Skills and Expertise
Research Items (10)
Listeriosis is a severe disease caused by the opportunistic bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes). Previous studies indicate that of the four phylogenetical lineages known, lineage I strains are significantly more prevalent in clinical infections than in the environment. Among lineage 1, sequence type (ST1) belongs to the most frequent genotypes in clinical infections and behaves hyperinvasive in experimental in vitro infections compared to lineage II strains suggesting that yet uncharacterized virulence genes contribute to high virulence of certain lineage I strains. This study investigated the effect of four specific lineage I genes encoding surface proteins with internalin‐like structures on cellular infection. CNS derived cell lines (fetal bovine brain cells, human microglia cells) and non‐CNS derived cell lines (bovine macrophage cells, human adenocarcinoma cells) that represent the various target cells of L. monocytogenes were infected with the parental ST1 strain and deletion mutants of the four genes. Despite their association with lineage I, deletion of the four genes investigated did not dampen the hyperinvasiveness of the ST1 strain. Similarly, these genes did not contribute to the intracellular survival and intercellular spread of L. monocytogenes ST1, indicating that these genes may have other functions, either during the infection process or outside the host.
- Jul 2017
Purpose: Listeria monocytogenes is a genetically heterogeneous species, which is divided into evolutionary lineages and clonal complexes (CCs). Not all L. monocytogenes isolates are equally likely to cause disease, with CC1, and in particular sequence type (ST) 1, being the most prevalent complex in human and ruminant infections and more specifically in neurolisteriosis. While the major factors that determine neurotropism are unknown, the L. monocytogenes CC1 strains harbour listeriolysin S (lls) and particular alleles of internalin (inl) F and inlJ, which are not present in CCs commonly isolated from food and the environment. The aim of this study was to analyse the role of these factors in cellular infection. Methodology: A ST1 field strain (JF5203) from CC1 isolated from a bovine rhombencephalitis case was used to create deletion mutants. These were tested alongside the parental strain and EGD-e (CC9), in different culture models representing L. monocytogenes targets (neurons, microglia, placenta, intestine and macrophages). The phenotype was assessed by quantification of c.f.u. from cell lysates and immunofluorescence analysis. Results: Compared to EGD-e, the ST1 strain JF5203 was hyperinvasive and exhibited increased intercellular spread. However, deletion of llsB, inlF or inlJ1, had no significant effect on infection or growth in the culture models tested. Conclusion: Our results underline the importance of using relevant clinical strains when investigating L. monocytogenes virulence. We show that despite the association with CC1, llsB, inlF and inlJ1 are not involved in the hyperinvasiveness and efficient intercellular spread of ST1 in various cell types.
Listeria (L.) monocytogenes is an opportunistic pathogen causing life-threatening infections in diverse mammalian species including humans and ruminants. As little is known on the link between strains and clinicopathological phenotypes, we studied potential strain-associated virulence and organ tropism in L. monocytogenes isolates from well-defined ruminant cases of clinical infections and the farm environment. The phylogeny of isolates and their virulence-associated genes were analyzed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and sequence analysis of virulence-associated genes. Additionally, a panel of representative isolates was subjected to in vitro infection assays. Our data suggest the environmental exposure of ruminants to a broad range of strains and yet the strong association of sequence type (ST) 1 from clonal complex (CC) 1 with rhombencephalitis, suggesting increased neurotropism of ST1 in ruminants, which is possibly related to its hypervirulence. This study emphasizes the importance of considering clonal background of L. monocytogenes isolates in surveillance, epidemiological investigation and disease control.
Listeria monocytogenes rhombencephalitis is a severe progressive disease despite a swift intrathecal immune response. Based on previous observations, we hypothesized that the disease progresses by intra-axonal spread within the central nervous system. To test this hypothesis, neuroanatomical mapping of lesions, immunofluorescence and electron microscopy were performed on brains of ruminants with naturally occurring rhombencephalitis. In addition, infection assays were performed in bovine brain cell cultures. Mapping of lesions revealed a consistent pattern with preferential affection of certain nuclear areas and white matter tracts indicating that Listeria monocytogenes spreads intra-axonally within the brain along interneuronal connections. These results were supported by immunofluorescence and ultrastructural data localizing Listeria monocytogenes inside axons and dendrites associated with networks of fibrillary structures consistent with actin tails. In vitro infection assays confirmed that bacteria were moving within axon-like processes by employing their actin tail machinery. Remarkably, in vivo neutrophils invaded the axonal space and the axon itself, apparently by moving between split myelin lamellae of intact myelin sheaths. This intra-axonal invasion of neutrophils was associated with various stages of axonal degeneration and bacterial phagocytosis. Paradoxically, ensuing ad-axonal microabscesses appeared to provide new bacterial replication sites thus supporting further bacterial spread. In conclusion, intra-axonal bacterial migration and possibly also the innate immune response play an important role in the intracerebral spread of the agent and hence the progression of listeric rhombencephalitis. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
- Mar 2015
Listeria (L.) monocytogenes is an environmental bacterium that may become an intracellular pathogen upon ingestion to cause gastroenteritis, septicaemia, abortions, and/or fatal infections of the central nervous system. We here describe a L. monocytogenes field strain (JF5171) isolated from a bovine placenta in the context of abortion, which exhibited attenuation in bovine brain-slice cultures. The whole genome of strain JF5171 was sequenced, and the invasion, replication, and intercellular spread of JF5171 were further analyzed by quantification of colony forming units and immunofluorescence studies. Phospholipase and hemolysis activity of JF5171 were also quantified along with transcription levels of actA, hly and prfA. The data obtained were compared to those of the widely used L. monocytogenes reference strain, EGD-e. JF5171 exhibited reduced replication and lower levels of phospholipase and hemolysis activity. Invasion and cell-to-cell spread was strongly decreased compared to EGD-e, and actin polymerization was absent. A frame shift deletion was identified in the JF5171 coding region of the major regulator for virulence, prfA. This resulted in a truncated C-terminus sequence (WEN* vs. WGKLN*). In addition, a point mutation resulted in a lysine to arginine substitution at amino acid position 197. Complementation with prfA from EGD-e and with (EGD-e) prfA-K197N increased the replication and spread efficiency of JF5171. In contrast, complementation with the truncated version of prfA had no effect. Taken together, these results suggest that the truncated C-terminus of prfA considerably contributes to the strongly attenuated phenotype observed in vitro. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes a number of proteins that inhibit and manipulate innate immune signaling pathways, and which have a role in virulence. These include A52, a protein shown to inhibit IL-1- and Toll-like receptor-stimulated NFκB activation, via interaction with IRAK2. Interestingly, A52 was also found to activate p38 MAP kinase (MAPK), and thus enhance TLR-dependent IL-10 induction, which was TRAF6-dependent, but how A52 manipulates TRAF6 to stimulate p38 activation was unclear. Here we show that A52 has a non-canonical TRAF6-binding motif that is essential for TRAF6 binding and p38 activation, but dispensable for NFκB inhibition and IRAK2 interaction. Wild type A52, but not a mutant defective in p38 activation and TRAF6 binding (F154A), caused TRAF6 oligomerisation and subsequent TRAF6-TAK1 association. The crystal structure of A52 shows that it adopts a Bcl2-like fold and exists as a dimer in solution. Residue M65 was identified as being located in the A52 dimer interface, and consistent with that, A52-M65E was impaired in its ability to dimerise. A52-M65E although capable of interacting with TRAF6, was unable to cause either TRAF6 self-association, induce the TRAF6-TAK1 association or activate p38 MAPK. The results suggest that an A52 dimer causes TRAF6 self-association leading to TAK1 recruitment and p38 activation. This reveals a molecular mechanism whereby poxviruses manipulate TRAF6 in order to activate MAP kinases (which can be pro-viral) without stimulating anti-viral NFκB activation.
We report two complete foamy retrovirus (FV) genomes isolated from Puma concolor, a large cat native to the Americas. Due to high overall genetic relatedness to known feline foamy viruses (FFVs), we propose the name Puma concolor FFV (FFVPc). The data confirm that felines are infected with distinct but closely related FVs.