[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hfq is a highly conserved pleiotropically acting prokaryotic RNA-binding protein involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of many stress-responsive genes by small RNAs. In this study, we show that Hfq of the strictly human pathogen Neisseria meningitidis is involved in the regulation of expression of components involved in general metabolic pathways, iron metabolism and virulence. A meningococcal hfq deletion strain (H44/76Deltahfq) is impaired in growth in nutrient-rich media and does not grow at all in nutrient-limiting medium. The growth defect was complemented by expression of hfq in trans. Using proteomics, the expression of 28 proteins was found to be significantly affected upon deletion of hfq. Of these, 20 proteins are involved in general metabolism, among them seven iron-responsive genes. Two proteins (PilE, TspA) are involved in adherence to human cells, a step crucial for the onset of disease. One of the differentially expressed proteins, GdhA, was identified as an essential virulence factor for establishment of sepsis in an animal model, studied earlier. These results show that in N. meningitidis Hfq is involved in the regulation of a variety of components contributing to the survival and establishment of meningococcal disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular growing bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes diseases like trachoma, urogenital infection and lymphogranuloma venereum with severe morbidity. Several serovars and genotypes have been identified, but these could not be linked to clinical disease or outcome. The related Chlamydophila pneumoniae, of which no subtypes are recognized, causes respiratory infections worldwide. We developed a multi locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme to understand the population genetic structure and diversity of these species and to evaluate the association between genotype and disease.
A collection of 26 strains of C. trachomatis of different serovars and clinical presentation and 18 strains of C. pneumoniae were included in the study. For comparison, sequences of C. abortus, C. psittaci, C. caviae, C. felis, C. pecorum (Chlamydophila), C. muridarum (Chlamydia) and of Candidatus protochlamydia and Simkania negevensis were also included. Sequences of fragments (400 - 500 base pairs) from seven housekeeping genes (enoA, fumC, gatA, gidA, hemN, hlfX, oppA) were analysed. Analysis of allelic profiles by eBurst revealed three non-overlapping clonal complexes among the C. trachomatis strains, while the C. pneumoniae strains formed a single group. An UPGMA tree produced from the allelic profiles resulted in three groups of sequence types. The LGV strains grouped in a single cluster, while the urogenital strains were distributed over two separated groups, one consisted solely of strains with frequent occurring serovars (E, D and F). The distribution of the different serovars over the three groups was not consistent, suggesting exchange of serovar encoding ompA sequences. In one instance, exchange of fumC sequences between strains of different groups was observed. Cluster analyses of concatenated sequences of the Chlamydophila and Chlamydia species together with those of Candidatus Protochlamydia amoebophila and Simkania negevensis resulted in a tree identical to that obtained with 23S RNA gene sequences.
These data show that C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae are highly uniform. The difference in genetic diversity between C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae is in concordance with a later assimilation to the human host of the latter. Our data supports the taxonomy of the order of Chlamydiales.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A real-time PCR assay with a DNA purification and inhibition control (internal control; IC) was developed to detect Chlamydophila psittaci DNA in human clinical samples. Novel C. psittaci-specific primers targeting the ompA gene were developed. The IC DNA contained the same primer-binding sites and had the same length and nucleotide content as the C. psittaci DNA amplicon, but had a shuffled probe-binding region. The lower limit of detection was 80 target copies/PCR, corresponding to 6,250 copies/mL in a clinical sample. Specificity was tested using reference strains of 30 bacterial species. No amplification was observed from any of these samples. Respiratory samples from eight patients were positive with this PCR. Six of these patients were confirmed as positive for C. psittaci with serological testing. Two patients had increasing antibody titres, but did not fulfil criteria proposed previously for serologically proven Chlamydia spp. infection. The real-time PCR described in this paper is a sensitive, specific and rapid method to detect C. psittaci DNA in human clinical respiratory samples.
Clinical Microbiology and Infection 07/2006; 12(6):571-5. · 4.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IncA variation among Dutch Chlamydia trachomatis isolates was investigated. Of 98 strains, two carried an incA with a premature stop codon, lacked IncA, and were nonfusogenic, while 96 contained an intact incA, expressed IncA, and were fusogenic. Among these 96 strains, nine IncA sequence types were found, of which the three most frequently encountered (88% of the strains) were randomly distributed among symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 06/2005; 43(5):2441-3. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gene prmC, encoding the putative S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent methyltransferase (MTase) of release factors (RFs) of the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis, was functionally analyzed. Chlamydial PrmC expression suppresses the growth defect of a prmC knockout strain of Escherichia coli K-12, suggesting an interaction of chlamydial PrmC with E. coli RFs in vivo. In vivo methylation assays carried out with recombinant PrmC and RFs of chlamydial origin demonstrated that PrmC methylates RFs within the tryptic fragment containing the universally conserved sequence motif Gly-Gly-Gln. This is consistent with the enzymatic properties of PrmC of E. coli origin. We conclude that C. trachomatis PrmC functions as an N5-glutamine AdoMet-dependent MTase, involved in methylation of RFs.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/2005; 187(2):507-11. · 3.19 Impact Factor