• Electron microscopic, genetic and protein expression analyses of Helicobacter acinonychis strains from a Bengal tiger.

      Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Rivas Traverso, Francisco; Rohde, Manfred; Oyarzabal, Omar A; Lehn, Norbert; Schneider-Brachert, Wulf; Ferrero, Richard L; Fox, James G; Berg, Douglas E; Backert, Steffen; et al. (2013)
      Colonization by Helicobacter species is commonly noted in many mammals. These infections often remain unrecognized, but can cause severe health complications or more subtle host immune perturbations. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize putative novel Helicobacter spp. from Bengal tigers in Thailand. Morphological investigation (Gram-staining and electron microscopy) and genetic studies (16SrRNA, 23SrRNA, flagellin, urease and prophage gene analyses, RAPD DNA fingerprinting and restriction fragment polymorphisms) as well as Western blotting were used to characterize the isolated Helicobacters. Electron microscopy revealed spiral-shaped bacteria, which varied in length (2.5-6 µm) and contained up to four monopolar sheathed flagella. The 16SrRNA, 23SrRNA, sequencing and protein expression analyses identified novel H. acinonychis isolates closely related to H. pylori. These Asian isolates are genetically very similar to H. acinonychis strains of other big cats (cheetahs, lions, lion-tiger hybrid and other tigers) from North America and Europe, which is remarkable in the context of the great genetic diversity among worldwide H. pylori strains. We also found by immunoblotting that the Bengal tiger isolates express UreaseA/B, flagellin, BabA adhesin, neutrophil-activating protein NapA, HtrA protease, γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase GGT, Slt lytic transglycosylase and two DNA transfer relaxase orthologs that were known from H. pylori, but not the cag pathogenicity island, nor CagA, VacA, SabA, DupA or OipA proteins. These results give fresh insights into H. acinonychis genetics and the expression of potential pathogenicity-associated factors and their possible pathophysiological relevance in related gastric infections.
    • Novel drug targets in cell wall biosynthesis exploited by gene disruption in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Elamin, Ayssar A; Steinicke, Susanne; Oehlmann, Wulf; Braun, Yvonne; Wanas, Hanaa; Shuralev, Eduard A; Huck, Carmen; Maringer, Marko; Rohde, M; Singh, Mahavir; et al. (2017)
      For clinicians, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a nightmare pathogen that is one of the top three causes of opportunistic human infections. Therapy of P. aeruginosa infections is complicated due to its natural high intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. Active efflux and decreased uptake of drugs due to cell wall/membrane permeability appear to be important issues in the acquired antibiotic tolerance mechanisms. Bacterial cell wall biosynthesis enzymes have been shown to be essential for pathogenicity of Gram-negative bacteria. However, the role of these targets in virulence has not been identified in P. aeruginosa. Here, we report knockout (k.o) mutants of six cell wall biosynthesis targets (murA, PA4450; murD, PA4414; murF, PA4416; ppiB, PA1793; rmlA, PA5163; waaA, PA4988) in P. aeruginosa PAO1, and characterized these in order to find out whether these genes and their products contribute to pathogenicity and virulence of P. aeruginosa. Except waaA k.o, deletion of cell wall biosynthesis targets significantly reduced growth rate in minimal medium compared to the parent strain. The k.o mutants showed exciting changes in cell morphology and colonial architectures. Remarkably, ΔmurF cells became grossly enlarged. Moreover, the mutants were also attenuated in vivo in a mouse infection model except ΔmurF and ΔwaaA and proved to be more sensitive to macrophage-mediated killing than the wild-type strain. Interestingly, the deletion of the murA gene resulted in loss of virulence activity in mice, and the virulence was restored in a plant model by unknown mechanism. This study demonstrates that cell wall targets contribute significantly to intracellular survival, in vivo growth, and pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, these findings establish a link between cell wall targets and virulence of P. aeruginosa and thus may lead to development of novel drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infection.
    • TatBC-Independent TatA/Tat Substrate Interactions Contribute to Transport Efficiency.

      Taubert, Johannes; Hou, Bo; Risselada, H Jelger; Mehner, Denise; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Grubmüller, Helmut; Brüser, Thomas (2015)
      The Tat system can transport folded, signal peptide-containing proteins (Tat substrates) across energized membranes of prokaryotes and plant plastids. A twin-arginine motif in the signal peptide of Tat substrates is recognized by TatC-containing complexes, and TatA permits the membrane passage. Often, as in the model Tat systems of Escherichia coli and plant plastids, a third component - TatB - is involved that resembles TatA but has a higher affinity to TatC. It is not known why most TatA dissociates from TatBC complexes in vivo and distributes more evenly in the membrane. Here we show a TatBC-independent substrate-binding to TatA from Escherichia coli, and we provide evidence that this binding enhances Tat transport. First hints came from in vivo cross-linking data, which could be confirmed by affinity co-purification of TatA with the natural Tat substrates HiPIP and NrfC. Two positions on the surface of HiPIP could be identified that are important for the TatA interaction and transport efficiency, indicating physiological relevance of the interaction. Distributed TatA thus may serve to accompany membrane-interacting Tat substrates to the few TatBC spots in the cells.