Daniel J Hassett

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

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Publications (117)474.2 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Here, we constructed stable, chromosomal, constitutively expressed, green and red fluorescent protein (GFP and RFP) as reporters in the select agents, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Using bioinformatic approaches and other experimental analyses, we identified P0253 and P1 as potent promoters that drive the optimal expression of fluorescent reporters in single copy in B. anthracis and Burkholderia spp. as well as their surrogate strains, respectively. In comparison, Y. pestis and its surrogate strain need two chromosomal copies of cysZK promoter (P2cysZK) for optimal fluorescence. The P0253-, P2cysZK-, and P1-driven GFP and RFP fusions were first cloned into the vectors pRP1028, pUC18R6KT-mini-Tn7T-Km, pmini-Tn7-gat, or their derivatives. The resultant constructs were delivered into the respective surrogates and subsequently into the select agent strains. The chromosomal GFP- and RFP-tagged strains exhibited bright fluorescence at an exposure time of less than 200 msec and displayed the same virulence traits as their wild-type parental strains. The utility of the tagged strains was proven by the macrophage infection assays and lactate dehydrogenase release analysis. Such strains will be extremely useful in high-throughput screens for novel compounds that could either kill these organisms, or interfere with critical virulence processes in these important bioweapon agents and during infection of alveolar macrophages.
    MicrobiologyOpen. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of causing both acute and chronic infections. Differences in virulence are attributable to the mode of growth: bacteria growing planktonically cause acute infections, while bacteria growing in matrix-enclosed aggregates known as biofilms are associated with chronic, persistent infections. While the contribution of the planktonic and biofilm modes of growth to virulence is now widely accepted, little is known about the role of dispersion in virulence, the active process by which biofilm bacteria switch back to the planktonic mode of growth. Here, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa dispersed cells display a virulence phenotype distinct from those of planktonic and biofilm cells. While the highest activity of cytotoxic and degradative enzymes capable of breaking down polymeric matrix components was detected in supernatants of planktonic cells, the enzymatic activity of dispersed cell supernatants was similar to that of biofilm supernatants. Supernatants of non-dispersing ΔbdlA biofilms were characterized by a lack of many of the degradative activities. Expression of genes contributing to the virulence of P. aeruginosa was nearly 30-fold reduced in biofilm cells relative to planktonic cells. Gene expression analysis indicated dispersed cells, while dispersing from a biofilm and returning to the single cell lifestyle, to be distinct from both biofilm and planktonic cells, with virulence transcript levels being reduced up to 150-fold compared to planktonic cells. In contrast, virulence gene transcript levels were significantly increased in non-dispersing ΔbdlA and ΔdipA biofilms compared to wild-type planktonic cells. Despite this, bdlA and dipA inactivation, resulting in an inability to disperse in vitro, correlated with reduced pathogenicity and competitiveness in cross-phylum acute virulence models. In contrast, bdlA inactivation rendered P. aeruginosa more persistent upon chronic colonization of the murine lung, overall indicating that dispersion may contribute to both acute and chronic infections.
    PLoS Pathogens 06/2014; 10(6):e1004168. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is a common bacterial pathogen, responsible for a high incidence of nosocomial and respiratory infections. KatA is the major catalase of PA that detoxifies hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a reactive oxygen intermediate generated during aerobic respiration. Paradoxically, PA displays elevated KatA activity under anaerobic growth conditions where the substrate of KatA, H2O2, is not produced. The aim of the present study is to elucidate the mechanism underlying this phenomenon and define the role of KatA in PA during anaerobiosis using genetic, biochemical and biophysical approaches. We demonstrated that anaerobic wild-type PAO1 cells yielded higher levels of katA transcription and expression than aerobic cells, whereas a nitrite reductase mutant ΔnirS produced ∼50% the KatA activity of PAO1, suggesting that a basal NO level was required for the increased KatA activity. We also found that transcription of the katA gene was controlled, in part, by the master anaerobic regulator, ANR. A ΔkatA mutant and a mucoid mucA22 ΔkatA bacteria demonstrated increased sensitivity to acidified nitrite (an NO generator) in anaerobic planktonic and biofilm cultures. EPR spectra of anaerobic bacteria showed that levels of dinitrosyl iron complexes (DNIC), indicators of NO stress, were increased significantly in the ΔkatA mutant, and dramatically in a ΔnorCB mutant compared to basal levels of DNIC in PAO1 and ΔnirS mutant. Expression of KatA dramatically reduced the DNIC levels in ΔnorCB mutant. We further revealed direct NO-KatA interactions in vitro using EPR, optical spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. KatA has a 5-coordinate high spin ferric heme that binds NO without prior reduction of the heme iron (Kd ∼6 μM). Collectively, we conclude that KatA is expressed to protect PA against NO generated during anaerobic respiration. We proposed that such protective effects of KatA may involve buffering of free NO when potentially toxic concentrations of NO are approached.
    PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e91813. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Daniel J Hassett, Michael T Borchers, Ralph J Panos
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease manifested by significantly impaired airflow, afflicts ∼14.2 million cases in the United States alone with an estimated 63 million people world-wide. Although there are a number of causes, the predominant cause is excessive tobacco smoke. In fact, in China, there have been estimates of 315,000,000 people that smoke. Other less frequent causes are associated with indirect cigarette smoke, air pollutants, biomass fuels, and genetic mutations. COPD is often associated with heart disease, lung cancer, osteoporosis and conditions can worsen in patients with sudden falls. COPD also affects both innate and adaptive immune processes. Cigarette smoke increases the expression of matrix metalloproteases and proinflammatory chemokines and increases lung titers of natural killer cells and neutrophils. Yet, neutrophil reactive oxygen species (ROS) mediated by the phagocytic respiratory burst and phagocytosis is impaired by nicotine. In contrast to innate immunity in COPD, dendritic cells represent leukocytes recruited to the lung that link the innate immune responses to adaptive immune responses by activating naïve T cells through antigen presentation. The autoimmune process that is also a significant part of inflammation associated with COPD. Moreover, coupled with restricted FEV1 values, are the prevalence of patients with single or multiple infections by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Finally, we focus on one of the more problematic infectious agents, the Gram-negative opportunistic pathogenic bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Specifically, we delve into the development of highly problematic biofilm infections that are highly refractory to conventional antibiotic therapies in COPD. We offer a non-conventional, biocidal treatment that may be effective for COPD airway infections as well as with combinations of current antibiotic regimens for more effective treatment outcomes and relief for patients with COPD.
    The Journal of Microbiology 03/2014; 52(3):211-26. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bioenergy Research: Advances and Applications, (2014) 513pp. 978-0-444-59561-4
    01/2014: pages 1-513; Elsevier B.V..
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    ABSTRACT: Here, we constructed stable, constitutively expressed, chromosomal green (GFP) and red fluorescent (RFP) reporters in the genome of the surrogate strain, Francisella tularensis spp. holarctica LVS (herein LVS), and the select agent, F. tularensis Schu S4. A bioinformatic approach was used to identify constitutively expressed genes. Two promoter regions upstream of the FTT1794 and rpsF(FTT1062) genes were selected and fused with GFP and RFP reporter genes in pMP815, respectively. While the LVS strains with chromosomally integrated reporter fusions exhibited fluorescence, we were unable to deliver the same fusions into Schu S4. Neither a temperature-sensitive Francisella replicon nor a pBBR replicon in the modified pMP815 derivatives facilitated integration. However, a mini-Tn7 integration system was successful at integrating the reporter fusions into the Schu S4 genome. Finally, fluorescent F. tularensis LVS and a mutant lacking MglA were assessed for growth in monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). As expected, when compared to wild-type bacteria, replication of an mglA mutant was significantly diminished, and the overall level of fluorescence dramatically decreased with infection time. The utility of the fluorescent Schu S4 strain was also examined within infected MDMs treated with clarithromycin and enrofloxacin. Taken together, this study describes the development of an important reagent for F. tularensis research, especially since the likelihood of engineered antibiotic resistant strains will emerge with time. Such strains will be extremely useful in high-throughput screens for novel compounds that could interfere with critical virulence processes in this important bioweapons agent and during infection of alveolar macrophages.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 07/2013; · 3.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomomas aeruginosa produces multiple pigments during in vitro culture and in vivo during colonization of burn wounds and in the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. One pigment is a deep "merlot" colored compound known as aeruginosin A (AA). However, the red pigment(s) of P. aeruginosa are often collectively called pyorubrin, of which there is no known chemical composition. Here, we purified and confirmed by mass spectrometry and assessed the physicochemical properties of AA (2-amino-6-carboxy-10-methylphenazinium betaine) by first focusing on its ability to redox-cycle using cyclic voltammetry and its spectroscopic (as well as fluorescent) properties, experiments that were conducted at physiological pH. AA exhibited reversible electrochemistry at a glassy carbon electrode within a potential range of -500 mV to -200 mV. Electrochemical anodic and cathodic peak currents were observed at -327 mV and -360 mV, respectively, with a low formal reduction potential of -343.5 mV vs. Ag/AgCl. AA absorbed at 516 nm and fluoresced at 606 nm. Results from the spectro-electrochemistry of PR revealed that its strongest fluorescence was in its parent or oxidized form. Production of AA by P. aeruginosa was found to be controlled by the rhl component of the inter-cellular signaling system known as quorum sensing and was produced maximally during the stationary growth phase. However, unlike its downstream blue redox-active toxin, pyocyanin (PYO), AA had no adverse effects on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300, Escherichia coli DH5-α or human keratinocytes. We close with some thoughts on the potential commercial use(s) of AA.
    Microbiology 06/2013; · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    Minghua Zhou, Hongyu Wang, Daniel J. Hassett, Tingyue Gu
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    ABSTRACT: Bioenergy is a renewable energy that plays an indispensable role in meeting today's ever increasing energy needs. Unlike biofuels, microbial fuel cells (MFCs) convert energy harvested from redox reactions directly into bioelectricity. MFCs can utilize low-grade organic carbons (fuels) in waste streams. The oxidation of the fuel molecules requires biofilm catalysis. In recent years, MFCs have also been used in the electrolysis mode to produce bioproducts in laboratory tests. MFCs research has intensified in the past decade and the maximum MFCs power density output has been increased greatly and many types of waste streams have been tested. However, new breakthroughs are needed for MFCs to be practical in wastewater treatment and power generation beyond powering small sensor devices. To reduce capital and operational costs, simple and robust membrane-less MFCs reactors are desired, but these reactors require highly efficient biofilms. Newly discovered conductive cell aggregates, improved electron transport through hyperpilation via mutation or genetic recombination and other advances in biofilm engineering present opportunities. This review is an update on the recent advances on MFCs designs and operations. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry
    Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology 04/2013; 88(4). · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-throughput screening (HTS) of 42 865 compounds was performed to identify compounds that inhibit formation of or kill Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62a biofilms. Three biological processes were assayed, including (1) growth of planktonic/biofilm bacteria, (2) assessment of metabolically active biofilm bacteria using a resazurin assay, and (3) assessment of biofilm biomass by crystal violet staining. After completing the three tiers (primary screening, hit confirmation, and dose-response curves), 352 compounds (representing ~0.8%) were selected as confirmed hit compounds from the HTS assay. The compounds were divided into groups based on their effectiveness on S. epidermidis biofilm properties. The majority of these affected both inhibition and killing of bacterial biofilm cultures. Only 16 of the confirmed hit compounds that have either an AC50 lower than 10 µM and/or Sconst ≥70 from those processed were selected for further study by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The CLSM was used to evaluate the confirmed hit compounds on (1) inhibition of biofilm formation and (2) killing of preexisting S. epidermidis biofilms. Taken together, with further testing (e.g., disease-related conditions), such compounds may have applications as broad antimicrobial/antibiofilm use for prophylactic or therapeutic intervention to combat infections in surgical and intensive care clinics and battlefield settings.
    Journal of Biomolecular Screening 03/2013; · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Large-scale systematic analysis of gene essentiality is an important step closer toward unraveling the complex relationship between genotypes and phenotypes. Such analysis cannot be accomplished without unbiased and accurate annotations of essential genes. In current genomic databases, most of the essential gene annotations are derived from whole-genome transposon mutagenesis (TM), the most frequently used experimental approach for determining essential genes in microorganisms under defined conditions. However, there are substantial systematic biases associated with TM experiments. In this study, we developed a novel Poisson model-based statistical framework to simulate the TM insertion process and subsequently correct the experimental biases. We first quantitatively assessed the effects of major factors that potentially influence the accuracy of TM and subsequently incorporated relevant factors into the framework. Through iteratively optimizing parameters, we inferred the actual insertion events occurred and described each gene's essentiality on probability measure. Evaluated by the definite mapping of essential gene profile in Escherichia coli, our model significantly improved the accuracy of original TM datasets, resulting in more accurate annotations of essential genes. Our method also showed encouraging results in improving subsaturation level TM datasets. To test our model's broad applicability to other bacteria, we applied it to Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 and Francisella tularensis novicida TM datasets. We validated our predictions by literature as well as allelic exchange experiments in PAO1. Our model was correct on six of the seven tested genes. Remarkably, among all three cases that our predictions contradicted the TM assignments, experimental validations supported our predictions. In summary, our method will be a promising tool in improving genomic annotations of essential genes and enabling large-scale explorations of gene essentiality. Our contribution is timely considering the rapidly increasing essential gene sets. A Webserver has been set up to provide convenient access to this tool. All results and source codes are available for download upon publication at http://research.cchmc.org/essentialgene/.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e58178. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is a ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen that is capable of causing highly problematic, chronic infections in cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. With the increased prevalence of multi-drug resistant PA, the conventional "one gene, one drug, one disease" paradigm is losing effectiveness. Network pharmacology, on the other hand, may hold the promise of discovering new drug targets to treat a variety of PA infections. However, given the urgent need for novel drug target discovery, a PA protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of high accuracy and coverage, has not yet been constructed. In this study, we predicted a genome-scale PPI network of PA by integrating various genomic features of PA proteins/genes by a machine learning-based approach. A total of 54,107 interactions covering 4,181 proteins in PA were predicted. A high-confidence network combining predicted high-confidence interactions, a reference set and verified interactions that consist of 3,343 proteins and 19,416 potential interactions was further assembled and analyzed. The predicted interactome network from this study is the first large-scale PPI network in PA with significant coverage and high accuracy. Subsequent analysis, including validations based on existing small-scale PPI data and the network structure comparison with other model organisms, shows the validity of the predicted PPI network. Potential drug targets were identified and prioritized based on their essentiality and topological importance in the high-confidence network. Host-pathogen protein interactions between human and PA were further extracted and analyzed. In addition, case studies were performed on protein interactions regarding anti-sigma factor MucA, negative periplasmic alginate regulator MucB, and the transcriptional regulator RhlR. A web server to access the predicted PPI dataset is available at http://research.cchmc.org/PPIdatabase/.
    PLoS ONE 07/2012; 7(7):e41202. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The reactivity of capsular extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) to chlorine and monochloramine was assessed and compared in this study. The impact of capsular EPS on Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa inactivation mechanisms was investigated both qualitatively and quantitatively using a combination of batch experiments, viability tests with LIVE/DEAD staining, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Both wild-type and isogenic mutant strains with different alginate EPS production capabilities were used to evaluate their susceptibility to chlorine and monochloramine. The mucA22 mutant strain, which overproduces the EPS composed largely of acidic polysaccharide alginate, exhibited high resistance and prolonged inactivation time to both chlorine and monochloramine relative to PAO1 (wild-type) and algT(U) mutant strains (alginate EPS deficient). Multiple analyses were combined to better understand the mechanistic role of EPS against chlorine-based disinfectants. The extracted EPS exhibited high reactivity with chlorine and very low reactivity with monochloramine, suggesting different mechanism of protection against disinfectants. Moreover, capsular EPS on cell membrane appeared to reduce membrane permeabilization by disinfectants as suggested by deformation of key functional groups in EPS and cell membrane (the C-O-C stretching of carbohydrate and the C=O stretching of ester group). The combined results supported that capsular EPS, acting either as a disinfectant consumer (for chlorine inactivation) or limiting access to reactive sites on cell membrane (for monochloramine inactivation), provide a protective role for bacterial cells against regulatory residual disinfectants by reducing membrane permeabilization.
    FEMS Microbiology Ecology 07/2012; · 3.88 Impact Factor
  • Shengchang Su, Daniel J Hassett
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The cystic fibrosis (CF) airway mucus is an ideal niche in which many bacteria can develop antibiotic- and phagocyte-resistance in unique structures known as "mode II biofilms" where bacteria are embedded within the mucus, yet unattached to airway epithelial cells. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the dominant CF pathogen, yet herein the authors provide burgeoning evidence that obligate anaerobic bacteria (e.g., Prevotella) actually thrive within the CF mucus, a paradigmatic shift that chronic CF is an "aerobic" disease. Interestingly, CF organisms repress virulence factor production (e.g., P. aeruginosa) while others (e.g., S. aureus) increase them under anaerobic conditions. AREAS COVERED: The authors shed additional light on (i) the anoxic nature of the CF airway mucus, (ii) the relative commonality of anaerobic bacteria isolated from CF sputum, (iii) virulence factor production and cross-talk between obligate anaerobes and P. aeruginosa relative to disease progression/remission, (iv) the role of mucoidy in CF, and (v) the role of nitrosative stress in activation of bacteriophage and pyocins within biofilms. EXPERT OPINION: The authors conclude with insight as to how we might treat some CF bacteria during mode II biofilm infections that utilizes a metabolite of bacterial anaerobic respiration and an aerobic oxidation product of airway-generated NO, acidified NO(2)(-).
    Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets 07/2012; 16(9):859-73. · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pyocyanin (1-hydroxy-N-methylphenazine, PCN) is a cytotoxic pigment and virulence factor secreted by the human bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here, we report that exposure of PCN to airway peroxidases, hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), and NaNO(2) generates unique mononitrated PCN metabolites (N-PCN) as revealed by HPLC/mass spectrometry analyses. N-PCN, in contrast to PCN, was devoid of antibiotic activity and failed to kill Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Furthermore, in contrast to PCN, intratracheal instillation of N-PCN into murine lungs failed to induce a significant inflammatory response. Surprisingly, at a pH of ∼7, N-PCN was more reactive than PCN with respect to NADH oxidation but resulted in a similar magnitude of superoxide production as detected by electron paramagnetic resonance and spin trapping experiments. When incubated with Escherichia coli or lung A549 cells, PCN and N-PCN both led to superoxide formation, but lesser amounts were detected with N-PCN. Our results demonstrate that PCN that has been nitrated by peroxidase/H(2)O(2)/NO(2)(-) systems possesses less cytotoxic/proinflammatory activity than native PCN. Yield of N-PCN was decreased by the presence of the competing physiological peroxidase substrates (thiocyonate) SCN(-) (myeloperoxidase, MPO, and lactoperoxidase, LPO) and Cl(-) (MPO), which with Cl(-) yielded chlorinated PCNs. These reaction products also showed decreased proinflammatory ability when instilled into the lungs of mice. These observations add important insights into the complexity of the pathogenesis of lung injury associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and provide additional rationale for exploring the efficacy of NO(2)(-) in the therapy of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection in cystic fibrosis.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 02/2012; 302(10):L1044-56. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most bacteria control oxidative stress through the H(2)O(2)-responsive transactivator OxyR, a member of the LTTR family (LysR Type Transcriptional Regulators), which activates the expression of defensive genes such as those encoding catalases, alkyl hydroperoxide reductases and superoxide dismutases. In the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, OxyR positively regulates expression of the oxidative stress response genes katA, katB, ahpB and ahpCF. To identify additional targets of OxyR in P. aeruginosa PAO1, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with whole genome tiling array analyses (ChIP-chip). We detected 56 genes including all the previously identified defensive genes and a battery of novel direct targets of OxyR. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) for selected newly identified targets indicated that ∼70% of those were bound by purified oxidized OxyR and their regulation was confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, a thioredoxin system was identified to enzymatically reduce OxyR under oxidative stress. Functional classification analysis showed that OxyR controls a core regulon of oxidative stress defensive genes, and other genes involved in regulation of iron homeostasis (pvdS), quorum-sensing (rsaL), protein synthesis (rpsL) and oxidative phosphorylation (cyoA and snr1). Collectively, our results indicate that OxyR is involved in oxidative stress defense and regulates other aspects of cellular metabolism as well.
    Nucleic Acids Research 01/2012; 40(10):4320-33. · 8.81 Impact Factor
  • American Thoracic Society 2011 International Conference, May 13-18, 2011 • Denver Colorado; 05/2011
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is especially adept at colonizing the airways of individuals afflicted with the autosomal recessive disease cystic fibrosis (CF). CF patients suffer from chronic airway inflammation, which contributes to lung deterioration. Once established in the airways, P. aeruginosa continuously adapts to the changing environment, in part through acquisition of beneficial mutations via a process termed pathoadaptation. MutS and DinB are proposed to play opposing roles in P. aeruginosa pathoadaptation: MutS acts in replication-coupled mismatch repair, which acts to limit spontaneous mutations; in contrast, DinB (DNA polymerase IV) catalyzes error-prone bypass of DNA lesions, contributing to mutations. As part of an ongoing effort to understand mechanisms underlying P. aeruginosa pathoadaptation, we characterized hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced phenotypes of isogenic P. aeruginosa strains bearing different combinations of mutS and dinB alleles. Our results demonstrate an unexpected epistatic relationship between mutS and dinB with respect to H(2)O(2)-induced cell killing involving error-prone repair and/or tolerance of oxidized DNA lesions. In striking contrast to these error-prone roles, both MutS and DinB played largely accurate roles in coping with DNA lesions induced by ultraviolet light, mitomycin C, or 4-nitroquinilone 1-oxide. Models discussing roles for MutS and DinB functionality in DNA damage-induced mutagenesis, particularly during CF airway colonization and subsequent P. aeruginosa pathoadaptation are discussed.
    PLoS ONE 04/2011; 6(4):e18824. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surfactant protein-A (SP-A) is an important antimicrobial protein that opsonizes and permeabilizes membranes of microbial pathogens in mammalian lungs. Previously, we have shown that Pseudomonas aeruginosa flagellum-deficient mutants are preferentially cleared in the lungs of wild-type mice by SP-A-mediated membrane permeabilization, and not by opsonization. In this study, we report a flagellum-mediated mechanism of P. aeruginosa resistance to SP-A. We discovered that flagellum-deficient (ΔfliC) bacteria are unable to produce adequate amounts of exoproteases to degrade SP-A in vitro and in vivo, leading to its preferential clearance in the lungs of SP-A(+/+) mice. In addition, ΔfliC bacteria failed to degrade another important lung antimicrobial protein lysozyme. Detailed analyses showed that ΔfliC bacteria are unable to upregulate the transcription of lasI and rhlI genes, impairing the production of homoserine lactones necessary for quorum-sensing, an important virulence process that regulates the production of multiple exoproteases. Thus, reduced ability of ΔfliC bacteria to quorum-sense attenuates production of exoproteases and limits degradation of SP-A, thereby conferring susceptibility to this major pulmonary host defence protein.
    Molecular Microbiology 03/2011; 79(5):1220-35. · 5.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rapid and accurate identification of new essential genes in under-studied microorganisms will significantly improve our understanding of how a cell works and the ability to re-engineer microorganisms. However, predicting essential genes across distantly related organisms remains a challenge. Here, we present a machine learning-based integrative approach that reliably transfers essential gene annotations between distantly related bacteria. We focused on four bacterial species that have well-characterized essential genes, and tested the transferability between three pairs among them. For each pair, we trained our classifier to learn traits associated with essential genes in one organism, and applied it to make predictions in the other. The predictions were then evaluated by examining the agreements with the known essential genes in the target organism. Ten-fold cross-validation in the same organism yielded AUC scores between 0.86 and 0.93. Cross-organism predictions yielded AUC scores between 0.69 and 0.89. The transferability is likely affected by growth conditions, quality of the training data set and the evolutionary distance. We are thus the first to report that gene essentiality can be reliably predicted using features trained and tested in a distantly related organism. Our approach proves more robust and portable than existing approaches, significantly extending our ability to predict essential genes beyond orthologs.
    Nucleic Acids Research 02/2011; 39(3):795-807. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark of airways in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is highly refractory, chronic infections by several opportunistic bacterial pathogens. A recent study demonstrated that acidified sodium nitrite (A-NO(2)(-)) killed the highly refractory mucoid form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen that significantly compromises lung function in CF patients (S. S. Yoon et al., J. Clin. Invest. 116:436-446, 2006). Therefore, the microbicidal activity of A-NO(2)(-) (pH 6.5) against the following three major CF pathogens was assessed: P. aeruginosa (a mucoid, mucA22 mutant and a sequenced nonmucoid strain, PAO1), Staphylococcus aureus USA300 (methicillin resistant), and Burkholderia cepacia, a notoriously antibiotic-resistant organism. Under planktonic, anaerobic conditions, growth of all strains except for P. aeruginosa PAO1 was inhibited by 7.24 mM (512 μg ml(-1) NO(2)(-)). B. cepacia was particularly sensitive to low concentrations of A-NO(2)(-) (1.81 mM) under planktonic conditions. In antibiotic-resistant communities known as biofilms, which are reminiscent of end-stage CF airway disease, A-NO(2)(-) killed mucoid P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and B. cepacia; 1 to 2 logs of cells were killed after a 2-day incubation with a single dose of ∼15 mM A-NO(2)(-). Animal toxicology and phase I human trials indicate that these bactericidal levels of A-NO(2)(-) can be easily attained by aerosolization. Thus, in summary, we demonstrate that A-NO(2)(-) is very effective at killing these important CF pathogens and could be effective in other infectious settings, particularly under anaerobic conditions where bacterial defenses against the reduction product of A-NO(2)(-), nitric oxide (NO), are dramatically reduced.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 11/2010; 54(11):4671-7. · 4.57 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
474.20 Total Impact Points


  • 1997–2014
    • University of Cincinnati
      • • Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology
      • • Department of Internal Medicine
      Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • 1995–2010
    • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • 2009
    • The Ohio State University
      Columbus, Ohio, United States
  • 2008
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
      Troy, New York, United States
  • 2004–2007
    • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
      • Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology
      New Orleans, LA, United States
    • Washington State University
      Pullman, Washington, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Southampton
      • Centre for Biological Sciences
      Southampton, England, United Kingdom
  • 1999–2006
    • Montana State University
      • • Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
      • • Thermal Biology Institute
      • • Center for Biofilm Engineering
      Bozeman, MT, United States
    • Colorado State University
      Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Rochester
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Rochester, New York, United States
  • 1995–1999
    • University of Tennessee
      • Department of Microbiology
      Knoxville, TN, United States
  • 1989–1994
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  • 1987
    • Duke University Medical Center
      Durham, North Carolina, United States