• Biofilm formation by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium colonizing solid tumours.

      Crull, Katja; Rohde, Manfred; Westphal, Kathrin; Loessner, Holger; Wolf, Kathrin; Felipe-López, Alfonso; Hensel, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried (2011-08)
      Systemic administration of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to tumour bearing mice results in preferential colonization of the tumours and retardation of tumour growth. Although the bacteria are able to invade the tumour cells in vitro, in tumours they were never detected intracellularly. Ultrastructural analysis of Salmonella-colonized tumours revealed that the bacteria had formed biofilms. Interestingly, depletion of neutrophilic granulocytes drastically reduced biofilm formation. Obviously, bacteria form biofilms in response to the immune reactions of the host. Importantly, we tested Salmonella mutants that were no longer able to form biofilms by deleting central regulators of biofilm formation. Such bacteria could be observed intracellularly in immune cells of the host or in tumour cells. Thus, tumour colonizing S. typhimurium might form biofilms as protection against phagocytosis. Since other bacteria are behaving similarly, solid murine tumours might represent a unique model to study biofilm formation in vivo.
    • DNase Sda1 provides selection pressure for a switch to invasive group A streptococcal infection.

      Walker, Mark J; Hollands, Andrew; Sanderson-Smith, Martina L; Cole, Jason N; Kirk, Joshua K; Henningham, Anna; McArthur, Jason D; Dinkla, Katrin; Aziz, Ramy K; Kansal, Rita G; et al. (2007-08)
      Most invasive bacterial infections are caused by species that more commonly colonize the human host with minimal symptoms. Although phenotypic or genetic correlates underlying a bacterium's shift to enhanced virulence have been studied, the in vivo selection pressures governing such shifts are poorly understood. The globally disseminated M1T1 clone of group A Streptococcus (GAS) is linked with the rare but life-threatening syndromes of necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome. Mutations in the GAS control of virulence regulatory sensor kinase (covRS) operon are associated with severe invasive disease, abolishing expression of a broad-spectrum cysteine protease (SpeB) and allowing the recruitment and activation of host plasminogen on the bacterial surface. Here we describe how bacteriophage-encoded GAS DNase (Sda1), which facilitates the pathogen's escape from neutrophil extracellular traps, serves as a selective force for covRS mutation. The results provide a paradigm whereby natural selection exerted by the innate immune system generates hypervirulent bacterial variants with increased risk of systemic dissemination.