Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 76

Search results for: virulence

76 Identification of Associated-Virulence Genes in Quinolone-Resistant Escherichia coli Strains Recovered from an Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant

Authors: Alouache Souhila, Messai Yamina, Torres Carmen, Bakour Rabah


Objective: It has often been reported an association between antibiotic resistance and virulence. However, resistance to quinolones seems to be an exception, it tends instead to be associated with an attenuation of virulence, particularly in clinical strains. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential virulence of 28 quinolone-resistant E. coli strains recovered from water at the inflow (n=16) and outflow (n=12) of an urban wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Methods: E. coli isolates were selected on Tergitol-7 agar supplemented with 2µg/ml of ciprofloxacin, they were screened by PCR for 11 virulence genes related to Extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC): papC, papG, afa/draBC, sfa/foc, kpsMTII, iutA, iroN, hlyF, ompT, iss and traT. The phylogenetic groups were determined by PCR and clonal relationship was evaluated by ERIC-PCR. Results: Genotyping by ERIC-PCR showed 7 and 12 DNA profiles among strains of wastewater (inflow) and treated water (outflow), respectively. Strains were assigned to the following phylogenetic groups: B2 (n = 1, 3.5%), D (n = 3, 10.7%), B1 (n = 10, 35.7%.) and A (n = 14, 50%). A total of 8 virulence-associated genes were detected, traT (n=19, 67.8%), iroN (n= 16, 57 .1%), hlyF (n=15, 53 .5%), ompT (n=15, 53 .5%), iss (n=14, 50%), iutA (n=9, 32.1%) , sfa/foc (n=7, 25%) and kpsMTII (n=2, 7.1%). Combination of virulence factors allowed to define 16 virulence profiles. The pathotype APEC was observed in 17.8% (D=1, B1=4) and human ExPEC in 7% (B2=1, D=1) of strains. Conclusion: The study showed that quinolone-resistant E. coli strains isolated from wastewater and treated water in WWTP harbored virulence genes with the presence of APEC and human ExPEC strains.

Keywords: E. coli, quinolone-resistance, virulence, WWTP

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75 Detection and Dissemination of Putative Virulence Genes from Brucella Species Isolated from Livestock in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

Authors: Rudzani Manafe, Ezekiel Green


Brucella, has many different virulence factors that act as a causative agent of brucellosis, depending on the environment and other factors, some factors may play a role more than others during infection and as a result, play a role in becoming a causative agent for pathogenesis. Brucella melitensis and Brucella abortus are considered to be pathogenic to humans. The genetic regularity of nine potential causes of virulence of two Brucella species in Eastern Cape livestock have been examined. A hundred and twenty isolates obtained from Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Epidemiology Research Group (MPMERG) were used for this study. All isolates were grown on Brucella agar medium. Nine primer pairs were used for the detection of virB2, virB5, vceC, btpA, btpB, prpA, betB, bpe275, and bspB virulence factors using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Approximately 100% was observed for genes BecC and BetB from B. arbotus. While the lowest gene observed was PrpA at 4.6% from B. arbotus. BetB was detected in 34.7%, while virB2 and prpA (0%) were not detected in B. melitensis. The results from this research suggest that most isolates of Brucella have virulence-related genes associated with disease pathogenesis. Finally, our findings showed that Brucella strains in the Eastern Cape Province are extremely virulent as virulence characteristics exist in most strains investigated.

Keywords: putative virulence genes, brucella, polymerase chain reaction, milk

Procedia PDF Downloads 51
74 Virulence Genes of Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis Isolated from Milk and Dairy Products

Authors: E. Rahimi, S. Shaigannia


Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis are important infectious agents causing food poisoning and food-borne gastrointestinal diseases. This study was carried out in order to investigate the distribution of virulence genes and antimicrobial resistance properties of S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis isolated from ruminant milk and dairy products in Iran. Overall 360 raw and pasteurized milk and traditional and commercial dairy products were purchased from random selected supermarkets and retail stories of Isfahan province, Iran. Samples were cultured immediately and those found positive for Salmonella were analyzed for the presence of S. typhimurium, S. enteritidis and several putative genes using PCR. Totally, 13 (3.61%), 8 (2.22%), 1 (0.27%) and 4 (1.11%) samples were found to be contaminated with Salmonella spp., S. typhimurium, S. enteritidis and other species of Salmonella, respectively. PCR results showed that invA, rfbJ, fliC and spv were the detected virulence genes in S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis positive samples. To the authors’ knowledge, the present study is the first prevalence report of virulence genes of S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis isolated from ruminant milk and traditional and commercial dairy products in Iran.

Keywords: Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella enteritidis, virulence genes, ruminant milk, dairy products

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73 Understanding the Prevalence and Expression of Virulence Factors Harbored by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia Coli

Authors: Debjyoti Bhakat, Indranil Mondal, Asish K. Mukhopadayay, Nabendu S. Chatterjee


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is one of the leading causes of diarrhea in infants and travelers in developing countries. Colonization factors play an important role in pathogenesis and are one of the main targets for Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) vaccine development. However, ETEC vaccines had poorly performed in the past, as the prevalence of colonization factors is region-dependent. There are more than 25 classical colonization factors presently known to be expressed by ETEC, although all are not expressed together. Further, there are other multiple non-classical virulence factors that are also identified. Here the presence and expression of common classical and non-classical virulence factors were studied. Further studies were done on the expression of prevalent colonization factors in different strains. For the prevalence determination, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was employed, which was confirmed by simplex PCR. Quantitative RT-PCR was done to study the RNA expression of these virulence factors. Strains negative for colonization factors expression were confirmed by SDS-PAGE. Among the clinical isolates, the most prevalent toxin was est+elt, followed by est and elt, while the pattern was reversed in the control strains. There were 29% and 40% strains negative for any classical colonization factors (CF) or non-classical virulence factors (NCVF) among the clinical and control strains, respectively. Among CF positive ETEC strains, CS6 and CS21 were the prevalent ones in the clinical strains, whereas in control strains, CS6 was the predominant one. For NCVF genes, eatA was the most prevalent among the clinical isolates and etpA for control. CS6 was the most expressed CF, and eatA was the predominantly expressed NCVF for both clinical and controlled ETEC isolates. CS6 expression was more in strains having CS6 alone. Different strains express CS6 at different levels. Not all strains expressed their respective virulence factors. Understanding the prevalent colonization factor, CS6, and its nature of expression will contribute to designing an effective vaccine against ETEC in this region of the globe. The expression pattern of CS6 also will help in examining the relatedness between the ETEC subtypes.

Keywords: classical virulence factors, CS6, diarrhea, enterotoxigenic escherichia coli, expression, non-classical virulence factors

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72 Virulence Phenotypes Among Multi-Drug Resistant Uropathogenic Bacteria

Authors: V. V. Lakshmi, Y. V. S. Annapurna


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infectious diseases seen in the community. Susceptible individuals experience multiple episodes, and progress to acute pyelonephritis or uro-sepsis or develop asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU). Ability to cause extraintestinal infections depends on several virulence factors required for survival at extraintestinal sites. Presence of virulence phenotypes enhances the pathogenicity of these otherwise commensal organisms and thus augments its ability to cause extraintestinal infections, the most frequent in urinary tract infections(UTI). The present study focuses on detection of the virulence characters exhibited by the uropathogenic organism and most common factors exhibited in the local pathogens. A total of 700 isolates of E.coli and Klebsiella spp were included in the study. These were isolated from patients from local hospitals reported to be suffering with UTI over a period of three years. Isolation and identification was done based on Gram character and IMVIC reactions. Antibiotic sensitivity profile was carried out by disc diffusion method and multi drug resistant strains with MAR index of 0.7 were further selected.. Virulence features examined included their ability to produce exopolysaccharides, protease- gelatinase production, hemolysin production, haemagglutination and hydrophobicity test. Exopolysaccharide production was most predominant virulence feature among the isolates when checked by congo red method. The biofilms production examined by microtitre plates using ELISA reader confirmed that this is the major factor contributing to virulencity of the pathogens followed by hemolysin production

Keywords: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella sp, Uropathogens, Virulence features.

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71 Virulence Phenotypes among Multi Drug Resistant Uropathogenic E. Coli and Klebsiella SPP

Authors: V. V. Lakshmi, Y. V. S. Annapurna


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infectious diseases seen in the community. Susceptible individuals experience multiple episodes, and progress to acute pyelonephritis or uro-sepsis or develop asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU). Ability to cause extraintestinal infections depends on several virulence factors required for survival at extraintestinal sites. Presence of virulence phenotypes enhances the pathogenicity of these otherwise commensal organisms and thus augments its ability to cause extraintestinal infections, the most frequent in urinary tract infections(UTI). The present study focuses on detection of the virulence characters exhibited by the uropathogenic organism and most common factors exhibited in the local pathogens. A total of 700 isolates of E.coli and Klebsiella spp were included in the study.These were isolated from patients from local hospitals reported to be suffering with UTI over a period of three years. Isolation and identification was done based on Gram character and IMVIC reactions. Antibiotic sensitivity profile was carried out by disc diffusion method and multi drug resistant strains with MAR index of 0.7 were further selected. Virulence features examined included their ability to produce exopolysaccharides, protease- gelatinase production, hemolysin production, haemagglutination and hydrophobicity test. Exopolysaccharide production was most predominant virulence feature among the isolates when checked by congo red method. The biofilms production examined by microtitre plates using ELISA reader confirmed that this is the major factor contributing to virulencity of the pathogens followed by hemolysin production.

Keywords: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp, Uropathogens, virulence features

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70 Ganoderma Infection in Acacia mangium: Difference of Plant Hosts to Virulency of Ganoderma

Authors: Rosa Suryantini, Reine S. Wulandari, Slamet Rifanjani


Acacia (Acacia mangium) is a forest plant species which is produced to pulp and paper. The high demand for pulp and paper increase the acacia plantation forest area. However, the outbreak of Ganoderma (root rot pathogen) infection becomes obstacles for the development of acacia plantations. This is due to the extent of host range and species of Ganoderma. Ganoderma has also the ability to survive the long-term without hosts. The diversity of the host and Ganoderma species affects its virulence. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the virulence of Ganoderma from different hosts (acacia, palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) and rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)). The methods were isolation and morphology identification of Ganoderma, and inoculation of Ganoderma isolates on acacia seedlings. The results showed that the three isolates of Ganoderma from different hosts had a morphological similarity with G. Lucidum (according to Ganoderma isolated from acacia or G1), G. boninense (according to Ganoderma isolated from palm oil or G2) and G. applanatum (according to Ganoderma isolated from rubber or G3). Symptoms of infection in acacia were seen at 3 months of age. The symptoms were begun with chlorosis, necrosis and death of seedlings (such as burning). Necrosis was started from the tip of the leaf. Based on this visible symptoms, G1 was moderate virulence isolate and G2 was low virulence isolate while G3 was avirulen isolate. The symptoms were still growing in accordance with the development of plant so it affected the value of diseases severity index. Ganoderma infection decreased the dry weight of seedlings, ie. 3.82 g (seedlings that were inoculated by G1), 4.01 g (seedlings that were inoculated by G2); and 5.02 g (seedlings that were inoculated by G3) when the dry weight of seedlings control was 10,02 g. These results provide information for early control of Ganoderma diseases on acacia especially those planted near rubber and oil palm crops.

Keywords: Acacia, Ganoderma, infection, virulence

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69 Genotypic Characterization of Gram-Positive Bacteria Isolated on Ornamental Animals Feed

Authors: C. Miranda, R. Soares, S. Cunha, L. Ferreira, G. Igrejas, P. Poeta


Different animal species, including ornamental animals, are reported as potential reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes. Consequently, these resistances can be disseminated in the environment and transferred to humans. Moreover, multidrug-resistant bacteria reduce the efficacy of antibiotics, as the case of vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Enterococcus faecalis and E. faecium are described as the main nosocomial pathogens. In this line, the aim of this study was to characterize resistance and virulence genes of enterococci species isolated from samples of food supplied to ornamental animals during 2020. The 29 enterococci isolates (10 E. faecalis and 19 E. faecium) were tested for the presence of the resistance genes for the following antibiotics: erythromicyn (ermA, ermB and ermC), tetracycline (tetL, tetM, tetK and tetO), quinupristin/dalfopristin (vatD and vatE), gentamicin (aac(6’)-aph(2’’)-Ia), chloramphenicol (catA), streptomycin (ant(6)-Ia) and vancomycin (vanA and vanB). The same isolates were also tested for 10 virulence factors genes (esp, ace, gelE, agg, fsr, cpd, cylA, cylB, cylM and cylLL). The resistance and virulence genes were performed by PCR, using specific primers and conditions. Negative and positive controls were used in all PCR assays. The most prevalent resistance genes detected in both enterococci species were ermB (n=15, 52%), ermC (n=7, 24%), tetK (n=8, 28%) and vatE (n=4, 14%). Resistance genes for vancomycin were found in ten (34%) E. faecalis and ten (34%) E. faecium isolates. Only E. faecium isolates showed the presence of ermA (n=2, 7%), tetL (n=13, 45%) and ant(6)-Ia gene (n=4, 14%). A total of nine (31%) enterococci isolates were classified as multidrug-resistant bacteria (3 E. faecalis and 6 E. faecium). In three E. faecalis and one E. faecium were not detected resistance genes. The virulence genes detected in both species were agg (n=6, 21%) and cylLL (n=11, 38%). In general, each isolate showed only one of these virulence genes. Five E. faecalis and eleven E. faecium isolates were negative for all analyzed virulence genes. These preliminary results showed the presence of multidrug-resistant enterococci in food supplied to ornamental animals, in particular vancomycin-resistant enterococci. This genotypic characterization reinforces the relevance to public health in the control of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance, enterococci, feed, ornamental animals

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68 Possible Involvement of DNA-methyltransferase and Histone Deacetylase in the Regulation of Virulence Potential of Acanthamoeba castellanii

Authors: Yi H. Wong, Li L. Chan, Chee O. Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon W. Mak, Priyadashi S. Sahu


Background: Acanthamoeba is a free-living opportunistic protist which is ubiquitously distributed in the environment. Virulent Acanthamoeba can cause fatal encephalitis in immunocompromised patients and potential blinding keratitis in immunocompetent contact lens wearers. Approximately 24 species have been identified but only the A. castellanii, A. polyphaga and A. culbertsoni are commonly associated with human infections. Until to date, the precise molecular basis for Acanthamoeba pathogenesis remains unclear. Previous studies reported that Acanthamoeba virulence can be diminished through prolonged axenic culture but revived through serial mouse passages. As no clear explanation on this reversible pathogenesis is established, hereby, we postulate that the epigenetic regulators, DNA-methyltransferases (DNMT) and histone-deacetylases (HDAC), could possibly be involved in granting the virulence plasticity of Acanthamoeba spp. Methods: Four rounds of mouse passages were conducted to revive the virulence potential of the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba castellanii strain (ATCC 50492). Briefly, each mouse (n=6/group) was inoculated intraperitoneally with Acanthamoebae cells (2x 105 trophozoites/mouse) and incubated for 2 months. Acanthamoebae cells were isolated from infected mouse organs by culture method and subjected to subsequent mouse passage. In vitro cytopathic, encystment and gelatinolytic assays were conducted to evaluate the virulence characteristics of Acanthamoebae isolates for each passage. PCR primers which targeted on the 2 members (DNMT1 and DNMT2) and 5 members (HDAC1 to 5) of the DNMT and HDAC gene families respectively were custom designed. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was performed to detect and quantify the relative expression of the two gene families in each Acanthamoeba isolates. Beta-tubulin of A. castellanii (Genbank accession no: XP_004353728) was included as housekeeping gene for data normalisation. PCR mixtures were also analyzed by electrophoresis for amplicons detection. All statistical analyses were performed using the paired one-tailed Student’s t test. Results: Our pathogenicity tests showed that the virulence-reactivated Acanthamoeba had a higher degree of cytopathic effect on vero cells, a better resistance to encystment challenge and a higher gelatinolytic activity which was catalysed by serine protease. qPCR assay showed that DNMT1 expression was significantly higher in the virulence-reactivated compared to the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain (p ≤ 0.01). The specificity of primers which targeted on DNMT1 was confirmed by sequence analysis of PCR amplicons, which showed a 97% similarity to the published DNA-methyltransferase gene of A. castellanii (GenBank accession no: XM_004332804.1). Out of the five primer pairs which targeted on the HDAC family genes, only HDAC4 expression was significantly difference between the two variant strains. In contrast to DNMT1, HDAC4 expression was much higher in the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain. Conclusion: Our mouse passages had successfully restored the virulence of the attenuated strain. Our findings suggested that DNA-methyltransferase (DNMT1) and histone deacetylase (HDAC4) expressions are associated with virulence potential of Acanthamoeba spp.

Keywords: acanthamoeba, DNA-methyltransferase, histone deacetylase, virulence-associated proteins

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67 Identifying the Host Substrates for the Mycobacterial Virulence Factor Protein Kinase G

Authors: Saha Saradindu, Das Payel, Somdeb BoseDasgupta


Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacteria tuberculosis is a dreadful disease and more so with the advent of extreme and total drug-resistant species. Mycobacterial pathogenesis is an ever-changing paradigm from phagosome maturation block to phagosomal escape into macrophage cytosol and finally acid tolerance and survival inside the lysosome. Mycobacteria are adept at subverting the host immune response by highjacking host cell signaling and secreting virulence factors. One such virulence factor is a ser/thr kinase; Protein kinase G (PknG), which is known to prevent phagosome maturation. The host substrates of PknG, allowing successful pathogenesis still remain an enigma. Hence we carried out a comparative phosphoproteomic screen and identified a number of substrates phosphorylated by PknG. We characterized some of these substrates in vivo and in vitro and observed that PknG mediated phosphorylation of these substrates leads to reduced TNFa production as well as decreased response to TNFa induced macrophage necroptosis, thus enabling mycobacterial survival and proliferation.

Keywords: mycobacteria, Protein kinase G, phosphoproteomics, necroptosis

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66 Analysis of Resistance and Virulence Genes of Gram-Positive Bacteria Detected in Calf Colostrums

Authors: C. Miranda, S. Cunha, R. Soares, M. Maia, G. Igrejas, F. Silva, P. Poeta


The worldwide inappropriate use of antibiotics has increased the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms isolated from animals, humans, food, and the environment. To combat this complex and multifaceted problem is essential to know the prevalence in livestock animals and possible ways of transmission among animals and between these and humans. Enterococci species, in particular E. faecalis and E. faecium, are the most common nosocomial bacteria, causing infections in animals and humans. Thus, the aim of this study was to characterize resistance and virulence factors genes among two enterococci species isolated from calf colostrums in Portuguese dairy farms. The 55 enterococci isolates (44 E. faecalis and 11 E. faecium) were tested for the presence of the resistance genes for the following antibiotics: erythromicyn (ermA, ermB, and ermC), tetracycline (tetL, tetM, tetK, and tetO), quinupristin/dalfopristin (vatD and vatE) and vancomycin (vanB). Of which, 25 isolates (15 E. faecalis and 10 E. faecium) were tested until now for 8 virulence factors genes (esp, ace, gelE, agg, cpd, cylA, cylB, and cylLL). The resistance and virulence genes were performed by PCR, using specific primers and conditions. Negative and positive controls were used in all PCR assays. All enterococci isolates showed resistance to erythromicyn and tetracycline through the presence of the genes: ermB (n=29, 53%), ermC (n=10, 18%), tetL (n=49, 89%), tetM (n=39, 71%) and tetK (n=33, 60%). Only two (4%) E. faecalis isolates showed the presence of tetO gene. No resistance genes for vancomycin were found. The virulence genes detected in both species were cpd (n=17, 68%), agg (n=16, 64%), ace (n=15, 60%), esp (n=13, 52%), gelE (n=13, 52%) and cylLL (n=8, 32%). In general, each isolate showed at least three virulence genes. In three E. faecalis isolates was not found virulence genes and only E. faecalis isolates showed virulence genes for cylA (n=4, 16%) and cylB (n=6, 24%). In conclusion, these colostrum samples that were consumed by calves demonstrated the presence of antibiotic-resistant enterococci harbored virulence genes. This genotypic characterization is crucial to control the antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the implementation of restricts measures safeguarding public health. Acknowledgements: This work was funded by the R&D Project CAREBIO2 (Comparative assessment of antimicrobial resistance in environmental biofilms through proteomics - towards innovative theragnostic biomarkers), with reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-030101 and PTDC/SAU-INF/30101/2017, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Northern Regional Operational Program (NORTE 2020) and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). This work was supported by the Associate Laboratory for Green Chemistry - LAQV which is financed by national funds from FCT/MCTES (UIDB/50006/2020 and UIDP/50006/2020).

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance, calf, colostrums, enterococci

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65 Genetic and Virulence Diversity among Alternaria carthami Isolates of India

Authors: Garima Anand, Rupam Kapoor


Alternaria leaf spot caused by Alternaria carthami is one of the most devastating diseases of safflower. It has resulted in huge losses in crop production and cultivation leading to a fall out of India’s rank as the leading producer of safflower in the world. Understanding the diversity of any pathogen is essential for its management and for the development of disease control strategies. The diversity of A. carthami was therefore analysed on the basis of biochemical, pathogenicity and genetic lines using ISSR markers. Collections and isolations of 95 isolates of A. carthami were made from major safflower producing states of India. Virulence was analysed to evaluate the pathogenic potential of these isolates. The isolates from Bijapur, Dharwad districts (Karnataka), and Parbhani and Solapur districts (Maharashtra) were found to be highly virulent. The virulence assays showed low virulence levels (42%) for the largest part of the population. Biochemical characterization to assess aggressiveness of these isolates was done by estimating the activity of cell wall degrading enzymes where isolates from districts Dharwad, Bijapur of Karnataka and districts Parbhani and Latur of Maharashtra were found to be most aggressive. Genetic diversity among isolates of A. carthami was determined using eighteen ISSR markers. Distance analysis using neighbour joining method and PCoA analysis of the ISSR profiles divided the isolates into three sub-populations. The most virulent isolates clustered in one group in the dendrogram. The study provided no evidence for geographical clustering indicating that isolates are randomly spread across the states, signifying the high potential of the fungus to adapt to diverse regions. The study can, therefore, aid in the breeding and deployment of A. carthami resistant safflower varieties and in the management of Alternaria leaf spot disease.

Keywords: alternaria leaf spot, genetic diversity, pathogenic potential, virulence

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64 Non-Candida Albicans Candida: Virulence Factors and Species Identification in India

Authors: Satender Saraswat, Dharmendra Prasad Singh, Rajesh Kumar Verma, Swati Sarswat


Background and Purpose: The predominant cause of candidiasis was Candida albicans which has shifted towards non-Candida albicans Candida (NCAC) (Candida species other than the C. albicans). NCAC, earlier considered non-pathogenic or minimally virulent, are now considered a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised. With the NCAC spp. gaining weightage in the clinical cases, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence of NCAC spp. in different clinical specimens and to assess a few of their virulence factors. Material and Methods: Routine samples for bacterial culture and sensitivity, showing colony characteristics like Candida on Blood Agar and microscopic features resembling Candida spp. were processed further. Candida isolates were tested for chlamydospore formation, biochemical tests including sugar fermentation and sugar assimilation tests, and growth at 42oC, colony colour on HiCrome™ Candida Differential Agar, HiCandida Identification Kit and VITEK-2 Compact. Virulence factors like adherence to buccal epithelial cells (ABEC), biofilm formation, hemolytic activity, and production of coagulase enzyme were also tested. Results: Mean age of the patients was 38.46 with a male-female ratio of 1.36:1. 137 Candida isolates were recovered. 45.3% isolates were isolated from urine, 19.7% from vaginal swabs and 13.9% from oropharyngeal swabs. 55 (40.1%) isolates of C. albicans and 82 (59.9%) of NCAC spp. were identified, with C. tropicalis (23.4%) in NCAC. C. albicans (3; 50%) was the commonest species in cases of candidemia. Haemolysin production (85.5%) and ABEC (78.2%) were the major virulence factors in C. albicans. C. tropicalis (59.4%) and C. dubliniensis (50%) showed maximum ABEC. Biofilm forming capacity was higher in C. tropicalis (78.1%) than C. albicans (67%). Conclusion: This study suggests varied prevalence and virulence based on geographical locations, even within a subcontinent. It clearly demarcates the emergence of NCAC and their predominance in different body fluids. Identification of Candida to species level should become a routine in all the laboratories.

Keywords: ABEC, NCAC, non-Candida albicans Candida, Vitek-2TM compact

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63 Unequal Contributions of Parental Isolates in Somatic Recombination of the Stripe Rust Fungus

Authors: Xianming Chen, Yu Lei, Meinan Wang


The dikaryotic basidiomycete fungus, Puccinia striiformis, causes stripe rust, one of the most important diseases of wheat and barley worldwide. The pathogen is largely reproduced asexually, and asexual recombination has been hypothesized to be one of the mechanisms for the pathogen variations. To test the hypothesis and understand the genetic process of asexual recombination, somatic recombinant isolates were obtained under controlled conditions by inoculating susceptible host plants with a mixture of equal quantity of urediniospores of isolates with different virulence patterns and selecting through a series of inoculation on host plants with different genes for resistance to one of the parental isolates. The potential recombinant isolates were phenotypically characterized by virulence testing on the set of 18 wheat lines used to differentiate races of the wheat stripe rust pathogen, P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), for the combinations of Pst isolates; or on both sets of the wheat differentials and 12 barley differentials for identifying races of the barley stripe rust pathogen, P. striiformis f. sp. hordei (Psh) for combinations of a Pst isolate and a Psh isolate. The progeny and parental isolates were also genotypically characterized with 51 simple sequence repeat and 90 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. From nine combinations of parental isolates, 68 potential recombinant isolates were obtained, of which 33 (48.5%) had similar virulence patterns to one of the parental isolates, and 35 (51.5%) had virulence patterns distinct from either of the parental isolates. Of the 35 isolates of distinct virulence patterns, 11 were identified as races that had been previously detected from natural collections and 24 were identified as new races. The molecular marker data confirmed 66 of the 68 isolates as recombinants. The percentages of parental marker alleles ranged from 0.9% to 98.9% and were significantly different from equal proportions in the recombinant isolates. Except for a couple of combinations, the greater or less contribution was not specific to any particular parental isolates as the same parental isolates contributed more to some of the progeny isolates but less to the other progeny isolates in the same combination. The unequal contributions by parental isolates appear to be a general role in somatic recombination for the stripe rust fungus, which may be used to distinguish asexual recombination from sexual recombination in studying the evolutionary mechanisms of the highly variable fungal pathogen.

Keywords: molecular markers, Puccinia striiformis, somatic recombination, stripe rust

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62 Genome-Wide Functional Analysis of Phosphatase in Cryptococcus neoformans

Authors: Jae-Hyung Jin, Kyung-Tae Lee, Yee-Seul So, Eunji Jeong, Yeonseon Lee, Dongpil Lee, Dong-Gi Lee, Yong-Sun Bahn


Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcal meningoencephalitis mainly in immunocompromised patients as well as immunocompetent people. But therapeutic options are limited to treat cryptococcosis. Some signaling pathways including cyclic AMP pathway, MAPK pathway, and calcineurin pathway play a central role in the regulation of the growth, differentiation, and virulence of C. neoformans. To understand signaling networks regulating the virulence of C. neoformans, we selected the 114 putative phosphatase genes, one of the major components of signaling networks, in the genome of C. neoformans. We identified putative phosphatases based on annotation in C. neoformans var. grubii genome database provided by the Broad Institute and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and performed a BLAST search of phosphatases of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aspergillus nidulans, Candida albicans and Fusarium graminearum to Cryptococcus neoformans. We classified putative phosphatases into 14 groups based on InterPro phosphatase domain annotation. Here, we constructed 170 signature-tagged gene-deletion strains through homologous recombination methods for 91 putative phosphatases. We examined their phenotypic traits under 30 different in vitro conditions, including growth, differentiation, stress response, antifungal resistance and virulence-factor production.

Keywords: human fungal pathogen, phosphatase, deletion library, functional genomics

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61 Transcriptomic Analysis of Acanthamoeba castellanii Virulence Alteration by Epigenetic DNA Methylation

Authors: Yi-Hao Wong, Li-Li Chan, Chee-Onn Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon-Wah Mak, Priyasashi Sahu


Background: Acanthamoeba is a genus of amoebae which lives as a free-living in nature or as a human pathogen that causes severe brain and eye infections. Virulence potential of Acanthamoeba is not constant and can change with growth conditions. DNA methylation, an epigenetic process which adds methyl groups to DNA, is used by eukaryotic cells, including several human parasites to control their gene expression. We used qPCR, siRNA gene silencing, and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to study DNA-methyltransferase gene family (DNMT) in order to indicate the possibility of its involvement in programming Acanthamoeba virulence potential. Methods: A virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba isolate (designation: ATCC; original isolate: ATCC 50492) was subjected to mouse passages to restore its pathogenicity; a virulence-reactivated isolate (designation: AC/5) was generated. Several established factors associated with Acanthamoeba virulence phenotype were examined to confirm the succession of reactivation process. Differential gene expression of DNMT between ATCC and AC/5 isolates was performed by qPCR. Silencing on DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate was achieved by siRNA duplex. Total RNAs extracted from ATCC, AC/5, and siRNA-treated (designation: si-146) were subjected to RNA-Seq for comparative transcriptomic analysis in order to identify the genome-wide effect of DNMT in regulating Acanthamoeba gene expression. qPCR was performed to validate the RNA-Seq results. Results: Physiological and cytophatic assays demonstrated an increased in virulence potential of AC/5 isolate after mouse passages. DNMT gene expression was significantly higher in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate (p ≤ 0.01) by qPCR. si-146 duplex reduced DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate by 30%. Comparative transcriptome analysis identified the differentially expressed genes, with 3768 genes in AC/5 vs ATCC isolate; 2102 genes in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate and 3422 genes in si-146 vs ATCC isolate, respectively (fold-change of ≥ 2 or ≤ 0.5, p-value adjusted (padj) < 0.05). Of these, 840 and 1262 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively, in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate. Eukaryotic orthologous group (KOG) assignments revealed a higher percentage of downregulated gene expression in si-146 compared to AC/5 isolate, were related to posttranslational modification, signal transduction and energy production. Gene Ontology (GO) terms for those downregulated genes shown were associated with transport activity, oxidation-reduction process, and metabolic process. Among these downregulated genes were putative genes encoded for heat shock proteins, transporters, ubiquitin-related proteins, proteins for vesicular trafficking (small GTPases), and oxidoreductases. Functional analysis of similar predicted proteins had been described in other parasitic protozoa for their survival and pathogenicity. Decreased expression of these genes in si146-treated isolate may account in part for Acanthamoeba reduced pathogenicity. qPCR on 6 selected genes upregulated in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate corroborated the RNA sequencing findings, indicating a good concordance between these two analyses. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and its effects on gene expression in Acanthamoeba spp. The present data indicate that DNA methylation has substantial effect on global gene expression, allowing further dissection of the genome-wide effects of DNA-methyltransferase gene in regulating Acanthamoeba pathogenicity.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, DNA methylation, RNA sequencing, virulence

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60 Cytolethal Distending Toxins in Intestinal and Extraintestinal E. coli

Authors: Katarína Čurová, Leonard Siegfried, Radka Vargová, Marta Kmeťová, Vladimír Hrabovský


Introduction: Cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs) represent intracellular acting proteins which interfere with cell cycle of eukaryotic cells. They are produced by Gram-negative bacteria with afinity to mucocutaneous surfaces and could play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases. CDTs induce DNA damage probably through DNAse activity, which causes cell cycle arrest and leads to further changes (cell distension and death, apoptosis) depending on the cell type. Five subtypes of CDT (I to V) were reported in E. coli. Methods: We examined 252 E. coli strains belonging to four different groups. Of these strains, 57 were isolated from patients with diarrhea, 65 from patients with urinary tract infections (UTI), 65 from patients with sepsis and 65 from patients with other extraintestinal infections (mostly surgical wounds, decubitus ulcers and respiratory tract infections). Identification of these strains was performed by MALDI-TOF analysis and detection of genes encoding CDTs and determination of the phylogenetic group was performed by PCR. Results: In this study, we detected presence of cdt genes in 11 of 252 E. coli strains tested (4,4 %). Four cdt positive E. coli strains were confirmed in group of UTI (6,15 %), three cdt positive E. coli strains in groups of diarrhea (5,3 %) and other extraintestinal infections (4,6 %). The lowest incidence, one cdt positive E. coli strain, was observed in group of sepsis (1,5 %). All cdt positive E. coli strains belonged to phylogenetic group B2. Conclusion: CDT-producing E. coli are isolated in a low percentage from patients with intestinal and extraintestinal infections, including sepsis and our results correspond with these studies. A weak prevalence of cdt genes suggests that CDTs are not major virulence factors but in combination with other virulence factors may increase virulence potential of E. coli. We suppose that all 11 cdt positive E. coli strains represent real pathogens because they belong to the phylogenetic group B2 which is pathogenic lineage for bacteria E. coli.

Keywords: cytolethal distending toxin, E. coli, phylogenetic group, extraintestinal infection, diarrhea

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59 Virulence Factors and Drug Resistance of Enterococci Species Isolated from the Intensive Care Units of Assiut University Hospitals, Egypt

Authors: Nahla Elsherbiny, Ahmed Ahmed, Hamada Mohammed, Mohamed Ali


Background: The enterococci may be considered as opportunistic agents particularly in immunocompromised patients. It is one of the top three pathogens causing many healthcare associated infections (HAIs). Resistance to several commonly used antimicrobial agents is a remarkable characteristic of most species which may carry various genes contributing to virulence. Objectives: to determine the prevalence of enterococci species in different intensive care units (ICUs) causing health care-associated infections (HAIs), intestinal carriage and environmental contamination. Also, to study the antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of the isolates with special reference to vancomycin resistance. In addition to phenotypic and genotypic detection of gelatinase, cytolysin and biofilm formation among isolates. Patients and Methods: This study was carried out in the infection control laboratory at Assiut University Hospitals over a period of one year. Clinical samples were collected from 285 patients with various (HAIs) acquired after admission to different ICUs. Rectal swabs were taken from 14 cases for detection of enterococci carriage. In addition, 1377 environmental samples were collected from the surroundings of the patients. Identification was done by conventional bacteriological methods and confirmed by analytical profile index (API). Antimicrobial sensitivity testing was performed by Kirby Bauer disc diffusion method and detection of vancomycin resistance was done by agar screen method. For the isolates, phenotypic detection of cytolysin, gelatinase production and detection of biofilm by tube method, Congo red method and microtiter plate. We performed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of some virulence genes (gelE, cylA, vanA, vanB and esp). Results: Enterococci caused 10.5% of the HAIs. Respiratory tract infection was the predominant type (86.7%). The commonest species were E.gallinarum (36.7%), E.casseliflavus (30%), E.faecalis (30%), and E.durans (3.4 %). Vancomycin resistance was detected in a total of 40% (12/30) of those isolates. The risk factors associated with acquiring vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) were immune suppression (P= 0.031) and artificial feeding (P= 0.008). For the rectal swabs, enterococci species were detected in 71.4% of samples with the predominance of E. casseliflavus (50%). Most of the isolates were vancomycin resistant (70%). Out of a total 1377 environmental samples, 577 (42%) samples were contaminated with different microorganisms. Enterococci were detected in 1.7% (10/577) of total contaminated samples, 50% of which were vancomycin resistant. All isolates were resistant to penicillin, ampicillin, oxacillin, ciprofloxacin, amikacin, erythromycin, clindamycin and trimethoprim-sulfamethaxazole. For the remaining antibiotics, variable percentages of resistance were reported. Cytolysin and gelatinase were detected phenotypically in 16% and 48 % of the isolates respectively. The microtiter plate method showed the highest percentages of detection of biofilm among all isolated species (100%). The studied virulence genes gelE, esp, vanA and vanB were detected in 62%, 12%, 2% and 12% respectively, while cylA gene was not detected in any isolates. Conclusions: A significant percentage of enterococci was isolated from patients and environments in the ICUs. Many virulence factors were detected phenotypically and genotypically among isolates. The high percentage of resistance, coupled with the risk of cross transmission to other patients make enterococci infections a significant infection control issue in hospitals.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance, enterococci, ICUs, virulence factors

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58 Molecular Characterization of Major Isolated Organism Involved in Bovine Subclinical Mastitis

Authors: H. K. Ratre, M. Roy, S. Roy, M. S. Parmar, V. Bhagat


Mastitis is a common problem of dairy industries. Reduction in milk production and an irreparable damage to the udder associated with the disease are common causes of culling of dairy cows. Milk from infected animals is not suitable for drinking and for making different milk products. So, it has a major economic importance in dairy cattle. The aims of this study were to investigate the bacteriological panorama in milk from udder quarters with subclinical mastitis and to carried out for the molecular characterization of the major isolated organisms, from subclinical mastitis-affected cows in and around Durg and Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh. Isolation and identification of bacteria from the milk samples of subclinical mastitis-affected cows were done by standard and routine culture procedures. A total of 78 isolates were obtained from cows and among the various bacteria isolated, Staphylococcus spp. occupied prime position with occurrence rate of 51.282%. However, other bacteria isolated includeStreptococcus spp. (20.512%), Micrococcus spp. (14.102%), E. coli (8.974%), Klebsiela spp. (2.564%), Salmonella spp. (1.282%) and Proteus spp. (1.282%). Staphylococcus spp. was isolated as the major causative agent of subclinical mastitis in the studied area. Molecular characterization of Staphylococus aureusisolates was done for genetic expression of the virulence genes like ‘nuc’ encoding thermonucleaseexoenzyme, coa and spa by PCR amplification of the respective genes in 25 Staphylococcus isolates. In the present study, 15 isolates (77.27%) out of 20 coagulase positive isolates were found to be genotypically positive for ‘nuc’ where as 20 isolates (52.63%) out of 38 CNS expressed the presence of the same virulence gene. In the present study, three Staphylococcus isolates were found to be genotypically positive for coa gene. The Amplification of the coa gene yielded two different products of 627, 710 bp. The amplification of the gene segment encoding the IgG binding region of protein A (spa) revealed a size of 220 and 253bp in twostaphylococcus isolates. The X-region binding of the spa gene produced an amplicon of 315 bp in one Staphylococcal isolates. Staphylococcus aureus was found to be major isolate (51.28%) responsible for causing subclinical mastitis in cows which also showed expression of virulence genesnuc, coa and spa.

Keywords: mastitis, bacteria, characterization, expression, gene

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57 X-Ray Crystallographic Studies on BPSL2418 from Burkholderia pseudomallei

Authors: Mona Alharbi


Melioidosis has emerged as a lethal disease. Unfortunately, the molecular mechanisms of virulence and pathogenicity of Burkholderia pseudomallei remain unknown. However, proteomics research has selected putative targets in B. pseudomallei that might play roles in the B. pseudomallei virulence. BPSL 2418 putative protein has been predicted as a free methionine sulfoxide reductase and interestingly there is a link between the level of the methionine sulfoxide in pathogen tissues and its virulence. Therefore in this work, we describe the cloning expression, purification, and crystallization of BPSL 2418 and the solution of its 3D structure using X-ray crystallography. Also, we aimed to identify the substrate binding and reduced forms of the enzyme to understand the role of BPSL 2418. The gene encoding BPSL2418 from B. pseudomallei was amplified by PCR and reclone in pETBlue-1 vector and transformed into E. coli Tuner DE3 pLacI. BPSL2418 was overexpressed using E. coli Tuner DE3 pLacI and induced by 300μM IPTG for 4h at 37°C. Then BPS2418 purified to better than 95% purity. The pure BPSL2418 was crystallized with PEG 4000 and PEG 6000 as precipitants in several conditions. Diffraction data were collected to 1.2Å resolution. The crystals belonged to space group P2 21 21 with unit-cell parameters a = 42.24Å, b = 53.48Å, c = 60.54Å, α=γ=β= 90Å. The BPSL2418 binding MES was solved by molecular replacement with the known structure 3ksf using PHASER program. The structure is composed of six antiparallel β-strands and four α-helices and two loops. BPSL2418 shows high homology with the GAF domain fRMsrs enzymes which suggest that BPSL2418 might act as methionine sulfoxide reductase. The amino acids alignment between the fRmsrs including BPSL 2418 shows that the three cysteines that thought to catalyze the reduction are fully conserved. BPSL 2418 contains the three conserved cysteines (Cys⁷⁵, Cys⁸⁵ and Cys¹⁰⁹). The active site contains the six antiparallel β-strands and two loops where the disulfide bond formed between Cys⁷⁵ and Cys¹⁰⁹. X-ray structure of free methionine sulfoxide binding and native forms of BPSL2418 were solved to increase the understanding of the BPSL2418 catalytic mechanism.

Keywords: X-Ray Crystallography, BPSL2418, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Melioidosis

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56 Studies on Virulence Factors Analysis in Streptococcus agalactiae from the Clinical Isolates

Authors: Natesan Balasubramanian, Palpandi Pounpandi, Venkatraman Thamil Priya, Vellasamy Shanmugaiah, Karubbiah Balakrishnan, Mandayam Anandam Thirunarayan


Streptococcus agalactiae is commonly known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and it is the most common cause of life-threatening bacterial infection. GBS first considered as a veterinary pathogen causing mastitis in cattle later becomes a human pathogen for severe neonatal infections. In this present study, a total of 20 new clinical isolates of S. agalactiae were collected from male (6) and female patient (14) with different age group. The isolates were from Urinary tract infection (UTI), blood, pus and eye ulcer. All the 20 S. agalactiae isolates has clear hemolysis properties on blood agar medium and were identified by serogrouping and MALTI-TOF-MS analysis. Antibiotic susceptibility/resistance test was performed for 20 S. agalactiae isolates, further phenotypic resistance pattern was observed for tetracycline, vancomycin, ampicillin and penicillin. Genotypically we found two antibiotic resistance genes such as Betalactem antibiotic resistance gene (Tem) (70%) and tetracycline resistance gene Tet(O) 15% in our isolates. Six virulence factors encoding genes were performed by PCR in twenty GBS isolates, cfb gene (100%), followed by, cylE(90.47%), lmp(85.7%), bca(71.42%), rib (38%) and low frequency in bac gene (4.76%) were determined. Most of the S. agalactiae isolates produced strong biofilm in the polystyrene surface (hydrophobic), and low-level biofilm formation was found in glass tube (hydrophilic) surface. lytR is secreted protein and localized in bacterial cell wall, extra cellular membrane, and cytoplasm. In silico docking studies were performed for lytR protein with four antibiofilm compounds, including a peptide (PR39) with the docking study showed peptide has strong interaction followed by ellagic acid and interaction length is 2.95, 2.97 and 2.95 A°. In ligand EGCGO10 and O11 two atoms intract with lytR (Leu271), with binding bond affinity length is 3.24 and 3.14. The aminoacid Leu 271 is act as an impartant aminoacid, since ellagic acid and EGCG interact with same aminoacid.

Keywords: antibiotics, biofilms, clinical isolates, S. agalactiae, virulence

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55 Characterization of Shiga Toxin Escherichia coli Recovered from a Beef Processing Facility within Southern Ontario and Comparative Performance of Molecular Diagnostic Platforms

Authors: Jessica C. Bannon, Cleso M. Jordao Jr., Mohammad Melebari, Carlos Leon-Velarde, Roger Johnson, Keith Warriner


There has been an increased incidence of non-O157 Shiga Toxin Escherichia coli (STEC) with six serotypes (Top 6) being implicated in causing haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Beef has been suggested to be a significant vehicle for non-O157 STEC although conclusive evidence has yet to be obtained. The following aimed to determine the prevalence of the Top 6 non-O157 STEC in beef processing using three different diagnostic platforms then characterize the recovered isolates. Hide, carcass and environmental swab samples (n = 60) were collected from a beef processing facility over a 12 month period. Enriched samples were screened using Biocontrol GDS, BAX or PALLgene molecular diagnostic tests. Presumptive non-O157 STEC positive samples were confirmed using conventional PCR and serology. STEC was detected by GDS (55% positive), BAX (85% positive), and PALLgene (93%). However, during confirmation testing only 8 of the 60 samples (13%) were found to harbour STEC. Interestingly, the presence of virulence factors in the recovered isolates was unstable and readily lost during subsequent sub-culturing. There is a low prevalence of Top 6 non-O157 STEC associated with beef although other serotypes are encountered. Yet, the instability of the virulence factors in recovered strains would question their clinical relevance.

Keywords: beef, food microbiology, shiga toxin, STEC

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54 In vitro and in vivo Infectivity of Coxiella burnetii Strains from French Livestock

Authors: Joulié Aurélien, Jourdain Elsa, Bailly Xavier, Gasqui Patrick, Yang Elise, Leblond Agnès, Rousset Elodie, Sidi-Boumedine Karim


Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by the gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Following the recent outbreaks in the Netherlands, a hyper virulent clone was found to be the cause of severe human cases of Q fever. In livestock, Q fever clinical manifestations are mainly abortions. Although the abortion rates differ between ruminant species, C. burnetii’s virulence remains understudied, especially in enzootic areas. In this study, the infectious potential of three C. burnetii isolates collected from French farms of small ruminants were compared to the reference strain Nine Mile (in phase II and in an intermediate phase) using an in vivo (CD1 mice) model. Mice were challenged with 105 live bacteria discriminated by propidium monoazide-qPCR targeting the icd-gene. After footpad inoculation, spleen and popliteal lymph node were harvested at 10 days post-inoculation (p.i). The strain invasiveness in spleen and popliteal nodes was assessed by qPCR assays targeting the icd-gene. Preliminary results showed that the avirulent strains (in phase 2) failed to pass the popliteal barrier and then to colonize the spleen. This model allowed a significant differentiation between strain’s invasiveness on biological host and therefore identifying distinct virulence profiles. In view of these results, we plan to go further by testing fifteen additional C. burnetii isolates from French farms of sheep, goat and cattle by using the above-mentioned in vivo model. All 15 strains display distant MLVA (multiple-locus variable-number of tandem repeat analysis) genotypic profiles. Five of the fifteen isolates will bee also tested in vitro on ovine and bovine macrophage cells. Cells and supernatants will be harvested at day1, day2, day3 and day6 p.i to assess in vitro multiplication kinetics of strains. In conclusion, our findings might help the implementation of surveillance of virulent strains and ultimately allow adapting prophylaxis measures in livestock farms.

Keywords: Q fever, invasiveness, ruminant, virulence

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53 Genetic and Phenotypic Variability Among the Vibrio Cholerae O1 Isolates of India

Authors: Sreeja Shaw, Prosenjit Samanta, Asish Kumar Mukhopadhyay


Cholera is still a global public health burden and is caused by Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 serogroups. Evidence from recent outbreaks in Haiti and Yemen suggested that circulating V. cholerae O1 El Tor variant strains are continuously changing to cause more ruinous outbreaks worldwide, and most of them have emerged from the Indian subcontinents. Therefore, we studied the changing virulence characteristics along with the antibiotic resistance profile of V. cholerae O1strains isolated from seasonal outbreaks in three cholera endemic regions during 2018, Gujarat and Maharashtra in Western India (87 strains), and to compare those features with the isolates of West Bengal in Eastern India (48 strains) collected during the same period. All the strains from Western India were of Ogawa serotype, polymyxin B-sensitive, hemolytic, and contained a large fragment deletion in VSP-II genomic region similar with Yemen outbreak strains and carried more virulent Haitian genetic alleles of major virulence associated genes ctxB, tcpA, and rtxA. Conversely, 14.6% (7/48) of the strains from Eastern India were belong to the Inaba serotype, polymyxin B-resistant, non-hemolytic, harbored intact VSP-II region, classical ctxB, Haitian tcpA, and El Tor rtxA alleles. Interestingly, resistance to tetracycline and chloramphenicol was seen in isolates from both regions, which are not very common among V. cholerae O1 isolates in India. Therefore, this study indicated West Bengal as a diverse region where two different types of El Tor variant hypervirulent strains are co-existed, probably competing for their better environmental survival, which may result in severe irrepressible disease outcome in the future.

Keywords: cholera, vibrio cholerae, polymyxin B, Non-hemolytic, ctxB, tcpA, rtxA, VSP-II

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52 Evolutionary Analysis of Influenza A (H1N1) Pdm 09 in Post Pandemic Period in Pakistan

Authors: Nazish Badar


In early 2009, Pandemic type A (H1N1) Influenza virus emerged globally. Since then, it has continued circulation causing considerable morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the evolutionary changes in Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses from 2009-15 and their relevance with the current vaccine viruses. Methods: Respiratory specimens were collected with influenza-like illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness. Samples were processed according to CDC protocol. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of Haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes was carried out comparing representative isolates from Pakistan viruses. Results: Between Jan2009 - Feb 2016, 1870 (13.2%) samples were positive for influenza A out of 14086. During the pandemic period (2009–10), Influenza A/ H1N1pdm 09 was the dominant strain with 366 (45%) of total influenza positives. In the post-pandemic period (2011–2016), a total of 1066 (59.6%) cases were positive Influenza A/ H1N1pdm 09 with co-circulation of different Influenza A subtypes. Overall, the Pakistan A(H1N1) pdm09 viruses grouped in two genetic clades. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses only ascribed to Clade 7 during the pandemic period whereas viruses belong to clade 7 (2011) and clade 6B (2015) during the post-pandemic years. Amino acid analysis of the HA gene revealed mutations at positions S220T, I338V and P100S specially associated with outbreaks in all the analyzed strains. Sequence analyses of post-pandemic A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses showed additional substitutions at antigenic sites; S179N,K180Q (SA), D185N, D239G (CA), S202A (SB) and at receptor binding sites; A13T, S200P when compared with pandemic period. Substitution at Genetic markers; A273T (69%), S200P/T (15%) and D239G (7.6%) associated with severity and E391K (69%) associated with virulence was identified in viruses isolated during 2015. Analysis of NA gene revealed outbreak markers; V106I (23%) among pandemic and N248D (100%) during post-pandemic Pakistan viruses. Additional N-Glycosylation site; HA S179N (23%), NA I23T(7.6%) and N44S (77%) in place of N386K(77%) were only found in post-pandemic viruses. All isolates showed histidine (H) at position 275 in NA indicating sensitivity to neuraminidase inhibitors. Conclusion: This study shows that the Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses from Pakistan clustered into two genetic clades, with co-circulation of some variants. Certain key substitutions in the receptor binding site and few changes indicative of virulence were also detected in post-pandemic strains. Therefore, it is imperative to continue monitoring of the viruses for early identification of potential variants of high virulence or emergence of drug-resistant variants.

Keywords: Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, evolutionary analysis, post pandemic period, Pakistan

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51 Predictive Pathogen Biology: Genome-Based Prediction of Pathogenic Potential and Countermeasures Targets

Authors: Debjit Ray


Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and recombination leads to the emergence of bacterial antibiotic resistance and pathogenic traits. HGT events can be identified by comparing a large number of fully sequenced genomes across a species or genus, define the phylogenetic range of HGT, and find potential sources of new resistance genes. In-depth comparative phylogenomics can also identify subtle genome or plasmid structural changes or mutations associated with phenotypic changes. Comparative phylogenomics requires that accurately sequenced, complete and properly annotated genomes of the organism. Assembling closed genomes requires additional mate-pair reads or “long read” sequencing data to accompany short-read paired-end data. To bring down the cost and time required of producing assembled genomes and annotating genome features that inform drug resistance and pathogenicity, we are analyzing the performance for genome assembly of data from the Illumina NextSeq, which has faster throughput than the Illumina HiSeq (~1-2 days versus ~1 week), and shorter reads (150bp paired-end versus 300bp paired end) but higher capacity (150-400M reads per run versus ~5-15M) compared to the Illumina MiSeq. Bioinformatics improvements are also needed to make rapid, routine production of complete genomes a reality. Modern assemblers such as SPAdes 3.6.0 running on a standard Linux blade are capable in a few hours of converting mixes of reads from different library preps into high-quality assemblies with only a few gaps. Remaining breaks in scaffolds are generally due to repeats (e.g., rRNA genes) are addressed by our software for gap closure techniques, that avoid custom PCR or targeted sequencing. Our goal is to improve the understanding of emergence of pathogenesis using sequencing, comparative genomics, and machine learning analysis of ~1000 pathogen genomes. Machine learning algorithms will be used to digest the diverse features (change in virulence genes, recombination, horizontal gene transfer, patient diagnostics). Temporal data and evolutionary models can thus determine whether the origin of a particular isolate is likely to have been from the environment (could it have evolved from previous isolates). It can be useful for comparing differences in virulence along or across the tree. More intriguing, it can test whether there is a direction to virulence strength. This would open new avenues in the prediction of uncharacterized clinical bugs and multidrug resistance evolution and pathogen emergence.

Keywords: genomics, pathogens, genome assembly, superbugs

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50 Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistant Enterococci in Treated Wastewater Effluent in Durban, South Africa and Characterization of Vancomycin and High-Level Gentamicin-Resistant Strains

Authors: S. H. Gasa, L. Singh, B. Pillay, A. O. Olaniran


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been implicated as the leading reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB), including Enterococci spp. and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), worldwide. Enterococci are a group of clinically significant bacteria that have gained much attention as a result of their antibiotic resistance. They play a significant role as the principal cause of nosocomial infections and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes in the environment. The main objective of this study was to ascertain the role of WWTPs in Durban, South Africa as potential reservoirs for antibiotic resistant Enterococci (ARE) and their related ARGs. Furthermore, the antibiogram and resistance gene profile of Enterococci species recovered from treated wastewater effluent and receiving surface water in Durban were also investigated. Using membrane filtration technique, Enterococcus selective agar and selected antibiotics, ARE were enumerated in samples (influent, activated sludge, before chlorination and final effluent) collected from two WWTPs, as well as from upstream and downstream of the receiving surface water. Two hundred Enterococcus isolates recovered from the treated effluent and receiving surface water were identified by biochemical and PCR-based methods, and their antibiotic resistance profiles determined by the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion assay, while PCR-based assays were used to detect the presence of resistance and virulence genes. High prevalence of ARE was obtained at both WWTPs, with values reaching a maximum of 40%. The influent and activated sludge samples contained the greatest prevalence of ARE with lower values observed in the before and after chlorination samples. Of the 44 vancomycin and high-level gentamicin-resistant isolates, 11 were identified as E. faecium, 18 as E. faecalis, 4 as E. hirae while 11 are classified as “other” Enterococci species. High-level aminoglycoside resistance for gentamicin (39%) and vancomycin (61%) was recorded in species tested. The most commonly detected virulence gene was the gelE (44%), followed by asa1 (40%), while cylA and esp were detected in only 2% of the isolates. The most prevalent aminoglycoside resistance genes were aac(6')-Ie-aph(2''), aph(3')-IIIa, and ant(6')-Ia detected in 43%, 45% and 41% of the isolates, respectively. Positive correlation was observed between resistant phenotypes to high levels of aminoglycosides and presence of all aminoglycoside resistance genes. Resistance genes for glycopeptide: vanB (37%) and vanC-1 (25%), and macrolide: ermB (11%) and ermC (54%) were detected in the isolates. These results show the need for more efficient wastewater treatment and disposal in order to prevent the release of virulent and antibiotic resistant Enterococci species and safeguard public health.

Keywords: antibiogram, enterococci, gentamicin, vancomycin, virulence signatures

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49 Protection and Immune Responses of DNA Vaccines Targeting Virulence Factors of Streptococcus iniae in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Authors: Pattanapon Kayansamruaj, Ha Thanh Dong, Nopadon Pirarat, Channarong Rodkhum


Streptococcus iniae (SI) is a devastating pathogenic bacteria causing heavy mortality in farmed fish. The application of commercialized bacterin vaccine has been reported failures as the outbreaks of the new serotype of SI were emerged in farms after vaccination and subsequently caused severe losses. In the present study, we attempted to develop effective DNA vaccines against SI infection using Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as an animal model. Two monovalent DNA vaccines were constructed by the insertion of coding sequences of cell wall-associated virulence factors-encoding genes, comprised of eno (α-enolase) and mtsB (hydrophobic membrane protein), into cytomegalovirus expression vector (pCI-neo). In the animal trial, 30-g Nile tilapia were injected intramuscularly with 15 µg of each vaccine (mock vaccine group was injected by naked pCI-neo) and maintained for 35 days prior challenging with pathogenic SI at the dosage of 107 CFU/fish. At 13 days post-challenge, the relative percent survival of pEno, pMtsB and mock vaccine were 57%, 45% and 27%, respectively. The expression levels of immune responses-associated genes, namely, IL1β, TNF-α, TGF-β, COX2, IL-6, IL-12 and IL-13, were investigated from the spleen of experimental animal at 7 days post-vaccination (PV) and 7 days post-challenge (PC) using quantitative RT-PCR technique. Generally, at 7 days PV, the pEno vaccinated group exhibited highest level of up-regulation (1.7 to 2.9 folds) of every gene, but TGF-β, comparing to pMtsB and mock vaccine groups. However, at 7 days PC, pEno group showed significant up-regulation (1.4 to 8.5 folds) of immune-related genes as similar as mock vaccine group, while pMtsB group had lowest level of up-regulation (0.7 to 3.3 folds). Summarily, this study indicated that the pEno and pMtsB vaccines could elicit the immune responses of the fish and the magnitude of gene expression at 7 days PV was also consistent with the protection level conferred by the vaccine.

Keywords: gene expression, DNA vaccine, Nile tilapia, Streptococcus iniae

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48 Prevalence and Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance in Escherichia coli Isolated from Mastitic Dairy Cattle in Canada

Authors: Satwik Majumder, Dongyun Jung, Jennifer Ronholm, Saji George


Bovine mastitis is the most common infectious disease in dairy cattle, with major economic implications for the dairy industry worldwide. Continuous monitoring for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among bacterial isolates from dairy farms is vital not only for animal husbandry but also for public health. In this study, the prevalence of AMR in 113 Escherichia coli isolates from cases of bovine clinical mastitis in Canada was investigated. Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion test with 18 antibiotics and microdilution method with three heavy metals (copper, zinc, and silver) was performed to determine the antibiotic and heavy-metal susceptibility. Resistant strains were assessed for efflux and ß-lactamase activities besides assessing biofilm formation and hemolysis. Whole-genome sequences for each of the isolates were examined to detect the presence of genes corresponding to the observed AMR and virulence factors. Phenotypic analysis revealed that 32 isolates were resistant to one or more antibiotics, and 107 showed resistance against at least one heavy metal. Quinolones and silver were the most efficient against the tested isolates. Among the AMR isolates, AcrAB-TolC efflux activity and ß-lactamase enzyme activities were detected in 13 and 14 isolates, respectively. All isolates produced biofilm but with different capacities, and 33 isolates showed α-hemolysin activity. A positive correlation (Pearson r = +0.89) between efflux pump activity and quantity of biofilm was observed. Genes associated with aggregation, adhesion, cyclic di-GMP, quorum sensing were detected in the AMR isolates, corroborating phenotype observations. This investigation showed the prevalence of AMR in E. coli isolates from bovine clinical mastitis. The results also suggest the inadequacy of antimicrobials with a single mode of action to curtail AMR bacteria with multiple mechanisms of resistance and virulence factors. Therefore, it calls for combinatorial therapy for the effective management of AMR infections in dairy farms and combats its potential transmission to the food supply chain through milk and dairy products.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance, E. coli, bovine mastitis, antibiotics, heavy-metals, efflux pump, ß-lactamase enzyme, biofilm, whole-genome sequencing

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47 Genome Sequencing and Analysis of the Spontaneous Nanosilver Resistant Bacterium Proteus mirabilis Strain scdr1

Authors: Amr Saeb, Khalid Al-Rubeaan, Mohamed Abouelhoda, Manojkumar Selvaraju, Hamsa Tayeb


Background: P. mirabilis is a common uropathogenic bacterium that can cause major complications in patients with long-standing indwelling catheters or patients with urinary tract anomalies. In addition, P. mirabilis is a common cause of chronic osteomyelitis in diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) patients. Methodology: P. mirabilis SCDR1 was isolated from a diabetic ulcer patient. We examined P. mirabilis SCDR1 levels of resistance against nano-silver colloids, the commercial nano-silver and silver containing bandages and commonly used antibiotics. We utilized next generation sequencing techniques (NGS), bioinformatics, phylogenetic analysis and pathogenomics in the identification and characterization of the infectious pathogen. Results: P. mirabilis SCDR1 is a multi-drug resistant isolate that also showed high levels of resistance against nano-silver colloids, nano-silver chitosan composite and the commercially available nano-silver and silver bandages. The P. mirabilis-SCDR1 genome size is 3,815,621 bp with G+C content of 38.44%. P. mirabilis-SCDR1 genome contains a total of 3,533 genes, 3,414 coding DNA sequence genes, 11, 10, 18 rRNAs (5S, 16S, and 23S), and 76 tRNAs. Our isolate contains all the required pathogenicity and virulence factors to establish a successful infection. P. mirabilis SCDR1 isolate is a potential virulent pathogen that despite its original isolation site, wound, it can establish kidney infection and its associated complications. P. mirabilis SCDR1 contains several mechanisms for antibiotics and metals resistance including, biofilm formation, swarming mobility, efflux systems, and enzymatic detoxification. Conclusion: P. mirabilis SCDR1 is the spontaneous nano-silver resistant bacterial strain. P. mirabilis SCDR1 strain contains all reported pathogenic and virulence factors characteristic for the species. In addition, it possesses several mechanisms that may lead to the observed nano-silver resistance.

Keywords: Proteus mirabilis, multi-drug resistance, silver nanoparticles, resistance, next generation sequencing techniques, genome analysis, bioinformatics, phylogeny, pathogenomics, diabetic foot ulcer, xenobiotics, multidrug resistance efflux, biofilm formation, swarming mobility, resistome, glutathione S-transferase, copper/silver efflux system, altruism

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