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Vaccination with the Surface Proteins MUL_2232 and MUL_3720 of Mycobacterium ulcerans Induces Antibodies but Fails to Provide Protection against Buruli Ulcer. - PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Buruli ulcer, caused by infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a chronic ulcerative neglected tropical disease of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that is most prevalent in West African countries. M. ulcerans produces a cytotoxic macrolide exotoxin called mycolactone, which causes extensive necrosis of infected subcutaneous tissue and the development of characteristic ulcerative lesions with undermined edges. While cellular immune responses are expected to play a key role against early intracellular stages of M. ulcerans in macrophages, antibody mediated protection might be of major relevance against advanced stages, where bacilli are predominantly found as extracellular clusters.To assess whether vaccine induced antibodies against surface antigens of M. ulcerans can protect against Buruli ulcer we formulated two surface vaccine candidate antigens, MUL_2232 and MUL_3720, as recombinant proteins with the synthetic Toll-like receptor 4 agonist glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant-stable emulsion. The candidate vaccines elicited strong antibody responses without a strong bias towards a TH1 type cellular response, as indicated by the IgG2a to IgG1 ratio. Despite the cross-reactivity of the induced antibodies with the native antigens, no significant protection was observed against progression of an experimental M. ulcerans infection in a mouse footpad challenge model.Even though vaccine-induced antibodies have the potential to opsonise the extracellular bacilli they do not have a protective effect since infiltrating phagocytes might be killed by mycolactone before reaching the bacteria, as indicated by lack of viable infiltrates in the necrotic infection foci.
A Sero-epidemiological Approach to Explore Transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans. - PLoS neglected tropical diseases
The debilitating skin disease Buruli ulcer (BU) is caused by infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans. While various hypotheses on potential reservoirs and vectors of M. ulcerans exist, the mode of transmission has remained unclear. Epidemiological studies have indicated that children below the age of four are less exposed to the pathogen and at lower risk of developing BU than older children. In the present study we compared the age at which children begin to develop antibody responses against M. ulcerans with the age pattern of responses to other pathogens transmitted by various mechanisms. A total of 1,352 sera from individuals living in the BU endemic Offin river valley of Ghana were included in the study. While first serological responses to the mosquito transmitted malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and to soil transmitted Strongyloides helminths emerged around the age of one and two years, sero-conversion for M. ulcerans and for the water transmitted trematode Schistosoma mansoni occurred at around four and five years, respectively. Our data suggest that exposure to M. ulcerans intensifies strongly at the age when children start to have more intense contact with the environment, outside the small movement range of young children. Further results from our serological investigations in the Offin river valley also indicate ongoing transmission of Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of yaws.
Assessment of safety and interferon gamma responses of Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine in goat kids and milking goats. - Vaccine
Vaccination of domestic animals has emerged as an alternative long-term strategy for the control of tuberculosis (TB). A trial under field conditions was conducted in a TB-free goat herd to assess the safety of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine. Eleven kids and 10 milking goats were vaccinated with BCG. Bacterial shedding and interferon gamma (IFN-Î³) responses were monitored throughout the study. Comprehensive pathological examination and mycobacterial culture of target tissues were performed. BCG vaccine strain was only isolated from the draining lymph node of the injection site of a kid euthanized at week 8 post-vaccination. The remaining animals were euthanized at week 24. Six out of 20 showed small granulomas at the injection site. BCG shedding was not detected in either faeces or in milk throughout the study. All vaccinated kids showed BCG-induced IFN-Î³ responses at week 8 post-vaccination. BCG vaccination of goats showed no lack of biological safety for the animals, environment and public health, and local adverse reactions were negligible.Copyright Â© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A Genomic Approach to Resolving Relapse versus Reinfection among Four Cases of Buruli Ulcer. - PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Increased availability of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques allows, for the first time, to distinguish relapses from reinfections in patients with multiple Buruli ulcer (BU) episodes.We compared the number and location of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by genomic screening between four pairs of Mycobacterium ulcerans isolates collected at the time of first diagnosis and at recurrence, derived from a collection of almost 5000 well characterized clinical samples from one BU treatment center in Benin.The findings suggest that after surgical treatment-without antibiotics-the second episodes were due to relapse rather than reinfection. Since specific antibiotics were introduced for the treatment of BU, the one patient with a culture available from both disease episodes had M. ulcerans isolates with a genomic distance of 20 SNPs, suggesting the patient was most likely reinfected rather than having a relapse.To our knowledge, this study is the first to study recurrences in M. ulcerans using NGS, and to identify exogenous reinfection as causing a recurrence of BU. The occurrence of reinfection highlights the contribution of ongoing exposure to M. ulcerans to disease recurrence, and has implications for vaccine development.
Development of an improved ESAT-6 and CFP-10 peptide-based cytokine flow cytometric assay for bovine tuberculosis. - Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases
Control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) continues to be a problem world-wide because of difficulties in identifying infected animals at all stages of infection. The use of the IFN-Î³ release assays (IGRA) as an ancillary test with the tuberculin skin tests has improved the ability to identify infected animals. However, infected animals may still be missed. The objective of the present study was to evaluate a rapid flow-cytometric assay based on intracellular cytokine staining as an alternative to the in vitro IFN-Î³ release assay (IGRA). Antigen-specific cells producing IFN-Î³ were identified after a 6h stimulation with PPD-B, PPD-A and ESAT-6/CFP-10. Defined groups of animals naturally infected with Mycobacterium bovis (Mbv), animals infected with non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), and uninfected control animals were analysed to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the optimized assay. Both antemortem and postmortem diagnostic tests were carried out to verify the status of infection. We show that IFN-Î³ is induced in T cells from whole blood samples from cattle infected with Mbv 6h post stimulation with PPD-B, PPD-A and ESAT-6/CFP-10, whereas non-infected animals did not respond. Four colour flow cytometric analysis demonstrated responding cells were CD45R0(+)CD69(+)CD4(+) memory T cells. Also, the response to stimulation with ESAT-6/CFP-10 can be used to distinguish between cattle infected with Mbv and cattle exposed to NTM. Although further studies are needed, the results indicate that detection of intracellular IFN-Î³ may represent an important alternative approach for improved method of detection of cattle secreting IFN-Î³ below levels of detection in culture medium.Copyright Â© 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
A Subgroup of Latently Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infected Individuals Is Characterized by Consistently Elevated IgA Responses to Several Mycobacterial Antigens. - Mediators of inflammation
Elevated antibody responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens in individuals with latent infection (LTBI) have previously been linked to an increased risk for progression to active disease. Studies in the field focussed mainly on IgG antibodies. In the present study, IgA and/or IgG responses to the mycobacterial protein antigens AlaDH, NarL, 19â€‰kDa, PstS3, and MPT83 were determined in a blinded fashion in sera from 53 LTBI controls, 14 healthy controls, and 42 active TB subjects. Among controls, we found that elevated IgA levels against all investigated antigens were not randomly distributed but concentrated on a subgroup of <30%-with particular high levels in a small subgroup of ~5% comprising one progressor to active TB. Based on a specificity of 100%, anti-NarL IgA antibodies achieved with 78.6% sensitivity the highest accuracy for the detection of active TB compared to healthy controls. In conclusion, the consistently elevated IgA levels in a subgroup of controls suggest higher mycobacterial load, a risk factor for progression to active TB, and together with high IgG levels may have prognostic potential and should be investigated in future large scale studies. The novel antigen NarL may also be promising for the antibody-based diagnosis of active TB cases.
Identification and evaluation of new Mycobacterium bovis antigens in the inÂ vitro interferon gamma release assay for bovine tuberculosis diagnosis. - Tuberculosis (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a common zoonotic disease, caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M.Â bovis), responsible for significant economic losses worldwide. Its diagnosis is based on the detection of cell mediated immunity under the exposure to protein purified derivative tuberculin (PPD), a complex and poorly characterized reagent. The cross-reactivity to non-tuberculous mycobacterium species (false-positive results) has been crucial to develop a more proper antigen. In the present study, we selected six M.Â bovis Open Reading Frames (Mb1992, Mb2031c, Mb2319, Mb2843c, Mb2845c and Mb3212c) by in-silico analysis and evaluated them in experimental and natural infection; none of these antigens had been previously assessed as diagnostic antigens for bTB. The reactivity performance was tested in animals with both positive and negative Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) results as well as in cattle infected with Mycobacterium avium subesp. paratuberculosis (MAP). The six recombinant antigens individually induced an IFN-Î³ response, with overall responder frequency ranging from 18.3 to 31%. Mb2845c was the most valuable antigen with the potential to discriminate TST-positive cattle from either TST-negative or MAP infected animals. Mb2845c showed similar performance to that observed with ESAT-6 and PPD-B among TST and MTC specific-PCR positive animals, although this result needs to be proven in further studies with a higher sample size. Our data confirm the feacibility to implement bioinformatic screening tools and suggest Mb2845c as a potential diagnostic antigen to be tested in protein cocktails to evaluate their contribution to bTB diagnosis.Copyright Â© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Quantification of minerals and trace elements in raw caprine milk using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry and flame photometry. - Journal of food science and technology
This study reports minerals and trace elements quantification in raw caprine milk of Beetal breed, reared in Northern India and their feed, fodder & water using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry and flame photometry. The mineral and trace elements' concentration in the milk was in the order: K > Ca > Na > Fe > Zn > Cu. The results showed that minerals concentration in caprine milk was lesserÂ than reference values. But trace elements concentration (Fe and Zn) was higher than reference values. Multivariate statistical techniques, viz., Pearsons' correlation, Cluster analysis (CA) and Principal component analysis (PCA) were applied to analyze the interdependences within studied variables in caprine milk. Significantly positive correlations were observed between Fe - Zn, Zn - K, Ca - Na and Ca - pH. The results of correlation matrix were further supported by Cluster analysis and Principal component analysis as primary cluster pairs were found for Ca - pH, Ca - Na and Fe - Zn in the raw milk. No correlation was found between mineral & trace elements content of the milk and feed.
Structural and functional studies of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. - PloS one
Tuberculosis, the second leading infectious disease killer after HIV, remains a top public health priority. The causative agent of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which can cause both acute and clinically latent infections, reprograms metabolism in response to the host niche. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pck) is the enzyme at the center of the phosphoenolpyruvate-pyruvate-oxaloacetate node, which is involved in regulating the carbon flow distribution to catabolism, anabolism, or respiration in different states of Mtb infection. Under standard growth conditions, Mtb Pck is associated with gluconeogenesis and catalyzes the metal-dependent formation of phosphoenolpyruvate. In non-replicating Mtb, Pck can catalyze anaplerotic biosynthesis of oxaloacetate. Here, we present insights into the regulation of Mtb Pck activity by divalent cations. Through analysis of the X-ray structure of Pck-GDP and Pck-GDP-Mn2+ complexes, mutational analysis of the GDP binding site, and quantum mechanical (QM)-based analysis, we explored the structural determinants of efficient Mtb Pck catalysis. We demonstrate that Mtb Pck requires presence of Mn2+ and Mg2+ cations for efficient catalysis of gluconeogenic and anaplerotic reactions. The anaplerotic reaction, which preferably functions in reducing conditions that are characteristic for slowed or stopped Mtb replication, is also effectively activated by Fe2+ in the presence of Mn2+ or Mg2+ cations. In contrast, simultaneous presence of Fe2+ and Mn2+ or Mg2+ inhibits the gluconeogenic reaction. These results suggest that inorganic ions can contribute to regulation of central carbon metabolism by influencing the activity of Pck. Furthermore, the X-ray structure determination, biochemical characterization, and QM analysis of Pck mutants confirmed the important role of the Phe triad for proper binding of the GDP-Mn2+ complex in the nucleotide binding site and efficient catalysis of the anaplerotic reaction.
Pyrazinamide: the importance of uncovering the mechanisms of action in mycobacteria. - Expert review of anti-infective therapy
Pyrazinamide (PZA) is still one of the key drugs used in current therapeutic regimens for tuberculosis (TB). Despite its importance for TB therapy, the mode of action of PZA remains unknown. PZA has to be converted to its active form pyrazinoic acid (POA) by the nicotinamidase PncA and is then excreted by an unknown efflux pump. At acidic conditions, POA is protonated to HPOA and is reabsorbed into the cell where it causes cellular damage. For a long time, it has been thought that PZA/POA has no defined target of action, but recent studies have shown that both PZA and POA have several different targets interfering with diverse biochemical pathways, especially in the NAD(+) and energy metabolism. PZA resistance seems to depend not only on a defective pyrazinamidase but is also rather a result of the interplay of many different enzyme targets and transport mechanisms.
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