Comparative review of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida

Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fort Collins, CO, USA
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.72). 03/2014; 4:35. DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2014.00035
Source: PubMed


Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the acute disease tularemia. Due to its extreme infectivity and ability to cause disease upon inhalation, F. tularensis has been classified as a biothreat agent. Two subspecies of F. tularensis, tularensis and holarctica, are responsible for tularemia in humans. In comparison, the closely related species F. novicida very rarely causes human illness and cases that do occur are associated with patients who are immune compromised or have other underlying health problems. Virulence between F. tularensis and F. novicida also differs in laboratory animals. Despite this varying capacity to cause disease, the two species share ~97% nucleotide identity, with F. novicida commonly used as a laboratory surrogate for F. tularensis. As the F. novicida U112 strain is exempt from U.S. select agent regulations, research studies can be carried out in non-registered laboratories lacking specialized containment facilities required for work with virulent F. tularensis strains. This review is designed to highlight phenotypic (clinical, ecological, virulence, and pathogenic) and genomic differences between F. tularensis and F. novicida that warrant maintaining F. novicida and F. tularensis as separate species. Standardized nomenclature for F. novicida is critical for accurate interpretation of experimental results, limiting clinical confusion between F. novicida and F. tularensis and ensuring treatment efficacy studies utilize virulent F. tularensis strains.

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Available from: Luke Kingry, Jul 30, 2015
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    • "Four subspecies (ssp or biovars) of F. tularensis are currently listed: F. tularensis ssp tularensis, F. tularensis ssp holarctica, F. tularensis ssp mediasiatica and F. tularensis ssp novicida (McLendon et al., 2006). The four subspecies differ in their virulence and geographical origin, but all cause a fulminant disease in mice that is similar to tularemia in humans (Kingry and Petersen, 2014). Although F. novicida is rarely pathogenic in humans, its genome shares approximately 97% nucleotide sequence identity with the human pathogenic species and is thus widely used as a model to study highly virulent subspecies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Intracellular multiplication and dissemination of the infectious bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis implies the utilization of multiple host-derived nutrients. Here, we demonstrate that gluconeogenesis constitutes an essential metabolic pathway in Francisella pathogenesis. Indeed, inactivation of gene glpX, encoding the unique fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase of Francisella, severely impaired bacterial intracellular multiplication when cells were supplemented by gluconeogenic substrates such as glycerol or pyruvate. The ΔglpX mutant also showed a severe virulence defect in the mouse model, confirming the importance of this pathway during the in vivo life cycle of the pathogen. Isotopic profiling revealed the major role of the Embden-Meyerhof (glycolysis) pathway in glucose catabolism in Francisella and confirmed the importance of glpX in gluconeogenesis. Altogether, the data presented suggest that gluconeogenesis allows Francisella to cope with the limiting glucose availability it encounters during its infectious cycle by relying on host amino acids. Hence, targeting the gluconeogenic pathway might constitute an interesting therapeutic approach against this pathogen. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Molecular Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Francisella novicida is a rare cause of human illness despite its close genetic relationship to Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia. During April-July 2011, 3 inmates at a Louisiana correctional facility developed F. novicida bacteremia; 1 inmate died acutely. Methods: We interviewed surviving inmates; reviewed laboratory, medical, and housing records; and conducted an environmental investigation. Clinical and environmental samples were tested by culture, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and multigene sequencing. Isolates were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Results: Clinical isolates were identified as F. novicida based on sequence analyses of the 16S ribosomal RNA, pgm, and pdpD genes. PmeI PFGE patterns for the clinical isolates were indistinguishable. Source patients were aged 40-56 years, male, and African American, and all were immunocompromised. Two patients presented with signs of bacterial peritonitis; the third had pyomyositis of the thigh. The 3 inmates had no contact with one another; their only shared exposures were consumption of municipal water and of ice that was mass-produced at the prison in an unenclosed building. Swabs from one set of ice machines and associated ice scoops yielded evidence of F. novicida by PCR and sequencing. All other environmental specimens tested negative. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first reported common-source outbreak of F. novicida infections in humans. Epidemiological and laboratory evidence implicate contaminated ice as the likely vehicle of transmission; liver disease may be a predisposing factor. Clinicians, laboratorians, and public health officials should be aware of the potential for misidentification of F. novicida as F. tularensis.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
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