Philip N Ward

University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (33)115.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, a Gram-positive, catalase-negative member of the family Streptococcaceae is an important environmental pathogen responsible for a significant proportion of subclinical and clinical bovine intramammary infections. Currently, the genome of only a single reference strain (0140J) has been described. Here we present a comparative analysis of complete draft genome sequences of an additional twelve S. uberis strains. Pan and core genome analysis revealed the core genome common to all strains to be 1,550 genes in 1,509 orthologous clusters, complemented by 115-246 accessory genes present in one or more S. uberis strains but absent in the reference strain 0140J. Most of the previously predicted virulent genes were present in the core genome of all 13 strains but gene gain/loss was observed between the isolates in CDS associated with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs), prophage and bacteriocin production. Experimental challenge experiments confirmed strain EF20 as non-virulent; only able to infect in a transient manner that did not result in clinical mastitis. Comparison of the genome sequence of EF20 with the validated virulent strain 0140J identified genes associated with virulence, however these did not relate clearly with clinical/non-clinical status of infection. The gain/loss of mobile genetic elements such as CRISPRs and prophage are a potential driving force for evolutionary change. This first "whole-genome" comparison of strains isolated from clinical vs non-clinical intramammary infections including the type virulent vs non-virulent strains. This comparison did not identify simple gene gain/loss rules that readily explain, or be confidently associated with, differences in virulence. This suggests that a more complex dynamic determines infection potential and clinical outcome not simply gene content.
    BMC Genomics 04/2015; 16(1):334. DOI:10.1186/s12864-015-1512-6 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies have found variation within the complement factor H gene family links to host susceptibility to meningococcal disease caused by infection with Neisseria meningitidis (Davila et al., 2010). Mechanistic insights have been challenging since variation within this locus is complex and biological roles of the factor H-related proteins, unlike factor H, are incompletely understood. N. meningitidis subverts immune responses by hijacking a host-immune regulator, complement factor H (CFH), to the bacterial surface (Schneider et al., 2006; Madico et al., 2007; Schneider et al., 2009). We demonstrate that complement factor-H related 3 (CFHR3) promotes immune activation by acting as an antagonist of CFH. Conserved sequences between CFH and CFHR3 mean that the bacterium cannot sufficiently distinguish between these two serum proteins to allow it to hijack the regulator alone. The level of protection from complement attack achieved by circulating N. meningitidis therefore depends on the relative levels of CFH and CFHR3 in serum. These data may explain the association between genetic variation in both CFH and CFHR3 and susceptibility to meningococcal disease.
    eLife Sciences 12/2014; 3. DOI:10.7554/eLife.04008 · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Immunology 12/2013; 56(3):262. DOI:10.1016/j.molimm.2013.05.067 · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: [This corrects the article on p. e1002981 in vol. 8.].
    PLoS Pathogens 01/2013; 9(1). DOI:10.1371/annotation/3e7e6415-fb12-4a87-89e6-f87d2e800ba8 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neisseria meningitis remains a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis, and vaccines are required to prevent infections by this important human pathogen. Factor H binding protein (fHbp) is a key antigen that elicits protective immunity against the meningococcus and recruits the host complement regulator, fH. As the high affinity interaction between fHbp and fH could impair immune responses, we sought to identify non-functional fHbps that could act as effective immunogens. This was achieved by alanine substitution of fHbps from all three variant groups (V1, V2 and V3 fHbp) of the protein; while some residues affected fH binding in each variant group, the distribution of key amino underlying the interaction with fH differed between the V1, V2 and V3 proteins. The atomic structure of V3 fHbp in complex with fH and of the C-terminal barrel of V2 fHbp provide explanations to the differences in the precise nature of their interactions with fH, and the instability of the V2 protein. To develop transgenic models to assess the efficacy of non-functional fHbps, we determined the structural basis of the low level of interaction between fHbp and murine fH; in addition to changes in amino acids in the fHbp binding site, murine fH has a distinct conformation compared with the human protein that would sterically inhibit binding to fHbp. Non-functional V1 fHbps were further characterised by binding and structural studies, and shown in non-transgenic and transgenic mice (expressing chimeric fH that binds fHbp and precisely regulates complement system) to retain their immunogenicity. Our findings provide a catalogue of non-functional fHbps from all variant groups that can be included in new generation meningococcal vaccines, and establish proof-in-principle for clinical studies to compare their efficacy with wild-type fHbps.
    PLoS Pathogens 10/2012; 8(10):e1002981. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002981 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation and control of gene expression in response to differing environmental stimuli is crucial for successful pathogen adaptation and persistence. The regulatory gene vru of Streptococcus uberis encodes a stand-alone response regulator with similarity to the Mga of group A Streptococcus. Mga controls expression of a number of important virulence determinants. Experimental intramammary challenge of dairy cattle with a mutant of S. uberis carrying an inactivating lesion in vru showed reduced ability to colonize the mammary gland and an inability to induce clinical signs of mastitis compared with the wild-type strain. Analysis of transcriptional differences of gene expression in the mutant, determined by microarray analysis, identified a number of coding sequences with altered expression in the absence of Vru. These consisted of known and putative virulence determinants, including Lbp (Sub0145), SclB (Sub1095), PauA (Sub1785) and hasA (Sub1696).
    Microbiology 03/2012; 158(Pt 6):1581-92. DOI:10.1099/mic.0.055863-0 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The bovine pathogen Streptococcus uberis was assessed for biofilm growth. The transition from planktonic to biofilm growth in strain 0140J correlated with an upregulation of several gene products that have been shown to be important for pathogenesis, including a glutamine ABC transporter (SUB1152) and a lactoferrin binding protein (gene lbp; protein SUB0145).
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 11/2010; 77(1):382-4. DOI:10.1128/AEM.01099-10 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, strain 0140J, contains a single copy sortase A (srtA), encoding a transamidase capable of covalently anchoring specific proteins to peptidoglycan. Unlike the wild-type, an isogenic mutant carrying an inactivating ISS1 insertion within srtA was only able to infect the bovine mammary gland in a transient fashion. For the first 24 h post challenge, the srtA mutant colonised at a similar rate and number to the wild type strain, but unlike the wild type did not subsequently colonise in higher numbers. Similar levels of host cell infiltration were detected in response to infection with both strains, but only in those mammary quarters infected with the wild type strain were clinical signs of disease evident. Mutants that failed to express individual sortase substrate proteins (sub0135, sub0145, sub0207, sub0241, sub0826, sub0888, sub1095, sub1154, sub1370, and sub1730) were isolated and their virulence determined in the same challenge model. This revealed that mutants lacking sub0145, sub1095 and sub1154 were attenuated in cattle. These data demonstrate that a number of sortase anchored proteins each play a distinct, non-redundant and important role in pathogenesis of S. uberis infection within the lactating bovine mammary gland.
    Veterinary Research 09/2010; 41(5):63. DOI:10.1051/vetres/2010036 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sortase (a transamidase) has been shown to be responsible for the covalent attachment of proteins to the bacterial cell wall. Anchoring is effected on secreted proteins containing a specific cell wall motif toward their C-terminus; that for sortase A (SrtA) in Gram-positive bacteria often incorporates the sequence LPXTG. Such surface proteins are often characterized as virulence determinants and play important roles during the establishment and persistence of infection. Intramammary infection with Streptococcus uberis is a common cause of bovine mastitis, which impacts on animal health and welfare and the economics of milk production. Comparison of stringently produced cell wall fractions from S. uberis and an isogenic mutant strain lacking SrtA permitted identification of 9 proteins likely to be covalently anchored at the cell surface. Analysis of these sequences implied the presence of two anchoring motifs for S. uberis, the classical LPXTG motif and an additional LPXXXD motif.
    Journal of Proteome Research 02/2010; 9(2):1088-95. DOI:10.1021/pr901025w · 5.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus suis is a zoonotic pathogen that infects pigs and can occasionally cause serious infections in humans. S. suis infections occur sporadically in human Europe and North America, but a recent major outbreak has been described in China with high levels of mortality. The mechanisms of S. suis pathogenesis in humans and pigs are poorly understood. The sequencing of whole genomes of S. suis isolates provides opportunities to investigate the genetic basis of infection. Here we describe whole genome sequences of three S. suis strains from the same lineage: one from European pigs, and two from human cases from China and Vietnam. Comparative genomic analysis was used to investigate the variability of these strains. S. suis is phylogenetically distinct from other Streptococcus species for which genome sequences are currently available. Accordingly, approximately 40% of the approximately 2 Mb genome is unique in comparison to other Streptococcus species. Finer genomic comparisons within the species showed a high level of sequence conservation; virtually all of the genome is common to the S. suis strains. The only exceptions are three approximately 90 kb regions, present in the two isolates from humans, composed of integrative conjugative elements and transposons. Carried in these regions are coding sequences associated with drug resistance. In addition, small-scale sequence variation has generated pseudogenes in putative virulence and colonization factors. The genomic inventories of genetically related S. suis strains, isolated from distinct hosts and diseases, exhibit high levels of conservation. However, the genomes provide evidence that horizontal gene transfer has contributed to the evolution of drug resistance.
    PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6072. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0006072 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    E L Denham, P N Ward, J A Leigh
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    ABSTRACT: The role of lipoprotein diacylglyceryl transferase (Lgt) and lipoprotein signal peptidase (Lsp) responsible for processing lipoproteins was investigated in Streptococcus uberis, a common cause of bovine mastitis. In the absence of Lgt, three lipoproteins [MtuA (SUB0473), Hap (SUB1625) and an extracellular solute-binding protein (SUB0365)] were detected in extracellular locations. All were shown by Edman degradation analysis to be cleaved on the carboxy side of the LXXC lipobox. Detection of MtuA, a lipoprotein shown previously to be essential for infectivity and virulence, was used as a surrogate lipoprotein marker to locate and assess processing of lipoproteins. The absence of Lgt did not prevent location of MtuA to the cell membrane, its location in the wild-type strain but, in contrast to the situation with wild-type, did result in a widespread location of this protein. In the absence of both Lgt and Lsp, MtuA was similarly released from the bacterial cell. In such strains, however, the cell-associated MtuA represented the full-length gene product, indicating that Lsp was able to cleave non-lipidated (lipo)proteins but was not responsible for their release from this bacterium.
    Microbiology 02/2009; 155(Pt 1):134-41. DOI:10.1099/mic.0.022061-0 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus uberis, a Gram positive bacterial pathogen responsible for a significant proportion of bovine mastitis in commercial dairy herds, colonises multiple body sites of the cow including the gut, genital tract and mammary gland. Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequence of S. uberis strain 0140J was undertaken to help elucidate the biology of this effective bovine pathogen. The genome revealed 1,825 predicted coding sequences (CDSs) of which 62 were identified as pseudogenes or gene fragments. Comparisons with related pyogenic streptococci identified a conserved core (40%) of orthologous CDSs. Intriguingly, S. uberis 0140J displayed a lower number of mobile genetic elements when compared with other pyogenic streptococci, however bacteriophage-derived islands and a putative genomic island were identified. Comparative genomics analysis revealed most similarity to the genomes of Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus. In contrast, streptococcal orthologs were not identified for 11% of the CDSs, indicating either unique retention of ancestral sequence, or acquisition of sequence from alternative sources. Functions including transport, catabolism, regulation and CDSs encoding cell envelope proteins were over-represented in this unique gene set; a limited array of putative virulence CDSs were identified. S. uberis utilises nutritional flexibility derived from a diversity of metabolic options to successfully occupy a discrete ecological niche. The features observed in S. uberis are strongly suggestive of an opportunistic pathogen adapted to challenging and changing environmental parameters.
    BMC Genomics 02/2009; 10:54. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-10-54 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    E L Denham, P N Ward, J A Leigh
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    ABSTRACT: Lipoprotein signal peptidase (lsp) is responsible for cleaving the signal peptide sequence of lipoproteins in gram-positive bacteria. Investigation of the role of Lsp in Streptococcus uberis, a common cause of bovine mastitis, was undertaken using the lipoprotein MtuA (a protein essential for virulence) as a marker. The S. uberis lsp mutant phenotype displayed novel lipoprotein processing. Not only was full-length (uncleaved) MtuA detected by Western blotting, but during late log phase, a lower-molecular-weight derivative of MtuA was evident. Similar analysis of an S. uberis double mutant containing insertions disrupting both lsp and eep (a homologue of the Enterococcus faecalis "enhanced expression of pheromone" gene) indicated a role for eep in cleavage of lipoproteins in the absence of Lsp. Such a function may indicate a role for eep in maintenance of secretion pathways during disruption of normal lipoprotein processing.
    Journal of bacteriology 08/2008; 190(13):4641-7. DOI:10.1128/JB.00287-08 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The characteristics of a streptococcal plasminogen activator (PA) displaying specificity for ruminant plasminogen (Plg) were defined using molecular approaches. The 16-kDa secreted protein PadA was found to be prevalent in Streptococcus dysgalactiae subspecies dysgalactiae isolated from cases of bovine mastitis and septic arthritis in lambs. PadA was able to activate bovine, ovine and caprine Plg, but not human Plg. Amino acid sequence analysis identified a limited level of homology to other streptococcal PAs, including streptokinase; however, PadA was found to align well with and match in size the staphylococcal PA, staphylokinase. Recombinant PadA was used to investigate interaction with bovine Plg, leading to formation of an activator complex that was capable of recruiting and converting further substrate Plg into plasmin. Individual non-overlapping peptides of PadA or bovine microplasminogen were found to block the interaction between PadA and bovine Plg, preventing the formation of the activation complex. Homology modelling based upon structures of staphylokinase complexed with human microplasminogen supported these findings by placing critical residues in close proximity to the plasmin component of the activation complex.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2008; 381(3):734-47. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.06.027 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus (S.) uberis is a common cause of mastitis in cattle. A protein (PauA) secreted by this bacterium is capable of activating plasminogen from sheep and cattle. The PauA first binds to bovine plasminogen (b-plg) to form a PauA-plasminogen complex that subsequently binds to and activates b-plg to form plasmin. We have identified several linear epitopes of PauA that are recognized by murine monoclonal antibodies to PauA. Two of the monoclonal antibodies which neutralized the enzymatic activity of PauA, EC3 and 2.22, recognized common linear peptide sequences with similar charge and spacing patterns. These neutralization epitopes are located in the predicted alpha-domain of the PauA molecule. Further, these same epitopes are in critical structure/function domains identified in other studies. These characterizations may facilitate the design of an efficacious vaccine for streptococcal mastitis in the dairy cow.
    Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 05/2005; 104(3-4):155-62. DOI:10.1016/j.vetimm.2004.11.005 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interactions between bovine plasminogen and the streptococcal plasminogen activator PauA that culminate in the generation of plasmin are not fully understood. Formation of an equimolar activation complex comprising PauA and plasminogen by non-proteolytic means is a prerequisite to the recruitment of substrate plasminogen; however the determinants that facilitate these interactions have yet to be defined. A mutagenesis strategy comprising nested deletions and random point substitutions indicated roles for both amino and carboxyl-terminal regions of PauA and identified further essential residues within the alpha domain of the plasminogen activator. A critical region within the alpha domain was identified using non-overlapping PauA peptides to block the interaction between PauA and bovine plasminogen, preventing formation of the activation complex. Homology modelling of the activation complex based upon the known structures of streptokinase complexed with human plasmin supported these findings by placing critical residues in close proximity to the plasmin component of the activation complex.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2004; 342(4):1101-14. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2004.07.079 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite much success in the control of mastitis in dairy cattle, intramammary infection with Streptococcus uberis remains a threat to herd health. This organism is a frequent cause of mastitis worldwide. Recent advances in the ability to genetically manipulate this bacterium, coupled to the determination of a representative genome sequence have already enabled the investigation of certain aspects of disease pathogenesis. Further use of such technology coupled to reliable models of disease and post-genomic analysis will permit the elucidation of further interactions between pathogen and host. This additional information can be usefully targeted at identification of candidates for inclusion in effective vaccines. This communication reviews the current, reported progress using this technology for S. uberis.
    Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 09/2004; 100(3-4):145-9. DOI:10.1016/j.vetimm.2004.04.004 · 1.75 Impact Factor
  • The Veterinary record 06/2004; 154(21):671-2. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    Philip N Ward, James A Leigh
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococci produce a diverse range of secreted plasminogen activators capable of converting mammalian plasminogen to plasmin in a species-specific manner. In all examples to date, the host animal's plasminogen and that of a number of additional species have been shown to interact with these molecules leading to the conclusion that the pathogenesis of streptococci is in some way dependent upon activation of host plasminogen. PauA was the first plasminogen activator described from Streptococcus uberis, a pathogen frequently isolated from cases of bovine mastitis. Recently, a second S. uberis plasminogen activator (PauB) was identified from a Danish mastitis isolate. Interestingly, the pauB open reading frame occupied the locus normally filled by pauA. In the present study a genetic screen of streptococcal and field isolates frequently associated with mastitis was undertaken to assess the distribution, chromosomal location and sequence variation of these putative virulence factors. Southern analysis of a diverse panel of streptococci and additional bacterial isolates frequently associated with bovine mastitis was performed using pauA and pauB probes. Sequence variation of PauA was assessed at the protein level following nucleotide sequence analysis of pauA alleles amplified from isolates picked from different geographical locations. We observed plasminogen activators to be universally distributed amongst S. uberis. A pauA allele was identified in all but one strain of S. uberis. This strain had a pauB allele substituted for pauA at the same locus. The remarkably low level of sequence variation demonstrated by PauA was further restricted to a limited number of residues within the molecule. The high prevalence of PauA alleles in field isolates of S.uberis supported the observation that plasminogen activators are likely to confer an advantage with respect to colonization and growth. The findings of the present study support the theory that PauA plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of S. uberis.
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research 05/2004; 119 Suppl:136-40. · 1.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the localization of MtuA, an LraI lipoprotein within Streptococcus uberis and assess whether the protein was able to induce an antibody response capable of growth inhibition. Immunoblots and ELISAs were performed on S. uberis cell fractions to localize the protein. The strongest reactivity was within the membrane-enriched fraction. Electron micrographs also showed labelling consistent with a location within the membrane. Specific antibodies from both rabbits and calves were unable to inhibit the growth of S. uberis in milk. In addition, MtuA was not detectable in a whole-cell ELISA and whole bacterial cells were unable to adsorb specific antibodies from antiserum raised against MtuA. The MtuA protein appears to be located within the cell membrane and is not on the bacterial surface and thus not available for interaction with potentially growth-inhibiting antibodies. Unlike PsaA of S. pneumoniae and MtsA of S. pyogenes, MtuA of S. uberis does not appear to be located at the cell surface. Therefore, in contrast to studies with other similar proteins, MtuA is unlikely to be a good vaccine candidate.
    Journal of Applied Microbiology 02/2004; 97(1):149-57. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2004.02284.x · 2.39 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

493 Citations
115.09 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2015
    • University of Oxford
      • • Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
      • • Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Exeter
      Exeter, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2012
    • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
      • Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Nottingham
      • School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • Institute for Animal Health
      Compton, England, United Kingdom