[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 2004, a total of 131 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae multidrug-resistant invasive serotype 8 have been detected in Spain. These isolates showed resistance to erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. All isolates were obtained from adult patients and shared a common genotype (sequence type [ST]63; penicillin-binding protein 1a [pbp1a], pbp2b, and pbp2x gene profiles; ermB and tetM genes; and a ParC-S79F change). Sixty-eight isolates that required a ciprofloxacin MIC ≥16 μg/mL had additional gyrA gene changes. Serotype 8-ST63 pbp2x sequences were identical with those of antimicrobial drug-susceptible serotype 8-ST53 isolates. Serotype 8-ST63 pbp2b sequences were identical with those of the multidrug-resistant Sweden 15A-ST63 clone. Recombination between the capsular locus and flanking regions of an ST53 isolate (donor) and an ST63 pneumococcus (recipient) generated the novel 15A-ST63 clone. One recombination point was upstream of pbp2x and another was within pbp1a. A serotype 8-ST63 clone was identified as a cause of invasive disease in Spain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ceragenin CSA-13, a cationic steroid, is here reported to show a concentration-dependent bactericidal/bacteriolytic activity against pathogenic streptococci, including multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. The autolysis promoted by CSA-13 in pneumococcal cultures appears to be due to the triggering of the major S. pneumoniae autolysin LytA, an N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase. CSA-13 also disintegrated pneumococcal biofilms in a very efficient manner, although at concentrations slightly higher than those required for bactericidal activity on planktonic bacteria. CSA-13 has little hemolytic activity which should allow testing its antibacterial efficacy in animal models.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101037. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae are a major cause of acute otitis media (AOM), including chronic and recurrent otitis in young children. The objective of this study was to determine whether non-typeable H. influenzae isolates causing these infections produce biofilms and carry resistance mechanisms to β-lactams.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 06/2014; · 5.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A disposable PCR-based amperometric magneto-genosensor for detection and identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae was evaluated. ROC curve analysis used to determine optimal signal cutoff values yielded a sensitivity of 91 % and a specificity of 90 %. The method was also tested for the direct detection of pneumococci in clinical samples.
Journal of Microbiological Methods 05/2014; · 2.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae has increased worldwide by the spread of a few clones. Fluoroquinolone resistance occurs mainly by alteration of their intracellular targets, the type II DNA topoisomerases, which is acquired either by point mutation or by recombination. Increase in fluoroquinolone-resistance may depend on the balance between antibiotic consumption and the cost that resistance imposes to bacterial fitness. In addition, pneumococcal prophages could play an important role. Prophage induction by fluoroquinolones was confirmed in 4 clinical isolates by using Southern blot hybridization. Clinical isolates (105 fluoroquinolone-resistant and 160 fluoroquinolone-susceptible) were tested for lysogeny by using a PCR assay and functional prophage carriage was studied by mitomycin C induction. Fluoroquinolone-resistant strains harbored fewer inducible prophages (17/43) than fluoroquinolone-susceptible strains (49/70) (P = 0.0018). In addition, isolates of clones associated with fluoroquinolone resistance [CC156 (3/25); CC63 (2/20), and CC81 (1/19)], had lower frequency of functional prophages than isolates of clones with low incidence of fluoroquinolone resistance [CC30 (4/21), CC230 (5/20), CC62 (9/21), and CC180 (21/30)]. Likewise, persistent strains from patients with chronic respiratory diseases subjected to fluoroquinolone treatment had a low frequency of inducible prophages (1/11). Development of ciprofloxacin resistance was tested with two isogenic strains, one lysogenic and the other non-lysogenic: emergence of resistance was only observed in the non-lysogenic strain. These results are compatible with the lysis of lysogenic isolates receiving fluoroquinolones before the development of resistance and explain the inverse relation between presence of inducible prophages and fluoroquinolone-resistance.
PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94358. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The increasing use of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been accompanied by the rise of nonvaccine serotypes colonizing the human nasopharynx. The vast majority of infections are caused by microorganisms that grow in biofilms. It has recently been shown that the formation of Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms in vivo and in vitro is hindered by the presence of capsular polysaccharide. The biofilm-forming capacity of pneumococcal clinical isolates with different types of capsular polysaccharide and various isogenic transformants was examined. Strains of serotypes 19A and 19F, but not 19B and 19C, formed ≥80% of the quantity of biofilm associated with a non-encapsulated control strain. Strains of serogroup 6 also showed significant biofilm-forming capacity. The capsules of serotypes 19A and 19F and serogroup 6 contain the disaccharides α-D-Glcp-(1→2)-α-L-Rhap-(1→ and α-D-Glcp-(1→3)-α-L-Rhap-(1→. Serotype 18A and serotypes 18B/18C have very similar capsular disaccharides: α-D-GlcpNAc-(1→3)-β-L-Rhap-(1→ and α-D-Glcp-(1→3)-β-L-Rhap-(1→, respectively. However, the strains of serogroup 18 showed impaired biofilm formation. These results indicate that the chemical composition/structure of the capsular polysaccharide is crucial to the biofilm-forming capacity of pneumococcal serotypes. Testing of the in vitro biofilm-forming ability of isogenic transformants expressing different capsular polysaccharides may help predict the emergence of colonizing, nonvaccine serotypes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phage endolysins are murein hydrolases that break the bacterial cell wall to provoke lysis and release of phage progeny. Recently, these enzymes have also been recognized as powerful and specific antibacterial agents when added exogenously. In the pneumococcal system, most cell-wall associated murein hydrolases reported so far depend on choline for activity and Cpl-7 lysozyme constitutes a remarkable exception. Here, we report the improvement of the killing activity of the Cpl-7 endolysin by inverting the sign of the charge of the cell wall-binding module (from -14.93 to +3.0 at neutral pH). The engineered variant, Cpl-7S, has 15 amino acid substitutions and an improved lytic activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae (including multiresistant strains), Streptococcus pyogenes, and other pathogens. Moreover, we have demonstrated that a single 25 μg dose of Cpl-7S significantly increased the survival rate of zebrafish embryos, infected with S. pneumoniae or S. pyogenes, confirming the killing effect of Cpl-7S in vivo. Interestingly, Cpl-7S, in combination with 0.01% carvacrol (an essential oil), was also found to efficiently kill Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas putida, an effect not described previously. Our findings provide a strategy to improve the lytic activity of phage endolysins based on facilitating their pass through the negatively charged bacterial envelope, and thereby their interaction with the cell wall target, by modulating the net charge of the cell wall-binding modules.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 08/2013; · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a frequent member of the microbiota of the human nasopharynx. Colonization of the nasopharyngeal tract is a first and necessary step in the infectious process and often involves the formation of sessile microbial communities by this human pathogen. The ability to grow and persist as biofilms is an advantage for many microorganisms because biofilm-grown bacteria show a reduced susceptibility to antimicrobial agents and hinder the recognition by the immune system. Host protection against biofilm-related pneumococcal disease has not been defined yet. Using pneumococcal strains growing as planktonic cultures or as biofilms, we have investigated the recognition of S. pneumoniae by the complement system and its interactions with human neutrophils. Deposition of C3b, the key complement component, was impaired on S. pneumoniae biofilms. In addition, binding of C-reactive protein and the complement component C1q to the pneumococcal surface was reduced in biofilm-growing bacteria demonstrating that pneumococcal biofilms avoid the activation of the classical complement pathway. Besides, recruitment of factor H, the down-regulator of the alternative pathway was enhanced by S. pneumoniae growing as biofilms. Our results also show that biofilm formation diverts the alternative complement pathway activation by a PspC-mediated mechanism. Furthermore, phagocytosis of pneumococcal biofilms was also impaired. The present study confirms that biofilm formation in S. pneumoniae is an efficient way for host immune evasion both from the classical and the PspC-dependent alternative complement pathways.
Infection and immunity 05/2013; · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endolysins comprise a novel class of selective antibacterials refractory to develop resistances. The Cpl-7 endolysin, encoded by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteriophage Cp-7, consists of a catalytic module (CM) with muramidase activity and a cell wall-binding module (CWBM) made of three fully conserved CW_7 repeats essential for activity. Firstly identified in the Cpl-7 endolysin, CW_7 motifs are also present in a great variety of cell wall hydrolases encoded, among others, by human and live-stock pathogens. However, the nature of CW_7 receptors on the bacterial envelope remains unknown. In the present study, the structural stability of Cpl-7 and the target recognized by CW_7 repeats, relevant for exploitation of Cpl-7 as antimicrobial, have been analyzed, and transitions from the CM and the CWBM assigned, using circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetry. Cpl-7 stability is maximum around 6.0-6.5, near the optimal pH for activity. Above pH 8.0 the CM becomes extremely unstable, probably due to deprotonation of the N-terminal amino-group, whereas the CWBM is rather insensitive to pH variation and its structural stabilization by GlcNAc-MurNAc-l-Ala-d-isoGln points to the cell wall muropeptide as the cell wall target recognized by the CW_7 repeats. Denaturation data also revealed that Cpl-7 is organized into two essentially independent folding units, which will facilitate the recombination of the CM and the CWBM with other catalytic domains and/or cell wall-binding motifs to yield new tailored chimeric lysins with higher bactericidal activities or new pathogen specificities.
PLoS ONE 10/2012; 7(10):e46654. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specific antibodies mediate humoral and cellular protection against invading pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae by activating complement mediated immunity, promoting phagocytosis and stimulating bacterial clearance. The emergence of pneumococcal strains with high levels of antibiotic resistance is of great concern worldwide and a serious threat for public health.
Flow cytometry was used to determine whether complement-mediated immunity against three antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae clinical isolates is enhanced in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of cefditoren and ceftriaxone. The binding of acute phase proteins such as C-reactive protein and serum amyloid P component, and of complement component C1q, to pneumococci was enhanced in the presence of serum plus either of these antibiotics. Both antibiotics therefore trigger the activation of the classical complement pathway against S. pneumoniae. C3b deposition was also increased in the presence of specific anti-pneumococcal antibodies and sub-inhibitory concentrations of cefditoren and ceftriaxone confirming that the presence of these antibiotics enhances complement-mediated immunity to S. pneumoniae.
Using cefditoren and ceftriaxone to promote the binding of acute phase proteins and C1q to pneumococci, and to increase C3b deposition, when anti-pneumococcal antibodies are present, might help reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance in S. pneumoniae infections.
PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44135. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emergence of Streptococcus pneumoniae strains displaying high levels of multidrug resistance is of great concern worldwide and a serious threat for the outcome of the infection. Modifications of the bacterial envelope by antibiotics may assist the recognition and clearance of the pathogen by the host immune system. Recognition of S. pneumoniae resistant strains by the complement component C3b was increased in the presence of specific anti-pneumococcal antibodies and subinhibitory concentrations of different macrolides and β-lactam antibiotics for all the strains investigated. However, C3b levels were unchanged in the presence of serum containing specific antibodies and sub-MICs of levofloxacin. To investigate whether LytA, the main cell wall hydrolase of S. pneumoniae, might be involved in this process, lytA-deficient mutants were constructed. In the presence of antibiotics, loss of LytA was not associated with enhanced C3b deposition on the pneumococcal surface, which confirms the importance of LytA in this interaction. The results of this study offer new insights into the development of novel therapeutic strategies using certain antibiotics by increasing the efficacy of the host immune response to efficiently recognize pneumococcal resistant strains.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 08/2012; 56(11):5534-40. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biofilm matrices consist of a mixture of extracellular polymeric substances synthesized in large part by the biofilm-producing microorganisms themselves. These matrices are responsible for the cohesion and three-dimensional architecture of biofilms. The present study demonstrates the existence of a matrix composed of extracellular DNA, proteins and polysaccharides in the biofilm formed by the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. Extracellular DNA, visualized by fluorescent labelling, was an important component of this matrix. The existence of DNA-protein complexes associated with bacterial aggregates and other polymers was hypothesized based on the unexpected DNA binding activity of lysozyme LytC, a novel moonlighting protein. Actually, a 25-amino-acid-long peptide derived from LytC (positions 408 and 432 of the mature LytC) was also capable of efficiently binding to DNA. Moreover, the presence of intercellular DNA-LytC protein complexes in pneumococcal biofilms was demonstrated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Evidence of extracellular polysaccharide different from the capsule was obtained by staining with Calcofluor dye and four types of lectin conjugated to Alexa fluorophores, and by incubation with glycoside hydrolases. The presence of residues of Glcp(1→4) and GlcNAc(1→4) (in its deacetylated form) in the pneumococcal biofilm was confirmed by GC-MS techniques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The polysaccharide capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main virulence factor making the bacterium resistant to phagocytosis. The galU gene of S. pneumoniae encodes a UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase absolutely required for capsule biosynthesis. In silico analyses indicated that the galU gene is co-transcribed with the gpdA gene, and four putative promoter regions located upstream of gpdA were predicted. One of them behaved as a functional promoter in a promoter reporter system. It is conceivable that the sequence responsible for initiating transcription of gpdA-galU operon is an extended -10 site TATGATA(T/G)AAT. Semi-quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR experiments indicated that galU was expressed mainly in the exponential phase of growth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vancomycin, a glycopeptide antimicrobial agent, represents the last line of defence against a wide range of multi-resistant Gram-positive pathogens such as enterococci, staphylococci and streptococci. However, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and staphylococci, along with vancomycin-tolerant clinical isolates, are compromising the therapeutic efficacy of vancomycin. It is conceivable that tolerance may emerge during prolonged vancomycin use. It has not been until recently, however, that the molecular basis of this tolerance began to be understood. Superoxide anions might be involved in the bactericidal activity of vancomycin in enterococci, and recent evidence suggests that the stringent response is partly responsible for vancomycin tolerance in Enterococcus faecalis. The mechanism of vancomycin tolerance in Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae is sometimes associated with a reduction of autolysin activity. Vancomycin tolerance in S. aureus and S. pneumoniae also appears to be somehow related with the two-component regulatory systems linked to cell envelope stress, although the precise molecular regulatory pathways remain poorly defined.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biofilm-grown bacteria are refractory to antimicrobial agents and show an increased capacity to evade the host immune system. In recent years, studies have begun on biofilm formation by Streptococcus pneumoniae, an important human pathogen, using a variety of in vitro model systems. The bacterial cells in these biofilms are held together by an extracellular matrix composed of DNA, proteins and, possibly, polysaccharide(s). Although neither the precise nature of these proteins nor the composition of the putative polysaccharide(s) is clear, it is known that choline-binding proteins are required for successful biofilm formation. Further, many genes appear to be involved, although the role of each appears to vary when biofilms are produced in batch or continuous culture. Prophylactic and therapeutic measures need to be developed to fight S. pneumoniae biofilm formation. However, much care needs to be taken when choosing strains for such studies because different S. pneumoniae isolates can show remarkable genomic differences. Multispecies and in vivo biofilm models must also be developed to provide a more complete understanding of biofilm formation and maintenance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Host- and phage-coded cell wall hydrolases have been used to fight Streptococcus pneumoniae growing as planktonic cells in vitro as well as in animal models. Until now, however, the usefulness of these enzymes in biofilm-grown pneumococci has gone untested. The antipneumococcal activity of different cell wall hydrolases produced by S. pneumoniae and a number of its phages was examined in an in vitro biofilm model. The major pneumococcal autolysin LytA, an N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase, showed the greatest efficiency in disintegrating S. pneumoniae biofilms. The phage-encoded lysozymes Cpl-1 and Cpl-7 were also very efficient. Biofilms formed by the close pneumococcal relatives Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae and Streptococcus oralis were also destroyed by the phage endolysins but not by the S. pneumoniae autolysin LytA. A cooperative effect of LytA and Cpl-1 in the disintegration of S. pneumoniae biofilms was recorded.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 09/2011; 55(9):4144-8. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common colonizer of the human nasopharynx and one of the major pathogens causing invasive disease worldwide. Dissection of the molecular pathways responsible for colonization, invasion, and evasion of the immune system will provide new targets for antimicrobial or vaccine therapies for this common pathogen.
We have constructed mutants lacking the pneumococcal cell wall hydrolases (CWHs) LytB and LytC to investigate the role of these proteins in different phases of the pneumococcal pathogenesis. Our results show that LytB and LytC are involved in the attachment of S. pneumoniae to human nasopharyngeal cells both in vitro and in vivo. The interaction of both proteins with phagocytic cells demonstrated that LytB and LytC act in concert avoiding pneumococcal phagocytosis mediated by neutrophils and alveolar macrophages. Furthermore, C3b deposition was increased on the lytC mutant confirming that LytC is involved in complement evasion. As a result, the lytC mutant showed a reduced ability to successfully cause pneumococcal pneumonia and sepsis. Bacterial mutants lacking both LytB and LytC showed a dramatically impaired attachment to nasopharyngeal cells as well as a marked degree of attenuation in a mouse model of colonization. In addition, C3b deposition and phagocytosis was more efficient for the double lytB lytC mutant and its virulence was greatly impaired in both systemic and pulmonary models of infection.
This study confirms that the CWHs LytB and LytC of S. pneumoniae are essential virulence factors involved in the colonization of the nasopharynx and in the progress of invasive disease by avoiding host immunity.
PLoS ONE 08/2011; 6(8):e23626. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A disposable magnetogenosensor for the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae is reported. The developed procedure involves the use of streptavidin-modified magnetic beads, a specific biotinylated capture probe that hybridizes with a specific region of lytA, the gene encoding the pneumococcal major autolysin, and appropriate primers for asymmetric polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. Capture probes and amplicons specific for S. pneumoniae were selected by a careful analysis of all lytA alleles available. The selected primers amplify a 235-bp fragment of pneumococcal lytA. A detection limit (LOD) of 5.1 nM was obtained for a 20-mer synthetic target DNA without any amplification protocol, while the LOD for the asymmetric PCR amplicon was 1.1 nM. A RSD value of 6.9% was obtained for measurements carried out with seven different genosensors for 1.1-nM aPCR product. The strict specificity of the designed primers was demonstrated by aPCR amplification of genomic DNA prepared from different bacteria, including some closely related streptococci. Direct asymmetric PCR (daPCR), using cells directly from broth cultures of S. pneumoniae, showed that daPCR products could be prepared with as few as 2 colony-forming units (CFU). Furthermore, this methodology did not show any cross-reaction with closely related streptococci such as Streptococcus mitis (or Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae) even when present in the culture at concentrations up to 10(5) times higher than that of S. pneumoniae. Preliminary data for rapid detection of pneumococcus directly in clinical samples has shown that it is possible to discriminate between non-inoculated blood and urine samples and samples inoculated with only 10(3) CFU mL(-1) S. pneumoniae.
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 03/2011; 399(7):2413-20. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A total of 91 of 1,480 invasive isolates (6.1%) collected from adults in Barcelona, Spain, in the period of 1994 to 2008 were of serogroup 6 (6B, 47 isolates; 6A, 28; and 6C, 16). Throughout this period, serotype 6B (Spain(6B)-ST90) decreased, and serotype 6A remained stable. An increase in serotype 6C (ST224) in the 2004-2008 period was observed.
Journal of clinical microbiology 03/2011; 49(6):2328-30. · 4.23 Impact Factor