George P Tegos

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (77)254.7 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationship between host efflux system of the non-vertebrate nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) strain virulence. This is the first comprehensive effort to profile host-transporters within the context of Bcc infection. With this aim, two different toxicity tests were performed: a slow killing assay that monitors mortality of the host by intestinal colonization and a fast killing assay that assesses production of toxins. A Virulence Ranking scheme was defined, that expressed the toxicity of the Bcc panel members, based on the percentage of surviving worms. According to this ranking the 18 Bcc strains were divided in 4 distinct groups. Only the Cystic Fibrosis isolated strains possessed profound nematode killing ability to accumulate in worms' intestines. For the transporter analysis a complete set of isogenic nematode single Multidrug Resistance associated Protein (MRP) efflux mutants and a number of efflux inhibitors were interrogated in the host toxicity assays. The Bcc pathogenicity profile of the 7 isogenic C. elegans MRP knock-out strains functionality was classified in two distinct groups. Disabling host transporters enhanced nematode mortality more than 50% in 5 out of 7 mutants when compared to wild type. In particular mrp-2 was the most susceptible phenotype with increased mortality for 13 out 18 Bcc strains, whereas mrp-3 and mrp-4 knock-outs had lower mortality rates, suggesting a different role in toxin-substrate recognition. The use of MRP efflux inhibitors in the assays resulted in substantially increased (>40% on average) mortality of wild-type worms.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · PLoS ONE
  • George P Tegos

    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Current pharmaceutical design
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    ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remains the single biggest challenge in infectious disease in the civilized world. Moreover vancomycin resistance is also spreading, leading to fears of untreatable infections as were common in days of old. Molecular microbiology and bioinformatics have revealed many of the mechanisms involved with resistance development. Mobile genetic elements, up-regulated virulence factors and multi-drug efflux pumps have been implicated. A range of approved antibiotics from the glycopeptide, lipopeptide, pleuromutilin, macrolide, oxazolidinone, lincosamide, aminoglycoside, tetracycline, steptogramin, and cephalosporin classes have been employed to treat MRSA infections. The upcoming pipeline of drugs for MRSA includes some new compounds from the above classes, together with fluoroquinolones, antibacterial peptide mimetics, aminomethylciclines, porphyrins, peptide deformylase inhibitors, oxadiazoles, and diaminopyrimidines. A range of non-drug alternative approaches has emerged for MRSA treatment. Bacteriophage-therapy including purified lysins, has made a comeback after being discovered in the 1930s. Quorum-sensing inhibitors are under investigation. Small molecule inhibitors of multi-drug efflux pumps may potentiate existing antibiotics. The relative failure of staphylococcal vaccines is being revisited by efforts with multi-valent vaccines and improved adjuvants. Photodynamic therapy uses non-toxic photosensitizers and harmless visible light to produce reactive oxygen species that can non-specifically destroy bacteria while preserving host cells. Nanoparticle preparations can kill bacteria themselves, as well as improve delivery of anti-bacterial drugs. Anti-MRSA drug discovery remains an exciting field with great promise for the future.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Current pharmaceutical design
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    ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become the most important drug-resistant microbial pathogen in countries throughout the world. Morbidity and mortality due to MRSA infections continue to increase despite efforts to improve infection control measures and to develop new antibiotics. Therefore alternative antimicrobial strategies that do not give rise to development of resistance are urgently required. A group of therapeutic interventions have been developed in the field of photomedicine with the common theme that they rely on electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between 200 and 1000 nm broadly called "light". These techniques all use simple absorption of photons by specific chromophores to deliver the killing blow to microbial cells while leaving the surrounding host mammalian cells relatively unharmed. Photodynamic inactivation uses dyes called photosensitizers (PS) that bind specifically to MRSA cells and not host cells, and generate reactive oxygen species and singlet oxygen upon illumination. Sophisticated molecular strategies to target the PS to MRSA cells have been designed. Ultraviolet C radiation can damage microbial DNA without unduly harming host DNA. Blue light can excite endogenous porphyrins and flavins in MRSA cells that are not present in host cells. Near-infrared lasers can interfere with microbial membrane potentials without raising the temperature of the tissue. Taken together these innovative approaches towards harnessing the power of light suggest that the ongoing threat of MRSA may eventually be defeated.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Current pharmaceutical design
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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Frontiers in Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: This review highlights the concepts, recent applications and limitations of High Throughput Screening (HTS) flow cytometry-based efflux inhibitory assays. This platform has been employed in mammalian and yeast efflux systems leading to the identification of small molecules with transporter inhibitory capabilities. This technology offers the possibility of substrate multiplexing and may promote novel strategies targeting microbial efflux systems. This platform can generate a comprehensive dataset that may support efforts to map the interface between chemistry and transporter biology in a variety of pathogenic systems.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Drug Discovery Today Technologies
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    ABSTRACT: The Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium Clostridium difficile produces toxins A and B, which can cause a spectrum of diseases from pseudomembranous colitis to C. difficile-associated diarrhea. A limited number of C. difficile strains also produce a binary toxin that exhibits ADP ribosyltransferase activity. Here, the structure and the mechanism of action of these toxins as well as their role in disease are reviewed. Nosocomial C. difficile infection is often contracted in hospital when patients treated with antibiotics suffer a disturbance in normal gut microflora. C. difficile spores can persist on dry, inanimate surface for months. Metronidazole and oral vancomycin are clinically used for treatment of C. difficile infection but clinical failure and concern about promotion of resistance are motivating the search for novel non-antibiotic therapeutics. Methods for controlling both toxins and spores, replacing gut microflora by probiotics or fecal transplant, and killing bacteria in the anaerobic gut by photodynamic therapy are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy
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    Article: Biodefense
    George P Tegos

    Preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Virulence
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    ABSTRACT: Candida spp. are recognized as a primary agent of severe fungal infection in immunocompromised patients, and are the fourth most common cause of bloodstream infections. Our study explores treatment with photodynamic therapy (PDT) as an innovative antimicrobial technology that employs a nontoxic dye, termed a photosensitizer (PS), followed by irradiation with harmless visible light. After photoactivation, the PS produces either singlet oxygen or other reactive oxygen species (ROS) that primarily react with the pathogen cell wall, promoting permeabilization of the membrane and cell death. The emergence of antifungal-resistant Candida strains has motivated the study of antimicrobial PDT (aPDT) as an alternative treatment of these infections. We employed the invertebrate wax moth Galleria mellonella as an in vivo model to study the effects of aPDT against C. albicans infection. The effects of aPDT combined with conventional antifungal drugs were also evaluated in G. mellonella. We verified that methylene blue-mediated aPDT prolonged the survival of C. albicans infected G. mellonella larvae. The fungal burden of G. mellonella hemolymph was reduced after aPDT in infected larvae. A fluconazole-resistant C. albicans strain was used to test the combination of aPDT and fluconazole. Administration of fluconazole either before or after exposing the larvae to aPDT significantly prolonged the survival of the larvae compared to either treatment alone. G. mellonella is a useful in vivo model to evaluate aPDT as a treatment regimen for Candida infections. The data suggests that combined aPDT and antifungal therapy could be an alternative approach to antifungal-resistant Candida strains.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · BMC Microbiology
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    George P Tegos · Michael R Hamblin
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    ABSTRACT: This special issue of Current Opinion in Pharmacology is concerned with new developments in antimicrobial drugs and covers innovative strategies for dealing with microbial infection in the age of multi-antibiotic resistance. Despite widespread fears that many infectious diseases may become untreatable, disruptive innovations are in the process of being discovered and developed that may go some way to leading the fight-back against the rising threat. Natural products, quorum sensing inhibitors, biofilm disruptors, gallium-based drugs, cyclodextrin inhibitors of pore-forming toxins, anti-fungals that deal with biofilms, and light based antimicrobial strategies are specifically addressed. New non-vertebrate animal models of infection may facilitate high-throughput screening (HTS) of novel anti-infectives.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Current Opinion in Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: This article highlights current trends and advances in exploiting natural sources for the deployment of novel and potent anti-infective countermeasures. The key challenge is to therapeutically target bacterial pathogens that exhibit a variety of puzzling and evolutionarily complex resistance mechanisms. Special emphasis is given to the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in the natural product antibacterial drug discovery arena, and to emerging applications driven by advances in bioinformatics, chemical biology, and synthetic biology in concert with exploiting bacterial phenotypes. These efforts have identified a critical mass of natural product antibacterial lead compounds and discovery technologies with high probability of successful implementation against emerging bacterial pathogens.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Current Opinion in Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Microbial biofilms are responsible for a variety of microbial infections in different parts of the body, such as urinary tract infections, catheter infections, middle-ear infections, gingivitis, caries, periodontitis, orthopedic implants, and so on. The microbial biofilm cells have properties and gene expression patterns distinct from planktonic cells, including phenotypic variations in enzymic activity, cell wall composition and surface structure, which increase the resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial treatments. There is consequently an urgent need for new approaches to attack biofilm-associated microorganisms, and antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) may be a promising candidate. aPDT involves the combination of a nontoxic dye and low-intensity visible light which, in the presence of oxygen, produces cytotoxic reactive oxygen species. It has been demonstrated that many biofilms are susceptible to aPDT, particularly in dental disease. This review will focus on aspects of aPDT that are designed to increase efficiency against biofilms modalities to enhance penetration of photosensitizer into biofilm, and a combination of aPDT with biofilm-disrupting agents.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can attack a diverse range of targets to exert antimicrobial activity, which accounts for their versatility in mediating host defense against a broad range of pathogens. Most ROS are formed by the partial reduction of molecular oxygen. Four major ROS are recognized comprising: superoxide (O2 •(-) ), hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ), hydroxyl radical ((•) OH), and singlet oxygen ((1) O2 ), but they display very different kinetics and levels of activity. The effects of O2 •(-) and H2 O2 are less acute than those of (•) OH and (1) O2 , since the former are much less reactive and can be detoxified by endogenous antioxidants (both enzymatic and non-enzymatic) that are induced by oxidative stress. In contrast, no enzyme can detoxify (•) OH or (1) O2 , making them extremely toxic and acutely lethal. The present review will highlight the various methods of ROS formation and their mechanism of action. Antioxidant defenses against ROS in microbial cells and the use of ROS by antimicrobial host defense systems are covered. Antimicrobial approaches primarily utilizing ROS comprise both bactericidal antibiotics, and non-pharmacological methods such as photodynamic therapy, titanium dioxide photocatalysis, cold plasma and medicinal honey. A brief final section covers, reactive nitrogen species, and related therapeutics, such as acidified nitrite and nitric oxide releasing nanoparticles. One sentence summary. Reactive oxygen species are involved in cell signaling and disease causing damages, and in the antimicrobial arena mediate killing via bactericidal antibiotics, photodynamic inactivation, titania photocatalysis, cold plasma, medicinal honey, and nitric oxide releasing nanoparticles. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · FEMS microbiology reviews
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    ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial ATP binding cassette transporter ABCB6 has been associated with a broad range of physiological functions, including growth and development, therapy related drug resistance and the new blood group system Langereis. ABCB6 has been proposed to regulate heme synthesis by shuttling coproporphyrinogen III from the cytoplasm into the mitochondria. However, direct functional information of the transport complex in not known. In order to understand ABCB6 role in mitochondrial transport we developed an in vitro system with pure and active protein. ABCB6 overexpressed in HEK293 cells was solubilized from mitochondrial membranes and purified to homogeneity. Purified ABCB6 showed a high binding affinity for MgATP (Kd = 0.18 μM) and an ATPase activity with a Km of 0.99 mM. Reconstitution of ABCB6 into liposomes allowed biochemical characterization of the ATPase including (i) substrate stimulated ATPase activity (ii) transport kinetics of its proposed endogenous substrate coproporphyrinogen III and (iii) transport kinetics of substrates identified using a High-throughput screening (HTS) assay. Mutagenesis of the conserved lysine to alanine (K629A) in the Walker A motif abolished ATP hydrolysis and substrate transport. These results suggest a direct interaction between mitochondrial ABCB6 and its transport substrates that is critical for the activity of the transporter. Further, the simple immunoaffinity purification of ABCB6 to near homogeneity and efficient reconstitution of ABCB6 into liposomes might provide the basis for future studies on the structure, function of ABCB6.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Conventional antimicrobials are increasingly ineffective due to the emergence of multidrug-resistance among pathogenic microorganisms. The need to overcome these deficiencies has triggered exploration for novel and unconventional approaches to controlling microbial infections. Multidrug efflux systems (MES) have been a profound obstacle in the successful deployment of antimicrobials. The discovery of small molecule efflux system blockers has been an active and rapidly expanding research discipline. A major theme in this platform involves efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) from natural sources. The discovery methodologies and the available number of natural EPI-chemotypes are increasing. Advances in our understanding of microbial physiology have shed light on a series of pathways and phenotypes where the role of efflux systems is pivotal. Complementing existing antimicrobial discovery platforms such as photodynamic therapy (PDT) with efflux inhibition is a subject under investigation. This core information is a stepping stone in the challenge of highlighting an effective drug development path for EPIs since the puzzle of clinical implementation remains unsolved. This review summarizes advances in the path of EPI discovery, discusses potential avenues of EPI implementation and development, and underlines the need for highly informative and comprehensive translational approaches.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · The Open Microbiology Journal
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    ABSTRACT: ATP binding cassette (ABC)3 transmembrane efflux pumps such as P-glycoprotein (ABCB1), multidrug resistance protein 1 (ABCC1), and breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2) play an important role in anticancer drug resistance. A large number of structurally and functionally diverse compounds act as substrates or modulators of these pumps. In vitro assessment of the affinity of drug candidates for multidrug resistance proteins is central to predict in vivo pharmacokinetics and drug-drug interactions. The objective of this study was to identify and characterize new substrates for these transporters. As part of a collaborative project with Life Technologies™, 102 fluorescent probes were investigated in a flow cytometric screen of ABC transporters. The primary screen compared substrate efflux activity in parental cell lines to their corresponding highly expressing resistant counterparts. The fluorescent compound library included a range of excitation/emission profiles and required dual laser excitation as well as multiple fluorescence detection channels. A total of 31 substrates with active efflux in one or more pump, and practical fluorescence response ranges were identified and tested for interaction with 8 known inhibitors. This screening approach provides an efficient tool for identification and characterization of new fluorescent substrates for ABCB1, ABCC1, and ABCG2.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Analytical Biochemistry
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    ABSTRACT: has emerged as one of the most important pathogens in healthcare-associated infections worldwide due to its intrinsic and acquired resistance to many antibiotics, including vancomycin. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) is an alternative therapeutic platform that is currently under investigation for the control and treatment of infections. PDT is based on the use of photoactive dye molecules, widely known as photosensitizer (PS). PS, upon irradiation with visible light, produces reactive oxygen species that can destroy lipids and proteins causing cell death. We employed (the greater wax moth) caterpillar fatally infected with to develop an invertebrate host model system that can be used to study the antimicrobial PDT (alone or combined with antibiotics). In the establishment of infection by in , we found that the death rate was dependent on the number of bacterial cells injected into the insect hemocoel and all strains tested were capable of infecting and killing . Antibiotic treatment with ampicillin, gentamicin or the combination of ampicillin and gentamicin prolonged caterpillar survival infected by ( = 0.0003, = 0.0001 and = 0.0001, respectively). In the study of antimicrobial PDT, we verified that methylene blue (MB) injected into the insect followed by whole body illumination prolonged the caterpillar survival ( = 0.0192). Interestingly, combination therapy of larvae infected with vancomycin-resistant , with antimicrobial PDT followed by vancomycin, significantly prolonged the survival of the caterpillars when compared to either antimicrobial PDT ( = 0.0095) or vancomycin treatment alone ( = 0.0025), suggesting that the aPDT made the vancomycin resistant strain more susceptible to vancomycin action. In summary, provides an invertebrate model host to study the antimicrobial PDT and to explore combinatorial aPDT-based treatments.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Opportunistic fungal pathogens may cause an array of superficial infections or serious invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogen causing cryptococcosis in HIV/AIDS patients, but treatment is limited due to the relative lack of potent antifungal agents. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) uses the combination of non-toxic dyes called photosensitizers and harmless visible light, which produces singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species that produce cell inactivation and death. We report the use of five structurally unrelated photosensitizers (methylene blue, Rose Bengal, selenium derivative of a Nile blue dye, a cationic fullerene and a conjugate between poly-L-lysine and chlorin(e6)) combined with appropriate wavelengths of light to inactivate C. neoformans. Mutants lacking capsule and laccase, and culture conditions that favoured melanin production were used to probe the mechanisms of PDI and the effect of virulence factors. The presence of cell wall, laccase and melanin tended to protect against PDI, but the choice of the appropriate photosensitizers and dosimetry was able to overcome this resistance.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Blue light has attracted increasing attention due to its intrinsic antimicrobial effect without the addition of exogenous photosensitizers. However, the use of blue light for wound infections has not been established yet. In this study, we demonstrated the efficacy of blue light at 415 nm for the treatment of acute, potentially lethal Pseudomonas aeruginosa burn infections in mice. Our in vitro studies demonstrated that the inactivation rate of P. aeruginosa cells by blue light was approximately 35-fold higher than that of keratinocytes (P = 0.0014). Transmission electron microscopy revealed blue light-mediated intracellular damage to P. aeruginosa cells. Fluorescence spectroscopy suggested that coproporphyrin III and/or uroporphyrin III are possibly the intracellular photosensitive chromophores associated with the blue light inactivation of P. aeruginosa. In vivo studies using an in vivo bioluminescence imaging technique and an area-under-the-bioluminescence-time-curve (AUBC) analysis showed that a single exposure of blue light at 55.8 J/cm2, applied 30 min after bacterial inoculation to the infected mouse burns, reduced the AUBC by approximately 100-fold in comparison with untreated and infected mouse burns (P < 0.0001). Histological analyses and terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) assays indicated no significant damage in the mouse skin exposed to blue light at the effective antimicrobial dose. Survival analyses revealed that blue light increased the survival rate of the infected mice from 18.2% to 100% (P < 0.0001). In conclusion, blue light therapy might offer an effective and safe alternative to conventional antimicrobial therapy for P. aeruginosa burn infections.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Candida albicans exhibits altered pathogenicity characteristics following sublethal antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation (APDI) and if such alterations are maintained in the daughter cells. C. albicans was exposed to sublethal APDI by using methylene blue (MB) as a photosensitizer (0.05 mM) combined with a GaAlAs diode laser (λ 660 nm, 75 mW/cm2, 9 to 27 J/cm2). In vitro, we evaluated APDI effects on C. albicans growth, germ tube formation, sensitivity to oxidative and osmotic stress, cell wall integrity, and fluconazole susceptibility. In vivo, we evaluated C. albicans pathogenicity with a mouse model of systemic infection. Animal survival was evaluated daily. Sublethal MB-mediated APDI reduced the growth rate and the ability of C. albicans to form germ tubes compared to untreated cells (P < 0.05). Survival of mice systemically infected with C. albicans pretreated with APDI was significantly increased compared to mice infected with untreated yeast (P < 0.05). APDI increased C. albicans sensitivity to sodium dodecyl sulfate, caffeine, and hydrogen peroxide. The MIC for fluconazole for C. albicans was also reduced following sublethal MB-mediated APDI. However, none of those pathogenic parameters was altered in daughter cells of C. albicans submitted to APDI. These data suggest that APDI may inhibit virulence factors and reduce in vivo pathogenicity of C. albicans. The absence of alterations in daughter cells indicates that APDI effects are transitory. The MIC reduction for fluconazole following APDI suggests that this antifungal could be combined with APDI to treat C. albicans infections.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Publication Stats

3k Citations
254.70 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006-2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Università degli Studi di Teramo
      • Department of Food Science
      Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy
  • 2005-2014
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • • Wellman Center for Photomedicine
      • • Department of Surgery
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2013
    • University of New Mexico
      • Center for Molecular Discovery
      Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • 2006-2009
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Dermatology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2003
    • Northeastern University
      • Department of Biology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2002
    • Colorado State University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Fort Collins, Colorado, United States