[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus is a major risk factor for invasive S. aureus disease. The aim of this study was to define factors associated with carriage. We conducted a prospective, longitudinal community-based
study of infants and their mothers for a period of 6 months following delivery. The epidemiology of carriage was examined
for 100 infant-mother pairs. Infant carriage varied significantly with age, falling from 40 to 50% during the first 8 weeks
to 21% by 6 months. Determinants of infant S. aureus carriage included maternal carriage, breastfeeding, and number of siblings. Bacterial typing of S. aureus was performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. The majority of individuals carried a single
strain of S. aureus over time, and the mother was the usual source for colonizing isolates in infants. The effect of other components of the
normal nasal flora on the development of S. aureus carriage was examined in 157 consecutive infants. Negative associations (putative bacterial interference) between S. aureus and other species occurred early in infancy but were not sustained. An increasing antistaphylococcal effect observed over
time was not attributable to bacterial interference. S. aureus carriage in infants is likely to be determined by a combination of host, environmental, and bacterial factors, but bacterial
interference does not appear to be an ultimate determinant of carrier status.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2004 · Journal of Clinical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has infected over 170 million people world wide, and in the majority sets up a chronic infection associated with hepatic inflammation. How it evades host immunity, particularly CD8+ T cells (CTL) is unclear, but two major factors are likely to operate, viral escape mutation and T cell exhaustion. We have investigated the role of CTL in control of infection during acute disease using Class I peptide tetramers. Although the immune response is quite diverse and numerous epitopes can be targeted, we observe that, especially during acute disease, one epitope (NS3 1073-81) is commonly recognised in HLA-A2 positive individuals. However, the levels of response to this epitope (and others) are very much lower if persistence is established. We examined in detail whether the cause of this low level of reactivity is due to mutation within the epitope. We find that, in fact this epitope is highly conserved during chronic infection, at a clonal level, between individuals, and over time. Thus, although variation within the epitope does occur, lack of reactivity in peripheral blood against this epitope in chronic disease, and loss of control of virus cannot be explained entirely by viral escape. Escape through mutation probably does play an important role in persistence of HCV, but we also discuss other mechanisms which lead to attenuation of T cell responses which may be important in determining the outcome.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2003 · Immunology Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD4+ T lymphocyte responses are thought to play a major role in control of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Few, however, have been mapped down to the level of peptide and HLA restriction. Furthermore, the ability of such T cells to respond to viruses which differ in genotype has not been addressed in detail. In most cases of persistent infection with HCV, CD4 proliferative responses are weak or absent. From a large cohort of persistently infected patients, we identified an individual with unusually robust and persistent responses in the face of chronic infection. We firstly mapped two peptide epitopes to regions of the nonstructural protein NS4 (aa1686-1705 and aa 1746-1765). However, in contrast to the genotype 1a derived antigens used for mapping, the infecting virus was identified as genotype 3a. Strikingly, the patient's CD4 response to these epitopes were specific only for the genotype 1a sequence, and did not recognize genotype 3a synthetic peptides. Serologic assays indicated that prior exposure to HCV of genotype 1 had occurred. This patient therefore maintains strong CD4 proliferative responses which are genotype specific and not cross-reactive. The apparent 'misdirection' of these nonprotective responses has important implications for the role of natural and vaccine induced CD4 responses in the face of variable viruses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most cases of severe Staphylococcus aureus disease cannot be explained by the action of a single virulence determinant, and it is likely that a number of factors act
in combination during the infective process. This study examined the relationship between disease in humans and a large number
of putative virulence determinants, both individually and in combination. S. aureus isolates (n = 334) from healthy blood donors and from patients with invasive disease were compared for variation in the presence of 33
putative virulence determinants. After adjusting for the effect of clonality, seven determinants (fnbA, cna, sdrE, sej, eta, hlg, and ica) were significantly more common in invasive isolates. All seven factors contributed independently to virulence. No single
factor predominated as the major predictor of virulence, their effects appearing to be cumulative. No combinations of the
seven genes were either more or less likely to cause disease than others with the same number of virulence-associated genes.
There was evidence of considerable horizontal transfer of genes on a background of clonality. Our findings also suggested
that allelic variants of a polymorphic locus can make different contributions to the disease process, further study of which
is likely to expand our understanding of staphylococcal disease pathogenesis.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2002 · Infection and Immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are a major cause of sepsis in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We evaluated
the hypothesis that the ica operon and biofilm production are associated with CoNS disease in this setting. CoNS associated with bacteremia or blood
culture contamination and from the skin of infants with CoNS bacteremia or healthy controls were obtained during a prospective
case-control study on a busy NICU. A total of 180 strains were identified, of which 122 (68%) were Staphylococcus epidermidis and the remainder were S. capitis (n = 29), S. haemolyticus (n = 11), S. hominis (n = 9), S. warneri (n = 8), and S. auricularis (n = 1). The presence of the genes icaA, icaB, icaC, and icaD was determined by PCR, and biofilm production was examined using qualitative (Congo red agar [CRA]) and quantitative (microtiter
plate) techniques. There were no significant differences in the presence of the ica operon or CRA positivity among the four groups of strains. However, quantitative biofilm production was significantly greater
in strains isolated from either the blood or the skin of neonates with S. epidermidis bacteremia. We conclude that the quantity of biofilm produced may be associated with the ability to cause CoNS infection.
This conclusion suggests that the regulation of biofilm expression may play a central role in the disease process.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2002 · Journal of Clinical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasive Staphylococcus aureus infection frequently involves bacterial seeding from the bloodstream to other body tissues, a process necessarily involving interactions between circulating bacteria and vascular endothelial cells. Staphylococcus aureus fibronectin-binding protein is central to the invasion of endothelium, fibronectin forming a bridge between bacterial fibronectin-binding proteins and host cell receptors. To dissect further the mechanisms of invasion of endothelial cells by S. aureus, a series of truncated FnBPA proteins that lacked one or more of the A, B, C or D regions were expressed on the surface of S. aureus and tested in fibronectin adhesion, endothelial cell adhesion and invasion assays. We found that this protein has multiple, substituting, fibronectin-binding regions, each capable of conferring both adherence to fibronectin and endothelial cells, and endothelial cell invasion. By expressing S. aureus FnBPA on the surface of the non-invasive Gram-positive organism Lactococcus lactis, we have found that no other bacterial factor is required for invasion. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that, as with other cell types, invasion of endothelial cells is mediated by integrin alpha5beta1. These findings may be of relevance to the development of preventive measures against systemic infection, and bacterial spread in the bacteraemic patient.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2002 · Cellular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous pathogen which sets up a lifelong persistent infection and which can lead to significant disease in the immunosuppressed. The immunological mechanisms controlling CMV in the long term are not defined completely, but CD8+ T lymphocytes are thought to play an important role. Antiviral CD8+ T lymphocytes may exist in very large pools in healthy individuals. Although the detailed composition of these pools is not completely understood, there is known to be heterogeneity, in particular of CD45 isoform expression. We have therefore investigated the CD8+ T-lymphocyte response against CMV directly ex vivo using Class I tetramers combined with stains for a range of phenotypic markers followed by four-colour flow cytometric analysis. In particular, we examined expression of these phenotypic markers in relation to the expression of CD45 isoforms. We found that a spectrum of phenotypes exists stably, from CD45R0(high)/RA(low) through CD45RA(high)/R0(low), and that expression of other surface markers such as CD28 and CD62L, and also TCR usage, may vary in parallel with CD45 isoform expression. In some individuals, expansions of antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes bearing specific TCR Vbeta chains were restricted to cells of particular CD45 isoforms. Immunity against CMV comprises a large population of CD8+ T lymphocytes with heterogeneous potential, a spectrum in which CD45 isoform expression may play a central role.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parvovirus B19 is a common human pathogen which can cause severe syndromes, including aplastic anemia and fetal hydrops. The
mapping of the first parvovirus B19-derived CD8+ T-lymphocyte epitope is described. This HLA-B35-restricted peptide derives from the nonstructural (NS1) protein and is strongly
immunogenic in B19 virus-seropositive donors.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2001 · Journal of Virology