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Sample records for francisella tularensis genes

  1. Identifying Francisella tularensis genes required for growth in host cells

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Technical Abstract: Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent Gram negative intracellular pathogen capable of infecting a vast diversity of hosts, ranging from amoebae to humans. A hallmark of F. tularensis virulence is its ability to quickly grow to high densities within a diverse set of host cel...

  2. Identifying Francisella tularensis Genes Required for Growth in Host Cells

    PubMed Central

    Brunton, J.; Steele, S.; Miller, C.; Lovullo, E.; Taft-Benz, S.

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent Gram-negative intracellular pathogen capable of infecting a vast diversity of hosts, ranging from amoebae to humans. A hallmark of F. tularensis virulence is its ability to quickly grow to high densities within a diverse set of host cells, including, but not limited to, macrophages and epithelial cells. We developed a luminescence reporter system to facilitate a large-scale transposon mutagenesis screen to identify genes required for growth in macrophage and epithelial cell lines. We screened 7,454 individual mutants, 269 of which exhibited reduced intracellular growth. Transposon insertions in the 269 growth-defective strains mapped to 68 different genes. FTT_0924, a gene of unknown function but highly conserved among Francisella species, was identified in this screen to be defective for intracellular growth within both macrophage and epithelial cell lines. FTT_0924 was required for full Schu S4 virulence in a murine pulmonary infection model. The ΔFTT_0924 mutant bacterial membrane is permeable when replicating in hypotonic solution and within macrophages, resulting in strongly reduced viability. The permeability and reduced viability were rescued when the mutant was grown in a hypertonic solution, indicating that FTT_0924 is required for resisting osmotic stress. The ΔFTT_0924 mutant was also significantly more sensitive to β-lactam antibiotics than Schu S4. Taken together, the data strongly suggest that FTT_0924 is required for maintaining peptidoglycan integrity and virulence. PMID:25987704

  3. Natural Selection in Virulence Genes of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, Mark K; Robison, Richard A; Adams, Byron J

    2016-06-01

    A fundamental tenet of evolution is that alleles that are under negative selection are often deleterious and confer no evolutionary advantage. Negatively selected alleles are removed from the gene pool and are eventually extinguished from the population. Conversely, alleles under positive selection do confer an evolutionary advantage and lead to an increase in the overall fitness of the organism. These alleles increase in frequency until they eventually become fixed in the population. Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic pathogen and a potential biothreat agent. The most virulent type of F. tularensis, Type A, is distributed across North America with Type A.I occurring mainly in the east and Type A.II appearing mainly in the west. F. tularensis is thought to be a genome in decay (losing genes) because of the relatively large number of pseudogenes present in its genome. We hypothesized that the observed frequency of gene loss/pseudogenes may be an artifact of evolution in response to a changing environment, and that genes involved in virulence should be under strong positive selection. To test this hypothesis, we sequenced and compared whole genomes of Type A.I and A.II isolates. We analyzed a subset of virulence and housekeeping genes from several F. tularensis subspecies genomes to ascertain the presence and extent of positive selection. Eleven previously identified virulence genes were screened for positive selection along with 10 housekeeping genes. Analyses of selection yielded one housekeeping gene and 7 virulence genes which showed significant evidence of positive selection at loci implicated in cell surface structures and membrane proteins, metabolism and biosynthesis, transcription, translation and cell separation, and substrate binding and transport. Our results suggest that while the loss of functional genes through disuse could be accelerated by negative selection, the genome decay in Francisella could also be the byproduct of adaptive evolution

  4. Regulation of Francisella Tularensis Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Dai, Shipan; Mohapatra, Nrusingh P.; Schlesinger, Larry S.; Gunn, John S.

    2011-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is one of the most virulent bacteria known and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A select agent. It is able to infect a variety of animals and insects and can persist in the environment, thus Francisella spp. must be able to survive in diverse environmental niches. However, F. tularensis has a surprising dearth of sensory and regulatory factors. Recent advancements in the field have identified new functions of encoded transcription factors and greatly expanded our understanding of virulence gene regulation. Here we review the current knowledge of environmental adaptation by F. tularensis, its transcriptional regulators and their relationship to animal virulence. PMID:21687801

  5. Genetic manipulation of francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Zogaj, Xhavit; Klose, Karl E

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular pathogen that causes the disease tularemia. F. tularensis subsp. tularensis causes the most severe disease in humans and has been classified as a Category A select agent and potential bioweapon. There is currently no vaccine approved for human use, making genetic manipulation of this organism critical to unraveling the genetic basis of pathogenesis and developing countermeasures against tularemia. The development of genetic techniques applicable to F. tularensis have lagged behind those routinely used for other bacteria, primarily due to lack of research and the restricted nature of the biocontainment required for studying this pathogen. However, in recent years, genetic techniques, such as transposon mutagenesis and targeted gene disruption, have been developed, that have had a dramatic impact on our understanding of the genetic basis of F. tularensis virulence. In this review, we describe some of the methods developed for genetic manipulation of F. tularensis. PMID:21607086

  6. Genetic Manipulation of Francisella Tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Zogaj, Xhavit; Klose, Karl E.

    2011-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular pathogen that causes the disease tularemia. F. tularensis subsp. tularensis causes the most severe disease in humans and has been classified as a Category A select agent and potential bioweapon. There is currently no vaccine approved for human use, making genetic manipulation of this organism critical to unraveling the genetic basis of pathogenesis and developing countermeasures against tularemia. The development of genetic techniques applicable to F. tularensis have lagged behind those routinely used for other bacteria, primarily due to lack of research and the restricted nature of the biocontainment required for studying this pathogen. However, in recent years, genetic techniques, such as transposon mutagenesis and targeted gene disruption, have been developed, that have had a dramatic impact on our understanding of the genetic basis of F. tularensis virulence. In this review, we describe some of the methods developed for genetic manipulation of F. tularensis. PMID:21607086

  7. The Immunologically Distinct O Antigens from Francisella tularensis Subspecies tularensis and Francisella novicida Are both Virulence Determinants and Protective Antigens▿

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, Rebecca M.; Titball, Richard W.; Oyston, Petra C. F.; Griffin, Kate; Waters, Emma; Hitchen, Paul G.; Michell, Stephen L.; Grice, I. Darren; Wilson, Jennifer C.; Prior, Joann L.

    2007-01-01

    We have determined the sequence of the gene cluster encoding the O antigen in Francisella novicida and compared it to the previously reported O-antigen cluster in Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis. Immunization with purified lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from F. tularensis subsp. tularensis or F. novicida protected against challenge with Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica and F. novicida, respectively. The LPS from F. tularensis subsp. tularensis did not confer protection against challenge with F. novicida, and the LPS from F. novicida did not confer protection against challenge with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. Allelic replacement mutants of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis or F. novicida which failed to produce O antigen were attenuated, but exposure to these mutants did not induce a protective immune response. The O antigen of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis appeared to be important for intracellular survival whereas the O antigen of F. novicida appeared to be critical for serum resistance and less important for intracellular survival. PMID:17074846

  8. Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis Induces a Unique Pulmonary Inflammatory Response: Role of Bacterial Gene Expression in Temporal Regulation of Host Defense Responses

    PubMed Central

    Walters, Kathie-Anne; Olsufka, Rachael; Kuestner, Rolf E.; Cho, Ji Hoon; Li, Hong; Zornetzer, Gregory A.; Wang, Kai; Skerrett, Shawn J.; Ozinsky, Adrian

    2013-01-01

    Pulmonary exposure to Francisella tularensis is associated with severe lung pathology and a high mortality rate. The lack of induction of classical inflammatory mediators, including IL1-β and TNF-α, during early infection has led to the suggestion that F. tularensis evades detection by host innate immune surveillance and/or actively suppresses inflammation. To gain more insight into the host response to Francisella infection during the acute stage, transcriptomic analysis was performed on lung tissue from mice exposed to virulent (Francisella tularensis ssp tularensis SchuS4). Despite an extensive transcriptional response in the lungs of animals as early as 4 hrs post-exposure, Francisella tularensis was associated with an almost complete lack of induction of immune-related genes during the initial 24 hrs post-exposure. This broad subversion of innate immune responses was particularly evident when compared to the pulmonary inflammatory response induced by other lethal (Yersinia pestis) and non-lethal (Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) pulmonary infections. However, the unique induction of a subset of inflammation-related genes suggests a role for dysregulation of lymphocyte function and anti-inflammatory pathways in the extreme virulence of Francisella. Subsequent activation of a classical inflammatory response 48 hrs post-exposure was associated with altered abundance of Francisella-specific transcripts, including those associated with bacterial surface components. In summary, virulent Francisella induces a unique pulmonary inflammatory response characterized by temporal regulation of innate immune pathways correlating with altered bacterial gene expression patterns. This study represents the first simultaneous measurement of both host and Francisella transcriptome changes that occur during in vivo infection and identifies potential bacterial virulence factors responsible for regulation of host inflammatory pathways. PMID:23690939

  9. Comparative Transcriptional Analyses of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida.

    PubMed

    Sarva, Siva T; Waldo, Robert H; Belland, Robert J; Klose, Karl E

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is composed of a number of subspecies with varied geographic distribution, host ranges, and virulence. In view of these marked differences, comparative functional genomics may elucidate some of the molecular mechanism(s) behind these differences. In this study a shared probe microarray was designed that could be used to compare the transcriptomes of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4 (Ftt), Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica OR960246 (Fth), Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS (LVS), and Francisella novicida U112 (Fn). To gain insight into expression differences that may be related to the differences in virulence of these subspecies, transcriptomes were measured from each strain grown in vitro under identical conditions, utilizing a shared probe microarray. The human avirulent Fn strain exhibited high levels of transcription of genes involved in general metabolism, which are pseudogenes in the human virulent Ftt and Fth strains, consistent with the process of genome decay in the virulent strains. Genes encoding an efflux system (emrA2 cluster of genes), siderophore (fsl operon), acid phosphatase, LPS synthesis, polyamine synthesis, and citrulline ureidase were all highly expressed in Ftt when compared to Fn, suggesting that some of these may contribute to the relative high virulence of Ftt. Genes expressed at a higher level in Ftt when compared to the relatively less virulent Fth included genes encoding isochorismatases, cholylglycine hydrolase, polyamine synthesis, citrulline ureidase, Type IV pilus subunit, and the Francisella Pathogenicity Island protein PdpD. Fth and LVS had very few expression differences, consistent with the derivation of LVS from Fth. This study demonstrated that a shared probe microarray designed to detect transcripts in multiple species/subspecies of Francisella enabled comparative transcriptional analyses that may highlight critical differences that underlie the relative pathogenesis of

  10. Comparative Transcriptional Analyses of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida

    PubMed Central

    Waldo, Robert H.; Belland, Robert J.; Klose, Karl E.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is composed of a number of subspecies with varied geographic distribution, host ranges, and virulence. In view of these marked differences, comparative functional genomics may elucidate some of the molecular mechanism(s) behind these differences. In this study a shared probe microarray was designed that could be used to compare the transcriptomes of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4 (Ftt), Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica OR960246 (Fth), Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS (LVS), and Francisella novicida U112 (Fn). To gain insight into expression differences that may be related to the differences in virulence of these subspecies, transcriptomes were measured from each strain grown in vitro under identical conditions, utilizing a shared probe microarray. The human avirulent Fn strain exhibited high levels of transcription of genes involved in general metabolism, which are pseudogenes in the human virulent Ftt and Fth strains, consistent with the process of genome decay in the virulent strains. Genes encoding an efflux system (emrA2 cluster of genes), siderophore (fsl operon), acid phosphatase, LPS synthesis, polyamine synthesis, and citrulline ureidase were all highly expressed in Ftt when compared to Fn, suggesting that some of these may contribute to the relative high virulence of Ftt. Genes expressed at a higher level in Ftt when compared to the relatively less virulent Fth included genes encoding isochorismatases, cholylglycine hydrolase, polyamine synthesis, citrulline ureidase, Type IV pilus subunit, and the Francisella Pathogenicity Island protein PdpD. Fth and LVS had very few expression differences, consistent with the derivation of LVS from Fth. This study demonstrated that a shared probe microarray designed to detect transcripts in multiple species/subspecies of Francisella enabled comparative transcriptional analyses that may highlight critical differences that underlie the relative pathogenesis of

  11. Rapid High Resolution Genotyping of Francisella tularensis by Whole Genome Sequence Comparison of Annotated Genes (“MLST+”)

    PubMed Central

    Mellmann, Alexander; Höppner, Sebastian; Splettstoesser, Wolf D.; Harmsen, Dag

    2015-01-01

    The zoonotic disease tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. This pathogen is considered as a category A select agent with potential to be misused in bioterrorism. Molecular typing based on DNA-sequence like canSNP-typing or MLVA has become the accepted standard for this organism. Due to the organism’s highly clonal nature, the current typing methods have reached their limit of discrimination for classifying closely related subpopulations within the subspecies F. tularensis ssp. holarctica. We introduce a new gene-by-gene approach, MLST+, based on whole genome data of 15 sequenced F. tularensis ssp. holarctica strains and apply this approach to investigate an epidemic of lethal tularemia among non-human primates in two animal facilities in Germany. Due to the high resolution of MLST+ we are able to demonstrate that three independent clones of this highly infectious pathogen were responsible for these spatially and temporally restricted outbreaks. PMID:25856198

  12. Generation and Characterization of an Attenuated Mutant in a Response Regulator Gene of Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS)

    PubMed Central

    Sammons-Jackson, Wendy L.; McClelland, Karen; Manch-Citron, Jean N.; Metzger, Dennis W.; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Garcia, Emilio; Rasley, Amy

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic bacterium that must exist in diverse environments ranging from arthropod vectors to mammalian hosts. To better understand how virulence genes are regulated in these different environments, a transcriptional response regulator gene (genome locus FTL0552) was deleted in F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS). The FTL0552 deletion mutant exhibited slightly reduced rates of extracellular growth but was unable to replicate or survive in mouse macrophages and was avirulent in the mouse model using either BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice. Mice infected with the FTL0552 mutant produced reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines, exhibited reduced histopathology, and cleared the bacteria quicker than mice infected with LVS. Mice that survived infection with the FTL0552 mutant were afforded partial protection when challenged with a lethal dose of the virulent SchuS4 strain (4 of 10 survivors, day 21 postinfection) when compared to naive mice (0 of 10 survivors by day 7 postinfection). Microarray experiments indicate that 148 genes are regulated by FTL0552. Most of the genes are downregulated, indicating that FTL0552 controls transcription of genes in a positive manner. Genes regulated by FTL0552 include genes located within the Francisella pathogenicity island that are essential for intracellular survival and virulence of F. tularensis. Further, a mutant in FTL0552 or the comparable locus in SchuS4 (FTT1557c) may be an alternative candidate vaccine for tularemia. PMID:18613792

  13. [CONSTRUCTION AND PROPERTIES OF THE FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS VACCINE STRAIN WITHOUT ONE COPY OF THE IGLC GENE AND WITHOUT RECA GENE].

    PubMed

    Mokrievich, A N; Vakhrameeva, G M; Titareva, G M; Bakhteeva, I V; Mironova, R I; Kombarova, T I; Kravchenko, T B; Dyatlov, I A; Pavlov, V M

    2015-01-01

    The live vaccine based on the Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica vaccine strain 15 NIIEG line is used in Russia against tularemia. This vaccine is highly effective, but fairly unstable. Therefore, development of stable live tularemia vaccine with minimal side effect is rather urgent. The method of allel removal in the F. tularensis vaccine strain was used to remove one copy of the iglC gene, which is required to provide intracellular production of the vaccine strain, as well as removal of the recA gene. The latter is crucial for homological recombination. pGM5 suicide vector based on pHV33 bireplicon plasmid was constructed to provide replacement of intact F. tularensis chromosome segments by modified segments. Modified chromosome segments contain F. Tularensis DNA fragment without iglC structural gene segment 545 p. b. (in pGMΔiglC plasmid), as well as DNA fragment containing no recA structural gene segment 1060 p.b. (pGMΔrecA plasmid). The constructed 15/23-1ΔrecA mutant, in contrast to the vaccine strain 15, was capable of reproducing in the macrophage-like cells J774A.1 line, whereas the efficiency of the reproduction was 8-10 times less. BALB/c mouse responded to immunization by the 15/23-1ΔrecA strain by smaller weight decrease (-2%) as compared to the strain 15 (-14%). Bacteria of the 15/23-1ΔrecA strain were virtually incapable of germinating from the BALB/c murine spleen 14 days after invasion, whereas bacteria of the strain 15 were found in the murine organs even after 21 days. The F. tularensis 15/23-1ΔrecA strain having smaller reaction ability can be used as a basis for construction of stable live safe tularemia vaccine. PMID:26665740

  14. Glycosylation of DsbA in Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Rebecca M; Twine, Susan M; Fulton, Kelly M; Tessier, Luc; Kilmury, Sara L N; Ding, Wen; Harmer, Nicholas; Michell, Stephen L; Oyston, Petra C F; Titball, Richard W; Prior, Joann L

    2011-10-01

    In Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis, DsbA has been shown to be an essential virulence factor and has been observed to migrate to multiple protein spots on two-dimensional electrophoresis gels. In this work, we show that the protein is modified with a 1,156-Da glycan moiety in O-linkage. The results of mass spectrometry studies suggest that the glycan is a hexasaccharide, comprised of N-acetylhexosamines, hexoses, and an unknown monosaccharide. Disruption of two genes within the FTT0789-FTT0800 putative polysaccharide locus, including a galE homologue (FTT0791) and a putative glycosyltransferase (FTT0798), resulted in loss of glycan modification of DsbA. The F. tularensis subsp. tularensis ΔFTT0798 and ΔFTT0791::Cm mutants remained virulent in the murine model of subcutaneous tularemia. This indicates that glycosylation of DsbA does not play a major role in virulence under these conditions. This is the first report of the detailed characterization of the DsbA glycan and putative role of the FTT0789-FTT0800 gene cluster in glycan biosynthesis. PMID:21803994

  15. Identification of Genes Contributing to the Virulence of Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 in a Mouse Intradermal Infection Model

    PubMed Central

    Golovliov, Igor; Bolanowski, Mark; Shen, Hua; Conlan, Wayne; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2009-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent human pathogen. The most virulent strains belong to subspecies tularensis and these strains cause a sometimes fatal disease. Despite an intense recent research effort, there is very limited information available that explains the unique features of subspecies tularensis strains that distinguish them from other F. tularensis strains and that explain their high virulence. Here we report the use of targeted mutagenesis to investigate the roles of various genes or pathways for the virulence of strain SCHU S4, the type strain of subspecies tularensis. Methodology/Principal Findings The virulence of SCHU S4 mutants was assessed by following the outcome of infection after intradermal administration of graded doses of bacteria. By this route, the LD50 of the SCHU S4 strain is one CFU. The virulence of 20 in-frame deletion mutants and 37 transposon mutants was assessed. A majority of the mutants did not show increased prolonged time to death, among them notably ΔpyrB and ΔrecA. Of the remaining, mutations in six unique targets, tolC, rep, FTT0609, FTT1149c, ahpC, and hfq resulted in significantly prolonged time to death and mutations in nine targets, rplA, wbtI, iglB, iglD, purL, purF, ggt, kdtA, and glpX, led to marked attenuation with an LD50 of >103 CFU. In fact, the latter seven mutants showed very marked attenuation with an LD50 of ≥107 CFU. Conclusions/Significance The results demonstrate that the characterization of targeted mutants yielded important information about essential virulence determinants that will help to identify the so far little understood extreme virulence of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis. PMID:19424499

  16. Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica, Tasmania, Australia, 2011.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Justin; McGregor, Alistair; Cooley, Louise; Ng, Jimmy; Brown, Mitchell; Ong, Chong Wei; Darcy, Catharine; Sintchenko, Vitali

    2012-09-01

    We report a case of ulceroglandular tularemia that developed in a woman after she was bitten by a ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) in a forest in Tasmania, Australia. Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica was identified. This case indicates the emergence of F. tularensis type B in the Southern Hemisphere. PMID:22931809

  17. Francisella tularensis Subspecies holarctica, Tasmania, Australia, 2011

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Justin; McGregor, Alistair; Cooley, Louise; Ng, Jimmy; Brown, Mitchell; Ong, Chong Wei; Darcy, Catharine

    2012-01-01

    We report a case of ulceroglandular tularemia that developed in a woman after she was bitten by a ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) in a forest in Tasmania, Australia. Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica was identified. This case indicates the emergence of F. tularensis type B in the Southern Hemisphere. PMID:22931809

  18. Comparative review of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida

    PubMed Central

    Kingry, Luke C.; Petersen, Jeannine M.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the acute disease tularemia. Due to its extreme infectivity and ability to cause disease upon inhalation, F. tularensis has been classified as a biothreat agent. Two subspecies of F. tularensis, tularensis and holarctica, are responsible for tularemia in humans. In comparison, the closely related species F. novicida very rarely causes human illness and cases that do occur are associated with patients who are immune compromised or have other underlying health problems. Virulence between F. tularensis and F. novicida also differs in laboratory animals. Despite this varying capacity to cause disease, the two species share ~97% nucleotide identity, with F. novicida commonly used as a laboratory surrogate for F. tularensis. As the F. novicida U112 strain is exempt from U.S. select agent regulations, research studies can be carried out in non-registered laboratories lacking specialized containment facilities required for work with virulent F. tularensis strains. This review is designed to highlight phenotypic (clinical, ecological, virulence, and pathogenic) and genomic differences between F. tularensis and F. novicida that warrant maintaining F. novicida and F. tularensis as separate species. Standardized nomenclature for F. novicida is critical for accurate interpretation of experimental results, limiting clinical confusion between F. novicida and F. tularensis and ensuring treatment efficacy studies utilize virulent F. tularensis strains. PMID:24660164

  19. Comparative review of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida.

    PubMed

    Kingry, Luke C; Petersen, Jeannine M

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the acute disease tularemia. Due to its extreme infectivity and ability to cause disease upon inhalation, F. tularensis has been classified as a biothreat agent. Two subspecies of F. tularensis, tularensis and holarctica, are responsible for tularemia in humans. In comparison, the closely related species F. novicida very rarely causes human illness and cases that do occur are associated with patients who are immune compromised or have other underlying health problems. Virulence between F. tularensis and F. novicida also differs in laboratory animals. Despite this varying capacity to cause disease, the two species share ~97% nucleotide identity, with F. novicida commonly used as a laboratory surrogate for F. tularensis. As the F. novicida U112 strain is exempt from U.S. select agent regulations, research studies can be carried out in non-registered laboratories lacking specialized containment facilities required for work with virulent F. tularensis strains. This review is designed to highlight phenotypic (clinical, ecological, virulence, and pathogenic) and genomic differences between F. tularensis and F. novicida that warrant maintaining F. novicida and F. tularensis as separate species. Standardized nomenclature for F. novicida is critical for accurate interpretation of experimental results, limiting clinical confusion between F. novicida and F. tularensis and ensuring treatment efficacy studies utilize virulent F. tularensis strains. PMID:24660164

  20. Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis Group A.I, United States

    PubMed Central

    Birdsell, Dawn N.; Johansson, Anders; Öhrman, Caroline; Kaufman, Emily; Molins, Claudia; Pearson, Talima; Gyuranecz, Miklós; Naumann, Amber; Vogler, Amy J.; Myrtennäs, Kerstin; Larsson, Pär; Forsman, Mats; Sjödin, Andreas; Gillece, John D.; Schupp, James; Petersen, Jeannine M.; Keim, Paul

    2014-01-01

    We used whole-genome analysis and subsequent characterization of geographically diverse strains using new genetic signatures to identify distinct subgroups within Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis group A.I: A.I.3, A.I.8, and A.I.12. These subgroups exhibit complex phylogeographic patterns within North America. The widest distribution was observed for A.I.12, which suggests an adaptive advantage. PMID:24755401

  1. Molecular bases of proliferation of Francisella tularensis in Arthropod vectors

    PubMed Central

    Asare, Rexford; Akimana, Christine; Jones, Snake; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2010-01-01

    Summary Arthropod vectors are important vehicles for transmission of Francisella tularensis between mammals, but very little is known about the F. tularensis-arthropod vector interaction. Drosophila melanogaster has been recently developed as an arthropod vector model for F. tularensis. We have shown that intracellular trafficking of F. tularensis within human monocytes-derived macrophages and D. melanogaster-derived S2 cells is very similar. Within both evolutionarily distant host cells, the Francisella-containing phagosome matures to a late endosome-like phagosome with limited fusion to lysosomes followed by rapid bacterial escape into the cytosol where the bacterial proliferate. To decipher the molecular bases of intracellular proliferation of F. tularensis within arthropod-derived cells, we screened a comprehensive library of mutants of F. tularensis subsp novicida for their defect in intracellular proliferation within D. melanogaster-derived S2 cells. Our data show that 394 genes, representing 22% of the genome, are required for intracellular proliferation within D. melanogaster-derived S2 cells, including many of the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI) genes that are also required for proliferation within mammalian macrophages. Functional gene classes that exhibit growth defect include metabolic (25%), FPI (2%), Type IV pili (1%), transport (16%) and DNA modification (5%). Among 168 most defective mutants in intracellular proliferation in S2 cells, 80 are defective in lethality and proliferation within adult D. melanogaster. The observation that only 135 of the 394 mutants that are defective in S2 cells are also defective in human macrophages indicates that F. tularensis utilize common as well as distinct mechanisms to proliferate within mammalian and arthropod cells. Our studies will facilitate deciphering the molecular aspects of F. tularensis-arthropod vector interaction and its patho-adaptation to infect mammals. PMID:20482589

  2. Detection of Francisella tularensis in voles in Finland.

    PubMed

    Rossow, Heidi; Sissonen, Susanna; Koskela, Katja A; Kinnunen, Paula M; Hemmilä, Heidi; Niemimaa, Jukka; Huitu, Otso; Kuusi, Markku; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2014-03-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. It recurrently causes human and animal outbreaks in northern Europe, including Finland. Although F. tularensis infects several mammal species, only rodents and lagomorphs seem to have importance in its ecology. Peak densities of rodent populations may trigger tularemia outbreaks in humans; however, it is still unclear to which extent rodents or other small mammals maintain F. tularensis in nature. The main objective of this study was to obtain information about the occurrence of F. tularensis in small mammals in Finland. We snap-trapped 547 wild small mammals representing 11 species at 14 locations around Finland during 6 years and screened them for the presence of F. tularensis DNA using PCR analysis. High copy number of F. tularensis-specific DNA was detected in tissue samples of five field voles (Microtus agrestis) originating from one location and 2 years. According to DNA sequences of the bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA gene amplified from F. tularensis-infected voles, the infecting agent belongs to the subspecies holarctica. To find out the optimal tissue for tularemia screening in voles, we compared the amounts of F. tularensis DNA in lungs, liver, spleen, and kidney of the infected animals. F. tularensis DNA was detectable in high levels in all four organs except for one animal, whose kidney was F. tularensis DNA-negative. Thus, at least liver, lung, and spleen seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. Thus, liver, lung, and spleen all seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. In conclusion, field voles can be heavily infected with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and thus potentially serve as the source of infection in humans and other mammals. PMID:24575824

  3. Francisella tularensis Peritonitis in Stomach Cancer Patient

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Linus X.; Safdar, Amar

    2004-01-01

    Tularemia with peritonitis developed in a 50-year-old man soon after diagnosis of stomach cancer with metastasis. The ascites grew Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, which was identified by sequencing analysis of the 16S rDNA. The infection resolved with antimicrobial treatment. Antibodies detected 4 weeks after onset disappeared after chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia. PMID:15663872

  4. Detection of Francisella tularensis in Voles in Finland

    PubMed Central

    Sissonen, Susanna; Koskela, Katja A.; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Hemmilä, Heidi; Niemimaa, Jukka; Huitu, Otso; Kuusi, Markku; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. It recurrently causes human and animal outbreaks in northern Europe, including Finland. Although F. tularensis infects several mammal species, only rodents and lagomorphs seem to have importance in its ecology. Peak densities of rodent populations may trigger tularemia outbreaks in humans; however, it is still unclear to which extent rodents or other small mammals maintain F. tularensis in nature. The main objective of this study was to obtain information about the occurrence of F. tularensis in small mammals in Finland. We snap-trapped 547 wild small mammals representing 11 species at 14 locations around Finland during 6 years and screened them for the presence of F. tularensis DNA using PCR analysis. High copy number of F. tularensis-specific DNA was detected in tissue samples of five field voles (Microtus agrestis) originating from one location and 2 years. According to DNA sequences of the bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA gene amplified from F. tularensis–infected voles, the infecting agent belongs to the subspecies holarctica. To find out the optimal tissue for tularemia screening in voles, we compared the amounts of F. tularensis DNA in lungs, liver, spleen, and kidney of the infected animals. F. tularensis DNA was detectable in high levels in all four organs except for one animal, whose kidney was F. tularensis DNA-negative. Thus, at least liver, lung, and spleen seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. Thus, liver, lung, and spleen all seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. In conclusion, field voles can be heavily infected with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and thus potentially serve as the source of infection in humans and other mammals. PMID:24575824

  5. A Full-Genomic Sequence-Verified Protein-Coding Gene Collection for Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Murthy, Tal; Rolfs, Andreas; Hu, Yanhui; Shi, Zhenwei; Raphael, Jacob; Moreira, Donna; Kelley, Fontina; McCarron, Seamus; Jepson, Daniel; Taycher, Elena; Zuo, Dongmei; Mohr, Stephanie E.; Fernandez, Mauricio; Brizuela, Leonardo; LaBaer, Joshua

    2007-01-01

    The rapid development of new technologies for the high throughput (HT) study of proteins has increased the demand for comprehensive plasmid clone resources that support protein expression. These clones must be full-length, sequence-verified and in a flexible format. The generation of these resources requires automated pipelines supported by software management systems. Although the availability of clone resources is growing, current collections are either not complete or not fully sequence-verified. We report an automated pipeline, supported by several software applications that enabled the construction of the first comprehensive sequence-verified plasmid clone resource for more than 96% of protein coding sequences of the genome of F. tularensis, a highly virulent human pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. This clone resource was applied to a HT protein purification pipeline successfully producing recombinant proteins for 72% of the genes. These methods and resources represent significant technological steps towards exploiting the genomic information of F. tularensis in discovery applications. PMID:17593976

  6. Nucleotide sequences specific to Francisella tularensis and methods for the detection of Francisella tularensis

    DOEpatents

    McCready, Paula M.; Radnedge, Lyndsay; Andersen, Gary L.; Ott, Linda L.; Slezak, Thomas R.; Kuczmarski, Thomas A.; Vitalis, Elizabeth A

    2007-02-06

    Described herein is the identification of nucleotide sequences specific to Francisella tularensis that serves as a marker or signature for identification of this bacterium. In addition, forward and reverse primers and hybridization probes derived from these nucleotide sequences that are used in nucleotide detection methods to detect the presence of the bacterium are disclosed.

  7. Nucleotide sequences specific to Francisella tularensis and methods for the detection of Francisella tularensis

    DOEpatents

    McCready, Paula M.; Radnedge, Lyndsay; Andersen, Gary L.; Ott, Linda L.; Slezak, Thomas R.; Kuczmarski, Thomas A.; Vitalis, Elizabeth A

    2009-02-24

    Described herein is the identification of nucleotide sequences specific to Francisella tularensis that serves as a marker or signature for identification of this bacterium. In addition, forward and reverse primers and hybridization probes derived from these nucleotide sequences that are used in nucleotide detection methods to detect the presence of the bacterium are disclosed.

  8. Construction of targeted insertion mutations in Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jirong; Zogaj, Xhavit; Barker, Jeffrey R; Klose, Karl E

    2007-10-01

    Francisella tularensis is one of the most deadly bacterial agents, yet most of the genetic determinants of pathogenesis are still unknown. We have developed an efficient targeted mutagenesis strategy in the model organism F. tularensis subsp. novicida by utilizing universal priming of optimized antibiotic resistance cassettes and splicing by overlap extension (SOE). This process enables fast and efficient construction of targeted insertion mutations in F. tularensis subsp. novicida that have characteristics of nonpolar mutations; optimized targeted mutagenesis strategies will promote the study of this mysterious bacterium and facilitate vaccine development against tularemia. Moreover the general strategy of gene disruption by PCR-based antibiotic resistance cassette insertion is broadly applicable to many bacterial species. PMID:18019340

  9. Uncovering the components of the Francisella tularensis virulence stealth strategy

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Bradley D.; Faron, Matthew; Rasmussen, Jed A.; Fletcher, Joshua R.

    2014-01-01

    Over the last decade, studies on the virulence of the highly pathogenic intracellular bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis have increased dramatically. The organism produces an inert LPS, a capsule, escapes the phagosome to grow in the cytosol (FPI genes mediate phagosomal escape) of a variety of host cell types that include epithelial, endothelial, dendritic, macrophage, and neutrophil. This review focuses on the work that has identified and characterized individual virulence factors of this organism and we hope to highlight how these factors collectively function to produce the pathogenic strategy of this pathogen. In addition, several recent studies have been published characterizing F. tularensis mutants that induce host immune responses not observed in wild type F. tularensis strains that can induce protection against challenge with virulent F. tularensis. As more detailed studies with attenuated strains are performed, it will be possible to see how host models develop acquired immunity to Francisella. Collectively, detailed insights into the mechanisms of virulence of this pathogen are emerging that will allow the design of anti-infective strategies. PMID:24639953

  10. Control of Francisella tularensis Intracellular Growth by Pulmonary Epithelial Cells

    PubMed Central

    Maggio, Savannah; Takeda, Kazuyo; Stark, Felicity; Meierovics, Anda I.; Yabe, Idalia; Cowley, Siobhan C.

    2015-01-01

    The virulence of F. tularensis is often associated with its ability to grow in macrophages, although recent studies show that Francisella proliferates in multiple host cell types, including pulmonary epithelial cells. Thus far little is known about the requirements for killing of F. tularensis in the non-macrophage host cell types that support replication of this organism. Here we sought to address this question through the use of a murine lung epithelial cell line (TC-1 cells). Our data show that combinations of the cytokines IFN-γ, TNF, and IL-17A activated murine pulmonary epithelial cells to inhibit the intracellular growth of the F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) and the highly virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 strain. Although paired combinations of IFN-γ, TNF, and IL-17A all significantly controlled LVS growth, simultaneous treatment with all three cytokines had the greatest effect on LVS growth inhibition. In contrast, Schu S4 was more resistant to cytokine-induced growth effects, exhibiting significant growth inhibition only in response to all three cytokines. Since one of the main antimicrobial mechanisms of activated macrophages is the release of reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) via the activity of iNOS, we investigated the role of RNI and iNOS in Francisella growth control by pulmonary epithelial cells. NOS2 gene expression was significantly up-regulated in infected, cytokine-treated pulmonary epithelial cells in a manner that correlated with LVS and Schu S4 growth control. Treatment of LVS-infected cells with an iNOS inhibitor significantly reversed LVS killing in cytokine-treated cultures. Further, we found that mouse pulmonary epithelial cells produced iNOS during in vivo respiratory LVS infection. Overall, these data demonstrate that lung epithelial cells produce iNOS both in vitro and in vivo, and can inhibit Francisella intracellular growth via reactive nitrogen intermediates. PMID:26379269

  11. Characterization of the Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida type IV pilus.

    PubMed

    Zogaj, Xhavit; Chakraborty, Subhra; Liu, Jirong; Thanassi, David G; Klose, Karl E

    2008-07-01

    Francisella tularensis causes the disease tularaemia. Type IV pili (Tfp) genes are present in the genomes of all F. tularensis subspecies. We show that the wild-type F. tularensis subsp. novicida expresses pilus fibres on its surface, and mutations in the Tfp genes pilF and pilT disrupt pilus biogenesis. Mutations in other Tfp genes (pilQ and pilG) do not eliminate pilus expression. A mutation in pilE4 eliminates pilus expression, whereas mutations in the other pilin subunits pilE1-3 and pilE5 do not, suggesting that pilE4 is the major pilus structural subunit. The virulence regulator MglA is required for pilus expression, and it regulates the transcription of a putative Tfp glycosylation gene (FTN0431). However, MglA does not regulate transcription of pilF, pilT or pilE4, and a strain lacking FTN0431 still expresses pili; thus, it is unclear how MglA regulates pilus expression. Only pilF was also required for protein secretion, while pilE4 and pilT were not, indicating that there is very little overlap of the protein secretion/Tfp functions of the pil genes. The protein secretion component pilE1 was more important for in vitro intramacrophage growth and mouse virulence than the Tfp component pilE4. Our results provide the first genetic characterization of the novel Tfp system of F. tularensis. PMID:18599841

  12. Metapopulation structure for perpetuation of Francisella tularensis tularensis

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Outbreaks of Type A tularemia due to Francisella tularensis tularensis are typically sporadic and unstable, greatly hindering identification of the determinants of perpetuation and human risk. Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts has experienced an outbreak of Type A tularemia which has persisted for 9 years. This unique situation has allowed us to conduct long-term eco-epidemiologic studies there. Our hypothesis is that the agent of Type A tularemia is perpetuated as a metapopulation, with many small isolated natural foci of transmission. During times of increased transmission, the foci would merge and a larger scale epizootic would occur, with greater likelihood that humans become exposed. Methods We sampled questing dog ticks from two natural foci on the island and tested them for tularemia DNA. We determined whether the force of transmission differed between the two foci. In addition, we examined the population structure of F. tularensis from ticks by variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis, which allowed estimates of diversity, linkage disequilibrium, and eBURST analysis. Results The prevalence of tularemia DNA in ticks from our two field sites was markedly different: one site was stable over the course of the study yielding as many as 5.6% positive ticks. In contrast, infected ticks from the comparison site markedly increased in prevalence, from 0.4% in 2003 to 3.9% in 2006. Using 4 VNTR loci, we documented 75 different haplotypes (diversity = 0.91). eBURST analysis indicates that the stable site was essentially clonal, but the comparison site contained multiple unrelated lineages. The general bacterial population is evolving clonally (multilocus disequilibrium) and the bacteria in the two sites are reproductively isolated. Conclusion Even within an isolated island, tularemia natural foci that are no more than 15 km apart are uniquely segregated. One of our sites has stable transmission and the other is emergent. The population structure at the

  13. Genetic identification of unique immunological responses in mice infected with virulent and attenuated Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Kingry, Luke C.; Troyer, Ryan M.; Marlenee, Nicole L.; Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Helle; Bowen, Richard A.; Schenkel, Alan R.; Dow, Steven W.; Slayden, Richard A.

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a category A select agent based on its infectivity and virulence but disease mechanisms in Francisella tularensis infection remain poorly understood. Murine pulmonary models of infection were therefore employed to assess and compare dissemination and pathology and to elucidate the host immune response to infection with the highly virulent Type A F. tularensis strain Schu4 versus the less virulent Type B live vaccine strain (LVS). We found that dissemination and pathology in the spleen was significantly greater in mice infected with F. tularensis Schu4 compared to mice infected with F. tularensis LVS. Using gene expression profiling to compare the response to infection with the two F. tularensis strains, we found that there were significant differences in the expression of genes involved in the apoptosis pathway, antigen processing and presentation pathways, and inflammatory response pathways in mice infected with Schu4 when compared to LVS. These transcriptional differences coincided with marked differences in dissemination and severity of organ lesions in mice infected with the Schu4 and LVS strains. Therefore, these findings indicate that altered apoptosis, antigen presentation and production of inflammatory mediators explain the differences in pathogenicity of F. tularensis Schu4 and LVS. PMID:21070859

  14. Molecular Investigation of Francisella-Like Endosymbiont in Ticks and Francisella tularensis in Ixodid Ticks and Mosquitoes in Turkey.

    PubMed

    Duzlu, Onder; Yildirim, Alparslan; Inci, Abdullah; Gumussoy, Kadir Semih; Ciloglu, Arif; Onder, Zuhal

    2016-01-01

    This study was carried out to investigate the molecular prevalence of Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLEs) and Francisella tularensis in ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and mosquitoes in Turkey. Genomic DNA pools were constructed from a total of 1477 adult hard ticks of Rhipicephalus (Rh.) annulatus, Rh. turanicus, Rh. sanguineus, Rh. bursa, Haemaphysalis (Hae.) parva, Hae. sulcata, Hyalomma marginatum marginatum, H. anatolicum anatolicum, H. anatolicum excavatum, H. detritum detritum, H. dromedarii, Dermacentor marginatus, and Ixodes ricinus species, which were collected from several barns, cattle, and people. Genomic DNA was also extracted from pools consisting of 6203 adult female mosquito species belonging to Aedes vexans, Culex (Cx.) pipiens, Cx. hortensis, Cx. theileri, Culiseta annulata, and Anopheles maculipennis species. Conventional PCR and TaqMan probe-based real- time PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene for FLEs and the lpnA gene for F. tularensis, respectively, were performed on the DNA isolates obtained. FLEs and F. tularensis were not found in any genomic DNA pools constructed from ixodid ticks and mosquitos. This study represents the first investigation of F. tularensis and FLEs in potential vector ticks and mosquitoes by molecular methods in Turkey. The present study provides useful insights into the molecular epidemiology of F. tularensis and FLEs. One of the major conclusions of the study is that tularemia outbreaks may be essentially due to direct transmission from the environment (especially from water) in Turkey and not to vector-borne transmission. PMID:26741324

  15. Water as Source of Francisella tularensis Infection in Humans, Turkey

    PubMed Central

    Kilic, Selcuk; Birdsell, Dawn N.; Karagöz, Alper; Çelebi, Bekir; Bakkaloglu, Zekiye; Arikan, Muzaffer; Sahl, Jason W.; Mitchell, Cedar; Rivera, Andrew; Maltinsky, Sara; Keim, Paul; Üstek, Duran; Durmaz, Rıza

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis DNA extractions and isolates from the environment and humans were genetically characterized to elucidate environmental sources that cause human tularemia in Turkey. Extensive genetic diversity consistent with genotypes from human outbreaks was identified in environmental samples and confirmed water as a source of human tularemia in Turkey. PMID:26583383

  16. Preservation of viable Francisella tularensis for forensic analysis

    SciTech Connect

    Valentine, Nancy B.; Wunschel, Sharon C.; Valdez, Catherine O.; Kreuzer-Martin, Helen W.; Bartholomew, Rachel A.; Straub, Tim M.; Wahl, Karen L.

    2011-01-01

    As a preservation solution, (1%) ammonium chloride may be preferred over other conventionally used storage solutions because of its compatibility with analytical techniques such as Mass Spectrometry. In this study, ammonium chloride performed as well or better than phosphate buffered saline with Tween or Butterfields/Tween for preserving Francisella tularensis novicida.

  17. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Francisella tularensis serological reagents. 866.3280 Section 866.3280 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  18. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Francisella tularensis serological reagents. 866.3280 Section 866.3280 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  19. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Francisella tularensis serological reagents. 866.3280 Section 866.3280 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  20. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Francisella tularensis serological reagents. 866.3280 Section 866.3280 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  1. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2014-04-01 2014-04-01 false Francisella tularensis serological reagents. 866.3280 Section 866.3280 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  2. Comparative Genomic Characterization of Francisella tularensis Strains Belonging to Low and High Virulence Subspecies

    PubMed Central

    Nix, Eli B.; Nano, Francis E.; Keim, Paul; Kodira, Chinnappa D.; Borowsky, Mark; Young, Sarah; Koehrsen, Michael; Engels, Reinhard; Pearson, Matthew; Howarth, Clint; Larson, Lisa; White, Jared; Alvarado, Lucia; Forsman, Mats; Bearden, Scott W.; Sjöstedt, Anders; Titball, Richard; Michell, Stephen L.; Birren, Bruce; Galagan, James

    2009-01-01

    Tularemia is a geographically widespread, severely debilitating, and occasionally lethal disease in humans. It is caused by infection by a gram-negative bacterium, Francisella tularensis. In order to better understand its potency as an etiological agent as well as its potential as a biological weapon, we have completed draft assemblies and report the first complete genomic characterization of five strains belonging to the following different Francisella subspecies (subsp.): the F. tularensis subsp. tularensis FSC033, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica FSC257 and FSC022, and F. tularensis subsp. novicida GA99-3548 and GA99-3549 strains. Here, we report the sequencing of these strains and comparative genomic analysis with recently available public Francisella sequences, including the rare F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica FSC147 strain isolate from the Central Asian Region. We report evidence for the occurrence of large-scale rearrangement events in strains of the holarctica subspecies, supporting previous proposals that further phylogenetic subdivisions of the Type B clade are likely. We also find a significant enrichment of disrupted or absent ORFs proximal to predicted breakpoints in the FSC022 strain, including a genetic component of the Type I restriction-modification defense system. Many of the pseudogenes identified are also disrupted in the closely related rarely human pathogenic F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica FSC147 strain, including modulator of drug activity B (mdaB) (FTT0961), which encodes a known NADPH quinone reductase involved in oxidative stress resistance. We have also identified genes exhibiting sequence similarity to effectors of the Type III (T3SS) and components of the Type IV secretion systems (T4SS). One of the genes, msrA2 (FTT1797c), is disrupted in F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica and has recently been shown to mediate bacterial pathogen survival in host organisms. Our findings suggest that in addition to the duplication of the Francisella

  3. Francisella tularensis as a potential agent of bioterrorism?

    PubMed

    Maurin, Max

    2015-02-01

    Francisella tularensis is a category A bioterrorism agent. It is the etiological agent of tularemia, a zoonotic disease found throughout the northern hemisphere. The intentional spread of F. tularensis aerosols would probably lead to severe and often fatal pneumonia cases, but also secondary cases from contaminated animals and environments. We are not ready to face such a situation. No vaccine is currently available. A few antibiotics are active against F. tularensis, but strains resistant to these antibiotics could be used in the context of bioterrorism. We need new therapeutic strategies to fight against category A bioterrorism agents, including development of new drugs inhibiting F. tularensis growth and/or virulence, or enhancing the host response to infection by this pathogen. PMID:25413334

  4. A novel nanoprobe for the sensitive detection of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Kim, Ji-eun; Seo, Youngmin; Jeong, Yoon; Hwang, Mintai P; Hwang, Jangsun; Choo, Jaebum; Hong, Jong Wook; Jeon, Jun Ho; Rhie, Gi-eun; Choi, Jonghoon

    2015-11-15

    Francisella tularensis is a human zoonotic pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia, a severe infectious disease. Given the extreme infectivity of F. tularensis and its potential to be used as a biological warfare agent, a fast and sensitive detection method is highly desirable. Herein, we construct a novel detection platform composed of two units: (1) Magnetic beads conjugated with multiple capturing antibodies against F. tularensis for its simple and rapid separation and (2) Genetically-engineered apoferritin protein constructs conjugated with multiple quantum dots and a detection antibody against F. tularensis for the amplification of signal. We demonstrate a 10-fold increase in the sensitivity relative to traditional lateral flow devices that utilize enzyme-based detection methods. We ultimately envision the use of our novel nanoprobe detection platform in future applications that require the highly-sensitive on-site detection of high-risk pathogens. PMID:26057442

  5. Deletion of the Bacillus anthracis capB homologue in Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis generates an attenuated strain that protects mice against virulent tularaemia.

    PubMed

    Michell, Stephen L; Dean, Rachel E; Eyles, Jim E; Hartley, Margaret Gill; Waters, Emma; Prior, Joann L; Titball, Richard W; Oyston, Petra C F

    2010-11-01

    As there is currently no licensed vaccine against Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularaemia, the bacterium is an agent of concern as a potential bioweapon. Although F. tularensis has a low infectious dose and high associated mortality, it possesses few classical virulence factors. An analysis of the F. tularensis subspecies tularensis genome sequence has revealed the presence of a region containing genes with low sequence homology to part of the capBCADE operon of Bacillus anthracis. We have generated an isogenic capB mutant of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis SchuS4 and shown it to be attenuated. Furthermore, using BALB/c mice, we have demonstrated that this capB strain affords protection against significant homologous challenge with the wild-type strain. These data have important implications for the development of a defined and efficacious tularaemia vaccine. PMID:20651039

  6. Role of the wbt locus of Francisella tularensis in lipopolysaccharide O-antigen biogenesis and pathogenicity.

    PubMed

    Raynaud, Catherine; Meibom, Karin L; Lety, Marie-Annick; Dubail, Iharilalao; Candela, Thomas; Frapy, Eric; Charbit, Alain

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterial pathogen, responsible for the zoonotic disease tularemia. We screened a bank of transposon insertion mutants of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS for colony morphology alterations and selected a mutant with a transposon insertion in wbtA, the first gene of the predicted lipopolysaccharide O-antigen gene cluster. Inactivation of wbtA led to the complete loss of O antigen, conferred serum sensitivity, impaired intracellular replication, and severely attenuated virulence in the mouse model. Notably, this mutant afforded protection against a challenge against virulent LVS. PMID:17030571

  7. Intracellular biology and virulence determinants of Francisella tularensis revealed by transcriptional profiling inside macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Wehrly, Tara D.; Chong, Audrey; Virtaneva, Kimmo; Sturdevant, Dan E.; Child, Robert; Edwards, Jessica A.; Brouwer, Dedeke; Nair, Vinod; Fischer, Elizabeth R.; Wicke, Luke; Curda, Alissa J.; Kupko, John J.; Martens, Craig; Crane, Deborah D.; Bosio, Catharine M.; Porcella, Stephen F.; Celli, Jean

    2009-01-01

    Summary The highly infectious bacterium Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular pathogen, whose virulence requires proliferation inside host cells, including macrophages. Here we have performed a global transcriptional profiling of the highly virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4 strain during its intracellular cycle within primary murine macrophages, to characterize its intracellular biology and identify pathogenic determinants based on their intracellular expression profiles. Phagocytosed bacteria rapidly responded to their intracellular environment and subsequently altered their transcriptional profile. Differential gene expression profiles were revealed that correlated with specific intracellular locale of the bacteria. Upregulation of general and oxidative stress response genes was a hallmark of the early phagosomal and late endosomal stages, while induction of transport and metabolic genes characterized the cytosolic replication stage. Expression of the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI) genes, which are required for intracellular proliferation, increased during the intracellular cycle. Similarly, 27 chromosomal loci encoding putative hypothetical, secreted, outer membrane proteins or transcriptional regulators were identified as upregulated. Among these, deletion of FTT0383, FTT0369c or FTT1676 abolished the ability of Schu S4 to survive or proliferate intracellularly and cause lethality in mice, therefore identifying novel determinants of Francisella virulence from their intracellular expression profile. PMID:19388904

  8. Francisella tularensis replicates within alveolar type II epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo following inhalation.

    PubMed

    Hall, Joshua D; Craven, Robin R; Fuller, James R; Pickles, Raymond J; Kawula, Thomas H

    2007-02-01

    Francisella tularensis replicates in macrophages and dendritic cells, but interactions with other cell types have not been well described. F. tularensis LVS invaded and replicated within alveolar epithelial cell lines. Following intranasal inoculation of C57BL/6 mice, Francisella localized to the alveolus and replicated within alveolar type II epithelial cells. PMID:17088343

  9. A response regulator promotes Francisella tularensis intramacrophage growth by repressing an anti-virulence factor.

    PubMed

    Ramsey, Kathryn M; Dove, Simon L

    2016-08-01

    The orphan response regulator PmrA is essential for the intramacrophage growth and survival of Francisella tularensis. PmrA was thought to promote intramacrophage growth by binding directly to promoters on the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI) and positively regulating the expression of FPI genes, which encode a Type VI secretion system required for intramacrophage growth. Using both ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq we identify those regions of the F. tularensis chromosome occupied by PmrA and those genes that are regulated by PmrA. We find that PmrA associates with 252 distinct regions of the F. tularensis chromosome, but exerts regulatory effects at only a few of these locations. Rather than by functioning directly as an activator of FPI gene expression we present evidence that PmrA promotes intramacrophage growth by repressing the expression of a single target gene we refer to as priM (PmrA-repressed inhibitor of intramacrophage growth). Our findings thus indicate that the role of PmrA in facilitating intracellular growth is to repress a previously unknown anti-virulence factor. PriM is the first bacterially encoded factor to be described that can interfere with the intramacrophage growth and survival of F. tularensis. PMID:27169554

  10. Draft genome sequence of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica BD11-00177

    PubMed Central

    Coolen, Jordy P. M.; Sjödin, Andreas; Maraha, Boulos; Hajer, Gerard F.; Forsman, Mats; Verspui, Ellen; Frenay, Hendrina M.E.; Notermans, Daan W.; de Vries, Maaike C.; Reubsaet, Frans A.G.; Paauw, Armand

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium in the class Gammaproteobacteria. This strain is of interest because it is the etiologic agent of tularemia and a highly virulent category A biothreat agent. Here we describe the draft genome sequence and annotation of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica BD11-00177, isolated from the first case of indigenous tularemia detected in The Netherlands since 1953. Whole genome DNA sequence analysis assigned this isolate to the genomic group B.FTNF002–00, which previously has been exclusively reported from Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Automatic annotation of the 1,813,372 bp draft genome revealed 2,103 protein-coding and 46 RNA genes. PMID:24501637

  11. Differential Mortality of Dog Tick Vectors Due to Infection by Diverse Francisella tularensis tularensis Genotypes

    PubMed Central

    Goethert, Heidi K.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The factors involved in the long-term perpetuation of Francisella tularensis tularensis in nature are poorly understood. Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, has become a site of sustained transmission of Type A tularemia, with nearly 100 human cases reported from 2000 to 2010. We have identified a stable focus of F. tularensis transmission there, where the annual prevalence in host-seeking Dermacentor variabilis is about 3%, suggesting that this tick perpetuates the agent. However, laboratory studies have shown that infection with F. tularensis has a profound negative effect on dog tick mortality, presenting a paradox: how can a vector perpetuate an agent that negatively affects its fitness? It may be that experimental infection does not mimic that of natural transmission. Accordingly, we examined the effects that F. tularensis has on the longevity of field-derived ticks. Of 63 PCR-positive ticks collected in early summer, 89% were dead by December compared to 48% of 214 uninfected ticks collected at the same time and site. However, the quantum of F. tularensis DNA within each tick was not correlated with increased mortality. Instead, ticks with an uncommon genotype were more likely to die early than those with the common genotype. We conclude that the interaction between F. tularensis and its vector is complex and certain bacterial genotypes appear to be better adapted to their arthropod host. PMID:21612530

  12. [Real time PCR hybridization for the rapid and specific identification of Francisella tularensis].

    PubMed

    Bielawska-Drózd, Agata; Niemcewicz, Marcin; Gaweł, Jerzy; Bartoszcze, Michał; Graniak, Grzegorz; Joniec, Justyna; Kołodziej, Marcin

    2010-01-01

    Tularemia is highly infectious and fatal zoonotic disease caused by Gram negative bacteria Francisella tularensis. The necessity to undergo medical treatment in early phase of illness in humans and possibility of making use of bacterial aerosol by terrorists in an attack create an urgent need to implement a rapid and effective method which enables to identify the agent. In our study two primers FopA F/R and hybridization probes FopA S1/S2 designed from fopA gene sequence, were tested for their potential applicability to identify F. tularensis. In this research 50 strains of F. tularensis were used and the test gave positive results. Reaction specificity was confirmed by using of non-Francisella tularensis bacterial species. The results obtained in the real-time PCR reaction with primers Tul4 F/R and hybridization probes Tul4 S1/S2, designed from tul4 gene, were comparable to the results from previous experiment with fopA - primers set. Investigation of fopA and tul4 primers and hybridization probes properties revealed characteristic Tm (melting temperature) value of the products--61 degrees C and 60 degrees C, respectively. Detection sensitivity was remarkably higher when fopA primers set was used 1 fg/microl, and for tul4 primers set, minimal detectable concentration is 10 fg/microl. PMID:21473100

  13. Characterization of Tetratricopeptide Repeat-Like Proteins in Francisella tularensis and Identification of a Novel Locus Required for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Dankova, Vera; Balonova, Lucie; Straskova, Adela; Spidlova, Petra; Putzova, Daniela; Kijek, Todd; Bozue, Joel; Cote, Christopher; Mou, Sherry; Worsham, Patricia; Szotakova, Barbora; Stulik, Jiri

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium that causes the potentially lethal disease tularemia. This extremely virulent bacterium is able to replicate in the cytosolic compartments of infected macrophages. To invade macrophages and to cope with their intracellular environment, Francisella requires multiple virulence factors, which are still being identified. Proteins containing tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR)-like domains seem to be promising targets to investigate, since these proteins have been reported to be directly involved in virulence-associated functions of bacterial pathogens. Here, we studied the role of the FTS_0201, FTS_0778, and FTS_1680 genes, which encode putative TPR-like proteins in Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica FSC200. Mutants defective in protein expression were prepared by TargeTron insertion mutagenesis. We found that the locus FTS_1680 and its ortholog FTT_0166c in the highly virulent Francisella tularensis type A strain SchuS4 are required for proper intracellular replication, full virulence in mice, and heat stress tolerance. Additionally, the FTS_1680-encoded protein was identified as a membrane-associated protein required for full cytopathogenicity in macrophages. Our study thus identifies FTS_1680/FTT_0166c as a new virulence factor in Francisella tularensis. PMID:25245806

  14. Population Structure of Francisella tularensis†

    PubMed Central

    Nübel, Ulrich; Reissbrodt, Rolf; Weller, Annette; Grunow, Roland; Porsch-Özcürümez, Mustafa; Tomaso, Herbert; Hofer, Erwin; Splettstoesser, Wolf; Finke, Ernst-Jürgen; Tschäpe, Helmut; Witte, Wolfgang

    2006-01-01

    We have sequenced fragments of five metabolic housekeeping genes and two genes encoding outer membrane proteins from 81 isolates of Francisella tularensis, representing all four subspecies. Phylogenetic clustering of gene sequences from F. tularensis subsp. tularensis and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica aligned well with subspecies affiliations. In contrast, F. tularensis subsp. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica were indicated to be phylogenetically incoherent taxa. Incongruent gene trees and mosaic structures of housekeeping genes provided evidence for genetic recombination in F. tularensis. PMID:16816208

  15. Francisella tularensis Subtype A.II Genomic Plasticity in Comparison with Subtype A.I

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Marilynn A.; Nalbantoglu, Ufuk; Sayood, Khalid; Zentz, Emily B.; Bartling, Amanda M.; Francesconi, Stephen C.; Fey, Paul D.; Dempsey, Michael P.; Hinrichs, Steven H.

    2015-01-01

    Although Francisella tularensis is considered a monomorphic intracellular pathogen, molecular genotyping and virulence studies have demonstrated important differences within the tularensis subspecies (type A). To evaluate genetic variation within type A strains, sequencing and assembly of a new subtype A.II genome was achieved for comparison to other completed F. tularensis type A genomes. In contrast with the F. tularensis A.I strains (SCHU S4, FSC198, NE061598, and TI0902), substantial genomic variation was observed between the newly sequenced F. tularensis A.II strain (WY-00W4114) and the only other publically available A.II strain (WY96-3418). Genome differences between WY-00W4114 and WY96-3418 included three major chromosomal translocations, 1580 indels, and 286 nucleotide substitutions of which 159 were observed in predicted open reading frames and 127 were located in intergenic regions. The majority of WY-00W4114 nucleotide deletions occurred in intergenic regions, whereas most of the insertions and substitutions occurred in predicted genes. Of the nucleotide substitutions, 48 (30%) were synonymous and 111 (70%) were nonsynonymous. WY-00W4114 and WY96-3418 nucleotide polymorphisms were predominantly G/C to A/T allelic mutations, with WY-00W4114 having more A+T enrichment. In addition, the A.II genomes contained a considerably higher number of intact genes and longer repetitive sequences, including transposon remnants than the A.I genomes. Together these findings support the premise that F. tularensis A.II may have a fitness advantage compared to the A.I subtype due to the higher abundance of functional genes and repeated chromosomal sequences. A better understanding of the selective forces driving F. tularensis genetic diversity and plasticity is needed. PMID:25918839

  16. Case Report of Low Virulence Francisella tularensis Presented as Severe Bacteremic Pneumonia

    PubMed Central

    Su, Ting-Yi; Shie, Shian-Sen; Chia, Ju-Hsin; Huang, Ching-Tai

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Tularemia is a zoonotic infection seen primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. It is caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. Although the ulceroglandular form of the disease is the more common manifestation of infection, F tularensis is known to cause pneumonia. F tularensis has two predominant subspecies, namely subsp. tularensis (type A) and subsp. holarctica (type B). Type B tularemia is considered to be much less virulent than type A and barely caused lethal disease and pneumonia. We reported a case with a 68-year-old man immune-compromised patient diagnosed with bacteremic pneumonia engendered by type B tularemia with initial presentation of high fever, pneumonia with pleural effusion; the diagnosis was performed using 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. The patient's fever, pneumonia, and pleural effusion were resolved with appropriate antibiotics for tularemia. This case involving severe bacteremic pneumonia in an immune-compromised patient is rare. This case suggests that low virulence F tularensis should be included in the differential diagnoses of bacteremic pneumonia for endemic tularemia. PMID:27175638

  17. The Francisella Tularensis Proteome and its Recognition by Antibodies

    PubMed Central

    Kilmury, Sara L. N.; Twine, Susan M.

    2011-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of a spectrum of diseases collectively known as tularemia. The extreme virulence of the pathogen in humans, combined with the low infectious dose and the ease of dissemination by aerosol have led to concerns about its abuse as a bioweapon. Until recently, nothing was known about the virulence mechanisms and even now, there is still a relatively poor understanding of pathogen virulence. Completion of increasing numbers of Francisella genome sequences, combined with comparative genomics and proteomics studies, are contributing to the knowledge in this area. Tularemia may be treated with antibiotics, but there is currently no licensed vaccine. An attenuated strain, the Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) has been used to vaccinate military and at risk laboratory personnel, but safety concerns mean that it is unlikely to be licensed by the FDA for general use. Little is known about the protective immunity induced by vaccination with LVS, in humans or animal models. Immunoproteomics studies with sera from infected humans or vaccinated mouse strains, are being used in gel-based or proteome microarray approaches to give insight into the humoral immune response. In addition, these data have the potential to be exploited in the identification of new diagnostic or protective antigens, the design of next generation live vaccine strains, and the development of subunit vaccines. Herein, we briefly review the current knowledge from Francisella comparative proteomics studies and then focus upon the findings from immunoproteomics approaches. PMID:21687770

  18. The Protease Locus of Francisella tularensis LVS Is Required for Stress Tolerance and Infection in the Mammalian Host.

    PubMed

    He, Lihong; Nair, Manoj Kumar Mohan; Chen, Yuling; Liu, Xue; Zhang, Mengyun; Hazlett, Karsten R O; Deng, Haiteng; Zhang, Jing-Ren

    2016-05-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia and a category A potential agent of bioterrorism, but the pathogenic mechanisms of F. tularensis are largely unknown. Our previous transposon mutagenesis screen identified 95 lung infectivity-associated F. tularensis genes, including those encoding the Lon and ClpP proteases. The present study validates the importance of Lon and ClpP in intramacrophage growth and infection of the mammalian host by using unmarked deletion mutants of the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS). Further experiments revealed that lon and clpP are also required for F. tularensis tolerance to stressful conditions. A quantitative proteomic comparison between heat-stressed LVS and the isogenic Lon-deficient mutant identified 29 putative Lon substrate proteins. The follow-up protein degradation experiments identified five substrates of the F. tularensis Lon protease (FTL578, FTL663, FTL1217, FTL1228, and FTL1957). FTL578 (ornithine cyclodeaminase), FTL663 (heat shock protein), and FTL1228 (iron-sulfur activator complex subunit SufD) have been previously described as virulence-associated factors in F. tularensis Identification of these Lon substrates has thus provided important clues for further understanding of the F. tularensis stress response and pathogenesis. The high-throughput approach developed in this study can be used for systematic identification of the Lon substrates in other prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. PMID:26902724

  19. The Francisella tularensis Pathogenicity Island Encodes a Secretion System that is required for Phagosome Escape and Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Jeffrey R.; Chong, Audrey; Wehrly, Tara D.; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Rodriguez, Stephen A.; Liu, Jirong; Celli, Jean; Arulanandam, Bernard P.; Klose, Karl E.

    2009-01-01

    Summary Francisella tularensis causes the human disease tularemia. F. tularensis is able to survive and replicate within macrophages, a trait that has been correlated with its high virulence, but it is unclear the exact mechanism(s) this organism uses to escape killing within this hostile environment. F. tularensis virulence is dependent upon the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI), a cluster of genes that we show here shares homology with Type VI secretion gene clusters in Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We demonstrate that two FPI proteins, VgrG and IglI, are secreted into the cytosol of infected macrophages. VgrG and IglI are required for F. tularensis phagosomal escape, intramacrophage growth, inflammasome activation, and virulence in mice. Interestingly, VgrG secretion does not require the other FPI genes. However, VgrG and other FPI genes, including PdpB (an IcmF homologue), are required for the secretion of IglI into the macrophage cytosol, suggesting VgrG and other FPI factors are components of a secretion system. This is the first report of F. tularensis FPI virulence proteins required for intramacrophage growth that are translocated into the macrophage. PMID:20054881

  20. Glycosylation of DsbA in Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis▿†

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, Rebecca M.; Twine, Susan M.; Fulton, Kelly M.; Tessier, Luc; Kilmury, Sara L. N.; Ding, Wen; Harmer, Nicholas; Michell, Stephen L.; Oyston, Petra C. F.; Titball, Richard W.; Prior, Joann L.

    2011-01-01

    In Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis, DsbA has been shown to be an essential virulence factor and has been observed to migrate to multiple protein spots on two-dimensional electrophoresis gels. In this work, we show that the protein is modified with a 1,156-Da glycan moiety in O-linkage. The results of mass spectrometry studies suggest that the glycan is a hexasaccharide, comprised of N-acetylhexosamines, hexoses, and an unknown monosaccharide. Disruption of two genes within the FTT0789-FTT0800 putative polysaccharide locus, including a galE homologue (FTT0791) and a putative glycosyltransferase (FTT0798), resulted in loss of glycan modification of DsbA. The F. tularensis subsp. tularensis ΔFTT0798 and ΔFTT0791::Cm mutants remained virulent in the murine model of subcutaneous tularemia. This indicates that glycosylation of DsbA does not play a major role in virulence under these conditions. This is the first report of the detailed characterization of the DsbA glycan and putative role of the FTT0789-FTT0800 gene cluster in glycan biosynthesis. PMID:21803994

  1. UV-C Inactivation of Francisella tularensis Utah-112 on agar surfaces, stainless steel, and foods

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Francisella tularensis has been identified as a microorganism of concern in the field of food security. There is currently very little information on the ability to inactivate F. tularensis on foods using non-thermal processing technologies. The ability of ultraviolet light (UV-C) to inactivate F....

  2. MglA Regulates Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida (Francisella novicida) Response to Starvation and Oxidative Stress▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Guina, Tina; Radulovic, Dragan; Bahrami, Arya J.; Bolton, Diana L.; Rohmer, Laurence; Jones-Isaac, Kendan A.; Chen, Jinzy; Gallagher, Larry A.; Gallis, Byron; Ryu, Soyoung; Taylor, Greg K.; Brittnacher, Mitchell J.; Manoil, Colin; Goodlett, David R.

    2007-01-01

    MglA is a transcriptional regulator of genes that contribute to the virulence of Francisella tularensis, a highly infectious pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. This study used a label-free shotgun proteomics method to determine the F. tularensis subsp. novicida (F. novicida) proteins that are regulated by MglA. The differences in relative protein amounts between wild-type F. novicida and the mglA mutant were derived directly from the average peptide precursor ion intensity values measured with the mass spectrometer by using a suite of mathematical algorithms. Among the proteins whose relative amounts changed in an F. novicida mglA mutant were homologs of oxidative and general stress response proteins. The F. novicida mglA mutant exhibited decreased survival during stationary-phase growth and increased susceptibility to killing by superoxide generated by the redox-cycling agent paraquat. The F. novicida mglA mutant also showed increased survival upon exposure to hydrogen peroxide, likely due to increased amounts of the catalase KatG. Our results suggested that MglA coordinates the stress response of F. tularensis and is likely essential for bacterial survival in harsh environments. PMID:17644593

  3. Contribution of Citrulline Ureidase to Francisella tularensis Strain Schu S4 Pathogenesis▿

    PubMed Central

    Mahawar, Manish; Kirimanjeswara, Girish S.; Metzger, Dennis W.; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar

    2009-01-01

    The citrulline ureidase (CTU) activity has been shown to be associated with highly virulent Francisella tularensis strains, including Schu S4, while it is absent in avirulent or less virulent strains. A definitive role of the ctu gene in virulence and pathogenesis of F. tularensis Schu S4 has not been assessed; thus, an understanding of the significance of this phenotype is long overdue. CTU is a carbon-nitrogen hydrolase encoded by the citrulline ureidase (ctu) gene (FTT0435) on the F. tularensis Schu S4 genome. In the present study, we evaluated the contribution of the ctu gene in the virulence of category A agent F. tularensis Schu S4 by generating a nonpolar deletion mutant, the Δctu mutant. The deletion of the ctu gene resulted in loss of CTU activity, which was restored by transcomplementing the ctu gene. The Δctu mutant did not exhibit any growth defect under acellular growth conditions; however, it was impaired for intramacrophage growth in resting as well as gamma interferon-stimulated macrophages. The Δctu mutant was further tested for its virulence attributes in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia. Mice infected intranasally with the Δctu mutant showed significantly reduced bacterial burden in the lungs, liver, and spleen compared to wild-type (WT) Schu S4-infected mice. The reduced bacterial burden in mice infected with the Δctu mutant was also associated with significantly lower histopathological scores in the lungs. Mice infected with the Δctu mutant succumbed to infection, but they survived longer and showed significantly extended median time to death compared to that shown by WT Schu S4-infected mice. To conclude, this study demonstrates that ctu contributes to intracellular survival, in vivo growth, and pathogenesis. However, ctu is not an absolute requirement for the virulence of F. tularensis Schu S4 in mice. PMID:19502406

  4. Symbiosis with Francisella tularensis provides resistance to pathogens in the silkworm

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Jin; Uda, Akihiko; Watanabe, Kenta; Shimizu, Takashi; Watarai, Masahisa

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a highly virulent facultative intracellular pathogen found in a wide range of animals, including arthropods, and environments. This bacterium has been known for over 100 years, but the lifestyle of F. tularensis in natural reservoirs remains largely unknown. Thus, we established a novel natural host model for F. tularensis using the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which is an insect model for infection by pathogens. F. tularensis established a symbiosis with silkworms, and bacteria were observed in the hemolymph. After infection with F. tularensis, the induction of melanization and nodulation, which are immune responses to bacterial infection, were inhibited in silkworms. Pre-inoculation of silkworms with F. tularensis enhanced the expression of antimicrobial peptides and resistance to infection by pathogenic bacteria. These results suggest that silkworms acquire host resistance via their symbiosis with F. tularensis, which may have important fitness benefits in natural reservoirs. PMID:27507264

  5. Symbiosis with Francisella tularensis provides resistance to pathogens in the silkworm.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Jin; Uda, Akihiko; Watanabe, Kenta; Shimizu, Takashi; Watarai, Masahisa

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a highly virulent facultative intracellular pathogen found in a wide range of animals, including arthropods, and environments. This bacterium has been known for over 100 years, but the lifestyle of F. tularensis in natural reservoirs remains largely unknown. Thus, we established a novel natural host model for F. tularensis using the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which is an insect model for infection by pathogens. F. tularensis established a symbiosis with silkworms, and bacteria were observed in the hemolymph. After infection with F. tularensis, the induction of melanization and nodulation, which are immune responses to bacterial infection, were inhibited in silkworms. Pre-inoculation of silkworms with F. tularensis enhanced the expression of antimicrobial peptides and resistance to infection by pathogenic bacteria. These results suggest that silkworms acquire host resistance via their symbiosis with F. tularensis, which may have important fitness benefits in natural reservoirs. PMID:27507264

  6. Pullulanase Is Necessary for the Efficient Intracellular Growth of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Uda, Akihiko; Sharma, Neekun; Takimoto, Kazuhiro; Deyu, Tian; Koyama, Yuuki; Park, Eun-Sil; Fujita, Osamu; Hotta, Akitoyo; Morikawa, Shigeru

    2016-01-01

    Pullulanase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of polysaccharides, has been identified in a broad range of organisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and animals. The pullulanase (pulB; FTT_0412c) of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis Schu S4 is considered to be a homologue of the type I pullulanase (pulA) of the other Francisella subspecies. The significance of Francisella pullulanase has been obscure until now. In the present study, we characterized a recombinant PulB of F. tularensis SCHU P9, which was expressed as a his-tagged protein in Escherichia coli. The recombinant PulB was confirmed to be a type I pullulanase by its enzymatic activity in vitro. A pulB gene knockout mutant of F. tularensis SCHU P9 (ΔpulB) was constructed using the TargeTron Knockout system and plasmid pKEK1140 to clarify the function of PulB during the growth of F. tularensis in macrophages. The intracellular growth of the ΔpulB mutant in murine macrophage J774.1 cells was significantly reduced compared with that of the parental strain SCHU P9. Expression of PulB in ΔpulB, using an expression plasmid, resulted in the complementation of the reduced growth in macrophages, suggesting that PulB is necessary for the efficient growth of F. tularensis in macrophages. To assess the role of PulB in virulence, the knockout and parent bacterial strains were used to infect C57BL/6J mice. Histopathological analyses showed that tissues from ΔpulB-infected mice showed milder lesions compared to those from SCHU P9-infected mice. However, all mice infected with SCHU P9 and ΔpulB showed the similar levels of bacterial loads in their tissues. The results suggest that PulB plays a significant role in bacterial growth within murine macrophage but does not contribute to bacterial virulence in vivo. PMID:27448164

  7. Pullulanase Is Necessary for the Efficient Intracellular Growth of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Takimoto, Kazuhiro; Deyu, Tian; Koyama, Yuuki; Park, Eun-sil; Fujita, Osamu; Hotta, Akitoyo; Morikawa, Shigeru

    2016-01-01

    Pullulanase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of polysaccharides, has been identified in a broad range of organisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and animals. The pullulanase (pulB; FTT_0412c) of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis Schu S4 is considered to be a homologue of the type I pullulanase (pulA) of the other Francisella subspecies. The significance of Francisella pullulanase has been obscure until now. In the present study, we characterized a recombinant PulB of F. tularensis SCHU P9, which was expressed as a his-tagged protein in Escherichia coli. The recombinant PulB was confirmed to be a type I pullulanase by its enzymatic activity in vitro. A pulB gene knockout mutant of F. tularensis SCHU P9 (ΔpulB) was constructed using the TargeTron Knockout system and plasmid pKEK1140 to clarify the function of PulB during the growth of F. tularensis in macrophages. The intracellular growth of the ΔpulB mutant in murine macrophage J774.1 cells was significantly reduced compared with that of the parental strain SCHU P9. Expression of PulB in ΔpulB, using an expression plasmid, resulted in the complementation of the reduced growth in macrophages, suggesting that PulB is necessary for the efficient growth of F. tularensis in macrophages. To assess the role of PulB in virulence, the knockout and parent bacterial strains were used to infect C57BL/6J mice. Histopathological analyses showed that tissues from ΔpulB-infected mice showed milder lesions compared to those from SCHU P9-infected mice. However, all mice infected with SCHU P9 and ΔpulB showed the similar levels of bacterial loads in their tissues. The results suggest that PulB plays a significant role in bacterial growth within murine macrophage but does not contribute to bacterial virulence in vivo. PMID:27448164

  8. The Early Phagosomal Stage of Francisella tularensis Determines Optimal Phagosomal Escape and Francisella Pathogenicity Island Protein Expression▿

    PubMed Central

    Chong, Audrey; Wehrly, Tara D.; Nair, Vinod; Fischer, Elizabeth R.; Barker, Jeffrey R.; Klose, Karl E.; Celli, Jean

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular pathogen that can survive and replicate within macrophages. Following phagocytosis and transient interactions with the endocytic pathway, F. tularensis rapidly escapes from its original phagosome into the macrophage cytoplasm, where it eventually replicates. To examine the importance of the nascent phagosome for the Francisella intracellular cycle, we have characterized early trafficking events of the F. tularensis subsp. tularensis strain Schu S4 in a murine bone marrow-derived macrophage model. Here we show that early phagosomes containing Schu S4 transiently interact with early and late endosomes and become acidified before the onset of phagosomal disruption. Inhibition of endosomal acidification with the vacuolar ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A1 or concanamycin A prior to infection significantly delayed but did not block phagosomal escape and cytosolic replication, indicating that maturation of the early Francisella-containing phagosome (FCP) is important for optimal phagosomal escape and subsequent intracellular growth. Further, Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) protein expression was induced during early intracellular trafficking events. Although inhibition of endosomal acidification mimicked the early phagosomal escape defects caused by mutation of the FPI-encoded IglCD proteins, it did not inhibit the intracellular induction of FPI proteins, demonstrating that this response is independent of phagosomal pH. Altogether, these results demonstrate that early phagosomal maturation is required for optimal phagosomal escape and that the early FCP provides cues other than intravacuolar pH that determine intracellular induction of FPI proteins. PMID:18852245

  9. Gallium Potentiates the Antibacterial Effect of Gentamicin against Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Lindgren, Helena

    2015-01-01

    The reasons why aminoglycosides are bactericidal have not been not fully elucidated, and evidence indicates that the cidal effects are at least partly dependent on iron. We demonstrate that availability of iron markedly affects the susceptibility of the facultative intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis strain SCHU S4 to the aminoglycoside gentamicin. Specifically, the intracellular depots of iron were inversely correlated to gentamicin susceptibility, whereas the extracellular iron concentrations were directly correlated to the susceptibility. Further proof of the intimate link between iron availability and antibiotic susceptibility were the findings that a ΔfslA mutant, which is defective for siderophore-dependent uptake of ferric iron, showed enhanced gentamicin susceptibility and that a ΔfeoB mutant, which is defective for uptake of ferrous iron, displayed complete growth arrest in the presence of gentamicin. Based on the aforementioned findings, it was hypothesized that gallium could potentiate the effect of gentamicin, since gallium is sequestered by iron uptake systems. The ferrozine assay demonstrated that the presence of gallium inhibited >70% of the iron uptake. Addition of gentamicin and/or gallium to infected bone marrow-derived macrophages showed that both 100 μM gallium and 10 μg/ml of gentamicin inhibited intracellular growth of SCHU S4 and that the combined treatment acted synergistically. Moreover, treatment of F. tularensis-infected mice with gentamicin and gallium showed an additive effect. Collectively, the data demonstrate that SCHU S4 is dependent on iron to minimize the effects of gentamicin and that gallium, by inhibiting the iron uptake, potentiates the bactericidal effect of gentamicin in vitro and in vivo. PMID:26503658

  10. Lipidation of the FPI protein IglE contributes to Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida intramacrophage replication and virulence.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Jesse Q; Gilley, Ryan P; Zogaj, Xhavit; Rodriguez, Stephen A; Klose, Karl E

    2014-10-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for the human disease tularemia. The Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) encodes a secretion system related to type VI secretion systems (T6SS) which allows F. tularensis to escape the phagosome and replicate within the cytosol of infected macrophages and ultimately cause disease. A lipoprotein is typically found encoded within T6SS gene clusters and is believed to anchor portions of the secretion apparatus to the outer membrane. We show that the FPI protein IglE is a lipoprotein that incorporates (3)H-palmitate and localizes to the outer membrane. A C22G IglE mutant failed to be lipidated and failed to localize to the outer membrane, consistent with C22 being the site of lipidation. Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida expressing IglE C22G is defective for replication in macrophages and unable to cause disease in mice. Bacterial two-hybrid analysis demonstrated that IglE interacts with the C-terminal portion of the FPI inner membrane protein PdpB, and PhoA fusion analysis indicated the PdpB C-terminus is located within the periplasm. We predict this interaction facilitates channel formation to allow secretion through this system. PMID:24616435

  11. Lipidation of the FPI protein IglE contributes to Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida intramacrophage replication and virulence

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, Jesse Q.; Gilley, Ryan P.; Zogaj, Xhavit; Rodriguez, Stephen A.; Klose, Karl E.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for the human disease tularemia. The Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) encodes a secretion system related to type VI secretion systems (T6SS) which allows F. tularensis to escape the phagosome and replicate within the cytosol of infected macrophages and ultimately cause disease. A lipoprotein is typically found encoded within T6SS gene clusters and is believed to anchor portions of the secretion apparatus to the outer membrane. We show that the FPI protein IglE is a lipoprotein that incorporates 3H-palmitate and localizes to the outer membrane. A C22G IglE mutant failed to be lipidated and failed to localize to the outer membrane, consistent with C22 being the site of lipidation. Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida expressing IglE C22G is defective for replication in macrophages and unable to cause disease in mice. Bacterial two-hybrid analysis demonstrated that IglE interacts with the C-terminal portion of the FPI inner membrane protein PdpB, and PhoA fusion analysis indicated the PdpB C-terminus is located within the periplasm. We predict this interaction facilitates channel formation to allow secretion through this system. PMID:24616435

  12. Identification of immunoreactive antigens in membrane proteins enriched fraction from Francisella tularensis LVS.

    PubMed

    Janovská, Sylva; Pávková, Ivona; Hubálek, Martin; Lenco, Juraj; Macela, Ales; Stulík, Jirí

    2007-02-15

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative, facultative intracellular bacterium causing disease in many mammalian species. The low infectious dose of F. tularensis and the ease of air-borne transmission are the main features responsible for the classification of this bacterium as a potential biological weapon. The live attenuated strain of F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) is currently only effective vaccine against tularemia, however, this type of vaccine has not been approved for human use. In the presented study, sub-immunoproteome analysis was performed to search for new immunogenic proteins of Francisella tularensis LVS grown under different conditions. By this approach 35 immunoreactive antigens were identified, 19 of them showed to be novel immunogens. In conclusion, sub-immunoproteome analysis resulted in successful identification of novel immunoreactive proteins. PMID:17241671

  13. Rapid dissemination of Francisella tularensis and the effect of route of infection

    PubMed Central

    Ojeda, Sandra S; Wang, Zheng J; Mares, Chris A; Chang, Tingtung A; Li, Qun; Morris, Elizabeth G; Jerabek, Paul A; Teale, Judy M

    2008-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis is classified as a Category A bioweapon that is capable of establishing a lethal infection in humans upon inhalation of very few organisms. However, the virulence mechanisms of this organism are not well characterized. Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida, which is an equally virulent subspecies in mice, was used in concert with a microPET scanner to better understand its temporal dissemination in vivo upon intranasal infection and how such dissemination compares with other routes of infection. Adult mice were inoculated intranasally with F. tularensis subsp. novicida radiolabeled with 64Cu and imaged by microPET at 0.25, 2 and 20 hours post-infection. Results 64Cu labeled F. tularensis subsp. novicida administered intranasally or intratracheally were visualized in the respiratory tract and stomach at 0.25 hours post infection. By 20 hours, there was significant tropism to the lung compared with other tissues. In contrast, the images of radiolabeled F. tularensis subsp. novicida when administered intragastrically, intradermally, intraperitoneally and intravenouslly were more generally limited to the gastrointestinal system, site of inoculation, liver and spleen respectively. MicroPET images correlated with the biodistribution of isotope and bacterial burdens in analyzed tissues. Conclusion Our findings suggest that Francisella has a differential tissue tropism depending on the route of entry and that the virulence of Francisella by the pulmonary route is associated with a rapid bacteremia and an early preferential tropism to the lung. In addition, the use of the microPET device allowed us to identify the cecum as a novel site of colonization of Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida in mice. PMID:19068128

  14. Molecular Complexity Orchestrates Modulation of Phagosome Biogenesis and Escape to the Cytosol of macrophages by Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Asare, Rexford; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2010-01-01

    Upon entry of Francisella tularensis to macrophages, the Francisella-containing phagosome (FCP) is trafficked into an acidified late endosome-like phagosome with limited fusion to the lysosomes followed by rapid escape into the cytosol where the organism replicates. Although the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI), which encodes a type VI-like secretion apparatus, is required for modulation of phagosome biogenesis and escape into the cytosol, the mechanisms involved are not known. To decipher the molecular bases of modulation of biogenesis of the FCP and bacterial escape into the macrophage cytosol, we have screened a comprehensive mutant library of F. tularensis subsp novicida for their defect in proliferation within human macrophages, followed by characterization of modulation of phagosome biogenesis and bacterial escape into the cytosol. Our data show that at least 202 genes are required for intracellular proliferation within macrophages. Among the 125 most defective mutants in intracellular proliferation, we show that the FCP of at least 91 mutants co-localize persistently with the late endosomal/lysosomal marker LAMP-1 and fail to escape into the cytosol, as determined by fluorescence-based phagosome integrity assays and transmission electron microscopy. At least 34 genes are required for proliferation within the cytosol but do not play a detectable role in modulation of phagosome biogenesis and bacterial escape into the cytosol. Our data indicate a tremendous adaptation and metabolic reprogramming by F. tularensis to adjust to the micro-environmental and nutritional cues within the FCP, and these adjustments play essential roles in modulation of phagosome biogenesis and escape into the cytosol of macrophages as well as proliferation in the cytosol. The plethora of the networks of genes that orchestrate F. tularensis-mediated modulation of phagosome biogenesis, phagosomal escape, and bacterial proliferation within the cytosol is novel, complex, and involves

  15. The use of resazurin as a novel antimicrobial agent against Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Deanna M; O'Dee, Dawn M; Cowan, Brianna N; Birch, James W-M; Mazzella, Leanne K; Nau, Gerard J; Horzempa, Joseph

    2013-01-01

    The highly infectious and deadly pathogen, Francisella tularensis, is classified by the CDC as a Category A bioterrorism agent. Inhalation of a single bacterium results in an acute pneumonia with a 30-60% mortality rate without treatment. Due to the prevalence of antibiotic resistance, there is a strong need for new types of antibacterial drugs. Resazurin is commonly used to measure bacterial and eukaryotic cell viability through its reduction to the fluorescent product resorufin. When tested on various bacterial taxa at the recommended concentration of 44 μM, a potent bactericidal effect was observed against various Francisella and Neisseria species, including the human pathogens type A F. tularensis (Schu S4) and N. gonorrhoeae. As low as 4.4 μM resazurin was sufficient for a 10-fold reduction in F. tularensis growth. In broth culture, resazurin was reduced to resorufin by F. tularensis. Resorufin also suppressed the growth of F. tularensis suggesting that this compound is the biologically active form responsible for decreasing the viability of F. tularensis LVS bacteria. Replication of F. tularensis in primary human macrophages and non-phagocytic cells was abolished following treatment with 44 μM resazurin indicating this compound could be an effective therapy for tularemia in vivo. PMID:24367766

  16. Role of mTOR Downstream Effector Signaling Molecules in Francisella Tularensis Internalization by Murine Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Michael W.; Aultman, James A.; Harber, Gregory; Bhatt, Jay M.; Sztul, Elizabeth; Xu, Qingan; Zhang, Ping; Michalek, Suzanne M.; Katz, Jannet

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an infectious, gram-negative, intracellular microorganism, and the cause of tularemia. Invasion of host cells by intracellular pathogens like Francisella is initiated by their interaction with different host cell membrane receptors and the rapid phosphorylation of different downstream signaling molecules. PI3K and Syk have been shown to be involved in F. tularensis host cell entry, and both of these signaling molecules are associated with the master regulator serine/threonine kinase mTOR; yet the involvement of mTOR in F. tularensis invasion of host cells has not been assessed. Here, we report that infection of macrophages with F. tularensis triggers the phosphorylation of mTOR downstream effector molecules, and that signaling via TLR2 is necessary for these events. Inhibition of mTOR or of PI3K, ERK, or p38, but not Akt signaling, downregulates the levels of phosphorylation of mTOR downstream targets, and significantly reduces the number of F. tularensis cells invading macrophages. Moreover, while phosphorylation of mTOR downstream effectors occurs via the PI3K pathway, it also involves PLCγ1 and Ca2+ signaling. Furthermore, abrogation of PLC or Ca2+ signaling revealed their important role in the ability of F. tularensis to invade host cells. Together, these findings suggest that F. tularensis invasion of primary macrophages utilize a myriad of host signaling pathways to ensure effective cell entry. PMID:24312679

  17. Host–pathogen interactions and immune evasion strategies in Francisella tularensis pathogenicity

    PubMed Central

    Steiner, Don J; Furuya, Yoichi; Metzger, Dennis W

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular Gram-negative bacterium that causes life-threatening tularemia. Although the prevalence of natural infection is low, F. tularensis remains a tier I priority pathogen due to its extreme virulence and ease of aerosol dissemination. F. tularensis can infect a host through multiple routes, including the intradermal and respiratory routes. Respiratory infection can result from a very small inoculum (ten organisms or fewer) and is the most lethal form of infection. Following infection, F. tularensis employs strategies for immune evasion that delay the immune response, permitting systemic distribution and induction of sepsis. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of F. tularensis in an immunological context, with emphasis on the host response and bacterial evasion of that response. PMID:25258544

  18. Biochemical and structural characterization of polyphosphate kinase 2 from the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Batten, Laura E.; Parnell, Alice E.; Wells, Neil J.; Murch, Amber L.; Oyston, Petra C. F.; Roach, Peter L.

    2015-01-01

    The metabolism of polyphosphate is important for the virulence of a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and the enzymes of polyphosphate metabolism have been proposed as an anti-bacterial target. In the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis, the product of the gene FTT1564 has been identified as a polyphosphate kinase from the polyphosphate kinase 2 (PPK2) family. The isogenic deletion mutant was defective for intracellular growth in macrophages and was attenuated in mice, indicating an important role for polyphosphate in the virulence of Francisella. Herein, we report the biochemical and structural characterization of F. tularensis polyphosphate kinase (FtPPK2) with a view to characterizing the enzyme as a novel target for inhibitors. Using an HPLC-based activity assay, the substrate specificity of FtPPK2 was found to include purine but not pyrimidine nts. The activity was also measured using 31P-NMR. FtPPK2 has been crystallized and the structure determined to 2.23 Å (1 Å=0.1 nm) resolution. The structure consists of a six-stranded parallel β-sheet surrounded by 12 α-helices, with a high degree of similarity to other members of the PPK2 family and the thymidylate kinase superfamily. Residues proposed to be important for substrate binding and catalysis have been identified in the structure, including a lid-loop and the conserved Walker A and B motifs. The ΔFTT1564 strain showed significantly increased sensitivity to a range of antibiotics in a manner independent of the mode of action of the antibiotic. This combination of biochemical, structural and microbiological data provide a sound foundation for future studies targeting the development of PPK2 small molecule inhibitors. PMID:26582818

  19. Detection of Francisella tularensis within Infected Mouse Tissues by Using a Hand-Held PCR Thermocycler

    PubMed Central

    Emanuel, Peter A.; Bell, Ryan; Dang, Jessica L.; McClanahan, Rebecca; David, John C.; Burgess, Robert J.; Thompson, Joseph; Collins, Lisa; Hadfield, Ted

    2003-01-01

    The diagnosis of human cases of tularemia often relies upon the demonstration of an antibody response to Francisella tularensis or the direct culturing of the bacteria from the patient. Antibody response is not detectable until 2 weeks or more after infection, and culturing requires special media and suspicion of tularemia. In addition, handling live Francisella poses a risk to laboratory personnel due to the highly infectious nature of this pathogen. In an effort to develop a rapid diagnostic assay for tularemia, we investigated the use of TaqMan 5′ hydrolysis fluorogenic PCR to detect the organism in tissues of infected mice. Mice were infected to produce respiratory tularemia. The fopA and tul4 genes of F. tularensis were amplified from infected spleen, lung, liver, and kidney tissues sampled over a 5-day period. The samples were analyzed using the laboratory-based Applied Biosystems International 7900 and the Smiths Detection-Edgewood BioSeeq, a hand-held portable fluorescence thermocycler designed for use in the field. A comparison of culturing and PCR for detection of bacteria in infected tissues shows that culturing was more sensitive than PCR. However, the results for culture take 72 h, whereas PCR results were available within 4 h. PCR was able to detect infection in all the tissues tested. Lung tissue showed the earliest response at 2 days when tested with the ABI 7900 and in 3 days when tested with the BioSeeq. The results were in agreement between the ABI 7900 and the BioSeeq when presented with the same sample. Template preparation may account for the loss of sensitivity compared to culturing techniques. The hand-held BioSeeq thermocycler shows promise as an expedient means of forward diagnosis of infection in the field. PMID:12574268

  20. Biochemical and structural characterization of polyphosphate kinase 2 from the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Batten, Laura E; Parnell, Alice E; Wells, Neil J; Murch, Amber L; Oyston, Petra C F; Roach, Peter L

    2016-01-01

    The metabolism of polyphosphate is important for the virulence of a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and the enzymes of polyphosphate metabolism have been proposed as an anti-bacterial target. In the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis, the product of the gene FTT1564 has been identified as a polyphosphate kinase from the polyphosphate kinase 2 (PPK2) family. The isogenic deletion mutant was defective for intracellular growth in macrophages and was attenuated in mice, indicating an important role for polyphosphate in the virulence of Francisella. Herein, we report the biochemical and structural characterization of F. tularensis polyphosphate kinase (FtPPK2) with a view to characterizing the enzyme as a novel target for inhibitors. Using an HPLC-based activity assay, the substrate specificity of FtPPK2 was found to include purine but not pyrimidine nts. The activity was also measured using (31)P-NMR. FtPPK2 has been crystallized and the structure determined to 2.23 Å (1 Å=0.1 nm) resolution. The structure consists of a six-stranded parallel β-sheet surrounded by 12 α-helices, with a high degree of similarity to other members of the PPK2 family and the thymidylate kinase superfamily. Residues proposed to be important for substrate binding and catalysis have been identified in the structure, including a lid-loop and the conserved Walker A and B motifs. The ΔFTT1564 strain showed significantly increased sensitivity to a range of antibiotics in a manner independent of the mode of action of the antibiotic. This combination of biochemical, structural and microbiological data provide a sound foundation for future studies targeting the development of PPK2 small molecule inhibitors. PMID:26582818

  1. A Combined Enrichment and Aptamer Pulldown Assay for Francisella tularensis Detection in Food and Environmental Matrices

    PubMed Central

    Enomoto, Shinichiro; Borewicz, Klaudyna; Abdallah, Ahmed; Isaacson, Richard E.; Sreevatsan, Srinand

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a Gram-negative bacterium and causative agent of tularemia, is categorized as a Class A select agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to its ease of dissemination and ability to cause disease. Oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal tularemia may occur due to ingestion of contaminated food and water. Despite the concern to public health, little research is focused on F. tularensis detection in food and environmental matrices. Current diagnostics rely on host responses and amplification of F. tularensis genetic elements via Polymerase Chain Reaction; however, both tools are limited by development of an antibody response and limit of detection, respectively. During our investigation to develop an improved culture medium to aid F. tularensis diagnostics, we found enhanced F. tularensis growth using the spent culture filtrate. Addition of the spent culture filtrate allowed for increased detection of F. tularensis in mixed cultures of food and environmental matrices. Ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC)/MS analysis identified several unique chemicals within the spent culture supernatant of which carnosine had a matching m/z ratio. Addition of 0.625 mg/mL of carnosine to conventional F. tularensis medium increased the growth of F. tularensis at low inoculums. In order to further enrich F. tularensis cells, we developed a DNA aptamer cocktail to physically separate F. tularensis from other bacteria present in food and environmental matrices. The combined enrichment steps resulted in a detection range of 1–106 CFU/mL (starting inoculums) in both soil and lettuce backgrounds. We propose that the two-step enrichment process may be utilized for easy field diagnostics and subtyping of suspected F. tularensis contamination as well as a tool to aid in basic research of F. tularensis ecology. PMID:25536105

  2. Exploitation of Host Cell Biology and Evasion of Immunity by Francisella Tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Asare, Rexford; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2011-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular bacterium that infects humans and many small mammals. During infection, F. tularensis replicates predominantly in macrophages but also proliferate in other cell types. Entry into host cells is mediate by various receptors. Complement-opsonized F. tularensis enters into macrophages by looping phagocytosis. Uptake is mediated in part by Syk, which may activate actin rearrangement in the phagocytic cup resulting in the engulfment of F. tularensis in a lipid raft rich phagosome. Inside the host cells, F. tularensis resides transiently in an acidified late endosome-like compartment before disruption of the phagosomal membrane and escape into the cytosol, where bacterial proliferation occurs. Modulation of phagosome biogenesis and escape into the cytosol is mediated by the Francisella pathogenicity island-encoded type VI-like secretion system. Whilst inside the phagosome, F. tularensis temporarily induce proinflammatory cytokines in PI3K/Akt-dependent manner, which is counteracted by the induction of SHIP that negatively regulates PI3K/Akt activation and promotes bacterial escape into the cytosol. Interestingly, F. tularensis subverts CD4 T cells-mediated killing by inhibiting antigen presentation by activated macrophages through ubiquitin-dependent degradation of MHC II molecules on activated macrophages. In the cytosol, F. tularensis is recognized by the host cell inflammasome, which is down-regulated by F. tularensis that also inhibits caspase-1 and ASC activity. During late stages of intracellular proliferation, caspase-3 is activated but apoptosis is delayed through activation of NF-κB and Ras, which ensures cell viability. PMID:21687747

  3. Disruption of Francisella tularensis Schu S4 iglI, iglJ, and pdpC Genes Results in Attenuation for Growth in Human Macrophages and In Vivo Virulence in Mice and Reveals a Unique Phenotype for pdpC

    PubMed Central

    Long, Matthew E.; Lindemann, Stephen R.; Rasmussen, Jed A.; Jones, Bradley D.

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. After infection of macrophages, the organism escapes from its phagosome and replicates to high density in the cytosol, but the bacterial factors required for these aspects of virulence are incompletely defined. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis strain Schu S4 mutants that lack functional iglI, iglJ, or pdpC, three genes of the Francisella pathogenicity island. Our data demonstrate that these mutants were defective for replication in primary human monocyte-derived macrophages and murine J774 cells yet exhibited two distinct phenotypes. The iglI and iglJ mutants were similar to one another, exhibited profound defects in phagosome escape and intracellular growth, and appeared to be trapped in cathepsin D-positive phagolysosomes. Conversely, the pdpC mutant avoided trafficking to lysosomes, phagosome escape was diminished but not ablated, and these organisms replicated in a small subset of infected macrophages. The phenotype of each mutant strain was reversed by trans complementation. In vivo virulence was assessed by intranasal infection of BALB/c mice. The mutants appeared avirulent, as all mice survived infection with 108 CFU iglJ- or pdpC-deficient bacteria. Nevertheless, the pdpC mutant disseminated to the liver and spleen before being eliminated, whereas the iglJ mutant did not. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the pathogenicity island genes tested are essential for F. tularensis Schu S4 virulence and further suggest that pdpC may play a unique role in this process, as indicated by its distinct intermediate phenotype. PMID:23275090

  4. Disruption of Francisella tularensis Schu S4 iglI, iglJ, and pdpC genes results in attenuation for growth in human macrophages and in vivo virulence in mice and reveals a unique phenotype for pdpC.

    PubMed

    Long, Matthew E; Lindemann, Stephen R; Rasmussen, Jed A; Jones, Bradley D; Allen, Lee-Ann H

    2013-03-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. After infection of macrophages, the organism escapes from its phagosome and replicates to high density in the cytosol, but the bacterial factors required for these aspects of virulence are incompletely defined. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis strain Schu S4 mutants that lack functional iglI, iglJ, or pdpC, three genes of the Francisella pathogenicity island. Our data demonstrate that these mutants were defective for replication in primary human monocyte-derived macrophages and murine J774 cells yet exhibited two distinct phenotypes. The iglI and iglJ mutants were similar to one another, exhibited profound defects in phagosome escape and intracellular growth, and appeared to be trapped in cathepsin D-positive phagolysosomes. Conversely, the pdpC mutant avoided trafficking to lysosomes, phagosome escape was diminished but not ablated, and these organisms replicated in a small subset of infected macrophages. The phenotype of each mutant strain was reversed by trans complementation. In vivo virulence was assessed by intranasal infection of BALB/c mice. The mutants appeared avirulent, as all mice survived infection with 10(8) CFU iglJ- or pdpC-deficient bacteria. Nevertheless, the pdpC mutant disseminated to the liver and spleen before being eliminated, whereas the iglJ mutant did not. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the pathogenicity island genes tested are essential for F. tularensis Schu S4 virulence and further suggest that pdpC may play a unique role in this process, as indicated by its distinct intermediate phenotype. PMID:23275090

  5. Whole genome single nucleotide polymorphism based phylogeny of Francisella tularensis and its application to the development of a strain typing assay

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background A low genetic diversity in Francisella tularensis has been documented. Current DNA based genotyping methods for typing F. tularensis offer a limited and varying degree of subspecies, clade and strain level discrimination power. Whole genome sequencing is the most accurate and reliable method to identify, type and determine phylogenetic relationships among strains of a species. However, lower cost typing schemes are necessary in order to enable typing of hundreds or even thousands of isolates. Results We have generated a high-resolution phylogenetic tree from 40 Francisella isolates, including 13 F. tularensis subspecies holarctica (type B) strains, 26 F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (type A) strains and a single F. novicida strain. The tree was generated from global multi-strain single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data collected using a set of six Affymetrix GeneChip® resequencing arrays with the non-repetitive portion of LVS (type B) as the reference sequence complemented with unique sequences of SCHU S4 (type A). Global SNP based phylogenetic clustering was able to resolve all non-related strains. The phylogenetic tree was used to guide the selection of informative SNPs specific to major nodes in the tree for development of a genotyping assay for identification of F. tularensis subspecies and clades. We designed and validated an assay that uses these SNPs to accurately genotype 39 additional F. tularensis strains as type A (A1, A2, A1a or A1b) or type B (B1 or B2). Conclusion Whole-genome SNP based clustering was shown to accurately identify SNPs for differentiation of F. tularensis subspecies and clades, emphasizing the potential power and utility of this methodology for selecting SNPs for typing of F. tularensis to the strain level. Additionally, whole genome sequence based SNP information gained from a representative population of strains may be used to perform evolutionary or phylogenetic comparisons of strains, or selection of unique strains for

  6. The Genetic Diversity and Evolution of Francisella tularensis with Comments on Detection by PCR.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, Mark K; Adams, Byron J; Robison, Richard A

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis has been the focus of much research over the last two decades mainly because of its potential use as an agent of bioterrorism. F. tularensis is the causative agent of zoonotic tularemia and has a worldwide distribution. The different subspecies of F. tularensis vary in their biogeography and virulence, making early detection and diagnosis important in both the biodefense and public health sectors. Recent genome sequencing efforts reveal aspects of genetic diversity, evolution and phylogeography previously unknown for this relatively small organism, and highlight a role for detection by various PCR assays. This review explores the advances made in understanding the evolution and genetic diversity of F. tularensis and how these advances have led to better PCR assays for detection and identification of the subspecies. PMID:26336102

  7. Ubiquitous Promoter-Localization of Essential Virulence Regulators in Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Ramsey, Kathryn M.; Osborne, Melisa L.; Vvedenskaya, Irina O.; Su, Cathy; Nickels, Bryce E.; Dove, Simon L.

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium whose ability to replicate within macrophages and cause disease is strictly dependent upon the coordinate activities of three transcription regulators called MglA, SspA, and PigR. MglA and SspA form a complex that associates with RNA polymerase (RNAP), whereas PigR is a putative DNA-binding protein that functions by contacting the MglA-SspA complex. Most transcription activators that bind the DNA are thought to occupy only those promoters whose activities they regulate. Here we show using chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-Seq) that PigR, MglA, and SspA are found at virtually all promoters in F. tularensis and not just those of regulated genes. Furthermore, we find that the ability of PigR to associate with promoters is dependent upon the presence of MglA, suggesting that interaction with the RNAP-associated MglA-SspA complex is what directs PigR to promoters in F. tularensis. Finally, we present evidence that the ability of PigR (and thus MglA and SspA) to positively control the expression of genes is dictated by a specific 7 base pair sequence element that is present in the promoters of regulated genes. The three principal regulators of virulence gene expression in F. tularensis therefore function in a non-classical manner with PigR interacting with the RNAP-associated MglA-SspA complex at the majority of promoters but only activating transcription from those that contain a specific sequence element. Our findings reveal how transcription factors can exert regulatory effects at a restricted set of promoters despite being associated with most or all. This distinction between occupancy and regulatory effect uncovered by our data may be relevant to the study of RNAP-associated transcription regulators in other pathogenic bacteria. PMID:25830507

  8. Metabolic Reprogramming of Host Cells by Virulent Francisella tularensis for Optimal Replication and Modulation of Inflammation.

    PubMed

    Wyatt, Elliott V; Diaz, Karina; Griffin, Amanda J; Rasmussen, Jed A; Crane, Deborah D; Jones, Bradley D; Bosio, Catharine M

    2016-05-15

    A shift in macrophage metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis is a requirement for activation to effectively combat invading pathogens. Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium that causes an acute, fatal disease called tularemia. Its primary mechanism of virulence is its ability to evade and suppress inflammatory responses while replicating in the cytosol of macrophages. The means by which F. tularensis modulates macrophage activation are not fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that virulent F. tularensis impairs production of inflammatory cytokines in primary macrophages by preventing their shift to aerobic glycolysis, as evidenced by the downregulation of hypoxia inducible factor 1α and failure to upregulate pfkfb3 We also show that Francisella capsule is required for this process. In addition to modulating inflammatory responses, inhibition of glycolysis in host cells is also required for early replication of virulent Francisella Taken together, our data demonstrate that metabolic reprogramming of host cells by F. tularensis is a key component of both inhibition of host defense mechanisms and replication of the bacterium. PMID:27029588

  9. ECO-EPIZOOTIOLOGIC STUDY OF FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS, THE AGENT OF TULAREMIA, IN QUÉBEC WILDLIFE.

    PubMed

    Gabriele-Rivet, Vanessa; Ogden, Nicholas; Massé, Ariane; Antonation, Kym; Corbett, Cindi; Dibernardo, Antonia; Lindsay, L Robbin; Leighton, Patrick A; Arsenault, Julie

    2016-04-28

    In Canada, Francisella tularensis , the zoonotic bacterial agent of tularemia, affects mostly snowshoe hares ( Lepus americanus ), muskrats ( Ondatra zibethicus ), and beavers ( Castor canadensis ). Despite numerous studies, the ecologic cycle and natural reservoirs of F. tularensis are not clearly defined. We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of F. tularensis in snowshoe hares, muskrats, and coyotes ( Canis latrans ) in four regions of Québec, Canada, and to describe the risk of infection in relation to host and environmental characteristics at three spatial scales. Between October 2012 and April 2013, trappers captured 345 snowshoe hares, 411 muskrats, and 385 coyotes. Blood samples were tested by microagglutination tests, and DNA extracts of liver, kidney, lung, and spleen of snowshoe hares and muskrats were tested by real-time PCR to detect past and active infection to F. tularensis , respectively. Individual host characteristics, including body condition, age, and sex, were evaluated as risk factors of infection, along with ecologic characteristics of the location of capture extracted from geographic databases. Prevalences of antibody to F. tularensis and 95% confidence intervals were 2.9% (1.4-5.1%) in coyotes, 0.6% (0.1-2.1%) in hares, and 0% (0.0-0.9%) in muskrats. Francisella tularensis DNA was not detected by real-time PCR in the pools of four organs from muskrats and hares, but F. tularensis type AI was detected during testing of the individual organs of two antibody-positive hares. Exact logistic regression analyses showed that age was a significant predictor of antibody detection in coyotes, as were the proportion of forest and the proportion of area considered as suitable habitat for hares in the environment around the location of capture of the coyotes. Our results suggest a terrestrial cycle of F. tularensis in the regions studied. PMID:26967133

  10. Proteomic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid proteins from mice infected with Francisella tularensis ssp novicida

    SciTech Connect

    Varnum, Susan M.; Webb-Robertson, Bobbie-Jo M.; Pounds, Joel G.; Moore, Ronald J.; Smith, Richard D.; Frevert, Charles; Skerret, Shawn J.; Wunschel, David S.

    2012-07-06

    Francisella tularensis causes the zoonosis tularemia in humans and is one of the most virulent bacterial pathogens. We utilized a global proteomic approach to characterize protein changes in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from mice exposed to one of three organisms, F. tularensis ssp. novicida, an avirulent mutant of F. tularensis ssp. novicida (F.t. novicida-ΔmglA); and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The composition of BALF proteins was altered following infection, including proteins involved in neutrophil activation, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Components of the innate immune response were induced including the acute phase response and the complement system, however the timing of their induction varied. Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida infected mice do not appear to have an effective innate immune response in the first hours of infection, however within 24 hours they show an upregulation of innate immune response proteins. This delayed response is in contrast to P. aeruginosa infected animals which show an early innate immune response. Likewise, F.t. novicida-ΔmglA infection initiates an early innate immune response, however this response is dimished by 24 hours. Finally, this study identifies several candidate biomarkers, including Chitinase 3-like-1 (CHI3L1 or YKL-40) and peroxiredoxin 1, that are associated with F. tularensis ssp. novicida but not P. aeruginosa infection.

  11. Proteomic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid proteins from mice infected with Francisella tularensis ssp novicida

    PubMed Central

    Varnum, Susan M.; Webb-Robertson, Bobbie-Jo M.; Pounds, Joel G.; Moore, Ronald J.; Smith, Richard D.; Frevert, Charles W.; Skerrett, Shawn J.; Wunschel, David

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis causes the zoonosis tularemia in humans and is one of the most virulent bacterial pathogens. We utilized a global proteomic approach to characterize protein changes in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from mice exposed to one of three organisms, F. tularensis ssp. novicida, an avirulent mutant of F. tularensis ssp. novicida (F.t. novicida-ΔmglA); and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The composition of BALF proteins was altered following infection, including proteins involved in neutrophil activation, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Components of the innate immune response were induced including the acute phase response and the complement system, however the timing of their induction varied. Francisella tularensis ssp. novicida infected mice do not appear to have an effective innate immune response in the first hours of infection, however within 24 hours they show an upregulation of innate immune response proteins. This delayed response is in contrast to P. aeruginosa infected animals which show an early innate immune response. Likewise, F.t. novicida-ΔmglA infection initiates an early innate immune response, however this response is dimished by 24 hours. Finally, this study identifies several candidate biomarkers, including Chitinase 3-like-1 (CHI3L1 or YKL-40) and peroxiredoxin 1, that are associated with F. tularensis ssp. novicida but not P. aeruginosa infection. PMID:22663564

  12. Keep an Ear Out for Francisella tularensis: Otomastoiditis Cases after Canyoneering

    PubMed Central

    Guerpillon, Brice; Boibieux, Andre; Guenne, Clemence; Ploton, Christine; Ferry, Tristan; Maurin, Max; Forestier, Emmanuel; Dauwalder, Olivier; Manipoud, Patrick; Ltaïef-Boudrigua, Aicha; Gürkov, Robert; Vandenesch, Francois; Bouchiat, Coralie

    2016-01-01

    We report here three unusual cases of otomastoiditis due to Francisella tularensis, complicated by cervical abscesses and persistent hearing loss, plus facial paralysis for one patient. Intriguingly, the three patients had practiced canyoneering independently in the same French river, between 2009 and 2014, several days before clinical symptoms onset. The results point out that fresh water exposure may be a potential contamination route for tularemia. Besides, due to the frequent complications and sequelae, we believe that F. tularensis should be considered as a possible etiology in case of otitis media, failure of the conventional antibiotic treatment, and suspicious exposure of the bacteria. PMID:26973838

  13. Live Attenuated Francisella novicida Vaccine Protects against Francisella tularensis Pulmonary Challenge in Rats and Non-human Primates

    PubMed Central

    Chu, Ping; Cunningham, Aimee L.; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Nguyen, Jesse Q.; Barker, Jeffrey R.; Lyons, C. Rick; Wilder, Julie; Valderas, Michelle; Sherwood, Robert L.; Arulanandam, Bernard P.; Klose, Karl E.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis causes the disease tularemia. Human pulmonary exposure to the most virulent form, F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (Ftt), leads to high morbidity and mortality, resulting in this bacterium being classified as a potential biothreat agent. However, a closely-related species, F. novicida, is avirulent in healthy humans. No tularemia vaccine is currently approved for human use. We demonstrate that a single dose vaccine of a live attenuated F. novicida strain (Fn iglD) protects against subsequent pulmonary challenge with Ftt using two different animal models, Fischer 344 rats and cynomolgus macaques (NHP). The Fn iglD vaccine showed protective efficacy in rats, as did a Ftt iglD vaccine, suggesting no disadvantage to utilizing the low human virulent Francisella species to induce protective immunity. Comparison of specific antibody profiles in vaccinated rat and NHP sera by proteome array identified a core set of immunodominant antigens in vaccinated animals. This is the first report of a defined live attenuated vaccine that demonstrates efficacy against pulmonary tularemia in a NHP, and indicates that the low human virulence F. novicida functions as an effective tularemia vaccine platform. PMID:25340543

  14. Francisella tularensis Bacteria Associated with Feline Tularemia in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Fey, Paul D.; Hinrichs, Steven H.; Iwen, Peter C.

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia in the United States was examined by reviewing 106 Francisella tularensis isolates, mostly from Nebraska, collected during 1998–2012: 48% of Nebraska cases were cat-associated; 7/8 human cases were caused by subtype A.I. A vaccine is needed to reduce feline-associated tularemia, and cat owners should protect against bites/scratches and limit their pet’s outdoor access. PMID:25424732

  15. Structure and Function of REP34 Implicates Carboxypeptidase Activity in Francisella tularensis Host Cell Invasion*

    PubMed Central

    Feld, Geoffrey K.; El-Etr, Sahar; Corzett, Michele H.; Hunter, Mark S.; Belhocine, Kamila; Monack, Denise M.; Frank, Matthias; Segelke, Brent W.; Rasley, Amy

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the etiological agent of tularemia, or rabbit fever. Although F. tularensis is a recognized biothreat agent with broad and expanding geographical range, its mechanism of infection and environmental persistence remain poorly understood. Previously, we identified seven F. tularensis proteins that induce a rapid encystment phenotype (REP) in the free-living amoeba, Acanthamoeba castellanii. Encystment is essential to the pathogen's long term intracellular survival in the amoeba. Here, we characterize the cellular and molecular function of REP34, a REP protein with a mass of 34 kDa. A REP34 knock-out strain of F. tularensis has a reduced ability to both induce encystment in A. castellanii and invade human macrophages. We determined the crystal structure of REP34 to 2.05-Å resolution and demonstrate robust carboxypeptidase B-like activity for the enzyme. REP34 is a zinc-containing monomeric protein with close structural homology to the metallocarboxypeptidase family of peptidases. REP34 possesses a novel topology and substrate binding pocket that deviates from the canonical funnelin structure of carboxypeptidases, putatively resulting in a catalytic role for a conserved tyrosine and distinct S1′ recognition site. Taken together, these results identify REP34 as an active carboxypeptidase, implicate the enzyme as a potential key F. tularensis effector protein, and may help elucidate a mechanistic understanding of F. tularensis infection of phagocytic cells. PMID:25231992

  16. Temperature-Dependent Gentamicin Resistance of Francisella tularensis is Mediated by Uptake Modulation

    PubMed Central

    Loughman, Kathleen; Hall, Jesse; Knowlton, Samantha; Sindeldecker, Devin; Gilson, Tricia; Schmitt, Deanna M.; Birch, James W.-M.; Gajtka, Tara; Kobe, Brianna N.; Florjanczyk, Aleksandr; Ingram, Jenna; Bakshi, Chandra S.; Horzempa, Joseph

    2016-01-01

    Gentamicin (Gm) is an aminoglycoside commonly used to treat bacterial infections such as tularemia – the disease caused by Francisella tularensis. In addition to being pathogenic, F. tularensis is found in environmental niches such as soil where this bacterium likely encounters Gm producers (Micromonospora sp.). Here we show that F. tularensis exhibits increased resistance to Gm at ambient temperature (26°C) compared to mammalian body temperature (37°C). To evaluate whether F. tularensis was less permeable to Gm at 26°C, a fluorescent marker [Texas Red (Tr)] was conjugated with Gm, yielding Tr-Gm. Bacteria incubated at 26°C showed reduced fluorescence compared to those at 37°C when exposed to Tr-Gm suggesting that uptake of Gm was reduced at 26°C. Unconjugated Gm competitively inhibited uptake of Tr-Gm, demonstrating that this fluorescent compound was taken up similarly to unconjugated Gm. Lysates of F. tularensis bacteria incubated with Gm at 37°C inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli significantly more than lysates from bacteria incubated at 26°C, further indicating reduced uptake at this lower temperature. Other facultative pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae) exhibited increased resistance to Gm at 26°C suggesting that the results generated using F. tularensis may be generalizable to diverse bacteria. Regulation of the uptake of antibiotics provides a mechanism by which facultative pathogens survive alongside antibiotic-producing microbes in nature. PMID:26858709

  17. Temperature-Dependent Gentamicin Resistance of Francisella tularensis is Mediated by Uptake Modulation.

    PubMed

    Loughman, Kathleen; Hall, Jesse; Knowlton, Samantha; Sindeldecker, Devin; Gilson, Tricia; Schmitt, Deanna M; Birch, James W-M; Gajtka, Tara; Kobe, Brianna N; Florjanczyk, Aleksandr; Ingram, Jenna; Bakshi, Chandra S; Horzempa, Joseph

    2016-01-01

    Gentamicin (Gm) is an aminoglycoside commonly used to treat bacterial infections such as tularemia - the disease caused by Francisella tularensis. In addition to being pathogenic, F. tularensis is found in environmental niches such as soil where this bacterium likely encounters Gm producers (Micromonospora sp.). Here we show that F. tularensis exhibits increased resistance to Gm at ambient temperature (26°C) compared to mammalian body temperature (37°C). To evaluate whether F. tularensis was less permeable to Gm at 26°C, a fluorescent marker [Texas Red (Tr)] was conjugated with Gm, yielding Tr-Gm. Bacteria incubated at 26°C showed reduced fluorescence compared to those at 37°C when exposed to Tr-Gm suggesting that uptake of Gm was reduced at 26°C. Unconjugated Gm competitively inhibited uptake of Tr-Gm, demonstrating that this fluorescent compound was taken up similarly to unconjugated Gm. Lysates of F. tularensis bacteria incubated with Gm at 37°C inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli significantly more than lysates from bacteria incubated at 26°C, further indicating reduced uptake at this lower temperature. Other facultative pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae) exhibited increased resistance to Gm at 26°C suggesting that the results generated using F. tularensis may be generalizable to diverse bacteria. Regulation of the uptake of antibiotics provides a mechanism by which facultative pathogens survive alongside antibiotic-producing microbes in nature. PMID:26858709

  18. From the Outside-In: The Francisella tularensis Envelope and Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Rowe, Hannah M.; Huntley, Jason F.

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly-infectious bacterium that causes the rapid, and often lethal disease, tularemia. Many studies have been performed to identify and characterize the virulence factors that F. tularensis uses to infect a wide variety of hosts and host cell types, evade immune defenses, and induce severe disease and death. This review focuses on the virulence factors that are present in the F. tularensis envelope, including capsule, LPS, outer membrane, periplasm, inner membrane, secretion systems, and various molecules in each of aforementioned sub-compartments. Whereas, no single bacterial molecule or molecular complex single-handedly controls F. tularensis virulence, we review here how diverse bacterial systems work in conjunction to subvert the immune system, attach to and invade host cells, alter phagosome/lysosome maturation pathways, replicate in host cells without being detected, inhibit apoptosis, and induce host cell death for bacterial release and infection of adjacent cells. Given that the F. tularensis envelope is the outermost layer of the bacterium, we highlight herein how many of these molecules directly interact with the host to promote infection and disease. These and future envelope studies are important to advance our collective understanding of F. tularensis virulence mechanisms and offer targets for future vaccine development efforts. PMID:26779445

  19. Role of primary human alveolar epithelial cells in host defense against Francisella tularensis infection.

    PubMed

    Gentry, Megan; Taormina, Joanna; Pyles, Richard B; Yeager, Linsey; Kirtley, Michelle; Popov, Vsevolod L; Klimpel, Gary; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia

    2007-08-01

    Francisella tularensis, an intracellular pathogen, is highly virulent when inhaled. Alveolar epithelial type I (ATI) and type II (ATII) cells line the majority of the alveolar surface and respond to inhaled pathogenic bacteria via cytokine secretion. We hypothesized that these cells contribute to the lung innate immune response to F. tularensis. Results demonstrated that the live vaccine strain (LVS) contacted ATI and ATII cells by 2 h following intranasal inoculation of mice. In culture, primary human ATI or ATII cells, grown on transwell filters, were stimulated on the apical (AP) surface with virulent F. tularensis Schu 4 or LVS. Basolateral (BL) conditioned medium (CM), collected 6 and 24 h later, was added to the BL surfaces of transwell cultures of primary human pulmonary microvasculature endothelial cells (HPMEC) prior to the addition of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) or dendritic cells (DCs) to the AP surface. HPMEC responded to S4- or LVS-stimulated ATII, but not ATI, CM as evidenced by PMN and DC migration. Analysis of the AP and BL ATII CM revealed that both F. tularensis strains induced various levels of a variety of cytokines via NF-kappaB activation. ATII cells pretreated with an NF-kappaB inhibitor prior to F. tularensis stimulation substantially decreased interleukin-8 secretion, which did not occur through Toll-like receptor 2, 2/6, 4, or 5 stimulation. These data indicate a crucial role for ATII cells in the innate immune response to F. tularensis. PMID:17502386

  20. Role of Primary Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells in Host Defense against Francisella tularensis Infection▿

    PubMed Central

    Gentry, Megan; Taormina, Joanna; Pyles, Richard B.; Yeager, Linsey; Kirtley, Michelle; Popov, Vsevolod L.; Klimpel, Gary; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, an intracellular pathogen, is highly virulent when inhaled. Alveolar epithelial type I (ATI) and type II (ATII) cells line the majority of the alveolar surface and respond to inhaled pathogenic bacteria via cytokine secretion. We hypothesized that these cells contribute to the lung innate immune response to F. tularensis. Results demonstrated that the live vaccine strain (LVS) contacted ATI and ATII cells by 2 h following intranasal inoculation of mice. In culture, primary human ATI or ATII cells, grown on transwell filters, were stimulated on the apical (AP) surface with virulent F. tularensis Schu 4 or LVS. Basolateral (BL) conditioned medium (CM), collected 6 and 24 h later, was added to the BL surfaces of transwell cultures of primary human pulmonary microvasculature endothelial cells (HPMEC) prior to the addition of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) or dendritic cells (DCs) to the AP surface. HPMEC responded to S4- or LVS-stimulated ATII, but not ATI, CM as evidenced by PMN and DC migration. Analysis of the AP and BL ATII CM revealed that both F. tularensis strains induced various levels of a variety of cytokines via NF-κB activation. ATII cells pretreated with an NF-κB inhibitor prior to F. tularensis stimulation substantially decreased interleukin-8 secretion, which did not occur through Toll-like receptor 2, 2/6, 4, or 5 stimulation. These data indicate a crucial role for ATII cells in the innate immune response to F. tularensis. PMID:17502386

  1. A multimethodological approach to identification of glycoproteins from the proteome of Francisella tularensis, an intracellular microorganism

    PubMed Central

    Balonova, Lucie; Hernychova, Lenka; Mann, Benjamin F.; Link, Marek; Bilkova, Zuzana; Novotny, Milos V.; Stulik, Jiri

    2010-01-01

    It appears that most glycoproteins found in pathogenic bacteria are associated with virulence. Despite the recent identification of novel virulence factors, the mechanisms of virulence in Francisella tularensis are poorly understood. In spite of its importance, questions about glycosylation of proteins in this bacterium and its potential connection with bacterial virulence have not been answered yet. In the present study, several putative Francisella tularensis glycoproteins were characterized through the combination of carbohydrate-specific detection and lectin affinity with highly sensitive mass spectrometry utilizing the bottom-up proteomic approach. The protein PilA that was recently found as being possibly glycosylated, as well as other proteins with designation as novel factors of virulence, were among the proteins identified in this study. The reported data compile the list of potential glycoproteins that may serve as a take-off platform for a further definition of proteins modified by glycans, faciliting a better understanding of the function of protein glycosylation in pathogenicity of Francisella tularensis. PMID:20175567

  2. Experimental Infection of Voles with Francisella tularensis Indicates Their Amplification Role in Tularemia Outbreaks

    PubMed Central

    Rossow, Heidi; Forbes, Kristian M.; Tarkka, Eveliina; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Hemmilä, Heidi; Huitu, Otso; Nikkari, Simo; Henttonen, Heikki; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia outbreaks in humans have been linked to fluctuations in rodent population density, but the mode of bacterial maintenance in nature is unclear. Here we report on an experiment to investigate the pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis infection in wild rodents, and thereby assess their potential to spread the bacterium. We infected 20 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 12 bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with a strain of F. tularensis ssp. holarctica isolated from a human patient. Upon euthanasia or death, voles were necropsied and specimens collected for histological assessment and identification of bacteria by immunohistology and PCR. Bacterial excretion and a rapid lethal clinical course with pathological changes consistent with bacteremia and tissue necrosis were observed in infected animals. The results support a role for voles as an amplification host of F. tularensis, as excreta and, in particular, carcasses with high bacterial burden could serve as a source for environmental contamination. PMID:25271640

  3. Experimental Infection of voles with Francisella tularensis indicates their amplification role in tularemia outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Rossow, Heidi; Forbes, Kristian M; Tarkka, Eveliina; Kinnunen, Paula M; Hemmilä, Heidi; Huitu, Otso; Nikkari, Simo; Henttonen, Heikki; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia outbreaks in humans have been linked to fluctuations in rodent population density, but the mode of bacterial maintenance in nature is unclear. Here we report on an experiment to investigate the pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis infection in wild rodents, and thereby assess their potential to spread the bacterium. We infected 20 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 12 bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with a strain of F. tularensis ssp. holarctica isolated from a human patient. Upon euthanasia or death, voles were necropsied and specimens collected for histological assessment and identification of bacteria by immunohistology and PCR. Bacterial excretion and a rapid lethal clinical course with pathological changes consistent with bacteremia and tissue necrosis were observed in infected animals. The results support a role for voles as an amplification host of F. tularensis, as excreta and, in particular, carcasses with high bacterial burden could serve as a source for environmental contamination. PMID:25271640

  4. Mast cells inhibit intramacrophage Francisella tularensis replication via contact and secreted products including IL-4

    PubMed Central

    Ketavarapu, Jyothi M.; Rodriguez, Annette R.; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Cong, Yu; Murthy, Ashlesh K.; Forsthuber, Thomas G.; Guentzel, M. Neal; Klose, Karl E.; Berton, Michael T.; Arulanandam, Bernard P.

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular, Gram-negative bacterium that is the causative agent of pulmonary tularemia. The pathogenesis and mechanisms related to innate resistance against F. tularensis are not completely understood. Mast cells are strategically positioned within mucosal tissues, the major interface with the external environment, to initiate innate responses at the site of infection. Mast cell numbers in the cervical lymph nodes and the lungs progressively increased as early as 48 h after intranasal F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) challenge. We established a primary bone marrow-derived mast cell–macrophage coculture system and found that mast cells significantly inhibit F. tularensis LVS uptake and growth within macrophages. Importantly, mice deficient in either mast cells or IL-4 receptor displayed greater susceptibility to the infection when compared with corresponding wild-type animals. Contact-dependent events and secreted products including IL-4 from mast cells, and IL-4 production from other cellular sources, appear to mediate the observed protective effects. These results demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for mast cells and IL-4 and provide a new dimension to our understanding of the innate immune mechanisms involved in controlling intramacrophage Francisella replication. PMID:18591675

  5. Identification of a Small Molecule That Modifies MglA/SspA Interaction and Impairs Intramacrophage Survival of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Wrench, Algevis P.; Gardner, Christopher L.; Gonzalez, Claudio F.; Lorca, Graciela L.

    2013-01-01

    The transcription factors MglA and SspA of Francisella tularensis form a heterodimer complex and interact with the RNA polymerase to regulate the expression of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) genes. These genes are essential for this pathogen’s virulence and survival within host cells. In this study, we used a small molecule screening to identify quinacrine as a thermal stabilizing compound for F. tularensis SCHU S4 MglA and SspA. A bacterial two-hybrid system was used to analyze the in vivo effect of quinacrine on the heterodimer complex. The results show that quinacrine affects the interaction between MglA and SspA, indicated by decreased β-galactosidase activity. Further in vitro analyses, using size exclusion chromatography, indicated that quinacrine does not disrupt the heterodimer formation, however, changes in the alpha helix content were confirmed by circular dichroism. Structure-guided site-directed mutagenesis experiments indicated that quinacrine makes contact with amino acid residues Y63 in MglA, and K97 in SspA, both located in the “cleft” of the interacting surfaces. In F. tularensis subsp. novicida, quinacrine decreased the transcription of the FPI genes, iglA, iglD, pdpD and pdpA. As a consequence, the intramacrophage survival capabilities of the bacteria were affected. These results support use of the MglA/SspA interacting surface, and quinacrine’s chemical scaffold, for the design of high affinity molecules that will function as therapeutics for the treatment of Tularemia. PMID:23372736

  6. Antioxidant Defenses of Francisella tularensis Modulate Macrophage Function and Production of Proinflammatory Cytokines.

    PubMed

    Rabadi, Seham M; Sanchez, Belkys C; Varanat, Mrudula; Ma, Zhuo; Catlett, Sally V; Melendez, Juan Andres; Malik, Meenakshi; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar

    2016-03-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of a fatal human disease known as tularemia, has been used in the bioweapon programs of several countries in the past, and now it is considered a potential bioterror agent. Extreme infectivity and virulence of F. tularensis is due to its ability to evade immune detection and to suppress the host's innate immune responses. However, Francisella-encoded factors and mechanisms responsible for causing immune suppression are not completely understood. Macrophages and neutrophils generate reactive oxygen species (ROS)/reactive nitrogen species as a defense mechanism for the clearance of phagocytosed microorganisms. ROS serve a dual role; at high concentrations they act as microbicidal effector molecules that destroy intracellular pathogens, and at low concentrations they serve as secondary signaling messengers that regulate the expression of various inflammatory mediators. We hypothesized that the antioxidant defenses of F. tularensis maintain redox homeostasis in infected macrophages to prevent activation of redox-sensitive signaling components that ultimately result in suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokine production and macrophage microbicidal activity. We demonstrate that antioxidant enzymes of F. tularensis prevent the activation of redox-sensitive MAPK signaling components, NF-κB signaling, and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inhibiting the accumulation of ROS in infected macrophages. We also report that F. tularensis inhibits ROS-dependent autophagy to promote its intramacrophage survival. Collectively, this study reveals novel pathogenic mechanisms adopted by F. tularensis to modulate macrophage innate immune functions to create an environment permissive for its intracellular survival and growth. PMID:26644475

  7. Identification of trkH, Encoding a Potassium Uptake Protein Required for Francisella tularensis Systemic Dissemination in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Alkhuder, Khaled; Meibom, Karin L.; Dubail, Iharilalao; Dupuis, Marion; Charbit, Alain

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularaemia. During its infectious cycle, F. tularensis is not only exposed to the intracellular environment of macrophages but also resides transiently in extracellular compartments, in particular during its systemic dissemination. The screening of a bank of F. tularensis LVS transposon insertion mutants on chemically defined medium (CDM) led us to identify a gene, designated trkH, encoding a homolog of the potassium uptake permease TrkH. Inactivation of trkH impaired bacterial growth in CDM. Normal growth of the mutant was only restored when CDM was supplemented with potassium at high concentration. Strikingly, although not required for intracellular survival in cell culture models, TrkH appeared to be essential for bacterial virulence in the mouse. In vivo kinetics of bacterial dissemination revealed a severe defect of multiplication of the trkH mutant in the blood of infected animals. The trkH mutant also showed impaired growth in blood ex vivo. Genome sequence analyses suggest that the Trk system constitutes the unique functional active potassium transporter in both tularensis and holarctica subspecies. Hence, the impaired survival of the trkH mutant in vivo is likely to be due to its inability to survive in the low potassium environment (1–5 mM range) of the blood. This work unravels thus the importance of potassium acquisition in the extracellular phase of the F. tularensis infectious cycle. More generally, potassium could constitute an important mineral nutrient involved in other diseases linked to systemic dissemination of bacterial pathogens. PMID:20126460

  8. FmvB: A Francisella tularensis Magnesium-Responsive Outer Membrane Protein that Plays a Role in Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Xiaojun; Ren, Guoping; Gunning, William T.; Weaver, David A.; Kalinoski, Andrea L.; Khuder, Sadik A.; Huntley, Jason F.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the lethal disease tularemia. Despite decades of research, little is understood about why F. tularensis is so virulent. Bacterial outer membrane proteins (OMPs) are involved in various virulence processes, including protein secretion, host cell attachment, and intracellular survival. Many pathogenic bacteria require metals for intracellular survival and OMPs often play important roles in metal uptake. Previous studies identified three F. tularensis OMPs that play roles in iron acquisition. In this study, we examined two previously uncharacterized proteins, FTT0267 (named fmvA, for Francisella metal and virulence) and FTT0602c (fmvB), which are homologs of the previously studied F. tularensis iron acquisition genes and are predicted OMPs. To study the potential roles of FmvA and FmvB in metal acquisition and virulence, we first examined fmvA and fmvB expression following pulmonary infection of mice, finding that fmvB was upregulated up to 5-fold during F. tularensis infection of mice. Despite sequence homology to previously-characterized iron-acquisition genes, FmvA and FmvB do not appear to be involved iron uptake, as neither fmvA nor fmvB were upregulated in iron-limiting media and neither ΔfmvA nor ΔfmvB exhibited growth defects in iron limitation. However, when other metals were examined in this study, magnesium-limitation significantly induced fmvB expression, ΔfmvB was found to express significantly higher levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in magnesium-limiting medium, and increased numbers of surface protrusions were observed on ΔfmvB in magnesium-limiting medium, compared to wild-type F. tularensis grown in magnesium-limiting medium. RNA sequencing analysis of ΔfmvB revealed the potential mechanism for increased LPS expression, as LPS synthesis genes kdtA and wbtA were significantly upregulated in ΔfmvB, compared with wild-type F. tularensis. To provide further evidence for the potential role of FmvB in

  9. FmvB: A Francisella tularensis Magnesium-Responsive Outer Membrane Protein that Plays a Role in Virulence.

    PubMed

    Wu, Xiaojun; Ren, Guoping; Gunning, William T; Weaver, David A; Kalinoski, Andrea L; Khuder, Sadik A; Huntley, Jason F

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of the lethal disease tularemia. Despite decades of research, little is understood about why F. tularensis is so virulent. Bacterial outer membrane proteins (OMPs) are involved in various virulence processes, including protein secretion, host cell attachment, and intracellular survival. Many pathogenic bacteria require metals for intracellular survival and OMPs often play important roles in metal uptake. Previous studies identified three F. tularensis OMPs that play roles in iron acquisition. In this study, we examined two previously uncharacterized proteins, FTT0267 (named fmvA, for Francisella metal and virulence) and FTT0602c (fmvB), which are homologs of the previously studied F. tularensis iron acquisition genes and are predicted OMPs. To study the potential roles of FmvA and FmvB in metal acquisition and virulence, we first examined fmvA and fmvB expression following pulmonary infection of mice, finding that fmvB was upregulated up to 5-fold during F. tularensis infection of mice. Despite sequence homology to previously-characterized iron-acquisition genes, FmvA and FmvB do not appear to be involved iron uptake, as neither fmvA nor fmvB were upregulated in iron-limiting media and neither ΔfmvA nor ΔfmvB exhibited growth defects in iron limitation. However, when other metals were examined in this study, magnesium-limitation significantly induced fmvB expression, ΔfmvB was found to express significantly higher levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in magnesium-limiting medium, and increased numbers of surface protrusions were observed on ΔfmvB in magnesium-limiting medium, compared to wild-type F. tularensis grown in magnesium-limiting medium. RNA sequencing analysis of ΔfmvB revealed the potential mechanism for increased LPS expression, as LPS synthesis genes kdtA and wbtA were significantly upregulated in ΔfmvB, compared with wild-type F. tularensis. To provide further evidence for the potential role of FmvB in

  10. A new dye uptake assay to test the activity of antibiotics against intracellular Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Sutera, Vivien; Caspar, Yvan; Boisset, Sandrine; Maurin, Max

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a facultative intracellular bacterium, is the aetiological agent of tularaemia. Antibiotic treatment of this zoonosis is based on the administration of a fluoroquinolone or a tetracycline for cases with mild to moderate severity, whereas an aminoglycoside (streptomycin or gentamicin) is advocated for severe cases. However, treatment failures and relapses remain frequent, especially in patients suffering from chronic lymph node suppuration. Therefore, new treatment alternatives are needed. We have developed a dye uptake assay for determination of minimal inhibitory extracellular concentrations (MIECs) of antibiotics against intracellular F. tularensis, and validated the method by comparing the results obtained using a CFU-enumerating method. We also compared MIECs with MICs of the same compounds determined using a CLSI broth microdilution method. We tested the activity of 11 antibiotics against two clinical strains of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolated in France. Both strains displayed low MICs (≤1 μg/mL) to fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin), gentamicin, doxycycline and rifampicin. Higher MICs (≥8 μg/mL) were found for carbapenems (imipenem and meropenem), daptomycin and linezolid. Erythromycin MICs were 4.0 and 16.0 μg/mL, respectively, for the two clinical strains. MIECs were almost the same with the two methods used. They were concordant with MICs, except for erythromycin and linezolid (respectively, four and eight times more active against intracellular F. tularensis) and gentamicin (four to eight times less active against intracellular F. tularensis). This study validated the dye uptake assay as a new tool for determination of the activity of a large panel of antibiotics against intracellular F. tularensis. This test confirmed the intracellular activity of first-line antibiotics used for tularaemia treatment, but also revealed significant activity of linezolid against intracellular F. tularensis

  11. Biochemical studies on Francisella tularensis RelA in (p)ppGpp biosynthesis

    PubMed Central

    Wilkinson, Rachael C.; Batten, Laura E.; Wells, Neil J.; Oyston, Petra C.F.; Roach, Peter L.

    2015-01-01

    The bacterial stringent response is induced by nutrient deprivation and is mediated by enzymes of the RSH (RelA/SpoT homologue; RelA, (p)ppGpp synthetase I; SpoT, (p)ppGpp synthetase II) superfamily that control concentrations of the ‘alarmones’ (p)ppGpp (guanosine penta- or tetra-phosphate). This regulatory pathway is present in the vast majority of pathogens and has been proposed as a potential anti-bacterial target. Current understanding of RelA-mediated responses is based on biochemical studies using Escherichia coli as a model. In comparison, the Francisella tularensis RelA sequence contains a truncated regulatory C-terminal region and an unusual synthetase motif (EXSD). Biochemical analysis of F. tularensis RelA showed the similarities and differences of this enzyme compared with the model RelA from Escherichia coli. Purification of the enzyme yielded a stable dimer capable of reaching concentrations of 10 mg/ml. In contrast with other enzymes from the RelA/SpoT homologue superfamily, activity assays with F. tularensis RelA demonstrate a high degree of specificity for GTP as a pyrophosphate acceptor, with no measurable turnover for GDP. Steady state kinetic analysis of F. tularensis RelA gave saturation activity curves that best fitted a sigmoidal function. This kinetic profile can result from allosteric regulation and further measurements with potential allosteric regulators demonstrated activation by ppGpp (5′,3′-dibisphosphate guanosine) with an EC50 of 60±1.9 μM. Activation of F. tularensis RelA by stalled ribosomal complexes formed with ribosomes purified from E. coli MRE600 was observed, but interestingly, significantly weaker activation with ribosomes isolated from Francisella philomiragia. PMID:26450927

  12. Biochemical studies on Francisella tularensis RelA in (p)ppGpp biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Wilkinson, Rachael C; Batten, Laura E; Wells, Neil J; Oyston, Petra C F; Roach, Peter L

    2015-01-01

    The bacterial stringent response is induced by nutrient deprivation and is mediated by enzymes of the RSH (RelA/SpoT homologue; RelA, (p)ppGpp synthetase I; SpoT, (p)ppGpp synthetase II) superfamily that control concentrations of the 'alarmones' (p)ppGpp (guanosine penta- or tetra-phosphate). This regulatory pathway is present in the vast majority of pathogens and has been proposed as a potential anti-bacterial target. Current understanding of RelA-mediated responses is based on biochemical studies using Escherichia coli as a model. In comparison, the Francisella tularensis RelA sequence contains a truncated regulatory C-terminal region and an unusual synthetase motif (EXSD). Biochemical analysis of F. tularensis RelA showed the similarities and differences of this enzyme compared with the model RelA from Escherichia coli. Purification of the enzyme yielded a stable dimer capable of reaching concentrations of 10 mg/ml. In contrast with other enzymes from the RelA/SpoT homologue superfamily, activity assays with F. tularensis RelA demonstrate a high degree of specificity for GTP as a pyrophosphate acceptor, with no measurable turnover for GDP. Steady state kinetic analysis of F. tularensis RelA gave saturation activity curves that best fitted a sigmoidal function. This kinetic profile can result from allosteric regulation and further measurements with potential allosteric regulators demonstrated activation by ppGpp (5',3'-dibisphosphate guanosine) with an EC50 of 60±1.9 μM. Activation of F. tularensis RelA by stalled ribosomal complexes formed with ribosomes purified from E. coli MRE600 was observed, but interestingly, significantly weaker activation with ribosomes isolated from Francisella philomiragia. PMID:26450927

  13. Francisella tularensis: No Evidence for Transovarial Transmission in the Tularemia Tick Vectors Dermacentor reticulatus and Ixodes ricinus

    PubMed Central

    Genchi, Marco; Prati, Paola; Vicari, Nadia; Manfredini, Andrea; Sacchi, Luciano; Clementi, Emanuela; Bandi, Claudio; Epis, Sara; Fabbi, Massimo

    2015-01-01

    Background Tularemia is a zoonosis caused by the Francisella tularensis, a highly infectious Gram-negative coccobacillus. Due to easy dissemination, multiple routes of infection, high environmental contamination and morbidity and mortality rates, Francisella is considered a potential bioterrorism threat and classified as a category A select agent by the CDC. Tick bites are among the most prevalent modes of transmission, and ticks have been indicated as a possible reservoir, although their reservoir competence has yet to be defined. Tick-borne transmission of F. tularensis was recognized in 1923, and transstadial transmission has been demonstrated in several tick species. Studies on transovarial transmission, however, have reported conflicting results. Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of ticks as reservoirs for Francisella, assessing the transovarial transmission of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica in ticks, using experimentally-infected females of Dermacentor reticulatus and Ixodes ricinus. Results Transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence in situ hybridization showed F. tularensis within oocytes. However, cultures and bioassays of eggs and larvae were negative; in addition, microscopy techniques revealed bacterial degeneration/death in the oocytes. Conclusions These results suggest that bacterial death might occur in oocytes, preventing the transovarial transmission of Francisella. We can speculate that Francisella does not have a defined reservoir, but that rather various biological niches (e.g. ticks, rodents), that allow the bacterium to persist in the environment. Our results, suggesting that ticks are not competent for the bacterium vertical transmission, are congruent with this view. PMID:26244842

  14. [Multilocus VNTR-typing of Francisella tularensis strains].

    PubMed

    Vodop'ianov, A S; Vodop'ianov, S O; Pavlovich, N V; Mishan'kin, B N

    2004-01-01

    In the analysis of F. tularensis genome with the use of the specially developed program "DNA" a great number of loci containing tandem repeats were found. For analysis, 3 of them were selected and designated as FtA, FtB, FtC. The study of DNA of 40 F. tularensis strains in the polymerase chain reaction with specific primers to these loci a great variability in the number of repeats was established, the presence of 17 alleles being found in locus FtA, 5 alleles in locus FtB and 5 alleles in locus FtC. The strains under study formed 24 variants of genotypes, whose occurrence varied from 0.025 to 0.125. Taking into account the variability of the detected loci and a great number of potential loci VNTR in the genome, further development of this method will facilitate the creation of local and general data bases of the strains, thus ensuring more effective genetic typing of F. tularensis. PMID:15188553

  15. Early Interactions of Murine Macrophages with Francisella tularensis Map to Mouse Chromosome 19

    PubMed Central

    Fink, Avner; Hassan, Musa A.; Okan, Nihal A.; Sheffer, Michal; Camejo, Ana; Saeij, Jeroen P. J.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Differences among individuals in susceptibility to infectious diseases can be modulated by host genetics. Much of the research in this field has aimed to identify loci within the host genome that are associated with these differences. In mice, A/J (AJ) and C57BL/6J (B6) mice show differential susceptibilities to various pathogens, including the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis. Because macrophages are the main initial target during F. tularensis infection, we explored early interactions of macrophages from these two mouse strains with F. tularensis as well as the genetic factors underlying these interactions. Our results indicate that bacterial interactions with bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) during early stages of infection are different in the AJ and B6 strains. During these early stages, bacteria are more numerous in B6 than in AJ macrophages and display differences in trafficking and early transcriptional response within these macrophages. To determine the genetic basis for these differences, we infected BMDMs isolated from recombinant inbred (RI) mice derived from reciprocal crosses between AJ and B6, and we followed early bacterial counts within these macrophages. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis revealed a locus on chromosome 19 that is associated with early differences in bacterial counts in AJ versus B6 macrophages. QTL analysis of published data that measured the differential susceptibilities of the same RI mice to an in vivo challenge with F. tularensis confirmed the F. tularensis susceptibility QTL on chromosome 19. Overall, our results show that early interactions of macrophages with F. tularensis are dependent on the macrophage genetic background. PMID:26980837

  16. Inhibitors of Ribosome Rescue Arrest Growth of Francisella tularensis at All Stages of Intracellular Replication.

    PubMed

    Goralski, Tyler D P; Dewan, Kalyan K; Alumasa, John N; Avanzato, Victoria; Place, David E; Markley, Rachel L; Katkere, Bhuvana; Rabadi, Seham M; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Keiler, Kenneth C; Kirimanjeswara, Girish S

    2016-06-01

    Bacteria require at least one pathway to rescue ribosomes stalled at the ends of mRNAs. The primary pathway for ribosome rescue is trans-translation, which is conserved in >99% of sequenced bacterial genomes. Some species also have backup systems, such as ArfA or ArfB, which can rescue ribosomes in the absence of sufficient trans-translation activity. Small-molecule inhibitors of ribosome rescue have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria grown in liquid culture. These compounds were tested against the tier 1 select agent Francisella tularensis to determine if they can limit bacterial proliferation during infection of eukaryotic cells. The inhibitors KKL-10 and KKL-40 exhibited exceptional antimicrobial activity against both attenuated and fully virulent strains of F. tularensis in vitro and during ex vivo infection. Addition of KKL-10 or KKL-40 to macrophages or liver cells at any time after infection by F. tularensis prevented further bacterial proliferation. When macrophages were stimulated with the proinflammatory cytokine gamma interferon before being infected by F. tularensis, addition of KKL-10 or KKL-40 reduced intracellular bacteria by >99%, indicating that the combination of cytokine-induced stress and a nonfunctional ribosome rescue pathway is fatal to F. tularensis Neither KKL-10 nor KKL-40 was cytotoxic to eukaryotic cells in culture. These results demonstrate that ribosome rescue is required for F. tularensis growth at all stages of its infection cycle and suggest that KKL-10 and KKL-40 are good lead compounds for antibiotic development. PMID:26953190

  17. Liposome Encapsulation of Ciprofloxacin Improves Protection against Highly Virulent Francisella tularensis Strain Schu S4

    PubMed Central

    Armstrong, Stuart J.; Barnes, Kay B.; Davies, Carwyn; Wong, Jonathan P.; Blanchard, James D.; Harding, Sarah V.; Simpson, Andrew J. H.; Atkins, Helen S.

    2014-01-01

    Liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin for inhalation (CFI) was investigated as a putative postexposure therapeutic for two strains of Francisella tularensis. The efficacies of oral ciprofloxacin and intranasally instilled CFI could not be distinguished in a mouse model of infection with the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS), where a single dose of either formulation offered full protection against a lethal challenge. However, mouse studies with the more virulent Schu S4 strain of F. tularensis demonstrated that a higher level of protection against a lethal aerosol infection is provided by CFI than by oral ciprofloxacin. In addition, using this infection model, it was possible to discriminate the efficacy of intranasally instilled CFI from that of aerosolized CFI, with aerosolized CFI providing full protection after just a single dose. The improved efficacy of CFI compared to oral ciprofloxacin is likely due to the high sustained concentrations of ciprofloxacin in the lung. In summary, CFI may be a promising therapy, perhaps enabling the prophylactic regimen to be shortened, for use in the event of a deliberate release of F. tularensis. The prophylactic efficacy of CFI against other biological warfare (BW) threat agents also warrants investigation. PMID:24637682

  18. Phylogeographical pattern of Francisella tularensis in a nationwide outbreak of tularaemia in Norway, 2011.

    PubMed

    Afset, J E; Larssen, K W; Bergh, K; Larkeryd, A; Sjodin, A; Johansson, A; Forsman, M

    2015-01-01

    In 2011, a nationwide outbreak of tularaemia occurred in Norway with 180 recorded cases. It was associated with the largest peak in lemming density seen in 40 years. Francisella tularensis was isolated from 18 patients. To study the geographical distribution of F.tularensis genotypes in Norway and correlate genotype with epidemiology and clinical presentation,we performed whole genome sequencing of patient isolates. All 18 genomes from the outbreak carried genetic signatures of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and were assigned to genetic clades using canonical single nucleotide polymorphisms. Ten isolates were assigned to major genetic clade B.6 (subclade B.7),seven to clade B.12, and one to clade B.4. The B.6 subclade B.7 was most common in southern and central Norway, while clade B.12 was evenly distributed between the southern, central and northern parts of the country. There was no association between genotype and clinical presentation of tularaemia, time of year or specimen type. We found extensive sequence similarity with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica genomes from high-endemic tularaemia areas in Sweden.Finding nearly identical genomes across large geographical distances in Norway and Sweden imply a life cycle of the bacterium without replication between the outbreaks and raise new questions about long-range migration mechanisms. PMID:25990357

  19. Multifaceted effects of Francisella tularensis on human neutrophil function and lifespan.

    PubMed

    Kinkead, Lauren C; Allen, Lee-Ann H

    2016-09-01

    Francisella tularensis in an intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes a potentially lethal disease called tularemia. Studies performed nearly 100 years ago revealed that neutrophil accumulation in infected tissues correlates directly with the extent of necrotic damage during F. tularensis infection. However, the dynamics and details of bacteria-neutrophil interactions have only recently been studied in detail. Herein, we review current understanding regarding the mechanisms that recruit neutrophils to F. tularensis-infected lungs, opsonization and phagocytosis, evasion and inhibition of neutrophil defense mechanisms, as well as the ability of F. tularensis to prolong neutrophil lifespan. In addition, we discuss distinctive features of the bacterium, including its ability to act at a distance to alter overall neutrophil responsiveness to exogenous stimuli, and the evidence which suggests that macrophages and neutrophils play distinct roles in tularemia pathogenesis, such that macrophages are major vehicles for intracellular growth and dissemination, whereas neutrophils drive tissue destruction by dysregulation of the inflammatory response. PMID:27558340

  20. Roles of reactive oxygen species-degrading enzymes of Francisella tularensis SCHU S4.

    PubMed

    Binesse, Johan; Lindgren, Helena; Lindgren, Lena; Conlan, Wayne; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2015-06-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium utilizing macrophages as its primary intracellular habitat and is therefore highly capable of resisting the effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), potent mediators of the bactericidal activity of macrophages. We investigated the roles of enzymes presumed to be important for protection against ROS. Four mutants of the highly virulent SCHU S4 strain with deletions of the genes encoding catalase (katG), glutathione peroxidase (gpx), a DyP-type peroxidase (FTT0086), or double deletion of FTT0086 and katG showed much increased susceptibility to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and slightly increased susceptibility to paraquat but not to peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) and displayed intact intramacrophage replication. Nevertheless, mice infected with the double deletion mutant showed significantly longer survival than SCHU S4-infected mice. Unlike the aforementioned mutants, deletion of the gene coding for alkyl-hydroperoxide reductase subunit C (ahpC) generated a mutant much more susceptible to paraquat and ONOO(-) but not to H2O2. It showed intact replication in J774 cells but impaired replication in bone marrow-derived macrophages and in internal organs of mice. The live vaccine strain, LVS, is more susceptible than virulent strains to ROS-mediated killing and possesses a truncated form of FTT0086. Expression of the SCHU S4 FTT0086 gene rendered LVS more resistant to H2O2, which demonstrates that the SCHU S4 strain possesses additional detoxifying mechanisms. Collectively, the results demonstrate that SCHU S4 ROS-detoxifying enzymes have overlapping functions, and therefore, deletion of one or the other does not critically impair the intracellular replication or virulence, although AhpC appears to have a unique function. PMID:25802058

  1. Roles of Reactive Oxygen Species-Degrading Enzymes of Francisella tularensis SCHU S4

    PubMed Central

    Binesse, Johan; Lindgren, Helena; Lindgren, Lena; Conlan, Wayne

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium utilizing macrophages as its primary intracellular habitat and is therefore highly capable of resisting the effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), potent mediators of the bactericidal activity of macrophages. We investigated the roles of enzymes presumed to be important for protection against ROS. Four mutants of the highly virulent SCHU S4 strain with deletions of the genes encoding catalase (katG), glutathione peroxidase (gpx), a DyP-type peroxidase (FTT0086), or double deletion of FTT0086 and katG showed much increased susceptibility to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and slightly increased susceptibility to paraquat but not to peroxynitrite (ONOO−) and displayed intact intramacrophage replication. Nevertheless, mice infected with the double deletion mutant showed significantly longer survival than SCHU S4-infected mice. Unlike the aforementioned mutants, deletion of the gene coding for alkyl-hydroperoxide reductase subunit C (ahpC) generated a mutant much more susceptible to paraquat and ONOO− but not to H2O2. It showed intact replication in J774 cells but impaired replication in bone marrow-derived macrophages and in internal organs of mice. The live vaccine strain, LVS, is more susceptible than virulent strains to ROS-mediated killing and possesses a truncated form of FTT0086. Expression of the SCHU S4 FTT0086 gene rendered LVS more resistant to H2O2, which demonstrates that the SCHU S4 strain possesses additional detoxifying mechanisms. Collectively, the results demonstrate that SCHU S4 ROS-detoxifying enzymes have overlapping functions, and therefore, deletion of one or the other does not critically impair the intracellular replication or virulence, although AhpC appears to have a unique function. PMID:25802058

  2. Members of the Francisella tularensis Phagosomal Transporter Subfamily of Major Facilitator Superfamily Transporters Are Critical for Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Marohn, Mark E.; Santiago, Araceli E.; Shirey, Kari Ann; Lipsky, Michael; Vogel, Stefanie N.

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia. Due to its aerosolizable nature and low infectious dose, F. tularensis is classified as a category A select agent and, therefore, is a priority for vaccine development. Survival and replication in macrophages and other cell types are critical to F. tularensis pathogenesis, and impaired intracellular survival has been linked to a reduction in virulence. The F. tularensis genome is predicted to encode 31 major facilitator superfamily (MFS) transporters, and the nine-member Francisella phagosomal transporter (Fpt) subfamily possesses homology with virulence factors in other intracellular pathogens. We hypothesized that these MFS transporters may play an important role in F. tularensis pathogenesis and serve as good targets for attenuation and vaccine development. Here we show altered intracellular replication kinetics and attenuation of virulence in mice infected with three of the nine Fpt mutant strains compared with wild-type (WT) F. tularensis LVS. The vaccination of mice with these mutant strains was protective against a lethal intraperitoneal challenge. Additionally, we observed pronounced differences in cytokine profiles in the livers of mutant-infected mice, suggesting that alterations in in vivo cytokine responses are a major contributor to the attenuation observed for these mutant strains. These results confirm that this subset of MFS transporters plays an important role in the pathogenesis of F. tularensis and suggest that a focus on the development of attenuated Fpt subfamily MFS transporter mutants is a viable strategy toward the development of an efficacious vaccine. PMID:22508856

  3. Type IV Pili in Francisella tularensis: Roles of pilF and pilT in Fiber Assembly, Host Cell Adherence, and Virulence ▿

    PubMed Central

    Chakraborty, Subhra; Monfett, Michael; Maier, Tamara M.; Benach, Jorge L.; Frank, Dara W.; Thanassi, David G.

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a highly virulent facultative intracellular bacterium, is the causative agent of tularemia. Genome sequencing of all F. tularensis subspecies revealed the presence of genes that could encode type IV pili (Tfp). The live vaccine strain (LVS) expresses surface fibers resembling Tfp, but it was not established whether these fibers were indeed Tfp encoded by the pil genes. We show here that deletion of the pilF putative Tfp assembly ATPase in the LVS resulted in a complete loss of surface fibers. Disruption of the pilT putative disassembly ATPase also caused a complete loss of pili, indicating that pilT functions differently in F. tularensis than in model Tfp systems such as those found in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Neisseria spp. The LVS pilF and pilT mutants were attenuated for virulence in a mouse model of tularemia by the intradermal route. Furthermore, although absence of pili had no effect on the ability of the LVS to replicate intracellularly, the pilF and pilT mutants were defective for adherence to macrophages, pneumocytes, and hepatocytes. This work confirms that the surface fibers expressed by the LVS are encoded by the pil genes and provides evidence that the Francisella pili contribute to host cell adhesion and virulence. PMID:18426883

  4. Phylogeography of Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica from the country of Georgia

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, displays subspecies-specific differences in virulence, geographic distribution, and genetic diversity. F. tularensis subsp. holarctica is widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In Europe, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates have largely been assigned to two phylogenetic groups that have specific geographic distributions. Most isolates from Western Europe are assigned to the B.Br.FTNF002-00 group, whereas most isolates from Eastern Europe are assigned to numerous lineages within the B.Br.013 group. The eastern geographic extent of the B.Br.013 group is currently unknown due to a lack of phylogenetic knowledge about populations at the European/Asian juncture and in Asia. In this study, we address this knowledge gap by describing the phylogenetic structure of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates from the country of Georgia, and by placing these isolates into a global phylogeographic context. Results We identified a new genetic lineage of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica from Georgia that belongs to the B.Br.013 group. This new lineage is genetically and geographically distinct from lineages previously described from the B.Br.013 group from Central-Eastern Europe. Importantly, this new lineage is basal within the B.Br.013 group, indicating the Georgian lineage diverged before the diversification of the other known B.Br.013 lineages. Although two isolates from the Georgian lineage were collected nearby in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, all other global isolates assigned to this lineage were collected in Georgia. This restricted geographic distribution, as well as the high levels of genetic diversity within the lineage, is consistent with a relatively older origin and localized differentiation. Conclusions We identified a new lineage of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica from Georgia that appears to have an older origin than any other diversified lineages previously described from

  5. Nucleolin, a Shuttle Protein Promoting Infection of Human Monocytes by Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Barel, Monique; Meibom, Karin; Charbit, Alain

    2010-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent facultative intracellular bacterium, disseminating in vivo mainly within host mononuclear phagocytes. After entry into macrophages, F. tularensis initially resides in a phagosomal compartment, whose maturation is then arrested. Bacteria escape rapidly into the cytoplasm, where they replicate freely. We recently demonstrated that nucleolin, an eukaryotic protein able to traffic from the nucleus to the cell surface, acted as a surface receptor for F. tularensis LVS on human monocyte-like THP-1 cells. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we followed the fate of nucleolin once F. tularensis has been endocytosed. We first confirmed by siRNA silencing experiments that expression of nucleolin protein was essential for binding of LVS on human macrophage-type THP-1 cells. We then showed that nucleolin co-localized with intracellular bacteria in the phagosomal compartment. Strikingly, in that compartment, nucleolin also co-localized with LAMP-1, a late endosomal marker. Co-immunoprecipation assays further demonstrated an interaction of nucleolin with LAMP-1. Co-localization of nucleolin with LVS was no longer detectable at 24 h when bacteria were multiplying in the cytoplasm. In contrast, with an iglC mutant of LVS, which remains trapped into the phagosomal compartment, or with inert particles, nucleolin/bacteria co-localization remained almost constant. Conclusions/Significance We herein confirm the importance of nucleolin expression for LVS binding and its specificity as nucleolin is not involved in binding of another intracellular pathogen as L. monocytogenes or an inert particle. Association of nucleolin with F. tularensis during infection continues intracellularly after endocytosis of the bacteria. The present work therefore unravels for the first time the presence of nucleolin in the phagosomal compartment of macrophages. PMID:21152024

  6. Thermal resistance of Francisella tularensis in infant formula and fruit juices.

    PubMed

    Day, J B; Trujillo, S; Hao, Y Y D; Whiting, R C

    2008-11-01

    Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative bacterium that can cause gastrointestinal or oropharyngeal tularemia from ingestion of contaminated food or water. Despite the potential for accidental or intentional contamination of foods with F. tularensis, little information exists on the thermal stability of this organism in food matrices. In the present study, the thermal resistance of the live vaccine strain of F. tularensis in four food products (liquid infant formula, apple juice, mango juice, and orange juice) was investigated. D-values ranged from 12 s (57.5 degrees C) to 580 s (50 degrees C) in infant formula with a z-value of 4.37 degrees C. D-values in apple juice ranged from 8 s (57.5 degrees C) to 59 s (50 degrees C) with a z-value of 9.17 degrees C. The live vaccine strain did not survive at temperatures above 55 degrees C in mango juice and orange juice (>6-log inactivation). D-values at 55 to 47.5 degrees C were 15 to 59 s in mango juice and 16 to 105 s in orange juice with z-values of 9.28 and 12.30 degrees C, respectively. These results indicate that current pasteurization parameters used for destroying common foodborne bacterial pathogens are adequate for eliminating F. tularensis in the four foods tested. This study is the first to determine thermal inactivation of F. tularensis in specific foods and will permit comparisons with the thermal inactivation data of other more traditional foodborne pathogens. PMID:19044262

  7. Inactivation of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis 197 and Francisella tularensis LVS in beverages by high pressure processing.

    PubMed

    Schlesser, Joseph E; Parisi, Brian

    2009-01-01

    In 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new research program to develop technologies and strategies to prevent and minimize potential food safety and security threats. The threat of terrorist attacks against the nation's food supplies has created the need to study microorganisms not typically associated with foodborne illness. High-pressure processing has been proposed as a treatment to reduce Yersinia pestis and Francisella tularensis LVS levels in beverages. The objectives of this work were to determine the pressure resistance of Y. pseudotuberculosis 197 (surrogate for Y. pestis) and F. tularensis LVS (vaccine strain). For each bacterium, samples of ultrahigh-temperature pasteurized skim milk and pasteurized reduced-acid orange juice (pH ca. 4.2) were inoculated at a minimum level of 5 log CFU/ml. Ten-milliliter samples of the inoculated product were vacuum sealed in polyester pouches and subjected to pressures of 300 and 500 MPa for holding times ranging from 30 s to 6 min. One set of trials was performed at an initial temperature of 10 degrees C and another at 25 degrees C. Processed samples were immediately plated and enumerated. A pressure treatment of 300 MPa at 25 degrees C for less than 6 min was not sufficient to achieve a 5-log reduction of Y. pseudotuberculosis 197 or F. tularensis LVS in milk. However, a pressure treatment of 500 MPa was effective at hold times as low as 30 s. Overall, F. tularensis LVS demonstrated less pressure resistance than Y. pseudotuberculosis 197. Based on these findings, a high-pressure process designed to inactivate 5 log CFU of Y. pseudotuberculosis 197 per ml and F. tularensis LVS in orange juice or milk should be set at or above 500 MPa with a hold time of 2 min or greater. PMID:19205479

  8. PATHOGENESIS AND IMMUNE RESPONSES OF FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS STRAINS IN WILD-CAUGHT COTTONTAIL RABBITS (SYLVILAGUS SPP.).

    PubMed

    Brown, Vienna R; Adney, Danielle R; Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Helle; Gordy, Paul W; Felix, Todd A; Olea-Popelka, Francisco J; Bowen, Richard A

    2015-07-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent, zoonotic bacterium that causes significant natural disease and is of concern as an organism for bioterrorism. Serologic testing of wildlife is frequently used to monitor spatial patterns of infection and to quantify exposure. Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) are a natural reservoir for F. tularensis in the US, although very little work has been done experimentally to determine how these animals respond to infection; thus, information gathered from field samples can be difficult to interpret. We characterized clinical disease, bacteremia, pathology, and antibody kinetics of North American cottontail rabbits experimentally infected with five strains of F. tularensis. Rabbits were infected with four field strains, including MA00-2987 (type A1b), WY96-3418 (type A2), KY99-3387, and OR96-0246 (type B), and with SchuS4 (type A1a), a widely used, virulent laboratory strain. Infection with the different strains of the bacterium resulted in varied patterns of clinical disease, gross pathology, and histopathology. Each of the type A strains were highly virulent, with rabbits succumbing to infection 3-13 d after infection. At necropsy, numerous microabscesses were observed in the livers and spleens of most rabbits, associated with high bacterial organ burdens. In contrast, most rabbits infected with type B strains developed mild fever and became lethargic, but the disease was infrequently lethal. Those rabbits infected with type B strains that survived past 14 d developed a robust humoral immune response, and F. tularensis was not isolated from liver, spleen, or lung of those animals. Understanding F. tularensis infection in a natural reservoir species can guide serosurveillance and generate new insights into environmental maintenance of this pathogen. PMID:25984770

  9. B-Cell Epitopes in GroEL of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhaohua; Rynkiewicz, Michael J.; Madico, Guillermo; Li, Sheng; Yang, Chiou-Ying; Perkins, Hillary M.; Sompuram, Seshi R.; Kodela, Vani; Liu, Tong; Morris, Timothy; Wang, Daphne; Roche, Marly I.; Seaton, Barbara A.; Sharon, Jacqueline

    2014-01-01

    The chaperonin protein GroEL, also known as heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60), is a prominent antigen in the human and mouse antibody response to the facultative intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft), the causative agent of tularemia. In addition to its presumed cytoplasmic location, FtGroEL has been reported to be a potential component of the bacterial surface and to be released from the bacteria. In the current study, 13 IgG2a and one IgG3 mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for FtGroEL were classified into eleven unique groups based on shared VH-VL germline genes, and seven crossblocking profiles revealing at least three non-overlapping epitope areas in competition ELISA. In a mouse model of respiratory tularemia with the highly pathogenic Ft type A strain SchuS4, the Ab64 and N200 IgG2a mAbs, which block each other’s binding to and are sensitive to the same two point mutations in FtGroEL, reduced bacterial burden indicating that they target protective GroEL B-cell epitopes. The Ab64 and N200 epitopes, as well as those of three other mAbs with different crossblocking profiles, Ab53, N3, and N30, were mapped by hydrogen/deuterium exchange–mass spectrometry (DXMS) and visualized on a homology model of FtGroEL. This model was further supported by its experimentally-validated computational docking to the X-ray crystal structures of Ab64 and Ab53 Fabs. The structural analysis and DXMS profiles of the Ab64 and N200 mAbs suggest that their protective effects may be due to induction or stabilization of a conformational change in FtGroEL. PMID:24968190

  10. Characterization of the O-antigen Polymerase (Wzy) of Francisella tularensis*

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Tae-Hyun; Sebastian, Shite; Pinkham, Jessica T.; Ross, Robin A.; Blalock, LeeAnn T.; Kasper, Dennis L.

    2010-01-01

    The O-antigen polymerase of Gram-negative bacteria has been difficult to characterize. Herein we report the biochemical and functional characterization of the protein product (Wzy) of the gene annotated as the putative O-antigen polymerase, which is located in the O-antigen biosynthetic locus of Francisella tularensis. In silico analysis (homology searching, hydropathy plotting, and codon usage assessment) strongly suggested that Wzy is an O-antigen polymerase whose function is to catalyze the addition of newly synthesized O-antigen repeating units to a glycolipid consisting of lipid A, inner core polysaccharide, and one repeating unit of the O-polysaccharide (O-PS). To characterize the function of the Wzy protein, a non-polar deletion mutant of wzy was generated by allelic replacement, and the banding pattern of O-PS was observed by immunoblot analysis of whole-cell lysates obtained by SDS-PAGE and stained with an O-PS-specific monoclonal antibody. These immunoblot analyses showed that O-PS of the wzy mutant expresses only one repeating unit of O-antigen. Further biochemical characterization of the subcellular fractions of the wzy mutant demonstrated that (as is characteristic of O-antigen polymerase mutants) the low molecular weight O-antigen accumulates in the periplasm of the mutant. Site-directed mutagenesis based on protein homology and topology, which was carried out to locate a catalytic residue of the protein, showed that modification of specific residues (Gly176, Asp177, Gly323, and Tyr324) leads to a loss of O-PS polymerization. Topology models indicate that these amino acids most likely lie in close proximity on the bacterial surface. PMID:20605777

  11. Two parallel pathways for ferric and ferrous iron acquisition support growth and virulence of the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis Schu S4.

    PubMed

    Pérez, Natalie; Johnson, Richard; Sen, Bhaswati; Ramakrishnan, Girija

    2016-06-01

    Iron acquisition mechanisms in Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, include the Francisella siderophore locus (fsl) siderophore operon and a ferrous iron-transport system comprising outer-membrane protein FupA and inner-membrane transporter FeoB. To characterize these mechanisms and to identify any additional iron uptake systems in the virulent subspecies tularensis, single and double deletions were generated in the fsl and feo iron acquisition systems of the strain Schu S4. Deletion of the entire fsl operon caused loss of siderophore production that could be restored by complementation with the biosynthetic genes fslA and fslC and Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) transporter gene fslB. (55) Fe-transport assays demonstrated that siderophore-iron uptake required the receptor FslE and MFS transporter FslD. A ΔfeoB' mutation resulted in loss of ability to transport ferrous iron ((55) Fe(2+) ). A ΔfeoB' ΔfslA mutant that required added exogenous siderophore for growth in vitro was unable to grow within tissue culture cells and was avirulent in mice, indicating that no compensatory cryptic iron uptake systems were induced in vivo. These studies demonstrate that the fsl and feo pathways function independently and operate in parallel to effectively support virulence of F. tularensis. PMID:26918301

  12. Temporal Transcriptional Response during Infection of Type II Alveolar Epithelial Cells with Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) Supports a General Host Suppression and Bacterial Uptake by Macropinocytosis*

    PubMed Central

    Bradburne, Christopher E.; Verhoeven, Anne B.; Manyam, Ganiraju C.; Chaudhry, Saira A.; Chang, Eddie L.; Thach, Dzung C.; Bailey, Charles L.; van Hoek, Monique L.

    2013-01-01

    Pneumonic tularemia is caused by inhalation of Francisella tularensis, one of the most infectious microbes known. We wanted to study the kinetics of the initial and early interactions between bacterium and host cells in the lung. To do this, we examined the infection of A549 airway epithelial cells with the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis. A549 cells were infected and analyzed for global transcriptional response at multiple time points up to 16 h following infection. At 15 min and 2 h, a strong transcriptional response was observed including cytoskeletal rearrangement, intracellular transport, and interferon signaling. However, at later time points (6 and 16 h), very little differential gene expression was observed, indicating a general suppression of the host response consistent with other reported cell lines and murine tissues. Genes for macropinocytosis and actin/cytoskeleton rearrangement were highly up-regulated and common to the 15 min and 2 h time points, suggesting the use of this method for bacterial entry into cells. We demonstrate macropinocytosis through the uptake of FITC-dextran and amiloride inhibition of Francisella LVS uptake. Our results suggest that macropinocytosis is a potential mechanism of intracellular entry by LVS and that the host cell response is suppressed during the first 2–6 h of infection. These results suggest that the attenuated Francisella LVS induces significant host cell signaling at very early time points after the bacteria's interaction with the cell. PMID:23322778

  13. Autophagy-mediated reentry of Francisella tularensis into the endocytic compartment after cytoplasmic replication

    PubMed Central

    Checroun, Claire; Wehrly, Tara D.; Fischer, Elizabeth R.; Hayes, Stanley F.; Celli, Jean

    2006-01-01

    Intracellular bacterial pathogens evade the bactericidal functions of mammalian cells by physical escape from their phagosome and replication into the cytoplasm or through the modulation of phagosome maturation and biogenesis of a membrane-bound replicative organelle. Here, we detail in murine primary macrophages the intracellular life cycle of Francisella tularensis, a highly infectious bacterium that survives and replicates within mammalian cells. After transient interactions with the endocytic pathway, bacteria escaped from their phagosome by 1 h after infection and underwent replication in the cytoplasm from 4 to 20 h after infection. Unexpectedly, the majority of bacteria were subsequently found to be enclosed within large, juxtanuclear, LAMP-1-positive vacuoles called Francisella-containing vacuoles (FCVs). FCV formation required intracytoplasmic replication of bacteria. Using electron and fluorescence microscopy, we observed that the FCVs contained morphologically intact bacteria, despite fusing with lysosomes. FCVs are multimembranous structures that accumulate monodansylcadaverine and display the autophagy-specific protein LC3 on their membrane. Formation of FCVs was significantly inhibited by 3-methyladenine, confirming a role for the autophagic pathway in the biogenesis of these organelles. Taken together, our results demonstrate that, via autophagy, F. tularensis reenters the endocytic pathway after cytoplasmic replication, a process thus far undescribed for intracellular pathogens. PMID:16983090

  14. Control of Intracellular Francisella tularensis by Different Cell Types and the Role of Nitric Oxide

    PubMed Central

    Newstead, Sarah L.; Gates, Amanda J.; Hartley, M. Gillian; Rowland, Caroline A.; Williamson, E. Diane; Lukaszewski, Roman A.

    2014-01-01

    Reactive nitrogen is critical for the clearance of Francisella tularensis infections. Here we assess the role of nitric oxide in control of intracellular infections in two murine macrophage cell lines of different provenance: the alveolar macrophage cell line, MH-S, and the widely used peritoneal macrophage cell line, J774A.1. Cells were infected with the highly virulent Schu S4 strain or with the avirulent live vaccine strain (LVS) with and without stimuli. Compared to MH-S cells, J774A.1 cells were unresponsive to stimulation and were able to control the intracellular replication of LVS bacteria, but not of Schu S4. In MH-S cells, Schu S4 demonstrated control over cellular NO production. Despite this, MH-S cells stimulated with LPS or LPS and IFN-γ were able to control intracellular Schu S4 numbers. However, only stimulation with LPS induced significant cellular NO production. Combined stimulation with LPS and IFN-γ produced a significant reduction in intracellular bacteria that occurred whether high levels of NO were produced or not, indicating that NO secretion is not the only defensive cellular mechanism operating in virulent Francisella infections. Understanding how F. tularensis interacts with host macrophages will help in the rational design of new and effective therapies. PMID:25170518

  15. Microinjection of Francisella tularensis and Listeria monocytogenes reveals the importance of bacterial and host factors for successful replication.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Lena; Bröms, Jeanette E; Liu, Xijia; Rottenberg, Martin E; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2015-08-01

    Certain intracellular bacteria use the host cell cytosol as the replicative niche. Although it has been hypothesized that the successful exploitation of this compartment requires a unique metabolic adaptation, supportive evidence is lacking. For Francisella tularensis, many genes of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) are essential for intracellular growth, and therefore, FPI mutants are useful tools for understanding the prerequisites of intracytosolic replication. We compared the growth of bacteria taken up by phagocytic or nonphagocytic cells with that of bacteria microinjected directly into the host cytosol, using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis; five selected FPI mutants thereof, i.e., ΔiglA, ΔiglÇ ΔiglG, ΔiglI, and ΔpdpE strains; and Listeria monocytogenes. After uptake in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), ASC(-/-) BMDM, MyD88(-/-) BMDM, J774 cells, or HeLa cells, LVS, ΔpdpE and ΔiglG mutants, and L. monocytogenes replicated efficiently in all five cell types, whereas the ΔiglA and ΔiglC mutants showed no replication. After microinjection, all 7 strains showed effective replication in J774 macrophages, ASC(-/-) BMDM, and HeLa cells. In contrast to the rapid replication in other cell types, L. monocytogenes showed no replication in MyD88(-/-) BMDM and LVS showed no replication in either BMDM or MyD88(-/-) BMDM after microinjection. Our data suggest that the mechanisms of bacterial uptake as well as the permissiveness of the cytosolic compartment per se are important factors for the intracytosolic replication. Notably, none of the investigated FPI proteins was found to be essential for intracytosolic replication after microinjection. PMID:26034213

  16. Microinjection of Francisella tularensis and Listeria monocytogenes Reveals the Importance of Bacterial and Host Factors for Successful Replication

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Lena; Bröms, Jeanette E.; Liu, Xijia; Rottenberg, Martin E.

    2015-01-01

    Certain intracellular bacteria use the host cell cytosol as the replicative niche. Although it has been hypothesized that the successful exploitation of this compartment requires a unique metabolic adaptation, supportive evidence is lacking. For Francisella tularensis, many genes of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) are essential for intracellular growth, and therefore, FPI mutants are useful tools for understanding the prerequisites of intracytosolic replication. We compared the growth of bacteria taken up by phagocytic or nonphagocytic cells with that of bacteria microinjected directly into the host cytosol, using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis; five selected FPI mutants thereof, i.e., ΔiglA, ΔiglÇ ΔiglG, ΔiglI, and ΔpdpE strains; and Listeria monocytogenes. After uptake in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), ASC−/− BMDM, MyD88−/− BMDM, J774 cells, or HeLa cells, LVS, ΔpdpE and ΔiglG mutants, and L. monocytogenes replicated efficiently in all five cell types, whereas the ΔiglA and ΔiglC mutants showed no replication. After microinjection, all 7 strains showed effective replication in J774 macrophages, ASC−/− BMDM, and HeLa cells. In contrast to the rapid replication in other cell types, L. monocytogenes showed no replication in MyD88−/− BMDM and LVS showed no replication in either BMDM or MyD88−/− BMDM after microinjection. Our data suggest that the mechanisms of bacterial uptake as well as the permissiveness of the cytosolic compartment per se are important factors for the intracytosolic replication. Notably, none of the investigated FPI proteins was found to be essential for intracytosolic replication after microinjection. PMID:26034213

  17. A Conserved and Immunodominant Lipoprotein of Francisella tularensis is Proinflammatory but not Essential for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Forestal, Colin A.; Gil, Horacio; Monfett, Michael; Noah, Courtney E.; Platz, Gabrielle J.; Thanassi, David G.; Benach, Jorge L.; Furie, Martha B.

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent bacterium that causes tularemia, a disease that is often fatal if untreated. A live vaccine strain (LVS) of this bacterium is attenuated for virulence in humans but produces lethal disease in mice. F. tularensis has been classified as a Category A agent of bioterrorism. Despite this categorization, little is known about the components of the organism that are responsible for causing disease in its hosts. Here, we report the deletion of a well-characterized lipoprotein of F. tularensis, designated LpnA (also known as Tul4), in the LVS. An LpnA deletion mutant was comparable to the wild-type strain in its ability to grow intracellularly and cause lethal disease in mice. Additionally, mice inoculated with a sublethal dose of the mutant strain were afforded the same protection against a subsequent lethal challenge with the LVS as were mice initially administered a sublethal dose of the wild-type bacterium. The LpnA-deficient strain showed an equivalent ability to promote secretion of chemokines by human monocyte-derived macrophages as its wild-type counterpart. However, recombinant LpnA potently stimulated primary cultures of human macrophages in a Toll-like receptor 2-dependent manner. Although human endothelial cells also were activated by recombinant LpnA, their response was relatively modest. LpnA is clearly unnecessary for multiple functions of the LVS, but its inflammatory capacity implicates it and other Francisella lipoproteins as potentially important to the pathogenesis of tularemia. PMID:18304778

  18. Automated microfluidically controlled electrochemical biosensor for the rapid and highly sensitive detection of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Dulay, Samuel B; Gransee, Rainer; Julich, Sandra; Tomaso, Herbert; O'Sullivan, Ciara K

    2014-09-15

    Tularemia is a highly infectious zoonotic disease caused by a Gram-negative coccoid rod bacterium, Francisella tularensis. Tularemia is considered as a life-threatening potential biological warfare agent due to its high virulence, transmission, mortality and simplicity of cultivation. In the work reported here, different electrochemical immunosensor formats for the detection of whole F. tularensis bacteria were developed and their performance compared. An anti-Francisella antibody (FB11) was used for the detection that recognises the lipopolysaccharide found in the outer membrane of the bacteria. In the first approach, gold-supported self-assembled monolayers of a carboxyl terminated bipodal alkanethiol were used to covalently cross-link with the FB11 antibody. In an alternative second approach F(ab) fragments of the FB11 antibody were generated and directly chemisorbed onto the gold electrode surface. The second approach resulted in an increased capture efficiency and higher sensitivity. Detection limits of 4.5 ng/mL for the lipopolysaccharide antigen and 31 bacteria/mL for the F. tularensis bacteria were achieved. Having demonstrated the functionality of the immunosensor, an electrode array was functionalised with the antibody fragment and integrated with microfluidics and housed in a tester set-up that facilitated complete automation of the assay. The only end-user intervention is sample addition, requiring less than one-minute hands-on time. The use of the automated microfluidic set-up not only required much lower reagent volumes but also the required incubation time was considerably reduced and a notable increase of 3-fold in assay sensitivity was achieved with a total assay time from sample addition to read-out of less than 20 min. PMID:24747573

  19. Examination of in vitro epithelial cell lines as models for Francisella tularensis non-phagocytic infections.

    PubMed

    Lo, Karen Yi-Shyuan; Chua, Michael Dominic; Abdulla, Salima; Law, H T; Guttman, Julian Andrew

    2013-05-01

    Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis), the causative agent of tularemia, has long been known to invade and occupy non-phagocytic epithelial cells. Many epithelial cell infection models have been developed to study this process; however, due to the lack of consensus on infection methods and precise experimental procedures to evaluate invasion and replication, selection of appropriate models to use based on the literature is challenging. To evaluate in vitro non-phagocytic cell infection models, we chose 8 epithelial cultured cell lines from published models to infect with F. tularensis subspecies novicida (F. novicida) and compared the results to a recently developed model that used the mouse hepatocyte BNL CL.2 cell line. We utilized classical gentamicin-based invasion assays to determine total intracellular bacterial loads and employed microscopic examination with staining techniques that distinguished between intracellular and extracellular bacteria to provide an accurate assessment of the proportion of invaded host cells and the degree of bacterial replication. We found that COS-7 cells exhibited the greatest invasion rates; CMT-93 cells contained the largest intracellular bacterial loads; ad HEK-293s were capable of invasion and replication rates at high levels, but required shorter infection incubation times. Although COS-7, CMT-93 and HEK-293 cell lines may be suited to study certain aspects of invasion or replication, we found that BNL CL.2 cells appeared the most appropriate to study the overall pathogenesis of F. novicida when examined in toto. PMID:23523968

  20. Delineation of the Molecular Mechanisms of Francisella tularensis-Induced Apoptosis in Murine Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Lai, Xin-He; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2003-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium capable of inducing apoptosis in murine macrophages. Here we analyzed the pathway leading to apoptosis in the murine macrophage-like cell line J774A.1 after infection with F. tularensis strain LVS (named LVS for live vaccine strain). We obtained evidence that the infection affected the mitochondria of the macrophages, since it induced release of the mitochondrial molecule cytochrome c into the cytosol and changed the potential over the mitochondrial membrane. Moreover, activation of caspase 9 and the executioner caspase 3 was also observed in the LVS-infected J774A.1 macrophages. The activated caspase 3 degraded poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). All of these events were observed within 9 to 12 h after the initiation of infection, and maximum degradation of a synthetic caspase 3 substrate occurred at 18 h. The internucleosomal fragmentation and PARP degradation resulting from activation of this apoptotic pathway was prevented by the caspase 3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-fmk. No involvement of caspase 1, caspase 8, Bcl-2, or Bid was observed. Thus, the F. tularensis infection induces macrophage apoptosis through a pathway partly resembling the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. PMID:12874344

  1. FTT0831c/FTL_0325 Contributes to Francisella tularensis Cell Division, Maintenance of Cell Shape, and Structural Integrity

    PubMed Central

    Robertson, Gregory T.; Case, Elizabeth Di Russo; Dobbs, Nicole; Ingle, Christine; Balaban, Murat; Celli, Jean

    2014-01-01

    The Francisella FTT0831c/FTL_0325 gene encodes amino acid motifs to suggest it is a lipoprotein and that it may interact with the bacterial cell wall as a member of the OmpA-like protein family. Previous studies have suggested that FTT0831c is surface exposed and required for virulence of Francisella tularensis by subverting the host innate immune response (M. Mahawar et al., J. Biol. Chem. 287:25216–25229, 2012). We also found that FTT0831c is required for murine pathogenesis and intramacrophage growth of Schu S4, but we propose a different model to account for the proinflammatory nature of the resultant mutants. First, inactivation of FTL_0325 from live vaccine strain (LVS) or FTT0831c from Schu S4 resulted in temperature-dependent defects in cell viability and morphology. Loss of FTT0831c was also associated with an unusual defect in lipopolysaccharide O-antigen synthesis, but loss of FTL_0325 was not. Full restoration of these properties was observed in complemented strains expressing FTT0831c in trans, but not in strains lacking the OmpA motif, suggesting that cell wall contact is required. Finally, growth of the LVS FTL_0325 mutant in Mueller-Hinton broth at 37°C resulted in the appearance of membrane blebs at the poles and midpoint, prior to the formation of enlarged round cells that showed evidence of compromised cellular membranes. Taken together, these data are more consistent with the known structural role of OmpA-like proteins in linking the OM to the cell wall and, as such, maintenance of structural integrity preventing altered surface exposure or release of Toll-like receptor 2 agonists during rapid growth of Francisella in vitro and in vivo. PMID:24778115

  2. Crystallization of a newly discovered histidine acid phosphatase from Francisella tularensis

    SciTech Connect

    Felts, Richard L.; Reilly, Thomas J.; Calcutt, Michael J.; Tanner, John J.

    2006-01-01

    A histidine acid phosphatase from the CDC Category A pathogen F. tularensis has been crystallized in space group P4{sub 1}2{sub 1}2, with unit-cell parameters a = 61.96, c = 210.78 Å. A 1.75 Å resolution data set was collected at Advanced Light Source beamline 4.2.2. Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterial pathogen that is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a potential bioterrorism weapon. Here, the crystallization of a 37.2 kDa phosphatase encoded by the genome of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica live vaccine strain is reported. This enzyme shares 41% amino-acid sequence identity with Legionella pneumophila major acid phosphatase and contains the RHGXRXP motif that is characteristic of the histidine acid phosphatase family. Large diffraction-quality crystals were grown in the presence of Tacsimate, HEPES and PEG 3350. The crystals belong to space group P4{sub 1}2{sub 1}2, with unit-cell parameters a = 61.96, c = 210.78 Å. The asymmetric unit is predicted to contain one protein molecule, with a solvent content of 53%. A 1.75 Å resolution native data set was recorded at beamline 4.2.2 of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Advanced Light Source. Molecular-replacement trials using the human prostatic acid phosphatase structure as the search model (28% amino-acid sequence identity) did not produce a satisfactory solution. Therefore, the structure of F. tularensis histidine acid phosphatase will be determined by multiwavelength anomalous dispersion phasing using a selenomethionyl derivative.

  3. Use of Temperature for Standardizing the Progression of Francisella tularensis in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Molins, Claudia R.; Delorey, Mark J.; Young, John W.; Yockey, Brook M.; Belisle, John T.; Schriefer, Martin E.; Petersen, Jeannine M.

    2012-01-01

    The study of infectious agents, their pathogenesis, the host response and the evaluation of newly developed countermeasures often requires the use of a living system. Murine models are frequently used to undertake such investigations with the caveat that non-biased measurements to assess the progression of infection are underutilized. Instead, murine models predominantly rely on symptomology exhibited by the animal to evaluate the state of the animal's health and to determine when euthanasia should be performed. In this study, we used subcutaneous temperature as a non-subjective measurement to follow and compare infection in mice inoculated with Francisella tularensis, a Gram-negative pathogen that produces an acute and fatal illness in mice. A reproducible temperature pattern defined by three temperature phases (normal, febrile and hypothermic) was identified in all mice infected with F. tularensis, regardless of the infecting strain. More importantly and for the first time a non-subjective, ethical, and easily determined surrogate endpoint for death based on a temperature, termed drop point, was identified and validated with statistical models. In comparative survival curve analyses for F. tularensis strains with differing virulence, the drop point temperature yielded the same results as those obtained using observed time to death. Incorporation of temperature measurements to evaluate F. tularensis was standardized based on statistical models to provide a new level of robustness for comparative analyses in mice. These findings should be generally applicable to other pathogens that produce acute febrile disease in animal models and offers an important tool for understanding and following the infection process. PMID:23028924

  4. Francisella tularensis Catalase Restricts Immune Function by Impairing TRPM2 Channel Activity.

    PubMed

    Shakerley, Nicole L; Chandrasekaran, Akshaya; Trebak, Mohamed; Miller, Barbara A; Melendez, J Andrés

    2016-02-19

    As an innate defense mechanism, macrophages produce reactive oxygen species that weaken pathogens and serve as secondary messengers involved in immune function. The Gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis utilizes its antioxidant armature to limit the host immune response, but the mechanism behind this suppression is not defined. Here we establish that F. tularensis limits Ca(2+) entry in macrophages, thereby limiting actin reorganization and IL-6 production in a redox-dependent fashion. Wild type (live vaccine strain) or catalase-deficient F. tularensis (ΔkatG) show distinct profiles in their H2O2 scavenging rates, 1 and 0.015 pm/s, respectively. Murine alveolar macrophages infected with ΔkatG display abnormally high basal intracellular Ca(2+) concentration that did not increase further in response to H2O2. Additionally, ΔkatG-infected macrophages displayed limited Ca(2+) influx in response to ionomycin, as a result of ionophore H2O2 sensitivity. Exogenously added H2O2 or H2O2 generated by ΔkatG likely oxidizes ionomycin and alters its ability to transport Ca(2+). Basal increases in cytosolic Ca(2+) and insensitivity to H2O2-mediated Ca(2+) entry in ΔkatG-infected cells are reversed by the Ca(2+) channel inhibitors 2-aminoethyl diphenylborinate and SKF-96365. 2-Aminoethyl diphenylborinate but not SKF-96365 abrogated ΔkatG-dependent increases in macrophage actin remodeling and IL-6 secretion, suggesting a role for H2O2-mediated Ca(2+) entry through the transient receptor potential melastatin 2 (TRPM2) channel in macrophages. Indeed, increases in basal Ca(2+), actin polymerization, and IL-6 production are reversed in TRPM2-null macrophages infected with ΔkatG. Together, our findings provide compelling evidence that F. tularensis catalase restricts reactive oxygen species to temper macrophage TRPM2-mediated Ca(2+) signaling and limit host immune function. PMID:26679996

  5. German Francisella tularensis isolates from European brown hares (Lepus europaeus) reveal genetic and phenotypic diversity

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Tularemia is a zoonotic disease caused by Francisella tularensis that has been found in many different vertebrates. In Germany most human infections are caused by contact with infected European brown hares (Lepus europaeus). The aim of this study was to elucidate the epidemiology of tularemia in hares using phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of F. tularensis. Results Cultivation of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica bacteria from organ material was successful in 31 of 52 hares that had a positive PCR result targeting the Ft-M19 locus. 17 isolates were sensitive to erythromycin and 14 were resistant. Analysis of VNTR loci (Ft-M3, Ft-M6 and Ft-M24), INDELs (Ftind33, Ftind38, Ftind49, RD23) and SNPs (B.17, B.18, B.19, and B.20) was shown to be useful to investigate the genetic relatedness of Francisella strains in this set of strains. The 14 erythromycin resistant isolates were assigned to clade B.I, and 16 erythromycin sensitive isolates to clade B.IV and one isolate was found to belong to clade B.II. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS) was useful to discriminate strains to the subspecies level. Conclusions F. tularensis seems to be a re-emerging pathogen in Germany. The pathogen can easily be identified using PCR assays. Isolates can also be identified within one hour using MALDI-TOF MS in laboratories where specific PCR assays are not established. Further analysis of strains requires genotyping tools. The results from this study indicate a geographical segregation of the phylogenetic clade B.I and B.IV, where B.I strains localize primarily within eastern Germany and B.IV strains within western Germany. This phylogeographical pattern coincides with the distribution of biovar I (erythromycin sensitive) and biovar II (erythromycin resistance) strains. When time and costs are limiting parameters small numbers of isolates can be analysed using PCR assays combined with DNA sequencing with a focus on genetic loci that are most likely discriminatory among

  6. The Class A β-Lactamase FTU-1 Is Native to Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Antunes, Nuno T.; Frase, Hilary; Toth, Marta

    2012-01-01

    The class A β-lactamase FTU-1 produces resistance to penicillins and ceftazidime but not to any other β-lactam antibiotics tested. FTU-1 hydrolyzes penicillin antibiotics with catalytic efficiencies of 105 to 106 M−1 s−1 and cephalosporins and carbapenems with catalytic efficiencies of 102 to 103 M−1 s−1, but the monobactam aztreonam and the cephamycin cefoxitin are not substrates for the enzyme. FTU-1 shares 21 to 34% amino acid sequence identity with other class A β-lactamases and harbors two cysteine residues conserved in all class A carbapenemases. FTU-1 is the first weak class A carbapenemase that is native to Francisella tularensis. PMID:22083489

  7. [Development of a novel Francisella tularensis antigen stained with tetrazolium-blue for tularemia microagglutination test].

    PubMed

    Celebi, Bekir; Kılıç, Selçuk

    2013-07-01

    The isolation of Francisella tularensis in cultures is the reference method for the laboratory diagnosis of tularemia. However, due to the limitations such as the low sensitivity and need for high safety level and equipped laboratories, serologic methods are frequently used as diagnostic tools. F.tularensis-specific antibodies may be demonstrated by several methods, however microagglutination test (MA) remains the most common method with its high sensitivity and specificity. The aim of this study was to develop a novel MA test antigen prepared from whole F.tularensis cells and stained with tetrazolium-blue for more clear and easier evaluation. F.tularensis NCTC 10857 strain was cultured on the cysteine heart agar supplemented with 9% sheep blood and bacterial cells were harvested by scraping, collected in physiological saline (PS) and centrifuged at 1500 rpm for 10 minutes. For preparing stock antigen suspension cell concentration was adjusted to OD600=1.5, spectrophotometrically. Tetrazolium-blue solution (BTC [3,3'-(3,3'-Dimethoxy[1,1'-biphenyl]-4,4'-diyl) bis [2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium dichloride], T4375 Sigma-Aldrich) at the final concentration of 1% was added to cell suspension and incubated at 37°C for 5 hours for absorption. Then, the living cells were chemically inactivated by formaldehyde. Repeating centrifugations were performed to discard excess dye and formaline, then 0.4% formaline saline was added on the sediment. Optimum concentration of this novel antigen (BTC-Ag) for MA test was determined by plate titration method by using standard serum sample with a known MA titer (1/128). The performance of BTC-Ag in MA test was evaluated by using 100 patient sera positive for F.tularensis antibodies, and 100 tularemia negative patient sera (of them 50 were seropositive for brucellosis). All of the results were compared with standard MA test in which safranin-O stained antigen (SO-Ag) was used. There was 100% agreement between the two tests performed with

  8. Francisella tularensis Vaccines Elicit Concurrent Protective T- and B-Cell Immune Responses in BALB/cByJ Mice

    PubMed Central

    De Pascalis, Roberto; Mittereder, Lara; Chou, Alicia Y.; Kennett, Nikki J.; Elkins, Karen L.

    2015-01-01

    In the last decade several new vaccines against Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia, have been characterized in animal models. Whereas many of these vaccine candidates showed promise, it remains critical to bridge the preclinical studies to human subjects, ideally by taking advantage of correlates of protection. By combining in vitro intramacrophage LVS replication with gene expression data through multivariate analysis, we previously identified and quantified correlative T cell immune responses that discriminate vaccines of different efficacy. Further, using C57BL/6J mice, we demonstrated that the relative levels of gene expression vary according to vaccination route and between cell types from different organs. Here, we extended our studies to the analysis of T cell functions of BALB/cByJ mice to evaluate whether our approach to identify correlates of protection also applies to a Th2 dominant mouse strain. BALB/cByJ mice had higher survival rates than C57BL/6J mice when they were immunized with suboptimal vaccines and challenged. However, splenocytes derived from differentially vaccinated BALB/cByJ mice controlled LVS intramacrophage replication in vitro in a pattern that reflected the hierarchy of protection observed in C57BL/6J mice. In addition, gene expression of selected potential correlates revealed similar patterns in splenocytes of BALB/cByJ and C57BL/6J mice. The different survival patterns were related to B cell functions, not necessarily to specific antibody production, which played an important protective role in BALB/cByJ mice when vaccinated with suboptimal vaccines. Our studies therefore demonstrate the range of mechanisms that operate in the most common mouse strains used for characterization of vaccines against F. tularensis, and illustrate the complexity necessary to define a comprehensive set of correlates. PMID:25973794

  9. Humoral immune response of cottontail rabbits naturally infected with Francisella tularensis in southern Illinois.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, D; Woolf, A; Kirkpatrick, R; Cooper, M

    1997-10-01

    Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) usually are thought to succumb to infection with Francisella tularensis. Reports of a rabbit population from southern Illinois (USA) with a high prevalence of F. tularensis antibodies suggested that some cottontails survived infection with this typically fatal bacterium. Our goal was to examine the humoral response of cottontails from a study area in southern Illinois for which multiple serum samples existed. Multiple sera were collected from 79 cottontails from 1986 to 1990 and 63% gained, lost, or maintained ELISA titers of IgM and IgG isotype antibodies. The typical pattern of antibody response appeared to be IgM isotype antibodies first, followed by IgG isotype antibodies, with both generally increasing to high titers. Negative culture attempts of liver tissue from 51 cottontails with varying antibody responses suggested that chronic infection did not occur in rabbits that developed antibody. The significance of the cottontail antibody response in resolution or prevention of tularemia infection remains unclear. PMID:9391956

  10. Immunodetection of inactivated Francisella tularensis bacteria by using a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring.

    PubMed

    Kleo, K; Schäfer, D; Klar, S; Jacob, D; Grunow, R; Lisdat, F

    2012-08-01

    Francisella tularensis are very small, gram-negative bacteria which are capable of infecting a number of mammals. As a highly pathogenic species, it is a potential bioterrorism agent. In this work we demonstrate a fast immunological detection system for whole F. tularensis bacteria. The technique is based on a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCMD), which uses sensor chips modified by a specific antibody. This antibody is useful as a capture molecule to capture the lipopolysaccharide structure on the surface of the bacterial cell wall. The QCMD technique is combined with a microfluidic system and allows the label-free online detection of the binding of whole bacteria to the sensor surface in a wide dynamic concentration range. A detection limit of about 4 × 10(3) colony-forming units per milliliter can be obtained. Furthermore, a rather short analysis time and a clear discrimination against other bacteria can be achieved. Additionally, we demonstrate two possibilities for specific and significant signal enhancement by using antibody-functionalized gold nanoparticles or an enzymatic precipitation reaction. These additional steps can be seen as further proof of the specificity and validity. PMID:22722745

  11. Typical Preparation of Francisella tularensis O-antigen Yields a Mixture of Three Types of Saccharides†

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qi; Shi, Xiaofeng; Leymarie, Nancy; Madico, Guillermo; Sharon, Jacqueline; Costello, Catherine E.; Zaia, Joseph

    2011-01-01

    Tularemia is a severe infectious disease in humans caused by the gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft). Due to its low infectious dose, high mortality rate, and the threat of its large-scale dissemination in weaponized form, development of vaccines and immunotherapeutics against Ft is essential. Ft lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which contains the linear graded-length saccharide component O-antigen (OAg) attached to a core oligosaccharide, has been reported as a protective antigen. Purification of LPS saccharides of defined length and composition is necessary to reveal the epitopes targeted by protective antibodies. In this study, we purified saccharides from LPS preparations from both the Ft subspecies holarctica live vaccine strain (LVS) and the virulent Ft subspecies tularensis SchuS4 strain using liquid chromatography. We then characterized the fractions using high resolution mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry. Three types of saccharides were observed in both the LVS and SchuS4 preparations: two consisting of OAg tetrasaccharide repeats attached to one of two core-oligosaccharide variants, and one consisting of tetrasaccharide repeats only (coreless). The coreless OAg oligosaccharides were shown to contain Qui4NFm (4,6-dideoxy-4-formamido-D-glucose) at the non-reducing end and QuiNAc (2-acetamido-2,6-dideoxy-O-D-glucose) at the reducing end. Purified homogeneous preparations of saccharides of each type will allow mapping of protective epitopes in Ft LPS. PMID:22091710

  12. Nonrandom Distribution of Vector Ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) Infected by Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Goethert, Heidi K.; Telford, Sam R.

    2009-01-01

    The island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, is the site of a sustained outbreak of tularemia due to Francisella tularensis tularensis. Dog ticks, Dermacentor variabilis, appear to be critical in the perpetuation of the agent there. Tularemia has long been characterized as an agent of natural focality, stably persisting in characteristic sites of transmission, but this suggestion has never been rigorously tested. Accordingly, we sought to identify a natural focus of transmission of the agent of tularemia by mapping the distribution of PCR-positive ticks. From 2004 to 2007, questing D. variabilis were collected from 85 individual waypoints along a 1.5 km transect in a field site on Martha's Vineyard. The positions of PCR-positive ticks were then mapped using ArcGIS. Cluster analysis identified an area approximately 290 meters in diameter, 9 waypoints, that was significantly more likely to yield PCR-positive ticks (relative risk 3.3, P = 0.001) than the rest of the field site. Genotyping of F. tularensis using variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis on PCR-positive ticks yielded 13 different haplotypes, the vast majority of which was one dominant haplotype. Positive ticks collected in the cluster were 3.4 times (relative risk = 3.4, P<0.0001) more likely to have an uncommon haplotype than those collected elsewhere from the transect. We conclude that we have identified a microfocus where the agent of tularemia stably perpetuates and that this area is where genetic diversity is generated. PMID:19247435

  13. Mouse Models of Aerosol-Acquired Tularemia Caused by Francisella tularensis Types A and B

    PubMed Central

    Fritz, David L; England, Marilyn J; Miller, Lynda; Waag, David M

    2014-01-01

    After preliminary assessment of virulence in AKR/J, DBA/1, BALB/c, and C57BL/6 mice, we investigated histopathologic changes in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice infected with type A (strain SCHU S4) or type B (strain 425) Francisella tularensis by aerosol exposure. In mice exposed to type A infection, changes in histologic presentation were not apparent until day 3 after infection, when pyogranulomatous inflammation was detected in spleens and livers of BALB/c mice, and in lungs and spleens of C57BL/6 mice. Histopathologic changes were most severe and widespread in both mouse strains on day 5 after infection and seemed to completely resolve within 22 d of challenge. BALB/c mice were more resistant than C57BL/6 mice in lethal-dose calculations, but C57BL/6 mice cleared the infection more rapidly. Mice similarly challenged with type B F. tularensis also developed histopathologic signs of infection beginning on day 3. The most severe changes were noted on day 8 and were characterized by granulomatous or pyogranulomatous infiltrations of the lungs. Unlike type A infection, lesions due to type B did not resolve over time and remained 3 wk after infection. In type B, but not type A, infection we noted extensive inflammation of the heart muscle. Although no microorganisms were found in tissues of type A survivors beyond 9 d after infection, mice surviving strain 425 infection had a low level of residual infection at 3 wk after challenge. The histopathologic presentation of tularemia caused by F. tularensis types A and B in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice bears distinct similarities to tularemia in humans. PMID:25402174

  14. Regulation of apoptosis and anti-apoptosis signalling by Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Santic, Marina; Pavokovic, Gordana; Jones, Snake; Asare, Rexford; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis induces apoptosis within macrophages but the temporal and spatial modulation through activation of caspase-1, caspase-3, and the anti-apoptosis nuclear transcription factor B (NF-κB) is not known. Whether escape of the bacteria into the cytosol is sufficient and/or essential for activation of NF-κB is not known. Our results show that F. tularensis subsp. novicida induces sustained nuclear translocation of NF-κB at early time points after infection of human monocytes derived macrophages (hMDMs). The sustained nuclear translocation of NF-κB is defective in the iglC mutant that fails to escape into the cytosol of macrophages. Nuclear translocation of NF-κB by the wild type strain is abolished upon treatment with the NF-κB inhibitor caffein acid phenyl ester. While the wild type strain triggers caspase-3 and caspase-1 activation by 6 h post-infection the iglC mutant is defective in triggering both caspases. In hMDMs treated with the apoptosis-inducing agent, staurosporin, there is an induction of cell death in the iglC mutant-infected macrophages despite reduced frequency of caspase-1 and caspase-3 activity. The wt-infected macrophages are resistant to cell death-induced agent. We conclude that although caspase-1 and capsase-3 are triggered within F. tularensis-infected hMDMs during early stages of infection, cell death is delayed, which is correlated with simultaneous activation of NF-κB. PMID:19925880

  15. Regulation of apoptosis and anti-apoptosis signalling by Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Santic, Marina; Pavokovic, Gordana; Jones, Snake; Asare, Rexford; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2010-02-01

    Francisella tularensis induces apoptosis within macrophages but the temporal and spatial modulation through activation of caspase-1, caspase-3, and the anti-apoptosis nuclear transcription factor B (NF-kappaB) is not known. Whether escape of the bacteria into the cytosol is sufficient and/or essential for activation of NF-kappaB is not known. Our results show that F. tularensis subsp. novicida induces sustained nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB at early time points after infection of human monocytes derived macrophages (hMDMs). The sustained nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB is defective in the iglC mutant that fails to escape into the cytosol of macrophages. Nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB by the wild type strain is abolished upon treatment with the NF-kappaB inhibitor caffein acid phenyl ester. While the wild type strain triggers caspase-3 and caspase-1 activation by 6 h post-infection the iglC mutant is defective in triggering both caspases. In hMDMs treated with the apoptosis-inducing agent, staurosporin, there is an induction of cell death in the iglC mutant-infected macrophages despite reduced frequency of caspase-1 and caspase-3 activity. The wt-infected macrophages are resistant to cell death-induced agent. We conclude that although caspase-1 and capsase-3 are triggered within F. tularensis-infected hMDMs during early stages of infection, cell death is delayed, which is correlated with simultaneous activation of NF-kappaB. PMID:19925880

  16. Nicotinamide mononucleotide synthetase is the key enzyme for an alternative route of NAD biosynthesis in Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Sorci, Leonardo; Martynowski, Dariusz; Rodionov, Dmitry A.; Eyobo, Yvonne; Zogaj, Xhavit; Klose, Karl E.; Nikolaev, Evgeni V.; Magni, Giulio; Zhang, Hong; Osterman, Andrei L.

    2009-01-01

    Enzymes involved in the last 2 steps of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) cofactor biosynthesis, which catalyze the adenylylation of the nicotinic acid mononucleotide (NaMN) precursor to nicotinic acid dinucleotide (NaAD) followed by its amidation to NAD, constitute promising drug targets for the development of new antibiotics. These enzymes, NaMN adenylyltransferase (gene nadD) and NAD synthetase (gene nadE), respectively, are indispensable and conserved in nearly all bacterial pathogens. However, a comparative genome analysis of Francisella tularensis allowed us to predict the existence of an alternative route of NAD synthesis in this category A priority pathogen, the causative agent of tularaemia. In this route, the amidation of NaMN to nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) occurs before the adenylylation reaction, which converts this alternative intermediate to the NAD cofactor. The first step is catalyzed by NMN synthetase, which was identified and characterized in this study. A crystal structure of this enzyme, a divergent member of the NadE family, was solved at 1.9-Å resolution in complex with reaction products, providing a rationale for its unusual substrate preference for NaMN over NaAD. The second step is performed by NMN adenylyltransferase of the NadM family. Here, we report validation of the predicted route (NaMN → NMN → NAD) in F. tularensis including mathematical modeling, in vitro reconstitution, and in vivo metabolite analysis in comparison with a canonical route (NaMN → NaAD → NAD) of NAD biosynthesis as represented by another deadly bacterial pathogen, Bacillus anthracis. PMID:19204287

  17. Nicotinamide mononucleotide synthetase is the key enzyme for an alternative route of NAD biosynthesis in Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Sorci, Leonardo; Martynowski, Dariusz; Rodionov, Dmitry A; Eyobo, Yvonne; Zogaj, Xhavit; Klose, Karl E; Nikolaev, Evgeni V; Magni, Giulio; Zhang, Hong; Osterman, Andrei L

    2009-03-01

    Enzymes involved in the last 2 steps of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) cofactor biosynthesis, which catalyze the adenylylation of the nicotinic acid mononucleotide (NaMN) precursor to nicotinic acid dinucleotide (NaAD) followed by its amidation to NAD, constitute promising drug targets for the development of new antibiotics. These enzymes, NaMN adenylyltransferase (gene nadD) and NAD synthetase (gene nadE), respectively, are indispensable and conserved in nearly all bacterial pathogens. However, a comparative genome analysis of Francisella tularensis allowed us to predict the existence of an alternative route of NAD synthesis in this category A priority pathogen, the causative agent of tularaemia. In this route, the amidation of NaMN to nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) occurs before the adenylylation reaction, which converts this alternative intermediate to the NAD cofactor. The first step is catalyzed by NMN synthetase, which was identified and characterized in this study. A crystal structure of this enzyme, a divergent member of the NadE family, was solved at 1.9-A resolution in complex with reaction products, providing a rationale for its unusual substrate preference for NaMN over NaAD. The second step is performed by NMN adenylyltransferase of the NadM family. Here, we report validation of the predicted route (NaMN --> NMN --> NAD) in F. tularensis including mathematical modeling, in vitro reconstitution, and in vivo metabolite analysis in comparison with a canonical route (NaMN --> NaAD --> NAD) of NAD biosynthesis as represented by another deadly bacterial pathogen, Bacillus anthracis. PMID:19204287

  18. Re-emergence of tularemia in Germany: Presence of Francisella tularensis in different rodent species in endemic areas

    PubMed Central

    Kaysser, Philipp; Seibold, Erik; Mätz-Rensing, Kerstin; Pfeffer, Martin; Essbauer, Sandra; Splettstoesser, Wolf D

    2008-01-01

    Background Tularemia re-emerged in Germany starting in 2004 (with 39 human cases from 2004 to 2007) after over 40 years of only sporadic human infections. The reasons for this rise in case numbers are unknown as is the possible reservoir of the etiologic agent Francisella (F.) tularensis. No systematic study on the reservoir situation of F. tularensis has been published for Germany so far. Methods We investigated three areas six to ten months after the initial tularemia outbreaks for the presence of F. tularensis among small mammals, ticks/fleas and water. The investigations consisted of animal live-trapping, serologic testing, screening by real-time-PCR and cultivation. Results A total of 386 small mammals were trapped. F. tularensis was detected in five different rodent species with carrier rates of 2.04, 6.94 and 10.87% per trapping area. None of the ticks or fleas (n = 432) tested positive for F. tularensis. We were able to demonstrate F. tularensis-specific DNA in one of 28 water samples taken in one of the outbreak areas. Conclusion The findings of our study stress the need for long-term surveillance of natural foci in order to get a better understanding of the reasons for the temporal and spatial patterns of tularemia in Germany. PMID:19014635

  19. Protective B-cell epitopes of Francisella tularensis O-polysaccharide in a mouse model of respiratory tularaemia

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhaohua; Madico, Guillermo; Roche, Marly I; Wang, Qi; Hui, Julia H; Perkins, Hillary M; Zaia, Joseph; Costello, Catherine E; Sharon, Jacqueline

    2012-01-01

    Antibodies to the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Francisella tularensis have been shown to be protective against respiratory tularaemia in mouse models, and we have previously described mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to non-overlapping terminal and internal epitopes of the F. tularensis LPS O-polysaccharide (OAg). In the current study, we used F. tularensis LPS oligosaccharides of defined OAg repeat length as molecular rulers in competition ELISA to demonstrate that the epitope targeted by the terminal OAg-binding mAb FB11 is contained within one tetrasaccharide repeat whereas the epitope targeted by the internal OAg-binding mAb Ab52 spans two tetrasaccharide repeats. Both mAbs conferred survival to BALB/c mice infected intranasally with the F. tularensis type B live vaccine strain and prolonged survival of BALB/c mice infected intranasally with the highly virulent F. tularensis type A strain SchuS4. The protective effects correlated with reduced bacterial burden in mAb-treated infected mice. These results indicate that an oligosaccharide with two OAg tetrasaccharide repeats covers both terminal and internal protective OAg epitopes, which may inform the design of vaccines for tularaemia. Furthermore, the FB11 and Ab52 mAbs could serve as reporters to monitor the response of vaccine recipients to protective B-cell epitopes of F. tularensis OAg. PMID:22486311

  20. Exploitation of bacterial N-linked glycosylation to develop a novel recombinant glycoconjugate vaccine against Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Cuccui, Jon; Thomas, Rebecca M.; Moule, Madeleine G.; D'Elia, Riccardo V.; Laws, Thomas R.; Mills, Dominic C.; Williamson, Diane; Atkins, Timothy P.; Prior, Joann L.; Wren, Brendan W.

    2013-01-01

    Glycoconjugate-based vaccines have proved to be effective at producing long-lasting protection against numerous pathogens. Here, we describe the application of bacterial protein glycan coupling technology (PGCT) to generate a novel recombinant glycoconjugate vaccine. We demonstrate the conjugation of the Francisella tularensis O-antigen to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa carrier protein exotoxin A using the Campylobacter jejuni PglB oligosaccharyltransferase. The resultant recombinant F. tularensis glycoconjugate vaccine is expressed in Escherichia coli where yields of 3 mg l−1 of culture were routinely produced in a single-step purification process. Vaccination of BALB/c mice with the purified glycoconjugate boosted IgG levels and significantly increased the time to death upon subsequent challenge with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. PGCT allows different polysaccharide and protein combinations to be produced recombinantly and could be easily applicable for the production of diverse glycoconjugate vaccines. PMID:23697804

  1. Exploitation of bacterial N-linked glycosylation to develop a novel recombinant glycoconjugate vaccine against Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Cuccui, Jon; Thomas, Rebecca M; Moule, Madeleine G; D'Elia, Riccardo V; Laws, Thomas R; Mills, Dominic C; Williamson, Diane; Atkins, Timothy P; Prior, Joann L; Wren, Brendan W

    2013-05-01

    Glycoconjugate-based vaccines have proved to be effective at producing long-lasting protection against numerous pathogens. Here, we describe the application of bacterial protein glycan coupling technology (PGCT) to generate a novel recombinant glycoconjugate vaccine. We demonstrate the conjugation of the Francisella tularensis O-antigen to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa carrier protein exotoxin A using the Campylobacter jejuni PglB oligosaccharyltransferase. The resultant recombinant F. tularensis glycoconjugate vaccine is expressed in Escherichia coli where yields of 3 mg l(-1) of culture were routinely produced in a single-step purification process. Vaccination of BALB/c mice with the purified glycoconjugate boosted IgG levels and significantly increased the time to death upon subsequent challenge with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. PGCT allows different polysaccharide and protein combinations to be produced recombinantly and could be easily applicable for the production of diverse glycoconjugate vaccines. PMID:23697804

  2. An approach to the identification of T cell epitopes in the genomic era: application to Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Valentino, Michael; Frelinger, John

    2016-01-01

    The identification and characterization of epitopes is essential for modern immunologic studies. Here we describe a novel methodology we have developed to identify T cell epitopes exploiting the phenomenon of cross presentation. Particulate antigens, in the form of beads, are very effective in delivering exogenous antigen to both the class I and class II pathways. We will review our efforts to screen entire genomes of pathogens for T cell epitopes taking advantage of the advances in genomics using Francisella tularensis as a model. By automating aspects of this technology we will be able to functionally screen the entire genome of F. tularensis for T cell epitopes. This technology should be applicable not only to F. tularensis, but also to many other pathogens as well. PMID:19212707

  3. Characterization of the Receptor-Ligand Pathways Important for Entry and Survival of Francisella tularensis in Human Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Balagopal, Ashwin; MacFarlane, Amanda Shearer; Mohapatra, Nrusingh; Soni, Shilpa; Gunn, John S.; Schlesinger, Larry S.

    2006-01-01

    Inhalational pneumonic tularemia, caused by Francisella tularensis, is lethal in humans. F. tularensis is phagocytosed by macrophages followed by escape from phagosomes into the cytoplasm. Little is known of the phagocytic mechanisms for Francisella, particularly as they relate to the lung and alveolar macrophages. Here we examined receptors on primary human monocytes and macrophages which mediate the phagocytosis and intracellular survival of F. novicida. F. novicida association with monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) was greater than with monocytes. Bacteria were readily ingested, as shown by electron microscopy. Bacterial association was significantly increased in fresh serum and only partially decreased in heat-inactivated serum. A role for both complement receptor 3 (CR3) and Fcγ receptors in uptake was supported by studies using a CR3-expressing cell line and by down-modulation of Fcγ receptors on MDM, respectively. Consistent with Fcγ receptor involvement, antibody in nonimmune human serum was detected on the surface of Francisella. In the absence of serum opsonins, competitive inhibition of mannose receptor (MR) activity on MDM with mannan decreased the association of F. novicida and opsonization of F. novicida with lung collectin surfactant protein A (SP-A) increased bacterial association and intracellular survival. This study demonstrates that human macrophages phagocytose more Francisella than monocytes with contributions from CR3, Fcγ receptors, the MR, and SP-A present in lung alveoli. PMID:16926403

  4. Reproducible and Quantitative Model of Infection of Dermacentor variabilis with the Live Vaccine Strain of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Coburn, Jenifer; Maier, Tamara; Casey, Monika; Padmore, Lavinia; Sato, Hiromi

    2014-01-01

    Pathogen life cycles in mammalian hosts have been studied extensively, but studies with arthropod vectors represent considerable challenges. In part this is due to the difficulty of delivering a reproducible dose of bacteria to follow arthropod-associated replication. We have established reproducible techniques to introduce known numbers of Francisella tularensis strain LVS from mice into Dermacentor variabilis nymphs. Using this model infection system, we performed dose-response infection experiments and followed bacterial replication through the molt to adults and at later time points. During development to adults, bacteria replicate to high numbers and can be found associated with the gut tissues, salivary glands, and hemolymph of adult ticks. Further, we can transmit a mutant of LVS (LVS ΔpurMCD) that cannot replicate in macrophages in vitro or in mice to nymphs. Our data show that the LVS ΔpurMCD mutant cannot be transstadially transmitted from nymphs to adult ticks. We then show that a plasmid-complemented strain of this mutant is recoverable in adult ticks and necessary for bacterial replication during the molt. In a mixed-infection assay (ΔpurMCD mutant versus ΔpurMCD complement), 98% of the recovered bacteria retained the plasmid marker. These data suggest that the ΔpurMCD mutation cannot be rescued by the presence a complemented strain in a mixed infection. Importantly, our infection model provides a platform to test specific mutants for their replication in ticks, perform competition studies, and use other genetic techniques to identify F. tularensis genes that are expressed or required in this unique environment. PMID:25362054

  5. [An oropharyngeal tularemia case diagnosed by the isolation of Francisella tularensis on human blood agar].

    PubMed

    Ozel, Gönül; Arslan, Ilker Burak; Yeşilyurt, Murat; Celebi, Bekir; Kılıç, Selçuk

    2010-10-01

    Tularemia which is a multisystem disease of humans and some animals, is endemic in North America, some parts of Europe and Asia. The causative agent, Francisella tularensis, is a fastidious gram-negative, intracellular bacterium which requires supplementation with sulphydryl compounds (cysteine, cystine, thiosulphate, isoVitaleX) for growth on common laboratory media. In this report, a case of oropharyngeal tularemia diagnosed by the isolation of the causative agent on non-selective-common microbiological agar, has been presented. The patient was from Yozgat located in central Anatolia where tularemia has not been reported so far. Forty-two years old male was admitted to the hospital with two weeks history of sudden onset fever, headache, generalized aches, sore throat, and cervical tender lump on the left. Physical examination revealed bilateral exudative tonsillitis and tender posterior cervical lymphadenopathy. He has been empirically treated with amoxicilin-clavulanic acid for 7 days with initial diagnosis of acute tonsillopharyngitis. However, he was admitted to the hospital since the symptoms persisted and swelling increased despite antibiotic therapy. Microscopical examination of the Gram and Ehrlich-Ziehl-Neelsen stained smears prepared from the surgically drained lymph node revealed PMNL, with no evidence of bacteria. Routine cultures of the lymph node material yielded growth of gram-negative coccobacilli only on human blood agar and the cultures were negative for pyogenic bacteria, acid-fast organisms and fungi. Pathologic examination of the drainage material revealed suppurative inflammation. Lymph node aspirate and serum samples of the patient together with the isolated strain were sent to reference laboratory for further investigation in accordance to the clinical and laboratory findings compatible with tularemia. The isolate was confirmed as F.tularensis by slide agglutination and direct immunofluorescence antibody tests, and identified as F.tularensis

  6. [Evaluation of a newly-developed ready-to-use commercial PCR kit for the molecular diagnosis of Francisella tularensis].

    PubMed

    Celebi, Bekir; Kılıç, Selçuk; Yeşilyurt, Murat; Acar, Bülent

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia is a rare zoonotic infection, however, considerations of tularemia as a biological weapon and several recent major epidemics have caused renewed interest in this disease. Laboratory diagnosis of tularemia is done in the presence of appropriate epidemiological data, by the demonstration of specific antibodies in the serum samples obtained with 1-2 week intervals following the development of symptoms. It is an a posteriori analysis with limited use for prompt diagnosis of the patient during the early symptomatic phase and deliberate release of biological agents. Limitations in both culture and serology have led to substantial research in the development of new diagnostic techniques. Several PCR methods for tularemia have been developed, both for conventional and real-time polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR). However, PCR methods are hard to be deployed in remote endemic areas that lack sufficient infrastructure. Recently a "Toolbox" which includes all instruments, equipments and solutions [DNA4U® Bacteria Genomic DNA Isolation Kit, CubeCycler® (Personal Thermal Cycler), PCR4U® Bioterrorism Agents Detection Kit, electrophoresis tank, power supply, ready-agarose gel and electrophoresis buffer] necessary for conventional PCR, was developed for the identification of bioterrorism agents in the field. In this study we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a ready-to-use commercial PCR kit (Nanobiz, Ankara, Turkey) targeting the tul4 gene, for the diagnosis of tularemia and to compare the results with an in-house conventional PCR and a rtPCR test. We applied the assay to a collection of four F.tularensis standard strains, 15 field isolates (from humans, animals, water), 13 non-Francisella strains which are phylogenetically related to F.tularensis and a total of 60 lymph node aspirates obtained from suspected tularemia cases. Compared to the in-house PCR method used in our laboratory, the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of Nanobiz PCR

  7. Detection of Francisella tularensis-specific antibodies in patients with tularemia by a novel competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Neekun; Hotta, Akitoyo; Yamamoto, Yoshie; Fujita, Osamu; Uda, Akihiko; Morikawa, Shigeru; Yamada, Akio; Tanabayashi, Kiyoshi

    2013-01-01

    A novel competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed and evaluated for detection of antibodies against Francisella tularensis in humans. The assay is based on the ability of serum antibodies to inhibit the binding of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide antigens. The assay was evaluated using serum samples of tularemia patients, inactivated F. tularensis-immunized rabbits, and F. tularensis-infected mice. Antibodies against F. tularensis were successfully detected in serum samples of tularemia patients as well as the immunized and infected animals. The cELISA method was compared to indirect ELISA (iELISA) and the commonly used microagglutination test (MA) using serum samples of 19 tularemia patients and 50 healthy individuals. The sensitivity and specificity of cELISA were 93.9 and 96.1%, respectively, in comparison to the iELISA. MA was less sensitive than cELISA with a sensitivity and specificity of only 81.8 and 98.0%, respectively. A high degree of correlation (R(2) = 0.8226) was observed between cELISA and iELISA results. The novel cELISA developed in this study appears to be highly sensitive and specific for serodiagnosis of human tularemia. The potential of the MAb-based cELISA to be used in both human and animal samples emphasizes its usefulness for serological survey of tularemia among multiple animal species. PMID:23114700

  8. Detection of Francisella tularensis-Specific Antibodies in Patients with Tularemia by a Novel Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Neekun; Hotta, Akitoyo; Yamamoto, Yoshie; Fujita, Osamu; Uda, Akihiko; Morikawa, Shigeru; Yamada, Akio

    2013-01-01

    A novel competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed and evaluated for detection of antibodies against Francisella tularensis in humans. The assay is based on the ability of serum antibodies to inhibit the binding of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide antigens. The assay was evaluated using serum samples of tularemia patients, inactivated F. tularensis-immunized rabbits, and F. tularensis-infected mice. Antibodies against F. tularensis were successfully detected in serum samples of tularemia patients as well as the immunized and infected animals. The cELISA method was compared to indirect ELISA (iELISA) and the commonly used microagglutination test (MA) using serum samples of 19 tularemia patients and 50 healthy individuals. The sensitivity and specificity of cELISA were 93.9 and 96.1%, respectively, in comparison to the iELISA. MA was less sensitive than cELISA with a sensitivity and specificity of only 81.8 and 98.0%, respectively. A high degree of correlation (R2 = 0.8226) was observed between cELISA and iELISA results. The novel cELISA developed in this study appears to be highly sensitive and specific for serodiagnosis of human tularemia. The potential of the MAb-based cELISA to be used in both human and animal samples emphasizes its usefulness for serological survey of tularemia among multiple animal species. PMID:23114700

  9. Growth conditions and environmental factors impact aerosolization but not virulence of Francisella tularensis infection in mice

    PubMed Central

    Faith, Seth A.; Smith, Le'Kneitah P.; Swatland, Angela S.; Reed, Douglas S.

    2012-01-01

    In refining methodology to develop a mouse model for inhalation of Francisella tularensis, it was noted that both relative humidity and growth media impacted the aerosol concentration of the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis. A relative humidity of less than 55% had a negative impact on the spray factor, the ratio between the concentration of LVS in the aerosol and the nebulizer. The spray factor was significantly higher for LVS grown in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth than LVS grown in Mueller–Hinton broth (MHb) or Chamberlain's chemically defined medium (CCDM). The variability between aerosol exposures was also considerably less with BHI. LVS grown in BHI survived desiccation far longer than MHb-grown or CCDM-grown LVS (~70% at 20 min for BHI compared to <50% for MHb and CCDM). Removal of the capsule by hypertonic treatment impacted the spray factor for CCDM-grown LVS or MHb-grown LVS but not BHI-grown LVS, suggesting the choice of culture media altered the adherence of the capsule to the cell membrane. The choice of growth media did not impact the LD50 of LVS but the LD99 of BHI-grown LVS was 1 log lower than that for MHb-grown LVS or CCDM-grown LVS. Splenomegaly was prominent in mice that succumbed to MHb- and BHI-grown LVS but not CCDM-grown LVS. Environmental factors and growth conditions should be evaluated when developing new animal models for aerosol infection, particularly for vegetative bacterial pathogens. PMID:23087911

  10. Importance of PdpC, IglC, IglI, and IglG for modulation of a host cell death pathway induced by Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Lindgren, Marie; Eneslätt, Kjell; Bröms, Jeanette E; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2013-06-01

    Modulation of host cell death pathways appears to be a prerequisite for the successful lifestyles of many intracellular pathogens. The facultative intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis is highly pathogenic, and effective proliferation in the macrophage cytosol leading to host cell death is a requirement for its virulence. To better understand the prerequisites of this cell death, macrophages were infected with the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS), and the effects were compared to those resulting from infections with deletion mutants lacking expression of either of the pdpC, iglC, iglG, or iglI genes, which encode components of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI), a type VI secretion system. Within 12 h, a majority of the J774 cells infected with the LVS strain showed production of mitochondrial superoxide and, after 24 h, marked signs of mitochondrial damage, caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation, phosphatidylserine expression, nucleosome formation, and membrane leakage. In contrast, neither of these events occurred after infection with the ΔiglI or ΔiglC mutants, although the former strain replicated. The ΔiglG mutant replicated effectively but induced only marginal cytopathogenic effects after 24 h and intermediate effects after 48 h. In contrast, the ΔpdpC mutant showed no replication but induced marked mitochondrial superoxide production and mitochondrial damage, caspase-3 activation, nucleosome formation, and phosphatidylserine expression, although the effects were delayed compared to those obtained with LVS. The unique phenotypes of the mutants provide insights regarding the roles of individual FPI components for the modulation of the cytopathogenic effects resulting from the F. tularensis infection. PMID:23529623

  11. Rapid diagnosis and quantification of Francisella tularensis in organs of naturally infected common squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus).

    PubMed

    Abril, Carlos; Nimmervoll, Helena; Pilo, Paola; Brodard, Isabelle; Korczak, Bozena; Markus, Seiler; Miserez, Raymond; Frey, Joachim

    2008-02-01

    Francisella tularensis, a small Gram-negative facultative intracellular bacterium, is the causative agent of tularaemia, a severe zoonotic disease transmitted to humans mostly by vectors such as ticks, flies and mosquitoes. The disease is endemic in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Among animals, the most affected species belong to rodents and lagomorphs, in particular hares. However, in the recent years, many cases of tularaemia among small monkeys in zoos were reported. We have developed a real-time PCR that allows to quantify F. tularensis in tissue samples. Using this method, we identified the spleen and the kidney as the most heavily infected organ containing up to 400 F. tularensis bacteria per simian host cell in two common squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) from a zoo that died of tularaemia. In other organs such as the brain, F. tularensis was detected at much lower titres. The strain that caused the infection was identified as F. tularensis subsp. holarctica biovar I, which is susceptible to erythromycin. The high number of F. tularensis present in soft organs such as spleen, liver and kidney represents a high risk for persons handling such carcasses and explains the transmission of the disease to a pathologist during post-mortem analysis. Herein, we show that real-time PCR allows a reliable and rapid diagnosis of F. tularensis directly from tissue samples of infected animals, which is crucial in order to attempt accurate prophylactic measures, especially in cases where humans or other animals have been exposed to this highly contagious pathogen. PMID:17875369

  12. Bioavailability and Efficacy of Levofloxacin against Francisella tularensis in the Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)▿

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Michelle; Lever, Mark S.; Dean, Rachel E.; Pearce, Peter C.; Stevens, Daniel J.; Simpson, Andrew J. H.

    2010-01-01

    Pharmacokinetic and efficacy studies with levofloxacin were performed in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) model of inhalational tularemia. Plasma levofloxacin pharmacokinetics were determined in six animals in separate single-dose and multidose studies. Plasma drug concentrations were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-electrospray ionization. On day 7 of a twice-daily dosing regimen of 40 mg/kg, the levofloxacin half-life, maximum concentration, and area under the curve in marmoset plasma were 2.3 h, 20.9 μg/ml, and 81.4 μg/liter/h, respectively. An efficacy study was undertaken using eight treated and two untreated control animals. Marmosets were challenged with a mean of 1.5 × 102 CFU of Francisella tularensis by the airborne route. Treated animals were administered 16.5 mg/kg levofloxacin by mouth twice daily, based on the pharmacokinetic parameters, beginning 24 h after challenge. Control animals had a raised core body temperature by 57 h postchallenge and died from infection by day 5. All of the other animals survived, remained afebrile, and lacked overt clinical signs. No bacteria were recovered from the organs of these animals at postmortem after culling at day 24 postchallenge. In conclusion, postexposure prophylaxis with orally administered levofloxacin was efficacious against acute inhalational tularemia in the common marmoset. The marmoset appears to be an appropriate animal model for the evaluation of postexposure therapies. PMID:20625157

  13. Establishment of lethal inhalational infection with Francisella tularensis (tularaemia) in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Michelle; Lever, Mark S; Savage, Victoria L; Salguero, Francisco Javier; Pearce, Peter C; Stevens, Daniel J; Simpson, Andrew J H

    2009-01-01

    Susceptibility and lethality studies of inhalational tularaemia were undertaken using the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) to determine its suitability as a non-human primate model. Pairs of marmosets were exposed to varying challenge doses of Francisella tularensis by the airborne route and monitored for up to 14 days postchallenge (p.c.). Lethal infection was achieved following a retained dose of less than 10 bacterial colony-forming units (CFU). However, precise LD50 determination was not possible. The model was characterized using a target challenge dose of approximately 100 CFU. Increased core body temperature was the first indicator of disease, at approximately 2.5 days p.c. Overt clinical signs were first observed 12–18 h after the temperature increase. Significantly decreased activity was observed after approximately 3 days. All animals succumbed to infection between 4.5 and 7 days p.c. At postmortem examination, gross pathology was evident in the liver, spleen and lungs of all animals and high bacterial numbers were detected in all the organs assessed. Bacteraemia was demonstrated in all animals postmortem. Histopathological observations included severe suppurative bronchopneumonia, severe multifocal pyogranulomatous hepatitis, splenitis and lymphadenitis. Tularaemia disease progression in the common marmoset therefore appears to be consistent with the disease seen in humans and other animal models. The common marmoset may therefore be considered a suitable model for further studies of inhalational tularaemia. PMID:19335549

  14. Electrochemical detection of Francisella tularensis genomic DNA using solid-phase recombinase polymerase amplification.

    PubMed

    del Río, Jonathan Sabaté; Yehia Adly, Nouran; Acero-Sánchez, Josep Lluis; Henry, Olivier Y F; O'Sullivan, Ciara K

    2014-04-15

    Solid-phase isothermal DNA amplification was performed exploiting the homology protein recombinase A (recA). The system was primarily tested on maleimide activated microtitre plates as a proof-of-concept and later translated to an electrochemical platform. In both cases, forward primer for Francisella tularensis holarctica genomic DNA was surface immobilised via a thiol or an amino moiety and then elongated during the recA mediated amplification, carried out in the presence of specific target sequence and reverse primers. The formation of the subsequent surface tethered amplicons was either colorimetrically or electrochemically monitored using a horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-labelled DNA secondary probe complementary to the elongated strand. The amplification time was optimised to amplify even low amounts of DNA copies in less than an hour at a constant temperature of 37°C, achieving a limit of detection of 1.3×10(-13) M (4×10(6) copies in 50 μL) for the colorimetric assay and 3.3×10(-14) M (2×10(5) copies in 10 μL) for the chronoamperometric assay. The system was demonstrated to be highly specific with negligible cross-reactivity with non-complementary targets or primers. PMID:24334283

  15. IL-10 Restrains IL-17 to Limit Lung Pathology Characteristics following Pulmonary Infection with Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain

    PubMed Central

    Slight, Samantha R.; Monin, Leticia; Gopal, Radha; Avery, Lyndsay; Davis, Marci; Cleveland, Hillary; Oury, Tim D.; Rangel-Moreno, Javier; Khader, Shabaana A.

    2014-01-01

    IL-10 production during intracellular bacterial infections is generally thought to be detrimental because of its role in suppressing protective T-helper cell 1 (Th1) responses. Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium that activates both Th1 and Th17 protective immune responses. Herein, we report that IL-10–deficient mice (Il10−/−), despite having increased Th1 and Th17 responses, exhibit increased mortality after pulmonary infection with F. tularensis live vaccine strain. We demonstrate that the increased mortality observed in Il10−/−-infected mice is due to exacerbated IL-17 production that causes increased neutrophil recruitment and associated lung pathology. Thus, although IL-17 is required for protective immunity against pulmonary infection with F. tularensis live vaccine strain, its production is tightly regulated by IL-10 to generate efficient induction of protective immunity without mediating pathology. These data suggest a critical role for IL-10 in maintaining the delicate balance between host immunity and pathology during pulmonary infection with F. tularensis live vaccine strain. PMID:24007881

  16. Novel engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides display broad-spectrum activity against Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis and Burkholderia pseudomallei.

    PubMed

    Abdelbaqi, Suha; Deslouches, Berthony; Steckbeck, Jonathan; Montelaro, Ronald; Reed, Douglas S

    2016-02-01

    Broad-spectrum antimicrobials are needed to effectively treat patients infected in the event of a pandemic or intentional release of a pathogen prior to confirmation of the pathogen's identity. Engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides (eCAPs) display activity against a number of bacterial pathogens including multi-drug-resistant strains. Two lead eCAPs, WLBU2 and WR12, were compared with human cathelicidin (LL-37) against three highly pathogenic bacteria: Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Both WLBU2 and WR12 demonstrated bactericidal activity greater than that of LL-37, particularly against F. tularensis and Y. pestis. Only WLBU2 had bactericidal activity against B. pseudomallei. WLBU2, WR12 and LL-37 were all able to inhibit the growth of the three bacteria in vitro. Because these bacteria can be facultative intracellular pathogens, preferentially infecting macrophages and dendritic cells, we evaluated the activity of WLBU2 against F. tularensis in an ex vivo infection model with J774 cells, a mouse macrophage cell line. In that model WLBU2 was able to achieve greater than 50% killing of F. tularensis at a concentration of 12.5 μM. These data show the therapeutic potential of eCAPs, particularly WLBU2, as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial for treating highly pathogenic bacterial infections. PMID:26673248

  17. Francisella tularensis type A Strains Cause the Rapid Encystment of Acanthamoeba castellanii and Survive in Amoebal Cysts for Three Weeks post Infection

    SciTech Connect

    El-Etr, S H; Margolis, J; Monack, D; Robison, R; Cohen, M; Moore, E; Rasley, A

    2009-07-28

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularemia, has recently gained increased attention due to the emergence of tularemia in geographical areas where the disease has been previously unknown, and the organism's potential as a bioterrorism agent. Although F. tularensis has an extremely broad host range, the bacterial reservoir in nature has not been conclusively identified. In this study, the ability of virulent F. tularensis strains to survive and replicate in the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii was explored. We observe that A. castellanii trophozoites rapidly encyst in response to F. tularensis infection and that this rapid encystment phenotype (REP) is caused by factor(s) secreted by amoebae and/or F. tularensis into the co-culture media. Further, our results indicate that in contrast to LVS, virulent strains of F. tularensis can survive in A. castellanii cysts for at least 3 weeks post infection and that induction of rapid amoeba encystment is essential for survival. In addition, our data indicate that pathogenic F. tularensis strains block lysosomal fusion in A. castellanii. Taken together, these data suggest that the interactions between F. tularensis strains and amoeba may play a role in the environmental persistence of F. tularensis.

  18. T-bet Regulates Immunity to Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain Infection, Particularly in Lungs

    PubMed Central

    Melillo, Amanda A.; Foreman, Oded; Bosio, Catharine M.

    2014-01-01

    Upregulation of the transcription factor T-bet is correlated with the strength of protection against secondary challenge with the live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. Thus, to determine if this mediator had direct consequences in immunity to LVS, we examined its role in infection. Despite substantial in vivo gamma interferon (IFN-γ) levels, T-bet-knockout (KO) mice infected intradermally (i.d.) or intranasally (i.n.) with LVS succumbed to infection with doses 2 log units less than those required for their wild-type (WT) counterparts, and exhibited significantly increased bacterial burdens in the lung and spleen. Lungs of LVS-infected T-bet-KO mice contained fewer lymphocytes and more neutrophils and interleukin-17 than WT mice. LVS-vaccinated T-bet-KO mice survived lethal LVS intraperitoneal secondary challenge but not high doses of LVS i.n. challenge, independently of the route of vaccination. Immune T lymphocytes from the spleens of i.d. LVS-vaccinated WT or KO mice controlled intracellular bacterial replication in an in vitro coculture system, but cultures with T-bet-KO splenocyte supernatants contained less IFN-γ and increased amounts of tumor necrosis factor alpha. In contrast, immune T-bet-KO lung lymphocytes were greatly impaired in controlling intramacrophage growth of LVS; this functional defect is the likely mechanism underpinning the lack of respiratory protection. Taken together, T-bet is important in host resistance to primary LVS infection and i.n. secondary challenge. Thus, T-bet represents a true, useful correlate for immunity to LVS. PMID:24421047

  19. Francisella tularensis novicida proteomic and transcriptomic data integration and annotation based on semantic web technologies

    PubMed Central

    Anwar, Nadia; Hunt, Ela

    2009-01-01

    Background This paper summarises the lessons and experiences gained from a case study of the application of semantic web technologies to the integration of data from the bacterial species Francisella tularensis novicida (Fn). Fn data sources are disparate and heterogeneous, as multiple laboratories across the world, using multiple technologies, perform experiments to understand the mechanism of virulence. It is hard to integrate these data sources in a flexible manner that allows new experimental data to be added and compared when required. Results Public domain data sources were combined in RDF. Using this connected graph of database cross references, we extended the annotations of an experimental data set by superimposing onto it the annotation graph. Identifiers used in the experimental data automatically resolved and the data acquired annotations in the rest of the RDF graph. This happened without the expensive manual annotation that would normally be required to produce these links. This graph of resolved identifiers was then used to combine two experimental data sets, a proteomics experiment and a transcriptomic experiment studying the mechanism of virulence through the comparison of wildtype Fn with an avirulent mutant strain. Conclusion We produced a graph of Fn cross references which enabled the combination of two experimental datasets. Through combination of these data we are able to perform queries that compare the results of the two experiments. We found that data are easily combined in RDF and that experimental results are easily compared when the data are integrated. We conclude that semantic data integration offers a convenient, simple and flexible solution to the integration of published and unpublished experimental data. PMID:19796400

  20. Structural Analysis of a Protective Epitope of the Francisella tularensis O-Polysaccharide†

    PubMed Central

    Rynkiewicz, Michael J.; Lu, Zhaohua; Hui, Julia H.; Sharon, Jacqueline; Seaton, Barbara A.

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft), the Gram negative facultative intracellular bacterium that causes tularemia, is considered a biothreat due to its high infectivity and the high mortality rate of respiratory disease. The Ft lipopolysaccharide (Ft LPS) is thought to be a main protective antigen in mice and humans, and we have previously demonstrated the protective effect of the Ft LPS-specific monoclonal antibody Ab52 in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia. Immunochemical characterization has shown that the epitope recognized by Ab52 is contained within two internal repeat units of the O-polysaccharide [O-antigen (OAg)] of Ft LPS. To further localize the Ab52 epitope and understand the molecular interactions between the antibody and the saccharide, we now solved the X-ray crystal structure of the Fab fragment of Ab52 and derived an antibody-antigen complex using molecular docking. The docked complex, refined through energy minimization, reveals an antigen binding site in the shape of a large canyon with a central pocket that accommodates a V-shaped epitope consisting of six sugar residues, α-D-GalpNAcAN(1→4)-α-D-GalpNAcAN(1→3)-β-D-QuipNAc(1→2)-β-D-Quip4NFm(1→4)-α-D-GalpNAcAN(1→4)-α-D-GalpNAcAN. These results inform the development of vaccines and immunotherapeutic/immunoprophylactic antibodies against Ft by suggesting a desired topology for antibody binding to internal epitopes of Ft LPS. This is the first report of an X-ray crystal structure of a monoclonal antibody that targets a protective Ft B cell epitope. PMID:22747335

  1. T-bet regulates immunity to Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain infection, particularly in lungs.

    PubMed

    Melillo, Amanda A; Foreman, Oded; Bosio, Catharine M; Elkins, Karen L

    2014-04-01

    Upregulation of the transcription factor T-bet is correlated with the strength of protection against secondary challenge with the live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. Thus, to determine if this mediator had direct consequences in immunity to LVS, we examined its role in infection. Despite substantial in vivo gamma interferon (IFN-γ) levels, T-bet-knockout (KO) mice infected intradermally (i.d.) or intranasally (i.n.) with LVS succumbed to infection with doses 2 log units less than those required for their wild-type (WT) counterparts, and exhibited significantly increased bacterial burdens in the lung and spleen. Lungs of LVS-infected T-bet-KO mice contained fewer lymphocytes and more neutrophils and interleukin-17 than WT mice. LVS-vaccinated T-bet-KO mice survived lethal LVS intraperitoneal secondary challenge but not high doses of LVS i.n. challenge, independently of the route of vaccination. Immune T lymphocytes from the spleens of i.d. LVS-vaccinated WT or KO mice controlled intracellular bacterial replication in an in vitro coculture system, but cultures with T-bet-KO splenocyte supernatants contained less IFN-γ and increased amounts of tumor necrosis factor alpha. In contrast, immune T-bet-KO lung lymphocytes were greatly impaired in controlling intramacrophage growth of LVS; this functional defect is the likely mechanism underpinning the lack of respiratory protection. Taken together, T-bet is important in host resistance to primary LVS infection and i.n. secondary challenge. Thus, T-bet represents a true, useful correlate for immunity to LVS. PMID:24421047

  2. Serosurveillance for Francisella tularensis among wild animals in Japan using a newly developed competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Neekun; Hotta, Akitoyo; Yamamoto, Yoshie; Uda, Akihiko; Fujita, Osamu; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Shindo, Junji; Park, Chun-Ho; Kudo, Noboru; Hatai, Hitoshi; Oyamada, Toshifumi; Yamada, Akio; Morikawa, Shigeru; Tanabayashi, Kiyoshi

    2014-04-01

    Tularemia, a highly infectious zoonotic disease caused by Francisella tularensis, occurs sporadically in Japan. However, little is known about the prevalence of the disease in wild animals. A total of 632 samples obtained from 150 Japanese black bears, 142 Japanese hares, 120 small rodents, 97 rats, 53 raptors, 26 Japanese monkeys, 21 Japanese raccoon dogs, 20 masked palm civets, and three Japanese red foxes between 2002 and 2010 were investigated for the presence of antibodies to F. tularensis by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) and the commonly used microagglutination (MA) test. Seropositive cELISA and MA results were obtained in 23 and 18 Japanese black bears, three and two Japanese raccoon dogs, and two and one small rodents, respectively. All MA-positive samples (n=21) were also positive by cELISA. Six of seven samples that were only positive by cELISA were confirmed to be antibody-positive by western blot analysis. These findings suggest that cELISA is a highly sensitive and useful test for serosurveillance of tularemia among various species of wild animals. Because this is the first study to detect F. tularensis-seropositive Japanese raccoon dogs, these could join Japanese black bears as sentinel animals for tularemia in the wild in Japan. Further continuous serosurveillance for F. tularensis in various species of wild animals using appropriate methods such as cELISA is important to assess the risks of human exposure and to improve our understanding of the ecology of F. tularensis in the wild. PMID:24689989

  3. Kinetic Characterization and Phosphoregulation of the Francisella tularensis 1-Deoxy-D-Xylulose 5-Phosphate Reductoisomerase (MEP Synthase)

    PubMed Central

    Jawaid, Safdar; Seidle, Heather; Zhou, Weidong; Abdirahman, Hafsa; Abadeer, Maher; Hix, Joseph H.; van Hoek, Monique L.; Couch, Robin D.

    2009-01-01

    Deliberate and natural outbreaks of infectious disease underscore the necessity of effective vaccines and antimicrobial/antiviral therapeutics. The prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains and the ease by which antibiotic resistant bacteria can be intentionally engineered further highlights the need for continued development of novel antibiotics against new bacterial targets. Isoprenes are a class of molecules fundamentally involved in a variety of crucial biological functions. Mammalian cells utilize the mevalonic acid pathway for isoprene biosynthesis, whereas many bacteria utilize the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, making the latter an attractive target for antibiotic development. In this report we describe the cloning and characterization of Francisella tularensis MEP synthase, a MEP pathway enzyme and potential target for antibiotic development. In vitro growth-inhibition assays using fosmidomycin, an inhibitor of MEP synthase, illustrates the effectiveness of MEP pathway inhibition with F. tularensis. To facilitate drug development, F. tularensis MEP synthase was cloned, expressed, purified, and characterized. Enzyme assays produced apparent kinetic constants (KMDXP = 104 µM, KMNADPH = 13 µM, kcatDXP = 2 s−1, kcatNADPH = 1.3 s−1), an IC50 for fosmidomycin of 247 nM, and a Ki for fosmidomycin of 99 nM. The enzyme exhibits a preference for Mg+2 as a divalent cation. Titanium dioxide chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry identified Ser177 as a site of phosphorylation. S177D and S177E site-directed mutants are inactive, suggesting a mechanism for post-translational control of metabolic flux through the F. tularensis MEP pathway. Overall, our study suggests that MEP synthase is an excellent target for the development of novel antibiotics against F. tularensis. PMID:20011597

  4. Functional and Structural Characterization of Francisella tularensis O-Antigen Antibodies at the Low End of Antigen Reactivity

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhaohua; Rynkiewicz, Michael J.; Yang, Chiou-Ying; Madico, Guillermo; Perkins, Hillary M.; Roche, Marly I.; Seaton, Barbara A.

    2014-01-01

    The O-antigen (OAg) of the Gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft), which is both a capsular polysaccharide and a component of lipopolysaccharide, is comprised of tetrasaccharide repeats and induces antibodies mainly against repeating internal epitopes. We previously reported on several BALB/c mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that bind to internal Ft OAg epitopes and are protective in mouse models of respiratory tularemia. We now characterize three new internal Ft OAg IgG2a MAbs, N203, N77, and N24, with 10- to 100-fold lower binding potency than previously characterized internal-OAg IgG2a MAbs, despite sharing one or more variable region germline genes with some of them. In a mouse model of respiratory tularemia with the highly virulent Ft type A strain SchuS4, the three new MAbs reduced blood bacterial burden with potencies that mirror their antigen-binding strength; the best binder of the new MAbs, N203, prolonged survival in a dose-dependent manner, but was at least 10-fold less potent than the best previously characterized IgG2a MAb, Ab52. X-ray crystallographic studies of N203 Fab showed a flexible binding site in the form of a partitioned groove, which cannot provide as many contacts to OAg as does the Ab52 binding site. These results reveal structural features of antibodies at the low end of reactivity with multi-repeat microbial carbohydrates and demonstrate that such antibodies still have substantial protective effects against infection. PMID:25171003

  5. EmrA1 Membrane Fusion Protein of Francisella tularensis LVS is required for Resistance to Oxidative Stress, Intramacrophage Survival and Virulence in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Zhuo; Banik, Sukalyani; Rane, Harshita; Mora, Vanessa T.; Rabadi, Seham M.; Doyle, Christopher R.; Thanassi, David G.; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Malik, Meenakshi

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Category A Biodefense agent that causes a fatal human disease known as tularemia. The pathogenicity of F. tularensis depends on its ability to persist inside host immune cells primarily by resisting an attack from host-generated reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS). Based on the ability of F. tularensis to resist high ROS/RNS levels, we have hypothesized that additional unknown factors act in conjunction with known antioxidant defenses to render ROS resistance. By screening a transposon insertion library of F. tularensis LVS in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, we have identified an oxidant sensitive mutant in putative EmrA1 (FTL_0687) secretion protein. The results demonstrate that the emrA1 mutant is highly sensitive to oxidants and several antimicrobial agents, and exhibits diminished intramacrophage growth that can be restored to wild type F. tularensis LVS levels either by transcomplementation, inhibition of ROS generation, or infection in NADPH oxidase deficient (gp91Phox−/−) macrophages. The emrA1 mutant is attenuated for virulence, which is restored by infection in gp91Phox−/− mice. Further, EmrA1 contributes to oxidative stress resistance by affecting secretion of Francisella antioxidant enzymes SodB and KatG. This study exposes unique links between transporter activity and the antioxidant defense mechanisms of F. tularensis. PMID:24397487

  6. Prior Inoculation with Type B Strains of Francisella tularensis Provides Partial Protection against Virulent Type A Strains in Cottontail Rabbits

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Vienna R.; Adney, Danielle R.; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Bowen, Richard A.

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent bacterium that is capable of causing severe disease (tularemia) in a wide range of species. This organism is characterized into two distinct subspecies: tularensis (type A) and holarctica (type B) which vary in several crucial ways, with some type A strains having been found to be considerably more virulent in humans and laboratory animals. Cottontail rabbits have been widely implicated as a reservoir species for this subspecies; however, experimental inoculation in our laboratory revealed type A organisms to be highly virulent, resulting in 100% mortality following challenge with 50–100 organisms. Inoculation of cottontail rabbits with the same number of organisms from type B strains of bacteria was found to be rarely lethal and to result in a robust humoral immune response. The objective of this study was to characterize the protection afforded by a prior challenge with type B strains against a later inoculation with a type A strain in North American cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp). Previous infection with a type B strain of organism was found to lengthen survival time and in some cases prevent death following inoculation with a type A2 strain of F. tularensis. In contrast, inoculation of a type A1b strain was uniformly lethal in cottontail rabbits irrespective of a prior type B inoculation. These findings provide important insight about the role cottontail rabbits may play in environmental maintenance and transmission of this organism. PMID:26474413

  7. Monitoring biothreat agents (Francisella tularensis, Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis) with a portable real-time PCR instrument.

    PubMed

    Mölsä, Markos; Hemmilä, Heidi; Katz, Anna; Niemimaa, Jukka; Forbes, Kristian M; Huitu, Otso; Stuart, Peter; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2015-08-01

    In the event of suspected releases or natural outbreaks of contagious pathogens, rapid identification of the infectious agent is essential for appropriate medical intervention and disease containment. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of a novel portable real-time PCR thermocycler, PikoReal™, to the standard real-time PCR thermocycler, Applied Biosystems® 7300 (ABI 7300), for the detection of three high-risk biothreat bacterial pathogens: Francisella tularensis, Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. In addition, a novel confirmatory real-time PCR assay for the detection of F. tularensis is presented and validated. The results show that sensitivity of the assays, based on a dilution series, for the three infectious agents ranged from 1 to 100 fg of target DNA with both instruments. No cross-reactivity was revealed in specificity testing. Duration of the assays with the PikoReal and ABI 7300 systems were 50 and 100 min, respectively. In field testing for F. tularensis, results were obtained with the PikoReal system in 95 min, as the pre-PCR preparation, including DNA extraction, required an additional 45 min. We conclude that the PikoReal system enables highly sensitive and rapid on-site detection of biothreat agents under field conditions, and may be a more efficient alternative to conventional diagnostic methods. PMID:26043838

  8. The binding sites of monoclonal antibodies to the non-reducing end of Francisella tularensis O-antigen accommodate mainly the terminal saccharide

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhaohua; Rynkiewicz, Michael J; Yang, Chiou-Ying; Madico, Guillermo; Perkins, Hillary M; Wang, Qi; Costello, Catherine E; Zaia, Joseph; Seaton, Barbara A; Sharon, Jacqueline

    2013-01-01

    We have previously described two types of protective B-cell epitopes in the O-antigen (OAg) of the Gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis: repeating internal epitopes targeted by the vast majority of anti-OAg monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), and a non-overlapping epitope at the non-reducing end targeted by the previously unique IgG2a mAb FB11. We have now generated and characterized three mAbs specific for the non-reducing end of F. tularensis OAg, partially encoded by the same variable region germline genes, indicating that they target the same epitope. Like FB11, the new mAbs, Ab63 (IgG3), N213 (IgG3) and N62 (IgG2b), had higher antigen-binding bivalent avidity than internally binding anti-OAg mAbs, and an oligosaccharide containing a single OAg repeat was sufficient for optimal inhibition of their antigen-binding. The X-ray crystal structure of N62 Fab showed that the antigen-binding site is lined mainly by aromatic amino acids that form a small cavity, which can accommodate no more than one and a third sugar residues, indicating that N62 binds mainly to the terminal Qui4NFm residue at the nonreducing end of OAg. In efficacy studies with mice infected intranasally with the highly virulent F. tularensis strain SchuS4, N62, N213 and Ab63 prolonged survival and reduced blood bacterial burden. These results yield insights into how antibodies to non-reducing ends of microbial polysaccharides can contribute to immune protection despite the smaller size of their target epitopes compared with antibodies to internal polysaccharide regions. PMID:23844703

  9. The binding sites of monoclonal antibodies to the non-reducing end of Francisella tularensis O-antigen accommodate mainly the terminal saccharide.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhaohua; Rynkiewicz, Michael J; Yang, Chiou-Ying; Madico, Guillermo; Perkins, Hillary M; Wang, Qi; Costello, Catherine E; Zaia, Joseph; Seaton, Barbara A; Sharon, Jacqueline

    2013-11-01

    We have previously described two types of protective B-cell epitopes in the O-antigen (OAg) of the Gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis: repeating internal epitopes targeted by the vast majority of anti-OAg monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), and a non-overlapping epitope at the non-reducing end targeted by the previously unique IgG2a mAb FB11. We have now generated and characterized three mAbs specific for the non-reducing end of F. tularensis OAg, partially encoded by the same variable region germline genes, indicating that they target the same epitope. Like FB11, the new mAbs, Ab63 (IgG3), N213 (IgG3) and N62 (IgG2b), had higher antigen-binding bivalent avidity than internally binding anti-OAg mAbs, and an oligosaccharide containing a single OAg repeat was sufficient for optimal inhibition of their antigen-binding. The X-ray crystal structure of N62 Fab showed that the antigen-binding site is lined mainly by aromatic amino acids that form a small cavity, which can accommodate no more than one and a third sugar residues, indicating that N62 binds mainly to the terminal Qui4NFm residue at the nonreducing end of OAg. In efficacy studies with mice infected intranasally with the highly virulent F. tularensis strain SchuS4, N62, N213 and Ab63 prolonged survival and reduced blood bacterial burden. These results yield insights into how antibodies to non-reducing ends of microbial polysaccharides can contribute to immune protection despite the smaller size of their target epitopes compared with antibodies to internal polysaccharide regions. PMID:23844703

  10. Cell-mediated and humoral immune responses induced by scarification vaccination of human volunteers with a new lot of the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed Central

    Waag, D M; Galloway, A; Sandstrom, G; Bolt, C R; England, M J; Nelson, G O; Williams, J C

    1992-01-01

    Tularemia is a disease caused by the facultative intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis. We evaluated a new lot of live F. tularensis vaccine for its immunogenicity in human volunteers. Scarification vaccination induced humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Indications of a positive immune response after vaccination included an increase in specific antibody levels, which were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent and immunoblot assays, and the ability of peripheral blood lymphocytes to respond to whole F. tularensis bacteria as recall antigens. Vaccination caused a significant rise (P less than 0.05) in immunoglobulin A (IgA), IgG, and IgM titers. Lymphocyte stimulation indices were significantly increased (P less than 0.01) in vaccinees 14 days after vaccination. These data verify that this new lot of live F. tularensis vaccine is immunogenic. Images PMID:1400988

  11. Serosurveillance for Francisella tularensis Among Wild Animals in Japan Using a Newly Developed Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Neekun; Hotta, Akitoyo; Yamamoto, Yoshie; Uda, Akihiko; Fujita, Osamu; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Shindo, Junji; Park, Chun-Ho; Kudo, Noboru; Hatai, Hitoshi; Oyamada, Toshifumi; Yamada, Akio; Morikawa, Shigeru

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Tularemia, a highly infectious zoonotic disease caused by Francisella tularensis, occurs sporadically in Japan. However, little is known about the prevalence of the disease in wild animals. A total of 632 samples obtained from 150 Japanese black bears, 142 Japanese hares, 120 small rodents, 97 rats, 53 raptors, 26 Japanese monkeys, 21 Japanese raccoon dogs, 20 masked palm civets, and three Japanese red foxes between 2002 and 2010 were investigated for the presence of antibodies to F. tularensis by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) and the commonly used microagglutination (MA) test. Seropositive cELISA and MA results were obtained in 23 and 18 Japanese black bears, three and two Japanese raccoon dogs, and two and one small rodents, respectively. All MA-positive samples (n=21) were also positive by cELISA. Six of seven samples that were only positive by cELISA were confirmed to be antibody-positive by western blot analysis. These findings suggest that cELISA is a highly sensitive and useful test for serosurveillance of tularemia among various species of wild animals. Because this is the first study to detect F. tularensis–seropositive Japanese raccoon dogs, these could join Japanese black bears as sentinel animals for tularemia in the wild in Japan. Further continuous serosurveillance for F. tularensis in various species of wild animals using appropriate methods such as cELISA is important to assess the risks of human exposure and to improve our understanding of the ecology of F. tularensis in the wild. PMID:24689989

  12. TLR4-mediated activation of dendritic cells by the heat shock protein DnaK from Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Ashtekar, Amit R.; Zhang, Ping; Katz, Jannet; Deivanayagam, Champion C. S.; Rallabhandi, Prasad; Vogel, Stefanie N.; Michalek, Suzanne M.

    2008-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia, a severe, debilitating disease of humans and other mammals. As this microorganism is also classified as a “category-A pathogen” and a potential biowarfare agent, there is a need for an effective vaccine. Several antigens of F. tularensis, including the heat shock protein DnaK, have been proposed for use in a potential subunit vaccine. In this study, we characterized the innate immune response of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DC) to F. tularensis DnaK. Recombinant DnaK was produced using a bacterial expression system and purified using affinity, ion-exchange, and size-exclusion chromatography. DnaK induced the activation of MAPKs and NF-κB in DC and the production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-12 p40, as well as low levels of IL-10. DnaK induced phenotypic maturation of DC, as demonstrated by an up-regulation of costimulatory molecules CD40, CD80, and CD86. DnaK stimulated DC through TLR4 and the adapters MyD88 and Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor-inducing IFN-β (TRIF) that mediated differential responses. DnaK induced activation of MAPKs and NF-κB in a MyD88- or TRIF-dependent manner. However, the presence of MyD88- and TRIF-dependent signaling pathways was essential for an optimal, DnaK-induced cytokine response in DC. In contrast, DnaK induced DC maturation in a TRIF-dependent, MyD88-independent manner. These results provide insight about the molecular interactions between an immunodominant antigen of F. tularensis and host immune cells, which is crucial for the rational design and development of a safe and efficacious vaccine against tularemia. PMID:18708593

  13. Crystal Structures of the Histidine Acid Phosphatase from Francisella tularensis Provide Insight into Substrate Recognition

    SciTech Connect

    Singh, Harkewal; Felts, Richard L.; Schuermann, Jonathan P.; Reilly, Thomas J.; Tanner, John J.

    2009-12-01

    Histidine acid phosphatases catalyze the transfer of a phosphoryl group from phosphomonoesters to water at acidic pH using an active-site histidine. The histidine acid phosphatase from the category A pathogen Francisella tularensis (FtHAP) has been implicated in intramacrophage survival and virulence, motivating interest in understanding the structure and mechanism of this enzyme. Here, we report a structure-based study of ligand recognition by FtHAP. The 1.70-{angstrom}-resolution structure of FtHAP complexed with the competitive inhibitor L(+)-tartrate was solved using single-wavelength anomalous diffraction phasing. Structures of the ligand-free enzyme and the complex with inorganic phosphate were determined at resolutions of 1.85 and 1.70 {angstrom}, respectively. The structure of the Asp261Ala mutant enzyme complexed with the substrate 3'-AMP was determined at 1.50 {angstrom} resolution to gain insight into substrate recognition. FtHAP exhibits a two-domain fold similar to that of human prostatic acid phosphatase, consisting of an {alpha}/{beta} core domain and a smaller domain that caps the core domain. The structures show that the core domain supplies the phosphoryl binding site, catalytic histidine (His17), and an aspartic acid residue (Asp261) that protonates the leaving group, while the cap domain contributes residues that enforce substrate preference. FtHAP and human prostatic acid phosphatase differ in the orientation of the crucial first helix of the cap domain, implying differences in the substrate preferences of the two enzymes. 3'-AMP binds in one end of a 15-{angstrom}-long tunnel, with the adenine clamped between Phe23 and Tyr135, and the ribose 2'-hydroxyl interacting with Gln132. The importance of the clamp is confirmed with site-directed mutagenesis; mutation of Phe23 and Tyr135 individually to Ala increases K{sub m} by factors of 7 and 10, respectively. The structural data are consistent with a role for FtHAP in scavenging phosphate from small

  14. [Investigation of the presence of Francisella tularensis by culture, serology and molecular methods in mice of Thrace Region, Turkey].

    PubMed

    Unal Yilmaz, Gülizar; Gurcan, Saban; Ozkan, Beytullah; Karadenizli, Aynur

    2014-04-01

    Tularemia is a disease that has been reported in Turkey since 1936. Although mice are considered to have a role in the transmission of Francisella tularensis to man, this has not been exactly confirmed yet. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of F. tularensis in mice by using culture, serology and molecular methods. For this purpose, four villages (Edirne-Demirkoy, Kirklareli-Kaynarca, Tekirdag-Muzruplu, Tekirdag-Sinanli) were selected in Thrace Region of Turkey where tularemia cases had been reported previously. A total of 126 live-catch mouse traps were established in warehouses, barns, areas near wells, water tanks and creeks in the villages in December 2012. Traps were kept overnight and the next day the animals collected were identified at species-level. The live-captured mice were anesthetized and their heart blood samples were obtained. Subsequently, liver and spleen tissues were removed from every mouse under aseptic conditions in the class-2 safety cabinet. These tissues were cultivated in Francis medium containing 5% sheep blood, 0.1% cystein, 1% glucose and incubated for seven days in both normal atmosphere and 5% carbondioxide incubator at 37°C. Tularemia microagglutination test was performed by using the sera which were obtained from live-captured mice. Finally, DNAs were isolated from both liver and spleen tissues of mice, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (Tularemia RT-PCR; Public Health Agency of Turkey, Ankara) were performed. In our study, a total of 19 mice were captured and of these 11 were alive. Ten mice were identified as Apodemus flavicollis, seven were Mus macedonicus and two were Mus musculus. There were no Francisella tularensis isolation in the cultures of mice liver and spleen tissues. Serological tests yielded negative results for 10 mice whose serum samples could be obtained. In RT-PCR, positivity were detected in spleen tissues of two mice which were captured from Kaynarca where first tularemia cases in

  15. The use of Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry in the identification of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Karatuna, Onur; Celebi, Bekir; Can, Simge; Akyar, Isin; Kilic, Selcuk

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the cause of the zoonotic disease tularemia and is classified among highly pathogenic bacteria (HPB) due to its low infection dose and potential for airborne transmission. In the case of HBP, there is a pressing need for rapid, accurate and reliable identification. Phenotypic identification of Francisella species is inappropriate for clinical microbiology laboratories because it is time-consuming, hazardous and subject to variable interpretation. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was recently evaluated as a useful tool for the rapid identification of a variety of microorganisms. In this study, we evaluated the use of MALDI-TOF MS for the rapid identification of Francisella tularensis and differentiation of its subspecies. Using national collection of Francisella isolates from the National Tularemia Reference Laboratory (Public Health Institute of Turkey, Ankara), a total of 75 clinical isolates were investigated by species and subspecies-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and MALDI-TOF MS. All isolates were originally identified as F. tularensis subsp. holarctica due to RD1 subspecies-specific PCR result. For all isolates MALDI-TOF MS provided results in concordance with subspecies-specific PCR analysis. Although PCR-based methods are effective in identifying Francisella species, they are labor-intensive and take longer periods of time to obtain the results when compared with MALDI-TOF MS. MALDI-TOF MS appeared to be a rapid, reliable and cost-effective identification technique for Francisella spp. Shorter analysis time and low cost make this an appealing new option in microbiology laboratories. PMID:26773181

  16. The use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry in the identification of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Karatuna, Onur; Çelebi, Bekir; Can, Simge; Akyar, Işın; Kiliç, Selçuk

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the cause of the zoonotic disease tularemia and is classified among highly pathogenic bacteria (HPB) due to its low infection dose and potential for airborne transmission. In the case of HBP, there is a pressing need for rapid, accurate and reliable identification. Phenotypic identification of Francisella species is inappropriate for clinical microbiology laboratories because it is time-consuming, hazardous and subject to variable interpretation. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was recently evaluated as a useful tool for the rapid identification of a variety of microorganisms. In this study, we evaluated the use of MALDI-TOF MS for the rapid identification of Francisella tularensis and differentiation of its subspecies. Using national collection of Francisella isolates from the National Tularemia Reference Laboratory (Public Health Institution of Turkey, Ankara), a total of 75 clinical isolates were investigated by species and subspecies-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and MALDI-TOF MS. All isolates were originally identified as F. tularensis subsp. holarctica according to region of difference 1 (RD1) subspecies-specific PCR results. For all isolates MALDI-TOF MS provided results in concordance with subspecies-specific PCR analysis. Although PCR-based methods are effective in identifying Francisella species, they are labor-intensive and take longer periods of time to obtain the results when compared with MALDI-TOF MS. MALDI-TOF MS appeared to be a rapid, reliable and cost-effective identification technique for Francisella spp. Shorter analysis time and low cost make this an appealing new option in microbiology laboratories. PMID:26773181

  17. Cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of macrophage growth locus A (MglA) protein from Francisella tularensis

    SciTech Connect

    Subburaman, P.; Austin, B.P.; Shaw, G.X.; Waugh, D.S.; Ji, X.

    2010-11-03

    Francisella tularensis, a potential bioweapon, causes a rare infectious disease called tularemia in humans and animals. The macrophage growth locus A (MglA) protein from F. tularensis associates with RNA polymerase to positively regulate the expression of multiple virulence factors that are required for its survival and replication within macrophages. The MglA protein was overproduced in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized. The crystals diffracted to 7.5 {angstrom} resolution at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory and belonged to the hexagonal space group P6{sub 1} or P6{sub 5}, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 125, c = 54 {angstrom}.

  18. Evaluation of the FilmArray® system for detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis

    SciTech Connect

    Seiner, Derrick R.; Colburn, Heather A.; Baird, Cheryl L.; Bartholomew, Rachel A.; Straub, Tim M.; Victry, Kristin D.; Hutchison, Janine R.; Valentine, Nancy B.; Bruckner-Lea, Cindy J.

    2013-04-29

    To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the Idaho Technologies FilmArray® Biothreat Panel for the detection of Bacillus anthracis (Ba), Francisella tularensis (Ft), and Yersinia pestis (Yp) DNA, and demonstrate the detection of Ba spores. Methods and Results: DNA samples from Ba, Ft and Yp strains and near-neighbors, and live Ba spores were analyzed using the Biothreat Panel, a multiplexed PCR-based assay for 17 pathogens and toxins. Sensitivity studies with DNA suggest a limit of detection of 250 genome equivalents (GEs) per sample. Furthermore, the correct call of Ft, Yp or Bacillus species was made in 63 of 72 samples tested at 25 GE or less. With samples containing 25 Ba Sterne spores, at least one of the two possible Ba markers were identified in all samples tested. We observed no cross-reactivity with near-neighbor DNAs.

  19. Rapid Focused Sequencing: A Multiplexed Assay for Simultaneous Detection and Strain Typing of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis

    PubMed Central

    Zolotova, Anna; Tan, Eugene; Selden, Richard F.

    2013-01-01

    Background The intentional release of Bacillus anthracis in the United States in 2001 has heightened concern about the use of pathogenic microorganisms in bioterrorism attacks. Many of the deadliest bacteria, including the Class A Select Agents Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis, are highly infectious via the pulmonary route when released in aerosolized form. Hence, rapid, sensitive, and reliable methods for detection of these biothreats and characterization of their potential impact on the exposed population are of critical importance to initiate and support rapid military, public health, and clinical responses. Methodology/Principal Findings We have developed microfluidic multiplexed PCR and sequencing assays based on the simultaneous interrogation of three pathogens per assay and ten loci per pathogen. Microfluidic separation of amplified fluorescently labeled fragments generated characteristic electrophoretic signatures for identification of each agent. The three sets of primers allowed significant strain typing and discrimination from non-pathogenic closely-related species and environmental background strains based on amplicon sizes alone. Furthermore, sequencing of the 10 amplicons per pathogen, termed “Rapid Focused Sequencing,” allowed an even greater degree of strain discrimination and, in some cases, can be used to determine virulence. Both amplification and sequencing assays were performed in microfluidic biochips developed for fast thermal cycling and requiring 7 µL per reaction. The 30-plex sequencing assay resulted in genotypic resolution of 84 representative strains belonging to each of the three biothreat species. Conclusions/Significance The microfluidic multiplexed assays allowed identification and strain differentiation of the biothreat agents Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis and clear discrimination from closely-related species and several environmental background strains. The

  20. Protection Afforded by Fluoroquinolones in Animal Models of Respiratory Infections with Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Johnny W; Moen, Scott T; Healy, Daniel; Pawlik, Jennifer E; Taormina, Joanna; Hardcastle, Jason; Thomas, John M; Lawrence, William S; Ponce, Cindy; Chatuev, Bagram M; Gnade, Bryan T; Foltz, Sheri M; Agar, Stacy L; Sha, Jian; Klimpel, Gary R; Kirtley, Michelle L; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Chopra, Ashok K

    2010-01-01

    Successful treatment of inhalation anthrax, pneumonic plague and tularemia can be achieved with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, and initiation of treatment is most effective when administered as soon as possible following exposure. Bacillus anthracis Ames, Yersinia pestis CO92, and Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 have equivalent susceptibility in vitro to ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin (minimal inhibitory concentration is 0.03 μg/ml); however, limited information is available regarding in vivo susceptibility of these infectious agents to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in small animal models. Mice, guinea pig, and rabbit models have been developed to evaluate the protective efficacy of antibiotic therapy against these life-threatening infections. Our results indicated that doses of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin required to protect mice against inhalation anthrax were approximately 18-fold higher than the doses of levofloxacin required to protect against pneumonic plague and tularemia. Further, the critical period following aerosol exposure of mice to either B. anthracis spores or Y. pestis was 24 h, while mice challenged with F. tularensis could be effectively protected when treatment was delayed for as long as 72 h postchallenge. In addition, it was apparent that prolonged antibiotic treatment was important in the effective treatment of inhalation anthrax in mice, but short-term treatment of mice with pneumonic plague or tularemia infections were usually successful. These results provide effective antibiotic dosages in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits and lay the foundation for the development and evaluation of combinational treatment modalities. PMID:21127743

  1. Protection Afforded by Fluoroquinolones in Animal Models of Respiratory Infections with Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Johnny W; Moen, Scott T; Healy, Daniel; Pawlik, Jennifer E; Taormina, Joanna; Hardcastle, Jason; Thomas, John M; Lawrence, William S; Ponce, Cindy; Chatuev, Bagram M; Gnade, Bryan T; Foltz, Sheri M; Agar, Stacy L; Sha, Jian; Klimpel, Gary R; Kirtley, Michelle L; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Chopra, Ashok K

    2010-01-01

    Successful treatment of inhalation anthrax, pneumonic plague and tularemia can be achieved with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, and initiation of treatment is most effective when administered as soon as possible following exposure. Bacillus anthracis Ames, Yersinia pestis CO92, and Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 have equivalent susceptibility in vitro to ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin (minimal inhibitory concentration is 0.03 μg/ml); however, limited information is available regarding in vivo susceptibility of these infectious agents to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in small animal models. Mice, guinea pig, and rabbit models have been developed to evaluate the protective efficacy of antibiotic therapy against these life-threatening infections. Our results indicated that doses of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin required to protect mice against inhalation anthrax were approximately 18-fold higher than the doses of levofloxacin required to protect against pneumonic plague and tularemia. Further, the critical period following aerosol exposure of mice to either B. anthracis spores or Y. pestis was 24 h, while mice challenged with F. tularensis could be effectively protected when treatment was delayed for as long as 72 h postchallenge. In addition, it was apparent that prolonged antibiotic treatment was important in the effective treatment of inhalation anthrax in mice, but short-term treatment of mice with pneumonic plague or tularemia infections were usually successful. These results provide effective antibiotic dosages in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits and lay the foundation for the development and evaluation of combinational treatment modalities. PMID:21127743

  2. Live Attenuated Mutants of Francisella tularensis Protect Rabbits against Aerosol Challenge with a Virulent Type A Strain

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Le'Kneitah P.; Cole, Kelly Stefano; Santiago, Araceli E.; Mann, Barbara J.; Barry, Eileen M.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a Gram-negative bacterium, is the causative agent of tularemia. No licensed vaccine is currently available for protection against tularemia, although an attenuated strain, dubbed the live vaccine strain (LVS), is given to at-risk laboratory personnel as an investigational new drug (IND). In an effort to develop a vaccine that offers better protection, recombinant attenuated derivatives of a virulent type A strain, SCHU S4, were evaluated in New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits. Rabbits vaccinated via scarification with the three attenuated derivatives (SCHU S4 ΔguaBA, ΔaroD, and ΔfipB strains) or with LVS developed a mild fever, but no weight loss was detected. Twenty-one days after vaccination, all vaccinated rabbits were seropositive for IgG to F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Thirty days after vaccination, all rabbits were challenged with aerosolized SCHU S4 at doses ranging from 50 to 500 50% lethal doses (LD50). All rabbits developed fevers and weight loss after challenge, but the severity was greater for mock-vaccinated rabbits. The ΔguaBA and ΔaroD SCHU S4 derivatives provided partial protection against death (27 to 36%) and a prolonged time to death compared to results for the mock-vaccinated group. In contrast, LVS and the ΔfipB strain both prolonged the time to death, but there were no survivors from the challenge. This is the first demonstration of vaccine efficacy against aerosol challenge with virulent type A F. tularensis in a species other than a rodent since the original work with LVS in the 1960s. The ΔguaBA and ΔaroD SCHU S4 derivatives warrant further evaluation and consideration as potential vaccines for tularemia and for identification of immunological correlates of protection. PMID:24614653

  3. Environmental Monitoring and Surveillance of Rodents and Vectors for Francisella tularensis Following Outbreaks of Human Tularemia in Georgia.

    PubMed

    Elashvili, Eka; Kracalik, Ian; Burjanadze, Irma; Datukishvili, Sophio; Chanturia, Gvantsa; Tsertsvadze, Nikoloz; Beridze, Levan; Shavishvili, Merab; Dzneladze, Archil; Grdzelidze, Marina; Imnadze, Paata; Pearson, Andrew; Blackburn, Jason K

    2015-10-01

    Tularemia is a re-emerging bacterial zoonosis, broadly distributed across the northern hemisphere. In Georgia, there is a history of human tularemia outbreaks dating back to the 1940s. In response to outbreaks, health officials initiated long-term field surveillance and environmental monitoring. The objective of our study was to obtain information from 57 years of field surveys to identify species that play a role in the occurrence Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica in the environment in Georgia. We collected historical data on human outbreaks, field collections, population dynamics of the common vole (Microtus arvalis), and conducted surveys on small mammals and vectors from five regions in Georgia during 1956-2012. Bacterial isolation was conducted using standard culturing techniques, and isolation rates for species were obtained for a subset of years. We used a Spearman rank correlation to test for associations between the density of the common vole and isolation rates. From 1956 through 2012, there were four recorded outbreaks of human tularemia (362 cases). A total of 465 bacterial isolates of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica were obtained from 27 species and environmental samples. The number of isolations was highest in the common vole (M. arvalis; 149 isolates; 32%) and Dermacentor marginatus ticks (132 isolates; 28%); isolation rates ranged between 0-0.91% and 0-0.47%, respectively. Population dynamics of the common vole were not correlated with the isolation rate. Given the history of tularemia re-emergence in Georgia, continued field surveys and environmental monitoring may provide an early indication of outbreak risk in humans. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence of long-standing foci of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica that are likely maintained by the common vole-tick cycle. PMID:26394283

  4. Environmental Monitoring and Surveillance of Rodents and Vectors for Francisella tularensis Following Outbreaks of Human Tularemia in Georgia

    PubMed Central

    Elashvili, Eka; Kracalik, Ian; Burjanadze, Irma; Datukishvili, Sophio; Chanturia, Gvantsa; Tsertsvadze, Nikoloz; Beridze, Levan; Shavishvili, Merab; Dzneladze, Archil; Grdzelidze, Marina; Imnadze, Paata; Pearson, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Tularemia is a re-emerging bacterial zoonosis, broadly distributed across the northern hemisphere. In Georgia, there is a history of human tularemia outbreaks dating back to the 1940s. In response to outbreaks, health officials initiated long-term field surveillance and environmental monitoring. The objective of our study was to obtain information from 57 years of field surveys to identify species that play a role in the occurrence Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica in the environment in Georgia. We collected historical data on human outbreaks, field collections, population dynamics of the common vole (Microtus arvalis), and conducted surveys on small mammals and vectors from five regions in Georgia during 1956–2012. Bacterial isolation was conducted using standard culturing techniques, and isolation rates for species were obtained for a subset of years. We used a Spearman rank correlation to test for associations between the density of the common vole and isolation rates. From 1956 through 2012, there were four recorded outbreaks of human tularemia (362 cases). A total of 465 bacterial isolates of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica were obtained from 27 species and environmental samples. The number of isolations was highest in the common vole (M. arvalis; 149 isolates; 32%) and Dermacentor marginatus ticks (132 isolates; 28%); isolation rates ranged between 0–0.91% and 0–0.47%, respectively. Population dynamics of the common vole were not correlated with the isolation rate. Given the history of tularemia re-emergence in Georgia, continued field surveys and environmental monitoring may provide an early indication of outbreak risk in humans. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence of long-standing foci of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica that are likely maintained by the common vole–tick cycle. PMID:26394283

  5. Evidence Suggesting That Francisella tularensis O-Antigen Capsule Contains a Lipid A-Like Molecule That Is Structurally Distinct from the More Abundant Free Lipid A

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Jason H.; Kaufman, Justin W.; Apicella, Michael A.; Weiss, Jerrold P.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the Gram-negative bacterium that causes tularemia, produces a high molecular weight capsule that is immunologically distinct from Francisella lipopolysaccharide but contains the same O-antigen tetrasaccharide. To pursue the possibility that the capsule of Francisella live vaccine strain (LVS) has a structurally unique lipid anchor, we have metabolically labeled Francisella with [14C]acetate to facilitate highly sensitive compositional analysis of capsule-associated lipids. Capsule was purified by two independent methods and yielded similar results. Autoradiographic and immunologic analysis confirmed that this purified material was largely devoid of low molecular weight LPS and of the copious amounts of free lipid A that the Francisellae accumulate. Chemical hydrolysis yielded [14C]-labeled free fatty acids characteristic of Francisella lipid A but with a different molar ratio of 3-OH C18:0 to 3-OH C16:0 and different composition of non-hydroxylated fatty acids (mainly C14:0 rather than C16:0) than that of free Francisella lipid A. Mild acid hydrolysis to induce selective cleavage of KDO-lipid A linkage yielded a [14C]-labeled product that partitioned during Bligh/Dyer extraction and migrated during thin-layer chromatography like lipid A. These findings suggest that the O-antigen capsule of Francisella contains a covalently linked and structurally distinct lipid A species. The presence of a discrete lipid A-like molecule associated with capsule raises the possibility that Francisella selectively exploits lipid A structural heterogeneity to regulate synthesis, transport, and stable bacterial surface association of the O-antigen capsular layer. PMID:27326857

  6. Detoxified endotoxin vaccine (J5dLPS/OMP) protects mice against lethal respiratory challenge with Francisella tularensis SchuS4.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Stephen H; Chen, Wilbur H; Mott, Stephanie; Palardy, John E; Parejo, Nicholas A; Heninger, Sara; Anderson, Christine A; Artenstein, Andrew W; Opal, Steven M; Cross, Alan S

    2010-04-01

    Francisella tularensis is a category A select agent. J5dLPS/OMP is a novel vaccine construct consisting of detoxified, O-polysaccharide side chain-deficient, lipopolysaccharide non-covalently complexed with the outer membrane protein of N. meningitidis group B. Immunization elicits high-titer polyclonal antibodies specific for the highly-conserved epitopes expressed within the glycolipid core that constitutes gram-negative bacteria (e.g., F. tularensis). Mice immunized intranasally with J5dLPS/OMP exhibited protective immunity to intratracheal challenge with the live vaccine strain, as well as the highly-virulent SchuS4 strain, of F. tularensis. The efficacy of J5dLPS/OMP vaccine suggests its potential utility in immunizing the general population against several different gram-negative select agents concurrently. PMID:20170768

  7. A variety of novel lipid A structures obtained from Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain.

    PubMed

    Beasley, Ashley S; Cotter, Robert J; Vogel, Stefanie N; Inzana, Thomas J; Qureshi, Asaf A; Qureshi, Nilofer

    2012-04-01

    F. tularensis is a Gram-negative coccobacillus that causes tularemia. Its LPS has nominal biological activity. Currently, there is controversy regarding the structure of the lipid A obtained from F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS). Therefore, to resolve this controversy, the purification and structural identification of this LPS was crucial. To achieve this, LPS from F. tularensis LVS was acid hydrolyzed to obtain crude lipid A that was methylated and purified by HPLC and the fractions were analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS. The structure of the major lipid A species was composed of a glucosamine disaccharide backbone substituted with four fatty acyl groups and a phosphate (1-position) with a molecular mass of 1505. The major lipid A component contained 18:0[3-O(16:0)] in the distal subunit and two 18:0(3-OH) fatty acyl chains at the 2- or 3-positions of the reducing subunit. Additional variations in the lipid A species include: heterogeneity in fatty acyl groups, a phosphate or a phosphoryl galactosamine at the 1-position, and a hexose at the 4' or 6' position, some of which have not been previously described for F. tularensis LVS. This analysis revealed that lipid A from F. tularensis LVS is far more complex than originally believed. PMID:21709054

  8. Levofloxacin Rescues Mice from Lethal Intra-nasal Infections with Virulent Francisella tularensis and Induces Immunity and Production of Protective Antibody

    PubMed Central

    Klimpel, Gary R.; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Moen, Scott T.; Taormina, Joanna; Peterson, Johnny W.; Chopra, Ashok K.; Niesel, David W.; Carness, Paige; Haithcoat, Judith L.; Kirtley, Michelle; Ben Nasr, Abdelhakim

    2009-01-01

    The ability to protect mice against respiratory infections with virulent Francisella tularensis has been problematic and the role of antibody-versus-cell-mediated immunity controversial. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that protective immunity can develop in mice that were given antibiotic therapy following infection via the respiratory tract with Francisella tularensis SCHU S4. We show that mice infected with a lethal dose of SCHU S4, via an intra-nasal challenge, could be protected with levofloxacin treatment. This protection was evident even when levofloxacin treatment was delayed 72 hours post-infection. At early time points after levofloxacin treatment, significant numbers of bacteria could be recovered from the lungs and spleens of mice, which was followed by a dramatic disappearance of bacteria from these tissues. Mice successfully treated with levofloxacin were later shown to be almost completely resistant to rechallenge with SCHU S4 by the intra-nasal route. Serum antibody appeared to play an important role in this immunity. Normal mice, when given sera from animals protected by levofloxacin treatment, were solidly protected from a lethal intra-nasal challenge with SCHU S4. The protective antiserum contained high titers of SCHU S4 specific IgG2a, indicating that a strong Th1 response was induced following levofloxacin treatment. Thus, this study describes a potentially valuable animal model for furthering our understanding of respiratory tularemia and provides suggestive evidence that antibody can protect against respiratory infections with virulent F. tularensis. PMID:18930100

  9. Hare-to-human transmission of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Germany.

    PubMed

    Otto, Peter; Kohlmann, Rebekka; Müller, Wolfgang; Julich, Sandra; Geis, Gabriele; Gatermann, Sören G; Peters, Martin; Wolf, Peter Johannes; Karlsson, Edvin; Forsman, Mats; Myrtennäs, Kerstin; Tomaso, Herbert

    2015-01-01

    In November 2012, a group of 7 persons who participated in a hare hunt in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, acquired tularemia. Two F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates were cultivated from human and hare biopsy material. Both isolates belonged to the FTN002-00 genetic subclade (derived for single nucleotide polymorphisms B.10 and B.18), thus indicating likely hare-to-human transmission. PMID:25531286

  10. From microfluidic modules to an integrated Lab-on-a-chip system for the detection of Francisella tularensis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hlawatsch, Nadine; Krumbholz, Marco; Prüfer, Anna; Moche, Christian; Becker, Holger; Gärtner, Claudia

    2013-05-01

    Lab-on-a-chip (LoC) systems translating the whole process of pathogen analysis to an integrated, miniaturized, and automatically functioning microfluidic platform are generally expected to be very promising future diagnostic approaches. The development of such a LoC system for the detection of bacterial pathogens applied to the example pathogen Francisella tularensis is described in this report. To allow functional testing of the whole process cascade before final device integration, various bio-analytical steps such as cell lysis, DNA extraction and purification, continuous-flow PCR and analyte detection have been adapted to unique functional microfluidic modules. As a successive step, positively tested modules for pathogen detection have been successfully assembled to an integrated chip. Moreover, technical solutions for a smooth interaction between sample input from the outer world as well as microfluidic chip and chip driving instrument have been developed. In conclusion, a full repertoire of analytical tools have been developed and successfully tested in the concerted manner of a functionally integrated microfluidic device representing a tool for future diagnostic approaches.

  11. Aerosol delivery of liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin: aerosol characterization and efficacy against Francisella tularensis infection in mice.

    PubMed

    Conley, J; Yang, H; Wilson, T; Blasetti, K; Di Ninno, V; Schnell, G; Wong, J P

    1997-06-01

    The aerosol delivery of liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin by using 12 commercially available jet nebulizers was evaluated in this study. Aerosol particles containing liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin generated by the nebulizers were analyzed with a laser aerodynamic particle sizer. Mean mass aerodynamic diameters (MMADs) and geometric standard deviations (GSDs) were determined, and the drug contents of the sampling filters from each run onto which aerosolized liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin had been deposited were analyzed spectrophotometrically. The aerosol particles of liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin generated by these nebulizers ranged from 1.94 to 3.5 microm, with GSDs ranging from 1.51 to 1.84 microm. The drug contents of the sampling filters exposed for 1 min to aerosolized liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin range from 12.7 to 40.5 microg/ml (0.06 to 0.2 mg/filter). By using the nebulizer selected on the basis of most desirable MMADs, particle counts, and drug deposition, aerosolized liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin was used for the treatment of mice infected with 10 times the 50% lethal dose of Francisella tularensis. All mice treated with aerosolized liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin survived the infection, while all ciprofloxacin-treated or untreated control mice succumbed to the infection (P < 0.001). These results suggest that aerosol delivery of liposome-encapsulated ciprofloxacin to the lower respiratory tract is feasible and that it may provide an effective therapy for the treatment of respiratory tract infections. PMID:9174185

  12. Cell-mediated and humoral immune responses after vaccination of human volunteers with the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Waag, D M; McKee, K T; Sandstrom, G; Pratt, L L; Bolt, C R; England, M J; Nelson, G O; Williams, J C

    1995-03-01

    The specific humoral and cell-mediated immune responses of human volunteers vaccinated with the Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) were evaluated. In the search for an optimal antigen to measure the immunogenicity of the vaccine in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we tested irradiation-killed LVS, an aqueous ether extract of the LVS (EEx), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from LVS, and a virulent strain (SCHU4). Volunteers were immunized with LVS by scarification. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses to LVS and LPS gave the highest background titers when tested with sera from unimmunized volunteers, whereas IgA, IgG, and IgM background titers to EEx and SCHU4 were low. Vaccination caused a significant rise (P < 0.01) in IgA, IgG, and IgM titers to all antigens tested, except for the IgG response to LPS. Eighty percent of vaccinated volunteers developed a positive IgG response to EEx 14 days postvaccination, while 50% were positive to LVS. By day 14 after vaccination, 70% of immunized volunteers exhibited a positive response to EEx in an in vitro peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation assay. EEx, a specific and sensitive antigen for evaluating immune responses of vaccinated volunteers, may be a superior antigen for the diagnosis of tularemia. PMID:7697521

  13. Slow-Onset Inhibition of the FabI Enoyl Reductase from Francisella tularensis: Residence Time and in Vivo Activity

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, H.; England, K; Ende, C; Truglio, J; Luckner, S; Reddy, B; Marlenee, N; Knudson, S; Knudson, D; et. al.

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent and contagious Gram-negative intracellular bacterium that causes the disease tularemia in mammals. The high infectivity and the ability of the bacterium to survive for weeks in a cool, moist environment have raised the possibility that this organism could be exploited deliberately as a potential biological weapon. Fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS-II) is essential for bacterial viability and has been validated as a target for the discovery of novel antibacterials. The FAS-II enoyl reductase ftuFabI has been cloned and expressed, and a series of diphenyl ethers have been identified that are subnanomolar inhibitors of the enzyme with MIC90 values as low as 0.00018 ?g mL-1. The existence of a linear correlation between the Ki and MIC values strongly suggests that the antibacterial activity of the diphenyl ethers results from direct inhibition of ftuFabI within the cell. The compounds are slow-onset inhibitors of ftuFabI, and the residence time of the inhibitors on the enzyme correlates with their in vivo activity in a mouse model of tularemia infection. Significantly, the rate of breakdown of the enzyme-inhibitor complex is a better predictor of in vivo activity than the overall thermodynamic stability of the complex, a concept that has important implications for the discovery of novel chemotherapeutics that normally rely on equilibrium measurements of potency.

  14. Structural Heterogeneity and Environmentally Regulated Remodeling of Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida Lipid A Characterized by Tandem Mass Spectrometry

    PubMed Central

    Shaffer, Scott A.; Harvey, Megan D.; Goodlett, David R.; Ernst, Robert K.

    2009-01-01

    The structural characterization of environmentally-regulated lipid A derived from Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida (Fn) U112 is described using negative electrospray ionization with a linear ion trap Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (IT-FT-ICR) hybrid mass spectrometer. The results indicate that a unique profile of lipid A molecular structures are synthesized in response to Fn growth at 25 °C versus 37 °C. Molecular species were found to be tetra-acylated, sharing a conserved glucosamine disaccharide backbone, a galactosamine-1-phosphate linked to the reducing glucosamine, and multiple O- and N-linked fatty acyl groups. Deprotonated molecules were interrogated by MSn scanning techniques at both high and nominal mass resolution and were found to be complex heterogeneous mixtures where structures differed based on the positions and identities of the O- and N-linked fatty acyl substituents. For the dominant ion series, which consisted of five peaks, 30 unique lipid A structures were identified. Estimates for the relative abundance of each structure were derived from MS relative abundance ratios and fragment ion ratios from comparable dissociation pathways from MS2 through MS4 experiments. The results suggest a remodeling pathway in which the amide linked fatty acid of the reducing glucosamine favors a 3-hydroxyhexadecanoic acid substituent for growth conditions at 25 °C versus a 3-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid substituent for growth conditions at 37 °C. PMID:17446084

  15. Structural and Enzymatic Analyses Reveal the Binding Mode of a Novel Series of Francisella tularensis Enoyl Reductase (FabI) Inhibitors

    SciTech Connect

    Mehboob, Shahila; Hevener, Kirk E.; Truong, Kent; Boci, Teuta; Santarsiero, Bernard D.; Johnson, Michael E.

    2012-10-10

    Because of structural and mechanistic differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic fatty acid synthesis enzymes, the bacterial pathway, FAS-II, is an attractive target for the design of antimicrobial agents. We have previously reported the identification of a novel series of benzimidazole compounds with particularly good antibacterial effect against Francisella tularensis, a Category A biowarfare pathogen. Herein we report the crystal structure of the F. tularensis FabI enzyme in complex with our most active benzimidazole compound bound with NADH. The structure reveals that the benzimidazole compounds bind to the substrate site in a unique conformation that is distinct from the binding motif of other known FabI inhibitors. Detailed inhibition kinetics have confirmed that the compounds possess a novel inhibitory mechanism that is unique among known FabI inhibitors. These studies could have a strong impact on future antimicrobial design efforts and may reveal new avenues for the design of FAS-II active antibacterial compounds.

  16. Francisella tularensis type B ΔdsbA mutant protects against type A strain and induces strong inflammatory cytokine and Th1-like antibody response in vivo.

    PubMed

    Straskova, Adela; Spidlova, Petra; Mou, Sherry; Worsham, Patricia; Putzova, Daniela; Pavkova, Ivona; Stulik, Jiri

    2015-11-01

    Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterial pathogen, causing the disease tularemia. However, a safe and effective vaccine for routine application against F. tularensis has not yet been developed. We have recently constructed the deletion mutants for the DsbA homolog protein (ΔdsbA/FSC200) and a hypothetical protein IglH (ΔiglH/FSC200) in the type B F. tularensis subsp. holarctica FSC200 strain, which exerted different protection capacity against parental virulent strain. In this study, we further investigated the immunological correlates for these different levels of protection provided by ΔdsbA/FSC200 and ΔiglH/FSC200 mutants. Our results show that ΔdsbA/FSC200 mutant, but not ΔiglH/FSC200 mutant, induces an early innate inflammatory response leading to strong Th1-like antibody response. Furthermore, vaccination with ΔdsbA/FSC200 mutant, but not with ΔiglH/FSC200, elicited protection against the subsequent challenge with type A SCHU S4 strain in mice. An immunoproteomic approach was used to map a spectrum of antigens targeted by Th1-like specific antibodies, and more than 80 bacterial antigens, including novel ones, were identified. Comparison of tularemic antigens recognized by the ΔdsbA/FSC200 post-vaccination and the SCHU S4 post-challenge sera then revealed the existence of 22 novel SCHU S4 specific antibody clones. PMID:26253078

  17. A rapid real-time quantitative PCR assay to determine the minimal inhibitory extracellular concentration of antibiotics against an intracellular Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain

    PubMed Central

    Aloni-Grinstein, Ronit; Shifman, Ohad; Lazar, Shlomi; Steinberger-Levy, Ida; Maoz, Sharon; Ber, Raphael

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent facultative intracellular bacterium. The lack of a safe and efficient vaccine makes antibiotics the preferred treatment. F. tularensis antibiotic susceptibility tests are based on the in vitro standard CLSI-approved microdilution method for determining the MIC. However, limited data are available regarding the minimal inhibitory extracellular concentration (MIEC) needed to eradicate intracellular bacteria. Here, we evaluated the MIEC values of various WHO-recommended antibiotics and compared the MIEC values to the established MICs. We describe a rapid 3-h quantitative PCR (qPCR) intracellular antibiogram assay, which yields comparable MIEC values to those obtained by the classical 72-h cfu assay. This rapid qPCR assay is highly advantageous in light of the slow growth rates of F. tularensis. Our results showed that the MIECs obtained for doxycycline, chloramphenicol and ciprofloxacin were indicative of intracellular activity. Gentamicin was not effective against intracellular bacteria for at least 32 h post treatment, raising the question of whether slow-penetrating gentamicin should be used for certain stages of the disease. We suggest that the qPCR intracellular antibiogram assay may be used to screen for potentially active antibiotics against intracellular F. tularensis as well as to detect strains with acquired resistance to recommended antibiotics. PMID:26579112

  18. [A water-borne tularemia outbreak caused by Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica in Central Anatolia region].

    PubMed

    Ulu Kılıç, Ayşegül; Kılıç, Selçuk; Sencan, Irfan; Ciçek Şentürk, Gönül; Gürbüz, Yunus; Tütüncü, Emin Ediz; Celebi, Bekir; Kıcıman, Özlem; Ergönül, Önder

    2011-04-01

    In this study, we investigated a waterborne tularemia outbreak occured in Kadiozu, a village of Cerkes county of Cankiri province (located in North-west part of central Anatolia, Turkey) between 18 November 2009-24 December 2009. Active surveillance was conducted to determine clinical characteristics and risk factors of cases after two patients from the same village had been diagnosed as oropharyngeal tularemia. All villagers were examined, and clinical specimens from cases and water samples which may be the source of outbreak in the field investigations were taken. Cases were in the form of oropharyngeal, glandular and pneumonic. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cultures were conducted from lymph node aspirates, throat swabs taken from cases and samples from water sources of epidemic zone. All serum samples taken from the villagers were screened for F.tularensis antibodies with microagglutination test (MAT). Oropharyngeal tularemia was diagnosed in 11 patients, glandular form in 3 patients and pneumonic form in one patient according to clinical and laboratory results. Age of the patients ranged between 6-75 years old (mean age: 52.5 years) and thirty one of them (54.7%) were female. MAT titers ranged between 1/160 and 1/5120 in cases of tularemia. Causative agent was grown in the cultures of two patients (including a throat swab and a lymph node aspirate). F.tularensis DNA was shown by PCR in a throat swab and four lymph node aspirates. F.tularensis was also detected by PCR in the water sample obtained from one of the spring water commonly used by villagers. Only one of the lymph node samples obtained from two different patients, was positive by direct fluorescent antibody method. Causative agent was defined as F.tularensis subsp. holarctica by conventional and also molecular methods. Patients were treated with aminoglycoside (streptomycin, gentamicin, amikacin) or quinolone (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin) antibiotics. Treatment failure was observed in five

  19. A Francisella tularensis Schu S4 Purine Auxotroph Is Highly Attenuated in Mice but Offers Limited Protection against Homologous Intranasal Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Pechous, Roger D.; McCarthy, Travis R.; Mohapatra, Nrusingh P.; Soni, Shilpa; Penoske, Renee M.; Salzman, Nita H.; Frank, Dara W.; Gunn, John S.; Zahrt, Thomas C.

    2008-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative coccobacillus that causes the febrile illness tularemia. Subspecies that are pathogenic for humans include those comprising the type A (subspecies tularensis) or type B (subspecies holarctica) biovars. An attenuated live vaccine strain (LVS) developed from a type B isolate has previously been used to vaccinate at-risk individuals, but offers limited protection against high dose (>1000 CFUs) challenge with type A strains delivered by the respiratory route. Due to differences between type A and type B F. tularensis strains at the genetic level, it has been speculated that utilization of an attenuated type A strain as a live vaccine might offer better protection against homologous respiratory challenge compared with LVS. Here, we report the construction and characterization of an unmarked ΔpurMCD mutant in the highly virulent type A strain Schu S4. Methodology/Principal Findings Growth of Schu S4 ΔpurMCD was severely attenuated in primary human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages and in the A549 human lung epithelial cell line. The Schu S4 ΔpurMCD mutant was also highly attenuated in mice when delivered via either the intranasal or intradermal infection route. Mice vaccinated intranasally with Schu S4 ΔpurMCD were well protected against high dose intradermal challenge with virulent type A or type B strains of F. tularensis. However, intranasal vaccination with Schu S4 ΔpurMCD induced tissue damage in the lungs, and conferred only limited protection against high dose Schu S4 challenge delivered by the same route. The level of protection observed was similar to that conferred following vaccination with wild-type LVS or the analogous LVS ΔpurMCD mutant. Conclusions/Significance Collectively, these results argue that development of the next generation live attenuated vaccine for Francisella should be based on use of the less pathogenic type B biovar rather than the more reactogenic type A biovar. PMID

  20. Recombinant Attenuated Listeria monocytogenes Vaccine Expressing Francisella tularensis IglC Induces Protection in Mice Against Aerosolized Type A F. tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Jia, Qingmei; Lee, Bai-Yu; Clemens, Daniel L.; Bowen, Richard A.; Horwitz, Marcus A.

    2009-01-01

    Fransicella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is in the top category (Category A) of potential agents of bioterrorism. To develop a safer vaccine against aerosolized F. tularensis, we have employed an attenuated Listeria monocytogenes, which shares with F. tularensis an intracellular and extraphagosomal lifestyle, as a delivery vehicle for F. tularensis antigens. We constructed recombinant L. monocytogenes (rLm) vaccines stably expressing 7 F. tularensis proteins including IglC (rLm/iglC), and tested their immunogenicity and protective efficacy against lethal F. tularensis challenge in mice. Mice immunized intradermally with rLm/iglC developed significant cellular immune responses to F. tularensis IglC as evidenced by lymphocyte proliferation and CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell intracellular expression of interferon gamma. Moreover, mice immunized with rLm/iglC were protected against lethal challenge with F. tularensis LVS administered by the intranasal route, a route chosen to mimic airborne infection, and, most importantly, against aerosol challenge with the highly virulent Type A F. tularensis SchuS4 strain. PMID:19126421

  1. Identification of Genes Required for Secretion of the Francisella Oxidative Burst-Inhibiting Acid Phosphatase AcpA.

    PubMed

    Hoang, Ky Van; Chen, Carolyn G; Koopman, Jacob; Moshiri, Jasmine; Adcox, Haley E; Gunn, John S

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Tier 1 bioterror threat and the intracellular pathogen responsible for tularemia in humans and animals. Upon entry into the host, Francisella uses multiple mechanisms to evade killing. Our previous studies have shown that after entering its primary cellular host, the macrophage, Francisella immediately suppresses the oxidative burst by secreting a series of acid phosphatases including AcpA-B-C and HapA, thereby evading the innate immune response of the macrophage and enhancing survival and further infection. However, the mechanism of acid phosphatase secretion by Francisella is still unknown. In this study, we screened for genes required for AcpA secretion in Francisella. We initially demonstrated that the known secretion systems, the putative Francisella-pathogenicity island (FPI)-encoded Type VI secretion system and the Type IV pili, do not secrete AcpA. Using random transposon mutagenesis in conjunction with ELISA, Western blotting and acid phosphatase enzymatic assays, a transposon library of 5450 mutants was screened for strains with a minimum 1.5-fold decrease in secreted (culture supernatant) AcpA, but no defect in cytosolic AcpA. Three mutants with decreased supernatant AcpA were identified. The transposon insertion sites of these mutants were revealed by direct genomic sequencing or inverse-PCR and sequencing. One of these mutants has a severe defect in AcpA secretion (at least 85% decrease) and is a predicted hypothetical inner membrane protein. Interestingly, this mutant also affected the secretion of the FPI-encoded protein, VgrG. Thus, this screen identified novel protein secretion factors involved in the subversion of host defenses. PMID:27199935

  2. Identification of Genes Required for Secretion of the Francisella Oxidative Burst-Inhibiting Acid Phosphatase AcpA

    PubMed Central

    Hoang, Ky Van; Chen, Carolyn G.; Koopman, Jacob; Moshiri, Jasmine; Adcox, Haley E.; Gunn, John S.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Tier 1 bioterror threat and the intracellular pathogen responsible for tularemia in humans and animals. Upon entry into the host, Francisella uses multiple mechanisms to evade killing. Our previous studies have shown that after entering its primary cellular host, the macrophage, Francisella immediately suppresses the oxidative burst by secreting a series of acid phosphatases including AcpA-B-C and HapA, thereby evading the innate immune response of the macrophage and enhancing survival and further infection. However, the mechanism of acid phosphatase secretion by Francisella is still unknown. In this study, we screened for genes required for AcpA secretion in Francisella. We initially demonstrated that the known secretion systems, the putative Francisella-pathogenicity island (FPI)-encoded Type VI secretion system and the Type IV pili, do not secrete AcpA. Using random transposon mutagenesis in conjunction with ELISA, Western blotting and acid phosphatase enzymatic assays, a transposon library of 5450 mutants was screened for strains with a minimum 1.5-fold decrease in secreted (culture supernatant) AcpA, but no defect in cytosolic AcpA. Three mutants with decreased supernatant AcpA were identified. The transposon insertion sites of these mutants were revealed by direct genomic sequencing or inverse-PCR and sequencing. One of these mutants has a severe defect in AcpA secretion (at least 85% decrease) and is a predicted hypothetical inner membrane protein. Interestingly, this mutant also affected the secretion of the FPI-encoded protein, VgrG. Thus, this screen identified novel protein secretion factors involved in the subversion of host defenses. PMID:27199935

  3. Antimicrobial activity of mosquito cecropin peptides against Francisella.

    PubMed

    Kaushal, Akanksha; Gupta, Kajal; Shah, Ruhee; van Hoek, Monique L

    2016-10-01

    Francisella tularensis is the cause of the zoonotic disease tularemia. In Sweden and Scandinavia, epidemiological studies have implicated mosquitoes as a vector. Prior research has demonstrated the presence of Francisella DNA in infected mosquitoes but has not shown definitive transmission of tularemia from a mosquito to a mammalian host. We hypothesized that antimicrobial peptides, an important component of the innate immune system of higher organisms, may play a role in mosquito host-defense to Francisella. We established that Francisella sp. are susceptible to two cecropin antimicrobial peptides derived from the mosquito Aedes albopictus as well as Culex pipiens. We also demonstrated induced expression of Aedes albopictus antimicrobial peptide genes by Francisella infection C6/36 mosquito cell line. We demonstrate that mosquito antimicrobial peptides act against Francisella by disrupting the cellular membrane of the bacteria. Thus, it is possible that antimicrobial peptides may play a role in the inability of mosquitoes to establish an effective natural transmission of tularemia. PMID:27235883

  4. Characterization of Francisella tularensis Schu S4 mutants identified from a transposon library screened for O-antigen and capsule deficiencies

    PubMed Central

    Rasmussen, Jed A.; Fletcher, Joshua R.; Long, Matthew E.; Allen, Lee-Ann H.; Jones, Bradley D.

    2015-01-01

    The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and O-antigen polysaccharide capsule structures of Francisella tularensis play significant roles in helping these highly virulent bacteria avoid detection within a host. We previously created pools of F. tularensis mutants that we screened to identify strains that were not reactive to a monoclonal antibody to the O-antigen capsule. To follow up previously published work, we characterize further seven of the F. tularensis Schu S4 mutant strains identified by our screen. These F. tularensis strains carry the following transposon mutations: FTT0846::Tn5, hemH::Tn5, wbtA::Tn5, wzy::Tn5, FTT0673p/prsA::Tn5, manB::Tn5, or dnaJ::Tn5. Each of these strains displayed sensitivity to human serum, to varying degrees, when compared to wild-type F. tularensis Schu S4. By Western blot, only FTT0846::Tn5, wbtA::Tn5, wzy::Tn5, and manB::Tn5 strains did not react to the capsule and LPS O-antigen antibody 11B7, although the wzy::Tn5 strain did have a single O-antigen reactive band that was detected by the FB11 monoclonal antibody. Of these strains, manB::Tn5 and FTT0846 appear to have LPS core truncations, whereas wbtA::Tn5 and wzy::Tn5 had LPS core structures that are similar to the parent F. tularensis Schu S4. These strains were also shown to have poor growth within human monocyte derived macrophages (MDMs) and bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs). We examined the virulence of these strains in mice, following intranasal challenge, and found that each was attenuated compared to wild type Schu S4. Our results provide additional strong evidence that LPS and/or capsule are F. tularensis virulence factors that most likely function by providing a stealth shield that prevents the host immune system from detecting this potent pathogen. PMID:25999917

  5. Development and evaluation of an up-converting phosphor technology-based lateral flow assay for rapid detection of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Hua, Fei; Zhang, Pingping; Zhang, Fuli; Zhao, Yong; Li, Chunfeng; Sun, Chongyun; Wang, Xiaochen; Yang, Ruifu; Wang, Chengbin; Yu, Ailian; Zhou, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a potential biowarfare/bioterrorism agent and zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia; thus, surveillance of F. tularensis and first-level emergency response using point-of-care testing (POCT) are essential. The UPT-LF POCT assay was established to quantitatively detect F. tularensis within 15 min, and the sensitivity of the assay was 104 CFU · mL−1 (100 CFU/test). The linear quantitative range covered five orders of magnitude, and the coefficients of variation were less than 10%. Except Shigella dysenteriae, UPT-LF showed excellent specificity to four strains that are also potential biowarfare/bioterrorism agents and 13 food-borne pathogenic strains. Samples with pH 2–13, high ion strengths (≥2 mol · L−1 solution of KCl and NaCl), high viscosities (≤50 mg · mL−1 PEG20000 or ≥20% glycerol), and high concentrations of biomacromolecules (≥400 mg · mL−1 bovine serum albumin or ≥80 mg · mL−1 casein) showed little influence on the assay. For practical utilization, the tolerance limits for seven powders and eight viscera were determined, and operation errors of liquid measurement demonstrated a minor influence on the strip. Ftu-UPT-LF is a candidate POCT method because of its excellent sensitivity, specificity, and stability in complex samples, as well as low operation error. PMID:26608358

  6. Development and evaluation of an up-converting phosphor technology-based lateral flow assay for rapid detection of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Hua, Fei; Zhang, Pingping; Zhang, Fuli; Zhao, Yong; Li, Chunfeng; Sun, Chongyun; Wang, Xiaochen; Yang, Ruifu; Wang, Chengbin; Yu, Ailian; Zhou, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a potential biowarfare/bioterrorism agent and zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia; thus, surveillance of F. tularensis and first-level emergency response using point-of-care testing (POCT) are essential. The UPT-LF POCT assay was established to quantitatively detect F. tularensis within 15 min, and the sensitivity of the assay was 10(4) CFU · mL(-1) (100 CFU/test). The linear quantitative range covered five orders of magnitude, and the coefficients of variation were less than 10%. Except Shigella dysenteriae, UPT-LF showed excellent specificity to four strains that are also potential biowarfare/bioterrorism agents and 13 food-borne pathogenic strains. Samples with pH 2-13, high ion strengths (≥ 2 mol · L(-1) solution of KCl and NaCl), high viscosities (≤ 50 mg · mL(-1) PEG20000 or ≥ 20% glycerol), and high concentrations of biomacromolecules (≥ 400 mg · mL(-1) bovine serum albumin or ≥ 80 mg · mL(-1) casein) showed little influence on the assay. For practical utilization, the tolerance limits for seven powders and eight viscera were determined, and operation errors of liquid measurement demonstrated a minor influence on the strip. Ftu-UPT-LF is a candidate POCT method because of its excellent sensitivity, specificity, and stability in complex samples, as well as low operation error. PMID:26608358

  7. Levofloxacin rescues mice from lethal intra-nasal infections with virulent Francisella tularensis and induces immunity and production of protective antibody.

    PubMed

    Klimpel, Gary R; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Moen, Scott T; Taormina, Joanna; Peterson, Johnny W; Chopra, Ashok K; Niesel, David W; Carness, Paige; Haithcoat, Judith L; Kirtley, Michelle; Nasr, Abdelhakim Ben

    2008-12-01

    The ability to protect mice against respiratory infections with virulent Francisella tularensis has been problematic and the role of antibody-versus-cell-mediated immunity controversial. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that protective immunity can develop in mice that were given antibiotic therapy following infection via the respiratory tract with F. tularensis SCHU S4. We show that mice infected with a lethal dose of SCHU S4, via an intra-nasal challenge, could be protected with levofloxacin treatment. This protection was evident even when levofloxacin treatment was delayed 72h post-infection. At early time points after levofloxacin treatment, significant numbers of bacteria could be recovered from the lungs and spleens of mice, which was followed by a dramatic disappearance of bacteria from these tissues. Mice successfully treated with levofloxacin were later shown to be almost completely resistant to re-challenge with SCHU S4 by the intra-nasal route. Serum antibody appeared to play an important role in this immunity. Normal mice, when given sera from animals protected by levofloxacin treatment, were solidly protected from a lethal intra-nasal challenge with SCHU S4. The protective antiserum contained high titers of SCHU S4-specific IgG2a, indicating that a strong Th1 response was induced following levofloxacin treatment. Thus, this study describes a potentially valuable animal model for furthering our understanding of respiratory tularemia and provides suggestive evidence that antibody can protect against respiratory infections with virulent F. tularensis. PMID:18930100

  8. Francisella tularensis-induced in vitro gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin 2 responses appear within 2 weeks of tularemia vaccination in human beings.

    PubMed Central

    Karttunen, R; Surcel, H M; Andersson, G; Ekre, H P; Herva, E

    1991-01-01

    Cell-mediated immunity is essential for protection against the intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia. Positive in vitro T-cell responses in the form of lymphocyte proliferation and lymphokine interleukin 2 (IL-2) and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) secretion are found in memory immunity. Studies on the secretion of lymphokines with regard to the developing immunity to F. tularensis have not been published. Therefore, 14 subjects with no clinical history of tularemia were vaccinated with a live F. tularensis vaccine strain. The in vitro responses of five subjects (antigen-induced mononuclear cell and whole blood culture DNA synthesis and cytokine secretion) were measured twice a week throughout the period from 0 to 35 days after vaccination, and the peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations of nine subjects were determined between days 0 and 14. Positive reactions, i.e., responses exceeding those on day 0, were reached on day 10 with regard to the whole blood culture DNA synthesis response and IL-2 and IFN-gamma secretion and on day 14 with regard to the mononuclear cell DNA synthesis response and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) secretion. No measurable IL-4 was found in either the immune or nonimmune supernatants. Since the secretion of TNF-alpha was related to immunization, this points to the specificity of the phenomenon, even though the type of secreting cell is not yet known. If it is shown later that specific T cells produce it, the TNF-alpha response and the negative IL-4 finding may speak for the importance of the Th1-like pattern in immunity to F. tularensis. PMID:1909711

  9. Detection of Diverse New Francisella-Like Bacteria in Environmental Samples†

    PubMed Central

    Barns, Susan M.; Grow, Christy C.; Okinaka, Richard T.; Keim, Paul; Kuske, Cheryl R.

    2005-01-01

    Following detection of putative Francisella species in aerosol samples from Houston, Texas, we surveyed soil and water samples from the area for the agent of tularemia, Francisella tularensis, and related species. The initial survey used 16S rRNA gene primers to detect Francisella species and related organisms by PCR amplification of DNA extracts from environmental samples. This analysis indicated that sequences related to Francisella were present in one water and seven soil samples. This is the first report of the detection of Francisella-related species in soil samples by DNA-based methods. Cloning and sequencing of PCR products indicated the presence of a wide variety of Francisella-related species. Sequences from two soil samples were 99.9% similar to previously reported sequences from F. tularensis isolates and may represent new subspecies. Additional analyses with primer sets developed for detection and differentiation of F. tularensis subspecies support the finding of very close relatives to known F. tularensis strains in some samples. While the pathogenicity of these organisms is unknown, they have the potential to be detected in F. tularensis-specific assays. Similarly, a potential new subspecies of Francisella philomiragia was identified. The majority of sequences obtained, while more similar to those of Francisella than to any other genus, were phylogenetically distinct from known species and formed several new clades potentially representing new species or genera. The results of this study revise our understanding of the diversity and distribution of Francisella and have implications for tularemia epidemiology and our ability to detect bioterrorist activities. PMID:16151142

  10. Structure of the Francisella tularensis enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (FabI) in complex with NAD[superscript +] and triclosan

    SciTech Connect

    Mehboob, Shahila; Truong, Kent; Santarsiero, Bernard D.; Johnson, Michael E.

    2010-11-19

    Enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (FabI) catalyzes the last rate-limiting step in the elongation cycle of the fatty-acid biosynthesis pathway and has been validated as a potential antimicrobial drug target in Francisella tularensis. The development of new antibiotic therapies is important both to combat potential drug-resistant bioweapons and to address the broader societal problem of increasing antibiotic resistance among many pathogenic bacteria. The crystal structure of FabI from F. tularensis (FtuFabI) in complex with the inhibitor triclosan and the cofactor NAD{sup +} has been solved to a resolution of 2.1 {angstrom}. Triclosan is known to effectively inhibit FabI from different organisms. Precise characterization of the mode of triclosan binding is required to develop highly specific inhibitors. Comparison of our structure with the previously determined FtuFabI structure (PDB code 2jjy) which is bound to only NAD{sup +} reveals the conformation of the substrate-binding loop, electron density for which was missing in the earlier structure, and demonstrates a shift in the conformation of the NAD{sup +} cofactor. This shift in the position of the phosphate groups allows more room in the active site for substrate or inhibitor to bind and be better accommodated. This information will be crucial for virtual screening studies to identify novel scaffolds for development into new active inhibitors.

  11. Francisella tularensis IglG Belongs to a Novel Family of PAAR-Like T6SS Proteins and Harbors a Unique N-terminal Extension Required for Virulence.

    PubMed

    Rigard, Mélanie; Bröms, Jeanette E; Mosnier, Amandine; Hologne, Maggy; Martin, Amandine; Lindgren, Lena; Punginelli, Claire; Lays, Claire; Walker, Olivier; Charbit, Alain; Telouk, Philippe; Conlan, Wayne; Terradot, Laurent; Sjöstedt, Anders; Henry, Thomas

    2016-09-01

    The virulence of Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of tularemia, relies on an atypical type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded by a genomic island termed the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI). While the importance of the FPI in F. tularensis virulence is clearly established, the precise role of most of the FPI-encoded proteins remains to be deciphered. In this study, using highly virulent F. tularensis strains and the closely related species F. novicida, IglG was characterized as a protein featuring a unique α-helical N-terminal extension and a domain of unknown function (DUF4280), present in more than 250 bacterial species. Three dimensional modeling of IglG and of the DUF4280 consensus protein sequence indicates that these proteins adopt a PAAR-like fold, suggesting they could cap the T6SS in a similar way as the recently described PAAR proteins. The newly identified PAAR-like motif is characterized by four conserved cysteine residues, also present in IglG, which may bind a metal atom. We demonstrate that IglG binds metal ions and that each individual cysteine is required for T6SS-dependent secretion of IglG and of the Hcp homologue, IglC and for the F. novicida intracellular life cycle. In contrast, the Francisella-specific N-terminal α-helical extension is not required for IglG secretion, but is critical for F. novicida virulence and for the interaction of IglG with another FPI-encoded protein, IglF. Altogether, our data suggest that IglG is a PAAR-like protein acting as a bi-modal protein that may connect the tip of the Francisella T6SS with a putative T6SS effector, IglF. PMID:27602570

  12. Evaluation of an immunochromatographic test for rapid and reliable serodiagnosis of human tularemia and detection of Francisella tularensis-specific antibodies in sera from different mammalian species.

    PubMed

    Splettstoesser, W; Guglielmo-Viret, V; Seibold, E; Thullier, P

    2010-05-01

    Tularemia is a highly contagious infectious zoonosis caused by the bacterial agent Francisella tularensis. Serology is still considered to be a cornerstone in tularemia diagnosis due to the low sensitivity of bacterial culture and the lack of standardization in PCR methodology for the direct identification of the pathogen. We developed a novel immunochromatographic test (ICT) to efficiently detect F. tularensis-specific antibodies in sera from humans and other mammalian species (nonhuman primate, pig, and rabbit). This new tool requires none or minimal laboratory equipment, and the results are obtained within 15 min. When compared to the method of microagglutination, which was shown to be more specific than the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the ICT had a sensitivity of 98.3% (58 positive sera were tested) and a specificity of 96.5% (58 negative sera were tested) on human sera. On animal sera, the overall sensitivity was 100% (22 positive sera were tested) and specificity was also 100% (70 negative sera were tested). This rapid test preferentially detects IgG antibodies that may occur early in the course of human tularemia, but further evaluation with human sera is important to prove that the ICT can be a valuable field test to support a presumptive diagnosis of tularemia. The ICT can also be a useful tool to monitor successful vaccination with subunit vaccines or live vaccine strains containing lipopolysaccharide (e.g., LVS) and to detect seropositive individuals or animals in outbreak situations or in the context of epidemiologic surveillance programs in areas of endemicity as recently recommended by the World Health Organization. PMID:20220165

  13. M-Cells Contribute to the Entry of an Oral Vaccine but Are Not Essential for the Subsequent Induction of Protective Immunity against Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Cunningham, Aimee L.; Guentzel, M. Neal; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Hung, Chiung-Yu; Forsthuber, Thomas G.; Navara, Christopher S.; Yagita, Hideo; Williams, Ifor R.; Klose, Karl E.; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia D.; Arulanandam, Bernard P.

    2016-01-01

    M-cells (microfold cells) are thought to be a primary conduit of intestinal antigen trafficking. Using an established neutralizing anti-RANKL (Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand) antibody treatment to transiently deplete M-cells in vivo, we sought to determine whether intestinal M-cells were required for the effective induction of protective immunity following oral vaccination with ΔiglB (a defined live attenuated Francisella novicida mutant). M-cell depleted, ΔiglB-vaccinated mice exhibited increased (but not significant) morbidity and mortality following a subsequent homotypic or heterotypic pulmonary F. tularensis challenge. No significant differences in splenic IFN-γ, IL-2, or IL-17 or serum antibody (IgG1, IgG2a, IgA) production were observed compared to non-depleted, ΔiglB-vaccinated animals suggesting complementary mechanisms for ΔiglB entry. Thus, we examined other possible routes of gastrointestinal antigen sampling following oral vaccination and found that ΔiglB co-localized to villus goblet cells and enterocytes. These results provide insight into the role of M-cells and complementary pathways in intestinal antigen trafficking that may be involved in the generation of optimal immunity following oral vaccination. PMID:27100824

  14. β-Hydroxyacyl-acyl Carrier Protein Dehydratase (FabZ) from Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis: Structure Determination, Enzymatic Characterization, and Cross-Inhibition Studies.

    PubMed

    McGillick, Brian E; Kumaran, Desigan; Vieni, Casey; Swaminathan, Subramanyam

    2016-02-23

    The bacterial system for fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS) contains several enzymes whose sequence and structure are highly conserved across a vast array of pathogens. This, coupled with their low homology and difference in organization compared to the equivalent system in humans, makes the FAS pathway an excellent target for antimicrobial drug development. To this end, we have cloned, expressed, and purified the β-hydroxyacyl-acyl carrier protein dehydratase (FabZ) from both Francisella tularensis (FtFabZ) and Yersinia pestis (YpFabZ). We also solved the crystal structures and performed an enzymatic characterization of both enzymes and several mutant forms of YpFabZ. Additionally, we have discovered two novel inhibitors of FabZ, mangostin and stictic acid, which show similar potencies against both YpFabZ and FtFabZ. Lastly, we selected several compounds from the literature that have been shown to be active against single homologues of FabZ and tested them against both YpFabZ and FtFabZ. These results have revealed clues as to which scaffolds are likely to lead to broad-spectrum antimicrobials targeted against FabZ as well as modifications to existing FabZ inhibitors that may improve potency. PMID:26818694

  15. A dose and time response Markov model for the in-host dynamics of infection with intracellular bacteria following inhalation: with application to Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Wood, R. M.; Egan, J. R.; Hall, I. M.

    2014-01-01

    In a novel approach, the standard birth–death process is extended to incorporate a fundamental mechanism undergone by intracellular bacteria, phagocytosis. The model accounts for stochastic interaction between bacteria and cells of the immune system and heterogeneity in susceptibility to infection of individual hosts within a population. Model output is the dose–response relation and the dose-dependent distribution of time until response, where response is the onset of symptoms. The model is thereafter parametrized with respect to the highly virulent Schu S4 strain of Francisella tularensis, in the first such study to consider a biologically plausible mathematical model for early human infection with this bacterium. Results indicate a median infectious dose of about 23 organisms, which is higher than previously thought, and an average incubation period of between 3 and 7 days depending on dose. The distribution of incubation periods is right-skewed up to about 100 organisms and symmetric for larger doses. Moreover, there are some interesting parallels to the hypotheses of some of the classical dose–response models, such as independent action (single-hit model) and individual effective dose (probit model). The findings of this study support experimental evidence and postulations from other investigations that response is, in fact, influenced by both in-host and between-host variability. PMID:24671937

  16. Downmodulation of vaccine-induced immunity and protection against the intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis by the inhibitory receptor FcγRIIB.

    PubMed

    Franz, Brian J; Li, Ying; Bitsaktsis, Constantine; Iglesias, Bibiana V; Pham, Giang; Sunagar, Raju; Kumar, Sudeep; Gosselin, Edmund J

    2015-01-01

    Fc gamma receptor IIB (FcγRIIB) is the only Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) which negatively regulates the immune response, when engaged by antigen- (Ag-) antibody (Ab) complexes. Thus, the generation of Ag-specific IgG in response to infection or immunization has the potential to downmodulate immune protection against infection. Therefore, we sought to determine the impact of FcγRIIB on immune protection against Francisella tularensis (Ft), a Category A biothreat agent. We utilized inactivated Ft (iFt) as an immunogen. Naïve and iFt-immunized FcγRIIB knockout (KO) or wildtype (WT) mice were challenged with Ft-live vaccine strain (LVS). While no significant difference in survival between naïve FcγRIIB KO versus WT mice was observed, iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO mice were significantly better protected than iFt-immunized WT mice. Ft-specific IgA in serum and bronchial alveolar lavage, as well as IFN-γ, IL-10, and TNF-α production by splenocytes harvested from iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO, were also significantly elevated. In addition, iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO mice exhibited a reduction in proinflammatory cytokine levels in vivo at 5 days after challenge, which correlates with increased survival following Ft-LVS challenge in published studies. Thus, these studies demonstrate for the first time the ability of FcγRIIB to regulate vaccine-induced IgA production and downmodulate immunity and protection. The immune mechanisms behind the above observations and their potential impact on vaccine development are discussed. PMID:25961064

  17. Downmodulation of Vaccine-Induced Immunity and Protection against the Intracellular Bacterium Francisella tularensis by the Inhibitory Receptor FcγRIIB

    PubMed Central

    Franz, Brian J.; Li, Ying; Bitsaktsis, Constantine; Iglesias, Bibiana V.; Pham, Giang; Sunagar, Raju; Kumar, Sudeep; Gosselin, Edmund J.

    2015-01-01

    Fc gamma receptor IIB (FcγRIIB) is the only Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) which negatively regulates the immune response, when engaged by antigen- (Ag-) antibody (Ab) complexes. Thus, the generation of Ag-specific IgG in response to infection or immunization has the potential to downmodulate immune protection against infection. Therefore, we sought to determine the impact of FcγRIIB on immune protection against Francisella tularensis (Ft), a Category A biothreat agent. We utilized inactivated Ft (iFt) as an immunogen. Naïve and iFt-immunized FcγRIIB knockout (KO) or wildtype (WT) mice were challenged with Ft-live vaccine strain (LVS). While no significant difference in survival between naïve FcγRIIB KO versus WT mice was observed, iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO mice were significantly better protected than iFt-immunized WT mice. Ft-specific IgA in serum and bronchial alveolar lavage, as well as IFN-γ, IL-10, and TNF-α production by splenocytes harvested from iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO, were also significantly elevated. In addition, iFt-immunized FcγRIIB KO mice exhibited a reduction in proinflammatory cytokine levels in vivo at 5 days after challenge, which correlates with increased survival following Ft-LVS challenge in published studies. Thus, these studies demonstrate for the first time the ability of FcγRIIB to regulate vaccine-induced IgA production and downmodulate immunity and protection. The immune mechanisms behind the above observations and their potential impact on vaccine development are discussed. PMID:25961064

  18. Mucosal Immunization with Live Attenuated Francisella novicida U112ΔiglB Protects against Pulmonary F. tularensis SCHU S4 in the Fischer 344 Rat Model

    PubMed Central

    Signarovitz, Aimee L.; Ray, Heather J.; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Guentzel, M. N.; Chambers, James P.; Klose, Karl E.; Arulanandam, Bernard P.

    2012-01-01

    The need for an efficacious vaccine against Francisella tularensis is a consequence of its low infectious dose and high mortality rate if left untreated. This study sought to characterize a live attenuated subspecies novicida-based vaccine strain (U112ΔiglB) in an established second rodent model of pulmonary tularemia, namely the Fischer 344 rat using two distinct routes of vaccination (intratracheal [i.t.] and oral). Attenuation was verified by comparing replication of U112ΔiglB with wild type parental strain U112 in F344 primary alveolar macrophages. U112ΔiglB exhibited an LD50>107 CFU compared to the wild type (LD50 = 5×106 CFU i.t.). Immunization with 107 CFU U112ΔiglB by i.t. and oral routes induced antigen-specific IFN-γ and potent humoral responses both systemically (IgG2a>IgG1 in serum) and at the site of mucosal vaccination (respiratory/intestinal compartment). Importantly, vaccination with U112ΔiglB by either i.t. or oral routes provided equivalent levels of protection (50% survival) in F344 rats against a subsequent pulmonary challenge with ∼25 LD50 (1.25×104 CFU) of the highly human virulent strain SCHU S4. Collectively, these results provide further evidence on the utility of a mucosal vaccination platform with a defined subsp. novicida U112ΔiglB vaccine strain in conferring protective immunity against pulmonary tularemia. PMID:23118885

  19. Targeting of a Fixed Bacterial Immunogen to Fc Receptors Reverses the Anti-Inflammatory Properties of the Gram-Negative Bacterium, Francisella tularensis, during the Early Stages of Infection.

    PubMed

    Babadjanova, Zulfia; Wiedinger, Kari; Gosselin, Edmund J; Bitsaktsis, Constantine

    2015-01-01

    Production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells at the early stages of bacterial infection is important for host protection against the pathogen. Many intracellular bacteria, including Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia, utilize the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, to evade the host immune response. It is well established that IL-10 has the ability to inhibit robust antigen presentation by dendritic cells and macrophages, thus suppressing the generation of protective immunity. The pathogenesis of F. tularensis is not fully understood, and research has failed to develop an effective vaccine to this date. In the current study, we hypothesized that F. tularensis polarizes antigen presenting cells during the early stages of infection towards an anti-inflammatory status characterized by increased synthesis of IL-10 and decreased production of IL-12p70 and TNF-α in an IFN-ɣ-dependent fashion. In addition, F. tularensis drives an alternative activation of alveolar macrophages within the first 48 hours post-infection, thus allowing the bacterium to avoid protective immunity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that targeting inactivated F. tularensis (iFt) to Fcγ receptors (FcɣRs) via intranasal immunization with mAb-iFt complexes, a proven vaccine strategy in our laboratories, reverses the anti-inflammatory effects of the bacterium on macrophages by down-regulating production of IL-10. More specifically, we observed that targeting of iFt to FcγRs enhances the classical activation of macrophages not only within the respiratory mucosa, but also systemically, at the early stages of infection. These results provide important insight for further understanding the protective immune mechanisms generated when targeting immunogens to Fc receptors. PMID:26114641

  20. A 14.7 kDa Protein from Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida (Named FTN_1133), Involved in the Response to Oxidative Stress Induced by Organic Peroxides, Is Not Endowed with Thiol-Dependent Peroxidase Activity

    PubMed Central

    Meireles, Diogo de Abreu; Alegria, Thiago Geronimo Pires; Alves, Simone Vidigal; Arantes, Carla Rani Rocha; Netto, Luis Eduardo Soares

    2014-01-01

    Francisella genus comprises Gram-negative facultative intracellular bacteria that are among the most infectious human pathogens. A protein of 14.7 KDa named as FTN_1133 was previously described as a novel hydroperoxide resistance protein in F. tularensis subsp. novicida, implicated in organic peroxide detoxification and virulence. Here, we describe a structural and biochemical characterization of FTN_1133. Contrary to previous assumptions, multiple amino acid sequence alignment analyses revealed that FTN_1133 does not share significant similarity with proteins of the Ohr/OsmC family or any other Cys-based, thiol dependent peroxidase, including conserved motifs around reactive cysteine residues. Circular dichroism analyses were consistent with the in silico prediction of an all-α-helix secondary structure. The pKa of its single cysteine residue, determined by a monobromobimane alkylation method, was shown to be 8.0±0.1, value that is elevated when compared with other Cys-based peroxidases, such as peroxiredoxins and Ohr/OsmC proteins. Attempts to determine a thiol peroxidase activity for FTN_1133 failed, using both dithiols (DTT, thioredoxin and lipoamide) and monothiols (glutathione or 2-mercaptoethanol) as reducing agents. Heterologous expression of FTN_1133 gene in ahpC and oxyR mutants of E. coli showed no complementation. Furthermore, analysis of FTN_1133 protein by non-reducing SDS-PAGE showed that an inter-molecular disulfide bond (not detected in Ohr proteins) can be generated under hydroperoxide treatment, but the observed rates were not comparable to those observed for other thiol-dependent peroxidases. All the biochemical and structural data taken together indicated that FTN_1133 displayed distinct characteristics from other thiol dependent peroxidases and, therefore, suggested that FTN_1133 is not directly involved in hydroperoxide detoxification. PMID:24959833

  1. Importance of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Utilization in Francisella Intracellular Adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Gesbert, Gael; Ramond, Elodie; Tros, Fabiola; Dairou, Julien; Frapy, Eric; Barel, Monique

    2014-01-01

    Intracellular bacterial pathogens have adapted their metabolism to optimally utilize the nutrients available in infected host cells. We recently reported the identification of an asparagine transporter required specifically for cytosolic multiplication of Francisella. In the present work, we characterized a new member of the major super family (MSF) of transporters, involved in isoleucine uptake. We show that this transporter (here designated IleP) plays a critical role in intracellular metabolic adaptation of Francisella. Inactivation of IleP severely impaired intracellular F. tularensis subsp. novicida multiplication in all cell types tested and reduced bacterial virulence in the mouse model. To further establish the importance of the ileP gene in F. tularensis pathogenesis, we constructed a chromosomal deletion mutant of ileP (ΔFTL_1803) in the F. tularensis subsp. holarctica live vaccine strain (LVS). Inactivation of IleP in the F. tularensis LVS provoked comparable intracellular growth defects, confirming the critical role of this transporter in isoleucine uptake. The data presented establish, for the first time, the importance of isoleucine utilization for efficient phagosomal escape and cytosolic multiplication of Francisella and suggest that virulent F. tularensis subspecies have lost their branched-chain amino acid biosynthetic pathways and rely exclusively on dedicated uptake systems. This loss of function is likely to reflect an evolution toward a predominantly intracellular life style of the pathogen. Amino acid transporters should be thus considered major players in the adaptation of intracellular pathogens. PMID:25332124

  2. Whole-Genome Sequences of Nine Francisella Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Davenport, K. W.; Daligault, H. E.; Minogue, T. D.; Bishop-Lilly, K. A.; Broomall, S. M.; Bruce, D. C.; Chain, P. S.; Coyne, S. R.; Frey, K. G.; Gibbons, H. S.; Jaissle, J.; Koroleva, G. I.; Ladner, J. T.; Palacios, G. F.; Redden, C. L.; Rosenzweig, C. N.; Scholz, M. B.; Teshima, H.

    2014-01-01

    Primarily a zoonotic disease, Francisella tularensis is a fastidious intracellular pathogen and is listed as a CDC category A pathogen with notably high pathogenicity. Here we present the scaffolded genome assemblies of nine Francisella strains: eight F. tularensis and one F. philomiragia. PMID:25291764

  3. Enhancement of Vaccine Efficacy by Expression of a TLR5 Ligand in the Defined Live Attenuated Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida Strain U112▲iglB::fljB

    PubMed Central

    Cunningham, Aimee L.; Dang, Kim Minh; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Guentzel, M. Neal; Heidner, Hans; Klose, Karl E.; Arulanandam, Bernard P.

    2014-01-01

    Oral vaccination with the defined live attenuated Francisella novicida vaccine strain U112▲iglB has been demonstrated to induce protective immunity against pulmonary challenge with the highly human virulent F. tularensis strain SCHU S4. However, this vaccination regimen requires a booster dose in mice and exhibits 50% protective efficacy in the Fischer 344 rat model. To enhance the efficacy of this vaccine strain, we engineered U112▲iglB to express the Salmonella typhimurium FljB flagellin D1 domain, a TLR5 agonist. The U112▲iglB::fljB strain was highly attenuated for intracellular macrophage replication, and although the FljB protein was expressed within the cytosol, it exhibited TLR5 activation in a TLR5-expressing HEK cell line. Additionally, infection of splenocytes and lymphocytes with U112▲iglB::fljB induced significantly greater TNF-α production than infection with U112▲iglB. Oral vaccination with U112▲iglB::fljB also induced significantly greater protection than U112ΔiglB against pulmonary SCHU S4 challenge in rats. The enhanced protection was accompanied by higher IgG2a production and serum-mediated reduction of Francisella infectivity. Thus, the U112▲iglB::fljB strain may serve as a potential vaccine candidate against pneumonic tularemia. PMID:25050972

  4. Genome sequencing of 18 francisella strains to aid in assay development and testing.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Shannon L; Daligault, Hajnalka E; Davenport, Karen W; Coyne, Susan R; Frey, Kenneth G; Koroleva, Galina I; Broomall, Stacey M; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A; Bruce, David C; Chertkov, Olga; Freitas, Tracey; Jaissle, James; Ladner, Jason T; Rosenzweig, C Nicole; Gibbons, Henry S; Palacios, Gustavo F; Redden, Cassie L; Xu, Yan; Minogue, Timothy D; Chain, Patrick S

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium with the potential to cause high fatality rates if infections are untreated. To aid in the development of rapid and accurate detection assays, we have sequenced and annotated the genomes of 18 F. tularensis and Francisella philomiragia strains. PMID:25931589

  5. Genome Sequencing of 18 Francisella Strains To Aid in Assay Development and Testing

    SciTech Connect

    Johnson, Shannon L.; Daligault, Hajnalka E.; Davenport, Karen W.; Coyne, Susan R.; Frey, Kenneth G.; Koroleva, Galina I.; Broomall, Stacey M.; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A.; Bruce, David C.; Chertkov, Olga; Freitas, Tracey; Jaissle, James; Ladner, Jason T.; Rosenzweig, C. Nicole; Gibbons, Henry S.; Palacios, Gustavo F.; Redden, Cassie L.; Xu, Yan; Minogue, Timothy D.; Chain, Patrick S.

    2015-04-30

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium that has the potential of causing high fatality rates if infections are untreated. To aid in the development of rapid and accurate detection assays, we have sequenced and annotated the genomes of 18 F. tularensis and Francisella philomiragia strains.

  6. Genome Sequencing of 18 Francisella Strains To Aid in Assay Development and Testing

    PubMed Central

    Daligault, Hajnalka E.; Davenport, Karen W.; Coyne, Susan R.; Frey, Kenneth G.; Koroleva, Galina I.; Broomall, Stacey M.; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A.; Bruce, David C.; Chertkov, Olga; Freitas, Tracey; Jaissle, James; Ladner, Jason T.; Rosenzweig, C. Nicole; Gibbons, Henry S.; Palacios, Gustavo F.; Redden, Cassie L.; Xu, Yan; Minogue, Timothy D.; Chain, Patrick S.

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium with the potential to cause high fatality rates if infections are untreated. To aid in the development of rapid and accurate detection assays, we have sequenced and annotated the genomes of 18 F. tularensis and Francisella philomiragia strains. PMID:25931589

  7. RipA, a cytoplasmic membrane protein conserved among Francisella species, is required for intracellular survival.

    PubMed

    Fuller, James R; Craven, Robin R; Hall, Joshua D; Kijek, Todd M; Taft-Benz, Sharon; Kawula, Thomas H

    2008-11-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent bacterial pathogen that invades and replicates within numerous host cell types, including macrophages and epithelial cells. In an effort to better understand this process, we screened a transposon insertion library of the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) for mutant strains that invaded but failed to replicate within alveolar epithelial cell lines. One such strain isolated from this screen contained an insertion in the gene FTL_1914, which is conserved among all sequenced Francisella species yet lacks significant homology to any gene with known function. A deletion strain lacking FTL_1914 was constructed. This strain did not replicate in either epithelial or macrophage-like cells, and intracellular replication was restored by the wild-type allele in trans. Based on the deletion mutant phenotype, FTL_1914 was termed ripA (required for intracellular proliferation, factor A). Following uptake by J774.A1 cells, F. tularensis LVS Delta ripA colocalized with LAMP-1 then escaped the phagosome at the same rate and frequency as wild-type LVS-infected cells. Electron micrographs of the F. tularensis LVS Delta ripA mutant demonstrated the reentry of the mutant bacteria into double membrane vacuoles characteristic of autophagosomes in a process that was not dependent on replication. The F. tularensis LVS Delta ripA mutant was significantly impaired in its ability to persist in the lung and in its capacity to disseminate and colonize the liver and spleen in a mouse model of pulmonary tularemia. The RipA protein was expressed during growth in laboratory media and localized to the cytoplasmic membrane. Thus, RipA is a cytoplasmic membrane protein conserved among Francisella species that is required for intracellular replication within the host cell cytoplasm as well as disease progression, dissemination, and virulence. PMID:18765722

  8. Evaluation of two multiplex real-time PCR screening capabilities for the detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis in blood samples generated from murine infection models.

    PubMed

    Weller, Simon A; Cox, Victoria; Essex-Lopresti, Angela; Hartley, Margaret G; Parsons, Tanya M; Rachwal, Phillip A; Stapleton, Helen L; Lukaszewski, Roman A

    2012-11-01

    Two multiplex PCR screening capabilities (TaqMan Array Cards and FilmArray) were evaluated for their ability to detect Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis in blood samples obtained from respective murine infection models. Blood samples were obtained from infected mice at 24 h intervals after exposure. Multiplex PCR results were compared with standard blood culture and singleplex real-time PCR. Across all three models, 71 mice were tested in total, within which a subset of 43 samples was shown to contain an infecting agent by at least one of the detection technologies. Within this subset of positive samples, for each model studied, the detection rates of each technology were compared. The B. anthracis model blood culture (14 of 15 agent-containing samples tested) and FilmArray PCR (12 of 15) were shown to have equivalent detection rates, which were significantly higher (at the 95 % confidence level) than singleplex (five of 14) or Array Card (two of 14) PCRs. The F. tularensis model blood culture (12 of 12) was shown to have a significantly higher (at 95 % confidence level) detection rate than all PCR technologies, with FilmArray (seven of 11) and singleplex (seven of 12) PCRs shown to have significantly higher (at 95 % confidence level) detection rates than the Array Card PCR (two of 11). Within the Y. pestis model, there was no significant difference in detection rates between blood culture (10 of 16), singleplex PCR (14 of 16), Array Card PCR (10 of 16) and FilmArray PCR (10 of 13). PMID:22899777

  9. Serological Investigation of Wild Boars (Sus scrofa) and Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) As Indicator Animals for Circulation of Francisella tularensis in Germany

    PubMed Central

    Chaignat, Valerie; Klimpel, Diana; Diller, Roland; Melzer, Falk; Müller, Wolfgang; Tomaso, Herbert

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Tularemia outbreaks in humans have recently been reported in many European countries, but data on the occurrence in the animal population are scarce. In North America, seroconversion of omnivores and carnivores was used as indicator for the presence of tularemia, for the European fauna, however, data are barely available. Therefore, the suitability of wild boars (Sus scrofa) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) as indicators for the circulation of F. tularensis in Germany was evaluated. Serum samples from 566 wild boars and 457 red foxes were collected between 1995 and 2012 in three federal states in Central Germany (Hesse, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia). The overall rate of seropositive animals was 1.1% in wild boars and 7.4% in red foxes. In conclusion, serological examination of red foxes is recommended, because they can be reliably used as indicator animals for the presence of F. tularensis in the environment. PMID:24359418

  10. Modulation of Human Airway Barrier Functions during Burkholderia thailandensis and Francisella tularensis Infection Running Title: Airway Barrier Functions during Bacterial Infections.

    PubMed

    Blume, Cornelia; David, Jonathan; Bell, Rachel E; Laver, Jay R; Read, Robert C; Clark, Graeme C; Davies, Donna E; Swindle, Emily J

    2016-01-01

    The bronchial epithelium provides protection against pathogens from the inhaled environment through the formation of a highly-regulated barrier. In order to understand the pulmonary diseases melioidosis and tularemia caused by Burkholderia thailandensis and Fransicella tularensis, respectively, the barrier function of the human bronchial epithelium were analysed. Polarised 16HBE14o- or differentiated primary human bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) were exposed to increasing multiplicities of infection (MOI) of B. thailandensis or F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain and barrier responses monitored over 24-72 h. Challenge of polarized BECs with either bacterial species caused an MOI- and time-dependent increase in ionic permeability, disruption of tight junctions, and bacterial passage from the apical to the basolateral compartment. B. thailandensis was found to be more invasive than F. tularensis. Both bacterial species induced an MOI-dependent increase in TNF-α release. An increase in ionic permeability and TNF-α release was induced by B. thailandensis in differentiated BECs. Pretreatment of polarised BECs with the corticosteroid fluticasone propionate reduced bacterial-dependent increases in ionic permeability, bacterial passage, and TNF-α release. TNF blocking antibody Enbrel(®) reduced bacterial passage only. BEC barrier properties are disrupted during respiratory bacterial infections and targeting with corticosteroids or anti-TNF compounds may represent a therapeutic option. PMID:27527221