[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is a respiratory commensal and opportunistic pathogen, which persists within biofilms on airway mucosal surfaces. For many species, biofilm formation is impacted by quorum signalling. Our prior work shows that production of autoinducer-2 (AI-2) promotes biofilm development and persistence for NTHI 86-028NP. NTHI 86-028NP encodes an ABC transporter annotated as a ribose transport system that includes a protein (RbsB) with similarity to the Escherichia coli LsrB and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans RbsB proteins that bind AI-2. In this study, inactivation of rbsB significantly reduced uptake of AI-2 and the AI-2 precursor dihydroxypentanedione (DPD) by NTHI 86-028NP. Moreover, DPD uptake was not competitively inhibited by ribose or other pentose sugars. Transcript levels of rbsB increased in response to DPD and as bacteria approached stationary-phase growth. The NTHI 86-028NP rbsB mutant also formed biofilms with significantly reduced thickness and total biomass and reduced surface phosphorylcholine, similar to a luxS mutant. Infection studies revealed that loss of rbsB impaired bacterial persistence in the chinchilla middle ear, similar to our previous results with luxS mutants. Based on these data, we conclude that in NTHI 86-028NP, RbsB is a LuxS/AI-2 regulated protein that is required for uptake of and response to AI-2.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biofilms contribute to Pseudomonas aeruginosa persistence in a variety of diseases, including cystic fibrosis, burn wounds, and chronic suppurative otitis media. However, few studies have directly addressed P. aeruginosa biofilms in vivo. We used a chinchilla model of otitis media, which has previously been used to study persistent Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae infections, to show that structures formed in vivo are biofilms of bacterial and host origin within a matrix that includes Psl, a P. aeruginosa biofilm polysaccharide. We evaluated three biofilm and/or virulence mediators of P. aeruginosa known to affect biofilm formation in vitro and pathogenesis in vivo--bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP), flagella, and quorum sensing--in a chinchilla model. We show that c-di-GMP overproduction has a positive impact on bacterial persistence, while quorum sensing increases virulence. We found no difference in persistence attributed to flagella. We conclude from these studies that a chinchilla otitis media model provides a means to evaluate pathogenic mediators of P. aeruginosa and that in vitro phenotypes should be examined in multiple infection systems to fully understand their role in disease.
Infection and immunity 06/2011; 79(8):3087-95. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Otitis media, for which antibiotic treatment failure is increasingly common, is a leading pediatric public health problem.
In vitro and in vivo studies using the chinchilla model of otitis media were performed using a β-lactamase-producing strain of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi 86-028NP) and an isogenic mutant deficient in β-lactamase production (NTHi 86-028NP bla) to define the roles of biofilm formation and β-lactamase production in antibiotic resistance. Coinfection studies were done with Streptococcus pneumoniae to determine if NTHi provides passive protection by means of β-lactamase production, biofilm formation, or both.
NTHi 86-028NP bla was resistant to amoxicillin killing in biofilm studies in vitro; however, it was cleared by amoxicillin treatment in vivo, whereas NTHi 86-028NP was unaffected in either system. NTHi 86-028NP protected pneumococcus in vivo in both the effusion fluid and bullar homogenate. NTHi 86-028NP bla and pneumococcus were both recovered from the surface-associated bacteria of amoxicillin-treated animals; only NTHi 86-028NP bla was recovered from effusion.
Based on these studies, we conclude that NTHi provides passive protection for S. pneumoniae in vivo through 2 distinct mechanisms: production of β-lactamase and formation of biofilm communities.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 02/2011; 203(4):549-55. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Otitis media is an extremely common pediatric infection and is mostly caused by bacteria that are carried within the nasopharyngeal microbiota. It is clear that most otitis media cases involve simultaneous infection with multiple agents.
Chinchillas were infected with nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or a combination of both organisms, and the course of disease was compared. In vitro experiments were also performed to address how coinfection impacts biofilm formation.
The incidence of systemic disease was reduced in coinfected animals, compared with those infected with pneumococcus alone. Pneumococci were present within surface-attached biofilms in coinfected animals, and a greater proportion of translucent colony type was observed in the coinfected animals. Because this colony type has been associated with pneumococcal biofilms, the impact of coinfection on pneumococcal biofilm formation was investigated. The results clearly show enhanced biofilm formation in vitro by pneumococci in the presence of H. influenzae.
Based on these data, we conclude that coinfection with H. influenzae facilitates pneumococcal biofilm formation and persistence on the middle ear mucosal surface. This enhanced biofilm persistence correlates with delayed emergence of opaque colony variants within the bacterial population and a resulting decrease in systemic infection.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 10/2010; 202(7):1068-75. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is a leading cause of otitis media infections, which are often chronic and/or recurrent in nature. NTHI and other bacterial species persist in vivo within biofilms during otitis media and other persistent infections. These biofilms have a significant host component that includes neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). These NETs do not mediate clearance of NTHI, which survives within NET structures by means of specific subpopulations of lipooligosaccharides on the bacterial surface that are determinants of biofilm formation in vitro. In this study, the ability of NTHI and NTHI components to initiate NET formation was examined using an in vitro model system. Both viable and nonviable NTHI strains were shown to promote NET formation, as did preparations of bacterial DNA, outer membrane proteins, and lipooligosaccharide (endotoxin). However, only endotoxin from a parental strain of NTHI exhibited equivalent potency in NET formation to that of NTHI. Additional studies showed that NTHI entrapped within NET structures is resistant to both extracellular killing within NETs and phagocytic killing by incoming neutrophils, due to oligosaccharide moieties within the lipooligosaccharides. Thus, we concluded that NTHI elicits NET formation by means of multiple pathogen-associated molecular patterns (most notably endotoxin) and is highly resistant to killing within NET structures. These data support the conclusion that, for NTHI, formation of NET structures may be a persistence determinant by providing a niche within the middle-ear chamber.
Infection and immunity 10/2010; 79(1):431-8. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Otitis media (OM) is among the leading diseases of childhood and is caused by opportunists that reside within the nasopharynx, such as Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. As with most airway infections, it is now clear that OM infections involve multiple organisms. This study addresses the hypothesis that polymicrobial infection alters the course, severity, and/or treatability of OM disease. The results clearly show that coinfection with H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis promotes the increased resistance of biofilms to antibiotics and host clearance. Using H. influenzae mutants with known biofilm defects, these phenotypes were shown to relate to biofilm maturation and autoinducer-2 (AI-2) quorum signaling. In support of the latter mechanism, chemically synthesized AI-2 (dihydroxypentanedione [DPD]) promoted increased M. catarrhalis biofilm formation and resistance to antibiotics. In the chinchilla infection model of OM, polymicrobial infection promoted M. catarrhalis persistence beyond the levels seen in animals infected with M. catarrhalis alone. Notably, no such enhancement of M. catarrhalis persistence was observed in animals infected with M. catarrhalis and a quorum signaling-deficient H. influenzae luxS mutant strain. We thus conclude that H. influenzae promotes M. catarrhalis persistence within polymicrobial biofilms via interspecies quorum signaling. AI-2 may therefore represent an ideal target for disruption of chronic polymicrobial infections. Moreover, these results strongly imply that successful vaccination against the unencapsulated H. influenzae strains that cause airway infections may also significantly impact chronic M. catarrhalis disease by removing a reservoir of the AI-2 signal that promotes M. catarrhalis persistence within biofilm.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is an extremely common airway commensal which can cause opportunistic infections that are usually localized to airway mucosal surfaces. During many of these infections, NTHI forms biofilm communities that promote persistence in vivo. For many bacterial species, density-dependent quorum-signaling networks can affect biofilm formation and/or maturation. Mutation of luxS, a determinant of the autoinducer 2 (AI-2) quorum signal pathway, increases NTHI virulence in the chinchilla model for otitis media infections. For example, bacterial counts in middle-ear fluids and the severity of the host inflammatory response were increased in luxS mutants compared with parental strains. As these phenotypes are consistent with those that we have observed for biofilm-defective NTHI mutants, we hypothesized that luxS may affect NTHI biofilms. A luxS mutant was generated using the well-characterized NTHI 86-028NP strain and tested to determine the effects of the mutation on biofilm phenotypes in vitro and bacterial persistence and disease severity during experimental otitis media. Quantitation of the biofilm structure by confocal microscopy and COMSTAT analysis revealed significantly reduced biomass for NTHI 86-028NP luxS biofilms, which was restored by a soluble mediator in NTHI 86-028NP supernatants. Analysis of lipooligosaccharide moieties using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting showed decreased levels of biofilm-associated glycoforms in the NTHI 86-028NP luxS strain. Infection studies showed that NTHI 86-028NP luxS had a significant persistence defect in vivo during chronic otitis media infection. Based on these data, we concluded that a luxS-dependent soluble mediator modulates the composition of the NTHI lipooligosaccharides, resulting in effects on biofilm maturation and bacterial persistence in vivo.
Infection and immunity 07/2009; 77(9):4081-91. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a leading cause of acute and chronic otitis media, which are a major public health problem worldwide. The persistence of NTHi during chronic and recurrent otitis media infections involves multicellular biofilm communities formed within the middle-ear chamber. Bacterial biofilms resist immune clearance and antibiotic therapy due in part to encasement within a polymeric matrix. In this study, the contribution of biofilms to bacterial persistence in vivo and composition of the NTHi biofilm matrix during experimental otitis media were investigated. The presence of biofilms within the chinchilla middle-ear chamber was significantly correlated with increased bacterial load in middle-ear effusions and tissue. Examination of thin sections revealed polymorphonuclear cells within a DNA lattice containing elastase and histones, which is consistent with the definition of neutrophil extracellular traps. Viable multicellular biofilm communities with biofilm phenotypes were found within the DNA lattice throughout the biofilm. Further, NTHi was resistant to both phagocytic and extracellular neutrophil killing in vitro by means of lipooligosaccharide moieties that promote biofilm formation. These data support the conclusion that NTHi subverts neutrophil extracellular traps to persist in vivo. These data also indicate that a more inclusive definition for biofilms may be warranted.
Journal of Innate Immunity 01/2009; 1(3):215-24. · 4.46 Impact Factor