many antibiotics, including vancomycin. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) is an alternative therapeutic platform that is currently under investigation for the control and treatment of infections. PDT is based on the use of photoactive dye molecules, widely known as photosensitizer (PS). PS, upon irradiation with visible light, produces reactive oxygen species that can destroy lipids and proteins causing cell death. We employed Galleria mellonella (the greater wax moth) caterpillar fatally infected with E. faecium to develop an invertebrate host model system that can be used to study the antimicrobial PDT (alone or combined with antibiotics). In the establishment of infection by E. faecium in G. mellonella, we found that the G. mellonella death rate was dependent on the number of bacterial cells injected into the insect hemocoel and all E. faecium strains tested were capable of infecting and killing G. mellonella. Antibiotic treatment with ampicillin, gentamicin or the combination of ampicillin and gentamicin prolonged caterpillar survival infected by E. faecium (P = 0.0003, P = 0.0001 and P = 0.0001, respectively). In the study of antimicrobial PDT, we verified that methylene blue (MB) injected into the insect followed by whole body illumination prolonged the caterpillar survival (P = 0.0192). Interestingly, combination therapy of larvae infected with vancomycin-resistant E. faecium, with antimicrobial PDT followed by vancomycin, significantly prolonged the survival of the caterpillars when compared to either antimicrobial PDT (P = 0.0095) or vancomycin treatment alone (P = 0.0025), suggesting that the aPDT made the vancomycin resistant E. faecium strain more susceptible to vancomycin action. In summary, G. mellonella provides an invertebrate model host to study the antimicrobial PDT and to explore combinatorial aPDT-based treatments

    Light-based technologies for management of COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

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    The global dissemination of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has accelerated the need for the implementation of effective antimicrobial strategies to target the causative agent SARS-CoV-2. Light-based technologies have a demonstrable broad range of activity over standard chemotherapeutic antimicrobials and conventional disinfectants, negligible emergence of resistance, and the capability to modulate the host immune response. This perspective article identifies the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of repurposing light-based strategies to combat the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic

    Phenothiazinium Antimicrobial Photosensitizers Are Substrates of Bacterial Multidrug Resistance Pumps

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    Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (PDT) combines a nontoxic photoactivatable dye, or photosensitizer (PS), with harmless visible light to generate singlet oxygen and free radicals that kill microbial cells. Although the light can be focused on the diseased area, the best selectivity is achieved by choosing a PS that binds and penetrates microbial cells. Cationic phenothiazinium dyes, such as methylene blue and toluidine blue O, have been studied for many years and are the only PSs used clinically for antimicrobial PDT. Multidrug resistance pumps (MDRs) are membrane-localized proteins that pump drugs out of cells and have been identified for a wide range of organisms. We asked whether phenothiazinium salts with structures that are amphipathic cations could potentially be substrates of MDRs. We used MDR-deficient mutants of Staphylococcus aureus (NorA), Escherichia coli (TolC), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MexAB) and found 2 to 4 logs more killing than seen with wild-type strains by use of three different phenothiazinium PSs and red light. Mutants that overexpress MDRs were protected from killing compared to the wild type. Effective antimicrobial PSs of different chemical structures showed no difference in light-mediated killing depending on MDR phenotype. Differences in uptake of phenothiazinium PS by the cells depending on level of MDR expression were found. We propose that specific MDR inhibitors could be used in combination with phenothiazinium salts to enhance their photodestructive efficiency