FEMS Microbiology Letters (FEMS MICROBIOL LETT )

Publisher: Federation of European Microbiological Societies, Blackwell Publishing


FEMS Microbiology Letters publishes original articles and MiniReviews on all aspects of microbiology except virology (other than bacteriophages). The Editors give priority to concise papers that merit urgent publication by virtue of their originality, general interest and their contribution to new developments in microbiology. Areas of special interest include: molecular biology and genetics; genomics; microbial biochemistry and physiology; structure and development; pathogenicity; medical and veterinary microbiology; plant-microbial interactions; applied microbiology and microbial biotechnology; systematics, genomics and bioinformatics. Papers can deal with any sort of microorganisms: bacteria and bacteriophage, filamentous fungi and yeasts, or protozoa.

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  • Other titles
    FEMS microbiology letters, Federation of European Microbiological Societies microbiology letters, Microbiology letters, FEMS microbiology ecology, FEMS microbiology reviews, FEMS microbiology index, FEMS microbiology immunology
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Blackwell Publishing

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    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Among other factors, a distinct gene redundancy is discussed to facilitate high metabolic versatility of rhodococci. Rhodococcus opacus 1CP is a typical member in that respect and degrades a multitude of (chlorinated) aromatic compounds. In contrast to the central pathways of aromatic degradation in strain 1CP little is known about the degree of gene redundancy and to what extent this is reflected on protein level within the steps of peripheral degradation. By means of degenerated primers deduced from tryptic peptides of a purified phenol hydroxylase component and by using the amplified fragment as a labelled probe against genomic 1CP-DNA, three gene sets encoding three different two-component phenol hydroxylases pheA1/pheA2(1-3) could be identified. One of them was found to be located on the megaplasmid p1CP which confirms the role of these elements for metabolic versatility. Protein chromatography of phenol- and 4-chlorophenol-grown 1CP-biomass gave first evidences on a functional expression of these oxygenases, which could be initially characterised in respect of their substrate specificity.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A rapid, high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis protocol was developed to detect sequence variations associated with resistance to the QoIs, benzimidazoles and dicarboximides in Botrytis cinerea airborne inoculum. HRM analysis was applied directly in fungal DNA collected from air samplers with selective medium. Three and five different genotypes were detected and classified according to their melting profiles in BenA and bos1 genes associated with resistance to benzimidazoles and dicarboximides, respectively. The sensitivity of the methodology was evident in the case of the QoIs, where genotypes varying either by a single nucleotide polymorphism or an additional 1205 bp intron were separated accurately with a single pair of primers. The developed two-step protocol was completed in 82 minutes and showed reduced variation in the melting curves’ formation. HRM analysis rapidly detected the major mutations found in greenhouse strains providing accurate data for successfully controlling grey mould.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 09/2014; In press.
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    ABSTRACT: Osmoadaptation may be an important trait for the pathogenicity of Streptococcus mutans. However, how this organism adapts to changes in osmolality in the oral cavity remains unclear. In this study, we showed that S. mutans utilizes K+ for osmoadaptation, in which protease maturation lipoprotein (PrtM) plays an important role. Although growth of the wild‐type strain was impaired in a hyperosmotic medium [brain heart infusion (BHI) containing 0.3 M NaCl] compared with that in an unmodified BHI, the prtM mutant grew much more poorly in 0.3 M NaCl BHI. Comparison of growth behavior in the hyperosmotic medium supplemented with different osmoprotectants revealed that only the addition of K+ allowed the bacteria to overcome the impairment of growth caused by the high osmolality. These results suggest that K+ is an important compatible solute for S. mutans. Moreover, K+‐associated recovery of growth was not observed for the prtM mutant, indicating that PrtM plays a critical role in the utilization of K+. Quantitative reverse‐transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that prtM was induced by osmotic stress, implying that prtM is an osmoresponsive gene. These findings suggest that K+ is an important compatible solute for S. mutans, and that the osmoresponsive lipoprotein PrtM is involved in K+ utilization, contributing to osmoadaptation of S. mutans. A putative lipoprotein PrtM plays a critical role in osmoadaptation using K+ in Streptococcus mutans.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 07/2014; 356(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Bioinformatic and electron microscopy analyses indicate that the composition of the B. megaterium QM B1551 spore coat is likely to differ substantially from other Bacillus species. We report here on the identification and characterisation of novel B. megaterium proteins that appear to be abundant in the spore coat. All three proteins, encoded by loci BMQ_0737, BMQ_3035 and BMQ_4051, were identified by proteomic analysis of alkaline-detergent extracts from mature spores. Putative spore coat proteins were characterised by transcriptional, reporter-fusion and mutagenesis analyses supported by fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy. These analyses revealed that BMQ_0737 is a novel morphogenetic protein that is required for the correct assembly of the B. megaterium outer spore coat and exosporium, both of which are structurally compromised or missing in BMQ_0737 null mutant spores. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Rapid detection of yeast contamination is important in the food industry. We have developed loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays to detect the emerging opportunistic pathogenic yeasts: Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis, the Candida parapsilosis group, Trichosporon asahii and Trichosporon mucoides. These yeasts may cause deep-seated candidiasis or trichosporonosis. Four LAMP primer sets specific for Candida were designed to target the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region between the 5.8S and 26S rRNA genes, and two LAMP primer sets specific for Trichosporon were designed to target the intergenic spacer 1 (IGS1) region between the 26S and 5S rRNA genes. The LAMP assays could detect these yeasts in a range between 10(0) and 10(3) cells mL(-1) in a contaminated dairy product within 1 hour. We also developed multiplex LAMP assays to detect these Candida or Trichosporon species in a single reaction. Multiplex LAMP assays can detect contamination if at least one of the target species is present; they are more time- and cost-efficient than conventional methods, and could detect target yeasts with sensitivity close to that of the LAMP assays. Multiplex LAMP assays established in this study can be used as a primary screening method for yeast contamination in food products. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we show that integration host factor protein (IHF) is required for replication of pYGK plasmids in A. actinomycetemcomitans. YGK plasmids were not replicated in A. actinomycetemcomitans strains lacking either the α- or β- subunit of IHF. However, the deletion mutants were complemented and plasmid replication was restored when the promoter region and gene for either ihfA or ihfB was cloned into pYGK. We also identified two motifs that resemble the consensus IHF binding site in a 813-bp fragment containing the pYGK origin of replication. Using electrophoretic mobility shift assays, purified IHFα-IHFβ protein complex was shown to bind to probes containing either of these motifs. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing that plasmid replication is IHF-dependent in the family Pasteurellaceae. In addition, using site-direct mutagenesis, the XbaI and KpnI restriction sites in the suicide vector pJT1 were modified to generate plasmid pJT10. The introduction of these new unique sites in pJT10 facilitates the transfer of transcriptional or translational lacZ fusion constructs for the generation of single-copy chromosomal insertion of the reporter construct. Plasmid pJT10 and its derivatives will be useful for genetic studies in Aggregatibacter (Actinobacillus) and probably other genera of Pasteurellaceae, including Haemophilus, Pasteurella and Mannheimia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus HB27 is known for its highly efficient natural transformation system, which has become a model system to study the structure and function of DNA transporter in thermophilic bacteria. The DNA transporter is functionally linked to type IV pili (T4P), which are essential for twitching motility and adhesion to solid surfaces. However, the pilus structures themselves are dispensable for natural transformation. Here we report that the cellular mRNA level of the major structural subunit of the T4P, PilA4, is regulated by environmental factors. Growth of T. thermophilus in minimal medium or low temperature (55°C) leads to a significant increase in pilA4 transcripts. In contrast, the transcript levels of the minor pilin pilA1 as well as other T4P genes are nearly unaffected. The elevated pilA4 mRNA levels are accompanied by an increase in piliation of the cells but not by elevated natural transformation frequencies. Hyperpiliation leads to increased adhesion to plastic surfaces. The increased cell-surface interactions are suggested to represent an adaptive response to temperature stress and may be advantageous for survival of T. thermophilus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 06/2014;
  • FEMS Microbiology Letters 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial communication via the secretion of small diffusible compounds allows microbes to regulate gene expression in a coordinated manner. As many virulence traits are regulated in this fashion, disruption of chemical communication has been proposed as novel antimicrobial therapy. Quorum-quenching enzymes have been a promising discovery in this field as they interfere with the communication of Gram-negative bacteria. AHL-lactonases and AHL-acylases have been described in a variety of bacterial strains; however, usually only one of these two groups of enzymes has been described in a single species. We report here the presence of a member of each group of enzymes in the extremophile bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans. Co-occurrence of both enzymes in a single species increases the chance of inactivating foreign AHL signals under different conditions. We demonstrate that both enzymes are able to degrade the quorum-sensing molecules of various pathogens subsequently affecting virulence gene expression. These studies add the quorum-quenching enzymes of D. radiodurans to the list of potent quorum-quenchers and highlight the idea that quorum quenching could have evolved in some bacteria as a strategy to gain a competitive advantage by altering gene expression in other species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The polymerization of free nucleotides into new genetic elements by DNA polymerases in the absence of DNA, called ab initio DNA synthesis, is a little known phenomenon. DNA polymerases from prokaryotes can effectively synthesize long stretches of linear double‐stranded DNA in the complete absence of added primer and template DNAs. Ab initio DNA synthesis is extremely enhanced if a restriction endonuclease or nicking endonuclease is added to the reaction with DNA polymerase. The synthesized ab initio DNA have various tandem repeats. Sequences similar to those of ab initio DNA products are found in many natural genes. The significance of ab initio DNA synthesis is that genetic information can be created directly by protein. The ab initio DNA synthesis is considered a non‐specific synthesis in various DNA amplification techniques. In this review, we present the main studies devoted to this phenomenon and introduce possible mechanisms of this synthesis from our current knowledge. Ab initio DNA synthesis is a highly efficient DNA synthesis taking place in the absence of any added DNA. Incontrovertible evidence was obtained in the last decade.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 01/2014; 351(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Epichloë species and their anamorphic relatives in genus Neotyphodium are fungal symbionts of grasses ubiquitously existing in temperate regions all over the world. To date, 13 Epichloë species and 22 Neotyphodium species have been formally described, based on morphological characters and phylogenetic analyses. Leymus chinensis (Poaceae) is a dominant grass native to the Inner Mongolia steppe of China. Previously, it was reported to harbor endophytes, but little was known about these endophytes. To investigate their diversity and taxonomy, 96 fungal isolates were obtained from three field populations of L. chinensis. The isolates were classified into three morphotypes based on morphological characters and phylogenetic analyses of sequences of genes for β‐tubulin (tubB), translation elongation factor 1‐α (tefA), and actin (actG). The dominant morphotype, morphotype I, was identified as a choke disease endophyte, Epichloë bromicola. This broadened the host range and phylogenetic definition of E. bromicola.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 01/2013; 340(2).
  • Article: Engineering
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    ABSTRACT: Gene knockout and transgenic mice are important tools that are widely used to dissect the mammalian hosts' responses to microbial invasion. A novel alternative is to engineer the pathogen itself to secrete host factors that stimulate or suppress specific immune defense mechanisms. Herein, we have described and validated an approach to facilitate the production and export of ectopic host proteins, from the most prevalent human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. Our strategy utilized a prepropeptide from the C. albicans secreted aspartic proteinase, Sap2p. The prepeptide facilitates entry of Sap2p into the secretory pathway, while the propeptide maintains the protease as an inactive precursor, until proteolytic cleavage in the Golgi apparatus releases the mature protein. The Sap2p prepropeptide coding sequence was linked to that of two mammalian calcium‐binding proteins, S100A8 and S100A9, which are associated with symptomatic vaginal candidiasis. The resulting expression constructs were then introduced into C. albicans. While the S100A8 protein is secreted into the growth medium intact, the S100A9 protein is apparently degraded during transit. Nonetheless, culture supernatants from both S100A8 and S100A9 expressing C. albicans strains acted as potent chemoattractants for a macrophage‐like cell line and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Thus, the pathogen‐derived mammalian proteins possessed the expected biological activity.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 01/2013; 346(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Lactococcus garvieae is an important foodborne pathogen causing lactococcosis associated with hemorrhagic septicemia in fish worldwide. A real‐time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol targeting the 16S–23S rRNA intergenic spacer (ITS) region was developed for the detection and enum‐eration of L. garvieae. The specificity was evaluated using genomic DNAs extracted from 66 cocci strains. Fourteen L. garvieae strains tested were positive, whereas 52 other strains including Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis ssp. hordniae and Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris did not show a specific signal. The minimal limit of detection was 2.63 fg of purified genomic DNA, equivalent to 1 genome of L. garvieae. The optimized protocol was applied for the survey of L. garvieae in naturally contaminated fish samples. Our results suggest that the qPCR protocol using ITS is a sensitive and efficient tool for the rapid detection and enumeration of L. garvieae in fish and fish‐containing foods.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 01/2013; 339(1).