Microbiology & Immunology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 675
Differential Gene Expression in Menstrual Endometrium From Women With Self-Reported Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2017-01-01)
Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is a significant social and public health issue for menstruating women. Development of targeted treatments has been limited by poor understanding of local mechanisms underlying HMB. We aimed to determine how gene expression differs in menstrual phase endometrium from women with HMB. Menstrual phase endometrial biopsies were collected from women with (n = 7) and without (n = 10) HMB (regular menstrual cycles, no known pelvic pathology), as well as women with uterine fibroids (n = 7, n = 4 had HMB). Biopsies were analyzed using Illumina Sentrix Human HT12 arrays and data analyzed using "Remove Unwanted Variation-inverse". Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery v6.7 were used to identify gene pathways, functional gene clusters, and upstream regulators specific to the clinical groupings. Individual genes of interest were examined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. In total, 829 genes were differentially expressed in one or more comparisons. Significant canonical pathways and gene clusters enriched in controls relative to both HMB and fibroid groups suggest the mechanisms responsible for HMB include modifications of the endometrial inflammatory or infection response. In contrast, differentially expressed genes in women with fibroids suggest modifications of hemoglobin, antigen processing, and the major histocompatibility complex (class II, beta chain) activity. In conclusion, HMB associated with fibroids may be regulated by different endometrial mechanisms from HMB in women without fibroids and from normal menstrual bleeding. These novel data provide numerous testable hypotheses that will advance our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for HMB.
Mycobacterium ulcerans Population Genomics To Inform on the Spread of Buruli Ulcer across Central Africa
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2019-01-01)
Buruli ulcer is a neglected tropical disease of skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by infection with the pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans Many critical issues for disease control, such as understanding the mode of transmission and identifying source reservoirs of M. ulcerans, are still largely unknown. Here, we used genomics to reconstruct in detail the evolutionary trajectory and dynamics of M. ulcerans populations at a central African scale and at smaller geographical village scales. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data were analyzed from 179 M. ulcerans strains isolated from all Buruli ulcer foci in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Republic of Congo, and Angola that have ever yielded positive M. ulcerans cultures. We used both temporal associations and the study of the mycobacterial demographic history to estimate the contribution of humans as a reservoir in Buruli ulcer transmission. Our phylogeographic analysis revealed one almost exclusively predominant sublineage of M. ulcerans that arose in Central Africa and proliferated in its different regions of endemicity during the Age of Discovery. We observed how the best sampled endemic hot spot, the Songololo territory, became an area of endemicity while the region was being colonized by Belgium (1880s). We furthermore identified temporal parallels between the observed past population fluxes of M. ulcerans from the Songololo territory and the timing of health policy changes toward control of the Buruli ulcer epidemic in that region. These findings suggest that an intervention based on detecting and treating human cases in an area of endemicity might be sufficient to break disease transmission chains, irrespective of other reservoirs of the bacterium.IMPORTANCE Buruli ulcer is a destructive skin and soft tissue infection caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans The disease is characterized by progressive skin ulceration, which can lead to permanent disfigurement and long-term disability. Currently, the major hurdles facing disease control are incomplete understandings of both the mode of transmission and environmental reservoirs of M. ulcerans As decades of spasmodic environmental sampling surveys have not brought us much closer to overcoming these hurdles, the Buruli ulcer research community has recently switched to using comparative genomics. The significance of our research is in how we used both temporal associations and the study of the mycobacterial demographic history to estimate the contribution of humans as a reservoir in Buruli ulcer transmission. Our approach shows that it might be possible to use bacterial population genomics to assess the impact of health interventions, providing valuable feedback for managers of disease control programs in areas where health surveillance infrastructure is poor.
Genome sequence comparisons of serial multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates over 21 years of infection in a single patient
(MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2015-11-01)
We report a case of chronic pulmonary multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Despite 14 years of treatment, Mycobacterium tuberculosis was persistently isolated from sputum. Following treatment cessation the patient remained well, although M. tuberculosis was isolated from sputum for a further 8 years. Genome sequencing of eight serial M. tuberculosis isolates cultured between 1991 and 2011 revealed 17 mutations (0.8 mutations per genome year- 1). Eight of these were persisting mutations and only two mutations were detected in the 7 years following cessation of treatment in 2004. In four isolates there were mixed alleles, suggesting the likely presence of bacterial subpopulations. The initial 1991 isolate demonstrated genotypic resistance to isoniazid (katG W91R), rifampicin (rpoB S531L), ethambutol (embB M306V), streptomycin (gidB L16R), quinolones (gyrA S95T) and P-aminosalicylic acid (thyA T202A). Subsequent resistance mutations developed for pyrazinamide (pncA I31F) and ethionamide (ethA frameshift). Such information might have been instructive when developing a treatment regimen. In retrospect and with the benefit of high-resolution genomic hindsight we were able to determine that the patient received only one or two active anti-tuberculous agents for most of their treatment. Additionally, mutations in bacA and Rv2326c were detected, which may have contributed to the persistent but mild disease course. BacA is likely to be associated with maintenance of chronic infection and Rv2326c with a decreased bacterial metabolic state. These results expand our understanding of M. tuberculosis evolution during human infection and underline the link between antibiotic resistance and clinical persistence.
The Natural Cytotoxicity Receptors in Health and Disease
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-05-07)
The Natural Cytotoxicity Receptors (NCRs), NKp46, NKp44, and NKp30, were some of the first human activating Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors involved in the non-MHC-restricted recognition of tumor cells to be cloned over 20 years ago. Since this time many host- and pathogen-encoded ligands have been proposed to bind the NCRs and regulate the cytotoxic and cytokine-secreting functions of tissue NK cells. This diverse set of NCR ligands can manifest on the surface of tumor or virus-infected cells or can be secreted extracellularly, suggesting a remarkable NCR polyfunctionality that regulates the activity of NK cells in different tissue compartments during steady state or inflammation. Moreover, the NCRs can also be expressed by other innate and adaptive immune cell subsets under certain tissue conditions potentially conferring NK recognition programs to these cells. Here we review NCR biology in health and disease with particular reference to how this important class of receptors regulates the functions of tissue NK cells as well as confer NK cell recognition patterns to other innate and adaptive lymphocyte subsets. Finally, we highlight how NCR biology is being harnessed for novel therapeutic interventions particularly for enhanced tumor surveillance.
Self-assembling influenza nanoparticle vaccines drive extended germinal center activity and memory B cell maturation.
(American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2020-05-21)
Protein-based, self-assembling nanoparticles elicit superior immunity compared with soluble protein vaccines, but the immune mechanisms underpinning this effect remain poorly defined. Here, we investigated the immunogenicity of a prototypic ferritin-based nanoparticle displaying influenza hemagglutinin (HA) in mice and macaques. Vaccination of mice with HA-ferritin nanoparticles elicited higher serum antibody titers and greater protection against experimental influenza challenge compared with soluble HA protein. Germinal centers in the draining lymph nodes were expanded and persistent following HA-ferritin vaccination, with greater deposition of antigen that colocalized with follicular dendritic cells. Our findings suggest that a highly ordered and repetitive antigen array may directly drive germinal centers through a B cell-intrinsic mechanism that does not rely on ferritin-specific T follicular helper cells. In contrast to mice, enhanced immunogenicity of HA-ferritin was not observed in pigtail macaques, where antibody titers and lymph node immunity were comparable to soluble vaccination. An improved understanding of factors that drive nanoparticle vaccine immunogenicity in small and large animal models will facilitate the clinical development of nanoparticle vaccines for broad and durable protection against diverse pathogens.
Spontaneous onset and transplant models of the Vk*MYC mouse show immunological sequelae comparable to human multiple myeloma
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2016-09-06)
BACKGROUND: The Vk*MYC transgenic and transplant mouse models of multiple myeloma (MM) are well established as a research tool for anti-myeloma drug discovery. However, little is known of the immune response in these models. Understanding the immunological relevance of these models is of increasing importance as immunotherapeutic drugs are developed against MM. METHODS: We set out to examine how cellular immunity is affected in Vk*MYC mouse models and compare that to the immunology of patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed/refractory MM. RESULTS: We found that there were significant immunological responses in mice developing either spontaneous (transgenic) or transplanted MM as a consequence of the degree of tumor burden. Particularly striking were the profound B cell lymphopenia and the expansion of CD8(+) effector memory T cells within the lymphocyte population that progressively developed with advancing disease burden, mirroring changes seen in human MM. High disease burden was also associated with increased inflammatory cytokine production by T lymphocytes, which is more fitting with relapsed/refractory MM in humans. CONCLUSIONS: These findings have important implications for the application of this mouse model in the development of MM immunotherapies. Trial registration LitVacc ANZCTR trial ID ACTRN12613000344796; RevLite ANZCTR trial ID NCT00482261.
Treatment Outcomes for Rectal Lymphogranuloma Venereum in Men Who Have Sex with Men Using Doxycycline, Azithromycin, or Both: A Review of Clinical Cases
(Wolters Kluwer, 2017-04-01)
Background: Treatment for rectal lymphogranuloma venereum where doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 21 days was used—either alone or together with azithromycin 1 g single dose—resulted in microbiological cure of 97%. These data support doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 21 days as the preferred treatment for rectal lymphogranuloma venereum. This study supports the continued recommendation of doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 21 days as preferred treatment for rectal lymphogranuloma venereum in men who have sex with men.
Bacterial Load of Chlamydia trachomatis in the Posterior Oropharynx, Tonsillar Fossae, and Saliva among Men Who Have Sex with Men with Untreated Oropharyngeal Chlamydia
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2020-01-01)
The aim of this study was to determine whether Chlamydia trachomatis could be detected in saliva and if infection is specific to an anatomical site in the oropharynx. Men who have sex with men (MSM) who were diagnosed with oropharyngeal chlamydia at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in 2017-2018 were invited to participate upon returning for treatment. Swabs at the tonsillar fossae and posterior oropharynx and a saliva sample were collected. Throat samples were tested for C. trachomatis by the Aptima Combo 2 assay. The bacterial loads of C. trachomatis in all samples were assessed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) detecting the ompA gene. We calculated the positivity and bacterial load of C. trachomatis for all samples. Forty-two MSM were included. The median age was 28 years (interquartile range [IQR], 24 to 33 years). Thirty-two participants (76.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 60.5% to 87.9%) had C. trachomatis detected by qPCR at both the tonsillar fossae and the posterior oropharynx, followed by 9.5% (n = 4; 95% CI, 2.7% to 22.6%) positive at the posterior oropharynx only and 4.8% (n = 2; 95% CI, 0.58% to 16.2%) positive at the tonsillar fossae only. Twenty-nine MSM had C. trachomatis detected in saliva (69.0%; 95% CI, 52.9% to 82.3%). The median C. trachomatis load in saliva was 446 copies/ml (IQR, 204 to 1,390 copies/ml), that in the tonsillar fossae was 893 copies/swab (IQR, 390 to 13,224 copies/ml), and that in the posterior oropharynx was 1,204 copies/swab (IQR, 330 to 16,211). There was no significant difference in C. trachomatis load between the tonsillar fossae and the posterior oropharynx (P = 0.119). Among MSM with oropharyngeal chlamydia, nearly three-quarters had chlamydia DNA detected in saliva, although the viability and implications for transmission are unknown.
Streamlining volumetric multi-channel image cytometry using hue-saturation-brightness-based surface creation
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-01-01)
Image cytometry is the process of converting image data to flow cytometry-style plots, and it usually requires computer-aided surface creation to extract out statistics for cells or structures. One way of dealing with structures stained with multiple markers in three-dimensional images, is carrying out multiple rounds of channel co-localization and image masking before surface creation, which is cumbersome and laborious. We propose the application of the hue-saturation-brightness color space to streamline this process, which produces complete surfaces, and allows the user to have a global view of the data before flexibly defining cell subsets. Spectral compensation can also be performed after surface creation to accurately resolve different signals. We demonstrate the utility of this workflow in static and dynamic imaging datasets of a needlestick injury on the mouse ear, and we believe this scalable and intuitive approach will improve the ease of performing histocytometry on biological samples.
Lights, camera, and action: vertebrate skin sets the stage for immune cell interaction with arthropod-vectored pathogens
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-01-01)
Despite increasing studies targeted at host-pathogen interactions, vector-borne diseases remain one of the largest economic health burdens worldwide. Such diseases are vectored by hematophagous arthropods that deposit pathogens into the vertebrate host's skin during a blood meal. These pathogens spend a substantial amount of time in the skin that allows for interaction with cutaneous immune cells, suggesting a window of opportunity for development of vaccine strategies. In particular, the recent availability of intravital imaging approaches has provided further insights into immune cell behavior in living tissues. Here, we discuss how such intravital imaging studies have contributed to our knowledge of cutaneous immune cell behavior and specifically, toward pathogen and tissue trauma from the arthropod bite. We also suggest future imaging approaches that may aid in better understanding of the complex interplay between arthropod-vectored pathogens and cutaneous immunity that could lead to improved therapeutic strategies.
Coxiella burnetii utilizes both glutamate and glucose during infection with glucose uptake mediated by multiple transporters
(PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2019-10-15)
Coxiella burnetii is a Gram-negative bacterium which causes Q fever, a complex and life-threatening infection with both acute and chronic presentations. C. burnetii invades a variety of host cell types and replicates within a unique vacuole derived from the host cell lysosome. In order to understand how C. burnetii survives within this intracellular niche, we have investigated the carbon metabolism of both intracellular and axenically cultivated bacteria. Both bacterial populations were shown to assimilate exogenous [13C]glucose or [13C]glutamate, with concomitant labeling of intermediates in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and in the TCA cycle. Significantly, the two populations displayed metabolic pathway profiles reflective of the nutrient availabilities within their propagated environments. Disruption of the C. burnetii glucose transporter, CBU0265, by transposon mutagenesis led to a significant decrease in [13C]glucose utilization but did not abolish glucose usage, suggesting that C. burnetii express additional hexose transporters which may be able to compensate for the loss of CBU0265. This was supported by intracellular infection of human cells and in vivo studies in the insect model showing loss of CBU0265 had no impact on intracellular replication or virulence. Using this mutagenesis and [13C]glucose labeling approach, we identified a second glucose transporter, CBU0347, the disruption of which also showed significant decreases in 13C-label incorporation but did not impact intracellular replication or virulence. Together, these analyses indicate that C. burnetii may use multiple carbon sources in vivo and exhibits greater metabolic flexibility than expected.
Cigarette smoke worsens lung inflammation and impairs resolution of influenza infection in mice.
(BioMed Central Ltd, 2008-07-15)
BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoke has both pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. Both active and passive cigarette smoke exposure are linked to an increased incidence and severity of respiratory virus infections, but underlying mechanisms are not well defined. We hypothesized, based on prior gene expression profiling studies, that upregulation of pro-inflammatory mediators by short term smoke exposure would be protective against a subsequent influenza infection. METHODS: BALB/c mice were subjected to whole body smoke exposure with 9 cigarettes/day for 4 days. Mice were then infected with influenza A (H3N1, Mem71 strain), and analyzed 3 and 10 days later (d3, d10). These time points are the peak and resolution (respectively) of influenza infection. RESULTS: Inflammatory cell influx into the bronchoalveolar lavage (BALF), inflammatory mediators, proteases, histopathology, viral titres and T lymphocyte profiles were analyzed. Compared to smoke or influenza alone, mice exposed to smoke and then influenza had more macrophages, neutrophils and total lymphocytes in BALF at d3, more macrophages in BALF at d10, lower net gelatinase activity and increased activity of tissue inhibitor of metalloprotease-1 in BALF at d3, altered profiles of key cytokines and CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, worse lung pathology and more virus-specific, activated CD8+ T lymphocytes in BALF. Mice smoke exposed before influenza infection had close to 10-fold higher lung virus titres at d3 than influenza alone mice, although all mice had cleared virus by d10, regardless of smoke exposure. Smoke exposure caused temporary weight loss and when smoking ceased after viral infection, smoke and influenza mice regained significantly less weight than smoke alone mice. CONCLUSION: Smoke induced inflammation does not protect against influenza infection.In most respects, smoke exposure worsened the host response to influenza. This animal model may be useful in studying how smoke worsens respiratory viral infections.