Prof. Dr. Abu Salim Mustafa

Committee: International Scientific Committee of Medical and Health Sciences
University: Kuwait University
Department: Department of Microbiology
Research Fields: Infectious Diseases, Biotechnology, Immunology

Publications

4 Microbial Contaminants in Drinking Water Collected from Different Regions of Kuwait

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Water plays a major role in maintaining life on earth, but it can also serve as a matrix for pathogenic organisms, posing substantial health threats to humans. Although, outbreaks of diseases attributable to drinking water may not be common in industrialized countries, they still occur and can lead to serious acute, chronic, or sometimes fatal health consequences. The analysis of drinking water samples from different regions of Kuwait was performed in this study for bacterial and viral contaminations. Drinking tap water samples were collected from 15 different locations of the six Kuwait governorates. All samples were analyzed by confocal microscopy for the presence of bacteria. The samples were cultured in vitro to detect cultivable organisms. DNA was isolated from the cultured organisms and the identity of the bacteria was determined by sequencing the bacterial 16S rRNA genes, followed by BLAST analysis in the database of NCBI, USA. RNA was extracted from water samples and analyzed by real-time PCR for the detection of viruses with potential health risks, i.e. Astrovirus, Enterovirus, Norovirus, Rotavirus, and Hepatitis A. Confocal microscopy showed the presence of bacteria in some water samples. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing of culture grown organisms, followed by BLAST analysis, identified the presence of several non-pathogenic bacterial species. However, one sample had Acinetobacter baumannii, which often causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised people, but none of the studied viruses could be detected in the drinking water samples analyzed. The results indicate that drinking water samples analyzed from various locations in Kuwait are relatively safe for drinking and do not contain many harmful pathogens.

Keywords: Microbial diversity, Viruses, drinking water, Kuwait

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3 Evaluation of Four Different DNA Targets in Polymerase Chain Reaction for Detection and Genotyping of Helicobacter pylori

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting genomic DNA segments have been established for the detection of Helicobacter pylori in clinical specimens. However, the data on comparative evaluations of various targets in detection of H. pylori are limited. Furthermore, the frequencies of vacA (s1 and s2) and cagA genotypes, which are suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of H. pylori in other parts of the world, are not well studied in Kuwait. The aim of this study was to evaluate PCR assays for the detection and genotyping of H. pylori by targeting the amplification of DNA targets from four genomic segments. The genomic DNA were isolated from 72 clinical isolates of H. pylori and tested in PCR with four pairs of oligonucleotides primers, i.e. ECH-U/ECH-L, ET-5U/ET-5L, CagAF/CagAR and Vac1F/Vac1XR, which were expected to amplify targets of various sizes (471 bp, 230 bp, 183 bp and 176/203 bp, respectively) from the genomic DNA of H. pylori. The PCR-amplified DNA were analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis. PCR products of expected size were obtained with all primer pairs by using genomic DNA isolated from H. pylori. DNA dilution experiments showed that the most sensitive PCR target was 471 bp DNA amplified by the primers ECH-U/ECH-L, followed by the targets of Vac1F/Vac1XR (176 bp/203 DNA), CagAF/CagAR (183 bp DNA) and ET-5U/ET-5L (230 bp DNA). However, when tested with undiluted genomic DNA isolated from single colonies of all isolates, the Vac1F/Vac1XR target provided the maximum positive results (71/72 (99% positives)), followed by ECH-U/ECH-L (69/72 (93% positives)), ET-5U/ET-5L (51/72 (71% positives)) and CagAF/CagAR (26/72 (46% positives)). The results of genotyping experiments showed that vacA s1 (46% positive) and vacA s2 (54% positive) genotypes were almost equally associated with VaCA+/CagA- isolates (P > 0.05), but with VacA+/CagA+ isolates, S1 genotype (92% positive) was more frequently detected than S2 genotype (8% positive) (P< 0.0001). In conclusion, among the primer pairs tested, Vac1F/Vac1XR provided the best results for detection of H. pylori. The genotyping experiments showed that vacA s1 and vacA s2 genotypes were almost equally associated with vaCA+/cagA- isolates, but vacA s1 genotype had a significantly increased association with vacA+/cagA+ isolates.

Keywords: Detection, Kuwait, Genotyping, H. pylori

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2 Identification of Promiscuous Epitopes for Cellular Immune Responses in the Major Antigenic Protein Rv3873 Encoded by Region of Difference 1 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Rv3873 is a relatively large size protein (371 amino acids in length) and its gene is located in the immunodominant genomic region of difference (RD)1 that is present in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis but deleted from the genomes of all the vaccine strains of Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) and most other mycobacteria. However, when tested for cellular immune responses using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from tuberculosis patients and BCG-vaccinated healthy subjects, this protein was found to be a major stimulator of cell mediated immune responses in both groups of subjects. In order to further identify the sequence of immunodominant epitopes and explore their Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-restriction for epitope recognition, 24 peptides (25-mers overlapping with the neighboring peptides by 10 residues) covering the sequence of Rv3873 were synthesized chemically using fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl chemistry and tested in cell mediated immune responses. The results of these experiments helped in the identification of an immunodominant peptide P9 that was recognized by people expressing varying HLA-DR types. Furthermore, it was also predicted to be a promiscuous binder with multiple epitopes for binding to HLA-DR, HLA-DP and HLA-DQ alleles of HLA-class II molecules that present antigens to T helper cells, and to HLA-class I molecules that present antigens to T cytotoxic cells. In addition, the evaluation of peptide P9 using an immunogenicity predictor server yielded a high score (0.94), which indicated a greater probability of this peptide to elicit a protective cellular immune response. In conclusion, P9, a peptide with multiple epitopes and ability to bind several HLA class I and class II molecules for presentation to cells of the cellular immune response, may be useful as a peptide-based vaccine against tuberculosis.

Keywords: Vaccine, peptides, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, Rv3873

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1 Antibody Reactivity of Synthetic Peptides Belonging to Proteins Encoded by Genes Located in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-Specific Genomic Regions of Differences

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

The comparisons of mycobacterial genomes have identified several Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific genomic regions that are absent in other mycobacteria and are known as regions of differences. Due to M. tuberculosis-specificity, the peptides encoded by these regions could be useful in the specific diagnosis of tuberculosis. To explore this possibility, overlapping synthetic peptides corresponding to 39 proteins predicted to be encoded by genes present in regions of differences were tested for antibody-reactivity with sera from tuberculosis patients and healthy subjects. The results identified four immunodominant peptides corresponding to four different proteins, with three of the peptides showing significantly stronger antibody reactivity and rate of positivity with sera from tuberculosis patients than healthy subjects. The fourth peptide was recognized equally well by the sera of tuberculosis patients as well as healthy subjects. Predication of antibody epitopes by bioinformatics analyses using ABCpred server predicted multiple linear epitopes in each peptide. Furthermore, peptide sequence analysis for sequence identity using BLAST suggested M. tuberculosis-specificity for the three peptides that had preferential reactivity with sera from tuberculosis patients, but the peptide with equal reactivity with sera of TB patients and healthy subjects showed significant identity with sequences present in nob-tuberculous mycobacteria. The three identified M. tuberculosis-specific immunodominant peptides may be useful in the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Keywords: peptides, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, genomic regions of differences, serodiagnosis

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Abstracts

5 Microbial Contaminants in Drinking Water Collected from Different Regions of Kuwait

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Water plays a major role in maintaining life on earth, but it can also serve as a matrix for pathogenic organisms, posing substantial health threats to humans. Although, outbreaks of diseases attributable to drinking water may not be common in industrialized countries, they still occur and can lead to serious acute, chronic, or sometimes fatal health consequences. The analysis of drinking water samples from different regions of Kuwait was performed in this study for bacterial and viral contaminations. Drinking tap water samples were collected from 15 different locations of the six Kuwait governorates. All samples were analyzed by confocal microscopy for the presence of bacteria. The samples were cultured in vitro to detect cultivable organisms. DNA was isolated from the cultured organisms and the identity of the bacteria was determined by sequencing the bacterial 16S rRNA genes, followed by BLAST analysis in the database of NCBI, USA. RNA was extracted from water samples and analyzed by real-time PCR for the detection of viruses with potential health risks, i.e. Astrovirus, Enterovirus, Norovirus, Rotavirus, and Hepatitis A. Confocal microscopy showed the presence of bacteria in some water samples. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing of culture grown organisms, followed by BLAST analysis, identified the presence of several non-pathogenic bacterial species. However, one sample had Acinetobacter baumannii, which often causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised people, but none of the studied viruses could be detected in the drinking water samples analyzed. The results indicate that drinking water samples analyzed from various locations in Kuwait are relatively safe for drinking and do not contain many harmful pathogens.

Keywords: drinking water, Kuwait, microbial contaminant

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4 Evaluation of Four Different DNA Targets in Polymerase Chain Reaction for Detection and Genotyping of Helicobacter pylori

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting genomic DNA segments have been established for the detection of Helicobacter pylori in clinical specimens. However, the data on comparative evaluations of various targets in detection of H. pylori are limited. Furthermore, the frequencies of vacA (s1 and s2) and cagA genotypes, which are suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of H. pylori in other parts of the world, are not well studied in Kuwait. The aim of this study was to evaluate PCR assays for the detection and genotyping of H. pylori by targeting the amplification of DNA targets from four genomic segments. The genomic DNA were isolated from 72 clinical isolates of H. pylori and tested in PCR with four pairs of oligonucleotides primers, i.e. ECH-U/ECH-L, ET-5U/ET-5L, CagAF/CagAR and Vac1F/Vac1XR, which were expected to amplify targets of various sizes (471 bp, 230 bp, 183 bp and 176/203 bp, respectively) from the genomic DNA of H. pylori. The PCR-amplified DNA were analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis. PCR products of expected size were obtained with all primer pairs by using genomic DNA isolated from H. pylori. DNA dilution experiments showed that the most sensitive PCR target was 471 bp DNA amplified by the primers ECH-U/ECH-L, followed by the targets of Vac1F/Vac1XR (176 bp/203 DNA), CagAF/CagAR (183 bp DNA) and ET-5U/ET-5L (230 bp DNA). However, when tested with undiluted genomic DNA isolated from single colonies of all isolates, the Vac1F/Vac1XR target provided the maximum positive results (71/72 (99% positives)), followed by ECH-U/ECH-L (69/72 (93% positives)), ET-5U/ET-5L (51/72 (71% positives)) and CagAF/CagAR (26/72 (46% positives)). The results of genotyping experiments showed that vacA s1 (46% positive) and vacA s2 (54% positive) genotypes were almost equally associated with VaCA+/CagA- isolates (P > 0.05), but with VacA+/CagA+ isolates, S1 genotype (92% positive) was more frequently detected than S2 genotype (8% positive) (P< 0.0001). In conclusion, among the primer pairs tested, Vac1F/Vac1XR provided the best results for detection of H. pylori. The genotyping experiments showed that vacA s1 and vacA s2 genotypes were almost equally associated with vaCA+/cagA- isolates, but vacA s1 genotype had a significantly increased association with vacA+/cagA+ isolates.

Keywords: Detection, PCR, Genotyping, H. pylori

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3 Antibody Reactivity of Synthetic Peptides Belonging to Proteins Encoded by Genes Located in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-Specific Genomic Regions of Differences

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

The comparisons of mycobacterial genomes have identified several Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific genomic regions that are absent in other mycobacteria and are known as regions of differences. Due to M. tuberculosis-specificity, the peptides encoded by these regions could be useful in the specific diagnosis of tuberculosis. To explore this possibility, overlapping synthetic peptides corresponding to 39 proteins predicted to be encoded by genes present in regions of differences were tested for antibody-reactivity with sera from tuberculosis patients and healthy subjects. The results identified four immunodominant peptides corresponding to four different proteins, with three of the peptides showing significantly stronger antibody reactivity and rate of positivity with sera from tuberculosis patients than healthy subjects. The fourth peptide was recognized equally well by the sera of tuberculosis patients as well as healthy subjects. Predication of antibody epitopes by bioinformatics analyses using ABCpred server predicted multiple linear epitopes in each peptide. Furthermore, peptide sequence analysis for sequence identity using BLAST suggested M. tuberculosis-specificity for the three peptides that had preferential reactivity with sera from tuberculosis patients, but the peptide with equal reactivity with sera of TB patients and healthy subjects showed significant identity with sequences present in nob-tuberculous mycobacteria. The three identified M. tuberculosis-specific immunodominant peptides may be useful in the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Keywords: peptides, genomic regions of differences, Mycobacterium tuberculossis, serodiagnosis

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2 Identification of Promiscuous Epitopes for Cellular Immune Responses in the Major Antigenic Protein Rv3873 Encoded by Region of Difference 1 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Rv3873 is a relatively large size protein (371 amino acids in length) and its gene is located in the immunodominant genomic region of difference (RD)1 that is present in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis but deleted from the genomes of all the vaccine strains of Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) and most other mycobacteria. However, when tested for cellular immune responses using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from tuberculosis patients and BCG-vaccinated healthy subjects, this protein was found to be a major stimulator of cell mediated immune responses in both groups of subjects. In order to further identify the sequence of immunodominant epitopes and explore their Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-restriction for epitope recognition, 24 peptides (25-mers overlapping with the neighboring peptides by 10 residues) covering the sequence of Rv3873 were synthesized chemically using fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl chemistry and tested in cell mediated immune responses. The results of these experiments helped in the identification of an immunodominant peptide P9 that was recognized by people expressing varying HLA-DR types. Furthermore, it was also predicted to be a promiscuous binder with multiple epitopes for binding to HLA-DR, HLA-DP and HLA-DQ alleles of HLA-class II molecules that present antigens to T helper cells, and to HLA-class I molecules that present antigens to T cytotoxic cells. In addition, the evaluation of peptide P9 using an immunogenicity predictor server yielded a high score (0.94), which indicated a greater probability of this peptide to elicit a protective cellular immune response. In conclusion, P9, a peptide with multiple epitopes and ability to bind several HLA class I and class II molecules for presentation to cells of the cellular immune response, may be useful as a peptide-based vaccine against tuberculosis.

Keywords: Vaccine, peptides, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, PPE68

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1 Molecular Identification and Genotyping of Human Brucella Strains Isolated in Kuwait

Authors: Abu Salim Mustafa

Abstract:

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease endemic in Kuwait. Human brucellosis can be caused by several Brucella species with Brucella melitensis causing the most severe and Brucella abortus the least severe disease. Furthermore, relapses are common after successful chemotherapy of patients. The classical biochemical methods of culture and serology for identification of Brucellae provide information about the species and serotypes only. However, to differentiate between relapse and reinfection/epidemiological investigations, the identification of genotypes using molecular methods is essential. In this study, four molecular methods [16S rRNA gene sequencing, real-time PCR, enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC)-PCR and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA)-16] were evaluated for the identification and typing of 75 strains of Brucella isolated in Kuwait. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing suggested that all the strains were B. melitensis and real-time PCR confirmed their species identity as B. melitensis. The ERIC-PCR band profiles produced a dendrogram of 75 branches suggesting each strain to be of a unique type. The cluster classification, based on ~ 80% similarity, divided all the ERIC genotypes into two clusters, A and B. Cluster A consisted of 9 ERIC genotypes (A1-A9) corresponding to 9 individual strains. Cluster B comprised of 13 ERIC genotypes (B1-B13) with B5 forming the largest cluster of 51 strains. MLVA-16 identified all isolates as B. melitensis and divided them into 71 MLVA-types. The cluster analysis of MLVA-16-types suggested that most of the strains in Kuwait originated from the East Mediterranean Region, a few from the African group and one new genotype closely matched with the West Mediterranean region. In conclusion, this work demonstrates that B. melitensis, the most pathogenic species of Brucella, is prevalent in Kuwait. Furthermore, MLVA-16 is the best molecular method, which can identify the Brucella species and genotypes as well as determine their origin in the global context. Supported by Kuwait University Research Sector grants MI04/15 and SRUL02/13.

Keywords: RT-PCR, brucella, ERIC-PCR, MLVA-16

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