[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Capsular switching allows pre-existing clones of Streptococcus pneumoniae expressing vaccine serotypes to escape the vaccine-induced immunity by acquisition of capsular genes from pneumococci of a non-vaccine serotype. Here, we have analysed the clonal composition of 492 clinical isolates of serotype 11A causing invasive disease in Spain (2000-2012), and their ability to evade the host immune response. Antibiograms, serotyping and molecular typing were performed. The restriction profiles of pbp2x, pbp1a and pbp2b genes were also analysed. Interaction with the complement components C1q, C3b, C4BP, and factor H was explored whereas opsonophagocytosis assays were performed using a human cell line differentiated to neutrophils. Biofilm formation and the polymorphisms of the major autolysin LytA were evaluated. The main genotypes of the 11A pneumococci were: ST62 (447 isolates, 90.6%), followed by ST6521 (35 isolates, 7.3%) and ST838 (10 isolates, 2.1%). Beta lactam resistant serotype 11A variants of genotypes ST838 and ST6521 closely related to the Spain9V-ST156 clone were first detected in 2005. A different pattern of evasion of complement immunity and phagocytosis was observed between genotypes. The emergence of one vaccine escape variant of Spain9V-ST156 (ST652111A), showing a high potential to avoid the host immune response, was observed. In addition, isolates of ST652111A showed higher ability to produce biofilms than ST83811A or ST6211A, which may have contributed to the emergence of this PEN-resistant ST652111A genotype in the last few years. The emergence of penicillin-resistant 11A invasive variants of the highly successful ST156 clonal complex merits close monitoring.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a major human pathogen. The main pneumococcal autolysin LytA and the pneumolysin Ply are two of the bacterium’s
most important virulence factors. The lytA- and ply-related genes are also found in other streptococci of the Mitis group (SMG). The precise characteristics of the lytA-related—but not the ply-related—genes of SMG and their prophages have been previously described. A search of the more than 400 SMG genomic sequences
available in public databases (ca. 300 for S. pneumoniae), showed Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae IS7493 to harbor four ply-related genes, two of which (plyA and plyB) have 98% identical nucleotides. The plyA homolog of S. pseudopneumoniae is conserved in all S. pneumoniae strains, and seems to be included in a pathogenicity island together with the lytA gene. However, only nonencapsulated S. pneumoniae strains possess a plyB gene, which is part of an integrative and conjugative element. Notably, the existence of a bacterial lytA-related gene in a genome is linked to the presence of plyA and vice versa. The present analysis also shows there are eight main types of plyA−lytA genomic islands. A possible stepwise scenario for the evolution of the plyA−lytA island in S. pneumoniae is proposed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is an essential component of bacterial biofilm matrices, and is required in their formation and maintenance. eDNA binds to exopolysaccharides or extracellular proteins, affording biofilms greater structural integrity. Recently, we reported evidence of intercellular eDNA-LytC complexes in pneumococcal biofilms. The LytC lysozyme is a member of the choline-binding family of proteins (CBPs) located on the pneumococcal surface. The present work shows that other CBPs, i.e., LytA, LytB, Pce, PspC and CbpF, which also have a pI between 5 and 6, can bind DNA in vitro. This process requires the presence of divalent cations other than Mg(2+) . This DNA binding capacity of CBPs appears to be independent of their enzymatic activity and, at least in the case of LytA, does not require the choline-binding domain characteristic of CBPs. Positively charged, surface-exposed, 25 amino acid-long peptides derived from the catalytic domain of LytB, were also found capable of DNA binding through electrostatic interactions. Confocal laser scanning microcopy revealed the existence of cell-associated LytB-eDNA complexes in Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms. These and other findings suggest that these surface-located proteins of S. pneumoniae could play roles of varying importance in the colonization and/or invasion of human host where different environmental conditions exist.
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Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Environmental Microbiology Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Since the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines PCV7 and PCV13 in children became widespread, invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has dramatically decreased. Nevertheless, there has been a rise in incidence of Streptococcus pneumoniae non-vaccine serotypes (NVT) colonising the human nasopharynx. Nasopharyngeal colonisation, an essential step in the development of S. pneumoniae-induced IPD, is associated with biofilm formation. Although the capsule is the main pneumococcal virulence factor, the formation of pneumococcal biofilms might, in fact, be limited by the presence of capsular polysaccharide (CPS).
We used clinical isolates of 16 emerging, non-PCV13 serotypes as well as isogenic transformants of the same serotypes. The biofilm formation capacity of isogenic transformants expressing CPSs from NVT was evaluated in vitro to ascertain whether this trait can be used to predict the emergence of NVT. Fourteen out of 16 NVT analysed were not good biofilm formers, presumably because of the presence of CPS. In contrast, serotypes 11A and 35B formed ≥45% of the biofilm produced by the non-encapsulated M11 strain.
This study suggest that emerging, NVT serotypes 11A and 35B deserve a close surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 2004, a total of 131 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae multidrug-resistant invasive serotype 8 have been detected in Spain. These isolates showed resistance to erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. All isolates were obtained from adult patients and shared a common genotype (sequence type [ST]63; penicillin-binding protein 1a [pbp1a], pbp2b, and pbp2x gene profiles; ermB and tetM genes; and a ParC-S79F change). Sixty-eight isolates that required a ciprofloxacin MIC ≥16 μg/mL had additional gyrA gene changes. Serotype 8-ST63 pbp2x sequences were identical with those of antimicrobial drug-susceptible serotype 8-ST53 isolates. Serotype 8-ST63 pbp2b sequences were identical with those of the multidrug-resistant Sweden 15A-ST63 clone. Recombination between the capsular locus and flanking regions of an ST53 isolate (donor) and an ST63 pneumococcus (recipient) generated the novel 15A-ST63 clone. One recombination point was upstream of pbp2x and another was within pbp1a. A serotype 8-ST63 clone was identified as a cause of invasive disease in Spain.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Emerging infectious diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ceragenin CSA-13, a cationic steroid, is here reported to show a concentration-dependent bactericidal/bacteriolytic activity against pathogenic streptococci, including multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. The autolysis promoted by CSA-13 in pneumococcal cultures appears to be due to the triggering of the major S. pneumoniae autolysin LytA, an N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase. CSA-13 also disintegrated pneumococcal biofilms in a very efficient manner, although at concentrations slightly higher than those required for bactericidal activity on planktonic bacteria. CSA-13 has little hemolytic activity which should allow testing its antibacterial efficacy in animal models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae are a major cause of acute otitis media (AOM), including chronic and recurrent otitis in young children. The objective of this study was to determine whether non-typeable H. influenzae isolates causing these infections produce biofilms and carry resistance mechanisms to β-lactams.
A collection of 48 H. influenzae isolates was obtained by tympanocentesis or from otorrhoea samples from individual patients <3 years of age and diagnosed with recurrent or treatment failure AOM. Each isolate was surveyed for the presence of blaTEM genes, amino acid substitutions in the transpeptidase domain of penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3) and biofilm formation in microtitre plates.
In 43 of the 48 isolates (89.6%), at least one of the three tested conditions was identified: biofilm formation (83.3%) and resistance mechanisms to β-lactams (33.3%), modifications in the transpeptidase domain of PBP3 being the most prevalent (22.9%), followed by β-lactamase production (10.4%). Additionally, 13 (27.1%) isolates had two or more of these three traits. In relation to biofilm formation, those isolates with an amoxicillin MIC ≤ 0.5 mg/L had higher optical density values than isolates with an amoxicillin MIC ≥ 1 mg/L (Mann-Whitney U-test, P=0.048).
These findings suggest that the successful treatment of non-typeable H. influenzae causing chronic and recurrent AOM in young children may be compromised by the high biofilm-forming capacity of the isolates and the presence of β-lactam resistance mechanisms, particularly PBP3 mutations.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The invention relates to the field of biotechnology and concerns a polypeptide sequence derived from Cp7 phage lytic enzyme wall-binding module (Cpl-7), which enables new lytic enzymes having improved bactericidal activity and a broad spectrum to the built. The invention also concerns chimeric enzymes containing the improved wall-binding module, and examples of the activity thereof against gram positive and gram negative species are provided
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A disposable PCR-based amperometric magneto-genosensor for detection and identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae was evaluated. ROC curve analysis used to determine optimal signal cutoff values yielded a sensitivity of 91 % and a specificity of 90 %. The method was also tested for the direct detection of pneumococci in clinical samples.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Microbiological Methods
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae has increased worldwide by the spread of a few clones. Fluoroquinolone resistance occurs mainly by alteration of their intracellular targets, the type II DNA topoisomerases, which is acquired either by point mutation or by recombination. Increase in fluoroquinolone-resistance may depend on the balance between antibiotic consumption and the cost that resistance imposes to bacterial fitness. In addition, pneumococcal prophages could play an important role. Prophage induction by fluoroquinolones was confirmed in 4 clinical isolates by using Southern blot hybridization. Clinical isolates (105 fluoroquinolone-resistant and 160 fluoroquinolone-susceptible) were tested for lysogeny by using a PCR assay and functional prophage carriage was studied by mitomycin C induction. Fluoroquinolone-resistant strains harbored fewer inducible prophages (17/43) than fluoroquinolone-susceptible strains (49/70) (P = 0.0018). In addition, isolates of clones associated with fluoroquinolone resistance [CC156 (3/25); CC63 (2/20), and CC81 (1/19)], had lower frequency of functional prophages than isolates of clones with low incidence of fluoroquinolone resistance [CC30 (4/21), CC230 (5/20), CC62 (9/21), and CC180 (21/30)]. Likewise, persistent strains from patients with chronic respiratory diseases subjected to fluoroquinolone treatment had a low frequency of inducible prophages (1/11). Development of ciprofloxacin resistance was tested with two isogenic strains, one lysogenic and the other non-lysogenic: emergence of resistance was only observed in the non-lysogenic strain. These results are compatible with the lysis of lysogenic isolates receiving fluoroquinolones before the development of resistance and explain the inverse relation between presence of inducible prophages and fluoroquinolone-resistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The increasing use of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been accompanied by the rise of nonvaccine serotypes colonizing the human nasopharynx. The vast majority of infections are caused by microorganisms that grow in biofilms. It has recently been shown that the formation of Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms in vivo and in vitro is hindered by the presence of capsular polysaccharide. The biofilm-forming capacity of pneumococcal clinical isolates with different types of capsular polysaccharide and various isogenic transformants was examined. Strains of serotypes 19A and 19F, but not 19B and 19C, formed ≥80% of the quantity of biofilm associated with a non-encapsulated control strain. Strains of serogroup 6 also showed significant biofilm-forming capacity. The capsules of serotypes 19A and 19F and serogroup 6 contain the disaccharides α-D-Glcp-(1→2)-α-L-Rhap-(1→ and α-D-Glcp-(1→3)-α-L-Rhap-(1→. Serotype 18A and serotypes 18B/18C have very similar capsular disaccharides: α-D-GlcpNAc-(1→3)-β-L-Rhap-(1→ and α-D-Glcp-(1→3)-β-L-Rhap-(1→, respectively. However, the strains of serogroup 18 showed impaired biofilm formation. These results indicate that the chemical composition/structure of the capsular polysaccharide is crucial to the biofilm-forming capacity of pneumococcal serotypes. Testing of the in vitro biofilm-forming ability of isogenic transformants expressing different capsular polysaccharides may help predict the emergence of colonizing, nonvaccine serotypes.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Environmental Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biomaterial-associated infections represent a significant clinical problem, and treatment of these microbial infections is becoming troublesome due to the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant strains. Here, we report a naturally functionalized bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHACOS) with antibacterial properties. We demonstrate that PHACOS selectively and efficiently inhibits the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) both in vitro and in vivo. This ability has been ascribed to the functionalized side chains containing thioester groups. Significantly less (3.2-fold) biofilm formation of S. aureus was detected on PHACOS compared to biofilms formed on control poly(3-hydroxyoctanoate-co-hydroxyhexanoate) and poly(ethylene terephthalate), but no differences were observed in bacterial adhesion among these polymers. PHACOS elicited minimal cytotoxic and inflammatory effects on murine macrophages and supported normal fibroblast adhesion. In vivo fluorescence imaging demonstrated minimal inflammation and excellent antibacterial activity for PHACOS compared to controls in an in vivo model of implant-associated infection. Additionally, reductions in neutrophils and macrophages in the vicinity of sterile PHACOS compared to sterile PHO implant were observed by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, a similar percentage of inflammatory cells was found in the tissue surrounding sterile PHACOS and S. aureus pre-colonized PHACOS implants, and these levels were significantly lower than S. aureus pre-colonized control polymers. These findings support a contact active surface mode of antibacterial action for PHACOS and establish this functionalized polyhydroxyalkanoate as an infection-resistant biomaterial.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phage endolysins are murein hydrolases that break the bacterial cell wall to provoke lysis and release of phage progeny. Recently,
these enzymes have also been recognized as powerful and specific antibacterial agents when added exogenously. In the pneumococcal
system, most cell wall associated murein hydrolases reported so far depend on choline for activity, and Cpl-7 lysozyme constitutes
a remarkable exception. Here, we report the improvement of the killing activity of the Cpl-7 endolysin by inversion of the
sign of the charge of the cell wall-binding module (from −14.93 to +3.0 at neutral pH). The engineered variant, Cpl-7S, has
15 amino acid substitutions and an improved lytic activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae (including multiresistant strains), Streptococcus pyogenes, and other pathogens. Moreover, we have demonstrated that a single 25-μg dose of Cpl-7S significantly increased the survival
rate of zebrafish embryos infected with S. pneumoniae or S. pyogenes, confirming the killing effect of Cpl-7S in vivo. Interestingly, Cpl-7S, in combination with 0.01% carvacrol (an essential oil), was also found to efficiently kill Gram-negative
bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas putida, an effect not described previously. Our findings provide a strategy to improve the lytic activity of phage endolysins based
on facilitating their pass through the negatively charged bacterial envelope, and thereby their interaction with the cell
wall target, by modulating the net charge of the cell wall-binding modules.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a frequent member of the microbiota of the human nasopharynx. Colonization of the nasopharyngeal tract is a first and necessary step in the infectious process and often involves the formation of sessile microbial communities by this human pathogen. The ability to grow and persist as biofilms is an advantage for many microorganisms because biofilm-grown bacteria show a reduced susceptibility to antimicrobial agents and hinder the recognition by the immune system. Host protection against biofilm-related pneumococcal disease has not been defined yet. Using pneumococcal strains growing as planktonic cultures or as biofilms, we have investigated the recognition of S. pneumoniae by the complement system and its interactions with human neutrophils. Deposition of C3b, the key complement component, was impaired on S. pneumoniae biofilms. In addition, binding of C-reactive protein and the complement component C1q to the pneumococcal surface was reduced in biofilm-growing bacteria demonstrating that pneumococcal biofilms avoid the activation of the classical complement pathway. Besides, recruitment of factor H, the down-regulator of the alternative pathway was enhanced by S. pneumoniae growing as biofilms. Our results also show that biofilm formation diverts the alternative complement pathway activation by a PspC-mediated mechanism. Furthermore, phagocytosis of pneumococcal biofilms was also impaired. The present study confirms that biofilm formation in S. pneumoniae is an efficient way for host immune evasion both from the classical and the PspC-dependent alternative complement pathways.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Infection and immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endolysins comprise a novel class of selective antibacterials refractory to develop resistances. The Cpl-7 endolysin, encoded by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteriophage Cp-7, consists of a catalytic module (CM) with muramidase activity and a cell wall-binding module (CWBM) made of three fully conserved CW_7 repeats essential for activity. Firstly identified in the Cpl-7 endolysin, CW_7 motifs are also present in a great variety of cell wall hydrolases encoded, among others, by human and live-stock pathogens. However, the nature of CW_7 receptors on the bacterial envelope remains unknown. In the present study, the structural stability of Cpl-7 and the target recognized by CW_7 repeats, relevant for exploitation of Cpl-7 as antimicrobial, have been analyzed, and transitions from the CM and the CWBM assigned, using circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetry. Cpl-7 stability is maximum around 6.0-6.5, near the optimal pH for activity. Above pH 8.0 the CM becomes extremely unstable, probably due to deprotonation of the N-terminal amino-group, whereas the CWBM is rather insensitive to pH variation and its structural stabilization by GlcNAc-MurNAc-l-Ala-d-isoGln points to the cell wall muropeptide as the cell wall target recognized by the CW_7 repeats. Denaturation data also revealed that Cpl-7 is organized into two essentially independent folding units, which will facilitate the recombination of the CM and the CWBM with other catalytic domains and/or cell wall-binding motifs to yield new tailored chimeric lysins with higher bactericidal activities or new pathogen specificities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dependence of Cpl-7 specific activity on pH. Measurements were performed at 37°C in Pi buffer, pH 7.0, using [methyl-3H]choline-labeled pneumococcal cell walls as substrate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specific antibodies mediate humoral and cellular protection against invading pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae by activating complement mediated immunity, promoting phagocytosis and stimulating bacterial clearance. The emergence of pneumococcal strains with high levels of antibiotic resistance is of great concern worldwide and a serious threat for public health.
Flow cytometry was used to determine whether complement-mediated immunity against three antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae clinical isolates is enhanced in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of cefditoren and ceftriaxone. The binding of acute phase proteins such as C-reactive protein and serum amyloid P component, and of complement component C1q, to pneumococci was enhanced in the presence of serum plus either of these antibiotics. Both antibiotics therefore trigger the activation of the classical complement pathway against S. pneumoniae. C3b deposition was also increased in the presence of specific anti-pneumococcal antibodies and sub-inhibitory concentrations of cefditoren and ceftriaxone confirming that the presence of these antibiotics enhances complement-mediated immunity to S. pneumoniae.
Using cefditoren and ceftriaxone to promote the binding of acute phase proteins and C1q to pneumococci, and to increase C3b deposition, when anti-pneumococcal antibodies are present, might help reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance in S. pneumoniae infections.