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Sample records for francisella tularensis genes

  1. Targeted gene disruption in Francisella tularensis by group II introns.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Stephen A; Davis, Greg; Klose, Karl E

    2009-11-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious Gram-negative bacterium that is the causative agent of tularemia. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms responsible for F. tularensis virulence, in part due to the paucity of genetic tools available for the study of F. tularensis. We have developed a gene knockout system for F. tularensis that utilizes retargeted mobile group II introns, or "targetrons". These targetrons disrupt both single and duplicated target genes at high efficiency in three different F. tularensis subspecies. Here we describe in detail the targetron-based method for insertional mutagenesis of F. tularensis genes, which should facilitate a better understanding of F. tularensis pathogenesis. Group II introns can be adapted to inactivate genes in bacteria for which few genetic tools exist, thus providing a powerful tool to study the genetic basis of bacterial pathogenesis.

  2. Targeted inactivation of francisella tularensis genes by group II introns.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Stephen A; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Davis, Greg; Arulanandam, Bernard P; Klose, Karl E

    2008-05-01

    Studies of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, have been hampered by a lack of genetic techniques for rapid targeted gene disruption in the most virulent subspecies. Here we describe efficient targeted gene disruption in F. tularensis utilizing mobile group II introns (targetrons) specifically optimized for F. tularensis. Utilizing a targetron targeted to blaB, which encodes ampicillin resistance, we showed that the system works at high efficiency in three different subspecies: F. tularensis subsp. tularensis, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica, and "F. tularensis subsp. novicida." A targetron was also utilized to inactivate F. tularensis subsp. holarctica iglC, a gene required for virulence. The iglC gene is located within the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI), which has been duplicated in the most virulent subspecies. Importantly, the iglC targetron targeted both copies simultaneously, resulting in a strain mutated in both iglC genes in a single step. This system will help illuminate the contributions of specific genes, and especially those within the FPI, to the pathogenesis of this poorly studied organism.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    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.

  6. Small Molecule Control of Virulence Gene Expression in Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Charity, James C.; Blalock, LeeAnn T.; Costante-Hamm, Michelle M.; Kasper, Dennis L.; Dove, Simon L.

    2009-01-01

    In Francisella tularensis, the SspA protein family members MglA and SspA form a complex that associates with RNA polymerase (RNAP) to positively control the expression of virulence genes critical for the intramacrophage growth and survival of the organism. Although the association of the MglA-SspA complex with RNAP is evidently central to its role in controlling gene expression, the molecular details of how MglA and SspA exert their effects are not known. Here we show that in the live vaccine strain of F. tularensis (LVS), the MglA-SspA complex works in concert with a putative DNA-binding protein we have called PigR, together with the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp), to regulate the expression of target genes. In particular, we present evidence that MglA, SspA, PigR and ppGpp regulate expression of the same set of genes, and show that mglA, sspA, pigR and ppGpp null mutants exhibit similar intramacrophage growth defects and are strongly attenuated for virulence in mice. We show further that PigR interacts directly with the MglA-SspA complex, suggesting that the central role of the MglA and SspA proteins in the control of virulence gene expression is to serve as a target for a transcription activator. Finally, we present evidence that ppGpp exerts its effects by promoting the interaction between PigR and the RNAP-associated MglA-SspA complex. Through its responsiveness to ppGpp, the contact between PigR and the MglA-SspA complex allows the integration of nutritional cues into the regulatory network governing virulence gene expression. PMID:19876386

  7. 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

  8. Sensitive Detection of Francisella tularensis Directly from Whole Blood by Use of the GeneXpert System

    PubMed Central

    Banada, Padmapriya P.; Deshpande, Srinidhi; Chakravorty, Soumitesh; Russo, Riccardo; Occi, James; Meister, Gabriel; Jones, Kelly J.; Gelhaus, Carl H.; Valderas, Michelle W.; Jones, Martin; Connell, Nancy

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Francisella tularensis is a potential bioterrorism agent that is highly infectious at very low doses. Diagnosis of tularemia by blood culture and nucleic acid-based diagnostic tests is insufficiently sensitive. Here, we demonstrate a highly sensitive F. tularensis assay that incorporates sample processing and detection into a single cartridge suitable for point-of-care detection. The assay limit of detection (LOD) and dynamic range were determined in a filter-based cartridge run on the GeneXpert system. F. tularensis DNA in buffer or CFU of F. tularensis was spiked into human or macaque blood. To simulate detection in human disease, the assay was tested on blood drawn from macaques infected with F. tularensis Schu S4 at daily intervals. Assay detection was compared to that with a conventional quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay and blood culture. The assay LOD was 0.1 genome equivalents (GE) per reaction and 10 CFU/ml F. tularensis in both human and macaque blood. In infected macaques, the assay detected F. tularensis on days 1 to 4 postinfection in 21%, 17%, 60%, and 83% of macaques, respectively, compared to conventional qPCR positivity rates of 0%, 0%, 30%, and 100% and CFU detection of blood culture at 0%, 0%, 0%, and 10% positive, respectively. Assay specificity was 100%. The new cartridge-based assay can rapidly detect F. tularensis in bloodstream infections directly in whole blood at the early stages of infection with a sensitivity that is superior to that of other methods. The simplicity of the automated testing procedures may make this test suitable for rapid point-of-care detection. PMID:27847371

  9. Sensitive Detection of Francisella tularensis Directly from Whole Blood by Use of the GeneXpert System.

    PubMed

    Banada, Padmapriya P; Deshpande, Srinidhi; Chakravorty, Soumitesh; Russo, Riccardo; Occi, James; Meister, Gabriel; Jones, Kelly J; Gelhaus, Carl H; Valderas, Michelle W; Jones, Martin; Connell, Nancy; Alland, David

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a potential bioterrorism agent that is highly infectious at very low doses. Diagnosis of tularemia by blood culture and nucleic acid-based diagnostic tests is insufficiently sensitive. Here, we demonstrate a highly sensitive F. tularensis assay that incorporates sample processing and detection into a single cartridge suitable for point-of-care detection. The assay limit of detection (LOD) and dynamic range were determined in a filter-based cartridge run on the GeneXpert system. F. tularensis DNA in buffer or CFU of F. tularensis was spiked into human or macaque blood. To simulate detection in human disease, the assay was tested on blood drawn from macaques infected with F. tularensis Schu S4 at daily intervals. Assay detection was compared to that with a conventional quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay and blood culture. The assay LOD was 0.1 genome equivalents (GE) per reaction and 10 CFU/ml F. tularensis in both human and macaque blood. In infected macaques, the assay detected F. tularensis on days 1 to 4 postinfection in 21%, 17%, 60%, and 83% of macaques, respectively, compared to conventional qPCR positivity rates of 0%, 0%, 30%, and 100% and CFU detection of blood culture at 0%, 0%, 0%, and 10% positive, respectively. Assay specificity was 100%. The new cartridge-based assay can rapidly detect F. tularensis in bloodstream infections directly in whole blood at the early stages of infection with a sensitivity that is superior to that of other methods. The simplicity of the automated testing procedures may make this test suitable for rapid point-of-care detection. Copyright © 2016 American Society for Microbiology.

  10. 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

  11. Phylogeography of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Europe

    PubMed Central

    Gyuranecz, Miklós; Birdsell, Dawn N.; Splettstoesser, Wolf; Seibold, Erik; Beckstrom-Sternberg, Stephen M.; Makrai, László; Fodor, László; Fabbi, Massimo; Vicari, Nadia; Johansson, Anders; Busch, Joseph D.; Vogler, Amy J.; Keim, Paul

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania were placed into an existing phylogeographic framework. Isolates from Italy were assigned to phylogenetic group B.FTNF002–00; the other isolates, to group B.13. Most F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates from Europe belong to these 2 geographically segregated groups. PMID:22305204

  12. Genotyping of Francisella tularensis Strains by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Fingerprinting, and 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    García Del Blanco, N.; Dobson, M. E.; Vela, A. I.; De La Puente, V. A.; Gutiérrez, C. B.; Hadfield, T. L.; Kuhnert, P.; Frey, J.; Domínguez, L.; Rodríguez Ferri, E. F.

    2002-01-01

    We evaluated three molecular methods for identification of Francisella strains: pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The analysis was performed with 54 Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, 5 F. tularensis subsp. tularensis, 2 F. tularensis subsp. novicida, and 1 F. philomiragia strains. On the basis of the combination of results obtained by PFGE with the restriction enzymes XhoI and BamHI, PFGE revealed seven pulsotypes, which allowed us to discriminate the strains to the subspecies level and which even allowed us to discriminate among some isolates of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. The AFLP analysis technique produced some degree of discrimination among F. tularensis subsp. holarctica strains (one primary cluster with three major subclusters and minor variations within subclusters) when EcoRI-C and MseI-A, EcoRI-T and MseI-T, EcoRI-A and MseI-C, and EcoRI-0 and MseI-CA were used as primers. The degree of similarity among the strains was about 94%. The percent similarities of the AFLP profiles of this subspecies compared to those of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis, F. tularensis subsp. novicida, and F. philomiragia were less than 90%, about 72%, and less than 24%, respectively, thus permitting easy differentiation of this subspecies. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed 100% similarity for all F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates compared in this study. These results suggest that although limited genetic heterogeneity among F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates was observed, PFGE and AFLP analysis appear to be promising tools for the diagnosis of infections caused by different subspecies of F. tularensis and suitable techniques for the differentiation of individual strains. PMID:12149360

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS AND FRANCISELLA NOVICIDA

    PubMed Central

    Owen, C. R.; Buker, E. O.; Jellison, W. L.; Lackman, D. B.; Bell, J. F.

    1964-01-01

    Owen, C. R. (U.S. Public Health Service, Rocky Mountain Laboratory, Hamilton, Mont.), E. O. Buker, W. L. Jellison, D. B. Lackman, and J. F. Bell. Comparative studies of Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida. J. Bacteriol. 87:676–683. 1964.—Comparative studies of various properties of Francisella tularensis (= Pasteurella tularensis) and F. novicida were performed. The two organisms are very similar morphologically. Growth of both was markedly enhanced by addition of cystine to media, but F. novicida is less fastidious than F. tularensis. The virulence of F. novicida for mice and cavies is lower than that of fresh isolates of F. tularensis. In complement-fixation tests, some cross-reaction occurred when rabbit antisera were used; complement-fixation tests with cavy antisera were specific. Agglutination tests with sera from both rabbits and cavies were specific. Nonliving vaccines of the two organisms (extracts, whole dead cells) conferred no cross-protection to mice; living attenuated vaccines conferred cross-protection which was more transitory than was specific protection. Passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) tests were highly specific. Absorption of antisera with homologous organisms removed all PCA reactivity, while absorption with heterologous organisms left it almost intact. Hemagglutination and hemagglutination-inhibition tests were specific. It was concluded that the two organisms are sufficiently similar to belong in the same genus but sufficiently different to be retained in separate species. Images PMID:14127585

  16. 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

  17. Role of Glycosylation/Deglycolysation Processes in Francisella tularensis Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Barel, Monique; Charbit, Alain

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is able to invade, survive and replicate inside a variety of cell types. However, in vivo F. tularensis preferentially enters host macrophages where it rapidly escapes to the cytosol to avoid phagosomal stresses and to multiply to high numbers. We previously showed that human monocyte infection by F. tularensis LVS triggered deglycosylation of the glutamine transporter SLC1A5. However, this deglycosylation, specifically induced by Francisella infection, was not restricted to SLC1A5, suggesting that host protein deglycosylation processes in general might contribute to intracellular bacterial adaptation. Indeed, we later found that Francisella infection modulated the transcription of numerous glycosidase and glycosyltransferase genes in human macrophages and analysis of cell extracts revealed an important increase of N and O-protein glycosylation. In eukaryotic cells, glycosylation has significant effects on protein folding, conformation, distribution, stability, and activity and dysfunction of protein glycosylation may lead to development of diseases like cancer and pathogenesis of infectious diseases. Pathogenic bacteria have also evolved dedicated glycosylation machineries and have notably been shown to use these glycoconjugates as ligands to specifically interact with the host. In this review, we will focus on Francisella and summarize our current understanding of the importance of these post-translational modifications on its intracellular niche adaptation.

  18. Role of Glycosylation/Deglycolysation Processes in Francisella tularensis Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Barel, Monique; Charbit, Alain

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is able to invade, survive and replicate inside a variety of cell types. However, in vivo F. tularensis preferentially enters host macrophages where it rapidly escapes to the cytosol to avoid phagosomal stresses and to multiply to high numbers. We previously showed that human monocyte infection by F. tularensis LVS triggered deglycosylation of the glutamine transporter SLC1A5. However, this deglycosylation, specifically induced by Francisella infection, was not restricted to SLC1A5, suggesting that host protein deglycosylation processes in general might contribute to intracellular bacterial adaptation. Indeed, we later found that Francisella infection modulated the transcription of numerous glycosidase and glycosyltransferase genes in human macrophages and analysis of cell extracts revealed an important increase of N and O-protein glycosylation. In eukaryotic cells, glycosylation has significant effects on protein folding, conformation, distribution, stability, and activity and dysfunction of protein glycosylation may lead to development of diseases like cancer and pathogenesis of infectious diseases. Pathogenic bacteria have also evolved dedicated glycosylation machineries and have notably been shown to use these glycoconjugates as ligands to specifically interact with the host. In this review, we will focus on Francisella and summarize our current understanding of the importance of these post-translational modifications on its intracellular niche adaptation. PMID:28377902

  19. Genome-Wide Identification of Francisella tularensis Virulence Determinants▿

    PubMed Central

    Su, Jingliang; Yang, Jun; Zhao, Daimin; Kawula, Thomas H.; Banas, Jeffrey A.; Zhang, Jing-Ren

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in humans and has potential for use as a biological weapon. The genetic basis of the F. tularensis virulence is poorly understood. This study screened a total of 3,936 transposon mutants of the live vaccine strain for infection in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia by signature-tagged mutagenesis. We identified 341 mutants attenuated for infection in the lungs. The transposon disruptions were mapped to 95 different genes, virtually all of which are also present in the genomes of other F. tularensis strains, including human pathogenic F. tularensis strain Schu S4. A small subset of these attenuated mutants carried insertions in the genes encoding previously known virulence factors, but the majority of the identified genes have not been previously linked to F. tularensis virulence. Among these are genes encoding putative membrane proteins, proteins associated with stress responses, metabolic proteins, transporter proteins, and proteins with unknown functions. Several attenuated mutants contained disruptions in a putative capsule locus which partially resembles the poly-γ-glutamate capsule biosynthesis locus of Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax agent. Deletional mutation analysis confirmed that this locus is essential for F. tularensis virulence. PMID:17420240

  20. 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... dye (immunofluorescent reagents) used to identify Francisella tularensis directly from...

  1. A Francisella tularensis Pathogenicity Island Required for Intramacrophage Growth

    PubMed Central

    Nano, Francis E.; Zhang, Na; Cowley, Siobhán C.; Klose, Karl E.; Cheung, Karen K. M.; Roberts, Michael J.; Ludu, Jagjit S.; Letendre, Gregg W.; Meierovics, Anda I.; Stephens, Gwen; Elkins, Karen L.

    2004-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative, facultative intracellular pathogen that causes the highly infectious zoonotic disease tularemia. We have discovered a ca. 30-kb pathogenicity island of F. tularensis (FPI) that includes four large open reading frames (ORFs) of 2.5 to 3.9 kb and 13 ORFs of 1.5 kb or smaller. Previously, two small genes located near the center of the FPI were shown to be needed for intramacrophage growth. In this work we show that two of the large ORFs, located toward the ends of the FPI, are needed for virulence. Although most genes in the FPI encode proteins with amino acid sequences that are highly conserved between high- and low-virulence strains, one of the FPI genes is present in highly virulent type A F. tularensis, absent in moderately virulent type B F. tularensis, and altered in F. tularensis subsp. novicida, which is highly virulent for mice but avirulent for humans. The G+C content of a 17.7-kb stretch of the FPI is 26.6%, which is 6.6% below the average G+C content of the F. tularensis genome. This extremely low G+C content suggests that the DNA was imported from a microbe with a very low G+C-containing chromosome. PMID:15375123

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Molecular method for discrimination between Francisella tularensis and Francisella-like endosymbionts.

    PubMed

    Escudero, Raquel; Toledo, A; Gil, Horacio; Kovácsová, Katarina; Rodríguez-Vargas, Manuela; Jado, Isabel; García-Amil, Cristina; Lobo, Bruno; Bhide, Mangesh; Anda, Pedro

    2008-09-01

    Environmental studies on the distribution of Francisella spp. are hampered by the frequency of Francisella-like endosymbionts that can produce a misleading positive result. A new, efficient molecular method for detection of Francisella tularensis and its discrimination from Francisella-like endosymbionts, as well as two variants associated with human disease (unusual F. tularensis strain FnSp1 and F. tularensis subsp. novicida-like strain 3523), is described. The method is highly specific and sensitive, detecting up to one plasmid copy or 10 genome equivalents.

  5. Clinical Characterization of Aerosolized Francisella tularensis Infection in Cynomolgus macaques

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-11-21

    Frederick, MD 21702, United States. Tel: +1 301-619-8495; E-mail address: aysegul.nalca.civ@mail.mil Current Address: @ Division of Animal and Food...Running Head: Aerosolized Francisella tularensis Keywords: Francisella tularensis, tularemia, aerosol, animal model Disclaimer: Opinions...tularemia, the CM was the most appropriate animal species to develop an animal model to test potential medical countermeasures against inhalational

  6. Multiple Francisella tularensis Subspecies and Clades, Tularemia Outbreak, Utah

    PubMed Central

    Petersen, Jeannine M.; Carlson, Jennifer K.; Dietrich, Gabrielle; Eisen, Rebecca J.; Coombs, Jana; Janusz, Aimee M.; Summers, JoDee; Ben Beard, C.

    2008-01-01

    In July 2007, a deer fly–associated outbreak of tularemia occurred in Utah. Human infections were caused by 2 clades (A1 and A2) of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis. Lagomorph carcasses from the area yielded evidence of infection with A1 and A2, as well as F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. These findings indicate that multiple subspecies and clades can cause disease in a localized outbreak of tularemia. PMID:19046524

  7. Comparison of Francisella tularensis genomes reveals evolutionary events associated with the emergence of human pathogenic strains

    PubMed Central

    Rohmer, Laurence; Fong, Christine; Abmayr, Simone; Wasnick, Michael; Larson Freeman, Theodore J; Radey, Matthew; Guina, Tina; Svensson, Kerstin; Hayden, Hillary S; Jacobs, Michael; Gallagher, Larry A; Manoil, Colin; Ernst, Robert K; Drees, Becky; Buckley, Danielle; Haugen, Eric; Bovee, Donald; Zhou, Yang; Chang, Jean; Levy, Ruth; Lim, Regina; Gillett, Will; Guenthener, Don; Kang, Allison; Shaffer, Scott A; Taylor, Greg; Chen, Jinzhi; Gallis, Byron; D'Argenio, David A; Forsman, Mats; Olson, Maynard V; Goodlett, David R; Kaul, Rajinder; Miller, Samuel I; Brittnacher, Mitchell J

    2007-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis and holarctica are pathogenic to humans, whereas the two other subspecies, novicida and mediasiatica, rarely cause disease. To uncover the factors that allow subspecies tularensis and holarctica to be pathogenic to humans, we compared their genome sequences with the genome sequence of Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida U112, which is nonpathogenic to humans. Results Comparison of the genomes of human pathogenic Francisella strains with the genome of U112 identifies genes specific to the human pathogenic strains and reveals pseudogenes that previously were unidentified. In addition, this analysis provides a coarse chronology of the evolutionary events that took place during the emergence of the human pathogenic strains. Genomic rearrangements at the level of insertion sequences (IS elements), point mutations, and small indels took place in the human pathogenic strains during and after differentiation from the nonpathogenic strain, resulting in gene inactivation. Conclusion The chronology of events suggests a substantial role for genetic drift in the formation of pseudogenes in Francisella genomes. Mutations that occurred early in the evolution, however, might have been fixed in the population either because of evolutionary bottlenecks or because they were pathoadaptive (beneficial in the context of infection). Because the structure of Francisella genomes is similar to that of the genomes of other emerging or highly pathogenic bacteria, this evolutionary scenario may be shared by pathogens from other species. PMID:17550600

  8. Methods for Enhanced Culture Recovery of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Petersen, Jeannine M.; Schriefer, Martin E.; Gage, Kenneth L.; Montenieri, John A.; Carter, Leon G.; Stanley, Miles; Chu, May C.

    2004-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is found in a wide variety of hosts and extrahost environments, making culture recovery a diagnostic challenge. Here we demonstrate improved recovery times and good sensitivity (90%) when cultures were inoculated on the site of an investigation using fresh tissues. For contaminated specimens, antibiotic supplementation of enriched cysteine heart agar blood culture medium improved recovery of F. tularensis by 81.1%. For transport of tissues, immediate freezing yielded culture recovery rates as high as 94%. PMID:15184180

  9. 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

  10. Medical Countermeasure Models. Volume 4. Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-04-12

    Levofloxacin F. tularensis is sensitive in vivo. Klimpel 2008 167 Metronidazole F. tularensis is expected to be resistant because metronidazole is...tularensis and induces immunity and production of protective antibody.” Vaccine. 26(52). 2008. 168 “Flagyl ( metronidazole ).” http://www.rxlist.com

  11. Respiratory Tularemia: Francisella Tularensis and Microarray Probe Designing

    PubMed Central

    Ranjbar, Reza; Behzadi, Payam; Mammina, Caterina

    2016-01-01

    Background: Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis) is the etiological microorganism for tularemia. There are different forms of tularemia such as respiratory tularemia. Respiratory tularemia is the most severe form of tularemia with a high rate of mortality; if not treated. Therefore, traditional microbiological tools and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) are not useful for a rapid, reliable, accurate, sensitive and specific diagnosis. But, DNA microarray technology does. DNA microarray technology needs to appropriate microarray probe designing. Objective: The main goal of this original article was to design suitable long oligo microarray probes for detection and identification of F. tularensis. Method: For performing this research, the complete genomes of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis FSC198, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS, F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica, F. tularensis subsp. novicida (F. novicida U112), and F. philomiragia subsp. philomiragia ATCC 25017 were studied via NCBI BLAST tool, GView and PanSeq Servers and finally the microarray probes were produced and processed via AlleleID 7.7 software and Oligoanalyzer tool, respectively. Results: In this in silico investigation, a number of long oligo microarray probes were designed for detecting and identifying F. tularensis. Among these probes, 15 probes were recognized as the best candidates for microarray chip designing. Conclusion: Calibrated microarray probes reduce the biasis of DNA microarray technology as an advanced, rapid, accurate and cost-effective molecular diagnostic tool with high specificity and sensitivity. Professional microarray probe designing provides us with much more facility and flexibility regarding preparation of a microarray diagnostic chip. PMID:28077973

  12. Respiratory Tularemia: Francisella Tularensis and Microarray Probe Designing.

    PubMed

    Ranjbar, Reza; Behzadi, Payam; Mammina, Caterina

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis) is the etiological microorganism for tularemia. There are different forms of tularemia such as respiratory tularemia. Respiratory tularemia is the most severe form of tularemia with a high rate of mortality; if not treated. Therefore, traditional microbiological tools and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) are not useful for a rapid, reliable, accurate, sensitive and specific diagnosis. But, DNA microarray technology does. DNA microarray technology needs to appropriate microarray probe designing. The main goal of this original article was to design suitable long oligo microarray probes for detection and identification of F. tularensis. For performing this research, the complete genomes of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis FSC198, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS, F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica, F. tularensis subsp. novicida (F. novicida U112), and F. philomiragia subsp. philomiragia ATCC 25017 were studied via NCBI BLAST tool, GView and PanSeq Servers and finally the microarray probes were produced and processed via AlleleID 7.7 software and Oligoanalyzer tool, respectively. In this in silico investigation, a number of long oligo microarray probes were designed for detecting and identifying F. tularensis. Among these probes, 15 probes were recognized as the best candidates for microarray chip designing. Calibrated microarray probes reduce the biasis of DNA microarray technology as an advanced, rapid, accurate and cost-effective molecular diagnostic tool with high specificity and sensitivity. Professional microarray probe designing provides us with much more facility and flexibility regarding preparation of a microarray diagnostic chip.

  13. Francisella tularensis Molecular Typing Using Differential Insertion Sequence Amplification ▿

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Marilynn A.; Fey, Paul D.; Bartling, Amanda M.; Iwen, Peter C.; Dempsey, Michael P.; Francesconi, Stephen C.; Hinrichs, Steven H.

    2011-01-01

    Tularemia is a potentially fatal disease that is caused by the highly infectious and zoonotic pathogen Francisella tularensis. Despite the monomorphic nature of sequenced F. tularensis genomes, there is a significant degree of plasticity in the organization of genetic elements. The observed variability in these genomes is due primarily to the transposition of direct repeats and insertion sequence (IS) elements. Since current methods used to genotype F. tularensis are time-consuming and require extensive laboratory resources, IS elements were investigated as a means to subtype this organism. The unique spatial location of specific IS elements provided the basis for the development of a differential IS amplification (DISA) assay to detect and distinguish the more virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (subtypes A.I and A.II) and subsp. holarctica (type B) strains from F. tularensis subsp. novicida and other near neighbors, including Francisella philomiragia and Francisella-like endosymbionts found in ticks. Amplicon sizes and sequences derived from DISA showed heterogeneity within members of the subtype A.I and A.II isolates but not the type B strains. These differences were due to a 312-bp fragment derived from the IS element ISFtu1. Analysis of wild-type F. tularensis isolates by DISA correlated with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis genotyping utilizing two different restriction endonucleases and provided rapid results with minimal sample processing. The applicability of this molecular typing assay for environmental studies was demonstrated by the accurate identification and differentiation of tick-borne F. tularensis. The described approach to IS targeting and amplification provides new capability for epidemiological investigations and characterizations of tularemia source outbreaks. PMID:21613430

  14. Geographic Differentiation of Francisella Tularensis using Molecular Methods

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-05-01

    Medicina Veterinaria , 1998. 15: p. 418-423. 32. de la Puente-Redondo, V.A., et al., Comparison of different PCR approaches for typing of Francisella...Department of Animal Health, Facultad de Veterinaria , Leon, Spain, 4 for contribution of his entire F. tularensis strain DNA collection. I thank Dr

  15. Multiple Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis of Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-10-01

    populations within Canada and worldwide would help to distinguish a natural outbreak from an intentional use situation. This would require a large...Microbiol., 27, 1601–1608. [7] Titball, R. W.; Johansson, A. and Forsman, M. (2003), Will the enigma of Francisella tularensis virulence soon be

  16. 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

  17. Francisella tularensis endocarditis: two case reports and a literature review.

    PubMed

    Gaci, Rostane; Alauzet, Corentine; Selton-Suty, Christine; Lozniewski, Alain; Pulcini, Céline; May, Thierry; Goehringer, François

    2017-02-01

    We report the first two cases of infective endocarditis caused by Francisella tularensis in Europe (two cases have previously been reported outside Europe). We suggest clinicians should consider tularemia as a possible diagnosis in endemic regions in cases of culture-negative endocarditis.

  18. 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

  19. Survival and Growth of Francisella tularensis in Acanthamoeba castellanii

    PubMed Central

    Abd, Hadi; Johansson, Thorsten; Golovliov, Igor; Sandström, Gunnar; Forsman, Mats

    2003-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious, facultative intracellular bacterium which causes epidemics of tularemia in both humans and mammals at regular intervals. The natural reservoir of the bacterium is largely unknown, although it has been speculated that protozoa may harbor it. To test this hypothesis, Acanthamoeba castellanii was cocultured with a strain of F. tularensis engineered to produce green fluorescent protein (GFP) in a nutrient-rich medium. GFP fluorescence within A. castellanii was then monitored by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. In addition, extracellular bacteria were distinguished from intracellular bacteria by targeting with monoclonal antibodies. Electron microscopy was used to determine the intracellular location of F. tularensis in A. castellanii, and viable counts were obtained for both extracellular and intracellular bacteria. The results showed that many F. tularensis cells were located intracellularly in A. castellanii cells. The bacteria multiplied within intracellular vacuoles and eventually killed many of the host cells. F. tularensis was found in intact trophozoites, excreted vesicles, and cysts. Furthermore, F. tularensis grew faster in cocultures with A. castellanii than it did when grown alone in the same medium. This increase in growth was accompanied by a decrease in the number of A. castellanii cells. The interaction between F. tularensis and amoebae demonstrated in this study indicates that ubiquitous protozoa might be an important environmental reservoir for F. tularensis. PMID:12514047

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Notes from the Field: Francisella tularensis Type B Infection from a Fish Hook Injury - Minnesota, 2016.

    PubMed

    Whitten, Tory; Bjork, Jenna; Neitzel, Dave; Smith, Kirk; Sullivan, Maureen; Scheftel, Joni

    2017-02-24

    On June 27, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Public Health Laboratory (PHL) was notified of a suspected Francisella tularensis isolate cultured at a hospital laboratory. The isolate was confirmed as F. tularensis type B at MDH PHL by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, culture, and direct fluorescent antibody testing. Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis (type A) and holarctica (type B) bacteria are the causative agents of tularemia.

  3. Identification of Francisella tularensis by whole-cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry: fast, reliable, robust, and cost-effective differentiation on species and subspecies levels.

    PubMed

    Seibold, E; Maier, T; Kostrzewa, M; Zeman, E; Splettstoesser, W

    2010-04-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a potential agent of bioterrorism. The phenotypic discrimination of closely related, but differently virulent, Francisella tularensis subspecies with phenotyping methods is difficult and time-consuming, often producing ambiguous results. As a fast and simple alternative, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was applied to 50 different strains of the genus Francisella to assess its ability to identify and discriminate between strains according to their designated species and subspecies. Reference spectra from five representative strains of Francisella philomiragia, Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis, Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Francisella tularensis subsp. mediasiatica, and Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida were established and evaluated for their capability to correctly identify Francisella species and subspecies by matching a collection of spectra from 45 blind-coded Francisella strains against a database containing the five reference spectra and 3,287 spectra from other microorganisms. As a reference method for identification of strains from the genus Francisella, 23S rRNA gene sequencing was used. All strains were correctly identified, with both methods showing perfect agreement at the species level as well as at the subspecies level. The identification of Francisella strains by MALDI-TOF MS and subsequent database matching was reproducible using biological replicates, different culture media, different cultivation times, different serial in vitro passages of the same strain, different preparation protocols, and different mass spectrometers.

  4. Structure of Francisella tularensis peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase

    PubMed Central

    Clarke, Teresa E.; Romanov, Vladimir; Lam, Robert; Gothe, Scott A.; Peddi, Srinivasa R.; Razumova, Ekaterina B.; Lipman, Richard S. A.; Branstrom, Arthur A.; Chirgadze, Nickolay Y.

    2011-01-01

    The rational design of novel antibiotics for bacteria involves the identification of inhibitors for enzymes involved in essential biochemical pathways in cells. In this study, the cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and structure of the enzyme peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase from Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, was performed. The structure of F. tularensis peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase is comparable to those of other bacterial peptidyl-tRNA hydrolases, with most residues in the active site conserved amongst the family. The resultant reagents, structural data and analyses provide essential information for the structure-based design of novel inhibitors for this class of proteins. PMID:21505237

  5. Simultaneous real-time PCR detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis.

    PubMed

    Skottman, T; Piiparinen, H; Hyytiäinen, H; Myllys, V; Skurnik, M; Nikkari, S

    2007-03-01

    This report describes the development of in-house real-time PCR assays using minor groove binding probes for simultaneous detection of the Bacillus anthracis pag and cap genes, the Francisella tularensis 23 KDa gene, as well as the Yersinia pestis pla gene. The sensitivities of these assays were at least 1 fg, except for the assay targeting the Bacillus anthracis cap gene, which showed a sensitivity of 10 fg when total DNA was used as a template in a serial dilution. The clinical value of the Bacillus anthracis- and Francisella tularensis-specific assays was demonstrated by successful amplification of DNA from cases of cow anthrax and hare tularemia, respectively. No cross-reactivity between these species-specific assays or with 39 other bacterial species was noted. These assays may provide a rapid tool for the simultaneous detection and identification of the three category A bacterial species listed as biological threats by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  6. Description of two new plasmids isolated from Francisella philomiragia strains and construction of shuttle vectors for the study of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Le Pihive, E; Blaha, D; Chenavas, S; Thibault, F; Vidal, D; Valade, E

    2009-11-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia, a zoonotic disease often transmitted to humans by infected animals. The lack of useful specific genetic tools has long hampered the study of F. tularensis subspecies. We identified and characterized two new plasmids, pF242 and pF243, isolated from Francisella philomiragia strains ATCC 25016 and ATCC 25017, respectively. Sequence analysis revealed that pF242 and pF243 are closely related to pC194 and pFNL10 plasmids, respectively. Two generations of pF242- and pF243-based shuttle vectors, harboring several antibiotic resistance markers, were developed. We used the first generation to compare transformation efficiencies in two virulent F. tularensis subspecies. We found that electroporation was more efficient than cryotransformation: almost all vectors tested were successfully introduced by electroporation into Francisella strains with a high level of efficiency. The second generation of shuttle vectors, containing a multiple cloning site and/or gfp gene downstream of Francisella groES promotor, was used for GFP production in F. tularensis. The development of new shuttle vectors offers new perspectives in the genetic manipulation of F. tularensis, helping to elucidate the mechanisms underlying its virulence.

  7. [CITRULLINUREIDASE GENE DIVERSITY IN THE GENUS FRANCISELLA].

    PubMed

    Timofeev, V S; Bakhteeva, I V; Pavlov, V M; Mokrievich, A N

    2015-01-01

    This work describes the results, of the in silico analysis of the genetic diversity of the citrullinureidase gene (ctu) in two species of bacteria of the genus Francisella: tularensis (ssp. tularensis, holarctica, mediasiatica, novicida) and philomiragia. The strains of the Central Asiatic subspecies possessing the citrullinureidase activity differ in the gene ctu from the ssp tularensis Schu by three nucleotide substitutions leading to two insignificant amino acid substitutions in the encoded polypeptide. In the strain F. tularensis of the ssp. holarctica the gene ctu encodes inactive enzyme, which is probably due to amino acid substitutions: 151 Gly --> Asp, 183 Pro --> Leu, 222 Asp --> Asn. Except for the Japan biovar bacteria, in all strains of the Holarctic subspecies there are two stop codons in the gene ctu. The bacteria of the subspecies novicida contain the ctu gene only in the strain 3523, whereas the other strains contain the gene FTN_0827 encoding the C-N hydrolase, which probably provides the citrullinureidase activity.

  8. [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.

  9. Identification of two substrates of FTS_1067 protein - An essential virulence factor of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Spidlova, Petra; Senitkova, Iva; Link, Marek; Stulik, Jiri

    2016-11-15

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular pathogen with the capacity to infect a variety of hosts including humans. One of the most important proteins involved in F. tularensis virulence and pathogenesis is the protein DsbA. This protein is annotated as a lipoprotein with disulfide oxidoreductase/isomerase activity. Therefore, its interactions with different substrates, including probable virulence factors, to assist in their proper folding are anticipated. We aimed to use the immunopurification approach to find DsbA (gene locus FTS_1067) interacting partners in F. tularensis subsp. holarctica strain FSC200 and compare the identified substrates with proteins which were found in our previous comparative proteome analysis. As a result of our work two FTS_1067 substrates, D-alanyl-D-alanine carboxypeptidase family protein and HlyD family secretion protein, were identified. Bacterial two-hybrid systems were further used to test their relevance in confirming FTS_1067 protein interactions.

  10. Characterization of Francisella tularensis Outer Membrane Proteins▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Huntley, Jason F.; Conley, Patrick G.; Hagman, Kayla E.; Norgard, Michael V.

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative coccobacillus that is capable of causing severe, fatal disease in a number of mammalian species, including humans. Little is known about the proteins that are surface exposed on the outer membrane (OM) of F. tularensis, yet identification of such proteins is potentially fundamental to understanding the initial infection process, intracellular survival, virulence, immune evasion and, ultimately, vaccine development. To facilitate the identification of putative F. tularensis outer membrane proteins (OMPs), the genomes of both the type A strain (Schu S4) and type B strain (LVS) were subjected to six bioinformatic analyses for OMP signatures. Compilation of the bioinformatic predictions highlighted 16 putative OMPs, which were cloned and expressed for the generation of polyclonal antisera. Total membranes were extracted from both Schu S4 and LVS by spheroplasting and osmotic lysis, followed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation, which separated OMs from cytoplasmic (inner) membrane and other cellular compartments. Validation of OM separation and enrichment was confirmed by probing sucrose gradient fractions with antibodies to putative OMPs and inner membrane proteins. F. tularensis OMs typically migrated in sucrose gradients between densities of 1.17 and 1.20 g/ml, which differed from densities typically observed for other gram-negative bacteria (1.21 to 1.24 g/ml). Finally, the identities of immunogenic proteins were determined by separation on two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometric analysis. This is the first report of a direct method for F. tularensis OM isolation that, in combination with computational predictions, offers a more comprehensive approach for the characterization of F. tularensis OMPs. PMID:17114266

  11. Transstadial Transmission of Francisella tularensis holarctica in Mosquitoes, Sweden

    PubMed Central

    Andersson, Ann-Christin; Bäckman, Stina; Schäfer, Martina L.; Forsman, Mats; Thelaus, Johanna

    2011-01-01

    In Sweden, human cases of tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis holarctica are assumed to be transmitted by mosquitoes, but how mosquito vectors acquire and transmit the bacterium is not clear. To determine how transmission of this bacterium occurs, mosquito larvae were collected in an area where tularemia is endemic, brought to the laboratory, and reared to adults in their original pond water. Screening of adult mosquitoes by real-time PCR demonstrated F. tularensis lpnA sequences in 14 of the 48 mosquito pools tested; lpnA sequences were demonstrated in 6 of 9 identified mosquito species. Further analysis confirmed the presence of F. tularensis holarctica–specific 30-bp deletion region sequences (FtM19inDel) in water from breeding containers and in 3 mosquito species (Aedes sticticus, Ae. vexans, and Ae. punctor) known to take blood from humans. Our results suggest that the mosquitoes that transmit F. tularensis holarctica during tularemia outbreaks acquire the bacterium already as larvae. PMID:21529386

  12. Clinically mild tularemia associated with tick-borne Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Schmid, G P; Kornblatt, A N; Connors, C A; Patton, C; Carney, J; Hobbs, J; Kaufmann, A F

    1983-07-01

    Between May 9 and July 3, 1979, 12 cases of glandular or ulceroglandular tularemia occurred in residents of the Crow Indian Reservation in southcentral Montana; only 13 cases had been reported from this geographic area in the preceding 25 years. The illness was mild, characterized by fever and cervical or occipital adenopathy. Systemic symptoms were self-limited although residual lymphadenopathy was common. Francisella tularensis was isolated from ticks (Dermacentor variabilis), the suspected vector. The strains of F tularensis did not ferment glycerol and thus were identified as type B rather than the more virulent type A. None of 83 adults hospitalized in an urban area 50 miles from the reservation had agglutination titers of antibody to F tularensis of greater than or equal to 1:40 compared with eight of 77 patients at the reservation hospital (P less than 0.01). Mild tularemia in reservation residents may have gone unrecognized; similar illness due to type B F tularensis may occur elsewhere.

  13. Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Assay for Rapid Detection of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Euler, Milena; Wang, Yongjie; Otto, Peter; Tomaso, Herbert; Escudero, Raquel; Anda, Pedro; Hufert, Frank T.

    2012-01-01

    Several real-time PCR approaches to develop field detection for Francisella tularensis, the infectious agent causing tularemia, have been explored. We report the development of a novel qualitative real-time isothermal recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assay for use on a small ESEQuant Tube Scanner device. The analytical sensitivity and specificity were tested using a plasmid standard and DNA extracts from infected rabbit tissues. The assay showed a performance comparable to real-time PCR but reduced the assay time to 10 min. The rapid RPA method has great application potential for field use or point-of-care diagnostics. PMID:22518861

  14. Recombinase polymerase amplification assay for rapid detection of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Euler, Milena; Wang, Yongjie; Otto, Peter; Tomaso, Herbert; Escudero, Raquel; Anda, Pedro; Hufert, Frank T; Weidmann, Manfred

    2012-07-01

    Several real-time PCR approaches to develop field detection for Francisella tularensis, the infectious agent causing tularemia, have been explored. We report the development of a novel qualitative real-time isothermal recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assay for use on a small ESEQuant Tube Scanner device. The analytical sensitivity and specificity were tested using a plasmid standard and DNA extracts from infected rabbit tissues. The assay showed a performance comparable to real-time PCR but reduced the assay time to 10 min. The rapid RPA method has great application potential for field use or point-of-care diagnostics.

  15. Interaction of Francisella tularensis bacterial cells with dynamic speckles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ulianova, Onega V.; Ulyanov, Sergey S.; Sazanova, Elena V.; Zudina, Irina; Zhang, Zhihong; Sibo, Zhou; Luo, Qingming

    2006-08-01

    Influence of low-coherent speckles on the colonies grows is investigated. It has been demonstrated that effects of light on the inhibition of cells (Francisella Tularensis) are caused by speckle dynamics. The regimes of illumination of cell suspension with purpose of devitalization of hazard bacteria, caused very dangerous infections, such as tularemia, are found. Mathematical model of interaction of low-coherent laser radiation with bacteria suspension has been proposed. Computer simulations of the processes of laser-cells interaction have been carried out. Role of coherence of light in the processes of laser-cell interaction is analyzed.

  16. Survey of Francisella tularensis in Wild Animals in Japan in Areas Where Tularemia is Endemic.

    PubMed

    Hotta, Akitoyo; Tanabayashi, Kiyoshi; Fujita, Osamu; Shindo, Junji; Park, Chu-Ho; Kudo, Noboru; Hatai, Hitoshi; Oyamada, Toshifumi; Yamamoto, Yoshie; Takano, Ai; Kawabata, Hiroki; Sharma, Neekun; Uda, Akihiko; Yamada, Akio; Morikawa, Shigeru

    2016-09-21

    Samples taken from 428 wild animals and 126 ticks, collected from a tularemia-endemic area in Japan between 2005 and 2013, were analyzed for the presence of Francisella tularensis. F. tularensis was isolated from a Japanese hare carcass whereas the samples from live animals and ticks were negative for F. tularensis by real-time PCR. Our results suggest that F. tularensis is still present in Japan although its prevalence is considerably low even in areas where tularemia is endemic.

  17. Francisella philomiragia comb. nov. (formerly Yersinia philomiragia) and Francisella tularensis biogroup novicida (formerly Francisella novicida) associated with human disease.

    PubMed Central

    Hollis, D G; Weaver, R E; Steigerwalt, A G; Wenger, J D; Moss, C W; Brenner, D J

    1989-01-01

    Over a 12-year period, 16 human strains of a gram-negative, catalase-positive, halophilic, aerobic, nonmotile, small coccoid bacterium were received for identification. On the bases of biochemical characteristics and cellular fatty acid profiles, 14 of these strains were similar to the "Philomiragia" bacterium (Yersinia philomiragia, species incertae sedis). Additional characteristics were growth on Thayer-Martin agar but no growth or sparse, delayed growth on MacConkey agar; oxidase positive; acid production, often weak and delayed, from D-glucose, sucrose, and maltose; urease negative; no reduction of nitrates; and H2S produced but often delayed in triple sugar iron agar. Both the human isolates and the "Philomiragia" bacterium contained C10:0, C14:0, C16:0, C18:1 omega 9c, C18:0, 3-OH C18:0, C22:0, and C24:1 as major cellular fatty acids and ubiquinone eight (Q8) as the major isoprenoid quinone. These cellular acids in these relative amounts have been found previously only in Francisella tularensis and Francisella novicida, suggesting a relationship between the "Philomiragia" bacterium and Francisella species. Of the 14 human "Philomiragia"-like isolates, 9 were from blood, 3 were from lung biopsies or pleural fluid, and one each was from peritoneal fluid and cerebrospinal fluid. DNA relatedness studies (hydroxyapatite method, 50 and 65 degrees C) showed that these 14 strains were a single group that was the same species as the "Philomiragia" bacterium. Two other human strains were oxidase negative and H2S negative. They formed a single DNA relatedness group that was indistinguishable from the type strains of both F. tularensis and F. novicida. DNA relatedness of "Philomiragia" bacterium type and other strains to strains of F. novicida and F. tularensis, including the type strains, was 35 to 46%. One of the two F. novicida- and F. tularensis-like strains was isolated from blood, and the other was isolated from a cervical lymph node. On the basis of these

  18. Global transcriptional response to mammalian temperature provides new insight into Francisella tularensis pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Horzempa, Joseph; Carlson, Paul E; O'Dee, Dawn M; Shanks, Robert M Q; Nau, Gerard J

    2008-10-08

    After infecting a mammalian host, the facultative intracellular bacterium, Francisella tularensis, encounters an elevated environmental temperature. We hypothesized that this temperature change may regulate genes essential for infection. Microarray analysis of F. tularensis LVS shifted from 26 degrees C (environmental) to 37 degrees C (mammalian) showed approximately 11% of this bacterium's genes were differentially-regulated. Importantly, 40% of the protein-coding genes that were induced at 37 degrees C have been previously implicated in virulence or intracellular growth of Francisella in other studies, associating the bacterial response to this temperature shift with pathogenesis. Forty-four percent of the genes induced at 37 degrees C encode proteins of unknown function, suggesting novel Francisella virulence traits are regulated by mammalian temperature. To explore this possibility, we generated two mutants of loci induced at 37 degrees C [FTL_1581 and FTL_1664 (deoB)]. The FTL_1581 mutant was attenuated in a chicken embryo infection model, which was likely attributable to a defect in survival within macrophages. FTL_1581 encodes a novel hypothetical protein that we suggest naming temperature-induced, virulence-associated locus A, tivA. Interestingly, the deoB mutant showed diminished entry into mammalian cells compared to wild-type LVS, including primary human macrophages and dendritic cells, the macrophage-like RAW 264.7 line, and non-phagocytic HEK-293 cells. This is the first study identifying a Francisella gene that contributes to uptake into both phagocytic and non-phagocytic host cells. Our results provide new insight into mechanisms of Francisella virulence regulation and pathogenesis. F. tularensis LVS undergoes considerable gene expression changes in response to mammalian body temperature. This temperature shift is important for the regulation of genes that are critical for the pathogenesis of Francisella. Importantly, the compilation of temperature

  19. Global transcriptional response to mammalian temperature provides new insight into Francisella tularensis pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Horzempa, Joseph; Carlson, Paul E; O'Dee, Dawn M; Shanks, Robert MQ; Nau, Gerard J

    2008-01-01

    Background After infecting a mammalian host, the facultative intracellular bacterium, Francisella tularensis, encounters an elevated environmental temperature. We hypothesized that this temperature change may regulate genes essential for infection. Results Microarray analysis of F. tularensis LVS shifted from 26°C (environmental) to 37°C (mammalian) showed ~11% of this bacterium's genes were differentially-regulated. Importantly, 40% of the protein-coding genes that were induced at 37°C have been previously implicated in virulence or intracellular growth of Francisella in other studies, associating the bacterial response to this temperature shift with pathogenesis. Forty-four percent of the genes induced at 37°C encode proteins of unknown function, suggesting novel Francisella virulence traits are regulated by mammalian temperature. To explore this possibility, we generated two mutants of loci induced at 37°C [FTL_1581 and FTL_1664 (deoB)]. The FTL_1581 mutant was attenuated in a chicken embryo infection model, which was likely attributable to a defect in survival within macrophages. FTL_1581 encodes a novel hypothetical protein that we suggest naming temperature-induced, virulence-associated locus A, tivA. Interestingly, the deoB mutant showed diminished entry into mammalian cells compared to wild-type LVS, including primary human macrophages and dendritic cells, the macrophage-like RAW 264.7 line, and non-phagocytic HEK-293 cells. This is the first study identifying a Francisella gene that contributes to uptake into both phagocytic and non-phagocytic host cells. Conclusion Our results provide new insight into mechanisms of Francisella virulence regulation and pathogenesis. F. tularensis LVS undergoes considerable gene expression changes in response to mammalian body temperature. This temperature shift is important for the regulation of genes that are critical for the pathogenesis of Francisella. Importantly, the compilation of temperature-regulated genes

  20. 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

  1. Standardized broth microdilution antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica strains from Europe and rare Francisella species.

    PubMed

    Georgi, Enrico; Schacht, Erik; Scholz, Holger C; Splettstoesser, Wolf D

    2012-10-01

    Tularaemia is a widespread zoonosis in Europe caused by Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica. Because of a lack of standardized CLSI-approved antibiotic susceptibility data from European Francisella strains, the antibiotic susceptibilities of a selection of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates originating from Germany, Austria, France, Spain and other European countries were determined. Rarely isolated species and subspecies of Francisella such as Francisella philomiragia, F. tularensis subsp. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica as well as the type strain of Francisella hispaniensis were included in this study. MIC data were obtained using cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton broth with a 2% growth supplement. The broth microdilution testing system comprised 14 antibiotics, including gentamicin, streptomycin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline. All of the 91 strains tested were susceptible to aminoglycosides, quinolones, tetracycline and chloramphenicol. The antimicrobial susceptibility of rare Francisellae was similar to the antibiotic profile of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica strains. For erythromycin, we detected two geographically distinct groups of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates in western Europe. One group was resistant and the other one was susceptible. Both groups overlapped in a small region in Germany. Being performed in accordance with CLSI criteria, this study provides reliable data on antibiotic susceptibility patterns of European Francisella isolates. The standardized methodology of this study can be used for testing of suspicious colonies from clinical specimens for therapeutic guidance. Based on the results, aminoglycosides or quinolones are recommended as first-choice antibiotics for the therapy of F. hispaniensis, F. philomiragia or F. tularensis subsp. novicida infections in immunocompromised patients.

  2. Systems approach to investigating host-pathogen interactions in infections with the biothreat agent Francisella. Constraints-based model of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis is a prototypic example of a pathogen for which few experimental datasets exist, but for which copious high-throughout data are becoming available because of its re-emerging significance as biothreat agent. The virulence of Francisella tularensis depends on its growth capabilities within a defined environmental niche of the host cell. Results We reconstructed the metabolism of Francisella as a stoichiometric matrix. This systems biology approach demonstrated that changes in carbohydrate utilization and amino acid metabolism play a pivotal role in growth, acid resistance, and energy homeostasis during infection with Francisella. We also show how varying the expression of certain metabolic genes in different environments efficiently controls the metabolic capacity of F. tularensis. Selective gene-expression analysis showed modulation of sugar catabolism by switching from oxidative metabolism (TCA cycle) in the initial stages of infection to fatty acid oxidation and gluconeogenesis later on. Computational analysis with constraints derived from experimental data revealed a limited set of metabolic genes that are operational during infection. Conclusions This integrated systems approach provides an important tool to understand the pathogenesis of an ill-characterized biothreat agent and to identify potential novel drug targets when rapid target identification is required should such microbes be intentionally released or become epidemic. PMID:20731870

  3. Seroprevalence study of Francisella tularensis among hunters in Germany.

    PubMed

    Jenzora, Andrea; Jansen, Andreas; Ranisch, Heidrun; Lierz, Michael; Wichmann, Ole; Grunow, Roland

    2008-07-01

    In 2005 and 2006, Francisella tularensis unexpectedly reemerged in western Germany, when several semi-free-living marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) in a research facility died from tularemia and a group of hare hunters became infected. It is believed that hunters may have an elevated risk to be exposed to zoonotic pathogens, including F. tularensis. A previous cross-sectional study of the German population (n=6883) revealed a prevalence of 0.2%. Here, we investigated 286 sera from individuals mainly hunting in districts with emerging tularemia cases (group 1) and 84 sera from a region currently not conspicuous for tularemia (group 2). Methods included standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Western blot analysis and indirect immunofluorescence assay. We found five out of the 286 hunters (1.7%; 95% CI 0.6-4.0%) in group 1 positive with standard ELISA and Western blot, but none in the Berlin area (group 2; 95% CI 0-0.04%). Group 1 showed an elevated risk for hunters to be seropositive for F. tularensis compared with the cross-sectional study (OR=7.7; P<0.001). This indicates a higher prevalence for tularemia in hunters of a suspected endemic region of Germany.

  4. Transcriptome analysis of human immune responses following Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) Francisella Tularensis vaccination

    PubMed Central

    Fuller, Claudette L.; Brittingham, Katherine C.; Porter, Mark W.; Hepburn, Matthew J.; Petitt, Patricia L.; Pittman, Phillip R.; Bavari, Sina

    2007-01-01

    The live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis is the only vaccine against tularemia available for humans, yet its mechanism of protection remains unclear. We probed human immunological responses to LVS vaccination with transcriptome analysis using PBMC samples from volunteers at timepoints pre- and post-vaccination. Gene modulation was highly uniform across all time points, implying commonality of vaccine responses. Principal components analysis revealed three highly distinct principal groupings: pre-vaccination (−144 h), early (+18 and +48 h), and late post-vaccination (+192 and +336 h). The most significant changes in gene expression occurred at early post-vaccination timepoints (≤48 h), specifically in the induction of pro-inflammatory- and innate immunity-related genes. Evidence supporting modulation of innate effector function, specifically antigen processing and presentation by dendritic cells, was especially apparent. Our data indicate that the LVS strain of F. tularensis invokes a strong early response upon vaccination. This pattern of gene regulation may provide insightful information regarding both vaccine efficacy and immunopathogenesis that may provide insight into infection with virulent strains of F. tularensis. Additionally, we obtained valuable information that should prove useful in evaluation of vaccine lots as well as efficacy testing of new anti- F. tularensis vaccines. PMID:17349694

  5. Intracellular fate of Francisella tularensis within arthropod-derived cells.

    PubMed

    Santic, Marina; Akimana, Christine; Asare, Rexford; Kouokam, Joseph C; Atay, Safinur; Kwaik, Yousef Abu

    2009-06-01

    Since transmission of Francisella tularensis into the mammalian host occurs via arthropod vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes, horseflies and deerflies, recent studies have established Drosophila melanogaster as an arthropod vector model system. Nothing is known about the intracellular fate of F. tularensis within arthropod-derived cells, and the role of this host-parasite adaptation in the evolution of this pathogen to infect mammals. In this report, we explored intracellular trafficking of F. tularensis ssp. novicida in D. melanogaster-derived S2 cells. First, we show that similar to the F. tularensis ssp. holarctica-derived LVS strain, F. tularensis ssp. novicida is highly infectious, replicates exponentially within S2 cells and within adult flies, and is fatal to adult fruit flies in a dose-dependent manner, while the iglC, iglD and mglA mutants are defective. Using electron and fluorescence microscopy-based phagosome integrity assays, we show that the wild-type strain escapes into the cytosol of S2 cells within 30-60 min post infection and by 6 h, 90% were cytosolic. In contrast, approximately 40-50% of the iglC and iglD mutants escape into the cytosol by 6 h while the other subpopulation becomes enclosed within multilamellar vesicles (MLVs). Pre-treatment of S2 cells with the autophagy inhibitor methyl adenine blocks formation of the MLVs and all the vacuolar subpopulation of the iglC and iglD mutant bacteria become enclosed within single membrane-surrounded vacuoles. Endocytic trafficking studies of F. tularensis within S2 cells show transient colocalization of the bacterial phagosome with D. melanogaster LAMP2-GFP fusion but not with lysosomes pre-loaded with fluorescent dextran. Our data show that MLVs harbouring the iglC mutant acquire Lamp2 and dextran while MLVs harbouring the iglD mutant exclude these late endosomal and lysosomal markers. Our data indicate crucial differences in the role of the pathogenicity island-encoded proteins in modulating

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

    PubMed Central

    He, Lihong; Nair, Manoj Kumar Mohan; Chen, Yuling; Liu, Xue; Zhang, Mengyun; Hazlett, Karsten R. O.

    2016-01-01

    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

  7. Glutathione provides a source of cysteine essential for intracellular multiplication of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. Its ability to multiply and survive in macrophages is critical for its virulence. By screening a bank of HimarFT transposon mutants of the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) to isolate intracellular growth-deficient mutants, we selected one mutant in a gene encoding a putative gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). This gene (FTL_0766) was hence designated ggt. The mutant strain showed impaired intracellular multiplication and was strongly attenuated for virulence in mice. Here we present evidence that the GGT activity of F. tularensis allows utilization of glutathione (GSH, gamma-glutamyl-cysteinyl-glycine) and gamma-glutamyl-cysteine dipeptide as cysteine sources to ensure intracellular growth. This is the first demonstration of the essential role of a nutrient acquisition system in the intracellular multiplication of F. tularensis. GSH is the most abundant source of cysteine in the host cytosol. Thus, the capacity this intracellular bacterial pathogen has evolved to utilize the available GSH, as a source of cysteine in the host cytosol, constitutes a paradigm of bacteria-host adaptation.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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....

  9. 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

  10. Unique substrates secreted by the type VI secretion system of Francisella tularensis during intramacrophage infection.

    PubMed

    Bröms, Jeanette E; Meyer, Lena; Sun, Kun; Lavander, Moa; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2012-01-01

    Gram-negative bacteria have evolved sophisticated secretion machineries specialized for the secretion of macromolecules important for their life cycles. The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is the most widely spread bacterial secretion machinery and is encoded by large, variable gene clusters, often found to be essential for virulence. The latter is true for the atypical T6SS encoded by the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) of the highly pathogenic, intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis. We here undertook a comprehensive analysis of the intramacrophage secretion of the 17 FPI proteins of the live vaccine strain, LVS, of F. tularensis. All were expressed as fusions to the TEM β-lactamase and cleavage of the fluorescent substrate CCF2-AM, a direct consequence of the delivery of the proteins into the macrophage cytosol, was followed over time. The FPI proteins IglE, IglC, VgrG, IglI, PdpE, PdpA, IglJ and IglF were all secreted, which was dependent on the core components DotU, VgrG, and IglC, as well as IglG. In contrast, the method was not directly applicable on F. novicida U112, since it showed very intense native β-lactamase secretion due to FTN_1072. Its role was proven by ectopic expression in trans in LVS. We did not observe secretion of any of the LVS substrates VgrG, IglJ, IglF or IglI, when tested in a FTN_1072 deficient strain of F. novicida, whereas IglE, IglC, PdpA and even more so PdpE were all secreted. This suggests that there may be fundamental differences in the T6S mechanism among the Francisella subspecies. The findings further corroborate the unusual nature of the T6SS of F. tularensis since almost all of the identified substrates are unique to the species.

  11. Unique Substrates Secreted by the Type VI Secretion System of Francisella tularensis during Intramacrophage Infection

    PubMed Central

    Bröms, Jeanette E.; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2012-01-01

    Gram-negative bacteria have evolved sophisticated secretion machineries specialized for the secretion of macromolecules important for their life cycles. The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is the most widely spread bacterial secretion machinery and is encoded by large, variable gene clusters, often found to be essential for virulence. The latter is true for the atypical T6SS encoded by the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) of the highly pathogenic, intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis. We here undertook a comprehensive analysis of the intramacrophage secretion of the 17 FPI proteins of the live vaccine strain, LVS, of F. tularensis. All were expressed as fusions to the TEM β-lactamase and cleavage of the fluorescent substrate CCF2-AM, a direct consequence of the delivery of the proteins into the macrophage cytosol, was followed over time. The FPI proteins IglE, IglC, VgrG, IglI, PdpE, PdpA, IglJ and IglF were all secreted, which was dependent on the core components DotU, VgrG, and IglC, as well as IglG. In contrast, the method was not directly applicable on F. novicida U112, since it showed very intense native β-lactamase secretion due to FTN_1072. Its role was proven by ectopic expression in trans in LVS. We did not observe secretion of any of the LVS substrates VgrG, IglJ, IglF or IglI, when tested in a FTN_1072 deficient strain of F. novicida, whereas IglE, IglC, PdpA and even more so PdpE were all secreted. This suggests that there may be fundamental differences in the T6S mechanism among the Francisella subspecies. The findings further corroborate the unusual nature of the T6SS of F. tularensis since almost all of the identified substrates are unique to the species. PMID:23185631

  12. Contribution of citrulline ureidase to Francisella tularensis strain Schu S4 pathogenesis.

    PubMed

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

    2009-08-01

    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 Deltactu mutant. The deletion of the ctu gene resulted in loss of CTU activity, which was restored by transcomplementing the ctu gene. The Deltactu 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 Deltactu mutant was further tested for its virulence attributes in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia. Mice infected intranasally with the Deltactu 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 Deltactu mutant was also associated with significantly lower histopathological scores in the lungs. Mice infected with the Deltactu 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.

  13. A Spontaneous Mutation in kdsD, a Biosynthesis Gene for 3-Deoxy-D-manno-Octulosonic Acid, Occurred in a Ciprofloxacin Resistant Strain of Francisella tularensis and Causes a High Level of Attenuation in Murine Models of Tularemia

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-08-30

    words) 37 Francisella tularensis is a gram–negative facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that 38 can infect many mammalian species...tularensis by determining its phenotypic characteristics 45 and sequencing the chromosome to determine additional genetic alterations that occurred...53). Ciprofloxacin targets the bacterial type II enzymes, DNA gyrase (GyrA and GyrB) and 107 topoisomerase IV (ParC and ParE) (54, 55) and functions

  14. IglE Is an Outer Membrane-Associated Lipoprotein Essential for Intracellular Survival and Murine Virulence of Type A Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Robertson, Gregory T.; Child, Robert; Ingle, Christine; Celli, Jean

    2013-01-01

    IglE is a small, hypothetical protein encoded by the duplicated Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Inactivation of both copies of iglE rendered Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4 avirulent and incapable of intracellular replication, owing to an inability to escape the phagosome. This defect was fully reversed following single-copy expression of iglE in trans from attTn7 under the control of the Francisella rpsL promoter, thereby establishing that the loss of iglE, and not polar effects on downstream vgrG gene expression, was responsible for the defect. IglE is exported to the Francisella outer membrane as an ∼13.9-kDa lipoprotein, determined on the basis of a combination of selective Triton X-114 solubilization, radiolabeling with [3H]palmitic acid, and sucrose density gradient membrane partitioning studies. Lastly, a genetic screen using the iglE-null live vaccine strain resulted in the identification of key regions in the carboxyl terminus of IglE that are required for intracellular replication of Francisella tularensis in J774A.1 macrophages. Thus, IglE is essential for Francisella tularensis virulence. Our data support a model that likely includes protein-protein interactions at or near the bacterial cell surface that are unknown at present. PMID:23959721

  15. A method for functional trans-complementation of intracellular Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Steele, Shaun; Taft-Benz, Sharon; Kawula, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    -complementation using bead-bound bacteria co-infections is a method to rapidly identify mutants that fail to modify a host response. Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen and is the causative agent of the disease tularemia. F. tularensis enters host cells through phagocytosis, escapes the phagosome, and replicates in the host cell cytosol while suppressing cytokine secretion [1]-[4]. Although substantial progress has been made in understanding the intracellular life cycle of F. tularensis, the F. tularensis proteins responsible for manipulating many host cell pathways are unknown. Identifying novel host-pathogen effector proteins is difficult because there is no rapid method to reliably distinguish between bacterial proteins that modify host processes and proteins that are involved in bacterial processes that are required for the bacteria to survive or replicate in the intracellular environment. The ability to identify mutants that are deficient for host-pathogen interactions is important because it can aid in prioritizing the investigation of genes of interest and in downstream experimental design. Moreover, certain mutant phenotypes, such as decreased phagosomal escape, hinder investigation of other potential phenotypes. A method to specifically complement these phenotypes would allow for further characterizations of certain F. tularensis mutants. Thus we sought to develop a method to easily identify and functionally complement mutants that are deficient for interactions with the host.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Lindgren, Helena; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2015-10-26

    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. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  20. Open and compressed conformations of Francisella tularensis ClpP

    PubMed Central

    Díaz‐Sáez, Laura; Pankov, Genady

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Caseinolytic proteases are large oligomeric assemblies responsible for maintaining protein homeostasis in bacteria and in so doing influence a wide range of biological processes. The functional assembly involves three chaperones together with the oligomeric caseinolytic protease catalytic subunit P (ClpP). This protease represents a potential target for therapeutic intervention in pathogenic bacteria. Here, we detail an efficient protocol for production of recombinant ClpP from Francisella tularensis, and the structural characterization of three crystal forms which grow under similar conditions. One crystal form reveals a compressed state of the ClpP tetradecamer and two forms an open state. A comparison of the two types of structure infers that differences at the enzyme active site result from a conformational change involving a highly localized disorder‐order transition of a β‐strand α‐helix combination. This transition occurs at a subunit‐subunit interface. Our study may now underpin future efforts in a structure‐based approach to target ClpP for inhibitor or activator development. Proteins 2016; 85:188–194. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27802578

  1. Amblyomma americanum as a Bridging Vector for Human Infection with Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The γ-proteobacterium Francisella tularensis causes seasonal tick-transmitted tularemia outbreaks in natural rabbit hosts and incidental infections in humans in the south-central United States. Although Dermacentor variabilis is considered a primary vector for F. tularensis, Amblyomma americanum is the most abundant tick species in this endemic region. A systematic study of F. tularensis colonization of A. americanum was undertaken to better understand its potential to serve as an overwintering reservoir for F. tularensis and as a bridging vector for human infections. Colony-reared A. americanum were artificially fed F. tularensis subspecies holarctica strain LVS via glass capillaries and colonization levels determined. Capillary-fed larva and nymph were initially infected with 104 CFU/tick which declined prior to molting for both stages, but rebounded post-molting in nymphs and persisted in 53% at 103 to 108 CFU/nymph at 168 days post-capillary feeding (longest sampling time in the study). In contrast, only 18% of adults molted from colonized nymphs maintained LVS colonization at 101 to 105 CFU/adult at 168 days post-capillary feeding (longest sampling time). For adults, LVS initially colonized the gut and disseminated to salivary glands by 24 h and had an ID50 of <5CFU in mice. Francisella tularensis infected the ovaries of gravid females, but transmission to eggs was infrequent and transovarial transmission to hatched larvae was not observed. The prolonged persistence of F. tularensis in A. americanum nymphs supports A. americanum as an overwintering reservoir for F. tularensis from which seasonal epizootics may originate; however, although the rapid dissemination of F. tularensis from gut to salivary glands in adults A. americanum is compatible with intermittent feeding adult males acting as bridging vectors for incidental F. tularensis infections of humans, acquisition of F. tularensis by adults may be unlikely based on adult feeding preference for larger

  2. Photonic Biosensor Assays to Detect and Distinguish Subspecies of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Cooper, Kristie L.; Bandara, Aloka B.; Wang, Yunmiao; Wang, Anbo; Inzana, Thomas J.

    2011-01-01

    The application of photonic biosensor assays to diagnose the category-A select agent Francisella tularensis was investigated. Both interferometric and long period fiber grating sensing structures were successfully demonstrated; both these sensors are capable of detecting the optical changes induced by either immunological binding or DNA hybridization. Detection was made possible by the attachment of DNA probes or immunoglobulins (IgG) directly to the fiber surface via layer-by-layer electrostatic self-assembly. An optical fiber biosensor was tested using a standard transmission mode long period fiber grating of length 15 mm and period 260 μm, and coated with the IgG fraction of antiserum to F. tularensis. The IgG was deposited onto the optical fiber surface in a nanostructured film, and the resulting refractive index change was measured using spectroscopic ellipsometry. The presence of F. tularensis was detected from the decrease of peak wavelength caused by binding of specific antigen. Detection and differentiation of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis (type A strain TI0902) and subspecies holarctica (type B strain LVS) was further accomplished using a single-mode multi-cavity fiber Fabry-Perot interferometric sensor. These sensors were prepared by depositing seven polymer bilayers onto the fiber tip followed by attaching one of two DNA probes: (a) a 101-bp probe from the yhhW gene unique to type-A strains, or (b) a 117-bp probe of the lpnA gene, common to both type-A and type-B strains. The yhhW probe was reactive with the type-A, but not the type-B strain. Probe lpnA was reactive with both type-A and type-B strains. Nanogram quantities of the target DNA could be detected, highlighting the sensitivity of this method for DNA detection without the use of PCR. The DNA probe reacted with 100% homologous target DNA, but did not react with sequences containing 2-bp mismatches, indicating the high specificity of the assay. These assays will fill an important void that

  3. Francisella tularensis infection in a stone marten (Martes foina) without classic pathological lesions consistent with tularemia.

    PubMed

    Origgi, Francesco C; Wu, Natacha; Pilo, Paola

    2013-07-01

    The current report describes the isolation and typing of a strain of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, from the spleen of a stone marten (Martes foina) showing no classic lesions consistent with the disease. The identification of this bacterium, belonging to the World Health Organization risk 3 category and considered to have a low infectious dose, could be performed only because of an ongoing project screening F. tularensis in the environment sensu lato. The findings described herein should alert diagnostic laboratories of the possible presence of F. tularensis in clinical samples in countries where tularemia is endemic even in cases with no consistent anamnesis and from unsuspected animal species.

  4. Density-Dependent Prevalence of Francisella tularensis in Fluctuating Vole Populations, Northwestern Spain

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Pastor, Ruth; Escudero, Raquel; Vidal, Dolors; Mougeot, François; Arroyo, Beatriz; Lambin, Xavier; Vila-Coro, Ave Maria; Rodríguez-Moreno, Isabel; Anda, Pedro

    2017-01-01

    Tularemia in humans in northwestern Spain is associated with increases in vole populations. Prevalence of infection with Francisella tularensis in common voles increased to 33% during a vole population fluctuation. This finding confirms that voles are spillover agents for zoonotic outbreaks. Ecologic interactions associated with tularemia prevention should be considered. PMID:28726608

  5. Detection of Francisella tularensis and analysis of bacterial growth in ticks in Japan.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, J; Hashino, M; Matsumoto, S; Takano, A; Kawabata, H; Takada, N; Andoh, M; Oikawa, Y; Kajita, H; Uda, A; Watanabe, K; Shimizu, T; Watarai, M

    2016-10-01

    Francisella tularensis is distributed in the Northern hemisphere and it is the bacterial agent responsible for tularaemia, a zoonotic disease. We collected 4 527 samples of DNA from ticks in Japan, which were then analysed by real-time PCR and nested PCR. Francisella DNA was detected by real-time PCR in 2·15% (45/2 093) of Ixodes ovatus, 0·66% (14/2 107) of I. persulcatus, 8·22% (6/73) of I. monospinosus and 0·72% (1/138) of Haemaphysalis flava specimens. Finally, Francisella DNA was detected by nested PCR in 42 and five samples I. ovatus and I. persulcatus, respectively, which were positive according to real-time PCR. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the sequence from I. ovatus and I. persulcatus were clustered with F. tularensis type B strains distributed in Eurasia. Microinjected live F. tularensis persisted in ticks, whereas heat-killed F. tularensis decreased. Microinjected F. tularensis hlyD mutant decreased in ticks significantly compared to parent strain, thereby suggesting that HlyD in F. tularensis contributes to the adaptation or survive of bacterial infection in ticks. Francisella tularensis has been detected in ticks, suggesting that it is a tick-borne pathogen. However, F. tularensis has not been detected in ticks in Japan since 1991. In this study, we performed a large-scale analysis of DNA isolated from ticks in Japan and detected F. tularensis by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nested PCR. We found that F. tularensis could survive in ticks based on an experimental tick-infection model. We also identified a bacterial factor that contributes to survival in ticks. Our results suggest that ticks are candidate vectors that mediate F. tularensis infection in Japan. © 2016 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  6. Detection of Francisella tularensis within infected mouse tissues by using a hand-held PCR thermocycler.

    PubMed

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

    2003-02-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Genome sequence and phenotypic analysis of a first German Francisella sp. isolate (W12-1067) not belonging to the species Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Francisella isolates from patients suffering from tularemia in Germany are generally strains of the species F. tularensis subsp. holarctica. To our knowledge, no other Francisella species are known for Germany. Recently, a new Francisella species could be isolated from a water reservoir of a cooling tower in Germany. Results We identified a Francisella sp. (isolate W12-1067) whose 16S rDNA is 99% identical to the respective nucleotide sequence of the recently published strain F. guangzhouensis. The overall sequence identity of the fopA, gyrA, rpoA, groEL, sdhA and dnaK genes is only 89%, indicating that strain W12-1067 is not identical to F. guangzhouensis. W12-1067 was isolated from a water reservoir of a cooling tower of a hospital in Germany. The growth optimum of the isolate is approximately 30°C, it can grow in the presence of 4–5% NaCl (halotolerant) and is able to grow without additional cysteine within the medium. The strain was able to replicate within a mouse-derived macrophage-like cell line. The whole genome of the strain was sequenced (~1.7 mbp, 32.2% G + C content) and the draft genome was annotated. Various virulence genes common to the genus Francisella are present, but the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) is missing. However, another putative type-VI secretion system is present within the genome of strain W12-1067. Conclusions Isolate W12-1067 is closely related to the recently described F. guangzhouensis species and it replicates within eukaryotic host cells. Since W12-1067 exhibits a putative new type-VI secretion system and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica was found not to be the sole species in Germany, the new isolate is an interesting species to be analyzed in more detail. Further research is needed to investigate the epidemiology, ecology and pathogenicity of Francisella species present in Germany. PMID:24961323

  9. 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

    2016-03-04

    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.

  10. Characterization of Francisella tularensis Schu S4 defined mutants as live-attenuated vaccine candidates.

    PubMed

    Santiago, Araceli E; Mann, Barbara J; Qin, Aiping; Cunningham, Aimee L; Cole, Leah E; Grassel, Christen; Vogel, Stefanie N; Levine, Myron M; Barry, Eileen M

    2015-08-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft), the etiological agent of tularemia and a Tier 1 select agent, has been previously weaponized and remains a high priority for vaccine development. Ft tularensis (type A) and Ft holarctica (type B) cause most human disease. We selected six attenuating genes from the live vaccine strain (LVS; type B), F. novicida and other intracellular bacteria: FTT0507, FTT0584, FTT0742, FTT1019c (guaA), FTT1043 (mip) and FTT1317c (guaB) and created unmarked deletion mutants of each in the highly human virulent Ft strain Schu S4 (Type A) background. FTT0507, FTT0584, FTT0742 and FTT1043 Schu S4 mutants were not attenuated for virulence in vitro or in vivo. In contrast, Schu S4 gua mutants were unable to replicate in murine macrophages and were attenuated in vivo, with an i.n. LD50 > 10(5) CFU in C57BL/6 mice. However, the gua mutants failed to protect mice against lethal challenge with WT Schu S4, despite demonstrating partial protection in rabbits in a previous study. These results contrast with the highly protective capacity of LVS gua mutants against a lethal LVS challenge in mice, and underscore differences between these strains and the animal models in which they are evaluated, and therefore have important implications for vaccine development.

  11. A multiplex real-time PCR assay for the detection and differentiation of Francisella tularensis subspecies.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, Mark K; Lovelace, Charity D; Satterfield, Benjamin A; Moore, Emily A; O'Neill, Kim L; Robison, Richard A

    2012-11-01

    Francisella tularensis is the aetiological agent of tularaemia, a zoonotic disease with worldwide prevalence. F. tularensis is a highly pathogenic organism and has been designated a category A biothreat agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tularaemia is endemic in much of the USA, Europe and parts of Asia. It is transmitted by numerous vectors and vehicles such as deer flies, ticks and rabbits. Currently, there are four recognized subspecies of F. tularensis: tularensis (type A), holarctica (type B), mediasiatica and novicida. Within the type A classification there are two subclassifications, type A.I and A.II, each with a specific geographical distribution across the USA. F. tularensis subsp. holartica (type B) is found in both the USA and Europe. Because of virulence differences among subtypes, it is important that health departments, hospitals and other government agencies are able to quickly identify each subtype. The purpose of this study was to develop a multiplex real-time PCR assay for the identification and discrimination of type A.I, type A.II, type B and novicida subspecies of F. tularensis. The assay was validated using 119 isolates of F. tularensis, three of its nearest neighbours and 14 other bacterial pathogens. This assay proved to be ~98 % successful at identifying the known subspecies of F. tularensis and could prove to be a useful tool in the characterization of this important pathogen.

  12. Rapid Countermeasure Discovery against Francisella tularensis Based on a Metabolic Network Reconstruction

    PubMed Central

    Chaudhury, Sidhartha; Abdulhameed, Mohamed Diwan M.; Singh, Narender; Tawa, Gregory J.; D’haeseleer, Patrik M.; Zemla, Adam T.; Navid, Ali; Zhou, Carol E.; Franklin, Matthew C.; Cheung, Jonah; Rudolph, Michael J.; Love, James; Graf, John F.; Rozak, David A.; Dankmeyer, Jennifer L.; Amemiya, Kei; Daefler, Simon; Wallqvist, Anders

    2013-01-01

    In the future, we may be faced with the need to provide treatment for an emergent biological threat against which existing vaccines and drugs have limited efficacy or availability. To prepare for this eventuality, our objective was to use a metabolic network-based approach to rapidly identify potential drug targets and prospectively screen and validate novel small-molecule antimicrobials. Our target organism was the fully virulent Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis Schu S4 strain, a highly infectious intracellular pathogen that is the causative agent of tularemia and is classified as a category A biological agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We proceeded with a staggered computational and experimental workflow that used a strain-specific metabolic network model, homology modeling and X-ray crystallography of protein targets, and ligand- and structure-based drug design. Selected compounds were subsequently filtered based on physiological-based pharmacokinetic modeling, and we selected a final set of 40 compounds for experimental validation of antimicrobial activity. We began screening these compounds in whole bacterial cell-based assays in biosafety level 3 facilities in the 20th week of the study and completed the screens within 12 weeks. Six compounds showed significant growth inhibition of F. tularensis, and we determined their respective minimum inhibitory concentrations and mammalian cell cytotoxicities. The most promising compound had a low molecular weight, was non-toxic, and abolished bacterial growth at 13 µM, with putative activity against pantetheine-phosphate adenylyltransferase, an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A, encoded by gene coaD. The novel antimicrobial compounds identified in this study serve as starting points for lead optimization, animal testing, and drug development against tularemia. Our integrated in silico/in vitro approach had an overall 15% success rate in terms of active versus tested

  13. Cytosolic clearance of replication-deficient mutants reveals Francisella tularensis interactions with the autophagic pathway.

    PubMed

    Chong, Audrey; Wehrly, Tara D; Child, Robert; Hansen, Bryan; Hwang, Seungmin; Virgin, Herbert W; Celli, Jean

    2012-09-01

    Cytosolic bacterial pathogens must evade intracellular innate immune recognition and clearance systems such as autophagy to ensure their survival and proliferation. The intracellular cycle of the bacterium Francisella tularensis is characterized by rapid phagosomal escape followed by extensive proliferation in the macrophage cytoplasm. Cytosolic replication, but not phagosomal escape, requires the locus FTT0369c, which encodes the dipA gene (deficient in intracellular replication A). Here, we show that a replication-deficient, ∆dipA mutant of the prototypical SchuS4 strain is eventually captured from the cytosol of murine and human macrophages into double-membrane vacuoles displaying the late endosomal marker, LAMP1, and the autophagy-associated protein, LC3, coinciding with a reduction in viable intracellular bacteria. Capture of SchuS4ΔdipA was not dipA-specific as other replication-deficient bacteria, such as chloramphenicol-treated SchuS4 and a purine auxotroph mutant SchuS4ΔpurMCD, were similarly targeted to autophagic vacuoles. Vacuoles containing replication-deficient bacteria were labeled with ubiquitin and the autophagy receptors SQSTM1/p62 and NBR1, and their formation was decreased in macrophages from either ATG5-, LC3B- or SQSTM1-deficient mice, indicating recognition by the ubiquitin-SQSTM1-LC3 pathway. While a fraction of both the wild-type and the replication-impaired strains were ubiquitinated and recruited SQSTM1, only the replication-defective strains progressed to autophagic capture, suggesting that wild-type Francisella interferes with the autophagic cascade. Survival of replication-deficient strains was not restored in autophagy-deficient macrophages, as these bacteria died in the cytosol prior to autophagic capture. Collectively, our results demonstrate that replication-impaired strains of Francisella are cleared by autophagy, while replication-competent bacteria seem to interfere with autophagic recognition, therefore ensuring survival

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Identification of Mechanisms for Attenuation of the FSC043 Mutant of Francisella tularensis SCHU S4

    PubMed Central

    Lindgren, Marie; Tancred, Linda; Golovliov, Igor; Conlan, Wayne; Twine, Susan M.

    2014-01-01

    Previously, we identified a spontaneous, essentially avirulent mutant, FSC043, of the highly virulent strain SCHU S4 of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis. We have now characterized the phenotype of the mutant and the mechanisms of its attenuation in more detail. Genetic and proteomic analyses revealed that the pdpE gene and most of the pdpC gene were very markedly downregulated and, as previously demonstrated, that the strain expressed partially deleted and fused fupA and fupB genes. FSC043 showed minimal intracellular replication and induced no cell cytotoxicity. The mutant showed delayed phagosomal escape; at 18 h, colocalization with LAMP-1 was 80%, indicating phagosomal localization, whereas the corresponding percentages for SCHU S4 and the ΔfupA mutant were <10%. However, a small subset of the FSC043-infected cells contained up to 100 bacteria with LAMP-1 colocalization of around 30%. The unusual intracellular phenotype was similar to that of the ΔpdpC and ΔpdpC ΔpdpE mutants. Complementation of FSC043 with the intact fupA and fupB genes did not affect the phenotype, whereas complementation with the pdpC and pdpE genes restored intracellular replication and led to marked virulence. Even higher virulence was observed after complementation with both double-gene constructs. After immunization with the FSC043 strain, moderate protection against respiratory challenge with the SCHU S4 strain was observed. In summary, FSC043 showed a highly unusual intracellular phenotype, and based on our findings, we hypothesize that the mutation in the pdpC gene makes an essential contribution to the phenotype. PMID:24935978

  17. Paralogous Outer Membrane Proteins Mediate Uptake of Different Forms of Iron and Synergistically Govern Virulence in Francisella tularensis tularensis*

    PubMed Central

    Ramakrishnan, Girija; Sen, Bhaswati; Johnson, Richard

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium causing acute disease in mammalian hosts. Mechanisms for the acquisition of iron within the iron-limiting host environment are likely to be critical for survival of this intracellular pathogen. FslE (FTT0025) and FupA (FTT0918) are paralogous proteins that are predicted to form β-barrels in the outer membrane of virulent strain Schu S4 and are unique to Francisella species. Previous studies have implicated both FupA, initially identified as a virulence factor and FslE, encoded by the siderophore biosynthetic operon, in iron acquisition. Using single and double mutants, we demonstrated that these paralogs function in concert to promote growth under iron limitation. We used a 55Fe transport assay to demonstrate that FslE is involved in siderophore-mediated ferric iron uptake, whereas FupA facilitates high affinity ferrous iron uptake. Optimal replication within J774A.1 macrophage-like cells required at least one of these uptake systems to be functional. In a mouse model of tularemia, the ΔfupA mutant was attenuated, but the ΔfslE ΔfupA mutant was significantly more attenuated, implying that the two systems of iron acquisition function synergistically to promote virulence. These studies highlight the importance of specific iron acquisition functions, particularly that of ferrous iron, for virulence of F. tularensis in the mammalian host. PMID:22661710

  18. Active suppression of the pulmonary immune response by Francisella tularensis Schu4.

    PubMed

    Bosio, Catharine M; Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Helle; Belisle, John T

    2007-04-01

    Francisella tularensis is an obligate, intracellular bacterium that causes acute, lethal disease following inhalation. As an intracellular pathogen F. tularensis must invade cells, replicate, and disseminate while evading host immune responses. The mechanisms by which virulent type A strains of Francisella tularensis accomplish this evasion are not understood. Francisella tularensis has been shown to target multiple cell types in the lung following aerosol infection, including dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages. We demonstrate here that one mechanism used by a virulent type A strain of F. tularensis (Schu4) to evade early detection is by the induction of overwhelming immunosuppression at the site of infection, the lung. Following infection and replication in multiple pulmonary cell types, Schu4 failed to induce the production of proinflammatory cytokines or increase the expression of MHCII or CD86 on the surface of resident DC within the first few days of disease. However, Schu4 did induce early and transient production of TGF-beta, a potent immunosuppressive cytokine. The absence of DC activation following infection could not be attributed to the apoptosis of pulmonary cells, because there were minimal differences in either annexin or cleaved caspase-3 staining in infected mice compared with that in uninfected controls. Rather, we demonstrate that Schu4 actively suppressed in vivo responses to secondary stimuli (LPS), e.g., failure to recruit granulocytes/monocytes and stimulate resident DC. Thus, unlike attenuated strains of F. tularensis, Schu4 induced broad immunosuppression within the first few days after aerosol infection. This difference may explain the increased virulence of type A strains compared with their more attenuated counterparts.

  19. First indication for a functional CRISPR/Cas system in Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Schunder, Eva; Rydzewski, Kerstin; Grunow, Roland; Heuner, Klaus

    2013-03-01

    Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic agent and the subspecies novicida is proposed to be a water-associated bacterium. The intracellular pathogen F. tularensis causes tularemia in humans and is known for its potential to be used as a biological threat. We analyzed the genome sequence of F. tularensis subsp. novicida U112 in silico for the presence of a putative functional CRISPR/Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated) system. CRISPR/Cas systems are known to encode an RNA-guided adaptive immunity-like system to protect bacteria against invading genetic elements like bacteriophages and plasmids. In this work, we present a first indication that F. tularensis subsp. novicida encodes a functional CRISPR/Cas defence system. Additionally, we identified various spacer DNAs homologous to a putative phage present within the genome of F. tularensis subsp. novicida-like strain 3523. CRISPR/Cas is also present in F. tularensis subsp. tularensis, holarctica, and mediasiatica, but these systems seem to be non-functional.

  20. Russian isolates enlarge the known geographic diversity of Francisella tularensis subsp. mediasiatica

    PubMed Central

    Bakhteeva, Irina; Titareva, Galina; Kopylov, Pavel; Christiany, David; Mokrievich, Alexander; Dyatlov, Ivan; Vergnaud, Gilles

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a small Gram-negative bacterium, is capable of infecting a wide range of animals, including humans, and causes a plague-like disease called tularemia—a highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate. Because of these characteristics, F. tularensis is considered a potential agent of biological terrorism. Currently, F. tularensis is divided into four subspecies, which differ in their virulence and geographic distribution. Two of them, subsp. tularensis (primarily found in North America) and subsp. holarctica (widespread across the Northern Hemisphere), are responsible for tularemia in humans. Subsp. novicida is almost avirulent in humans. The fourth subspecies, subsp. mediasiatica, is the least studied because of its limited distribution and impact in human health. It is found only in sparsely populated regions of Central Asia. In this report, we describe the first focus of naturally circulating F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica in Russia. We isolated and characterized 18 strains of this subspecies in the Altai region. All strains were highly virulent in mice. The virulence of subsp. mediasiatica in a vaccinated mouse model is intermediate between that of subsp. tularensis and subsp. holarctica. Based on a multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), we show that the Altaic population of F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica is genetically distinct from the classical Central Asian population, and probably is endemic to Southern Siberia. We propose to subdivide the mediasiatica subspecies into three phylogeographic groups, M.I, M.II and M.III. PMID:28873421

  1. Francisella tularensis harvests nutrients derived via ATG5-independent autophagy to support intracellular growth.

    PubMed

    Steele, Shaun; Brunton, Jason; Ziehr, Benjamin; Taft-Benz, Sharon; Moorman, Nathaniel; Kawula, Thomas

    2013-08-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular pathogen that invades and replicates within numerous host cell types including macrophages, hepatocytes and pneumocytes. By 24 hours post invasion, F. tularensis replicates up to 1000-fold in the cytoplasm of infected cells. To achieve such rapid intracellular proliferation, F. tularensis must scavenge large quantities of essential carbon and energy sources from the host cell while evading anti-microbial immune responses. We found that macroautophagy, a eukaryotic cell process that primarily degrades host cell proteins and organelles as well as intracellular pathogens, was induced in F. tularensis infected cells. F. tularensis not only survived macroautophagy, but optimal intracellular bacterial growth was found to require macroautophagy. Intracellular growth upon macroautophagy inhibition was rescued by supplying excess nonessential amino acids or pyruvate, demonstrating that autophagy derived nutrients provide carbon and energy sources that support F. tularensis proliferation. Furthermore, F. tularensis did not require canonical, ATG5-dependent autophagy pathway induction but instead induced an ATG5-independent autophagy pathway. ATG5-independent autophagy induction caused the degradation of cellular constituents resulting in the release of nutrients that the bacteria harvested to support bacterial replication. Canonical macroautophagy limits the growth of several different bacterial species. However, our data demonstrate that ATG5-independent macroautophagy may be beneficial to some cytoplasmic bacteria by supplying nutrients to support bacterial growth.

  2. 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.

  3. Mast cell TLR2 signaling is crucial for effective killing of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Annette R; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Guentzel, M Neal; Navara, Christopher S; Klose, Karl E; Forsthuber, Thomas G; Chambers, James P; Berton, Michael T; Arulanandam, Bernard P

    2012-06-01

    TLR signaling is critical for early host defense against pathogens, but the contributions of mast cell TLR-mediated mechanisms and subsequent effector functions during pulmonary infection are largely unknown. We have previously demonstrated that mast cells, through the production of IL-4, effectively control Francisella tularensis replication. In this study, the highly human virulent strain of F. tularensis SCHU S4 and the live vaccine strain were used to investigate the contribution of mast cell/TLR regulation of Francisella. Mast cells required TLR2 for effective bacterial killing, regulation of the hydrolytic enzyme cathepsin L, and for coordination and trafficking of MHC class II and lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2. Infected TLR2(-/-) mast cells, in contrast to wild-type and TLR4(-/-) cells, lacked detectable IL-4 and displayed increased cell death with a 2-3 log increase of F. tularensis replication, but could be rescued with rIL-4 treatment. Importantly, MHC class II and lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2 localization with labeled F. tularensis in the lungs was greater in wild-type than in TLR2(-/-) mice. These results provide evidence for the important effector contribution of mast cells and TLR2-mediated signaling on early innate processes in the lung following pulmonary F. tularensis infection and provide additional insight into possible mechanisms by which intracellular pathogens modulate respiratory immune defenses.

  4. Francisella tularensis detection using magnetic labels and a magnetic biosensor based on frequency mixing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, Martin H. F.; Krause, Hans-Joachim; Hartmann, Markus; Miethe, Peter; Oster, Jürgen; Keusgen, Michael

    2007-04-01

    A biosensor that uses resonant coils with a special frequency-mixing technique and magnetic beads as detectable labels has been established for the detection of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent for tularemia. The detection principle is based on a sandwich immunoassay using an anti-Ft antibody for immunofiltration immobilized to ABICAP ® polyethylene filters, and biotinylated with streptavidin-coated magnetic beads as labels. The linear detection range of this biosensor was found to be 10 4-10 6 cfu F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide (LPS) per ml. Tested sample matrices were physiological PBS buffer and rabbit serum.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Comparison of Five Commercial DNA Extraction Kits for the Recovery of Francisella Tularensis DNA from Spiked Soil Samples

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-01-01

    locate/ymcprComparison of five commercial DNA extraction kits for the recovery of Francisella tularensis DNA from spiked soil samples Chris A...The organism is known to persist in water or mud for long periods of time and Francisella-specific DNA has been identified from water and soil . To...Therefore, methods must be established to efficiently extract Francisella-specific DNA from the soil and be able to eliminate potential PCR

  8. 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

  9. Genome-Wide DNA Microarray Analysis of Francisella tularensis Strains Demonstrates Extensive Genetic Conservation within the Species but Identifies Regions That Are Unique to the Highly Virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Broekhuijsen, Martien; Larsson, Pär; Johansson, Anders; Byström, Mona; Eriksson, Ulla; Larsson, Eva; Prior, Richard G.; Sjöstedt, Anders; Titball, Richard W.; Forsman, Mats

    2003-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a potent pathogen and a possible bioterrorism agent. Little is known, however, to explain the molecular basis for its virulence and the distinct differences in virulence found between the four recognized subspecies, F. tularensis subsp. tularensis, F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica, F. tularensis subsp. holarctica, and F. tularensis subsp. novicida. We developed a DNA microarray based on 1,832 clones from a shotgun library used for sequencing of the highly virulent strain F. tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4. This allowed a genome-wide analysis of 27 strains representing all four subspecies. Overall, the microarray analysis confirmed a limited genetic variation within the species F. tularensis, and when the strains were compared, at most 3.7% of the probes showed differential hybridization. Cluster analysis of the hybridization data revealed that the causative agents of type A and type B tularemia, i.e., F. tularensis subsp. tularensis and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica, respectively, formed distinct clusters. Despite marked differences in their virulence and geographical origin, a high degree of genomic similarity between strains of F. tularensis subsp. tularensis and F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica was apparent. Strains from Japan clustered separately, as did strains of F. tularensis subsp. novicida. Eight regions of difference (RD) 0.6 to 11.5 kb in size, altogether comprising 21 open reading frames, were identified that distinguished strains of the moderately virulent subspecies F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and the highly virulent subspecies F. tularensis subsp. tularensis. One of these regions, RD1, allowed for the first time the development of an F. tularensis-specific PCR assay that discriminates each of the four subspecies. PMID:12843022

  10. [Maldi-tof ms analysis for yersinia pestis, vibrio cholera, and francisella tularensis identification].

    PubMed

    Afanas'ev, M V; Mironova, L V; Balakhonov, S V

    2015-01-01

    Numerous studies showed that a new technology for the clinical microbiology laboratories, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization--Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-ToF MS), allows fast, accurate, and effective identification of most clinically relevant microorganisms to be implemented. In the present review, we discuss applications of this approach for identification and typing of extremely dangerous pathogens--Yersinia pestis, Vibrio cholera, and Francisella tularensis, including the advantages and disadvantages of the method, sample preparation and biosafety problems.

  11. Purification and Biophysical Characterization of the CapA Membrane Protein FTT0807 from Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The capA gene (FTT0807) from Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis SCHU S4 encodes a 44.4 kDa integral membrane protein composed of 403 amino acid residues that is part of an apparent operon that encodes at least two other membrane proteins, CapB, and CapC, which together play a critical role in the virulence and pathogenesis of this bacterium. The capA gene was overexpressed in Escherichia coli as a C-terminal His6-tagged fusion with a folding reporter green fluorescent protein (frGFP). Purification procedures using several detergents were developed for the fluorescing and membrane-bound product, yielding approximately 30 mg of pure protein per liter of bacterial culture. Dynamic light scattering indicated that CapA-frGFP was highly monodisperse, with a size that was dependent upon both the concentration and choice of detergent. Circular dichroism showed that CapA-frGFP was stable over the range of 3–9 for the pH, with approximately half of the protein having well-defined α-helical and β-sheet secondary structure. The addition of either sodium chloride or calcium chloride at concentrations producing ionic strengths above 0.1 M resulted in a small increase of the α-helical content and a corresponding decrease in the random-coil content. Secondary-structure predictions on the basis of the analysis of the sequence indicate that the CapA membrane protein has two transmembrane helices with a substantial hydrophilic domain. The hydrophilic domain is predicted to contain a long disordered region of 50–60 residues, suggesting that the increase of α-helical content at high ionic strength could arise because of electrostatic interactions involving the disordered region. CapA is shown to be an inner-membrane protein and is predicted to play a key cellular role in the assembly of polysaccharides. PMID:24593131

  12. Purification and biophysical characterization of the CapA membrane protein FTT0807 from Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Martin-Garcia, Jose M; Hansen, Debra T; Zook, James; Loskutov, Andrey V; Robida, Mark D; Craciunescu, Felicia M; Sykes, Kathryn F; Wachter, Rebekka M; Fromme, Petra; Allen, James P

    2014-04-01

    The capA gene (FTT0807) from Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis SCHU S4 encodes a 44.4 kDa integral membrane protein composed of 403 amino acid residues that is part of an apparent operon that encodes at least two other membrane proteins, CapB, and CapC, which together play a critical role in the virulence and pathogenesis of this bacterium. The capA gene was overexpressed in Escherichia coli as a C-terminal His6-tagged fusion with a folding reporter green fluorescent protein (frGFP). Purification procedures using several detergents were developed for the fluorescing and membrane-bound product, yielding approximately 30 mg of pure protein per liter of bacterial culture. Dynamic light scattering indicated that CapA-frGFP was highly monodisperse, with a size that was dependent upon both the concentration and choice of detergent. Circular dichroism showed that CapA-frGFP was stable over the range of 3-9 for the pH, with approximately half of the protein having well-defined α-helical and β-sheet secondary structure. The addition of either sodium chloride or calcium chloride at concentrations producing ionic strengths above 0.1 M resulted in a small increase of the α-helical content and a corresponding decrease in the random-coil content. Secondary-structure predictions on the basis of the analysis of the sequence indicate that the CapA membrane protein has two transmembrane helices with a substantial hydrophilic domain. The hydrophilic domain is predicted to contain a long disordered region of 50-60 residues, suggesting that the increase of α-helical content at high ionic strength could arise because of electrostatic interactions involving the disordered region. CapA is shown to be an inner-membrane protein and is predicted to play a key cellular role in the assembly of polysaccharides.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  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. A spontaneous mutation in kdsD, a biosynthesis gene for 3 Deoxy-D-manno-Octulosonic Acid, occurred in a ciprofloxacin resistant strain of Francisella tularensis and caused a high level of attenuation in murine models of tularemia.

    PubMed

    Chance, Taylor; Chua, Jennifer; Toothman, Ronald G; Ladner, Jason T; Nuss, Jonathan E; Raymond, Jo Lynne; Biot, Fabrice V; Demons, Samandra; Miller, Lynda; Halasohoris, Stephanie; Mou, Sherry; Koroleva, Galina; Lovett, Sean; Palacios, Gustavo; Vietri, Nicholas J; Worsham, Patricia L; Cote, Christopher K; Kijek, Todd M; Bozue, Joel A

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a gram-negative facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen, is the causative agent of tularemia and able to infect many mammalian species, including humans. Because of its ability to cause a lethal infection, low infectious dose, and aerosolizable nature, F. tularensis subspecies tularensis is considered a potential biowarfare agent. Due to its in vitro efficacy, ciprofloxacin is one of the antibiotics recommended for post-exposure prophylaxis of tularemia. In order to identify therapeutics that will be efficacious against infections caused by drug resistant select-agents and to better understand the threat, we sought to characterize an existing ciprofloxacin resistant (CipR) mutant in the Schu S4 strain of F. tularensis by determining its phenotypic characteristics and sequencing the chromosome to identify additional genetic alterations that may have occurred during the selection process. In addition to the previously described genetic alterations, the sequence of the CipR mutant strain revealed several additional mutations. Of particular interest was a frameshift mutation within kdsD which encodes for an enzyme necessary for the production of 3-Deoxy-D-manno-Octulosonic Acid (KDO), an integral component of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS). A kdsD mutant was constructed in the Schu S4 strain. Although it was not resistant to ciprofloxacin, the kdsD mutant shared many phenotypic characteristics with the CipR mutant, including growth defects under different conditions, sensitivity to hydrophobic agents, altered LPS profiles, and attenuation in multiple models of murine tularemia. This study demonstrates that the KdsD enzyme is essential for Francisella virulence and may be an attractive therapeutic target for developing novel medical countermeasures.

  17. A spontaneous mutation in kdsD, a biosynthesis gene for 3 Deoxy-D-manno-Octulosonic Acid, occurred in a ciprofloxacin resistant strain of Francisella tularensis and caused a high level of attenuation in murine models of tularemia

    PubMed Central

    Chance, Taylor; Toothman, Ronald G.; Nuss, Jonathan E.; Raymond, Jo Lynne; Biot, Fabrice V.; Demons, Samandra; Miller, Lynda; Halasohoris, Stephanie; Mou, Sherry; Koroleva, Galina; Lovett, Sean; Palacios, Gustavo; Vietri, Nicholas J.; Worsham, Patricia L.; Cote, Christopher K.; Kijek, Todd M.; Bozue, Joel A.

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, a gram–negative facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen, is the causative agent of tularemia and able to infect many mammalian species, including humans. Because of its ability to cause a lethal infection, low infectious dose, and aerosolizable nature, F. tularensis subspecies tularensis is considered a potential biowarfare agent. Due to its in vitro efficacy, ciprofloxacin is one of the antibiotics recommended for post-exposure prophylaxis of tularemia. In order to identify therapeutics that will be efficacious against infections caused by drug resistant select-agents and to better understand the threat, we sought to characterize an existing ciprofloxacin resistant (CipR) mutant in the Schu S4 strain of F. tularensis by determining its phenotypic characteristics and sequencing the chromosome to identify additional genetic alterations that may have occurred during the selection process. In addition to the previously described genetic alterations, the sequence of the CipR mutant strain revealed several additional mutations. Of particular interest was a frameshift mutation within kdsD which encodes for an enzyme necessary for the production of 3-Deoxy-D-manno-Octulosonic Acid (KDO), an integral component of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS). A kdsD mutant was constructed in the Schu S4 strain. Although it was not resistant to ciprofloxacin, the kdsD mutant shared many phenotypic characteristics with the CipR mutant, including growth defects under different conditions, sensitivity to hydrophobic agents, altered LPS profiles, and attenuation in multiple models of murine tularemia. This study demonstrates that the KdsD enzyme is essential for Francisella virulence and may be an attractive therapeutic target for developing novel medical countermeasures. PMID:28328947

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-15

    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. Francisella tularensis is a highly pathogenic bacterium with a very low infectious dose in humans. Some mechanisms of bacterial virulence have been elucidated, but the host genetic factors that contribute to host resistance or susceptibility are largely unknown. In this work, we

  19. 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.

  20. In Vitro Antibiotic Susceptibilities of Francisella tularensis Determined by Broth Microdilution following CLSI Methods.

    PubMed

    Heine, Henry S; Miller, Lynda; Halasohoris, Stephanie; Purcell, Bret K

    2017-09-01

    In vitro susceptibilities for 47 antibiotics were determined in 30 genetic diverse strains of Francisella tularensis by the broth microdilution method following Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) methods. The F. tularensis strains demonstrated susceptibility to aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and tetracyclines. There was a distinct difference in macrolide susceptibilities between A and B type strains, as has been noted previously. The establishment and comparison of antibiotic susceptibilities of a diverse but specific set of F. tularensis strains by standardized methods and the establishment of population ranges and MIC50/90 values provide reference information for assessing new antibiotic agents and a baseline to monitor any future emergence of resistance, whether natural or intentional. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  1. Delayed presence of alternatively activated macrophages during a Francisella tularensis infection.

    PubMed

    D'Elia, Riccardo V; Laws, Thomas R; Núñez, Alejandro; Taylor, Christopher; Clark, Graeme C

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular bacterium that has the ability to multiply within the macrophage. The phenotype of a macrophage can determine whether the infection is cleared or the host succumbs to disease. Previously published data has suggested that F. tularensis LVS actively induces the alternative phenotype as a survival mechanism. In these studies we demonstrate that this is not the case for the more virulent strain of F. tularensis SCHU-S4. During an intranasal mouse model of infection, immuno-histochemistry identified that iNOS positive ("classical") macrophages are present at 72 h post-infection and remain high (supported by CCL-5 release) in numbers. In contrast, arginase/FIZZ-1 positive ("alternative") cells appear later and in low numbers during the development of the disease tularemia.

  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. Septic pneumonic tularaemia caused by Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica biovar II.

    PubMed

    Fritzsch, Joerg; Splettstoesser, Wolf D

    2010-09-01

    This case of pneumonic tularaemia elucidates two aspects: it is believed to be the first documented case of bacteraemia caused by Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica biovar II; furthermore, it illustrates the remission of septic pneumonic tularaemia without appropriate anti-infective therapy. A blood culture from a patient with community-acquired pneumonia was found to be positive for F. tularensis subsp. holarctica biovar II after 10 days of cultivation. Meanwhile, the patient had been treated with ceftriaxone, followed by sultamicillin and clindamycin. The patient continued suffering from fever of up to 40.7 degrees C and rising C-reactive protein (CRP) for 4 days before the fever and CRP declined. The isolated strain was later tested and found to be resistant to the antibiotics used. The present case underlines that F. tularensis subsp. holarctica infections may cause severe symptoms but mostly have a favourable outcome.

  4. Construction and Characterization of an Attenuated Purine Auxotroph in a Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain

    PubMed Central

    Pechous, Roger; Celli, Jean; Penoske, Renee; Hayes, Stanley F.; Frank, Dara W.; Zahrt, Thomas C.

    2006-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular pathogen and is the etiological agent of tularemia. It is capable of escaping from the phagosome, replicating to high numbers in the cytosol, and inducing apoptosis in macrophages of a variety of hosts. F. tularensis has received significant attention recently due to its potential use as a bioweapon. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine against F. tularensis, although a partially protective live vaccine strain (LVS) that is attenuated in humans but remains fully virulent for mice was previously developed. An F. tularensis LVS mutant deleted in the purMCD purine biosynthetic locus was constructed and partially characterized by using an allelic exchange strategy. The F. tularensis LVS ΔpurMCD mutant was auxotrophic for purines when grown in defined medium and exhibited significant attenuation in virulence when assayed in murine macrophages in vitro or in BALB/c mice. Growth and virulence defects were complemented by the addition of the purine precursor hypoxanthine or by introduction of purMCDN in trans. The F. tularensis LVS ΔpurMCD mutant escaped from the phagosome but failed to replicate in the cytosol or induce apoptotic and cytopathic responses in infected cells. Importantly, mice vaccinated with a low dose of the F. tularensis LVS ΔpurMCD mutant were fully protected against subsequent lethal challenge with the LVS parental strain. Collectively, these results suggest that F. tularensis mutants deleted in the purMCD biosynthetic locus exhibit characteristics that may warrant further investigation of their use as potential live vaccine candidates. PMID:16861631

  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. Identification of a small molecule that modifies MglA/SspA interaction and impairs intramacrophage survival of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    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.

  7. Models derived from in vitro analyses of spleen, liver, and lung leukocyte functions predict vaccine efficacy against the Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS).

    PubMed

    De Pascalis, Roberto; Chou, Alicia Y; Ryden, Patrik; Kennett, Nikki J; Sjöstedt, Anders; Elkins, Karen L

    2014-04-08

    Currently, there are no licensed vaccines and no correlates of protection against Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia. We recently demonstrated that measuring in vitro control of intramacrophage bacterial growth by murine F. tularensis-immune splenocytes, as well as transcriptional analyses, discriminated Francisella vaccines of different efficacies. Further, we identified potential correlates of protection against systemic challenge. Here, we extended this approach by studying leukocytes derived from lungs and livers of mice immunized by parenteral and respiratory routes with F. tularensis vaccines. Liver and lung leukocytes derived from intradermally and intranasally vaccinated mice controlled in vitro Francisella Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) intramacrophage replication in patterns similar to those of splenocytes. Gene expression analyses of potential correlates also revealed similar patterns in liver cells and splenocytes. In some cases (e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], interleukin 22 [IL-22], and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [GM-CSF]), liver cells exhibited even higher relative gene expression, whereas fewer genes exhibited differential expression in lung cells. In contrast with their strong ability to control LVS replication, splenocytes from intranasally vaccinated mice expressed few genes with a hierarchy of expression similar to that of splenocytes from intradermally vaccinated mice. Thus, the relative levels of gene expression vary between cell types from different organs and by vaccination route. Most importantly, because studies comparing cell sources and routes of vaccination supported the predictive validity of this coculture and gene quantification approach, we combined in vitro LVS replication with gene expression data to develop analytical models that discriminated between vaccine groups and successfully predicted the degree of vaccine efficacy. Thus, this strategy remains a promising means of identifying and

  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. Detection of Francisella tularensis in Alaskan Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and Assessment of a Laboratory Model for Transmission

    PubMed Central

    TRIEBENBACH, ALISON N.; VOGL, SIGRID J.; LOTSPEICH-COLE, LEDA; SIKES, DEREK S.; HAPP, GEORGE M.; HUEFFER, KARSTEN

    2013-01-01

    Tularemia is a zoonotic disease caused by the Category A bioterrorism agent Francisella tularensis. In Scandinavia, tularemia transmission by mosquitoes has been widely cited in the literature. We tested >2,500 mosquitoes captured in Alaska and found Francisella DNA in 30% of pooled samples. To examine the potential for transmission of Francisella by mosquitoes, we developed a mosquito model of Francisella infection. Larvae of Anopheles gambiae Giles and Aedes aegypti (L.) readily ingest F. tularensis but do not efficiently transfer infective doses of the bacterium to the pupal or adult stage. After a bloodmeal containing Francisella, adult female An. gambiae and Ae. aegypti retained detectable levels of Francisella DNA for 3 d, but when they took a second bloodmeal, the mammalian host was not infected. This study suggests that although Francisella DNA can be detected in a significant portion of wild-caught mosquitoes, transmission of Francisella is either very inefficient or is species dependent for the Francisella strain or the arthropod vector. PMID:20695280

  10. Francisella tularensis infection without lesions in gray tree squirrels (Sciurus griseus): a diagnostic challenge.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Danielle D; Haldorson, Gary J; Stanton, James B; Noh, Susan M; Bradway, Daniel S; Mansfield, Kristin G; Baszler, Timothy V

    2014-03-01

    Fifteen cases of Francisella tularensis infection (tularemia) were identified in western gray (Sciurus griseus) and eastern gray (Sciurus carolinensis) squirrels submitted to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory between 2008 and 2011. All of the squirrels originated in Washington State, a geographical area with endemic tularemia in wildlife. Nine of the 15 squirrels with F. tularensis infection had gross (2/15) or microscopic (9/15) multifocal necrotizing lesions in the spleen, liver, or lymph nodes, typical of tularemia. Special stains did not reliably identify intralesional bacteria microscopically. Six of the 15 squirrels infected with F. tularensis lacked gross and microscopic lesions typical of tularemia. All 15 squirrels with F. tularensis infection were identified by polymerase chain reaction tests on the spleen, liver, or lymph node (including all 6 squirrels without typical tularemia lesions); 8 out of 9 squirrels were positive by direct fluorescent antibody test of tissues, and 5 out of 15 squirrels were positive by culture of tissues. The findings underscore the importance of considering tularemia as a possible cause of death when no lesions of tularemia can be identified at necropsy. Furthermore, the findings suggest the possibility of subclinical infections in gray squirrels, and the importance of molecular diagnostics for definitive diagnosis of F. tularensis infection in wild squirrels.

  11. Utilization of Fc receptors as a mucosal vaccine strategy against an intracellular bacterium, Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Rawool, Deepak B; Bitsaktsis, Constantine; Li, Ying; Gosselin, Diane R; Lin, Yili; Kurkure, Nitin V; Metzger, Dennis W; Gosselin, Edmund J

    2008-04-15

    Numerous studies have demonstrated that targeting Ag to Fc receptors (FcR) on APCs can enhance humoral and cellular immunity. However, studies are lacking that examine both the use of FcR-targeting in generating immune protection against infectious agents and the use of FcRs in the induction of mucosal immunity. Francisella tularensis is a category A intracellular mucosal pathogen. Thus, intense efforts are underway to develop a vaccine against this organism. We hypothesized that protection against mucosal infection with F. tularensis would be significantly enhanced by targeting inactivated F. tularensis live vaccine strain (iFt) to FcRs at mucosal sites, via intranasal immunization with mAb-iFt complexes. These studies demonstrate for the first time that: 1) FcR-targeted immunogen enhances immunogen-specific IgA production and protection against subsequent infection in an IgA-dependent manner, 2) FcgammaR and neonatal FcR are crucial to this protection, and 3) inactivated F. tularensis, when targeted to FcRs, enhances protection against the highly virulent SchuS4 strain of F. tularensis, a category A biothreat agent. In summary, these studies show for the first time the use of FcRs as a highly effective vaccination strategy against a highly virulent mucosal intracellular pathogen.

  12. Use of a capture-based pathogen transcript enrichment strategy for RNA-Seq analysis of the Francisella tularensis LVS transcriptome during infection of murine macrophages.

    PubMed

    Bent, Zachary W; Brazel, David M; Tran-Gyamfi, Mary B; Hamblin, Rachelle Y; VanderNoot, Victoria A; Branda, Steven S

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic intracellular pathogen that is capable of causing potentially fatal human infections. Like all successful bacterial pathogens, F. tularensis rapidly responds to changes in its environment during infection of host cells, and upon encountering different microenvironments within those cells. This ability to appropriately respond to the challenges of infection requires rapid and global shifts in gene expression patterns. In this study, we use a novel pathogen transcript enrichment strategy and whole transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) to perform a detailed characterization of the rapid and global shifts in F. tularensis LVS gene expression during infection of murine macrophages. We performed differential gene expression analysis on all bacterial genes at two key stages of infection: phagosomal escape, and cytosolic replication. By comparing the F. tularensis transcriptome at these two stages of infection to that of the bacteria grown in culture, we were able to identify sets of genes that are differentially expressed over the course of infection. This analysis revealed the temporally dynamic expression of a number of known and putative transcriptional regulators and virulence factors, providing insight into their role during infection. In addition, we identified several F. tularensis genes that are significantly up-regulated during infection but had not been previously identified as virulence factors. These unknown genes may make attractive therapeutic or vaccine targets.

  13. Rapid comparative genomic analysis for clinical microbiology: the Francisella tularensis paradigm.

    PubMed

    La Scola, Bernard; Elkarkouri, Khalid; Li, Wenjun; Wahab, Tara; Fournous, Ghislain; Rolain, Jean-Marc; Biswas, Silpak; Drancourt, Michel; Robert, Catherine; Audic, Stéphane; Löfdahl, Sven; Raoult, Didier

    2008-05-01

    It is critical to avoid delays in detecting strain manipulations, such as the addition/deletion of a gene or modification of genes for increased virulence or antibiotic resistance, using genome analysis during an epidemic outbreak or a bioterrorist attack. Our objective was to evaluate the efficiency of genome analysis in such an emergency context by using contigs produced by pyrosequencing without time-consuming finishing processes and comparing them to available genomes for the same species. For this purpose, we analyzed a clinical isolate of Francisella tularensis subspecies holarctica (strain URFT1), a potential biological weapon, and compared the data obtained with available genomic sequences of other strains. The technique provided 1,800,530 bp of assembled sequences, resulting in 480 contigs. We found by comparative analysis with other strains that all the gaps but one in the genome sequence were caused by repeats. No new genes were found, but a deletion was detected that included three putative genes and part of a fourth gene. The set of 35 candidate LVS virulence attenuation genes was identified, as well as a DNA gyrase mutation associated with quinolone resistance. Selection for variable sequences in URFT1 allowed the design of a strain-specific, highly effective typing system that was applied to 74 strains and six clinical specimens. The analysis presented herein may be completed within approximately 6 wk, a duration compatible with that required by an urgent context. In the bioterrorism context, it allows the rapid detection of strain manipulation, including intentionally added virulence genes and genes that support antibiotic resistance.

  14. Mouse model of oral infection with virulent type A Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    KuoLee, R; Zhao, X; Austin, J; Harris, G; Conlan, J W; Chen, W

    2007-04-01

    Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Little is known about the immunopathogenesis of oral infection with this pathogen. Here, for the first time, we examined the susceptibility of mice to intragastric inoculation with virulent type A F. tularensis and characterized the course of infection and the associated host responses. Both immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice were relatively susceptible to intragastric inoculation of type A F. tularensis with a 50% lethal dose (LD(50)) of 10(6) organisms, which was 100,000-fold higher than the LD(100) for intradermal or respiratory routes of infection. Mice deficient in gamma interferon or tumor necrosis factor receptors 1 and 2 were more susceptible than wild-type controls to oral infection with a high dose of the pathogen. After oral inoculation, F. tularensis appeared first in the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) and then rapidly spread to the livers and spleens, where the organism multiplied to high numbers and induced marked neutrophilic infiltration and severe tissue necrosis. Infected mice showed rapid increases in tissue cytokine mRNA expression, which peaked in the MLN at 2 days postinfection (dpi) and in the liver and spleen at 3 dpi. The levels of gamma interferon, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, macrophage inflammatory protein 1alpha, KC, interferon-inducible protein 10, and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 were elevated from day 2 postinoculation onward. Moreover, mice intradermally immunized with the live vaccine strain of F. tularensis showed little survival advantage over naive mice after oral challenge with type A F. tularensis. These results suggest that type A F. tularensis is an effective oral pathogen that can cause fatal systemic infection and could pose a public health concern, particularly to immunocompromised individuals, if ingested in contaminated water and food.

  15. Nasal Acai Polysaccharides Potentiate Innate Immunity to Protect against Pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei Infections

    PubMed Central

    Skyberg, Jerod A.; Rollins, MaryClare F.; Holderness, Jeff S.; Marlenee, Nicole L.; Schepetkin, Igor A.; Goodyear, Andrew; Dow, Steven W.; Jutila, Mark A.; Pascual, David W.

    2012-01-01

    Pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei infections are highly lethal in untreated patients, and current antibiotic regimens are not always effective. Activating the innate immune system provides an alternative means of treating infection and can also complement antibiotic therapies. Several natural agonists were screened for their ability to enhance host resistance to infection, and polysaccharides derived from the Acai berry (Acai PS) were found to have potent abilities as an immunotherapeutic to treat F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections. In vitro, Acai PS impaired replication of Francisella in primary human macrophages co-cultured with autologous NK cells via augmentation of NK cell IFN-γ. Furthermore, Acai PS administered nasally before or after infection protected mice against type A F. tularensis aerosol challenge with survival rates up to 80%, and protection was still observed, albeit reduced, when mice were treated two days post-infection. Nasal Acai PS administration augmented intracellular expression of IFN-γ by NK cells in the lungs of F. tularensis-infected mice, and neutralization of IFN-γ ablated the protective effect of Acai PS. Likewise, nasal Acai PS treatment conferred protection against pulmonary infection with B. pseudomallei strain 1026b. Acai PS dramatically reduced the replication of B. pseudomallei in the lung and blocked bacterial dissemination to the spleen and liver. Nasal administration of Acai PS enhanced IFN-γ responses by NK and γδ T cells in the lungs, while neutralization of IFN-γ totally abrogated the protective effect of Acai PS against pulmonary B. pseudomallei infection. Collectively, these results demonstrate Acai PS is a potent innate immune agonist that can resolve F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections, suggesting this innate immune agonist has broad-spectrum activity against virulent intracellular pathogens. PMID:22438809

  16. [Surveillance of Francisella tularensis infection in dogs in Bratislava].

    PubMed

    Gurycová, D; Kopcok, M

    1992-03-01

    Out of 548 serologically investigated dogs from Bratislava and other regions of Slovakia and Moravia, antibodies to F. tularensis were found in 16.4% (Tabs. I, II). In all the investigated groups of dogs from the region of Bratislava the highest seroprevalence by F. tularensis was recorded in watch dogs kept on farms and in cooperatives--37.5% and in rambling dogs--20.7% (Tab. I). The highest seropositivity was found in one to three year old dogs--22.2% (Tab. III). A similar degree of seroprevalence was also observed in one to three years old police dogs which came from the endemic region of tularemia--West Slovakia (19.3%) and East Slovakia (25.6%)--Tab. IV. These facts indicate the persistence of active natural foci in these regions. Serological investigations of the relatively great number of dogs from different regions of Slovakia showed that the presence of F. tularensis antibodies in this animal species, mainly in the watch dogs group, can be taken as a convenient marker or indicator of the existence of active natural foci of tularemia and as a suitable component for surveillance of this diseases.

  17. Decontamination of a hospital room using gaseous chlorine dioxide: Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis.

    PubMed

    Lowe, John J; Gibbs, Shawn G; Iwen, Peter C; Smith, Philip W; Hewlett, Angela L

    2013-01-01

    This study assessed the efficacy of gaseous chlorine dioxide for inactivation of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis in a hospital patient care suite. Spore and vegetative cells of Bacillus anthracis Sterne 34F2, spores of Bacillus atrophaeus ATCC 9372 and vegetative cells of both Francisella tularensis ATCC 6223 and Yersinia pestis A1122 were exposed to gaseous chlorine dioxide in a patient care suite. Organism inactivation was then assessed by log reduction in viable organisms postexposure to chlorine dioxide gas compared to non-exposed control organism. Hospital room decontamination protocols utilizing chlorine dioxide gas concentrations of 377 to 385 ppm maintained to exposures of 767 ppm-hours with 65% relative humidity consistently achieved complete inactivation of B. anthracis and B. atrophaeus spores, as well as vegetative cells of B. anthracis, F. tularensis, and Y. pestis. Decrease in exposure (ppm-hours) and relative humidity (<65%) or restricting airflow reduced inactivation but achieved >8 log reductions in organisms. Up to 10-log reductions were achieved in a hospital room with limited impact on adjacent areas, indicating chlorine dioxide concentrations needed for decontamination of highly concentrated (>6 logs) organisms can be achieved throughout a hospital room. This study translates laboratory chlorine dioxide fumigation studies applied in a complex clinical environment.

  18. Francisella Tularensis Blue–Gray Phase Variation Involves Structural Modifications of Lipopolysaccharide O-Antigen, Core and Lipid A and Affects Intramacrophage Survival and Vaccine Efficacy

    PubMed Central

    Soni, Shilpa; Ernst, Robert K.; Muszyński, Artur; Mohapatra, Nrusingh P.; Perry, Malcolm B.; Vinogradov, Evgeny; Carlson, Russell W.; Gunn, John S.

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a CDC Category A biological agent and a potential bioterrorist threat. There is no licensed vaccine against tularemia in the United States. A long-standing issue with potential Francisella vaccines is strain phase variation to a gray form that lacks protective capability in animal models. Comparisons of the parental strain (LVS) and a gray variant (LVSG) have identified lipopolysaccharide (LPS) alterations as a primary change. The LPS of the F. tularensis variant strain gains reactivity to F. novicida anti-LPS antibodies, suggesting structural alterations to the O-antigen. However, biochemical and structural analysis of the F. tularensis LVSG and LVS LPS demonstrated that LVSG has less O-antigen but no major O-antigen structural alterations. Additionally, LVSG possesses structural differences in both the core and lipid A regions, the latter being decreased galactosamine modification. Recent work has identified two genes important in adding galactosamine (flmF2 and flmK) to the lipid A. Quantitative real-time PCR showed reduced transcripts of both of these genes in the gray variant when compared to LVS. Loss of flmF2 or flmK caused less frequent phase conversion but did not alter intramacrophage survival or colony morphology. The LVSG strain demonstrated an intramacrophage survival defect in human and rat but not mouse macrophages. Consistent with this result, the LVSG variant demonstrated little change in LD50 in the mouse model of infection. Furthermore, the LVSG strain lacks the protective capacity of F. tularensis LVS against virulent Type A challenge. These data suggest that the LPS of the F. tularensis LVSG phase variant is dramatically altered. Understanding the mechanism of blue to gray phase variation may lead to a way to inhibit this variation, thus making future F. tularensis vaccines more stable and efficacious. PMID:21687776

  19. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2016-01-01

    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

  1. Biology of Francisella tularensis Subspecies holarctica Live Vaccine Strain in the Tick Vector Dermacentor variabilis

    PubMed Central

    Mani, Rinosh J.; Reichard, Mason V.; Morton, Rebecca J.; Kocan, Katherine M.; Clinkenbeard, Kenneth D.

    2012-01-01

    Background The γ-proteobacterium Francisella tularensis is the etiologic agent of seasonal tick-transmitted tularemia epizootics in rodents and rabbits and of incidental infections in humans. The biology of F. tularensis in its tick vectors has not been fully described, particularly with respect to its quanta and duration of colonization, tissue dissemination, and transovarial transmission. A systematic study of the colonization of Dermacentor variabilis by the F. tularensis subsp. holarctica live vaccine strain (LVS) was undertaken to better understand whether D. variabilis may serve as an inter-epizootic reservoir for F. tularensis. Methodology/Principal Findings Colony-reared larva, nymph, and adult D. variabilis were artificially fed LVS via glass capillary tubes fitted over the tick mouthparts, and the level of colonization determined by microbial culture. Larvae and nymphs were initially colonized with 8.8±0.8×101 and 1.1±0.03×103 CFU/tick, respectively. Post-molting, a significant increase in colonization of both molted nymphs and adults occurred, and LVS persisted in 42% of molted adult ticks at 126 days post-capillary tube feeding. In adult ticks, LVS initially colonized the gut, disseminated to hemolymph and salivary glands by 21 days, and persisted up to 165 days. LVS was detected in the salivary secretions of adult ticks after four days post intra-hemocoelic inoculation, and LVS recovered from salivary gland was infectious to mice with an infectious dose 50% of 3 CFU. LVS in gravid female ticks colonized via the intra-hemocoelic route disseminated to the ovaries and then to the oocytes, but the pathogen was not recovered from the subsequently-hatched larvae. Conclusions/Significance This study demonstrates that D. variabilis can be efficiently colonized with F. tularensis using artificial methods. The persistence of F. tularensis in D. variabilis suggests that this tick species may be involved in the maintenance of enzootic foci of tularemia in the

  2. 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

  3. Chemical synthesis and immunological evaluation of the inner core oligosaccharide of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Boltje, Thomas J; Zhong, Wei; Park, Jin; Wolfert, Margreet A; Chen, Wangxue; Boons, Geert-Jan

    2012-08-29

    Francisella tularensis, which is a Gram negative bacterium that causes tularemia, has been classified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a category A bioweapon. The development of vaccines, immunotherapeutics, and diagnostics for F. tularensis requires a detailed knowledge of the saccharide structures that can be recognized by protective antibodies. We have synthesized the inner core region of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of F. tularensis to probe antigenic responses elicited by a live and subunit vaccine. The successful preparation of the target compound relied on the use of a disaccharide which was modified by the orthogonal protecting groups diethylisopropylsilyl (DEIPS), 2-naphthylmethyl (Nap), allyl ether (All), and levulinoyl (Lev) ester. The ability to remove the protecting groups in different orders made it possible to establish the optimal glycosylations sequence to prepare a highly crowded 1,2,3-cis configured branching point. A variety of different methods were exploited to control anomeric selectivities of the glycosylations. A comparison of the (1)H NMR spectra of isolated material and the synthetic derivative confirmed the reported structural assignment of the inner core oligosaccharide of F. tularensis . The observation that immunizations with LPS lead to antibody responses to the inner core saccharides provides an impetus to further explore this compound as a vaccine candidate.

  4. 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

    2015-05-14

    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.

  5. Characterization of lethal inhalational infection with Francisella tularensis in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Michelle; Lever, Mark S.; Dean, Rachel E.; Savage, Victoria L.; Salguero, F. Javier; Pearce, Peter C.; Stevens, Daniel J.; Simpson, Andrew J. H.

    2010-01-01

    The intracellular Gram-negative pathogen Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularaemia and is prevalent in many countries in the northern hemisphere. To determine whether the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) would be a suitable non-human primate model of inhalational tularaemia, a pathophysiology study was undertaken. Ten animals were challenged with ∼102 c.f.u. F. tularensis strain SCHU S4 (F. tularensis subsp. tularensis). To look for trends in the infection, pairs of animals were sacrificed at 24 h intervals between 0 and 96 h post-challenge and blood and organs were assessed for bacteriology, pathology and haematological and immunological parameters. The first indication of infection was a raised core temperature at 3 days post-challenge. This coincided with a number of other factors: a rapid increase in the number of bacteria isolated from all organs, more pronounced gross pathology and histopathology, and an increase in the immunological response. As the disease progressed, higher bacterial and cytokine levels were detected. More extensive pathology was observed, with multifocal lesions seen in the lungs, liver and spleen. Disease progression in the common marmoset appears to be consistent with human clinical and pathological features of tularaemia, indicating that this may be a suitable animal model for the investigation of novel medical interventions such as vaccines or therapeutics. PMID:20558585

  6. Modulation of virulence factors in Francisella tularensis determines human macrophage responses

    PubMed Central

    Carlson, Paul E.; Carroll, James A.; O’Dee, Dawn M.; Nau, Gerard J.

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia and Category A biodefense agent, is known to replicate within host macrophages, though the pathogenesis of this organism is incompletely understood. We have isolated a variant of F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) based on colony morphology and its effect on macrophages. Human monocyte-derived macrophages produced more tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-12 p40 following exposure to the variant, designated the activating variant (ACV). The immunoreactivity of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from both LVS and ACV was comparable to the previously described blue variant and was distinct from the gray variant of LVS. We found, however, the soluble protein fractions of LVS and ACV differed. Further investigation using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis demonstrated higher levels of several proteins in the parental LVS isolate. The differentially-expressed proteins featured several associated with virulence in F. tularensis and other pathogens, including intracellular growth locus C (IglC), a σ54 modulation protein family member (YhbH), and aconitase. ACV reverted to the LVS phenotype, indicated by low cytokine induction and high IglC expression, after growth in a chemically-defined media. These data provide evidence that the levels of virulence factors in F. tularensis are modulated based on culture conditions and that this modulation impacts host responses. This work provides a basis for investigation of Francisella virulence factor regulation and the identification of additional factors, co-regulated with IglC, that affect macrophage responses. PMID:17369012

  7. 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

  8. Sensitivity of Francisella tularensis to ultrapure water and deoxycholate: implications for bacterial intracellular growth assay in macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Chalabaev, Sabina; Anderson, Christine A.; Onderdonk, Andrew B.; Kasper, Dennis L.

    2011-01-01

    The ability of Francisella tularensis to replicate in macrophages is critical for its pathogenesis, therefore intracellular growth assays are important tools for assessing virulence. We show that two lysis solutions commonly used in these assays, deionized water and deoxycholate in PBS, lead to highly inaccurate measurements of intracellular bacterial survival. PMID:21420447

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Towards Development of Improved Serodiagnostics for Tularemia by Use of Francisella tularensis Proteome Microarrays

    PubMed Central

    Nakajima, Rie; Escudero, Raquel; Molina, Douglas M.; Rodríguez-Vargas, Manuela; Randall, Arlo; Jasinskas, Algis; Pablo, Jozelyn; Felgner, Philip L.; AuCoin, David P.; Anda, Pedro

    2016-01-01

    Tularemia in humans is caused mainly by two subspecies of the Gram-negative facultative anaerobe Francisella tularensis: F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (type A) and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica (type B). The current serological test for tularemia is based on agglutination of whole organisms, and the reactive antigens are not well understood. Previously, we profiled the antibody responses in type A and B tularemia cases in the United States using a proteome microarray of 1,741 different proteins derived from the type A strain Schu S4. Fifteen dominant antigens able to detect antibodies to both types of infection were identified, although these were not validated in a different immunoassay format. Since type A and B subspecies are closely related, we hypothesized that Schu S4 antigens would also have utility for diagnosing type B tularemia caused by strains from other geographic locations. To test this, we probed the Schu S4 array with sera from 241 type B tularemia cases in Spain. Despite there being no type A strains in Spain, we confirmed the responses against some of the same potential serodiagnostic antigens reported previously, as well as determined the responses against additional potential serodiagnostic antigens. Five potential serodiagnostic antigens were evaluated on immunostrips, and two of these (FTT1696/GroEL and FTT0975/conserved hypothetical protein) discriminated between the Spanish tularemia cases and healthy controls. We conclude that antigens from the type A strain Schu S4 are suitable for detection of antibodies from patients with type B F. tularensis infections and that these can be used for the diagnosis of tularemia in a deployable format, such as the immunostrip. PMID:27098957

  13. Towards Development of Improved Serodiagnostics for Tularemia by Use of Francisella tularensis Proteome Microarrays.

    PubMed

    Nakajima, Rie; Escudero, Raquel; Molina, Douglas M; Rodríguez-Vargas, Manuela; Randall, Arlo; Jasinskas, Algis; Pablo, Jozelyn; Felgner, Philip L; AuCoin, David P; Anda, Pedro; Davies, D Huw

    2016-07-01

    Tularemia in humans is caused mainly by two subspecies of the Gram-negative facultative anaerobe Francisella tularensis: F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (type A) and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica (type B). The current serological test for tularemia is based on agglutination of whole organisms, and the reactive antigens are not well understood. Previously, we profiled the antibody responses in type A and B tularemia cases in the United States using a proteome microarray of 1,741 different proteins derived from the type A strain Schu S4. Fifteen dominant antigens able to detect antibodies to both types of infection were identified, although these were not validated in a different immunoassay format. Since type A and B subspecies are closely related, we hypothesized that Schu S4 antigens would also have utility for diagnosing type B tularemia caused by strains from other geographic locations. To test this, we probed the Schu S4 array with sera from 241 type B tularemia cases in Spain. Despite there being no type A strains in Spain, we confirmed the responses against some of the same potential serodiagnostic antigens reported previously, as well as determined the responses against additional potential serodiagnostic antigens. Five potential serodiagnostic antigens were evaluated on immunostrips, and two of these (FTT1696/GroEL and FTT0975/conserved hypothetical protein) discriminated between the Spanish tularemia cases and healthy controls. We conclude that antigens from the type A strain Schu S4 are suitable for detection of antibodies from patients with type B F. tularensis infections and that these can be used for the diagnosis of tularemia in a deployable format, such as the immunostrip. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  14. Susceptibility of immunodeficient mice to aerosol and systemic infection with virulent strains of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Chen, Wangxue; KuoLee, Rhonda; Shen, Hua; Conlan, J Wayne

    2004-06-01

    Previous studies have shown that IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and NOS-2, but not B cells, are crucial for host defense against primary systemic infection with the attenuated live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. In this study, we examined the importance of these and additional immune components in host resistance against infection with virulent strains of F. tularensis initiated by systemic and airborne routes. Wild-type (WT) mice and mice deficient in IFN-gamma, TNFR1R2, NOS-2, or B cells were equally susceptible to low dose ( approximately 10 colony forming units) aerosol or intradermal challenge with virulent type B F. tularensis, and succumbed to the infection between days 6 and 8 post-inoculation. Quantitative bacteriology showed that IFN-gamma-/- and B cell-/- mice consistently harbored up to one log(10) more bacteria in their lungs, spleens and livers than WT mice at day 5 post aerosol exposure. Surprisingly, however, compared to other strains of KO mice and WT control mice, IFN-gamma-/- mice showed only mild liver damage as assessed by histopathology and liver function tests. Additional experiments established that even mice with broad immunodeficiency (SCID, neutropenic, splenectomized or thymectomized mice and mice treated with corticosteroid) were no more susceptible to aerosol-initiated infection with virulent type B or type A F. tularensis than immunosufficient control mice. Combined, our results indicate that, unlike LVS, normal type A and type B F. tularensis strains are so extremely virulent that even immunocompetent mice are virtually defenseless to low dose aerosol and intradermal challenges with them.

  15. An outbreak of respiratory tularemia caused by diverse clones of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Johansson, Anders; Lärkeryd, Adrian; Widerström, Micael; Mörtberg, Sara; Myrtännäs, Kerstin; Ohrman, Caroline; Birdsell, Dawn; Keim, Paul; Wagner, David M; Forsman, Mats; Larsson, Pär

    2014-12-01

    The bacterium Francisella tularensis is recognized for its virulence, infectivity, genetic homogeneity, and potential as a bioterrorism agent. Outbreaks of respiratory tularemia, caused by inhalation of this bacterium, are poorly understood. Such outbreaks are exceedingly rare, and F. tularensis is seldom recovered from clinical specimens. A localized outbreak of tularemia in Sweden was investigated. Sixty-seven humans contracted laboratory-verified respiratory tularemia. F. tularensis subspecies holarctica was isolated from the blood or pleural fluid of 10 individuals from July to September 2010. Using whole-genome sequencing and analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), outbreak isolates were compared with 110 archived global isolates. There were 757 SNPs among the genomes of the 10 outbreak isolates and the 25 most closely related archival isolates (all from Sweden/Finland). Whole genomes of outbreak isolates were >99.9% similar at the nucleotide level and clustered into 3 distinct genetic clades. Unexpectedly, high-sequence similarity grouped some outbreak and archival isolates that originated from patients from different geographic regions and up to 10 years apart. Outbreak and archival genomes frequently differed by only 1-3 of 1 585 229 examined nucleotides. The outbreak was caused by diverse clones of F. tularensis that occurred concomitantly, were widespread, and apparently persisted in the environment. Multiple independent acquisitions of F. tularensis from the environment over a short time period suggest that natural outbreaks of respiratory tularemia are triggered by environmental cues. The findings additionally caution against interpreting genome sequence identity for this pathogen as proof of a direct epidemiological link. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  16. An Outbreak of Respiratory Tularemia Caused by Diverse Clones of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Johansson, Anders; Lärkeryd, Adrian; Widerström, Micael; Mörtberg, Sara; Myrtännäs, Kerstin; Öhrman, Caroline; Birdsell, Dawn; Keim, Paul; Wagner, David M.; Forsman, Mats; Larsson, Pär

    2014-01-01

    Background. The bacterium Francisella tularensis is recognized for its virulence, infectivity, genetic homogeneity, and potential as a bioterrorism agent. Outbreaks of respiratory tularemia, caused by inhalation of this bacterium, are poorly understood. Such outbreaks are exceedingly rare, and F. tularensis is seldom recovered from clinical specimens. Methods. A localized outbreak of tularemia in Sweden was investigated. Sixty-seven humans contracted laboratory-verified respiratory tularemia. F. tularensis subspecies holarctica was isolated from the blood or pleural fluid of 10 individuals from July to September 2010. Using whole-genome sequencing and analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), outbreak isolates were compared with 110 archived global isolates. Results. There were 757 SNPs among the genomes of the 10 outbreak isolates and the 25 most closely related archival isolates (all from Sweden/Finland). Whole genomes of outbreak isolates were >99.9% similar at the nucleotide level and clustered into 3 distinct genetic clades. Unexpectedly, high-sequence similarity grouped some outbreak and archival isolates that originated from patients from different geographic regions and up to 10 years apart. Outbreak and archival genomes frequently differed by only 1–3 of 1 585 229 examined nucleotides. Conclusions. The outbreak was caused by diverse clones of F. tularensis that occurred concomitantly, were widespread, and apparently persisted in the environment. Multiple independent acquisitions of F. tularensis from the environment over a short time period suggest that natural outbreaks of respiratory tularemia are triggered by environmental cues. The findings additionally caution against interpreting genome sequence identity for this pathogen as proof of a direct epidemiological link. PMID:25097081

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Characterization of the O-antigen polymerase (Wzy) of Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-03

    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 (Gly(176), Asp(177), Gly(323), and Tyr(324)) 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.

  20. 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

  1. NMR Structure of Francisella tularensis Virulence Determinant Reveals Structural Homology to Bet v1 Allergen Proteins.

    PubMed

    Zook, James; Mo, Gina; Sisco, Nicholas J; Craciunescu, Felicia M; Hansen, Debra T; Baravati, Bobby; Cherry, Brian R; Sykes, Kathryn; Wachter, Rebekka; Van Horn, Wade D; Fromme, Petra

    2015-06-02

    Tularemia is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by Francisella tularensis, and is endemic to North America and many parts of northern Europe and Asia. The outer membrane lipoprotein, Flpp3, has been identified as a virulence determinant as well as a potential subunit template for vaccine development. Here we present the first structure for the soluble domain of Flpp3 from the highly infectious Type A SCHU S4 strain, derived through high-resolution solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy; the first structure of a lipoprotein from the genus Francisella. The Flpp3 structure demonstrates a globular protein with an electrostatically polarized surface containing an internal cavity-a putative binding site based on the structurally homologous Bet v1 protein family of allergens. NMR-based relaxation studies suggest loop regions that potentially modulate access to the internal cavity. The Flpp3 structure may add to the understanding of F. tularensis virulence and contribute to the development of effective vaccines.

  2. 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

  3. Aged mice display an altered pulmonary host response to Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) infections

    PubMed Central

    CA, Mares; SS, Ojeda; Q, Li; EG, Morris; JJ, Coalson; JM, Teale

    2012-01-01

    Aging is a complex phenomenon that has been shown to affect many organ systems including the innate and adaptive immune systems. The current study was designed to examine the potential effect of immunosenescence on the pulmonary immune response using a Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) inhalation infection model. F. tularensis is a gram-negative intracellular pathogen that can cause a severe pneumonia.In this study both young (8-12 week old) and aged (20-24 month old) mice were infected intranasally with LVS. Lung tissues from young and aged mice were used to assess pathology, recruitment of immune cell types and cytokine expression levels at various times post infection. Bacterial burdens were also assessed. Interestingly, the lungs of aged animals harbored fewer organisms at early time points of infection (day 1, day 3) compared with their younger counterparts. In addition, only aged animals displayed small perivascular aggregates at these early time points that appeared mostly mononuclear in nature. However, the kinetics of infiltrating polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and increased cytokine levels measured in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were delayed in infected aged animals relative to young infected animals with neutrophils appearing at day 5 post infection (PI) in the aged animals as opposed to day 3 PI in the young infected animals. Also evident were alterations in the ratios of mononuclear to PMNs at distinct post infection times. The above evidence indicates that aged mice elicit an altered immune response in the lung to respiratory Francisella tularensis LVS infections compared to their younger counterparts. PMID:19825409

  4. 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.

  5. Natural History of Francisella tularensis in Aerosol-Challenged BALB/c Mice.

    PubMed

    Heine, Henry S; Chuvala, Lara; Riggins, Renaldo; Cirz, Ryan; Cass, Robert; Louie, Arnold; Drusano, G L

    2016-01-11

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the natural history and pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis in a murine model of inhalational tularemia with the SchuS4 strain. Before the efficacy of antimicrobials could be assessed in this model, further model development was required to determine the optimal time to start therapy. This study helped define the time course of infection after aerosol challenge by quantifying the presence of bacteria in lung, blood, and spleen at multiple harvest points. In this study, mice were infected via a targeted inhaled dose of 100 50% lethal doses (LD50s) (LD50 = 300 CFU) of F. tularensis by whole-body aerosol. At 1, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 75, 78, 81, 84, 87, and 90 h postchallenge, groups of 15 animals were sacrificed and blood, lung, and splenic tissue samples were harvested, homogenized, plated, and incubated to evaluate the bacterial load in those tissues. It was determined that of the 3 sample types harvested, splenic tissue provided the most consistent bacterial counts, which steadily increased with the progressing infection. Further, it was determined that lung samples from all (15/15) animals were positive for infection at 75 h postaerosolization and that 14/15 animals had positive splenic tissue counts. Bacterial levels in blood were not predictive of treatment initiation. For future therapeutic evaluation studies in this model using F. tularensis (SchuS4), it was determined that therapy should be initiated at 75 h postchallenge and validated by spleen involvement.

  6. Francisella tularensis antioxidants harness reactive oxygen species to restrict macrophage signaling and cytokine production.

    PubMed

    Melillo, Amanda A; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Melendez, J Andrés

    2010-09-03

    Francisella tularensis is the etiologic agent of the highly infectious animal and human disease tularemia. Its extreme infectivity and virulence are associated with its ability to evade immune detection, which we now link to its robust reactive oxygen species-scavenging capacity. Infection of primary human monocyte-derived macrophages with virulent F. tularensis SchuS4 prevented proinflammatory cytokine production in the presence or absence of IFN-gamma compared with infection with the attenuated live vaccine strain. SchuS4 infection also blocked signals required for macrophage cytokine production, including Akt phosphorylation, IkappaB alpha degradation, and NF-kappaB nuclear localization and activation. Concomitant with SchuS4-mediated suppression of Akt phosphorylation was an increase in the levels of the Akt antagonist PTEN. Moreover, SchuS4 prevented the H(2)O(2)-dependent oxidative inactivation of PTEN compared with a virulent live vaccine strain. Mutation of catalase (katG) sensitized F. tularensis to H(2)O(2) and enhanced PTEN oxidation, Akt phosphorylation, NF-kappaB activation, and inflammatory cytokine production. Together, these findings suggest a novel role for bacterial antioxidants in restricting macrophage activation through their ability to preserve phosphatases that temper kinase signaling and proinflammatory cytokine production.

  7. Increased susceptibility of IgA-deficient mice to pulmonary Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain infection.

    PubMed

    Furuya, Yoichi; Kirimanjeswara, Girish S; Roberts, Sean; Metzger, Dennis W

    2013-09-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is most deadly in the pneumonic form; therefore, mucosal immunity is an important first line of defense against this pathogen. We have now evaluated the lethality of primary F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) pulmonary infection in mice that are defective in IgA (IgA(-/-) mice), the predominant mucosal Ig isotype. The results showed that IgA(-/-) mice were more susceptible than IgA(+/+) mice to intranasal F. tularensis LVS infection, despite developing higher levels of LVS-specific total, IgG, and IgM antibodies in the bronchoalveolar lavage specimens following infection. In addition, the absence of IgA resulted in a significant increase in bacterial loads and reduced survival. Interestingly, IgA(-/-) mice had lower pulmonary gamma interferon (IFN-γ) levels and decreased numbers of IFN-γ-secreting CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the lung on day 9 postinfection compared to IgA(+/+) mice. Furthermore, IgA(-/-) mice displayed reduced interleukin 12 (IL-12) levels at early time points, and supplementing IgA(-/-) mice with IL-12 prior to LVS challenge induced IFN-γ production by NK cells and rescued them from mortality. Thus, IgA(-/-) mice are highly susceptible to primary pulmonary LVS infections not only because of IgA deficiency but also because of reduced IFN-γ responses.

  8. Francisella tularensis Antioxidants Harness Reactive Oxygen Species to Restrict Macrophage Signaling and Cytokine Production*

    PubMed Central

    Melillo, Amanda A.; Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Melendez, J. Andrés

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the etiologic agent of the highly infectious animal and human disease tularemia. Its extreme infectivity and virulence are associated with its ability to evade immune detection, which we now link to its robust reactive oxygen species-scavenging capacity. Infection of primary human monocyte-derived macrophages with virulent F. tularensis SchuS4 prevented proinflammatory cytokine production in the presence or absence of IFN-γ compared with infection with the attenuated live vaccine strain. SchuS4 infection also blocked signals required for macrophage cytokine production, including Akt phosphorylation, IκBα degradation, and NF-κB nuclear localization and activation. Concomitant with SchuS4-mediated suppression of Akt phosphorylation was an increase in the levels of the Akt antagonist PTEN. Moreover, SchuS4 prevented the H2O2-dependent oxidative inactivation of PTEN compared with a virulent live vaccine strain. Mutation of catalase (katG) sensitized F. tularensis to H2O2 and enhanced PTEN oxidation, Akt phosphorylation, NF-κB activation, and inflammatory cytokine production. Together, these findings suggest a novel role for bacterial antioxidants in restricting macrophage activation through their ability to preserve phosphatases that temper kinase signaling and proinflammatory cytokine production. PMID:20558723

  9. The phylogeographic pattern of Francisella tularensis in Sweden indicates a Scandinavian origin of Eurosiberian tularaemia.

    PubMed

    Karlsson, Edvin; Svensson, Kerstin; Lindgren, Petter; Byström, Mona; Sjödin, Andreas; Forsman, Mats; Johansson, Anders

    2013-02-01

    Previous studies of the causative agent of tularaemia, Francisella tularensis have identified phylogeographic patterns suggestive of environmental maintenance reservoirs. To investigate the phylogeography of tularaemia in Sweden, we selected 163 clinical isolates obtained during 1995-2009 in 10 counties and sequenced one isolate's genome to identify new genetic markers. An improved typing scheme based on two indels and nine SNPs was developed using hydrolysis or TaqMan MGB probe assays. The results showed that much of the known global genetic diversity of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica is present in Sweden. Thirteen of the 163 isolates belonged to a new genetic group that is basal to all other known members of the major genetic clade B.I, which is spread across the Eurosiberian region. One hundred and twenty-five of the 163 Swedish isolates belonged to B.I, but individual clades' frequencies differed from county to county (P < 0.001). Subsequent analyses revealed a correlation between genotype variation over time and recurrent outbreaks at specific places, supporting the 'maintenance reservoir' environmental maintenance hypothesis. Most importantly, the findings reveal the presence of diverse source populations of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica in Sweden and suggest a historical spread of the disease from Scandinavia to other parts of Eurosiberia. © 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  10. Natural History of Francisella tularensis in Aerosol-Challenged BALB/c Mice

    PubMed Central

    Chuvala, Lara; Riggins, Renaldo; Cirz, Ryan; Cass, Robert; Louie, Arnold; Drusano, G. L.

    2016-01-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the natural history and pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis in a murine model of inhalational tularemia with the SchuS4 strain. Before the efficacy of antimicrobials could be assessed in this model, further model development was required to determine the optimal time to start therapy. This study helped define the time course of infection after aerosol challenge by quantifying the presence of bacteria in lung, blood, and spleen at multiple harvest points. In this study, mice were infected via a targeted inhaled dose of 100 50% lethal doses (LD50s) (LD50 = 300 CFU) of F. tularensis by whole-body aerosol. At 1, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 75, 78, 81, 84, 87, and 90 h postchallenge, groups of 15 animals were sacrificed and blood, lung, and splenic tissue samples were harvested, homogenized, plated, and incubated to evaluate the bacterial load in those tissues. It was determined that of the 3 sample types harvested, splenic tissue provided the most consistent bacterial counts, which steadily increased with the progressing infection. Further, it was determined that lung samples from all (15/15) animals were positive for infection at 75 h postaerosolization and that 14/15 animals had positive splenic tissue counts. Bacterial levels in blood were not predictive of treatment initiation. For future therapeutic evaluation studies in this model using F. tularensis (SchuS4), it was determined that therapy should be initiated at 75 h postchallenge and validated by spleen involvement. PMID:26824958

  11. Lack of OxyR and KatG Results in Extreme Susceptibility of Francisella tularensis LVS to Oxidative Stress and Marked Attenuation In vivo

    PubMed Central

    Honn, Marie; Lindgren, Helena; Bharath, Gurram K.; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular bacterium and as such is expected to encounter a continuous attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in its intracellular habitat and efficiently coping with oxidative stress is therefore essential for its survival. The oxidative stress response system of F. tularensis is complex and includes multiple antioxidant enzymes and pathways, including the transcriptional regulator OxyR and the H2O2-decomposing enzyme catalase, encoded by katG. The latter is regulated by OxyR. A deletion of either of these genes, however, does not severely compromise the virulence of F. tularensis and we hypothesized that if the bacterium would be deficient of both catalase and OxyR, then the oxidative defense and virulence of F. tularensis would become severely hampered. To test this hypothesis, we generated a double deletion mutant, ΔoxyR/ΔkatG, of F. tularensis LVS and compared its phenotype to the parental LVS strain and the corresponding single deletion mutants. In accordance with the hypothesis, ΔoxyR/ΔkatG was distinctly more susceptible than ΔoxyR and ΔkatG to H2O2, ONOO−, and O2-, moreover, it hardly grew in mouse-derived BMDM or in mice, whereas ΔkatG and ΔoxyR grew as well as F. tularensis LVS in BMDM and exhibited only slight attenuation in mice. Altogether, the results demonstrate the importance of catalase and OxyR for a robust oxidative stress defense system and that they act cooperatively. The lack of both functions render F. tularensis severely crippled to handle oxidative stress and also much attenuated for intracellular growth and virulence. PMID:28174696

  12. Differential MicroRNA Analyses of Burkholderia pseudomallei- and Francisella tularensis-Exposed hPBMCs Reveal Potential Biomarkers

    PubMed Central

    Herrera-Galeano, J. Enrique; Frey, Kenneth G.; Schully, Kevin L.; Luu, Truong V.; Pesce, John; Mokashi, Vishwesh P.; Keane-Myers, Andrea M.; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A.

    2017-01-01

    Increasing evidence that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the immune response against infectious agents suggests that miRNA might be exploitable as signatures of exposure to specific infectious agents. In order to identify potential early miRNA biomarkers of bacterial infections, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMCs) were exposed to two select agents, Burkholderia pseudomallei K96243 and Francisella tularensis SHU S4, as well as to the nonpathogenic control Escherichia coli DH5α. RNA samples were harvested at three early time points, 30, 60, and 120 minutes postexposure, then sequenced. RNAseq analyses identified 87 miRNAs to be differentially expressed (DE) in a linear fashion. Of these, 31 miRNAs were tested using the miScript miRNA qPCR assay. Through RNAseq identification and qPCR validation, we identified differentially expressed miRNA species that may be involved in the early response to bacterial infections. Based upon its upregulation at early time points postexposure in two different individuals, hsa-mir-30c-5p is a miRNA species that could be studied further as a potential biomarker for exposure to these gram-negative intracellular pathogens. Gene ontology functional analyses demonstrated that programmed cell death is the first ranking biological process associated with miRNAs that are upregulated in F. tularensis-exposed hPBMCs. PMID:28791299

  13. Differential ability of novel attenuated targeted deletion mutants of Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis strain SCHU S4 to protect mice against aerosol challenge with virulent bacteria: effects of host background and route of immunization

    PubMed Central

    Conlan, J. Wayne; Shen, Hua; Golovliov, Igor; Zingmark, Carl; Oyston, Petra C.F.; Chen, Wangxue; House, Robert V.; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis is a highly virulent facultative intracellular pathogen of humans and a potential biological weapon. A live vaccine strain, F. tularensis LVS, was developed more than 50 years ago by pragmatic attenuation of a strain of the less virulent holarctica subspecies. LVS was demonstrated to be highly effective in human volunteers who were exposed to intradermal challenge with fully virulent subsp. tularensis, but was less effective against aerosol exposure. LVS faces regulatory hurdles that to date have prevented its licensure for general use. Therefore, a better defined and more effective vaccine is being sought. To this end we have created gene deletion mutants in the virulent subsp. tularensis strain and tested them for their ability to elicit a protective immune response against systemic or aerosol challenge with the highly virulent wild-type subsp. tularensis strain, SCHU S4. Both oral and Intradermal (ID) primary vaccination routes were assessed in BALB/c and C3H/HeN mice as was oral boosting. One SCHU S4 mutant missing the heat shock gene, clpB, was significantly more attenuated than LVS whereas a double deletion mutant missing genes FTT0918 and capB was as attenuated as LVS. In general mice immunized with SCHU S4ΔclpB were significantly better protected against aerosol challenge than mice immunized with LVS. A single ID immunization of BALB/c mice with SCHU S4ΔclpB was at least as effective as any other regimen examined. Mice immunized with SCHU S4Δ0918ΔcapB were generally protected to a similar degree as mice immunized with LVS. A preliminary examination of immune responses to vaccination with LVS, SCHU S4ΔclpB, or SCHU S4Δ0918ΔcapB provided no obvious correlate to their relative efficacies. PMID:20018266

  14. GroEL and Lipopolysaccharide from Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain Synergistically Activate Human Macrophages ▿

    PubMed Central

    Noah, Courtney E.; Malik, Meenakshi; Bublitz, DeAnna C.; Camenares, Devin; Sellati, Timothy J.; Benach, Jorge L.; Furie, Martha B.

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, interacts with host cells of innate immunity in an atypical manner. For most Gram-negative bacteria, the release of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from their outer membranes stimulates an inflammatory response. When LPS from the attenuated live vaccine strain (LVS) or the highly virulent Schu S4 strain of F. tularensis was incubated with human umbilical vein endothelial cells, neither species of LPS induced expression of the adhesion molecule E-selectin or secretion of the chemokine CCL2. Moreover, a high concentration (10 μg/ml) of LVS or Schu S4 LPS was required to stimulate production of CCL2 by human monocyte-derived macrophages (huMDM). A screen for alternative proinflammatory factors of F. tularensis LVS identified the heat shock protein GroEL as a potential candidate. Recombinant LVS GroEL at a concentration of 10 μg/ml elicited secretion of CXCL8 and CCL2 by huMDM through a TLR4-dependent mechanism. When 1 μg of LVS GroEL/ml was added to an equivalent amount of LVS LPS, the two components synergistically activated the huMDM to produce CXCL8. Schu S4 GroEL was less stimulatory than LVS GroEL and showed a lesser degree of synergy when combined with Schu S4 LPS. These findings suggest that the intrinsically low proinflammatory activity of F. tularensis LPS may be increased in the infected human host through interactions with other components of the bacterium. PMID:20123721

  15. Use of temperature for standardizing the progression of Francisella tularensis in mice.

    PubMed

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Francisella genes required for replication in mosquito cells.

    PubMed

    Read, Amanda; Vogl, Sigrid J; Hueffer, Karsten; Gallagher, Larry A; Happ, George M

    2008-11-01

    Francisella tularensis, a potential bioterrorism agent, is transmitted by arthropod vectors and causes tularemia in many mammals, including humans. Francisella novicida causes disease with similar pathology in mice. We show that F. novicida invades hemocyte-like cells of the SualB cell line derived from Anopheles gambiae and replicates vigorously within these cells. We used transposon knockouts of single genes of F. novicida to show that bacterial growth within these insect cells is dependent on virulence factors encoded in a bacterial pathogenicity island that has been linked to replication in mammalian macrophages. The virulence factors MglA, IglA, IglB, IglC, and IglD as well as PdpA and PdpB were necessary for efficient growth in insect cells, but PdpC and PdpD were not required. The SualB cell line presents a valuable model to study the interactions between this important pathogen and insect vectors.

  18. Structure-Function Analysis of DipA, a Francisella tularensis Virulence Factor Required for Intracellular Replication

    PubMed Central

    Chong, Audrey; Child, Robert; Wehrly, Tara D.; Rockx-Brouwer, Dedeke; Qin, Aiping; Mann, Barbara J.; Celli, Jean

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium whose virulence relies on its ability to rapidly reach the macrophage cytosol and extensively replicate in this compartment. We previously identified a novel Francisella virulence factor, DipA (FTT0369c), which is required for intramacrophage proliferation and survival, and virulence in mice. DipA is a 353 amino acid protein with a Sec-dependent signal peptide, four Sel1-like repeats (SLR), and a C-terminal coiled-coil (CC) domain. Here, we determined through biochemical and localization studies that DipA is a membrane-associated protein exposed on the surface of the prototypical F. tularensis subsp. tularensis strain SchuS4 during macrophage infection. Deletion and substitution mutagenesis showed that the CC domain, but not the SLR motifs, of DipA is required for surface exposure on SchuS4. Complementation of the dipA mutant with either DipA CC or SLR domain mutants did not restore intracellular growth of Francisella, indicating that proper localization and the SLR domains are required for DipA function. Co-immunoprecipitation studies revealed interactions with the Francisella outer membrane protein FopA, suggesting that DipA is part of a membrane-associated complex. Altogether, our findings indicate that DipA is positioned at the host–pathogen interface to influence the intracellular fate of this pathogen. PMID:23840797

  19. 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

  20. Adaptation of Francisella tularensis to the mammalian environment is governed by cues which can be mimicked in vitro.

    PubMed

    Hazlett, Karsten R O; Caldon, Seth D; McArthur, Debbie G; Cirillo, Kerry A; Kirimanjeswara, Girish S; Magguilli, Micheal L; Malik, Meenakshi; Shah, Aaloki; Broderick, Scott; Golovliov, Igor; Metzger, Dennis W; Rajan, Krishna; Sellati, Timothy J; Loegering, Daniel J

    2008-10-01

    The intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in mammals, arthropods, and freshwater amoeba. It was previously established that the conventional media used for in vitro propagation of this microbe do not yield bacteria that mimic those harvested from infected mammals; whether these in vitro-cultivated bacteria resemble arthropod- or amoeba-adapted Francisella is unknown. As a foundation for our goal of identifying F. tularensis outer membrane proteins which are expressed during mammalian infection, we first sought to identify in vitro cultivation conditions that induce the bacterium's infection-derived phenotype. We compared Francisella LVS grown in brain heart infusion broth (BHI; a standard microbiological medium rarely used in Francisella research) to that grown in Mueller-Hinton broth (MHB; the most widely used F. tularensis medium, used here as a negative control) and macrophages (a natural host cell, used here as a positive control). BHI- and macrophage-grown F. tularensis cells showed similar expression of MglA-dependent and MglA-independent proteins; expression of the MglA-dependent proteins was repressed by the supraphysiological levels of free amino acids present in MHB. We observed that during macrophage infection, protein expression by intracellular bacteria differed from that by extracellular bacteria; BHI-grown bacteria mirrored the latter, while MHB-grown bacteria resembled neither. Naïve macrophages responding to BHI- and macrophage-grown bacteria produced markedly lower levels of proinflammatory mediators than those in cells exposed to MHB-grown bacteria. In contrast to MHB-grown bacteria, BHI-grown bacteria showed minimal delay during intracellular replication. Cumulatively, our findings provide compelling evidence that growth in BHI yields bacteria which recapitulate the phenotype of Francisella organisms that have emerged from macrophages.

  1. TaqMan Real-Time PCR Assays for Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms Which Identify Francisella tularensis and Its Subspecies and Subpopulations

    PubMed Central

    Birdsell, Dawn N.; Vogler, Amy J.; Buchhagen, Jordan; Clare, Ashley; Kaufman, Emily; Naumann, Amber; Driebe, Elizabeth; Wagner, David M.; Keim, Paul S.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the etiologic agent of tularemia and a Class A Select Agent, is divided into three subspecies and multiple subpopulations that differ in virulence and geographic distribution. Given these differences, there is a need to rapidly and accurately determine if a strain is F. tularensis and, if it is, assign it to subspecies and subpopulation. We designed TaqMan real-time PCR genotyping assays using eleven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were potentially specific to closely related groups within the genus Francisella, including numerous subpopulations within F. tularensis species. We performed extensive validation studies to test the specificity of these SNPs to particular populations by screening the assays across a set of 565 genetically and geographically diverse F. tularensis isolates and an additional 21 genetic near-neighbor (outgroup) isolates. All eleven assays correctly determined the genetic groups of all 565 F. tularensis isolates. One assay differentiates F. tularensis, F. novicida, and F. hispaniensis from the more genetically distant F. philomiragia and Francisella-like endosymbionts. Another assay differentiates F. tularensis isolates from near neighbors. The remaining nine assays classify F. tularensis-confirmed isolates into F. tularensis subspecies and subpopulations. The genotyping accuracy of these nine assays diminished when tested on outgroup isolates (i.e. non F. tularensis), therefore a hierarchical approach of assay usage is recommended wherein the F. tularensis-specific assay is used before the nine downstream assays. Among F. tularensis isolates, all eleven assays were highly sensitive, consistently amplifying very low concentrations of DNA. Altogether, these eleven TaqMan real-time PCR assays represent a highly accurate, rapid, and sensitive means of identifying the species, subspecies, and subpopulation of any F. tularensis isolate if used in a step-wise hierarchical scheme. These assays would be very

  2. Optimal swab processing recovery method for detection of bioterrorism-related Francisella tularensis by real-time PCR.

    PubMed

    Walker, Roblena E; Petersen, Jeannine M; Stephens, Kenyatta W; Dauphin, Leslie A

    2010-10-01

    Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of tularemia, is regarded as a potential bioterrorism agent. The advent of bioterrorism has heightened awareness of the need for validated methods for processing environmental samples. In this study we determined the optimal method for processing environmental swabs for the recovery and subsequent detection of F. tularensis by the use of real-time PCR assays. Four swab processing recovery methods were compared: heat, sonication, vortexing, and the Swab Extraction Tube System (SETS). These methods were evaluated using cotton, foam, polyester and rayon swabs spiked with six pathogenic strains of F. tularensis. Real-time PCR analysis using a multi-target 5'nuclease assay for F. tularensis showed that the use of the SETS method resulted in the best limit of detection when evaluated using multiple strains of F. tularensis. We demonstrated also that the efficiency of F. tularensis recovery from swab specimens was not equivalent for all swab processing methodologies and, thus, that this variable can affect real-time PCR assay sensitivity. The effectiveness of the SETS method was independent of the automated DNA extraction method and real-time PCR platforms used. In conclusion, diagnostic laboratories can now potentially incorporate the SETS method into specimen processing protocols for the rapid and efficient detection of F. tularensis by real-time PCR during laboratory bioterrorism-related investigations.

  3. Electrochemiluminescence (ECL) immunosensor for detection of Francisella tularensis on screen-printed gold electrode array.

    PubMed

    Spehar-Délèze, Anna-Maria; Julich, Sandra; Gransee, Rainer; Tomaso, Herbert; Dulay, Samuel B; O'Sullivan, Ciara K

    2016-10-01

    An electrochemiluminescence (ECL) immunosensor for the rapid detection of the Francisella tularensis pathogen using whole antibodies or antibody fragments as capture biomolecule is described. A sandwich immunoassay was used with either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or the whole inactivated bacterial cell (LVS) as a target, while Ru(bpy)3 (2+)-encapsulated silicate nanoparticles were linked to the secondary antibody and used as ECL labels. The assay was performed in a fluidic chip housed in a custom-built black box incorporating electronics, optics and fluidics. The obtained limit of detection for LPS was 0.4 ng/mL, while for the LVS it was 70 and 45 bacteria/mL when the capturing molecule was the whole antibody and the antibody F(ab) fragment, respectively.

  4. Francisella tularensis Schu S4 lipopolysaccharide core sugar and O-antigen mutants are attenuated in a mouse model of tularemia.

    PubMed

    Rasmussen, Jed A; Post, Deborah M B; Gibson, Bradford W; Lindemann, Stephen R; Apicella, Michael A; Meyerholz, David K; Jones, Bradley D

    2014-04-01

    The virulence factors mediating Francisella pathogenesis are being investigated, with an emphasis on understanding how the organism evades innate immunity mechanisms. Francisella tularensis produces a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that is essentially inert and a polysaccharide capsule that helps the organism to evade detection by components of innate immunity. Using an F. tularensis Schu S4 mutant library, we identified strains that are disrupted for capsule and O-antigen production. These serum-sensitive strains lack both capsule production and O-antigen laddering. Analysis of the predicted protein sequences for the disrupted genes (FTT1236 and FTT1238c) revealed similarity to those for waa (rfa) biosynthetic genes in other bacteria. Mass spectrometry further revealed that these proteins are involved in LPS core sugar biosynthesis and the ligation of O antigen to the LPS core sugars. The 50% lethal dose (LD50) values of these strains are increased 100- to 1,000-fold for mice. Histopathology revealed that the immune response to the F. tularensis mutant strains was significantly different from that observed with wild-type-infected mice. The lung tissue from mutant-infected mice had widespread necrotic debris, but the spleens lacked necrosis and displayed neutrophilia. In contrast, the lungs of wild-type-infected mice had nominal necrosis, but the spleens had widespread necrosis. These data indicate that murine death caused by wild-type strains occurs by a mechanism different from that by which the mutant strains kill mice. Mice immunized with these mutant strains displayed >10-fold protective effects against virulent type A F. tularensis challenge.

  5. Francisella tularensis Schu S4 Lipopolysaccharide Core Sugar and O-Antigen Mutants Are Attenuated in a Mouse Model of Tularemia

    PubMed Central

    Rasmussen, Jed A.; Post, Deborah M. B.; Gibson, Bradford W.; Lindemann, Stephen R.; Apicella, Michael A.; Meyerholz, David K.

    2014-01-01

    The virulence factors mediating Francisella pathogenesis are being investigated, with an emphasis on understanding how the organism evades innate immunity mechanisms. Francisella tularensis produces a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that is essentially inert and a polysaccharide capsule that helps the organism to evade detection by components of innate immunity. Using an F. tularensis Schu S4 mutant library, we identified strains that are disrupted for capsule and O-antigen production. These serum-sensitive strains lack both capsule production and O-antigen laddering. Analysis of the predicted protein sequences for the disrupted genes (FTT1236 and FTT1238c) revealed similarity to those for waa (rfa) biosynthetic genes in other bacteria. Mass spectrometry further revealed that these proteins are involved in LPS core sugar biosynthesis and the ligation of O antigen to the LPS core sugars. The 50% lethal dose (LD50) values of these strains are increased 100- to 1,000-fold for mice. Histopathology revealed that the immune response to the F. tularensis mutant strains was significantly different from that observed with wild-type-infected mice. The lung tissue from mutant-infected mice had widespread necrotic debris, but the spleens lacked necrosis and displayed neutrophilia. In contrast, the lungs of wild-type-infected mice had nominal necrosis, but the spleens had widespread necrosis. These data indicate that murine death caused by wild-type strains occurs by a mechanism different from that by which the mutant strains kill mice. Mice immunized with these mutant strains displayed >10-fold protective effects against virulent type A F. tularensis challenge. PMID:24452684

  6. Genomic Deletion Marking an Emerging Subclone of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica in France and the Iberian Peninsula▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Dempsey, M. P.; Dobson, M.; Zhang, C.; Zhang, M.; Lion, C.; Gutiérrez-Martín, C. B.; Iwen, P. C.; Fey, P. D.; Olson, M. E.; Niemeyer, D.; Francesconi, S.; Crawford, R.; Stanley, M.; Rhodes, J.; Wagner, D. M.; Vogler, A. J.; Birdsell, D.; Keim, P.; Johansson, A.; Hinrichs, S. H.; Benson, A. K.

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica is widely disseminated in North America and the boreal and temperate regions of the Eurasian continent. Comparative genomic analyses identified a 1.59-kb genomic deletion specific to F. tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates from Spain and France. Phylogenetic analysis of strains carrying this deletion by multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis showed that the strains comprise a highly related set of genotypes, implying that these strains were recently introduced or recently emerged by clonal expansion in France and the Iberian Peninsula. PMID:17890329

  7. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of fluoroquinolone resistance associated with DNA gyrase mutations in Francisella tularensis, including in tularaemia patients with treatment failure.

    PubMed

    Sutera, V; Hoarau, G; Renesto, P; Caspar, Y; Maurin, M

    2017-09-01

    Fluoroquinolones (FQs) are highly effective for treating tularaemia, a zoonosis caused by Francisella tularensis, but failures and relapses remain common in patients with treatment delay or immunocompromised status. FQ-resistant strains of F. tularensis harboring mutations in the quinolone-resistance determining region (QRDR) of gyrA and gyrB, the genes encoding subunits A and B of DNA gyrase, have been selected in vitro. Such mutants have never been isolated from humans as this microorganism is difficult to culture. In this study, the presence of FQ-resistant mutants of F. tularensis was assessed in tularaemia patients using combined culture- and PCR-based approaches. We analyzed 42 F. tularensis strains and 82 tissue samples collected from 104 tularaemia cases, including 32 (30.7%) with FQ treatment failure or relapse. Forty F. tularensis strains and 55 clinical samples were obtained before any FQ treatment, while 2 strains and 15 tissue samples were collected after treatment. FQ resistance was evaluated by the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for the bacterial strains, and by newly developed PCR-based methods targeting the gyrA and gyrB QRDRs for both the bacterial strains and the clinical samples. None of the F. tularensis strains displayed an increased MIC compared with FQ-susceptible controls. Neither gyrA nor gyrB QRDR mutation was found in bacterial strains and tissue samples tested, including those from patients with FQ treatment failure or relapse. Further phenotypic and genetic resistance traits should be explored to explain the poor clinical response to FQ treatment in such tularaemia patients. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. and International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.

  8. 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

  9. Long-range dispersal moved Francisella tularensis into Western Europe from the East

    PubMed Central

    Dwibedi, Chinmay; Birdsell, Dawn; Lärkeryd, Adrian; Myrtennäs, Kerstin; Öhrman, Caroline; Nilsson, Elin; Karlsson, Edvin; Hochhalter, Christian; Rivera, Andrew; Maltinsky, Sara; Bayer, Brittany; Keim, Paul; Scholz, Holger C.; Tomaso, Herbert; Wittwer, Matthias; Beuret, Christian; Schuerch, Nadia; Pilo, Paola; Hernández Pérez, Marta; Rodriguez-Lazaro, David; Escudero, Raquel; Anda, Pedro; Forsman, Mats; Wagner, David M.; Larsson, Pär

    2016-01-01

    For many infections transmitting to humans from reservoirs in nature, disease dispersal patterns over space and time are largely unknown. Here, a reversed genomics approach helped us understand disease dispersal and yielded insight into evolution and biological properties of Francisella tularensis, the bacterium causing tularemia. We whole-genome sequenced 67 strains and characterized by single-nucleotide polymorphism assays 138 strains, collected from individuals infected 1947-2012 across Western Europe. We used the data for phylogenetic, population genetic and geographical network analyses. All strains (n=205) belonged to a monophyletic population of recent ancestry not found outside Western Europe. Most strains (n=195) throughout the study area were assigned to a star-like phylogenetic pattern indicating that colonization of Western Europe occurred via clonal expansion. In the East of the study area, strains were more diverse, consistent with a founder population spreading from east to west. The relationship of genetic and geographic distance within the F. tularensis population was complex and indicated multiple long-distance dispersal events. Mutation rate estimates based on year of isolation indicated null rates; in outbreak hotspots only, there was a rate of 0.4 mutations/genome/year. Patterns of nucleotide substitution showed marked AT mutational bias suggestive of genetic drift. These results demonstrate that tularemia has moved from east to west in Europe and that F. tularensis has a biology characterized by long-range geographical dispersal events and mostly slow, but variable, replication rates. The results indicate that mutation-driven evolution, a resting survival phase, genetic drift and long-distance geographical dispersal events have interacted to generate genetic diversity within this species. PMID:28348839

  10. Long-range dispersal moved Francisella tularensis into Western Europe from the East.

    PubMed

    Dwibedi, Chinmay; Birdsell, Dawn; Lärkeryd, Adrian; Myrtennäs, Kerstin; Öhrman, Caroline; Nilsson, Elin; Karlsson, Edvin; Hochhalter, Christian; Rivera, Andrew; Maltinsky, Sara; Bayer, Brittany; Keim, Paul; Scholz, Holger C; Tomaso, Herbert; Wittwer, Matthias; Beuret, Christian; Schuerch, Nadia; Pilo, Paola; Hernández Pérez, Marta; Rodriguez-Lazaro, David; Escudero, Raquel; Anda, Pedro; Forsman, Mats; Wagner, David M; Larsson, Pär; Johansson, Anders

    2016-12-01

    For many infections transmitting to humans from reservoirs in nature, disease dispersal patterns over space and time are largely unknown. Here, a reversed genomics approach helped us understand disease dispersal and yielded insight into evolution and biological properties of Francisella tularensis, the bacterium causing tularemia. We whole-genome sequenced 67 strains and characterized by single-nucleotide polymorphism assays 138 strains, collected from individuals infected 1947-2012 across Western Europe. We used the data for phylogenetic, population genetic and geographical network analyses. All strains (n=205) belonged to a monophyletic population of recent ancestry not found outside Western Europe. Most strains (n=195) throughout the study area were assigned to a star-like phylogenetic pattern indicating that colonization of Western Europe occurred via clonal expansion. In the East of the study area, strains were more diverse, consistent with a founder population spreading from east to west. The relationship of genetic and geographic distance within the F. tularensis population was complex and indicated multiple long-distance dispersal events. Mutation rate estimates based on year of isolation indicated null rates; in outbreak hotspots only, there was a rate of 0.4 mutations/genome/year. Patterns of nucleotide substitution showed marked AT mutational bias suggestive of genetic drift. These results demonstrate that tularemia has moved from east to west in Europe and that F. tularensis has a biology characterized by long-range geographical dispersal events and mostly slow, but variable, replication rates. The results indicate that mutation-driven evolution, a resting survival phase, genetic drift and long-distance geographical dispersal events have interacted to generate genetic diversity within this species.

  11. Insights to Genetic Characterization Tools for Epidemiological Tracking of Francisella tularensis in Sweden

    PubMed Central

    Wahab, Tara; Birdsell, Dawn N.; Hjertqvist, Marika; Mitchell, Cedar L.; Wagner, David M.; Keim, Paul S.; Hedenström, Ingela; Löfdahl, Sven

    2014-01-01

    Tularaemia, caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, is endemic in Sweden and is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of three different genetic typing systems to link a genetic type to the source and place of tularemia infection in Sweden. Canonical single nucleotide polymorphisms (canSNPs), MLVA including five variable number of tandem repeat loci and PmeI-PFGE were tested on 127 F. tularensis positive specimens collected from Swedish case-patients. All three typing methods identified two major genetic groups with near-perfect agreement. Higher genetic resolution was obtained with canSNP and MLVA compared to PFGE; F. tularensis samples were first assigned into ten phylogroups based on canSNPs followed by 33 unique MLVA types. Phylogroups were geographically analysed to reveal complex phylogeographic patterns in Sweden. The extensive phylogenetic diversity found within individual counties posed a challenge to linking specific genetic types with specific geographic locations. Despite this, a single phylogroup (B.22), defined by a SNP marker specific to a lone Swedish sequenced strain, did link genetic type with a likely geographic place. This result suggests that SNP markers, highly specific to a particular reference genome, may be found most frequently among samples recovered from the same location where the reference genome originated. This insight compels us to consider whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as the appropriate tool for effectively linking specific genetic type to geography. Comparing the WGS of an unknown sample to WGS databases of archived Swedish strains maximizes the likelihood of revealing those rare geographically informative SNPs. PMID:25401326

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  15. Modulation of hepatic PPAR expression during Ft LVS LPS-induced protection from Francisella tularensis LVS infection

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background It has been shown previously that administration of Francisella tularensis (Ft) Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) protects mice against subsequent challenge with Ft LVS and blunts the pro-inflammatory cytokine response. Methods To further investigate the molecular mechanisms that underlie Ft LVS LPS-mediated protection, we profiled global hepatic gene expression following Ft LVS LPS or saline pre-treatment and subsequent Ft LVS challenge using Affymetrix arrays. Results A large number of genes (> 3,000) were differentially expressed at 48 hours post-infection. The degree of modulation of inflammatory genes by infection was clearly attenuated by pre-treatment with Ft LVS LPS in the surviving mice. However, Ft LVS LPS alone had a subtle effect on the gene expression profile of the uninfected mice. By employing gene set enrichment analysis, we discovered significant up-regulation of the fatty acid metabolism pathway, which is regulated by peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs). Conclusions We hypothesize that the LPS-induced blunting of pro-inflammatory response in mouse is, in part, mediated by PPARs (α and γ). PMID:20082697

  16. Rapid Countermeasure Discovery against Francisella tularensis Based on a Metabolic Network Reconstruction

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-05-21

    tularensis lipopolysaccharide biosyn- thesis, components integral to assembling a functional outer membrane . Compound 24, identified through...database of essential genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nucleic Acids Res 37: D455–458. 55. Langer G, Cohen SX, Lamzin VS, Perrakis A (2008

  17. Genomic analyses of Francisella tularensis strains confirm disease transmission from drinking water sources, Turkey, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

    PubMed

    Karadenizli, A; Forsman, M; Şimşek, H; Taner, M; Öhrman, C; Myrtennäs, K; Lärkeryd, A; Johansson, A; Özdemir, L; Sjödin, A

    2015-05-28

    Waterborne epidemics of tularaemia caused by Francisella tularensis are increasingly reported in Turkey. We have used whole genome sequencing to investigate if F. tularensis isolated from patients could be traced back to drinking water sources. Tonsil swabs from 33 patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal tularaemia in three outbreaks and 140 water specimens were analysed. F. tularensis subsp. holarctica was confirmed by microagglutination and PCR in 12 patients and five water specimens. Genomic analysis of three pairs of patient and water isolates from outbreaks in Sivas, Çorum, and Kocaeli showed the isolates to belong to two new clusters of the F. tularensis B.12 genetic clade. The clusters were defined by 19 and 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a multiple alignment based on 507 F. tularensis genomes. One synonymous SNP was chosen as a new canonical SNP (canSNP) for each cluster for future use in diagnostic assays. No SNP was identified between the genomes from the patient–water pair of isolates from Kocaeli, one SNP between the pair of isolates from Sivas, whereas the pair from Çorum differed at seven SNPs. These results illustrate the power of whole genome sequencing for tracing F. tularensis patient isolates back to their environmental source.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-01

    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. © 2012 The Authors. Immunology © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  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. 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. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. 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

  5. Large Scale Structural Rearrangement of a Serine Hydrolase from Francisella tularensis Facilitates Catalysis*

    PubMed Central

    Filippova, Ekaterina V.; Weston, Leigh A.; Kuhn, Misty L.; Geissler, Brett; Gehring, Alexandra M.; Armoush, Nicola; Adkins, Chinessa T.; Minasov, George; Dubrovska, Ievgeniia; Shuvalova, Ludmilla; Winsor, James R.; Lavis, Luke D.; Satchell, Karla J. F.; Becker, Daniel P.; Anderson, Wayne F.; Johnson, R. Jeremy

    2013-01-01

    Tularemia is a deadly, febrile disease caused by infection by the Gram-negative bacterium, Francisella tularensis. Members of the ubiquitous serine hydrolase protein family are among current targets to treat diverse bacterial infections. Herein we present a structural and functional study of a novel bacterial carboxylesterase (FTT258) from F. tularensis, a homologue of human acyl protein thioesterase (hAPT1). The structure of FTT258 has been determined in multiple forms, and unexpectedly large conformational changes of a peripheral flexible loop occur in the presence of a mechanistic cyclobutanone ligand. The concomitant changes in this hydrophobic loop and the newly exposed hydrophobic substrate binding pocket suggest that the observed structural changes are essential to the biological function and catalytic activity of FTT258. Using diverse substrate libraries, site-directed mutagenesis, and liposome binding assays, we determined the importance of these structural changes to the catalytic activity and membrane binding activity of FTT258. Residues within the newly exposed hydrophobic binding pocket and within the peripheral flexible loop proved essential to the hydrolytic activity of FTT258, indicating that structural rearrangement is required for catalytic activity. Both FTT258 and hAPT1 also showed significant association with liposomes designed to mimic bacterial or human membranes, respectively, even though similar structural rearrangements for hAPT1 have not been reported. The necessity for acyl protein thioesterases to have maximal catalytic activity near the membrane surface suggests that these conformational changes in the protein may dually regulate catalytic activity and membrane association in bacterial and human homologues. PMID:23430251

  6. 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

  7. Isolation of Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis from Blood Cultures by Plasma Purification and Immunomagnetic Separation Accelerates Antibiotic Susceptibility Determination

    PubMed Central

    Aloni-Grinstein, Ronit; Schuster, Ofir; Yitzhaki, Shmuel; Aftalion, Moshe; Maoz, Sharon; Steinberger-Levy, Ida; Ber, Raphael

    2017-01-01

    The early symptoms of tularemia and plague, which are caused by Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis infection, respectively, are common to other illnesses, resulting in a low index of suspicion among clinicians. Moreover, because these diseases can be treated only with antibiotics, rapid isolation of the bacteria and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) are preferable. Blood cultures of patients may serve as a source for bacteria isolation. However, due to the slow growth rates of F. tularensis and Y. pestis on solid media, isolation by plating blood culture samples on proper agar plates may require several days. Thus, improving the isolation procedure prior to antibiotic susceptibility determination is a major clinically relevant need. In this study, we developed a rapid, selective procedure for the isolation of F. tularensis and Y. pestis from blood cultures. We examined drop-plating and plasma purification followed by immunomagnetic separation (IMS) as alternative isolation methods. We determined that replacing the classical isolation method with drop-plating is advantageous with respect to time at the expense of specificity. Hence, we also examined isolation by IMS. Sub-localization of F. tularensis within blood cultures of infected mice has revealed that the majority of the bacteria are located within the extracellular fraction, in the plasma. Y. pestis also resides within the plasma. Therefore, the plasma fraction was isolated from blood cultures and subjected to an IMS procedure using polyclonal anti-F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) or anti-Y. pestis antibodies conjugated to 50-nm nano-beads. The time required to reach an inoculum of sufficient bacteria for AST was shortest when using the plasma and IMSs for both bacteria, saving up to 2 days of incubation for F. tularensis and 1 day for Y. pestis. Our isolation procedure provides a proof of concept for the clinical relevance of rapid isolation for AST from F. tularensis- and Y. pestis

  8. Molecular Immune Responses to Aerosol Challenge with Francisella tularensis in Mice Inoculated with Live Vaccine Candidates of Varying Efficacy

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Hua; Harris, Gregory; Chen, Wangxue; Sjostedt, Anders; Ryden, Patrik; Conlan, Wayne

    2010-01-01

    Background Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen and the etiological agent of tularemia. The subspecies F. tularensis tularensis is especially virulent for humans when inhaled and respiratory tularemia is associated with high mortality if not promptly treated. A live vaccine strain (LVS) derived from the less virulent holarctica subspecies confers incomplete protection against aerosol challenge with subsp. tularensis. Moreover, correlates of protection have not been established for LVS. Methodology/Principal Findings In the present study we compare molecular immune responses elicited by LVS and two defined deletion mutants of clinical subsp. tularensis strain, SCHU S4, that confer enhanced protection in a mouse model. BALB/c mice were immunized intradermally then challenged with an aerosol of SCHU S4 six weeks later. Changes in the levels of a selected panel of cytokines and chemokines were examined in the lungs, spleens, and sera of vaccinated and challenged mice. Mostly, increased cytokine and chemokine levels correlated with increased bacterial burden. However, after adjusting for this variable, immunization with either of the two Schu S4 mutants resulted in higher levels of several pulmonary cytokines, versus those resulting after LVS immunization, including IL-17. Moreover, treatment of mice immunized with ΔclpB with anti-IL-17 antibodies post-challenge enhanced lung infection. Conclusions/Significance This is the first report characterizing local and systemic cytokine and chemokine responses in mice immunized with vaccines with different efficacies against aerosol challenge with virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis. It shows that increases in the levels of most of these immunomodulators, including those known to be critical for protective immunity, do not superficially correlate with protection unless adjusted for the effects of bacterial burden. Additionally, several cytokines were selectively suppressed in the lungs

  9. An Improved Vaccine for Prevention of Respiratory Tularemia Caused by Francisella tularensis SchuS4 Strain

    PubMed Central

    Bakshi, Chandra Shekhar; Malik, Meenakshi; Mahawar, Manish; Kirimanjeswara, Girish S.; Hazlett, Karsten R. O.; Palmer, Lance E.; Furie, Martha B.; Singh, Rajendra; Melendez, J. Andres; Sellati, Timothy J.; Metzger, Dennis W.

    2008-01-01

    Vaccination of mice with Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) mutants described so far have failed to induce protection in C57BL/6 mice against challenge with the virulent strain F. tularensis SchuS4. We previously have reported that a mutant of F. tularensis LVS deficient in iron superoxide dismutase (sodBFt) is hypersensitive to oxidative stress and attenuated for virulence in mice. Herein, we evaluated the efficacy of this mutant as a vaccine candidate against respiratory tularemia caused by F. tularensis SchuS4. C57BL/6 mice were vaccinated intranasally (i.n.) with the sodBFt mutant and challenged i.n. with lethal doses of F. tularensis SchuS4. The level of protection against SchuS4 challenge was higher in sodBFt vaccinated group as compared to the LVS vaccinated mice. SodBFt vaccinated mice following SchuS4 challenge exhibited significantly reduced bacterial burden in lungs, liver and spleen, regulated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and less severe histopathological lesions compared to the LVS vaccinated mice. The sodBFt vaccination induced a potent humoral immune response and protection against SchuS4 required both CD4 and CD8 T cells in the vaccinated mice. SodBFt mutants revealed upregulated levels of chaperonine proteins DnaK, GroEL and Bfr that have been shown to be important for generation of a potent immune response against Francisella infection. Collectively, this study describes an improved live vaccine candidate against respiratory tularemia that has an attenuated virulence and enhanced protective efficacy than the LVS. PMID:18692537

  10. Exposure of laboratory workers to Francisella tularensis despite a bioterrorism procedure.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Daniel S; Schwartz, Donald R

    2002-06-01

    A rapidly fatal case of pulmonary tularemia in a 43-year-old man who was transferred to a tertiary care facility is presented. The microbiology laboratory and autopsy services were not notified of the clinical suspicion of tularemia by the service caring for the patient. Despite having a laboratory bioterrorism procedure in place and adhering to established laboratory protocol, 12 microbiology laboratory employees were exposed to Francisella tularensis and the identification of the organism was delayed due to lack of notification of the laboratory of the clinical suspicion of tularemia. A total of 11 microbiology employees and two persons involved in performing the patient's autopsy received prophylactic doxycycline due to concerns of transmission. None of them developed signs or symptoms of tularemia. One microbiology laboratory employee was pregnant and declined prophylactic antibiotics. As a result of this event, the microbiology laboratory has incorporated flow charts directly into the bench procedures for several highly infectious agents that may be agents of bioterrorism. This should permit more rapid recognition of an isolate for referral to a Level B laboratory for definitive identification and should improve laboratory safety.

  11. Exposure of Laboratory Workers to Francisella tularensis despite a Bioterrorism Procedure

    PubMed Central

    Shapiro, Daniel S.; Schwartz, Donald R.

    2002-01-01

    A rapidly fatal case of pulmonary tularemia in a 43-year-old man who was transferred to a tertiary care facility is presented. The microbiology laboratory and autopsy services were not notified of the clinical suspicion of tularemia by the service caring for the patient. Despite having a laboratory bioterrorism procedure in place and adhering to established laboratory protocol, 12 microbiology laboratory employees were exposed to Francisella tularensis and the identification of the organism was delayed due to lack of notification of the laboratory of the clinical suspicion of tularemia. A total of 11 microbiology employees and two persons involved in performing the patient's autopsy received prophylactic doxycycline due to concerns of transmission. None of them developed signs or symptoms of tularemia. One microbiology laboratory employee was pregnant and declined prophylactic antibiotics. As a result of this event, the microbiology laboratory has incorporated flow charts directly into the bench procedures for several highly infectious agents that may be agents of bioterrorism. This should permit more rapid recognition of an isolate for referral to a Level B laboratory for definitive identification and should improve laboratory safety. PMID:12037110

  12. 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.

  13. Bioavailability and efficacy of levofloxacin against Francisella tularensis in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-01

    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 microg/ml, and 81.4 microg/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 x 10(2) 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.

  14. Characterization of Monoclonal Antibodies to Terminal and Internal O-Antigen Epitopes of Francisella tularensis Lipopolysaccharide

    PubMed Central

    Roche, Marly I.; Lu, Zhaohua; Hui, Julia H.

    2011-01-01

    The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Francisella tularensis (Ft), the Gram negative bacterium that causes tularemia, has been shown to be a main protective antigen in mice and humans; we have previously demonstrated that murine anti-Ft LPS IgG2a monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) can protect mice against otherwise lethal intranasal infection with the Ft live vaccine strain (LVS). Here we show that four IgG2a anti-LPS MAbs are specific for the O-polysaccharide (O-antigen [OAg]) of Ft LPS. But whereas three of the MAbs bind to immunodominant repeating internal epitopes, one binds to a unique terminal epitope of Ft OAg. This was deduced from its even binding to both long and short chains of the LPS ladder in Western blots, its rapid decrease in ELISA binding to decreasing solid-phase LPS concentrations, its inability to compete for LPS binding with a representative of the other three MAbs, and its inability to immunoprecipitate OAg despite its superior agglutination titer. Biacore analysis showed the end-binding MAb to have higher bivalent avidity for Ft OAg than the internal-binding MAbs and provided an immunogenicity explanation for the predominance of internal-binding anti-Ft OAg MAbs. These findings demonstrate that non-overlapping epitopes can be targeted by antibodies to Ft OAg, which may inform the design of vaccines and immunotherapies against tularemia. PMID:21466282

  15. Immunization with heat-killed Francisella tularensis LVS elicits protective antibody-mediated immunity.

    PubMed

    Lavine, Christy L; Clinton, Shawn R; Angelova-Fischer, Irena; Marion, Tony N; Bina, Xiaowen R; Bina, James E; Whitt, Michael A; Miller, Mark A

    2007-11-01

    Francisella tularensis (FT) has been classified by the CDC as a category A pathogen because of its high virulence and the high mortality rate associated with infection via the aerosol route. Because there is no licensed vaccine available for FT, development of prophylactic and therapeutic regimens for the prevention/treatment of infection is a high priority. In this report, heat-killed FT live vaccine strain (HKLVS) was employed as a vaccine immunogen, either alone or in combination with an adjuvant, and was found to elicit protective immunity against high-dose FT live vaccine strain (FTLVS) challenge. FT-specific antibodies produced in response to immunization with HKLVS alone were subsequently found to completely protect naive mice against high-dose FT challenge in both infection-interference and passive immunization experiments. Additional passive immunization trials employing serum collected from mice immunized with a heat-killed preparation of an O-antigen-deficient transposon mutant of FTLVS (HKLVS-OAg(neg)) yielded similar results. These findings demonstrated that FT-specific antibodies alone can confer immunity against high-dose FTLVS challenge, and they reveal that antibody-mediated protection is not dependent upon production of LPS-specific antibodies.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-04-01

    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 LD(50) 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.

  17. Outer membrane vesicle-associated lipase FtlA enhances cellular invasion and virulence in Francisella tularensis LVS.

    PubMed

    Chen, Fei; Cui, Guolin; Wang, Shuxia; Nair, Manoj Kumar Mohan; He, Lihong; Qi, Xinyi; Han, Xiangmin; Zhang, Hanqi; Zhang, Jing-Ren; Su, Jingliang

    2017-07-26

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious intracellular pathogen that infects a wide range of host species and causes fatal pneumonic tularemia in humans. ftlA was identified as a potential virulence determinant of the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) in our previous transposon screen, but its function remained undefined. Here, we show that an unmarked deletion mutant of ftlA was avirulent in a pneumonia mouse model with a severely impaired capacity to infect host cells. Consistent with its sequence homology with GDSL lipase/esterase family proteins, the FtlA protein displayed lipolytic activity in both E. coli and F. tularensis with a preference for relatively short carbon-chain substrates. FtlA thus represents the first F. tularensis lipase to promote bacterial infection of host cells and in vivo fitness. As a cytoplasmic protein, we found that FtlA was secreted into the extracellular environment as a component of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). Further confocal microscopy analysis revealed that the FtlA-containing OMVs isolated from F. tularensis LVS attached to the host cell membrane. Finally, the OMV-associated FtlA protein complemented the genetic deficiency of the ΔftlA mutant in terms of host cell infection when OMVs purified from the parent strain were co-incubated with the mutant bacteria. These lines of evidence strongly suggest that the FtlA lipase promotes F. tularensis adhesion and internalization by modifying bacterial and/or host molecule(s) when it is secreted as a component of OMVs.

  18. Needle-Free Delivery of Acetalated Dextran-Encapsulated AR-12 Protects Mice from Francisella tularensis Lethal Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Hoang, Ky V.; Curry, Heather; Collier, Michael A.; Borteh, Hassan; Bachelder, Eric M.; Schlesinger, Larry S.; Gunn, John S.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis causes tularemia and is a potential biothreat. Given the limited antibiotics for treating tularemia and the possible use of antibiotic-resistant strains as a biowarfare agent, new antibacterial agents are needed. AR-12 is an FDA-approved investigational new drug (IND) compound that induces autophagy and has shown host-directed, broad-spectrum activity in vitro against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and F. tularensis. We have shown that AR-12 encapsulated within acetalated dextran (Ace-DEX) microparticles (AR-12/MPs) significantly reduces host cell cytotoxicity compared to that with free AR-12, while retaining the ability to control S. Typhimurium within infected human macrophages. In the present study, the toxicity and efficacy of AR-12/MPs in controlling virulent type A F. tularensis SchuS4 infection were examined in vitro and in vivo. No significant toxicity of blank MPs or AR-12/MPs was observed in lung histology sections when the formulations were given intranasally to uninfected mice. In histology sections from the lungs of intranasally infected mice treated with the formulations, increased macrophage infiltration was observed for AR-12/MPs, with or without suboptimal gentamicin treatment, but not for blank MPs, soluble AR-12, or suboptimal gentamicin alone. AR-12/MPs dramatically reduced the burden of F. tularensis in infected human macrophages, in a manner similar to that of free AR-12. However, in vivo, AR-12/MPs significantly enhanced the survival of F. tularensis SchuS4-infected mice compared to that seen with free AR-12. In combination with suboptimal gentamicin treatment, AR-12/MPs further improved the survival of F. tularensis SchuS4-infected mice. These studies provide support for Ace-DEX-encapsulated AR-12 as a promising new therapeutic agent for tularemia. PMID:26787696

  19. About three cases of ulceroglandular tularemia, is this the re-emergence of Francisella tularensis in Belgium?

    PubMed

    Dupont, E; Van Eeckhoudt, S; Thissen, X; Ausselet, N; Fretin, D; Stefanescu, I; Glupczynski, Y; Delaere, B

    2015-10-01

    Tularemia is a zoonosis caused by Francisella tularensis that can be transmitted by several ways to human being and cause different clinical manifestations. We report three clinical cases of tularemia with ulceroglandular presentation in young males acquired during outdoor activities in Southern Belgium. Confirmation of the diagnosis was established by serology. Only three cases of tularemia have been reported in Belgium between 1950 and 2012 by the National Reference Laboratory CODA-CERVA (Ref Lab CODA-CERVA) but re-emergence of tularemia is established in several European countries and F. tularensis is also well known to be present in animal reservoirs and vectors in Belgium. The diagnosis of tularemia has to be considered in case of suggestive clinical presentation associated with epidemiological risk factors.

  20. The Role of the Francisella Tularensis Pathogenicity Island in Type VI Secretion, Intracellular Survival, and Modulation of Host Cell Signaling

    PubMed Central

    Bröms, Jeanette E.; Sjöstedt, Anders; Lavander, Moa

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent gram-negative intracellular bacterium that causes the zoonotic disease tularemia. Essential for its virulence is the ability to multiply within host cells, in particular monocytic cells. The bacterium has developed intricate means to subvert host immune mechanisms and thereby facilitate its intracellular survival by preventing phagolysosomal fusion followed by escape into the cytosol, where it multiplies. Moreover, it targets and manipulates numerous host cell signaling pathways, thereby ameliorating the otherwise bactericidal capacity. Many of the underlying molecular mechanisms still remain unknown but key elements, directly or indirectly responsible for many of the aforementioned mechanisms, rely on the expression of proteins encoded by the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI), suggested to constitute a type VI secretion system. We here describe the current knowledge regarding the components of the FPI and the roles that have been ascribed to them. PMID:21687753

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Interleukin-6 Is Essential for Primary Resistance to Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain Infection

    PubMed Central

    Kurtz, Sherry L.; Foreman, Oded; Bosio, Catharine M.; Anver, Miriam R.

    2013-01-01

    We employed Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) to study mechanisms of protective immunity against intracellular pathogens and, specifically, to understand protective correlates. One potential molecular correlate identified previously was interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine with pleotropic roles in immunity, including influences on T and B cell functions. Given its role as an immune modulator and the correlation with successful anti-LVS vaccination, we examined the role IL-6 plays in the host response to LVS. IL-6-deficient (IL-6 knockout [KO]) mice infected with LVS intradermally or intranasally or anti-IL-6-treated mice, showed greatly reduced 50% lethal doses compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Increased susceptibility was not due to altered splenic immune cell populations during infection or decreased serum antibody production, as IL-6 KO mice had similar compositions of each compared to WT mice. Although LVS-infected IL-6 KO mice produced much less serum amyloid A and haptoglobin (two acute-phase proteins) than WT mice, there were no other obvious pathophysiological differences between LVS-infected WT and IL-6 KO mice. IL-6 KO or WT mice that survived primary LVS infection also survived a high-dose LVS secondary challenge. Using an in vitro overlay assay that measured T cell activation, cytokine production, and abilities of primed splenocytes to control intracellular LVS growth, we found that IL-6 KO total splenocytes or purified T cells were slightly defective in controlling intracellular LVS growth but were equivalent in cytokine production. Taken together, IL-6 is an integral part of a successful immune response to primary LVS infection, but its exact role in precipitating adaptive immunity remains elusive. PMID:23230288

  4. 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

  5. IL-12Rβ2 is critical for survival of primary Francisella tularensis LVS infection

    PubMed Central

    Melillo, Amanda A.; Foreman, Oded; Elkins, Karen L.

    2013-01-01

    Using a panel of vaccines that provided different degrees of protection, we previously identified the IL-12 receptor subunit β2 as a mediator, whose relative expression correlated with strength of protection against secondary lethal challenge of vaccinated mice with an intracellular bacterium, the LVS of Francisella tularensis. The present study therefore tested the hypothesis that IL-12Rβ2 is an important mediator in resistance to LVS by directly examining its role during infections. IL-12Rβ2 KO mice were highly susceptible to LVS primary infection, administered i.d. or i.n. The LD50 of LVS infection of KO mice were 2 logs lower than those of WT mice, regardless of route. Five days after infection with LVS, bacterial organ burdens were significantly higher in IL-12Rβ2 KO mice. IL-12Rβ2 KO mice infected with lethal doses of LVS had more severe liver pathology, including significant increases in the liver enzymes ALT and AST. Despite decreased levels of IFN-γ, LVS-vaccinated IL-12Rβ2 KO mice survived large lethal LVS secondary challenge. Consistent with in vivo protection, in vitro intramacrophage LVS growth was well-controlled in cocultures containing WT or IL-12Rβ2 KO LVS-immune splenocytes. Thus, survival of secondary LVS challenge was not strictly dependent on IL-12Rβ2. However, IL-12Rβ2 is important in parenteral and mucosal host resistance to primary LVS infection and in the ability of WT mice to clear LVS infection and serves to restrict liver damage. PMID:23440500

  6. 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

  7. Francisella tularensis type A strains cause the rapid encystment of Acanthamoeba castellanii and survive in amoebal cysts for three weeks postinfection.

    PubMed

    El-Etr, Sahar H; Margolis, Jeffrey J; Monack, Denise; Robison, Richard A; Cohen, Marissa; Moore, Emily; Rasley, Amy

    2009-12-01

    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 to 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 is caused by factor(s) secreted by amoebae and/or F. tularensis into the coculture medium. Further, our results indicate that in contrast to the live vaccine strain LVS, virulent strains of F. tularensis can survive in A. castellanii cysts for at least 3 weeks postinfection and that the 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 interactions between F. tularensis strains and amoebae may play a role in the environmental persistence of F. tularensis.

  8. 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.

  9. Utilization of an unstable plasmid and the I-SceI endonuclease to generate routine markerless deletion mutants in Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Horzempa, Joseph; Shanks, Robert M.Q.; Brown, Matthew J.; Russo, Brian C.; O’Dee, Dawn M.; Nau, Gerard J.

    2011-01-01

    We engineered an efficient system to make Francisella tularensis deletion mutations using an unstable, poorly maintained plasmid to enhance the likelihood of homologous recombination. For counterselection, we adapted a strategy using I-SceI, which causes a double-stranded break in the integrated suicide vector, forcing a second recombination to mediate allelic replacement. PMID:19879904

  10. High-Quality Draft Genome Sequence of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica Strain 08T0073 Isolated from a Wild European Hare

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, Prasad; Myrtennäs, Kerstin; Forsman, Mats; Braune, Silke; Runge, Martin; Tomaso, Herbert

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Here, we report a high-quality draft genome sequence of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica strain 08T0073, isolated from the cadaver of a wild European hare (Lepus europaeus) found near Helmstedt, Lower Saxony, Germany, in 2007. In Germany, infected hares are a major source of tularemia in humans. PMID:28336603

  11. 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.

  12. Generation of a Convalescent Model of Virulent Francisella tularensis Infection for Assessment of Host Requirements for Survival of Tularemia

    PubMed Central

    Crane, Deborah D.; Scott, Dana P.; Bosio, Catharine M.

    2012-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of tularemia. Development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for tularemia has been hampered by the lack of understanding of which immune components are required to survive infection. Defining these requirements for protection against virulent F. tularensis, such as strain SchuS4, has been difficult since experimentally infected animals typically die within 5 days after exposure to as few as 10 bacteria. Such a short mean time to death typically precludes development, and therefore assessment, of immune responses directed against virulent F. tularensis. To enable identification of the components of the immune system that are required for survival of virulent F. tularensis, we developed a convalescent model of tularemia in C57Bl/6 mice using low dose antibiotic therapy in which the host immune response is ultimately responsible for clearance of the bacterium. Using this model we demonstrate αβTCR+ cells, γδTCR+ cells, and B cells are necessary to survive primary SchuS4 infection. Analysis of mice deficient in specific soluble mediators shows that IL-12p40 and IL-12p35 are essential for survival of SchuS4 infection. We also show that IFN-γ is required for survival of SchuS4 infection since mice lacking IFN-γR succumb to disease during the course of antibiotic therapy. Finally, we found that both CD4+ and CD8+ cells are the primary producers of IFN-γand that γδTCR+ cells and NK cells make a minimal contribution toward production of this cytokine throughout infection. Together these data provide a novel model that identifies key cells and cytokines required for survival or exacerbation of infection with virulent F. tularensis and provides evidence that this model will be a useful tool for better understanding the dynamics of tularemia infection. PMID:22428026

  13. 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

  14. Anion inhibitors of the β-carbonic anhydrase from the pathogenic bacterium responsible of tularemia, Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Del Prete, Sonia; Vullo, Daniela; Osman, Sameh M; AlOthman, Zeid; Donald, William A; Winum, Jean-Yves; Supuran, Claudiu T; Capasso, Clemente

    2017-09-01

    A β-class carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC 4.2.1.1) from the pathogenic bacterium Francisella tularensis (FtuβCA) was cloned and purified, and the anion inhibition profile was investigated. Based on the measured kinetic parameters for the enzyme catalyzed CO2 hydration reaction (kcat of 9.8×10(5)s(-1) and a kcat/KM of 8.9×10(7)M(-1)s(-1)), FtuβCA is a highly effective enzyme. The activity of FtuβCA was not inhibited by a range of anions that do not typically coordinate Zn(II) effectively, including perchlorate, tetrafluoroborate, and hexafluorophosphate. Surprisingly, some anions which generally complex well with many cations, including Zn(II), also did not effectively inhibit FtuβCA, e.g., fluoride, cyanide, azide, nitrite, bisulphite, sulfate, tellurate, perrhenate, perrhuthenate, and peroxydisulfate. However, the most effective inhibitors were in the range of 90-94µM (sulfamide, sulfamic acid, phenylarsonic and phenylboronic acid). N,N-Diethyldithiocarbamate (KI of 0.31mM) was a moderately potent inhibitor. As Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia, the discovery of compounds that can interfere with the life cycle of this pathogen may result in novel opportunities to fight antibiotic drug resistance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Inhibition of Expression in Escherichia coli of a Virulence Regulator MglB of Francisella tularensis Using External Guide Sequence Technology

    PubMed Central

    Xiao, Gaoping; Lundblad, Eirik W.; Izadjoo, Mina; Altman, Sidney

    2008-01-01

    External guide sequences (EGSs) have successfully been used to inhibit expression of target genes at the post-transcriptional level in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. We previously reported that EGS accessible and cleavable sites in the target RNAs can rapidly be identified by screening random EGS (rEGS) libraries. Here the method of screening rEGS libraries and a partial RNase T1 digestion assay were used to identify sites accessible to EGSs in the mRNA of a global virulence regulator MglB from Francisella tularensis, a Gram-negative pathogenic bacterium. Specific EGSs were subsequently designed and their activities in terms of the cleavage of mglB mRNA by RNase P were tested in vitro and in vivo. EGS73, EGS148, and EGS155 in both stem and M1 EGS constructs induced mglB mRNA cleavage in vitro. Expression of stem EGS73 and EGS155 in Escherichia coli resulted in significant reduction of the mglB mRNA level coded for the F. tularensis mglB gene inserted in those cells. PMID:19005569

  16. Genetic engineering of Francisella tularensis LVS for use as a novel live vaccine platform against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Cory M; Kobe, Brianna N; Schmitt, Deanna M; Phair, Brian; Gilson, Tricia; Jung, Joo-Yong; Roberts, Lawton; Liao, Jialin; Camerlengo, Chelsea; Chang, Brandon; Davis, Mackenzie; Figurski, Leah; Sindeldecker, Devin; Horzempa, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis LVS (Live Vaccine Strain) is an attenuated bacterium that has been used as a live vaccine. Patients immunized with this organism show a very long-term memory response (over 30 years post vaccination) evidenced by the presence of indicators of robust cell-mediated immunity. Because F. tularensis LVS is such a potent vaccine, we hypothesized that this organism would be an effective vaccine platform. First, we sought to determine if we could genetically modify this strain to produce protective antigens of a heterologous pathogen. Currently, there is not a licensed vaccine against the important opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Because many P. aeruginosa strains are also drug resistant, the need for effective vaccines is magnified. Here, F. tularensis LVS was genetically modified to express surface proteins PilAPa, OprFPa, and FliCPa of P. aeruginosa. Immunization of mice with LVS expressing the recombinant FliCPa led to a significant production of antibodies specific for P. aeruginosa. However, mice that had been immunized with LVS expressing PilAPa or OprFPa did not produce high levels of antibodies specific for P. aerugionsa. Therefore, the recombinant LVS strain engineered to produce FliCPa may be able to provide immune protection against a P. aeruginosa challenge. However for future use of this vaccine platform, selection of the appropriate recombinant antigen is critical as not all recombinant antigens expressed in this strain were immunogenic.

  17. Francisella tularensis modulates a distinct subset of regulatory factors and sustains mitochondrial integrity to impair human neutrophil apoptosis

    PubMed Central

    McCracken, Jenna M.; Kinkead, Lauren C.; McCaffrey, Ramona L.; Allen, Lee-Ann H.

    2016-01-01

    Tularemia is a disease characterized by profound neutrophil accumulation and tissue destruction. The causative organism, Francisella tularensis, is a facultative intracellular bacterium that replicates in neutrophil cytosol, inhibits caspase activation, and profoundly prolongs cell lifespan. Herein we identify unique features of this infection and provide fundamental insight into the mechanisms of apoptosis inhibition. Mitochondria are critical regulators of neutrophil apoptosis. We demonstrate that F. tularensis significantly inhibits Bax translocation and Bid processing through 24–48 h of infection, and in this manner sustains mitochondrial integrity. Downstream of mitochondria, XIAP and PCNA inhibit caspase-9 and caspase-3 by direct binding. Notably, we find that PCNA disappeared rapidly and selectively from infected cells, thereby demonstrating that it is not essential for neutrophil survival, whereas upregulation of calpastatin correlated with diminished calpain activity and reduced XIAP degradation. In addition, R-roscovitine is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor developed for treatment of cancer that also induces neutrophil apoptosis and can promote resolution of several infectious and inflammatory disorders. Herein we confirm the ability of R-roscovitine to induce neutrophil apoptosis, yet also demonstrate that its efficacy is significantly impaired by F. tularensis. Collectively, our findings advance understanding of neutrophil apoptosis and its capacity to be manipulated by pathogenic bacteria. PMID:26906922

  18. 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

  19. 3-substituted indole inhibitors against Francisella tularensis FabI identified by structure-based virtual screening.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xin; Compton, Jaimee R; Abdulhameed, Mohamed Diwan M; Marchand, Charles L; Robertson, Kelly L; Leary, Dagmar H; Jadhav, Ajit; Hershfield, Jeremy R; Wallqvist, Anders; Friedlander, Arthur M; Legler, Patricia M

    2013-07-11

    In this study, we describe novel inhibitors against Francisella tularensis SchuS4 FabI identified from structure-based in silico screening with integrated molecular dynamics simulations to account for induced fit of a flexible loop crucial for inhibitor binding. Two 3-substituted indoles, 54 and 57, preferentially bound the NAD(+) form of the enzyme and inhibited growth of F. tularensis SchuS4 at concentrations near that of their measured Ki. While 57 was species-specific, 54 showed a broader spectrum of growth inhibition against F. tularensis , Bacillus anthracis , and Staphylococcus aureus . Binding interaction analysis in conjunction with site-directed mutagenesis revealed key residues and elements that contribute to inhibitor binding and species specificity. Mutation of Arg-96, a poorly conserved residue opposite the loop, was unexpectedly found to enhance inhibitor binding in the R96G and R96M variants. This residue may affect the stability and closure of the flexible loop to enhance inhibitor (or substrate) binding.

  20. [ROLE OF VARIOUS ANTIGENIC PREPARATIONS OF FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS IN FORMATION OF ALLERGY REACTION IN HUMANS AND ANIMALS].

    PubMed

    Onoprienko, N N; Aronova, N V; Pavlovich, N V

    2016-01-01

    Study the role of LPS in induction of anti-tularemia immunity in humans and animals. Activity of various antigenic preparations of tularemia microbe, including highly purified from protein and S- and R-LPS, was studied using leukocytolysis reaction with blood of vaccinated humans and guinea pigs and skin allergy test (guinea pigs). Only the whole cells of Francisella tularensis, killed in protein non-denaturating conditions and conserving full S-LPS structure (tularin⁺) were shown to be inductors of delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction. Alterations in LPS structure (tularin⁻) results in a significant decrease, and denaturation of bacterial proteins (during boiling) results in a complete loss of immune stimulating properties of the preparations. Purified LPS preparations and O-polysaccharide fraction of S-LPS are not able to activate cell-mediated immunity. The presence of LPS with the full structure affects the ability of antigenic preparations of F. tularensis to cause allergic reactions, and thus, form cell-mediated antitularemia immunity. LPS of F. tularensis can not be excluded as an adjuvant and provides the most effective presentation of epitopes of protein molecules for interaction with receptors of T-lymphocytes.

  1. 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.

  2. Genetic engineering of Francisella tularensis LVS for use as a novel live vaccine platform against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Cory M; Kobe, Brianna N; Schmitt, Deanna M; Phair, Brian; Gilson, Tricia; Jung, Joo-Yong; Roberts, Lawton; Liao, Jialin; Camerlengo, Chelsea; Chang, Brandon; Davis, Mackenzie; Figurski, Leah; Sindeldecker, Devin; Horzempa, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis LVS (Live Vaccine Strain) is an attenuated bacterium that has been used as a live vaccine. Patients immunized with this organism show a very long-term memory response (over 30 years post vaccination) evidenced by the presence of indicators of robust cell-mediated immunity. Because F. tularensis LVS is such a potent vaccine, we hypothesized that this organism would be an effective vaccine platform. First, we sought to determine if we could genetically modify this strain to produce protective antigens of a heterologous pathogen. Currently, there is not a licensed vaccine against the important opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Because many P. aeruginosa strains are also drug resistant, the need for effective vaccines is magnified. Here, F. tularensis LVS was genetically modified to express surface proteins PilAPa, OprFPa, and FliCPa of P. aeruginosa. Immunization of mice with LVS expressing the recombinant FliCPa led to a significant production of antibodies specific for P. aeruginosa. However, mice that had been immunized with LVS expressing PilAPa or OprFPa did not produce high levels of antibodies specific for P. aerugionsa. Therefore, the recombinant LVS strain engineered to produce FliCPa may be able to provide immune protection against a P. aeruginosa challenge. However for future use of this vaccine platform, selection of the appropriate recombinant antigen is critical as not all recombinant antigens expressed in this strain were immunogenic. PMID:25617059

  3. 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

  4. The Natural History of Pneumonic Tularemia in Female Fischer 344 Rats after Inhalational Exposure to Aerosolized Francisella tularensis Subspecies tularensis Strain SCHU S4.

    PubMed

    Hutt, Julie A; Lovchik, Julie A; Dekonenko, Alexander; Hahn, Andrew C; Wu, Terry H

    2017-02-01

    The inbred Fischer 344 rat is being evaluated for testing novel vaccines and therapeutics against pneumonic tularemia. Although primary pneumonic tularemia in humans typically occurs by inhalation of aerosolized bacteria, the rat model has relied on intratracheal inoculation of organisms because of safety and equipment issues. We now report the natural history of pneumonic tularemia in female Fischer 344 rats after nose-only inhalational exposure to lethal doses of aerosolized Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis, strain SCHU S4. Our results are consistent with initial uptake of aerosolized SCHU S4 from the nasal cavity, lungs, and possibly the gastrointestinal tract. Bacteremia with hematogenous dissemination was first detected 2 days after exposure. Shortly thereafter, the infected rats exhibited fever, tachypnea, and hypertension that persisted for 24 to 36 hours and then rapidly decreased as animals succumbed to infection between days 5 and 8 after exposure. Tachycardia was observed briefly, but only after the core body temperature and blood pressure began to decrease as the animals were near death. Initial neutrophilic and histiocytic inflammation in affected tissues became progressively more fibrinous and necrotizing over time. At death, as many as 10(10) colony-forming units were found in the lungs, spleen, and liver. Death was attributed to sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Overall, the pathogenesis of pneumonic tularemia in the female F344 rat model appears to replicate the disease in humans. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Natural killer and CD8 T cells dominate the response by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells to inactivated Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain.

    PubMed

    Gosselin, Edmund J; Gosselin, Diane R; Lotz, Steven A

    2005-10-01

    Francisella tularensis is a category A biothreat agent, and as a result, it has recently generated much research interest. F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) is an attenuated form of the virulent F. tularensis organism and has previously been used as a vaccine. However, because of safety concerns, it is no longer approved for this purpose. Thus, the use of inactivated organisms is preferable for vaccine purposes. Although many studies have been performed that examine human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and in particular CD4 T cells, responses to inactivated F. tularensis, there has been no study identifying the individual human cell populations within a mixed PBMC population that respond to this organism. We sought to address this deficit. Our results indicate that natural killer and CD8 T cells comprise the majority of cells responding to F. tularensis LVS. In addition, data suggest CD8 T cell responses are maximal when antibiotic-treated organisms are used and are minimal when formaldehyde-fixed organisms are used. Given the belief that CD8 T cells can play an important role in protection against F. tularensis infection, these studies have direct relevance to the development of F. tularensis vaccines that use inactivated organisms. In addition, important new knowledge is added to our understanding of the human immune response to F. tularensis LVS.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Needle-Free Delivery of Acetalated Dextran-Encapsulated AR-12 Protects Mice from Francisella tularensis Lethal Challenge.

    PubMed

    Hoang, Ky V; Curry, Heather; Collier, Michael A; Borteh, Hassan; Bachelder, Eric M; Schlesinger, Larry S; Gunn, John S; Ainslie, Kristy M

    2016-04-01

    Francisella tularensiscauses tularemia and is a potential biothreat. Given the limited antibiotics for treating tularemia and the possible use of antibiotic-resistant strains as a biowarfare agent, new antibacterial agents are needed. AR-12 is an FDA-approved investigational new drug (IND) compound that induces autophagy and has shown host-directed, broad-spectrum activityin vitroagainstSalmonella entericaserovar Typhimurium andF. tularensis We have shown that AR-12 encapsulated within acetalated dextran (Ace-DEX) microparticles (AR-12/MPs) significantly reduces host cell cytotoxicity compared to that with free AR-12, while retaining the ability to controlS.Typhimurium within infected human macrophages. In the present study, the toxicity and efficacy of AR-12/MPs in controlling virulent type AF. tularensisSchuS4 infection were examinedin vitroandin vivo No significant toxicity of blank MPs or AR-12/MPs was observed in lung histology sections when the formulations were given intranasally to uninfected mice. In histology sections from the lungs of intranasally infected mice treated with the formulations, increased macrophage infiltration was observed for AR-12/MPs, with or without suboptimal gentamicin treatment, but not for blank MPs, soluble AR-12, or suboptimal gentamicin alone. AR-12/MPs dramatically reduced the burden ofF. tularensisin infected human macrophages, in a manner similar to that of free AR-12. However,in vivo, AR-12/MPs significantly enhanced the survival ofF. tularensisSchuS4-infected mice compared to that seen with free AR-12. In combination with suboptimal gentamicin treatment, AR-12/MPs further improved the survival ofF. tularensisSchuS4-infected mice. These studies provide support for Ace-DEX-encapsulated AR-12 as a promising new therapeutic agent for tularemia. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  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

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

    1992-09-01

    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.

  11. 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

  12. Monophosphoryl Lipid A Enhances Efficacy of a Francisella tularensis LVS-Catanionic Nanoparticle Subunit Vaccine against F. tularensis Schu S4 Challenge by Augmenting both Humoral and Cellular Immunity.

    PubMed

    Richard, Katharina; Mann, Barbara J; Qin, Aiping; Barry, Eileen M; Ernst, Robert K; Vogel, Stefanie N

    2017-03-01

    Francisella tularensis, a bacterial biothreat agent, has no approved vaccine in the United States. Previously, we showed that incorporating lysates from partially attenuated F. tularensis LVS or fully virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 strains into catanionic surfactant vesicle (V) nanoparticles (LVS-V and Schu S4-V, respectively) protected fully against F. tularensis LVS intraperitoneal (i.p.) challenge in mice. However, we achieved only partial protection against F. tularensis Schu S4 intranasal (i.n.) challenge, even when employing heterologous prime-boost immunization strategies. We now extend these findings to show that both LVS-V and Schu S4-V immunization (i.p./i.p.) elicited similarly high titers of anti-F. tularensis IgG and that the titers could be further increased by adding monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), a nontoxic Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) adjuvant that is included in several U.S. FDA-approved vaccines. LVS-V+MPL immune sera also detected more F. tularensis antigens than LVS-V immune sera and, after passive transfer to naive mice, significantly delayed the time to death against F. tularensis Schu S4 subcutaneous (s.c.) but not i.n. challenge. Active immunization with LVS-V+MPL (i.p./i.p.) also increased the frequency of gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-secreting activated helper T cells, IFN-γ production, and the ability of splenocytes to control intramacrophage F. tularensis LVS replication ex vivo Active LVS-V+MPL immunization via heterologous routes (i.p./i.n.) significantly elevated IgA and IgG levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and significantly enhanced protection against i.n. F. tularensis Schu S4 challenge (to ∼60%). These data represent a significant step in the development of a subunit vaccine against the highly virulent type A strains.

  13. [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

  14. 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

    2016-01-15

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. [Vntr-genotyping of Francisella tularensis strains isolated in the former USSR territory and some European countries during epizootics in 1988 - 1989].

    PubMed

    Vodop'ianov, A S; Mishan'kin, B N; Pavlovich, N V; Vodop'ianov, S O; Suchkov, I Iu; Pichurina, N L; Arutiunov, Iu I

    2006-01-01

    Retrospective VNTR-analysis of 159 Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica strains isolated in December 1988 - February 1989 in former USSR and some European countries was carried out. Analysis of heterogenic genotypes of strains allow to subdivide them into 30 groups of variants by individual genotypes, while cluster analysis--to subdivide them in 7 clusters with different number of compositions. The predominance of genotype C1 strains isolated on the Rostov and Archangelsk regions and the Crimea was established. F. tularensis strains isolated in winter time 1988 - 1989 in different geographic regions were supposed to be resident cultures typical for their biotope in natural focus of disease.

  18. 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}.

  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. A Molecular Survey for Francisella tularensis and Rickettsia spp. in Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (Acari: Ixodidae) in Northern California.

    PubMed

    Roth, Tara; Lane, Robert S; Foley, Janet

    2016-12-28

    Francisella tularensis and Rickettsia spp. have been cultured from Haemaphysalis leporispalustris Packard, but their prevalence in this tick has not been determined using modern molecular methods. We collected H. leporispalustris by flagging vegetation and leaf litter and from lagomorphs (Lepus californicus Gray and Sylvilagus bachmani (Waterhouse)) in northern California. Francisella tularensis DNA was not detected in any of 1,030 ticks tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whereas 0.4% of larvae tested in pools, 0 of 117 individual nymphs, and 2.3% of 164 adult ticks were PCR-positive for Rickettsia spp. Positive sites were Laurel Canyon Trail in Tilden Regional Park in Alameda Contra Costa County, with a Rickettsia spp. prevalence of 0.6% in 2009, and Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, with a prevalence of 4.2% in 1988. DNA sequencing revealed R. felis, the agent of cat-flea typhus, in two larval pools from shaded California bay and live oak leaf litter in Contra Costa County and one adult tick from a L. californicus in chaparral in Mendocino County. The R. felis in unfed, questing larvae demonstrates that H. leporispalustris can transmit this rickettsia transovarially. Although R. felis is increasingly found in diverse arthropods and geographical regions, prior literature suggests a typical epidemiological cycle involving mesocarnivores and the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of R. felis in H. leporispalustris. Natural infection and transovarial transmission of this pathogen in the tick indicate the existence of a previously undocumented wild-lands transmission cycle that may intersect mesocarnivore-reservoired cycles and collectively affect human health risk.

  1. Persistence of cell-mediated immunity three decades after vaccination with the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Eneslätt, Kjell; Rietz, Cecilia; Rydén, Patrik; Stöven, Svenja; House, Robert V.; Wolfraim, Lawrence A.; Tärnvik, Arne; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2012-01-01

    Summary The efficacy of many vaccines against intracellular bacteria depends on the generation of cell-mediated immunity, but studies to determine the duration of immunity are usually confounded by re-exposure. The causative agent of tularemia, Francisella tularensis, is rare in most areas and, therefore, tularemia vaccination is an interesting model for studies of the longevity of vaccine-induced cell-mediated immunity. Here lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine production in response to F. tularensis were assayed in two groups of 16 individuals, vaccinated 1-3 or 27-34 years previously. As compared to naïve individuals, vaccinees of both groups showed higher proliferative responses and, out of 17 cytokines assayed, higher levels of MIP-1β, IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-5 in response to recall stimulation. The responses were very similar in the two groups of vaccinees. A statistical model was developed to predict the immune status of the individuals and by use of two parameters, proliferative responses and levels of IFN-γ, 91.1% of the individuals were correctly classified. Using flow cytometry analysis, we demonstrated that during recall stimulation, expression of IFN-γ by CD4+CCR7+, CD4+CD62L+, CD8+CCR7+, and CD8+CD62L+ cells significantly increased in samples from vaccinated donors. In conclusion, cell-mediated immunity was found to persist three decades after tularemia vaccination without evidence of decline. PMID:21442618

  2. Contribution of FcɛRI-associated vesicles to mast cell-macrophage communication following Francisella tularensis infection.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Annette R; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Navara, Christopher; Chambers, James P; Guentzel, M Neal; Arulanandam, Bernard P

    2016-10-01

    Understanding innate immune intercellular communication following microbial infection remains a key biological issue. Using live cell imaging, we demonstrate that mast cells actively extend cellular projections to sample the macrophage periphery during Francisella tularensis LVS infection. Mast cell MHCII(hi) expression was elevated from less than 1% to 13% during LVS infection. Direct contact during co-culture with macrophages further increased mast cell MHCII(hi) expression to approximately 87%. Confocal analyses of the cellular perimeter revealed mast cell caspase-1 was localized in close proximity with FcɛRI in uninfected mast cells, and repositioned to clustered regions upon LVS infection. Importantly, mast cell FcɛRI-encompassed vesicles are transferred to macrophages by trogocytosis, and macrophage caspase-1 expression is further up-regulated upon direct contact with mast cells. Our study reveals direct cellular interactions between innate cells that may impact the function of caspase-1, a known sensor of microbial danger and requirement for innate defense against many pathogenic microbes including F. tularensis.

  3. Cat-bite-induced Francisella tularensis infection with a false-positive serological reaction for Bartonella quintana

    PubMed Central

    Petersson, Evelina

    2017-01-01

    Introduction. Tularaemia is caused by infection with Francisella tularensistransmitted via direct contact with an infected hare carcass or indirectly through the bites of vectors, but may be cat-bite-associated as well. Medical history and reliable diagnostic analysis are important in order to differentiate it from other cat-associated infections, e.g. Bartonella spp. Case presentation. A healthy 56-year-old man was examined because of a cat-bite-associated ulceroglandular wound on his right thumb. Nineteen days after the cat bite occurred, a serology test was positive for anti-Bartonella quintana, but negative for anti-F. tularensis. Since Bartonella infections are rare in Sweden, another serology test was analysed 2 weeks later with a positive result for anti-F. tularensis. The patient was treated with doxycycline for 14 days and recovered. The patient was re-sampled after 18 months to obtain a convalescent sample. The acute and the convalescent samples were both analysed at a reference centre, with negative results for anti-Bartonella spp. this time. Conclusion. This case is enlightening about the importance of extending the medical history and re-sampling the patient for antibody detection when the clinical suspicion of cat-bite-associated tularaemia is high. The false-positive result for anti-B. quintana antibodies may have been due to technical issues with the assay, cross-reactivity or both. PMID:28348802

  4. Visualization of Murine Intranasal Dosing Efficiency Using Luminescent Francisella tularensis: Effect of Instillation Volume and Form of Anesthesia

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Mark A.; Stabenow, Jennifer M.; Parvathareddy, Jyothi; Wodowski, Andrew J.; Fabrizio, Thomas P.; Bina, Xiaowen R.; Zalduondo, Lillian; Bina, James E.

    2012-01-01

    Intranasal instillation is a widely used procedure for pneumonic delivery of drugs, vaccine candidates, or infectious agents into the respiratory tract of research mice. However, there is a paucity of published literature describing the efficiency of this delivery technique. In this report we have used the murine model of tularemia, with Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (FTLVS) infection, to evaluate the efficiency of pneumonic delivery via intranasal dosing performed either with differing instillation volumes or different types of anesthesia. FTLVS was rendered luminescent via transformation with a reporter plasmid that constitutively expressed the Photorhabdus luminescens lux operon from a Francisella promoter. We then used an IVIS Spectrum whole animal imaging system to visualize FT dissemination at various time points following intranasal instillation. We found that instillation of FT in a dose volume of 10 µl routinely resulted in infection of the upper airways but failed to initiate infection of the pulmonary compartment. Efficient delivery of FT into the lungs via intranasal instillation required a dose volume of 50 µl or more. These studies also demonstrated that intranasal instillation was significantly more efficient for pneumonic delivery of FTLVS in mice that had been anesthetized with inhaled (isoflurane) vs. parenteral (ketamine/xylazine) anesthesia. The collective results underscore the need for researchers to consider both the dose volume and the anesthesia type when either performing pneumonic delivery via intranasal instillation, or when comparing studies that employed this technique. PMID:22384012

  5. Visualization of murine intranasal dosing efficiency using luminescent Francisella tularensis: effect of instillation volume and form of anesthesia.

    PubMed

    Miller, Mark A; Stabenow, Jennifer M; Parvathareddy, Jyothi; Wodowski, Andrew J; Fabrizio, Thomas P; Bina, Xiaowen R; Zalduondo, Lillian; Bina, James E

    2012-01-01

    Intranasal instillation is a widely used procedure for pneumonic delivery of drugs, vaccine candidates, or infectious agents into the respiratory tract of research mice. However, there is a paucity of published literature describing the efficiency of this delivery technique. In this report we have used the murine model of tularemia, with Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (FTLVS) infection, to evaluate the efficiency of pneumonic delivery via intranasal dosing performed either with differing instillation volumes or different types of anesthesia. FTLVS was rendered luminescent via transformation with a reporter plasmid that constitutively expressed the Photorhabdus luminescens lux operon from a Francisella promoter. We then used an IVIS Spectrum whole animal imaging system to visualize FT dissemination at various time points following intranasal instillation. We found that instillation of FT in a dose volume of 10 µl routinely resulted in infection of the upper airways but failed to initiate infection of the pulmonary compartment. Efficient delivery of FT into the lungs via intranasal instillation required a dose volume of 50 µl or more. These studies also demonstrated that intranasal instillation was significantly more efficient for pneumonic delivery of FTLVS in mice that had been anesthetized with inhaled (isoflurane) vs. parenteral (ketamine/xylazine) anesthesia. The collective results underscore the need for researchers to consider both the dose volume and the anesthesia type when either performing pneumonic delivery via intranasal instillation, or when comparing studies that employed this technique.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Historical distribution and host-vector diversity of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, in Ukraine.

    PubMed

    Hightower, Jake; Kracalik, Ian T; Vydayko, Nataliya; Goodin, Douglas; Glass, Gregory; Blackburn, Jason K

    2014-10-16

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a zoonotic agent that remains across much of the northern hemisphere, where it exists in enzootic cycles. In Ukraine, tularemia has a long history that suggests a need for sustained surveillance in natural foci. To better characterize the host-vector diversity and spatial distribution of tularemia, we analyzed historical data from field collections carried out from 1941 to 2008. We analyzed the spatial-temporal distribution of bacterial isolates collected from field samples. Isolates were characterized by source and dominant land cover type. To identify environmental persistence and spatial variation in the source of isolation, we used the space-time permutation and multinomial models in SaTScan. A total of 3,086 positive isolates were taken from 1,084 geographic locations. Isolation of F. tularensis was more frequent among arthropods [n = 2,045 (66.3%)] followed by mammals [n = 619 (20.1%)], water [n = 393 (12.7%)], and farm produce [n = 29 (0.94%)], respectively. Four areas of persistent bacterial isolation were identified. Water and farm produce as sources of bacterial isolation were clustered. Our findings confirm the presence of long-standing natural foci of F. tularensis in Ukraine. Given the history of tularemia as well as its environmental persistence there exists a possibility of (re)emergence in human populations. Heterogeneity in the distribution of tularemia isolate recovery related to land cover type supports the theory of natural nidality and clusters identify areas to target potential sources of the pathogen and improve surveillance.

  10. CpG oligodeoxyribonucleotides protect mice from Burholderia pseudomallei but not Francisella tularensis Schu 54 aersols

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-01-01

    live vaccine strain (LVS), when administered before parenteral challenge. Given the potential to develop CpG ODN as a pre-treatment for multiple...1] have been successfully developed as adjuvants for a broad array of bacterial subunit vaccines and are currently undergoing multiple clinical...tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) [3] suggest that CpG ODN may also protect against human-virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 infection. Significantly

  11. 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

  12. Seroprevalence for Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis in Austrian adults: a cross-sectional survey among military personnel and civilians.

    PubMed

    Tobudic, Selma; Nedomansky, Klara; Poeppl, Wolfgang; Müller, Maria; Faas, Angelus; Mooseder, Gerhard; Allerberger, Franz; Stanek, Gerold; Burgmann, Heinz

    2014-04-01

    The prevalence of Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, Brucella abortus, and Brucella melitensis infections in Austria and the exposure risk of military personnel were assessed in an exploratory nationwide cross-sectional seroprevalence survey in 526 healthy adult individuals, 222 of which were soldiers and 304 were civilians. Screening for IgA/IgG antibodies to C. burnetii (Phase I) and IgG/IgM antibodies to C. burnetii (Phase II), and to F. tularensis was done with commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. To detect antibodies against B. abortus and B. melitensis, an in-house complement fixation test was used. Overall, 11 individuals (2.0%) showed antibodies to C. burnetii, 3 individuals (0.5%) were seropositive for F. tularensis, and one (0.3%) individual was borderline positive. All individuals positive or borderline for F. tularensis tested negative for antibodies against C. burnetii. All individuals tested negative for antibodies against B. melitensis/B. abortus. There were no significant differences between the seroprevalence of C. burnetii and F. tularensis among military personnel and civilians. Our data demonstrate serological evidence of a low rate of exposure to C. burnetii and F. tularensis among the Austrian adult population and military personnel.

  13. Host-Adaptation of Francisella tularensis Alters the Bacterium's Surface-Carbohydrates to Hinder Effectors of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Zarrella, Tiffany M.; Singh, Anju; Bitsaktsis, Constantine; Rahman, Tabassum; Sahay, Bikash; Feustel, Paul J.; Gosselin, Edmund J.; Sellati, Timothy J.; Hazlett, Karsten R. O.

    2011-01-01

    Background The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with both intracellular and extracellular phases and could reasonably be expected to express distinct phenotypes in these environments. The presence of a capsule on this bacterium has been controversial with some groups finding such a structure while other groups report that no capsule could be identified. Previously we reported in vitro culture conditions for this bacterium which, in contrast to typical methods, yielded a bacterial phenotype that mimics that of the bacterium's mammalian, extracellular phase. Methods/Findings SDS-PAGE and carbohydrate analysis of differentially-cultivated F. tularensis LVS revealed that bacteria displaying the host-adapted phenotype produce both longer polymers of LPS O-antigen (OAg) and additional HMW carbohydrates/glycoproteins that are reduced/absent in non-host-adapted bacteria. Analysis of wildtype and OAg-mutant bacteria indicated that the induced changes in surface carbohydrates involved both OAg and non-OAg species. To assess the impact of these HMW carbohydrates on the access of outer membrane constituents to antibody we used differentially-cultivated bacteria in vitro to immunoprecipitate antibodies directed against outer membrane moieties. We observed that the surface-carbohydrates induced during host–adaptation shield many outer membrane antigens from binding by antibody. Similar assays with normal mouse serum indicate that the induced HMW carbohydrates also impede complement deposition. Using an in vitro macrophage infection assay, we find that the bacterial HMW carbohydrate impedes TLR2-dependent, pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. Lastly we show that upon host-adaptation, the human-virulent strain, F. tularensis SchuS4 also induces capsule production with the effect of reducing macrophage-activation and accelerating tularemia pathogenesis in mice. Conclusion F. tularensis undergoes

  14. The FupA/B protein uniquely facilitates transport of ferrous iron and siderophore-associated ferric iron across the outer membrane of Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain

    PubMed Central

    Sen, Bhaswati

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious Gram-negative pathogen that replicates intracellularly within the mammalian host. One of the factors associated with virulence of F. tularensis is the protein FupA that mediates high-affinity transport of ferrous iron across the outer membrane. Together with its paralogue FslE, a siderophore–ferric iron transporter, FupA supports survival of the pathogen in the host by providing access to the essential nutrient iron. The FupA orthologue in the attenuated live vaccine strain (LVS) is encoded by the hybrid gene fupA/B, the product of an intergenic recombination event that significantly contributes to attenuation of the strain. We used 55Fe transport assays with mutant strains complemented with the different paralogues to show that the FupA/B protein of LVS retains the capacity for high-affinity transport of ferrous iron, albeit less efficiently than FupA of virulent strain Schu S4. 55Fe transport assays using purified siderophore and siderophore-dependent growth assays on iron-limiting agar confirmed previous findings that FupA/B also contributes to siderophore-mediated ferric iron uptake. These assays further demonstrated that the LVS FslE protein is a weaker siderophore–ferric iron transporter than the orthologue from Schu S4, and may be a result of the sequence variation between the two proteins. Our results indicate that iron-uptake mechanisms in LVS differ from those in Schu S4 and that functional differences in the outer membrane iron transporters have distinct effects on growth under iron limitation. PMID:24307666

  15. The Reduced Genome of the Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) Encodes Two Iron Acquisition Systems Essential for Optimal Growth and Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, Natalie Marie; Ramakrishnan, Girija

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial pathogens require multiple iron-specific acquisition systems for survival within the iron-limiting environment of the host. Francisella tularensis is a virulent intracellular pathogen that can replicate in multiple cell-types. To study the interrelationship of iron acquisition capability and virulence potential of this organism, we generated single and double deletion mutants within the ferrous iron (feo) and ferric-siderophore (fsl) uptake systems of the live vaccine strain (LVS). The Feo system was disrupted by a partial deletion of the feoB gene (ΔfeoB′), which led to a growth defect on iron-limited modified Muller Hinton agar plates. 55Fe uptake assays verified that the ΔfeoB′ mutant had lost the capacity for ferrous iron uptake but was still competent for 55Fe-siderophore-mediated ferric iron acquisition. Neither the ΔfeoB′ nor the siderophore-deficient ΔfslA mutant was defective for replication within J774A.1 murine macrophage-like cells, thus demonstrating the ability of LVS to survive using either ferrous or ferric sources of intracellular iron. A LVS ΔfslA ΔfeoB′ mutant defective for both ferrous iron uptake and siderophore production was isolated in the presence of exogenous F. tularensis siderophore. In contrast to the single deletion mutants, the ΔfslA ΔfeoB′ mutant was unable to replicate within J774A.1 cells and was attenuated in virulence following intraperitoneal infection of C57BL/6 mice. These studies demonstrate that the siderophore and feoB-mediated ferrous uptake systems are the only significant iron acquisition systems in LVS and that they operate independently. While one system can compensate for loss of the other, both are required for optimal growth and virulence. PMID:24695402

  16. Antigen-specific B-1a antibodies induced by Francisella tularensis LPS provide long-term protection against F. tularensis LVS challenge

    PubMed Central

    Cole, Leah E.; Yang, Yang; Elkins, Karen L.; Fernandez, Ellen T.; Qureshi, Nilofer; Shlomchik, Mark J.; Herzenberg, Leonard A.; Herzenberg, Leonore A.; Vogel, Stefanie N.

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft), a Gram-negative intracellular bacterium, is the etiologic agent of tularemia. Infection of mice with <10 Ft Live Vaccine Strain (Ft LVS) organisms i.p. causes a lethal infection that resembles human tularemia. Here, we show that immunization with as little as 0.1 ng Ft LVS lipopolysaccharide (Ft-LPS), but not Ft lipid A, generates a rapid antibody response that protects wild-type (WT) mice against lethal Ft LVS challenge. Protection is not induced in Ft-LPS-immunized B cell-deficient mice (μMT or JhD), male xid mice, or Ig transgenic mice that produce a single IgH (not reactive with Ft-LPS). Focusing on the cellular mechanisms that underlie this protective response, we show that Ft-LPS specifically stimulates proliferation of B-1a lymphocytes that bind fluorochrome-labeled Ft-LPS and the differentiation of these cells to plasma cells that secrete antibodies specific for Ft-LPS. This exclusively B-1a antibody response is equivalent in WT, T-deficient (TCRαβ−/−, TCRγδ−/−), and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-deficient (TLR4−/−) mice and thus is not dependent on T cells or typical inflammatory processes. Serum antibody levels peak ≈5 days after Ft-LPS immunization and persist at low levels for months. Thus, immunization with Ft-LPS activates a rare population of antigen-specific B-1a cells to produce a persistent T-independent antibody response that provides long-term protection against lethal Ft LVS infection. These data support the possibility of creating effective, minimally invasive vaccines that can provide effective protection against pathogen invasion. PMID:19251656

  17. 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.

  18. Efficient inactivation of Burkholderia pseudomallei or Francisella tularensis in infected cells for safe removal from biosafety level 3 containment laboratories.

    PubMed

    Emery, Felicia D; Stabenow, Jennifer M; Miller, Mark A

    2014-07-01

    Working with infectious agents that require BSL-3 level containment agents offers many challenges for researchers. BSL-3 containment laboratories are usually not equipped with expensive specialty equipment that is needed for studies such as flow cytometric analysis, microscopy, and proteomic analyses. Therefore, for most researchers that are working with BSL-3 level infectious agents, removal of samples from BSL-3 laboratories for these types of studies is necessary, and methods for complete and dependable inactivation of the samples are required. In this report, we have carried out a thorough characterization of the effectiveness of paraformaldehyde fixation for inactivation of cell samples infected with the intracellular bacterial agents Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) and Francisella tularensis (Ft), both of which are Tier 1 select agent pathogens that require BSL-3 containment. We have demonstrated that cells infected with these pathogens are completely inactivated via 5-min treatment with 4% paraformaldehyde. Moreover, a 15-min treatment with 2% paraformaldehyde completely sterilized both Bp- and Ft-infected cells. These studies also revealed that Bp is significantly more sensitive to paraformaldehyde treatment than Ft. Our findings have clearly demonstrated that a 15-min treatment of Bp- or Ft-infected cells with 4% paraformaldehyde solution will allow for safe removal of the cell samples from BSL-3 laboratories for downstream studies. © 2014 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Slow-Onset Inhibition of the FabI Enoyl Reductase from Francisella Tularensis: Residence Time and In Vivo Activity

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Hao; England, Kathleen; Ende, Christopher am; Truglio, James J.; Luckner, Sylvia; Reddy, B. Gopal; Marlenee, Nikki; Knudson, Susan E.; Knudson, Dennis L.; Bowen, Richard A.; Kisker, Caroline; Slayden, Richard A.; Tonge, Peter J.

    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 μg/ml. 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. PMID:19206187

  20. 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.

  1. Efficient Inactivation of Burkholderia pseudomallei or Francisella tularensis in infected Cells for Safe Removal from Biosafety Level 3 Containment Laboratories

    PubMed Central

    Emery, Felicia D.; Stabenow, Jennifer M.; Miller, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Working with infectious agents that require BSL-3 level containment agents offers many challenges for researchers. BSL-3 containment laboratories are usually not equipped with expensive specialty equipment that is needed for studies such as flow cytometric analysis, microscopy, and proteomic analyses. Therefore, for most researchers that are working with BSL-3 level infectious agents, removal of samples from BSL-3 labs for these types of studies is necessary, and methods for complete and dependable inactivation of the samples are required. In this report we have done a thorough characterization of the effectiveness of paraformaldehyde fixation for inactivation of cell samples infected with the intracellular bacterial agents Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) and Francisella tularensis (Ft), both of which are Tier 1 select agent pathogens that require BSL-3 containment. We have demonstrated that cells infected with these pathogens are completely inactivated via 5-minute treatment with 4% paraformaldehyde. Moreover, a 15-minute treatment with 2% paraformaldehyde completely sterilized both Bp- and Ft-infected cells. These studies also revealed that Bp is significantly more sensitive to paraformaldehyde treatment than Ft. Our findings have clearly demonstrated that a 15-minute treatment of Bp- or Ft-infected cells with 4% paraformaldehyde solution will allow for safe removal of the cell samples from BSL-3 labs for downstream studies. PMID:24449562

  2. Metabolism-directed structure optimization of benzimidazole-based Francisella tularensis enoyl-reductase (FabI) inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yan-Yan; Liu, Yong; Mehboob, Shahila; Song, Jin-Hua; Boci, Teuta; Johnson, Michael E; Ghosh, Arun K; Jeong, Hyunyoung

    2014-05-01

    1. FabI is a potential antibiotic target against Francisella tularensis, which has been classified as a Category A biowarfare agent of high risk to public health. Our previous work demonstrated that N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds possess promising FabI inhibitory activity, but their druggability properties, including metabolic stability, are unknown. 2. The objective of this study was to characterize structure-metabolism relationships of a series of N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds to guide chemical optimization for better metabolic stability. To this end, metabolic stability data were obtained for 22 initial lead compounds using mouse hepatic microsomes. 3. Metabolic hotspots on the benzimidazole core structure as well as the benzyl ring were identified and verified by metabolite identification studies of four model compounds. Interestingly, the proposed structure-metabolism relationships did not apply to nine newly synthesized cyclopentane or oxacyclopentane derivatives of N-benzyl benzimidazole. 4. Subsequently, in silico quantitative structure-property relationship models were developed. Four molecular descriptors representing molecular polarity/polarisability, symmetry and size were identified to best explain variability in metabolic stability of different compounds. Multi-linear and non-linear regression models based on the selected molecular descriptors were developed and validated. 5. The structure-metabolism relationships for N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds should help optimization of N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds for better pharmacokinetic behavior.

  3. Metabolism-Directed Structure Optimization of Benzimidazole-Based Francisella tularensis Enoyl-Reductase (FabI) Inhibitors

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yan-Yan; Liu, Yong; Mehboob, Shahila; Song, Jin-Hua; Boci, Teuta; Johnson, Michael E.; Ghosh, Arun K.; Jeong, Hyunyoung

    2015-01-01

    FabI is a potential antibiotic target against Francisella tularensis, which has been classified as a Category A biowarfare agent of high risk to public health. Our previous work demonstrated that N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds possess promising FabI inhibitory activity, but their druggability properties including metabolic stability are unknown. The objective of this study was to characterize structure-metabolism relationships of a series of N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds to guide chemical optimization for better metabolic stability. To this end, metabolic stability data were obtained for 22 initial lead compounds using mouse hepatic microsomes. Metabolic hotspots on the benzimidazole core structure as well as the benzyl ring were identified and verified by metabolite identification studies of 4 model compounds. Interestingly, the proposed structure-metabolism relationships did not apply to 9 newly synthesized cyclopentane or oxacyclopentane derivatives of N-benzyl benzimidazole. Subsequently, in silico quantitative structure-property relationship models were developed. Four molecular descriptors representing molecular polarity/polarisability, symmetry and size were identified to best explain variability in metabolic stability of different compounds. Multi-linear and nonlinear regression models based on the selected molecular descriptors were developed and validated. The structure-metabolism relationships for N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds should help optimization of N-benzyl benzimidazole compounds for better pharmacokinetic behavior. PMID:24171690

  4. O-Linked Glycosylation of the PilA Pilin Protein of Francisella tularensis: Identification of the Endogenous Protein-Targeting Oligosaccharyltransferase and Characterization of the Native Oligosaccharide▿†

    PubMed Central

    Egge-Jacobsen, Wolfgang; Salomonsson, Emelie Näslund; Aas, Finn Erik; Forslund, Anna-Lena; Winther-Larsen, Hanne C.; Maier, Josef; Macellaro, Anna; Kuoppa, Kerstin; Oyston, Petra C. F.; Titball, Richard W.; Thomas, Rebecca M.; Forsberg, Åke; Prior, Joann L.; Koomey, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Findings from a number of studies suggest that the PilA pilin proteins may play an important role in the pathogenesis of disease caused by species within the genus Francisella. As such, a thorough understanding of PilA structure and chemistry is warranted. Here, we definitively identified the PglA protein-targeting oligosaccharyltransferase by virtue of its necessity for PilA glycosylation in Francisella tularensis and its sufficiency for PilA glycosylation in Escherichia coli. In addition, we used mass spectrometry to examine PilA affinity purified from Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and demonstrated that the protein undergoes multisite, O-linked glycosylation with a pentasaccharide of the structure HexNac-Hex-Hex-HexNac-HexNac. Further analyses revealed microheterogeneity related to forms of the pentasaccharide carrying unusual moieties linked to the distal sugar via a phosphate bridge. Type A and type B strains of Francisella subspecies thus express an O-linked protein glycosylation system utilizing core biosynthetic and assembly pathways conserved in other members of the proteobacteria. As PglA appears to be highly conserved in Francisella species, O-linked protein glycosylation may be a feature common to members of this genus. PMID:21804002

  5. Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis. The most important bacterial warfare agents - review.

    PubMed

    Pohanka, M; Skládal, P

    2009-01-01

    There are three most important bacterial causative agents of serious infections that could be misused for warfare purposes: Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) is the most frequently mentioned one; however, Fracisella tularensis (causing tularemia) and Yersinia pestis (the causative agent of plague) are further bacterial agents enlisted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into the category A of potential biological weapons. This review intends to summarize basic information about these bacterial agents. Military aspects of their pathogenesis and the detection techniques suitable for field use are discussed.

  6. Comparative evaluation of automated and manual commercial DNA extraction methods for detection of Francisella tularensis DNA from suspensions and spiked swabs by real-time polymerase chain reaction.

    PubMed

    Dauphin, Leslie A; Walker, Roblena E; Petersen, Jeannine M; Bowen, Michael D

    2011-07-01

    This study evaluated commercial automated and manual DNA extraction methods for the isolation of Francisella tularensis DNA suitable for real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis from cell suspensions and spiked cotton, foam, and polyester swabs. Two automated methods, the MagNA Pure Compact and the QIAcube, were compared to 4 manual methods, the IT 1-2-3 DNA sample purification kit, the MasterPure Complete DNA and RNA purification kit, the QIAamp DNA blood mini kit, and the UltraClean Microbial DNA isolation kit. The methods were compared using 6 F. tularensis strains representing the 2 subspecies which cause the majority of reported cases of tularemia in humans. Cell viability testing of the DNA extracts showed that all 6 extraction methods efficiently inactivated F. tularensis at concentrations of ≤10⁶ CFU/mL. Real-time PCR analysis using a multitarget 5' nuclease assay for F. tularensis revealed that the PCR sensitivity was equivalent using DNA extracted by the 2 automated methods and the manual MasterPure and QIAamp methods. These 4 methods resulted in significantly better levels of detection from bacterial suspensions and performed equivalently for spiked swab samples than the remaining 2. This study identifies optimal DNA extraction methods for processing swab specimens for the subsequent detection of F. tularensis DNA using real-time PCR assays. Furthermore, the results provide diagnostic laboratories with the option to select from 2 automated DNA extraction methods as suitable alternatives to manual methods for the isolation of DNA from F. tularensis.

  7. Structural and biological evaluation of a novel series of benzimidazole inhibitors of Francisella tularensis enoyl-ACP reductase (FabI).

    PubMed

    Mehboob, Shahila; Song, Jinhua; Hevener, Kirk E; Su, Pin-Chih; Boci, Teuta; Brubaker, Libby; Truong, Lena; Mistry, Tina; Deng, Jiangping; Cook, James L; Santarsiero, Bernard D; Ghosh, Arun K; Johnson, Michael E

    2015-03-15

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, presents a significant biological threat and is a Category A priority pathogen due to its potential for weaponization. The bacterial FASII pathway is a viable target for the development of novel antibacterial agents treating Gram-negative infections. Here we report the advancement of a promising series of benzimidazole FabI (enoyl-ACP reductase) inhibitors to a second-generation using a systematic, structure-guided lead optimization strategy, and the determination of several co-crystal structures that confirm the binding mode of designed inhibitors. These compounds display an improved low nanomolar enzymatic activity as well as promising low microgram/mL antibacterial activity against both F. tularensis and Staphylococcus aureus and its methicillin-resistant strain (MRSA). The improvements in activity accompanying structural modifications lead to a better understanding of the relationship between the chemical structure and biological activity that encompasses both enzymatic and whole-cell activity.

  8. 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.

  9. An In Vitro Co-culture Mouse Model Demonstrates Efficient Vaccine-Mediated Control of Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 and Identifies Nitric Oxide as a Predictor of Efficacy

    PubMed Central

    Golovliov, Igor; Lindgren, Helena; Eneslätt, Kjell; Conlan, Wayne; Mosnier, Amandine; Henry, Thomas; Sjöstedt, Anders

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterium and cell-mediated immunity is critical for protection, but mechanisms of protection against highly virulent variants, such as the prototypic strain F. tularensis strain SCHU S4, are poorly understood. To this end, we established a co-culture system, based on splenocytes from naïve, or immunized mice and in vitro infected bone marrow-derived macrophages that allowed assessment of mechanisms controlling infection with F. tularensis. We utilized the system to understand why the clpB gene deletion mutant, ΔclpB, of SCHU S4 shows superior efficacy as a vaccine in the mouse model as compared to the existing human vaccine, the live vaccine strain (LVS). Compared to naïve splenocytes, ΔclpB-, or LVS-immune splenocytes conferred very significant control of a SCHU S4 infection and the ΔclpB-immune splenocytes were superior to the LVS-immune splenocytes. Cultures with the ΔclpB-immune splenocytes also contained higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-17, and GM-CSF and nitric oxide, and T cells expressing combinations of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-17, than did cultures with LVS-immune splenocytes. There was strong inverse correlation between bacterial replication and levels of nitrite, an end product of nitric oxide, and essentially no control was observed when BMDM from iNOS−/− mice were infected. Collectively, the co-culture model identified a critical role of nitric oxide for protection against a highly virulent strain of F. tularensis. PMID:27933275

  10. Vaccination with a defined Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida pathogenicity island mutant (DeltaiglB) induces protective immunity against homotypic and heterotypic challenge.

    PubMed

    Cong, Yu; Yu, Jieh-Juen; Guentzel, M Neal; Berton, Michael T; Seshu, Janakiram; Klose, Karl E; Arulanandam, Bernard P

    2009-09-18

    Francisella tularensis, an intracellular Gram-negative bacterium, is the causative agent of tularemia and a potential bioweapon. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine against this organism. We have characterized the efficacy of a defined F. tularensis subsp. novicida mutant (DeltaiglB) as a live attenuated vaccine against pneumonic tularemia. Replication of the iglB mutant (KKF235) in murine macrophages was significantly lower than the wild type novicida strain U112, and exhibited an LD(50) greater than 10(6)-fold (>10(7)CFU vs <10CFU) in an intranasal challenge model. Mice immunized with KKF235 intranasally or orally induced robust antigen-specific splenic IFN-gamma recall responses, as well as the production of systemic and mucosal antibodies. Intranasal vaccination with KKF235 protected mice from subsequent homotypic challenge with U112 as well as heterotypic challenge with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica (LVS). Moreover, protected animals also exhibited minimal pathological changes compared with mock-vaccinated and challenged animals. The protection conferred by KKF235 vaccination was shown to be highly dependent on endogenous IFN-gamma production. Most significantly, oral immunization with KKF235 protected mice from a highly lethal subsp. tularensis (SCHU S4) pulmonary challenge. Collectively, these results further suggest the feasibility of using defined pathogenicity island mutants as live vaccine candidates against pneumonic tularemia.

  11. Animal models for Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia species: scientific and regulatory gaps toward approval of antibiotics under the FDA Animal Rule.

    PubMed

    Stundick, M V; Albrecht, M T; Houchens, C R; Smith, A Pierce; Dreier, T M; Larsen, J C

    2013-09-01

    The development and regulatory approval of medical countermeasures (MCMs) for the treatment and prevention of bacterial threat agent infections will require the evaluation of products in animal models. To obtain regulatory approval, these models must accurately recapitulate aspects of human disease, including, but not necessarily limited to, route of exposure, time to disease onset, pathology, immune response, and mortality. This article focuses on the state of animal model development for 3 agents for which models are largely immature: Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. An overview of available models and a description of scientific and regulatory gaps are provided.

  12. Recombinant attenuated Listeria monocytogenes vaccine expressing Francisella tularensis IglC induces protection in mice against aerosolized Type A F. tularensis.

    PubMed

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

    2009-02-18

    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 seven 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.

  13. 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

  14. Seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Francisella tularensis Infections in Belgium: Results of Three Population-Based Samples.

    PubMed

    De Keukeleire, Mathilde; Vanwambeke, Sophie O; Cochez, Christel; Heyman, Paul; Fretin, David; Deneys, Véronique; Luyasu, Victor; Kabamba, Benoît; Robert, Annie

    2017-02-01

    To estimate the seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Ap), and Francisella tularensis (Ft) in Belgium, we tested sera from three population-based samples in which exposure to pathogen is assumed to vary: 148 samples from workers professionally exposed, 209 samples from rural blood donors, and 193 samples from urban blood donors. Sera were tested using ELISA or the immunofluorescence assay test. The seroprevalence of Bb was 5.4% in workers professionally exposed, 2.9% in rural blood donors, and 2.6% in urban blood donors, which is similar to other studies. The fraction of negative results decreases significantly from urban blood donors and rural blood donors to workers. Regarding the seroprevalence of Ap, the cutoff titer of 1:64 recommended by the manufacturer may be set too low and produces artificially high seroprevalence rates. Using a cutoff titer of 1:128, the seroprevalence of Ap was estimated at 8.1% for workers professionally exposed, 6.2% for rural blood donors, and 5.7% for urban blood donors. Tularemia sera confirmed the presence of the pathogen in Belgium at 2.0% for workers and 0.5% for rural and urban blood donors. Our study is one of the few providing an estimation of the seroprevalences of Bb, Ap, and Ft in three different populations in Belgium, filling the gap in seroprevalence data among those groups. Our findings provide evidence that the entire Belgian population is exposed to Bb, Ap, and Ft infections, but a higher exposure is noticed for professionals at risk. Education on the risk factors for tick bites and preventive measures for both professionals exposed and the general population is needed.

  15. Lipids Derived from Virulent Francisella tularensis Broadly Inhibit Pulmonary Inflammation via Toll-Like Receptor 2 and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor α

    PubMed Central

    Crane, Deborah D.; Ireland, Robin; Alinger, Joshua B.; Small, Pamela

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative facultative intracellular pathogen that causes an acute lethal respiratory disease in humans. The heightened virulence of the pathogen is linked to its unique ability to inhibit Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated inflammatory responses. The bacterial component and mechanism of this inhibition are unknown. Here we show that lipids isolated from virulent but not attenuated strains of F. tularensis are not detected by host cells, inhibit production of proinflammatory cytokines by primary macrophages in response to known TLR ligands, and suppress neutrophil recruitment in vivo. We further show that lipid-mediated inhibition of inflammation is dependent on TLR2, MyD88, and the nuclear hormone and fatty acid receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα). Pathogen lipid-mediated interference with inflammatory responses through the engagement of TLR2 and PPARα represents a novel manipulation of host signaling pathways consistent with the ability of highly virulent F. tularensis to efficiently evade host immune responses. PMID:23925884

  16. 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

  17. Characterization of two unusual clinically significant Francisella strains.

    PubMed Central

    Clarridge, J E; Raich, T J; Sjösted, A; Sandström, G; Darouiche, R O; Shawar, R M; Georghiou, P R; Osting, C; Vo, L

    1996-01-01

    We have isolated two phenotypically distinct nonfastidious Francisella strains (Fx1 and Fx2) from the blood of compromised patients with pneumonia and compared them with eight other Francisella strains, including Francisella tularensis biovar tularensis, F. tularensis biovar novicida, and F. philomiragia. Our isolates grew well on sheep blood agar, chocolate agar, modified Thayer-Martin agar, and Trypticase soy agar. Fx1 and Fx2 were determined to be within the Francisella genus by cellular fatty acid analysis and by the utilization of glucose, production of H2S and catalase, and lack of motility, oxidase, nitrate reductase, and gelatinase. They were additionally shown to belong to the species F. tularensis by sequencing of two variable regions comprising approximately 500 nucleotides of the 16S rRNA gene. Also, RNA probe hybridization confirmed their belonging to the species F. tularensis. However, the new strains, which are not identical, are distinguished from other F. tularensis strains by growth characteristics, repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR fragment pattern, and some biochemical tests. Key biochemical differences included the findings that Fx1 was positive for beta-galactosidase and arabinose hydrolysis and that both strains were citrulline ureidase positive and glycerol negative. Commercial F. tularensis antiserum agglutinated stock F. tularensis strains but not Fx1, Fx2, F. tularensis biovar novicida, or F. philomiragia; serum from either patient failed to agglutinate or only weakly agglutinated commercial antigen but showed agglutination when tested against each patient's respective isolate. Fx1 and Fx2 produced beta-lactamase. Because of their good growth, negative serology, and biochemical profile, the organisms could be misidentified in the clinical laboratory if standard strategies or commercial identification systems are used. PMID:8818897

  18. Large Direct Repeats Flank Genomic Rearrangements between a New Clinical Isolate of Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis A1 and Schu S4

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-02-03

    Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America, 7 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee , United States of America Abstract Francisella...Interpolated variable order motifs for identification of horizontally acquired DNA: revisiting the Salmonella pathoge- nicity islands. Bioinformatics

  19. The Fluorocycline TP-271 Is Efficacious in Models of Aerosolized Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 Infection in BALB/c Mice and Cynomolgus Macaques.

    PubMed

    Grossman, Trudy H; Anderson, Michael S; Christ, David; Gooldy, Melanie; Henning, Lisa N; Heine, Henry S; Kindt, M Victoria; Lin, Winston; Siefkas-Patterson, Kaylyn; Radcliff, Anne K; Tam, Vincent H; Sutcliffe, Joyce A

    2017-08-01

    TP-271 is a novel, fully synthetic fluorocycline in development for complicated bacterial respiratory infections. TP-271 was active in vitro against a panel of 29 Francisella tularensis isolates, showing MICs against 50% and 90% of isolates of 0.25 and 0.5 μg/ml, respectively. In a mouse model of inhalational tularemia, animals were exposed by aerosol to 91 to 283 50% lethal doses (LD50)/mouse of F. tularensis SCHU S4. Following 21 days of once-daily intraperitoneal dosing with TP-271 at 3, 6, 12, and 18 mg/kg of body weight/day, initiating at 24 h postchallenge, survival was 80%, 100%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. When treatment was initiated at 72 h postchallenge, survival was 89%, 100%, 100%, and 100% in the 3-, 6-, 12-, and 18-mg/kg/day TP-271 groups, respectively. No mice treated with the vehicle control survived. Surviving mice treated with TP-271 showed little to no relapse during 14 days posttreatment. In a nonhuman primate model of inhalational tularemia, cynomolgus macaques received an average aerosol exposure of 1,144 CFU of F. tularensis SCHU S4. Once-daily intravenous infusion with 1 or 3 mg/kg TP-271, or vehicle control, for 21 days was initiated within 6 h of confirmed fever. All animals treated with TP-271 survived to the end of the study, with no relapse during 14 days after the last treatment, whereas no vehicle control-treated animals survived. The protection and low relapse afforded by TP-271 treatment in these studies support continued investigation of TP-271 for use in the event of aerosolized exposure to F. tularensis. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  20. Genome characterisation of the genus Francisella reveals insight into similar evolutionary paths in pathogens of mammals and fish.

    PubMed

    Sjödin, Andreas; Svensson, Kerstin; Ohrman, Caroline; Ahlinder, Jon; Lindgren, Petter; Duodu, Samuel; Johansson, Anders; Colquhoun, Duncan J; Larsson, Pär; Forsman, Mats

    2012-06-22

    Prior to this study, relatively few strains of Francisella had been genome-sequenced. Previously published Francisella genome sequences were largely restricted to the zoonotic agent F. tularensis. Only limited data were available for other members of the Francisella genus, including F. philomiragia, an opportunistic pathogen of humans, F. noatunensis, a serious pathogen of farmed fish, and other less well described endosymbiotic species. We determined the phylogenetic relationships of all known Francisella species, including some for which the phylogenetic positions were previously uncertain. The genus Francisella could be divided into two main genetic clades: one included F. tularensis, F. novicida, F. hispaniensis and Wolbachia persica, and another included F. philomiragia and F. noatunensis.Some Francisella species were found to have significant recombination frequencies. However, the fish pathogen F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis was an exception due to it exhibiting a highly clonal population structure similar to the human pathogen F. tularensis. The genus Francisella can be divided into two main genetic clades occupying both terrestrial and marine habitats. However, our analyses suggest that the ancestral Francisella species originated in a marine habitat. The observed genome to genome variation in gene content and IS elements of different species supports the view that similar evolutionary paths of host adaptation developed independently in F. tularensis (infecting mammals) and F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis (infecting fish).

  1. Genome characterisation of the genus Francisella reveals insight into similar evolutionary paths in pathogens of mammals and fish

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Prior to this study, relatively few strains of Francisella had been genome-sequenced. Previously published Francisella genome sequences were largely restricted to the zoonotic agent F. tularensis. Only limited data were available for other members of the Francisella genus, including F. philomiragia, an opportunistic pathogen of humans, F. noatunensis, a serious pathogen of farmed fish, and other less well described endosymbiotic species. Results We determined the phylogenetic relationships of all known Francisella species, including some for which the phylogenetic positions were previously uncertain. The genus Francisella could be divided into two main genetic clades: one included F. tularensis, F. novicida, F. hispaniensis and Wolbachia persica, and another included F. philomiragia and F. noatunensis. Some Francisella species were found to have significant recombination frequencies. However, the fish pathogen F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis was an exception due to it exhibiting a highly clonal population structure similar to the human pathogen F. tularensis. Conclusions The genus Francisella can be divided into two main genetic clades occupying both terrestrial and marine habitats. However, our analyses suggest that the ancestral Francisella species originated in a marine habitat. The observed genome to genome variation in gene content and IS elements of different species supports the view that similar evolutionary paths of host adaptation developed independently in F. tularensis (infecting mammals) and F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis (infecting fish). PMID:22727144

  2. Transcriptional Profiling of Francisella tularensis Infected Peripheral Blood Monomuclear Cells: A Predictive Tool for Tularemia

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-01-01

    responses (Munn et al., 1999). Genes associated with a role in lipid metabolism and PPAR pathways were also found to be mostly induced at a later time...infection, notably those involved in calcium, zinc ion binding, PPAR signaling, and lipid metabolism, which further refines the current knowledge of F...rate, may induce septicemia and fever without the primary involvement of lymph nodes or lungs (Ellis et al., 2002). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells

  3. Structural and biological evaluation of a novel series of benzimidazole inhibitors of Francisella tularensis enoyl-ACP reductase (FabI)

    SciTech Connect

    Mehboob, Shahila; Song, Jinhua; Hevener, Kirk E.; Su, Pin-Chih; Boci, Teuta; Brubaker, Libby; Truong, Lena; Mistry, Tina; Deng, Jiangping; Cook, James L.; Santarsiero, Bernard D.; Ghosh, Arun K.; Johnson, Michael E.

    2015-01-29

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, presents a significant biological threat and is a Category A priority pathogen due to its potential for weaponization. In the bacterial FASII pathway we found it a viable target for the development of novel antibacterial agents treating Gram-negative infections. Here, we report the advancement of a promising series of benzimidazole FabI (enoyl-ACP reductase) inhibitors to a second-generation using a systematic, structure-guided lead optimization strategy, and the determination of several co-crystal structures that confirm the binding mode of designed inhibitors. Furthermore, these compounds display an improved low nanomolar enzymatic activity as well as promising low microgram/mL antibacterial activity against both F. tularensis and Staphylococcus aureus and its methicillin-resistant strain (MRSA). Finally, the improvements in activity accompanying structural modifications lead to a better understanding of the relationship between the chemical structure and biological activity that encompasses both enzymatic and whole-cell activity.

  4. Structural and biological evaluation of a novel series of benzimidazole inhibitors of Francisella tularensis enoyl-ACP reductase (FabI)

    DOE PAGES

    Mehboob, Shahila; Song, Jinhua; Hevener, Kirk E.; ...

    2015-01-29

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, presents a significant biological threat and is a Category A priority pathogen due to its potential for weaponization. In the bacterial FASII pathway we found it a viable target for the development of novel antibacterial agents treating Gram-negative infections. Here, we report the advancement of a promising series of benzimidazole FabI (enoyl-ACP reductase) inhibitors to a second-generation using a systematic, structure-guided lead optimization strategy, and the determination of several co-crystal structures that confirm the binding mode of designed inhibitors. Furthermore, these compounds display an improved low nanomolar enzymatic activity as well as promisingmore » low microgram/mL antibacterial activity against both F. tularensis and Staphylococcus aureus and its methicillin-resistant strain (MRSA). Finally, the improvements in activity accompanying structural modifications lead to a better understanding of the relationship between the chemical structure and biological activity that encompasses both enzymatic and whole-cell activity.« less

  5. 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.

  6. A Bioluminescent Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 Strain Enables Noninvasive Tracking of Bacterial Dissemination and the Evaluation of Antibiotics in an Inhalational Mouse Model of Tularemia

    PubMed Central

    Flick-Smith, Helen C.; Harding, Sarah V.; Atkins, Helen S.; Titball, Richard W.

    2016-01-01

    Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) enables real-time, noninvasive tracking of infection in vivo and longitudinal infection studies. In this study, a bioluminescent Francisella tularensis strain, SCHU S4-lux, was used to develop an inhalational infection model in BALB/c mice. Mice were infected intranasally, and the progression of infection was monitored in real time using BLI. A bioluminescent signal was detectable from 3 days postinfection (3 dpi), initially in the spleen and then in the liver and lymph nodes, before finally becoming systemic. The level of bioluminescent signal correlated with bacterial numbers in vivo, enabling noninvasive quantification of bacterial burdens in tissues. Treatment with levofloxacin (commencing at 4 dpi) significantly reduced the BLI signal. Furthermore, BLI was able to distinguish noninvasively between different levofloxacin treatment regimens and to identify sites of relapse following treatment cessation. These data demonstrate that BLI and SCHU S4-lux are suitable for the study of F. tularensis pathogenesis and the evaluation of therapeutics for tularemia. PMID:27671061

  7. Successful protection against tularemia in C57BL/6 mice is correlated with expansion of Francisella tularensis-specific effector T cells.

    PubMed

    Griffin, Amanda J; Crane, Deborah D; Wehrly, Tara D; Bosio, Catharine M

    2015-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular, Gram-negative bacterium that causes the fatal disease tularemia. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines for tularemia and the requirements for protection against infection are poorly defined. To identify correlates of vaccine-induced immunity against tularemia, we compared different strains of the live vaccine strain (LVS) for their relative levels of virulence and ability to protect C57BL/6 mice against challenge with virulent F. tularensis strain SchuS4. Successful vaccination, as defined by survival of C57BL/6 mice, was correlated with significantly greater numbers of effector T cells in the spleen and lung. Further, lung cells and splenocytes from fully protected animals were more effective than lung cells and splenocytes from vaccinated but nonimmune animals in limiting intracellular replication of SchuS4 in vitro. Together, our data provide a unique model to compare efficacious vaccines to nonefficacious vaccines, which will enable comprehensive identification of host and bacterial components required for immunization against tularemia. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  8. Antibodies to Both Terminal and Internal B-Cell Epitopes of Francisella tularensis O-Polysaccharide Produced by Patients with Tularemia

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhaohua; Perkins, Hillary M.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the Gram-negative bacterium that causes tularemia, is considered a potential bioterrorism threat due to its low infectivity dose and the high morbidity and mortality from respiratory disease. We previously characterized two mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for the O-polysaccharide (O antigen [OAg]) of F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide (LPS): Ab63, which targets a terminal epitope at the nonreducing end of OAg, and Ab52, which targets a repeating internal OAg epitope. These two MAbs were protective in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia. To determine whether these epitope types are also targeted by humans, we tested the ability of each of 18 blood serum samples from 11 tularemia patients to inhibit the binding of Ab63 or Ab52 to F. tularensis LPS in a competition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Although all serum samples had Ab63- and Ab52-inhibitory activities, the ratios of Ab63 to Ab52 inhibitory potencies varied 75-fold. However, the variation was only 2.3-fold for sequential serum samples from the same patient, indicating different distributions of terminal- versus internal-binding antibodies in different individuals. Western blot analysis using class-specific anti-human Ig secondary antibodies showed that both terminal- and internal-binding OAg antibodies were of the IgG, IgM, and IgA isotypes. These results support the use of a mouse model to discover protective B-cell epitopes for tularemia vaccines or prophylactic/therapeutic antibodies, and they present a general strategy for interrogating the antibody responses of patients and vaccinees to microbial carbohydrate epitopes that have been characterized in experimental animals. PMID:24351753

  9. Genus Francisella.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-05-15

    Francisella tularensis. Infect. Immun. 12:137-142. Bergey , D. H., F. C. Harrison, R. S. Breed, B. W. Hammer and F. M. Huntoon. 1923. Bergey’s Manual of...reprints not available at this time. To he published as a chapter in Volume 1, Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. 19. KEY WORDS (Continue on...Bacterium, McCoy and Chapin 1912, 61; Pasteurella, Bergey et al. 1923, 267; Brucella, Topley and Wilson 1929, 509; Francisella, Dorofe’ev 1947, 176

  10. Francisella tularensis Susceptibility to Antibiotics: A Comprehensive Review of the Data Obtained In vitro and in Animal Models.

    PubMed

    Caspar, Yvan; Maurin, Max

    2017-01-01

    The antibiotic classes that are recommended for tularaemia treatment are the aminoglycosides, the fluoroquinolones and the tetracyclines. However, cure rates vary between 60 and 100% depending on the antibiotic used, the time to appropriate antibiotic therapy setup and its duration, and the presence of complications, such as lymph node suppuration. Thus, antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) of F. tularensis strains remains of primary importance for detection of the emergence of antibiotic resistances to first-line drugs, and to test new therapeutic alternatives. However, the AST methods reported in the literature were poorly standardized between studies and AST data have not been previously evaluated in a comprehensive and comparative way. The aim of the present review was to summarize experimental data on antibiotic susceptibilities of F. tularensis obtained in acellular media, cell models and animal models since the introduction of fluoroquinolones in the treatment of tularaemia in 1989. We compiled MIC data of 33 antibiotics (including aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, macrolides, β-lactams, chloramphenicol, rifampicin, and linezolid) against 900 F. tularensis strains (504 human strains), including 107 subsp. tularensis (type A), 789 subsp. holarctica (type B) and four subsp. mediasiatica strains, using various AST methods. Specific culture media were identified or confirmed as unsuitable for AST of F. tularensis. Overall, MICs were the lowest for ciprofloxacin (≤ 0.002-0.125 mg/L) and levofloxacin, and ranged from ≤ 0.016 to 2 mg/L for gentamicin, and 0.064 to 4 mg/L for doxycycline. No resistant strain to any of these antibiotics was reported. Fluoroquinolones also exhibited a bactericidal activity against intracellular F. tularensis and lower relapse rates in animal models when compared with the bacteriostatic compound doxycycline. As expected, lower MIC values were found for macrolides against type A and biovar I type B strains

  11. Francisella tularensis Susceptibility to Antibiotics: A Comprehensive Review of the Data Obtained In vitro and in Animal Models

    PubMed Central

    Caspar, Yvan; Maurin, Max

    2017-01-01

    The antibiotic classes that are recommended for tularaemia treatment are the aminoglycosides, the fluoroquinolones and the tetracyclines. However, cure rates vary between 60 and 100% depending on the antibiotic used, the time to appropriate antibiotic therapy setup and its duration, and the presence of complications, such as lymph node suppuration. Thus, antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) of F. tularensis strains remains of primary importance for detection of the emergence of antibiotic resistances to first-line drugs, and to test new therapeutic alternatives. However, the AST methods reported in the literature were poorly standardized between studies and AST data have not been previously evaluated in a comprehensive and comparative way. The aim of the present review was to summarize experimental data on antibiotic susceptibilities of F. tularensis obtained in acellular media, cell models and animal models since the introduction of fluoroquinolones in the treatment of tularaemia in 1989. We compiled MIC data of 33 antibiotics (including aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, macrolides, β-lactams, chloramphenicol, rifampicin, and linezolid) against 900 F. tularensis strains (504 human strains), including 107 subsp. tularensis (type A), 789 subsp. holarctica (type B) and four subsp. mediasiatica strains, using various AST methods. Specific culture media were identified or confirmed as unsuitable for AST of F. tularensis. Overall, MICs were the lowest for ciprofloxacin (≤ 0.002–0.125 mg/L) and levofloxacin, and ranged from ≤ 0.016 to 2 mg/L for gentamicin, and 0.064 to 4 mg/L for doxycycline. No resistant strain to any of these antibiotics was reported. Fluoroquinolones also exhibited a bactericidal activity against intracellular F. tularensis and lower relapse rates in animal models when compared with the bacteriostatic compound doxycycline. As expected, lower MIC values were found for macrolides against type A and biovar I type B strains

  12. Francisella tularensis SchuS4 and SchuS4 lipids inhibit IL-12p40 in primary human dendritic cells by inhibition of IRF1 and IRF8*

    PubMed Central

    Ireland, Robin; Wang, Rong; Alinger, Joshua B.; Small, Pamela; Bosio, Catharine M.

    2013-01-01

    Induction of innate immunity is essential for host survival of infection. Evasion and inhibition of innate immunity is a strategy used by pathogens, such as the highly virulent bacterium Francisella tularensis, to ensure their replication and transmission. The mechanism and bacterial components responsible for this suppression of innate immunity by F. tularensis are not defined. Here, we demonstrate that lipids enriched from virulent F. tularensis strain SchuS4, but not attenuated Live Vaccine Strain (LVS), inhibit inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo. Suppression of inflammatory responses is associated with IκBα independent inhibition of NF-κBp65 activation and selective inhibition of activation of Interferon Regulatory Factors (IRFs). Interference with NF-κBp65 and IRFs is also observed following infection with viable SchuS4. Together these data provide novel insight as to how highly virulent bacteria selectively modulate the host to interfere innate immune responses required for survival of infection. PMID:23817430

  13. CpG Oligodeoxyribonucleotides Protect Mice from Burkholderia Pseudomallei but not Francisella Tularensis Schu S4 Aerosols

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-01-01

    David A Rozak1*, Herbert C Gelhaus1,3, Mark Smith2, Mojgan Zadeh1,4, Louis Huzella2, David Waag1, Jeffrey J Adamovicz1,5 Abstract Studies have shown...tularensis LPS, and contributes to F. novicida murine pathogenesis. Microbes and infection/ Institut Pasteur 2003, 5(5):397-403. 12. Forsman M, Sandstrom G

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2016-01-01

    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

  15. 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 Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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

  16. Aerosol-, but not intradermal-immunization with the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis protects mice against subsequent aerosol challenge with a highly virulent type A strain of the pathogen by an alphabeta T cell- and interferon gamma- dependent mechanism.

    PubMed

    Wayne Conlan, J; Shen, Hua; Kuolee, Rhonda; Zhao, Xigeng; Chen, Wangxue

    2005-03-31

    Francisella tularensis is an extremely virulent facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen of many mammalian species including mice and humans in which it causes a spectrum of disease collectively called tularemia. In humans, intradermal or inhaled inocula of 10cfu or less of the most virulent strains of the pathogen are sufficient to cause severe infection and possible death; in mice similar inocula are routinely lethal. An attenuated live vaccine strain, F. tularensis LVS, was developed almost 50 years ago, and remains the sole prophylactic against virulent strains of the pathogen. Using F. tularensis LVS as a model vaccine, we recently showed that it was possible to systemically immunize various mouse strains and protect them against subsequent massive (2000 cfu) intradermal (i.d.) challenge, but not against low dose (approximately 10 cfu) aerosol challenge, with virulent strains of the pathogen. This is troubling because the latter route is considered an important means of deliberately disseminating F. tularensis in a bioterrorist attack. Others have previously shown that administering LVS to humans, guinea pigs and monkeys as an aerosol enhanced protection against subsequent aerosol challenge with virulent F. tularensis. In the present study, we show the same phenomenon in BALB/c and C3H/HeN mice. In this model, interferon gamma (IFNgamma) and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are essential for the expression of anti-Francisella immunity in the lungs. Combined this immune response operates by limiting dissemination of the pathogen to susceptible internal organs. Further, understanding of how inhaled LVS elicits local cell-mediated protective immunity will be critical for devising improved vaccines against pulmonary tularemia.

  17. Live Vaccine Strain Francisella tularensis is Detectable at the Inoculation Site but Not in Blood after Vaccination Against Tularemia

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-08-10

    transmission have been observed. The vaccine is administered by scarification and forms a small lesion, mimicking a very mild case of ulcer- oglandular...plied to the skin surface with scarification , in a similar manner to the vaccinia (smallpox) vaccine, with subsequent develop- ment of cutaneous lesions...No previous study has made use of multiple diagnostic platforms to detect the presence of LVS F. tularensis at the scarification site or in the

  18. Anti-Francisella tularensis DNA Aptamers Detect Tularemia Antigen from Different Subspecies by Aptamer-Linked Immobilized Sorbent Assay

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-01-01

    Bartonella henselae . Moreover, there is no binding observed either to pure chicken albumin or chicken lysozyme. Thus, it appears that this novel...isolated from a cat in Houston, TX, USA. Bartonella henselae (ATCC Number 49882) was purchased from American Type Culture Collection, Manassas, VA, USA...tularensis (SCHU 4) were used in the ELISA. Bartonella henselae , chicken albumin and chicken lysozyme were used as negative controls. Dot Blot Analysis

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

    DOE PAGES

    McGillick, Brian E.; Kumaran, Desigan; Vieni, Casey; ...

    2016-01-28

    The bacterial system for fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS) contains several enzymes whose sequence and structure are highly conserved across a vast array of pathogens. Coupled with their low homology and difference in organization compared to the equivalent system in humans, this 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. In addition, we havemore » 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. Our 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.« less

  20. A heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy comprising the Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain capB mutant and recombinant attenuated Listeria monocytogenes expressing F. tularensis IglC induces potent protective immunity in mice against virulent F. tularensis aerosol challenge.

    PubMed

    Jia, Qingmei; Bowen, Richard; Sahakian, Jacob; Dillon, Barbara Jane; Horwitz, Marcus A

    2013-05-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a category A bioterrorism agent. A vaccine that is safer and more effective than the currently available unlicensed F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) is needed to protect against intentional release of aerosolized F. tularensis, the most dangerous type of exposure. In this study, we employed a heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy comprising intradermally administered LVS ΔcapB (highly attenuated capB-deficient LVS mutant) as the primer vaccine and rLm/iglC (recombinant attenuated Listeria monocytogenes expressing the F. tularensis immunoprotective antigen IglC) as the booster vaccine. Boosting LVS ΔcapB-primed mice with rLm/iglC significantly enhanced T cell immunity; their splenic T cells secreted significantly more gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and had significantly more cytokine (IFN-γ and/or tumor necrosis factor [TNF] and/or interleukin-2 [IL-2])-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells upon in vitro IglC stimulation. Importantly, mice primed with LVS ΔcapB or rLVS ΔcapB/IglC, boosted with rLm/iglC, and subsequently challenged with 10 50% lethal doses (LD50) of aerosolized highly virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 had a significantly higher survival rate and mean survival time than mice immunized with only LVS ΔcapB (P < 0.0001); moreover, compared with mice immunized once with LVS, primed-boosted mice had a higher survival rate (75% versus 62.5%) and mean survival time during the first 21 days postchallenge (19 and 20 days for mice boosted after being primed with LVS ΔcapB and rLVS ΔcapB/IglC, respectively, versus 17 days for mice immunized with LVS) and maintained their weight significantly better (P < 0.01). Thus, the LVS ΔcapB-rLm/iglC prime-boost vaccination strategy holds substantial promise for a vaccine that is safer and at least as potent as LVS.

  1. A Heterologous Prime-Boost Vaccination Strategy Comprising the Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain capB Mutant and Recombinant Attenuated Listeria monocytogenes Expressing F. tularensis IglC Induces Potent Protective Immunity in Mice against Virulent F. tularensis Aerosol Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Jia, Qingmei; Bowen, Richard; Sahakian, Jacob; Dillon, Barbara Jane

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a category A bioterrorism agent. A vaccine that is safer and more effective than the currently available unlicensed F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) is needed to protect against intentional release of aerosolized F. tularensis, the most dangerous type of exposure. In this study, we employed a heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy comprising intradermally administered LVS ΔcapB (highly attenuated capB-deficient LVS mutant) as the primer vaccine and rLm/iglC (recombinant attenuated Listeria monocytogenes expressing the F. tularensis immunoprotective antigen IglC) as the booster vaccine. Boosting LVS ΔcapB-primed mice with rLm/iglC significantly enhanced T cell immunity; their splenic T cells secreted significantly more gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and had significantly more cytokine (IFN-γ and/or tumor necrosis factor [TNF] and/or interleukin-2 [IL-2])-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells upon in vitro IglC stimulation. Importantly, mice primed with LVS ΔcapB or rLVS ΔcapB/IglC, boosted with rLm/iglC, and subsequently challenged with 10 50% lethal doses (LD50) of aerosolized highly virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 had a significantly higher survival rate and mean survival time than mice immunized with only LVS ΔcapB (P < 0.0001); moreover, compared with mice immunized once with LVS, primed-boosted mice had a higher survival rate (75% versus 62.5%) and mean survival time during the first 21 days postchallenge (19 and 20 days for mice boosted after being primed with LVS ΔcapB and rLVS ΔcapB/IglC, respectively, versus 17 days for mice immunized with LVS) and maintained their weight significantly better (P < 0.01). Thus, the LVS ΔcapB-rLm/iglC prime-boost vaccination strategy holds substantial promise for a vaccine that is safer and at least as potent as LVS. PMID:23439306

  2. 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.

  3. Differential Cultivation of Francisella tularensis Induces Changes in the Immune Response to and Protective Efficacy of Whole Cell-Based Inactivated Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Sudeep; Sunagar, Raju; Pham, Giang; Franz, Brian J.; Rosa, Sarah J.; Hazlett, Karsten R. O.; Gosselin, Edmund J.

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft) is a category A biothreat agent for which there is no Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine. Ft can survive in a variety of habitats with a remarkable ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Furthermore, Ft expresses distinct sets of antigens (Ags) when inside of macrophages (its in vivo host) as compared to those grown in vitro with Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). However, in contrast to MHB-grown Ft, Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) more closely mimics the antigenic profile of macrophage-grown Ft. Thus, we anticipated that when used as a vaccine, BHI-grown Ft would provide better protection compared to MHB-grown Ft, primarily due to its greater antigenic similarity to Ft circulating inside the host (macrophages) during natural infection. Our investigation, however, revealed that inactivated Ft (iFt) grown in MHB (iFt-MHB) exhibited superior protective activity when used as a vaccine, as compared to iFt grown in BHI (iFt-BHI). The superior protection afforded by iFt-MHB compared to that of iFt-BHI was associated with significantly lower bacterial burden and inflammation in the lungs and spleens of vaccinated mice. Moreover, iFt-MHB also induced increased levels of Ft-specific IgG. Further evaluation of early immunological cues also revealed that iFt-MHB exhibits increased engagement of Ag-presenting cells including increased iFt binding to dendritic cells, increased expression of costimulatory markers, and increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Importantly, these studies directly demonstrate that Ft growth conditions strongly impact Ft vaccine efficacy and that the growth medium used to produce whole cell vaccines to Ft must be a key consideration in the development of a tularemia vaccine. PMID:28119692

  4. Differential Cultivation of Francisella tularensis Induces Changes in the Immune Response to and Protective Efficacy of Whole Cell-Based Inactivated Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudeep; Sunagar, Raju; Pham, Giang; Franz, Brian J; Rosa, Sarah J; Hazlett, Karsten R O; Gosselin, Edmund J

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft) is a category A biothreat agent for which there is no Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine. Ft can survive in a variety of habitats with a remarkable ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Furthermore, Ft expresses distinct sets of antigens (Ags) when inside of macrophages (its in vivo host) as compared to those grown in vitro with Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). However, in contrast to MHB-grown Ft, Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) more closely mimics the antigenic profile of macrophage-grown Ft. Thus, we anticipated that when used as a vaccine, BHI-grown Ft would provide better protection compared to MHB-grown Ft, primarily due to its greater antigenic similarity to Ft circulating inside the host (macrophages) during natural infection. Our investigation, however, revealed that inactivated Ft (iFt) grown in MHB (iFt-MHB) exhibited superior protective activity when used as a vaccine, as compared to iFt grown in BHI (iFt-BHI). The superior protection afforded by iFt-MHB compared to that of iFt-BHI was associated with significantly lower bacterial burden and inflammation in the lungs and spleens of vaccinated mice. Moreover, iFt-MHB also induced increased levels of Ft-specific IgG. Further evaluation of early immunological cues also revealed that iFt-MHB exhibits increased engagement of Ag-presenting cells including increased iFt binding to dendritic cells, increased expression of costimulatory markers, and increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Importantly, these studies directly demonstrate that Ft growth conditions strongly impact Ft vaccine efficacy and that the growth medium used to produce whole cell vaccines to Ft must be a key consideration in the development of a tularemia vaccine.

  5. Sulfonamide inhibition profiles of the β-carbonic anhydrase from the pathogenic bacterium Francisella tularensis responsible of the febrile illness tularemia.

    PubMed

    Del Prete, Sonia; Vullo, Daniela; Osman, Sameh M; AlOthman, Zeid; Supuran, Claudiu T; Capasso, Clemente

    2017-07-01

    A new β-class carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC 4.2.1.1) has been cloned, purified and characterized in the genome of the pathogenic bacterium Francisella tularensis responsible of the febrile illness tularemia. This enzyme, FtuβCA, showed a kcat of 9.8 ×10(5)s(-1) and a kcat/KM of 8.9 ×10(7)M(-1)s(-1) for the CO2 hydration, physiological reaction, being one of the most effective β-CAs known to date, with a catalytic activity only 1.68-times lower than that of the human(h) isoform hCA II. A panel of 39 simple aromatic and heterocyclic sulfonamides, as well as clinically used drugs incorporating sulfonamide/sulfamate zinc-binding groups, was used to investigate the inhibition profile of FtuβCA with these classes of derivatives. The enzyme generally showed a weaker affinity for these inhibitors compared to other α- and β-CAs investigated earlier, with only acetazolamide and its deacetylated precursor having inhibition constant <1µM. Indeed, the two compounds acetazolamide AAZ and its deacetylated precursor 13 (KIs of 655-770nM), as well as metanilamide and methazolamide (KIs of 2.53-2.92µM), were the best FtuβCA inhibitors detected so far. As the physiological role of bacterial β-CAs is poorly understood for the virulence/life cycle of these pathogens, the present study may constitute a starting point for the design of effective pathogenic bacteria CA inhibitors with potential use as antiinfectives. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Whole-Genome Relationships among Francisella Bacteria of Diverse Origins Define New Species and Provide Specific Regions for Detection.

    PubMed

    Challacombe, Jean F; Petersen, Jeannine M; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Hodge, David; Pillai, Segaran; Kuske, Cheryl R

    2017-02-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia and, because of weaponization efforts in past world wars, is considered a tier 1 biothreat agent. Detection and surveillance of F. tularensis may be confounded by the presence of uncharacterized, closely related organisms. Through DNA-based diagnostics and environmental surveys, novel clinical and environmental Francisella isolates have been obtained in recent years. Here we present 7 new Francisella genomes and a comparison of their characteristics to each other and to 24 publicly available genomes as well as a comparative analysis of 16S rRNA and sdhA genes from over 90 Francisella strains. Delineation of new species in bacteria is challenging, especially when isolates having very close genomic characteristics exhibit different physiological features-for example, when some are virulent pathogens in humans and animals while others are nonpathogenic or are opportunistic pathogens. Species resolution within Francisella varies with analyses of single genes, multiple gene or protein sets, or whole-genome comparisons of nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. Analyses focusing on single genes (16S rRNA, sdhA), multiple gene sets (virulence genes, lipopolysaccharide [LPS] biosynthesis genes, pathogenicity island), and whole-genome comparisons (nucleotide and protein) gave congruent results, but with different levels of discrimination confidence. We designate four new species within the genus; Francisella opportunistica sp. nov. (MA06-7296), Francisella salina sp. nov. (TX07-7308), Francisella uliginis sp. nov. (TX07-7310), and Francisella frigiditurris sp. nov. (CA97-1460). This study provides a robust comparative framework to discern species and virulence features of newly detected Francisella bacteria.

  9. Whole-Genome Relationships among Francisella Bacteria of Diverse Origins Define New Species and Provide Specific Regions for Detection

    PubMed Central

    Challacombe, Jean F.; Petersen, Jeannine M.; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Hodge, David; Pillai, Segaran

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia and, because of weaponization efforts in past world wars, is considered a tier 1 biothreat agent. Detection and surveillance of F. tularensis may be confounded by the presence of uncharacterized, closely related organisms. Through DNA-based diagnostics and environmental surveys, novel clinical and environmental Francisella isolates have been obtained in recent years. Here we present 7 new Francisella genomes and a comparison of their characteristics to each other and to 24 publicly available genomes as well as a comparative analysis of 16S rRNA and sdhA genes from over 90 Francisella strains. Delineation of new species in bacteria is challenging, especially when isolates having very close genomic characteristics exhibit different physiological features—for example, when some are virulent pathogens in humans and animals while others are nonpathogenic or are opportunistic pathogens. Species resolution within Francisella varies with analyses of single genes, multiple gene or protein sets, or whole-genome comparisons of nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. Analyses focusing on single genes (16S rRNA, sdhA), multiple gene sets (virulence genes, lipopolysaccharide [LPS] biosynthesis genes, pathogenicity island), and whole-genome comparisons (nucleotide and protein) gave congruent results, but with different levels of discrimination confidence. We designate four new species within the genus; Francisella opportunistica sp. nov. (MA06-7296), Francisella salina sp. nov. (TX07-7308), Francisella uliginis sp. nov. (TX07-7310), and Francisella frigiditurris sp. nov. (CA97-1460). This study provides a robust comparative framework to discern species and virulence features of newly detected Francisella bacteria. IMPORTANCE DNA-based detection and sequencing methods have identified thousands of new bacteria in the human body and the environment. In most cases, there are no cultured

  10. Discordant Results Obtained with Francisella tularensis during In Vitro and In Vivo Immunological Studies Are Attributable to Compromised Bacterial Structural Integrity

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Anju; Rahman, Tabassum; Malik, Meenakshi; Hickey, Anthony J.; Leifer, Cynthia A.; Hazlett, Karsten R. O.; Sellati, Timothy J.

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (Ft) is a highly infectious intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Because Ft can be dispersed via small droplet-aerosols and has a very low infectious dose it is characterized as a category A Select Agent of biological warfare. Respiratory infection with the attenuated Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) and the highly virulent SchuS4 strain of Ft engenders intense peribronchiolar and perivascular inflammation, but fails to elicit select pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, and IFN-γ) within the first ∼72 h. This in vivo finding is discordant with the principally TH1-oriented response to Ft frequently observed in cell-based studies wherein the aforementioned cytokines are produced. An often overlooked confounding factor in the interpretation of experimental results is the influence of environmental cues on the bacterium's capacity to elicit certain host responses. Herein, we reveal that adaptation of Ft to its mammalian host imparts an inability to elicit select pro-inflammatory mediators throughout the course of infection. Furthermore, in vitro findings that non-host adapted Ft elicits such a response from host cells reflect aberrant recognition of the DNA of structurally-compromised bacteria by AIM2-dependent and -independent host cell cytosolic DNA sensors. Growth of Ft in Muller-Hinton Broth or on Muller-Hinton-based chocolate agar plates or genetic mutation of Ft was found to compromise the structural integrity of the bacterium thus rendering it capable of aberrantly eliciting pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, and IFN-γ). Our studies highlight the profound impact of different growth conditions on host cell response to infection and demonstrate that not all in vitro-derived findings may be relevant to tularemia pathogenesis in the mammalian host. Rational development of a vaccine and immunotherapeutics can only proceed from a foundation of knowledge based upon in vitro

  11. Whole-genome relationships among Francisella bacteria of diverse origins define new species and provide specific regions for detection

    DOE PAGES

    Challacombe, Jean Faust; Petersen, Jeannine M.; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne A.; ...

    2016-11-23

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia and, because of weaponization efforts in past world wars, is considered a tier 1 biothreat agent. Detection and surveillance of F. tularensis may be confounded by the presence of uncharacterized, closely related organisms. Through DNA-based diagnostics and environmental surveys, novel clinical and environmental Francisella isolates have been obtained in recent years. Here we present 7 new Francisella genomes and a comparison of their characteristics to each other and to 24 publicly available genomes as well as a comparative analysis of 16S rRNA and sdhA genes from over 90 Francisellamore » strains. Delineation of new species in bacteria is challenging, especially when isolates having very close genomic characteristics exhibit different physiological features—for example, when some are virulent pathogens in humans and animals while others are nonpathogenic or are opportunistic pathogens. Species resolution within Francisella varies with analyses of single genes, multiple gene or protein sets, or whole-genome comparisons of nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. Analyses focusing on single genes (16S rRNA, sdhA), multiple gene sets (virulence genes, lipopolysaccharide [LPS] biosynthesis genes, pathogenicity island), and whole-genome comparisons (nucleotide and protein) gave congruent results, but with different levels of discrimination confidence. We designate four new species within the genus; Francisella opportunistica sp. nov. (MA06-7296), Francisella salina sp. nov. (TX07-7308), Francisella uliginis sp. nov. (TX07-7310), and Francisella frigiditurris sp. nov. (CA97-1460). Lastly, this study provides a robust comparative framework to discern species and virulence features of newly detected Francisella bacteria.« less

  12. Whole-genome relationships among Francisella bacteria of diverse origins define new species and provide specific regions for detection

    SciTech Connect

    Challacombe, Jean Faust; Petersen, Jeannine M.; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne A.; Hodge, David; Pillai, Segaran; Kuske, Cheryl Rae; Drake, Harold L.

    2016-11-23

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent zoonotic pathogen that causes tularemia and, because of weaponization efforts in past world wars, is considered a tier 1 biothreat agent. Detection and surveillance of F. tularensis may be confounded by the presence of uncharacterized, closely related organisms. Through DNA-based diagnostics and environmental surveys, novel clinical and environmental Francisella isolates have been obtained in recent years. Here we present 7 new Francisella genomes and a comparison of their characteristics to each other and to 24 publicly available genomes as well as a comparative analysis of 16S rRNA and sdhA genes from over 90 Francisella strains. Delineation of new species in bacteria is challenging, especially when isolates having very close genomic characteristics exhibit different physiological features—for example, when some are virulent pathogens in humans and animals while others are nonpathogenic or are opportunistic pathogens. Species resolution within Francisella varies with analyses of single genes, multiple gene or protein sets, or whole-genome comparisons of nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. Analyses focusing on single genes (16S rRNA, sdhA), multiple gene sets (virulence genes, lipopolysaccharide [LPS] biosynthesis genes, pathogenicity island), and whole-genome comparisons (nucleotide and protein) gave congruent results, but with different levels of discrimination confidence. We designate four new species within the genus; Francisella opportunistica sp. nov. (MA06-7296), Francisella salina sp. nov. (TX07-7308), Francisella uliginis sp. nov. (TX07-7310), and Francisella frigiditurris sp. nov. (CA97-1460). Lastly, this study provides a robust comparative framework to discern species and virulence features of newly detected Francisella bacteria.

  13. An improved Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) is well tolerated and highly immunogenic when administered to rabbits in escalating doses using various immunization routes

    PubMed Central

    Pasetti, Marcela F.; Cuberos, Lilian; Horn, Thomas L.; Shearer, Jeffry D.; Matthews, Stephen J.; House, Robert V.; Sztein, Marcelo B.

    2008-01-01

    Tularemia is a severe disease for which there is no licensed vaccine. An attenuated F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) was protective when administered to humans but safety concerns precluded its licensure and use in large scale immunization. An improved F. tularensis LVS preparation was produced under current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines for evaluation in clinical trials. Preclinical safety, tolerability and immunogenicity were investigated in rabbits that received LVS in escalating doses (1x105 to 1x109 CFU) by the intradermal, subcutaneous or percutaneous (scarification) route. This improved LVS formulation was well tolerated at all doses; no death or adverse clinical signs were observed and necropsies showed no signs of pathology. No live organisms were detected in liver or spleen. Transient local reactogenicity was observed after scarification injection. Erythema and edema developed after intradermal injection in the highest dose cohorts. High levels of F. tularensis-specific IgM, IgG and IgA developed early after immunization, in a dose-dependent fashion. Scarification elicited higher levels of IgA. Antibodies elicited by LVS also recognized F. tularensis Schu-S4 antigens and there was a significant correlation between antibody titers measured against both LVS and Schu-S4. The ELISA titers also correlated closely with those measured by microagglutination. This is the first report describing comprehensive toxicological and immunological studies of F. tularensis LVS in rabbits. This animal model, which closely resembles human disease, proved adequate to assess safety and immunogenicity of F. tularensis vaccine candidates. This new LVS vaccine preparation is being evaluated in human clinical studies. PMID:18308432

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

    DOE PAGES

    Johnson, Shannon L.; Daligault, Hajnalka E.; Davenport, Karen W.; ...

    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.

  15. Performance of a Handheld PCR Instrument in the Detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis: Sensitivity, Specificity, and Effect of Interferents on Assay Results

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-12-01

    and DNA extracted, in the ECBC BSL-3 facility. Strains of Bacillus spp . were grown for DNA isolation in liquid Nutrient Broth (Difco), prepared...positive/totala Ct valuesb Yersinia enterocolitica 105 0/3 N/A Yersinia rohdei 105 0/3 N/A F. tularensis Schu 4 105 0/3 N/A Pantoea

  16. Characterization of Lipid A Acylation Patterns in Francisella tularensis, F. novicida and F. philomiragia using Multiple-Stage Mass Spectrometry (MSn) on a vMALDI Linear Ion Trap

    PubMed Central

    Schilling, Birgit; McLendon, Molly K.; Phillips, Nancy J.; Apicella, Michael A.; Gibson, Bradford W.

    2008-01-01

    Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a major component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. The lipid A region of LPS stimulates the immune system in a structure dependent manner. We have previously identified the two major lipid A species from Francisella tularensis as asymmetric tetraacylated structures containing four long acyl chains (16 and 18 carbons) and a single phosphate group that is partially modified by galactosamine (Phillips, N.J.; Schilling B.; McLendon, M.K.; Apicella, M.A.; Gibson, B.W. Infect. Immun. 2004, 72, 5340–5348). In this current study, we used matrix-assisted laser desorption / ionization on a vacuum source (vMALDI) coupled to a linear ion trap (LIT) mass spectrometer in multiple-stage mass fragmentation mode (MSn) to determine the structures of several minor and low abundant lipid A species present in F. tularensis, F. novicida, and F. philomiragia LPS that have not been previously characterized. Comprehensive vMALDI-MSn fragmentation studies allowed us to deduce the composition and the position of the fatty acid substituents within the lipid A moieties. Unexpectedly, most of these minor lipid A species consisted of multiple isobaric species with acyl chains of various lengths. Moreover, we found that a small portion of these lipid A’s may be modified by the addition of a hexose or hexosamine sugar, in addition to the galactosamine that was previously identified. Overall, we found that MSn analysis on the vMALDI-LIT MS platform was highly efficient and sensitive, allowing for thorough analysis of very minor lipid A species. PMID:17263332

  17. Characterization of the pathogenicity island protein PdpA and its role in the virulence of Francisella novicida

    PubMed Central

    Schmerk, Crystal L.; Duplantis, Barry N.; Wang, Diana; Burke, Robert D.; Chou, Alicia Y.; Elkins, Karen L.; Ludu, Jagjit S.; Nano, Francis E.

    2009-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent, intracellular pathogen that causes the disease tularaemia. A research surrogate for F. tularensis is Francisella novicida, which causes a tularaemia-like disease in mice, grows similarly in macrophages, and yet is unable to cause disease in humans. Both Francisella species contain a cluster of genes referred to as the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Pathogenicity determinant protein A (PdpA), encoded by the pdpA gene, is located within the FPI and has been associated with the virulence of Francisella species. In this work we examined the properties of PdpA protein expression and localization as well as the phenotype of a F. novicida pdpA deletion mutant. Monoclonal antibody detection of PdpA showed that it is a soluble protein that is upregulated in iron-limiting conditions and undetectable in an mglA or mglB mutant background. Deletion of pdpA resulted in a strain that was highly attenuated for virulence in chicken embryos and mice. PMID:19372153

  18. Characterization of the pathogenicity island protein PdpA and its role in the virulence of Francisella novicida.

    PubMed

    Schmerk, Crystal L; Duplantis, Barry N; Wang, Diana; Burke, Robert D; Chou, Alicia Y; Elkins, Karen L; Ludu, Jagjit S; Nano, Francis E

    2009-05-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent, intracellular pathogen that causes the disease tularaemia. A research surrogate for F. tularensis is Francisella novicida, which causes a tularaemia-like disease in mice, grows similarly in macrophages, and yet is unable to cause disease in humans. Both Francisella species contain a cluster of genes referred to as the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Pathogenicity determinant protein A (PdpA), encoded by the pdpA gene, is located within the FPI and has been associated with the virulence of Francisella species. In this work we examined the properties of PdpA protein expression and localization as well as the phenotype of a F. novicida pdpA deletion mutant. Monoclonal antibody detection of PdpA showed that it is a soluble protein that is upregulated in iron-limiting conditions and undetectable in an mglA or mglB mutant background. Deletion of pdpA resulted in a strain that was highly attenuated for virulence in chicken embryos and mice.

  19. Serological investigation of wild boars (Sus scrofa) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) as indicator animals for circulation of Francisella tularensis in Germany.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  20. 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

    2016-08-03

    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.

  1. Effects of Francisella tularensis, Salmonella typhimurium and Streptococcus pneumoniae Infections on Oxidative, Glycolytic and Lysosomal Enzyme Activity in Red and White Skeletal Muscle in the Rat,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-03-30

    Oxidative, Glycolytic and Lysosomal. 6. PERFORMING ORG. REPORT NUMBER Enzyme Activity in Red and W~hite Skeletal Muscle _______________ 7AU THOR(.) 8...block number) S Muscle Enzymes Salmonella Infections Francisella Bacteria Tularemia Pneumococcus Streptococcus 20 A5 RAcr (contLau. os reverse side it nec...34*esa nd Idenftif y by block nubr Since opinions differ as to whether the oxidative and glycolytic capabilities of skeletal muscle are altered in

  2. Identification of Ciprofloxacin Resistance by SimpleProbe (trademark), High Resolution Melt and Pyrosequencing (trademark) Nucleic Acid Analysis in Biothreat Agents: Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis and Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-01-01

    strains critical for the implementation of suitable infection control measures. The fluorinated quinolone , ciprofloxacin, is an antibiotic effective for...encode the subunits of DNA gyrase (gyrA and gyrB) and topo IV (par C and parE) contain hotspots within an area known as the quinolone resistance...designated the fluorinated quinolone , ciprofloxacin, as one of the antibiotics of choice for treatingB. anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2016-01-28

    The bacterial system for fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS) contains several enzymes whose sequence and structure are highly conserved across a vast array of pathogens. Coupled with their low homology and difference in organization compared to the equivalent system in humans, this 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. In addition, 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. Our 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  5. Importance of Metabolic Adaptations in Francisella Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Ziveri, Jason; Barel, Monique; Charbit, Alain

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious Gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularemia. This bacterial pathogen can infect a broad variety of animal species and can be transmitted to humans in numerous ways with various clinical outcomes. Although, Francisella possesses the capacity to infect numerous mammalian cell types, the macrophage constitutes the main intracellular niche, used for in vivo bacterial dissemination. To survive and multiply within infected macrophages, Francisella must imperatively escape from the phagosomal compartment. In the cytosol, the bacterium needs to control the host innate immune response and adapt its metabolism to this nutrient-restricted niche. Our laboratory has shown that intracellular Francisella mainly relied on host amino acid as major gluconeogenic substrates and provided evidence that the host metabolism was also modified upon Francisella infection. We will review here our current understanding of how Francisella copes with the available nutrient sources provided by the host cell during the course of infection. PMID:28401066

  6. Identification of Francisella novicida mutants that fail to induce prostaglandin E2 synthesis by infected macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Woolard, Matthew D.; Barrigan, Lydia M.; Fuller, James R.; Buntzman, Adam S.; Bryan, Joshua; Manoil, Colin; Kawula, Thomas H.; Frelinger, Jeffrey A.

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia. We have previously shown that infection with F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) induces macrophages to synthesize prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Synthesis of PGE2 by F. tularensis infected macrophages results in decreased T cell proliferation in vitro and increased bacterial survival in vivo. Although we understand some of the biological consequences of F. tularensis induced PGE2 synthesis by macrophages, we do not understand the cellular pathways (neither host nor bacterial) that result in up-regulation of the PGE2 biosynthetic pathway in F. tularensis infected macrophages. We took a genetic approach to begin to understand the molecular mechanisms of bacterial induction of PGE2 synthesis from infected macrophages. To identify F. tularensis genes necessary for the induction of PGE2 in primary macrophages, we infected cells with individual mutants from the closely related strain F. tularensis subspecies novicida U112 (U112) two allele mutant library. Twenty genes were identified that when disrupted resulted in U112 mutant strains unable to induce the synthesis of PGE2 by infected macrophages. Fourteen of the genes identified are located within the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Genes in the FPI are required for F. tularensis to escape from the phagosome and replicate in the cytosol, which might account for the failure of U112 with transposon insertions within the FPI to induce PGE2. This implies that U112 mutant strains that do not grow intracellularly would also not induce PGE2. We found that U112 clpB::Tn grows within macrophages yet fails to induce PGE2, while U112 pdpA::Tn does not grow yet does induce PGE2. We also found that U112 iglC::Tn neither grows nor induces PGE2. These findings indicate that there is dissociation between intracellular growth and the ability of F. tularensis to induce PGE2 synthesis. These mutants provide a critical entrée into the pathways used in the host for PGE2

  7. Identification of Francisella novicida mutants that fail to induce prostaglandin E(2) synthesis by infected macrophages.

    PubMed

    Woolard, Matthew D; Barrigan, Lydia M; Fuller, James R; Buntzman, Adam S; Bryan, Joshua; Manoil, Colin; Kawula, Thomas H; Frelinger, Jeffrey A

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia. We have previously shown that infection with F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) induces macrophages to synthesize prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)). Synthesis of PGE(2) by F. tularensis infected macrophages results in decreased T cell proliferation in vitro and increased bacterial survival in vivo. Although we understand some of the biological consequences of F. tularensis induced PGE(2) synthesis by macrophages, we do not understand the cellular pathways (neither host nor bacterial) that result in up-regulation of the PGE(2) biosynthetic pathway in F. tularensis infected macrophages. We took a genetic approach to begin to understand the molecular mechanisms of bacterial induction of PGE(2) synthesis from infected macrophages. To identify F. tularensis genes necessary for the induction of PGE(2) in primary macrophages, we infected cells with individual mutants from the closely related strain F. tularensis subspecies novicida U112 (U112) two allele mutant library. Twenty genes were identified that when disrupted resulted in U112 mutant strains unable to induce the synthesis of PGE(2) by infected macrophages. Fourteen of the genes identified are located within the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Genes in the FPI are required for F. tularensis to escape from the phagosome and replicate in the cytosol, which might account for the failure of U112 with transposon insertions within the FPI to induce PGE(2). This implies that U112 mutant strains that do not grow intracellularly would also not induce PGE(2). We found that U112 clpB::Tn grows within macrophages yet fails to induce PGE(2), while U112 pdpA::Tn does not grow yet does induce PGE(2). We also found that U112 iglC::Tn neither grows nor induces PGE(2). These findings indicate that there is dissociation between intracellular growth and the ability of F. tularensis to induce PGE(2) synthesis. These mutants provide a critical entrée into the pathways

  8. Burkholderia Diffusible Signal Factor Signals to Francisella novicida To Disperse Biofilm and Increase Siderophore Production.

    PubMed

    Dean, Scott N; Chung, Myung-Chul; van Hoek, Monique L

    2015-10-01

    In many bacteria, the ability to modulate biofilm production relies on specific signaling molecules that are either self-produced or made by neighboring microbes within the ecological niche. We analyzed the potential interspecies signaling effect of the Burkholderia diffusible signal factor (BDSF) on Francisella novicida, a model organism for Francisella tularensis, and demonstrated that BDSF both inhibits the formation and causes the dispersion of Francisella biofilm. Specificity was demonstrated for the cis versus the trans form of BDSF. Using transcriptome sequencing, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, and activity assays, we found that BDSF altered the expression of many F. novicida genes, including genes involved in biofilm formation, such as chitinases. Using a chitinase inhibitor, the antibiofilm activity of BDSF was also shown to be chitinase dependent. In addition, BDSF caused an increase in RelA expression and increased levels of (p)ppGpp, leading to decreased biofilm production. These results support our observation that exposure of F. novicida to BDSF causes biofilm dispersal. Furthermore, BDSF upregulated the genes involved in iron acquisition (figABCD), increasing siderophore production. Thus, this study provides evidence for a potential role and mechanism of diffusible signal factor (DSF) signaling in the genus Francisella and suggests the possibility of interspecies signaling between Francisella and other bacteria. Overall, this study suggests that in response to the interspecies DSF signal, F. novicida can alter its gene expression and regulate its biofilm formation. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  9. Serological survey of Bartonella spp., Borrelia burgdorferi, Brucella spp., Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, Leptospira spp., Echinococcus, Hanta-, TBE- and XMR-virus infection in employees of two forestry enterprises in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 2011-2013.

    PubMed

    Jurke, Annette; Bannert, N; Brehm, K; Fingerle, V; Kempf, V A J; Kömpf, D; Lunemann, M; Mayer-Scholl, A; Niedrig, M; Nöckler, K; Scholz, H; Splettstoesser, W; Tappe, D; Fischer, Silke F

    2015-10-01

    We initiated a survey to collect basic data on the frequency and regional distribution of various zoonoses in 722 employees of forestry enterprises in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) from 2011 to 2013. Exposures associated with seropositivity were identified to give insight into the possible risk factors for infection with each pathogen. 41.2% of participants were found to be seropositive for anti-Bartonella IgG, 30.6% for anti-Borrelia burgdorferi IgG, 14.2% for anti-Leptospira IgG, 6.5% for anti-Coxiella burnetii IgG, 6.0% for anti-Hantavirus IgG, 4.0% for anti-Francisella tularensis IgG, 3.4% for anti-TBE-virus IgG, 1.7% for anti-Echinococcus IgG, 0.0% for anti-Brucella IgG and anti-XMRV IgG. Participants seropositive for B. burgdorferi were 3.96 times more likely to be professional forestry workers (univariable analysis: OR 3.96; 95% CI 2.60-6.04; p<0.001); and participants seropositive for Hantavirus 3.72 times more likely (univariable analysis: OR 3.72; 95% CI 1.44-9.57; p=0.007). This study found a surprisingly high percentage of participants seropositive for anti-B. henselae IgG and for anti-F. tularensis IgG. The relatively high seroprevalence for anti-Leptospira IgG seen in this study could be related to living conditions rather than to exposure at work. No specific risk for exposure to C. burnetii and Echinococcus was identified, indicating that neither forestry workers nor office workers represent a risk population and that NRW is not a typical endemic area. Forestry workers appear to have higher risk for contact with B. burgdorferi-infected ticks and a regionally diverse risk for acquiring Hantavirus-infection. The regional epidemiology of zoonoses is without question of great importance for public health. Knowledge of the regional risk factors facilitates the development of efficient prevention strategies and the implementation of such prevention measures in a sustainable manner. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier GmbH.

  10. Rapid differentiation of Francisella species and subspecies by fluorescent in situ hybridization targeting the 23S rRNA

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Francisella (F.) tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia. Due to its low infectious dose, ease of dissemination and high case fatality rate, F. tularensis was the subject in diverse biological weapons programs and is among the top six agents with high potential if misused in bioterrorism. Microbiological diagnosis is cumbersome and time-consuming. Methods for the direct detection of the pathogen (immunofluorescence, PCR) have been developed but are restricted to reference laboratories. Results The complete 23S rRNA genes of representative strains of F. philomiragia and all subspecies of F. tularensis were sequenced. Single nucleotide polymorphisms on species and subspecies level were confirmed by partial amplification and sequencing of 24 additional strains. Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) assays were established using species- and subspecies-specific probes. Different FISH protocols allowed the positive identification of all 4 F. philomiragia strains, and more than 40 F. tularensis strains tested. By combination of different probes, it was possible to differentiate the F. tularensis subspecies holarctica, tularensis, mediasiatica and novicida. No cross reactivity with strains of 71 clinically relevant bacterial species was observed. FISH was also successfully applied to detect different F. tularensis strains in infected cells or tissue samples. In blood culture systems spiked with F. tularensis, bacterial cells of different subspecies could be separated within single samples. Conclusion We could show that FISH targeting the 23S rRNA gene is a rapid and versatile method for the identification and differentiation of F. tularensis isolates from both laboratory cultures and clinical samples. PMID:20205957

  11. Immunity to Francisella

    PubMed Central

    Cowley, Siobhán C.; Elkins, Karen L.

    2011-01-01

    In recent years, studies on the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis have greatly intensified, generating a wealth of new information on the interaction of this organism with the immune system. Here we review the basic elements of the innate and adaptive immune responses that contribute to protective immunity against Francisella species, with special emphasis on new data that has emerged in the last 5 years. Most studies have utilized the mouse model of infection, although there has been an expansion of work on human cells and other new animal models. In mice, basic immune parameters that operate in defense against other intracellular pathogen infections, such as interferon gamma, TNF-α, and reactive nitrogen intermediates, are central for control of Francisella infection. However, new important immune mediators have been revealed, including IL-17A, Toll-like receptor 2, and the inflammasome. Further, a variety of cell types in addition to macrophages are now recognized to support Francisella growth, including epithelial cells and dendritic cells. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are clearly important for control of primary infection and vaccine-induced protection, but new T cell subpopulations and the mechanisms employed by T cells are only beginning to be defined. A significant role for B cells and specific antibodies has been established, although their contribution varies greatly between bacterial strains of lower and higher virulence. Overall, recent data profile a pathogen that is adept at subverting host immune responses, but susceptible to many elements of the immune system's antimicrobial arsenal. PMID:21687418

  12. Reliable detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis by using multiplex qPCR including internal controls for nucleic acid extraction and amplification

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Several pathogens could seriously affect public health if not recognized timely. To reduce the impact of such highly pathogenic micro-organisms, rapid and accurate diagnostic tools are needed for their detection in various samples, including environmental samples. Results Multiplex real-time PCRs were designed for rapid and reliable detection of three major pathogens that have the potential to cause high morbidity and mortality in humans: B. anthracis, F. tularensis and Y. pestis. The developed assays detect three pathogen-specific targets, including at least one chromosomal target, and one target from B. thuringiensis which is used as an internal control for nucleic acid extraction from refractory spores as well as successful DNA amplification. Validation of the PCRs showed a high analytical sensitivity, specificity and coverage of diverse pathogen strains. Conclusions The multiplex qPCR assays that were developed allow the rapid detection of 3 pathogen-specific targets simultaneously, without compromising sensitivity. The application of B. thuringiensis spores as internal controls further reduces false negative results. This ensures highly reliable detection, while template consumption and laboratory effort are kept at a minimum PMID:21143837

  13. IglC and PdpA are important for promoting Francisella invasion and intracellular growth in epithelial cells.

    PubMed

    Law, H T; Sriram, Aarati; Fevang, Charlotte; Nix, Eli B; Nano, Francis E; Guttman, Julian Andrew

    2014-01-01

    The highly infectious bacteria, Francisella tularensis, colonize a variety of organs and replicate within both phagocytic as well as non-phagocytic cells, to cause the disease tularemia. These microbes contain a conserved cluster of important virulence genes referred to as the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI). Two of the most characterized FPI genes, iglC and pdpA, play a central role in bacterial survival and proliferation within phagocytes, but do not influence bacterial internalization. Yet, their involvement in non-phagocytic epithelial cell infections remains unexplored. To examine the functions of IglC and PdpA on bacterial invasion and replication during epithelial cell infections, we infected liver and lung epithelial cells with F. novicida and F. tularensis 'Type B' Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) deletion mutants (ΔiglC and ΔpdpA) as well as their respective gene complements. We found that deletion of either gene significantly reduced their ability to invade and replicate in epithelial cells. Gene complementation of iglC and pdpA partially rescued bacterial invasion and intracellular growth. Additionally, substantial LAMP1-association with both deletion mutants was observed up to 12 h suggesting that the absence of IglC and PdpA caused deficiencies in their ability to dissociate from LAMP1-positive Francisella Containing Vacuoles (FCVs). This work provides the first evidence that IglC and PdpA are important pathogenic factors for invasion and intracellular growth of Francisella in epithelial cells, and further highlights the discrete mechanisms involved in Francisella infections between phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells.

  14. IglC and PdpA Are Important for Promoting Francisella Invasion and Intracellular Growth in Epithelial Cells

    PubMed Central

    Law, H. T.; Nix, Eli B.; Nano, Francis E.; Guttman, Julian Andrew

    2014-01-01

    The highly infectious bacteria, Francisella tularensis, colonize a variety of organs and replicate within both phagocytic as well as non-phagocytic cells, to cause the disease tularemia. These microbes contain a conserved cluster of important virulence genes referred to as the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI). Two of the most characterized FPI genes, iglC and pdpA, play a central role in bacterial survival and proliferation within phagocytes, but do not influence bacterial internalization. Yet, their involvement in non-phagocytic epithelial cell infections remains unexplored. To examine the functions of IglC and PdpA on bacterial invasion and replication during epithelial cell infections, we infected liver and lung epithelial cells with F. novicida and F. tularensis ‘Type B’ Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) deletion mutants (ΔiglC and ΔpdpA) as well as their respective gene complements. We found that deletion of either gene significantly reduced their ability to invade and replicate in epithelial cells. Gene complementation of iglC and pdpA partially rescued bacterial invasion and intracellular growth. Additionally, substantial LAMP1-association with both deletion mutants was observed up to 12 h suggesting that the absence of IglC and PdpA caused deficiencies in their ability to dissociate from LAMP1-positive Francisella Containing Vacuoles (FCVs). This work provides the first evidence that IglC and PdpA are important pathogenic factors for invasion and intracellular growth of Francisella in epithelial cells, and further highlights the discrete mechanisms involved in Francisella infections between phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells. PMID:25115488

  15. O-Antigen-Deficient Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain Mutants Are Ingested via an Aberrant Form of Looping Phagocytosis and Show Altered Kinetics of Intracellular Trafficking in Human Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Bai-Yu; Horwitz, Marcus A.

    2012-01-01

    We examined the uptake and intracellular trafficking of F. tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) and LVS with disruptions of wbtDEF and wbtI genes essential for synthesis of the O antigen of lipopolysaccharide. Unlike parental bacteria, O-antigen-deficient LVS is efficiently killed by serum with intact complement but not by serum lacking terminal complement components. Opsonization of O-antigen-deficient LVS in serum lacking terminal complement components allows efficient uptake of these live bacteria by macrophages. In the presence of complement, whereas parental F. tularensis LVS is internalized within spacious pseudopod loops, mutant LVS is internalized within tightly juxtaposed multiple onion-like layers of pseudopodia. Without complement, both parental and mutant LVSs are internalized within spacious pseudopod loops. Thus, molecules other than O antigen are important in triggering dramatic pseudopod extensions and uptake by spacious pseudopod loops. Following uptake, both parental and mutant LVSs enter compartments that show limited staining for the lysosomal membrane glycoprotein CD63 and little fusion with secondary lysosomes. Subsequently, both parental and mutant LVSs lose their CD63 staining. Whereas the majority of parental LVS escapes into the cytosol by 6 h after uptake, mutant LVS shows a marked lag but does escape by 1 day after uptake. Despite the altered kinetics of phagosome escape, both mutant and parental strains grow to high levels within human macrophages. Thus, the O antigen plays a role in the morphology of uptake in the presence of complement and the kinetics of intracellular growth but is not essential for escape, survival, altered membrane trafficking, or intramacrophage growth. PMID:22202123

  16. A Francisella-like endosymbiont in the Gulf Coast tick evolved from a mammalian pathogen

    PubMed Central

    Gerhart, Jonathan G.; Moses, Abraham S.; Raghavan, Rahul

    2016-01-01

    Ticks (order Ixodida) vector pathogenic bacteria that cause diseases in humans and other mammals. They also contain bacteria that are closely related to pathogens but function as endosymbionts that provide nutrients that are missing from mammalian blood—their sole food source. For instance, mammalian pathogens such as Coxiella burnetii and Francisella tularensis, as well as Coxiella-like and Francisella-like endosymbionts (CLEs and FLEs, respectively) occur in ticks worldwide. However, it is not clear whether the pathogens evolved from symbionts or symbionts from pathogens. Recent studies have indicated that C. burnetii likely originated from a tick-associated ancestor, but the origins of FLEs are not clear. In this study, we sequenced the genome of an FLE, termed FLE-Am, present in the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. We show that FLE-Am likely evolved from a pathogenic strain of Francisella, indicating that tick endosymbionts can evolve from mammalian pathogens. Although the genome of FLE-Am is almost the same size as the genomes of pathogenic Francisella strains, about one-third of its protein-coding genes contain inactivating mutations. The relatively low coding capacity and extensive metabolic capabilities indicate that FLE-Am transitioned recently to its current endosymbiotic lifestyle and likely replaced an ancient endosymbiont with degraded functionality. PMID:27645766

  17. Phylogenetic analysis of the Francisella-like endosymbionts of Dermacentor ticks.

    PubMed

    Scoles, Glen A

    2004-05-01

    Bacterial endosymbionts with significant homology to Francisella tularensis (gamma-proteobacteria) have been described from at least five species of ticks in three different genera, including two North American Dermacentor species [D. andersoni Stiles and D. variabilis (Say)]. The evolutionary relationships among the Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLE) from different hosts and between FLE and the arthropod-borne pathogen F. tularensis are not known. A 1,169-base fragment of the 16s rDNA and a 713-base fragment of the F. tularensis 17-kDa lipoprotein gene homolog of the FLE of six North American Dermacentor tick species [D. anderson, D. variabilis, D. albipictus (Packard), D. occidentalis Marx, D. hunteri Bishopp, and D. (Anocentor) nitens Neumann] and of Amblyomma maculatum Koch and Ornithodoros porcinus (Murry 1877, sensu Walton 1979) as outgroups, were subjected to phylogenetic analysis. These gene phylogenies were compared with a phylogeny of the same tick species constructed from a 435-base fragment of the tick mitochondrial 16s rDNA. Although the phylogenies of the FLE and their tick hosts are parallel at the genus level, the Dermacentor FLE are unresolved at the species level. The FLE and the Dermacentor ticks show little sign of co-speciation, possibly indicating that the association between these endosymbiont and the Dermacentor ticks is of a relatively recent origin. Several ticks were co-infected, either with two FLE with divergent 17-kDa lipoprotein gene sequences or with FLE and an unidentified species of spotted fever group rickettsia (alpha-proteobacteria). Infection with FLE does not seem to have precluded infection with either a second closely related gamma-proteobacterial symbiont or with a second less closely related alpha-proteobacterial symbiont.

  18. Francisella Inflammasomes: Integrated Responses to a Cytosolic Stealth Bacterium.

    PubMed

    Wallet, Pierre; Lagrange, Brice; Henry, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium causing tularemia, a zoonotic disease. Francisella replicates in the macrophage cytosol and eventually triggers cytosolic immune responses. In murine macrophages, Francisella novicida and Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain lyse in the host cytosol and activate the cytosolic DNA receptor Aim2. Here, we review the mechanisms leading or contributing to Aim2 inflammasome activation, including the role of TLRs and of IFN signaling and the implication of the guanylate-binding proteins 2 and 5 in triggering cytosolic bacteriolysis. Furthermore, we present how this cytosolic Gram-negative bacterium escapes recognition by caspase-11 but can trigger a non-canonical caspase-8 inflammasome. In addition, we highlight the differences in inflammasome activation in murine and human cells with pyrin, NLRP3, and AIM2 involved in sensing Francisella in human phagocytes. From a bacterial prospective, we describe the hiding strategy of Francisella to escape recognition by innate sensors and to resist to bacteriolysis in the host cytosol. Finally, we discuss the inability of the inflammasome sensors to detect F. tularensis subspecies tularensis strains, making them highly pathogenic stealth microbes.

  19. Development of functional and molecular correlates of vaccine-induced protection for a model intracellular pathogen, F. tularensis LVS.

    PubMed

    De Pascalis, Roberto; Chou, Alicia Y; Bosio, Catharine M; Huang, Chiung-Yu; Follmann, Dean A; Elkins, Karen L

    2012-01-01

    In contrast with common human infections for which vaccine efficacy can be evaluated directly in field studies, alternative strategies are needed to evaluate efficacy for slowly developing or sporadic diseases like tularemia. For diseases such as these caused by intracellular bacteria, serological measures of antibodies are generally not predictive. Here, we used vaccines varying in efficacy to explore development of clinically useful correlates of protection for intracellular bacteria, using Francisella tularensis as an experimental model. F. tularensis is an intracellular bacterium classified as Category A bioterrorism agent which causes tularemia. The primary vaccine candidate in the U.S., called Live Vaccine Strain (LVS), has been the subject of ongoing clinical studies; however, safety and efficacy are not well established, and LVS is not licensed by the U.S. FDA. Using a mouse model, we compared the in vivo efficacy of a panel of qualitatively different Francisella vaccine candidates, the in vitro functional activity of immune lymphocytes derived from vaccinated mice, and relative gene expression in immune lymphocytes. Integrated analyses showed that the hierarchy of protection in vivo engendered by qualitatively different vaccines was reflected by the degree of lymphocytes' in vitro activity in controlling the intramacrophage growth of Francisella. Thus, this assay may be a functional correlate. Further, the strength of protection was significantly related to the degree of up-regulation of expression of a panel of genes in cells recovered from the assay. These included IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-12Rβ2, T-bet, SOCS-1, and IL-18bp. Taken together, the results indicate that an in vitro assay that detects control of bacterial growth, and/or a selected panel of mediators, may ultimately be developed to predict the outcome of vaccine efficacy and to complement clinical trials. The overall approach may be applicable to intracellular pathogens in general.

  20. A Francisella novicida pdpA mutant exhibits limited intracellular replication and remains associated with the lysosomal marker LAMP-1

    PubMed Central

    Schmerk, Crystal L.; Duplantis, Barry N.; Howard, Perry L.; Nano, Francis E.

    2009-01-01

    Several genes contained in the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) encode proteins needed for intracellular growth and virulence of Francisella tularensis. The pdpA gene is the first cistron in the larger of the two operons found in the FPI. In this work we studied the intracellular growth phenotype of a Francisella novicida mutant in the pdpA gene. The ΔpdpA strain was capable of a small amount of intracellular replication but, unlike wild-type F. novicida, remained associated with the lysosomal marker LAMP-1, suggesting that PdpA is necessary for progression from the early phagosome phase of infection. Strains with in cis complementation of the ΔpdpA lesion showed a restoration of intracellular growth to wild-type levels. Infection of macrophages with the ΔpdpA mutant generated a host-cell mRNA profile distinct from that generated by infection with wild-type F. novicida. The transcriptional response of the host macrophage indicates that PdpA functions directly or indirectly to suppress macrophage ability to signal via growth factors, cytokines and adhesion ligands. PMID:19372155

  1. A Francisella novicida pdpA mutant exhibits limited intracellular replication and remains associated with the lysosomal marker LAMP-1.

    PubMed

    Schmerk, Crystal L; Duplantis, Barry N; Howard, Perry L; Nano, Francis E

    2009-05-01

    Several genes contained in the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) encode proteins needed for intracellular growth and virulence of Francisella tularensis. The pdpA gene is the first cistron in the larger of the two operons found in the FPI. In this work we studied the intracellular growth phenotype of a Francisella novicida mutant in the pdpA gene. The DeltapdpA strain was capable of a small amount of intracellular replication but, unlike wild-type F. novicida, remained associated with the lysosomal marker LAMP-1, suggesting that PdpA is necessary for progression from the early phagosome phase of infection. Strains with in cis complementation of the DeltapdpA lesion showed a restoration of intracellular growth to wild-type levels. Infection of macrophages with the DeltapdpA mutant generated a host-cell mRNA profile distinct from that generated by infection with wild-type F. novicida. The transcriptional response of the host macrophage indicates that PdpA functions directly or indirectly to suppress macrophage ability to signal via growth factors, cytokines and adhesion ligands.

  2. FEASIBILITY OF THE AEROSOL-TO-LIQUID PARTICLE EXTRACTION SYSTEM (ALPES) FOR COLLECTION OF VIABLE FRANCISELLA SP.

    SciTech Connect

    Heitkamp, M

    2006-08-07

    Several Biowatch monitoring sites in the Houston area have tested positive for Francisella tularensis and there is a need to determine whether natural occurring Francisella-related microorganism(s) may be responsible for these observed positive reactions. The collection, culturing and characterization of Francisella-related natural microorganisms will provide the knowledge base to improve the future selectivity of Biowatch monitoring for Francisella. The aerosol-to-liquid particle extraction system (ALPES) is a high-efficiency, dual mechanism collection system that utilizes a liquid collection medium for capture of airborne microorganisms. Since the viability of microorganisms is preserved better in liquid medium than on air filters, this project was undertaken to determine whether Francisella philomiragia and Francisella tularensis LVS maintain acceptable viability in the continuous liquid recirculation, high direct current voltage and residual ozone concentrations which occur during ALPES operation. Throughout a series of preliminary trial runs with representative gram-negative and gram-positive microorganisms, several design modifications and improvements to the ALPES optimized liquid handling, electrical stability, sampling and overall performance for biological sampling. Initial testing with Francisella philomiragia showed viability was preserved better in PBS buffer than HBSS buffer. Trial runs at starting cell concentrations of 1.8 x 10{sup 6} and 2.5 x 10{sup 4} CFU/L showed less than a 1-log decrease in viability for F. philomiragia after 24 h in the ALPES. Francisella tularensis LVS (live vaccine strain) was used as a surrogate for virulent F. tularensis in ALPES trial runs conducted at starting cell concentrations of 10{sup 4}, 10{sup 5} and 10{sup 6} CFU/L. F. tularensis LVS was slow-growing and required highly selective growth media to prevent overgrowth by collected airborne microorganisms. In addition, one ALPES unit intake was HEPA filtered during

  3. Enhanced survival but not amplification of Francisella spp. in the presence of free-living amoebae.

    PubMed

    Buse, Helen Y; Schaefer, Frank W; Rice, Eugene W

    2016-12-08

    Transmission of Francisella tularensis, the etiologic agent of tularemia, has been associated with various water sources. Survival of many waterborne pathogens within free-living amoeba (FLA) is well documented; however, the role of amoebae in the environmental persistence of F. tularensis is unclear. In this study, axenic FLA cultures of Acanthamoeba castellanii, Acanthamoeba polyphaga, and Vermamoeba vermiformis were each inoculated with virulent strains of F. tularensis (Types A and B), the attenuated live vaccine strain, and Francisella novicida. Experimental parameters included low and high multiplicity of infection and incubation temperatures of 25 and 30 °C for 0-10 days. Francisella spp. survival was enhanced by the presence of FLA; however, bacterial growth and protozoa infectivity were not observed. In contrast, co-infections of A. polyphaga and Legionella pneumophila, used as an amoeba pathogen control, resulted in bacterial proliferation, cytopathic effects, and amoebal lysis. Collectively, even though short-term incubation with FLA was beneficial, the long-term effects on Francisella survival are unknown, especially given the expenditure of available amoebal derived nutrients and the fastidious nature of Francisella spp. These factors have clear implications for the role of FLA in Francisella environmental persistence.

  4. Benzimidazole-Based Antibacterial Agents Against F. tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Kunal; Awasthi, Divya; Lee, Seung-Yub; Cummings, Jason E.; Knudson, Susan E.; Slayden, Richard A.; Ojima, Iwao

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent pathogenic bacterium. In order to identify novel potential antibacterial agents against F. tularensis, libraries of trisubstituted benzimidazoles were screened against F. tularensis LVS strain. In a preliminary screening assay, remarkably, 23 of 2,5,6- and 2,5,7-trisubstituted benzimidazoles showed excellent activity exhibiting greater than 90 % growth inhibition at 1 µg/mL. Among those hits, 21 compounds showed MIC90 values in the range of 0.35–48.6 µg/mL after accurate MIC determination. In ex-vivo efficacy assays, four of these compounds exhibited 2–3 Log reduction in colony forming units (CFU) per mL at concentrations of 10 and 50 µg/mL. PMID:23623254

  5. Inactivation of F.tularensis Utah-112 on food and food contact surfaces by ultraviolet light

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia, a plague-like illness that affects animals and humans, and has caused large illness pandemics in the last century. It has also been used as a biological warfare agent, and tularemia can be contracted through consumption of contaminated food...

  6. Rapid Identification and Characterization of Francisella by Molecular Biology and Other Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Lai, Xin-He; Zhao, Long-Fei; Chen, Xiao-Ming; Ren, Yi

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is the causative pathogen of tularemia and a Tier 1 bioterror agent on the CDC list. Considering the fact that some subpopulation of the F. tularensis strains is more virulent, more significantly associated with mortality, and therefore poses more threat to humans, rapid identification and characterization of this subpopulation strains is of invaluable importance. This review summarizes the up-to-date developments of assays for mainly detecting and characterizing F. tularensis and a touch of caveats of some of the assays. PMID:27335619

  7. Resistance of Francisella Novicida to Fosmidomycin Associated with Mutations in the Glycerol-3-Phosphate Transporter

    PubMed Central

    Mackie, Ryan S.; McKenney, Elizabeth S.; van Hoek, Monique L.

    2012-01-01

    The methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway is essential in most prokaryotes and some lower eukaryotes but absent from human cells, and is a validated target for antimicrobial drug development. The formation of MEP is catalyzed by 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR). MEP pathway genes have been identified in many category A and B biothreat agents, including Francisella tularensis, which causes the zoonosis tularemia. Fosmidomycin (Fos) inhibits purified Francisella DXR. This compound also inhibits the growth of F. tularensis NIH B38, F. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS bacteria. Related compounds such as FR900098 and the lipophilic prodrug of FR900098 (compound 1) have been developed to improve the bioavailability of these DXR inhibitors. In performing disk-inhibition assays with these compounds, we observed breakthrough colonies of F. novicida in the presence of Fos, suggesting spontaneous development of Fos resistance (FosR). FosR bacteria had decreased sensitivity to both Fos and FR900098. The two most likely targets for the development of mutants would be the DXR enzyme itself or the glycerol-3-phosphate transporter (GlpT) that allows entry of Fos into the bacteria. Sensitivity of FosR F. novicida bacteria to compound 1 was not abated suggesting that spontaneous resistance is not due to mutation of DXR. We thus predicted that the glpT transporter may be mutated leading to this resistant phenotype. Supporting this, transposon insertion mutants at the glpT locus were also found to be resistant to Fos. DNA sequencing of four different spontaneous FosR colonies demonstrated a variety of deletions in the glpT coding region. The overall frequency of FosR mutations in F. novicida was determined to be 6.3 × 10−8. Thus we conclude that one mechanism of resistance of F. novicida to Fos is caused by mutations in GlpT. This is the first description of spontaneous mutations in Francisella leading to FosR. PMID:22905031

  8. Review of Processing and Analytical Methods for Francisella ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Journal Article The etiological agent of tularemia, Francisella tularensis, is a resilient organism within the environment and can be acquired many ways (infectious aerosols and dust, contaminated food and water, infected carcasses, and arthropod bites). However, isolating F. tularensis from environmental samples can be challenging due to its nutritionally fastidious and slow-growing nature. In order to determine the current state of the science regarding available processing and analytical methods for detection and recovery of F. tularensis from water and soil matrices, a review of the literature was conducted. During the review, analysis via culture, immunoassays, and genomic identification were the most commonly found methods for F. tularensis detection within environmental samples. Other methods included combined culture and genomic analysis for rapid quantification of viable microorganisms and use of one assay to identify multiple pathogens from a single sample. Gaps in the literature that were identified during this review suggest that further work to integrate culture and genomic identification would advance our ability to detect and to assess the viability of Francisella spp. The optimization of DNA extraction, whole genome amplification with inhibition-resistant polymerases, and multiagent microarray detection would also advance biothreat detection.

  9. Identification of Genome-Wide Mutations in Ciprofloxacin-Resistant F. tularensis LVS Using Whole Genome Tiling Arrays and Next Generation Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Jaing, Crystal J.; McLoughlin, Kevin S.; Thissen, James B.; Zemla, Adam; Vergez, Lisa M.; Bourguet, Feliza; Mabery, Shalini; Fofanov, Viacheslav Y.; Koshinsky, Heather; Jackson, Paul J.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is classified as a Class A bioterrorism agent by the U.S. government due to its high virulence and the ease with which it can be spread as an aerosol. It is a facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Increased Cipro resistance in pathogenic microbes is of serious concern when considering options for medical treatment of bacterial infections. Identification of genes and loci that are associated with Ciprofloxacin resistance will help advance the understanding of resistance mechanisms and may, in the future, provide better treatment options for patients. It may also provide information for development of assays that can rapidly identify Cipro-resistant isolates of this pathogen. In this study, we selected a large number of F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) isolates that survived in progressively higher Ciprofloxacin concentrations, screened the isolates using a whole genome F. tularensis LVS tiling microarray and Illumina sequencing, and identified both known and novel mutations associated with resistance. Genes containing mutations encode DNA gyrase subunit A, a hypothetical protein, an asparagine synthase, a sugar transamine/perosamine synthetase and others. Structural modeling performed on these proteins provides insights into the potential function of these proteins and how they might contribute to Cipro resistance mechanisms. PMID:27668749

  10. Identification of Genome-Wide Mutations in Ciprofloxacin-Resistant F. tularensis LVS Using Whole Genome Tiling Arrays and Next Generation Sequencing

    SciTech Connect

    Jaing, Crystal J.; McLoughlin, Kevin S.; Thissen, James B.; Zemla, Adam; Gardner, Shea N.; Vergez, Lisa M.; Bourguet, Feliza; Mabery, Shalini; Fofanov, Viacheslav Y.; Koshinsky, Heather; Jackson, Paul J.; Wang, Junwen

    2016-09-26

    Francisella tularensis is classified as a Class A bioterrorism agent by the U.S. government due to its high virulence and the ease with which it can be spread as an aerosol. It is a facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Increased Cipro resistance in pathogenic microbes is of serious concern when considering options for medical treatment of bacterial infections. Identification of genes and loci that are associated with Ciprofloxacin resistance will help advance the understanding of resistance mechanisms and may, in the future, provide better treatment options for patients. It may also provide information for development of assays that can rapidly identify Cipro-resistant isolates of this pathogen. In this study, we then selected a large number of F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) isolates that survived in progressively higher Ciprofloxacin concentrations, screened the isolates using a whole genome F. tularensis LVS tiling microarray and Illumina sequencing, and identified both known and novel mutations associated with resistance. For genes containing mutations encode DNA gyrase subunit A, a hypothetical protein, an asparagine synthase, a sugar transamine/perosamine synthetase and others. Finally, structural modeling performed on these proteins provides insights into the potential function of these proteins and how they might contribute to Cipro resistance mechanisms.

  11. Identification of Genome-Wide Mutations in Ciprofloxacin-Resistant F. tularensis LVS Using Whole Genome Tiling Arrays and Next Generation Sequencing

    DOE PAGES

    Jaing, Crystal J.; McLoughlin, Kevin S.; Thissen, James B.; ...

    2016-09-26

    Francisella tularensis is classified as a Class A bioterrorism agent by the U.S. government due to its high virulence and the ease with which it can be spread as an aerosol. It is a facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Increased Cipro resistance in pathogenic microbes is of serious concern when considering options for medical treatment of bacterial infections. Identification of genes and loci that are associated with Ciprofloxacin resistance will help advance the understanding of resistance mechanisms and may, in the future, providemore » better treatment options for patients. It may also provide information for development of assays that can rapidly identify Cipro-resistant isolates of this pathogen. In this study, we then selected a large number of F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) isolates that survived in progressively higher Ciprofloxacin concentrations, screened the isolates using a whole genome F. tularensis LVS tiling microarray and Illumina sequencing, and identified both known and novel mutations associated with resistance. For genes containing mutations encode DNA gyrase subunit A, a hypothetical protein, an asparagine synthase, a sugar transamine/perosamine synthetase and others. Finally, structural modeling performed on these proteins provides insights into the potential function of these proteins and how they might contribute to Cipro resistance mechanisms.« less

  12. Francisella species in ticks and animals, Iberian Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Lopes de Carvalho, I; Toledo, A; Carvalho, C L; Barandika, J F; Respicio-Kingry, L B; Garcia-Amil, C; García-Pérez, A L; Olmeda, A S; Zé-Zé, L; Petersen, J M; Anda, P; Núncio, M S; Escudero, R

    2016-02-01

    The presence of Francisella species in 2134 ticks, 93 lagomorphs and 280 small mammals from the Iberian Peninsula was studied. Overall, 19 ticks and 6 lagomorphs were positive for Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, suggesting, as described for other regions, that lagomorphs may have an important role in the maintenance of F. tularensis in nature. Of the 6 positive lagomorphs, 4 were identified as the European rabbit, Oryctogalus cuniculus. Additionally, 353 ticks and 3 small mammals were PCR positive for Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLEs) and one small mammal was also positive for Francisella hispaniensis-like DNA sequences. Among FLE positive specimens, a variety of sequence types were detected: ticks were associated with 5 lpnA sequence types, with only one type identified per tick, in contrast to 2 lpnA sequence types detected in a single wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). To our knowledge, this is the first report of FLEs in free-living small mammals as well as the first detection of F. hispaniensis-like sequences in a natural setting.

  13. Characterization of Francisella sp., GM2212, the first Francisella isolate from marine fish, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua).

    PubMed

    Ottem, Karl F; Nylund, Are; Karlsbakk, Egil; Friis-Møller, Alice; Krossøy, Bjørn

    2007-05-01

    A Francisella sp., isolate GM2212(T), previously isolated from diseased farmed Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in Norway is characterized. The complete 16S rDNA, 16S-23S intergenic spacer, 23S rDNA, 23S-5S intergenic spacer, 5S rDNA, FopA, lipoprotein TUL4 (LpnA), malate dehydrogenase and a hypothetical lipoprotein (LpnB) is sequenced and compared with Francisella tularensis and Francisella philomiragia. All these sequences support a close relationship between GM2212(T) and F. philomiragia. The bacterium grows at 10-25 degrees C with an optimum at about 20 degrees C, a temperature range clearly different from F. tularensis and F. philomiragia. GM2212(T) is catalase-positive, indole positive, oxidase-negative, do not produce H(2)S in Triple Sugar Iron agar, and does not hydrolyze gelatin, is resistant to erythromycin and susceptible to ceftazidime, the latter five characteristics separating it from F. philomiragia. Cysteine enhances growth. Acid is produced from D: -glucose, maltose, sucrose (weak) but not from lactose or glycerol. GM2212(T) grows on both MacConkey agar and in nutrient broth (6% NaCl). The bacterium is resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, penicillines, cefuroxime and erythromycin; but is susceptible to ceftazidime, tetracycline, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin. Based on the molecular and phenotypical characteristics, we suggest that this GM2212 isolate, may represent a new species of Francisella. Isolate GM2212(T) (=CNCM I-3481(T) = CNCM I-3511(T) = DSM 18777(T)).

  14. Common Ancestry and Novel Genetic Traits of Francisella novicida-Like Isolates from North America and Australia as Revealed by Comparative Genomic Analyses▿†

    PubMed Central

    Siddaramappa, Shivakumara; Challacombe, Jean F; Petersen, Jeannine M; Pillai, Segaran; Hogg, Geoff; Kuske, Cheryl R

    2011-01-01

    Francisella novicida is a close relative of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia. The genomes of F. novicida-like clinical isolates 3523 (Australian strain) and Fx1 (Texas strain) were sequenced and compared to F. novicida strain U112 and F. tularensis strain Schu S4. The strain 3523 chromosome is 1,945,310 bp and contains 1,854 protein-coding genes. The strain Fx1 chromosome is 1,913,619 bp and contains 1,819 protein-coding genes. NUCmer analyses revealed that the genomes of strains Fx1 and U112 are mostly colinear, whereas the genome of strain 3523 has gaps, translocations, and/or inversions compared to genomes of strains Fx1 and U112. Using the genome sequence data and comparative analyses with other members of the genus Francisella, several strain-specific genes that encode putative proteins involved in RTX toxin production, polysaccharide biosynthesis/modification, thiamine biosynthesis, glucuronate utilization, and polyamine biosynthesis were identified. The RTX toxin synthesis and secretion operon of strain 3523 contains four open reading frames (ORFs) and was named rtxCABD. Based on the alignment of conserved sequences upstream of operons involved in thiamine biosynthesis from various bacteria, a putative THI box was identified in strain 3523. The glucuronate catabolism loci of strains 3523 and Fx1 contain a cluster of nine ORFs oriented in the same direction that appear to constitute an operon. Strains U112 and Schu S4 appeared to have lost the loci for RTX toxin production, thiamine biosynthesis, and glucuronate utilization as a consequence of host adaptation and reductive evolution. In conclusion, comparative analyses provided insights into the common ancestry and novel genetic traits of these strains. PMID:21666011

  15. Common ancestry and novel genetic traits of Francisella novicida-like isolates from North America and Australia as revealed by comparative genomic analyses.

    PubMed

    Siddaramappa, Shivakumara; Challacombe, Jean F; Petersen, Jeannine M; Pillai, Segaran; Hogg, Geoff; Kuske, Cheryl R

    2011-08-01

    Francisella novicida is a close relative of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia. The genomes of F. novicida-like clinical isolates 3523 (Australian strain) and Fx1 (Texas strain) were sequenced and compared to F. novicida strain U112 and F. tularensis strain Schu S4. The strain 3523 chromosome is 1,945,310 bp and contains 1,854 protein-coding genes. The strain Fx1 chromosome is 1,913,619 bp and contains 1,819 protein-coding genes. NUCmer analyses revealed that the genomes of strains Fx1 and U112 are mostly colinear, whereas the genome of strain 3523 has gaps, translocations, and/or inversions compared to genomes of strains Fx1 and U112. Using the genome sequence data and comparative analyses with other members of the genus Francisella, several strain-specific genes that encode putative proteins involved in RTX toxin production, polysaccharide biosynthesis/modification, thiamine biosynthesis, glucuronate utilization, and polyamine biosynthesis were identified. The RTX toxin synthesis and secretion operon of strain 3523 contains four open reading frames (ORFs) and was named rtxCABD. Based on the alignment of conserved sequences upstream of operons involved in thiamine biosynthesis from various bacteria, a putative THI box was identified in strain 3523. The glucuronate catabolism loci of strains 3523 and Fx1 contain a cluster of nine ORFs oriented in the same direction that appear to constitute an operon. Strains U112 and Schu S4 appeared to have lost the loci for RTX toxin production, thiamine biosynthesis, and glucuronate utilization as a consequence of host adaptation and reductive evolution. In conclusion, comparative analyses provided insights into the common ancestry and novel genetic traits of these strains.

  16. Increased knowledge of Francisella genus diversity highlights the benefits of optimised DNA-based assays.

    PubMed

    Ahlinder, Jon; Öhrman, Caroline; Svensson, Kerstin; Lindgren, Petter; Johansson, Anders; Forsman, Mats; Larsson, Pär; Sjödin, Andreas

    2012-09-25

    Recent advances in sequencing technologies offer promising tools for generating large numbers of genomes, larger typing databases and improved mapping of environmental bacterial diversity. However, DNA-based methods for the detection of Francisella were developed with limited knowledge about genetic diversity. This, together with the high sequence identity between several Francisella species, means there is a high risk of false identification and detection of the highly virulent pathogen Francisella tularensis. Moreover, phylogenetic reconstructions using single or limited numbers of marker sequences often result in incorrect tree topologies and inferred evolutionary distances. The recent growth in publicly accessible whole-genome sequences now allows evaluation of published genetic markers to determine optimal combinations of markers that minimise both time and laboratory costs. In the present study, we evaluated 38 previously published DNA markers and the corresponding PCR primers against 42 genomes representing the currently known diversity of the genus Francisella. The results highlight that PCR assays for Francisella tularensis are often complicated by low specificity, resulting in a high probability of false positives. A method to select a set of one to seven markers for obtaining optimal phylogenetic resolution or diagnostic accuracy is presented. Current multiple-locus sequence-typing systems and detection assays of Francisella, could be improved by redesigning some of the primers and reselecting typing markers. The use of only a few optimally selected sequence-typing markers allows construction of phylogenetic topologies with almost the same accuracy as topologies based on whole-genome sequences.

  17. Comparative phosphoproteomics reveals components of host cell invasion and post-transcriptional regulation during Francisella infection

    SciTech Connect

    Nakayasu, Ernesto S.; Tempel, Rebecca; Cambronne, Xiaolu A.; Petyuk, Vladislav A.; Jones, Marcus B.; Gritsenko, Marina A.; Monroe, Matthew E.; Yang, Feng; Smith, Richard D.; Adkins, Joshua N.; Heffron, Fred

    2013-09-22

    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium that causes the deadly disease tularemia. Most evidence suggests that Francisella is not well recognized by the innate immune system that normally leads to cytokine expression and cell death. In previous work, we identified new bacterial factors that were hyper-cytotoxic to macrophages. Four of the identified hyper-cytotoxic strains (lpcC, manB, manC and kdtA) had an impaired lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis and produced an exposed lipid A lacking the O-antigen. These mutants were not only hyper-cytotoxic but also were phagocytosed at much higher rates compared to the wild type parent strain. To elucidate the cellular signaling underlying this enhanced phagocytosis and cell death, we performed a large-scale comparative phosphoproteomic analysis of cells infected with wild-type and delta-lpcC F. novicida. Our data suggest that not only actin but also intermediate filaments and microtubules are important for F. novicida entry into the host cells. In addition, we observed differential phosphorylation of tristetraprolin (TTP), a key component of the mRNA-degrading machinery that controls the expression of a variety of genes including many cytokines. Infection with the delta-lpcC mutant induced the hyper-phosphorylation and inhibition of TTP, leading to the production of cytokines such as IL-1beta and TNF-alpha which may kill the host cells by triggering apoptosis. Together, our data provide new insights for Francisella invasion and a post-transcriptional mechanism that prevents the expression of host immune response factors that controls infection by this pathogen.

  18. Francisella infections in farmed and wild aquatic organisms

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Over the last 10 years or so, infections caused by bacteria belonging to a particular branch of the genus Francisella have become increasingly recognised in farmed fish and molluscs worldwide. While the increasing incidence of diagnoses may in part be due to the development and widespread availability of molecular detection techniques, the domestication of new organisms has undoubtedly instigated emergence of clinical disease in some species. Francisellosis in fish develops in a similar fashion independent of host species and is commonly characterised by the presence of multi-organ granuloma and high morbidity, with varying associated mortality levels. A number of fish species are affected including Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua; tilapia, Oreochromis sp.; Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar; hybrid striped bass, Morone chrysops × M. saxatilis and three-lined grunt, Parapristipoma trilinineatum. The disease is highly infectious and often prevalent in affected stocks. Most, if not all strains isolated from teleost fish belong to either F. noatunensis subsp. orientalis in warm water fish species or Francisella noatunensis subsp. noatunensis in coldwater fish species. The disease is quite readily diagnosed following histological examination and identification of the aetiological bacterium by culture on cysteine rich media or PCR. The available evidence may indicate a degree of host specificity for the various Francisella strains, although this area requires further study. No effective vaccine is currently available. Investigation of the virulence mechanisms and host response shows similarity to those known from Francisella tularensis infection in mammals. However, no evidence exists for zoonotic potential amongst the fish pathogenic Francisella. PMID:21385413

  19. Establishment of Three Francisella Infections in Zebrafish Embryos at Different Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Brudal, Espen; Ulanova, Lilia S.; O. Lampe, Elisabeth; Rishovd, Anne-Lise; Winther-Larsen, Hanne C.

    2014-01-01

    Francisella spp. are facultative intracellular pathogens identified in increasingly diverse hosts, including mammals. F. noatunensis subsp. orientalis and F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis infect fish inhabiting warm and cold waters, respectively, while F. tularensis subsp. novicida is highly infectious for mice and has been widely used as a model for the human pathogen F. tularensis. Here, we established zebrafish embryo infection models of fluorescently labeled F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis, F. noatunensis subsp. orientalis, and F. tularensis subsp. novicida at 22, 28, and 32°C, respectively. All infections led to significant bacterial growth, as shown by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and to a robust proinflammatory immune response, dominated by increased transcription of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). F. noatunensis subsp. orientalis was the most virulent, F. noatunensis subsp. noatunensis caused chronic infection, and F. tularensis subsp. novicida showed moderate virulence and led to formation of relatively small granuloma-like structures. The use of transgenic zebrafish strains with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-labeled immune cells revealed their detailed interactions with Francisella species. All three strains entered preferentially into macrophages, which eventually assembled into granuloma-like structures. Entry into neutrophils was also observed, though the efficiency of this event depended on the route of infection. The results demonstrate the usefulness of the zebrafish embryo model for studying infections caused by different Francisella species at a wide range of temperatures and highlight their interactions with immune cells. PMID:24614659

  20. Attenuated virulence of a Francisella mutant lacking the lipid A 4′-phosphatase

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoyuan; Ribeiro, Anthony A.; Guan, Ziqiang; Abraham, Soman N.; Raetz, Christian R. H.

    2007-01-01

    Francisella tularensis causes tularemia, a highly contagious disease of animals and humans, but the virulence features of F. tularensis are poorly defined. F. tularensis and the related mouse pathogen Francisella novicida synthesize unusual lipid A molecules lacking the 4′-monophosphate group typically found in the lipid A of Gram-negative bacteria. LpxF, a selective phosphatase located on the periplasmic surface of the inner membrane, removes the 4′-phosphate moiety in the late stages of F. novicida lipid A assembly. To evaluate the relevance of the 4′-phosphatase to pathogenesis, we constructed a deletion mutant of lpxF and compared its virulence with wild-type F. novicida. Intradermal injection of 106 wild-type but not 108 mutant F. novicida cells is lethal to mice. The rapid clearance of the lpxF mutant is associated with a stronger local cytokine response and a greater influx of neutrophils compared with wild-type. The F. novicida mutant was highly susceptible to the cationic antimicrobial peptide polymyxin. LpxF therefore represents a kind of virulence factor that confers a distinct lipid A phenotype, preventing Francisella from activating the host innate immune response and preventing the bactericidal actions of cationic peptides. Francisella lpxF mutants may be useful for immunization against tularemia. PMID:17360489

  1. AR-13, a Celecoxib Derivative, Directly Kills Francisella In Vitro and Aids Clearance and Mouse Survival In Vivo.

    PubMed

    Hoang, Ky V; Adcox, Haley E; Fitch, James R; Gordon, David M; Curry, Heather M; Schlesinger, Larry S; White, Peter; Gunn, John S

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis) is the causative agent of tularemia and is classified as a Tier 1 select agent. No licensed vaccine is currently available in the United States and treatment of tularemia is confined to few antibiotics. In this study, we demonstrate that AR-13, a derivative of the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor celecoxib, exhibits direct in vitro bactericidal killing activity against Francisella including a type A strain of F. tularensis (SchuS4) and the live vaccine strain (LVS), as well as toward the intracellular proliferation of LVS in macrophages, without causing significant host cell toxicity. Identification of an AR-13-resistant isolate indicates that this compound has an intracellular target(s) and that efflux pumps can mediate AR-13 resistance. In the mouse model of tularemia, AR-13 treatment protected 50% of the mice from lethal LVS infection and prolonged survival time from a lethal dose of F. tularensis SchuS4. Combination of AR-13 with a sub-optimal dose of gentamicin protected 60% of F. tularensis SchuS4-infected mice from death. Taken together, these data support the translational potential of AR-13 as a lead compound for the further development of new anti-Francisella agents.

  2. Generation of protection against Francisella novicida in mice depends on the pathogenicity protein PdpA, but not PdpC or PdpD.

    PubMed

    Chou, Alicia Y; Kennett, Nikki J; Nix, Eli B; Schmerk, Crystal L; Nano, Francis E; Elkins, Karen L

    2013-11-01

    Previous results suggest that mutations in most genes in the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) attenuate the bacterium. Using a mouse model, here we determined the impact of mutations in pdpA, pdpC, and pdpD in Francisella novicida on in vitro replication in macrophages, and in vivo immunogenicity. In contrast to most FPI genes, deletion of pdpC (FnΔpdpC) and pdpD (FnΔpdpD) from F. novicida did not impact growth in mouse bone-marrow derived macrophages. Nonetheless, both FnΔpdpC and FnΔpdpD were highly attenuated when administered intradermally. Infected mice produced relatively normal anti-F. novicida serum antibodies. Further, splenocytes from infected mice controlled intramacrophage Francisella replication, indicating T cell priming, and mice immunized by infection with FnΔpdpC or FnΔpdpD survived secondary lethal parenteral challenge with either F. novicida or Francisella tularensis LVS. In contrast, deletion of pdpA (FnΔpdpA) ablated growth in macrophages in vitro. FnΔpdpA disseminated and replicated poorly in infected mice, accompanied by development of some anti-F. novicida serum antibodies. However, primed Th1 cells were not detected, and vaccinated mice did not survive even low dose challenge with either F. novicida or LVS. Taken together, these results suggest that successful priming of Th1 cells, and protection against lethal challenge, depends on expression of PdpA. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.

  3. Glycosylation of a Capsule-Like Complex (CLC) by Francisella novicida Is Required for Virulence and Partial Protective Immunity in Mice

    DOE PAGES

    Freudenberger Catanzaro, Kelly C.; Champion, Anna E.; Mohapatra, Nrusingh; ...

    2017-05-30

    Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium and the etiologic agent of tularemia. F. tularensis may appear encapsulated when examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which is due to production of an extracellular capsule-like complex (CLC) when the bacterium is grown under specific environmental conditions. Deletion of two glycosylation genes in the live vaccine strain (LVS) results in loss of apparent CLC and attenuation of LVS in mice. In contrast, F. novicida, which is also highly virulent for mice, is reported to be non-encapsulated. But, the F. novicida genome contains a putative polysaccharide locus with homology to the CLC glycosylation locusmore » in F. tularensis. Following daily subculture of F. novicida in Chamberlain’s defined medium, an electron dense material surrounding F. novicida, similar to the F. tularensis CLC, was evident. Extraction with urea effectively removed the CLC, and compositional analysis indicated the extract contained galactose, glucose, mannose, and multiple proteins, similar to those found in the F. tularensis CLC. The same glycosylation genes deleted in LVS were targeted for deletion in F. novicida by allelic exchange using the same mutagenesis vector used for mutagenesis of LVS. In contrast, this mutation also resulted in the loss of five additional genes immediately upstream of the targeted mutation (all within the glycosylation locus), resulting in strain F. novicida 11212–1218. The subcultured mutant F. novicida 11212–1218 was CLC-deficient and the CLC contained significantly less carbohydrate than the subcultured parent strain. The mutant was severely attenuated in BALB/c mice inoculated intranasally, as determined by the lower number of F. novicida 11212–1218 recovered in tissues compared to the parent, and by clearance of the mutant by 10–14 days post-challenge. Mice immunized intranasally with F. novicida 11212–1218 were partially protected against challenge with the parent, produced

  4. Rapid Generation of Specific Protective Immunity to Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-11-01

    tu/arensis. To characterize the time course of development of diluent PBS was used for priming 3 days previously. The protective immunity, we...were inoculated with 104 LVS or the LVS, or the control diluent , PBS, i.d., i.v., or s.c. as indicated. Three days control diluent . PBS, i.d. at the...or the control diluent , PBS (tinprimed). Three davy later. they were challenged with i .... INS l.’ i.p. ranging from 10W to 101; actual (1(0) dose ot

  5. Rapid Identification of Francisella tularensis by a Fluorogenic Enzyme Immunoassay

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1990-11-01

    and Ingram, L.O., " Effect of chaotropic and antichaotropic agents on elution of poliovirus adsorbed on membrane filters", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA... Formaldehyde solution was then added to achieve a final concentration of 2.4%. The formalinized cultures were held at 41C with slight agitation for 48 h...cultures onto TSA plates and incubating overnight, as previously described. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 5 Cultuv•s were inactivated by the addition of

  6. A 52 Kilodalton Protein Vaccine Candidate for Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-12-01

    stratdgie pour la mise au point de vaccins sub- cellulaires s~curitaires et efficaces contre les agents biologiques dangereux tels que la tular6mie. La...production d’oxyde de diazote chez certaines lign6es cellulaires mammaliennes et qu’en grandes quantit6s, elle cause la mort de la cellule. La vaccination de...60%) unless antibiotic therapy is given [1]. The bacterium is readily grown on simple medium, is highly virulent when delivered as an aerosol or in

  7. Francisella tularensis Molecular Typing Using Differential Insertion Sequence Amplification

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-08-01

    FTW 1473, (deoo) / ,//~~3:1.858 LV5 1 ,/’/ (2,085 bp) ~..!.... , , ; , , FTL 1461 FTL 1462 (deoO) (ISFtuf) I...1 FTW 0079 1 (fniiDf) 92,597 LV5 (781 bp) \\ \\ \\ \\ \\ -, \\ \\ FTI_1718c (15Ftu1) -- -- FTW 0081 (ISFtuf) \\ \\ FTW 0083 (fnuDf...hypoihetical) 1,788,003 -c .,.. FTW 0084 (hypothetical) I 94,340 -I L 1 -- I 1,801,864 -I SJ 2789 FIG. 1. Chromosomal map of CR I 0 3nd CR

  8. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... provides epidemiological information on this disease. Tularemia is a desease principally of rodents, but... fleas and ticks. The disease takes on several forms depending upon the site of infection, such as skin lesions, lymph node enlargements, or pulmonary infection. (b) Classification. Class II (special controls...

  9. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... provides epidemiological information on this disease. Tularemia is a desease principally of rodents, but... fleas and ticks. The disease takes on several forms depending upon the site of infection, such as skin lesions, lymph node enlargements, or pulmonary infection. (b) Classification. Class II (special controls...

  10. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... provides epidemiological information on this disease. Tularemia is a desease principally of rodents, but... fleas and ticks. The disease takes on several forms depending upon the site of infection, such as skin lesions, lymph node enlargements, or pulmonary infection. (b) Classification. Class II (special controls...

  11. 21 CFR 866.3280 - Francisella tularensis serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... provides epidemiological information on this disease. Tularemia is a desease principally of rodents, but... fleas and ticks. The disease takes on several forms depending upon the site of infection, such as skin lesions, lymph node enlargements, or pulmonary infection. (b) Classification. Class II (special controls...

  12. Purification and Partial Characterization of Monoclonal Antibodies of Francisella tularensis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-07-01

    incubated for 2 h at 37*C. Plates were washed with 0.05% Tween 20-PBS three times. Fifty pl of a 1:2500 dilution of goat anti-mouse IgG and IgM...Cherwonogrodzky, J.W., Dubray, G., Moreno, E. and Nmyer, H. 1990. Antigens of Brucella, p. 19-63 In K. Nielsen and J.R. Duncan (ed.) Animal Brucellosis , CRC

  13. NaxD is a deacetylase required for lipid A modification and Francisella pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Llewellyn, Anna C.; Zhao, Jinshi; Song, Feng; Parvathareddy, Jyothi; Xu, Qian; Napier, Brooke A.; Laroui, Hamed; Merlin, Didier; Bina, James E.; Cotter, Peggy A.; Miller, Mark A.; Raetz, Christian R. H.; Weiss, David S.

    2013-01-01

    Summary Modification of specific Gram-negative bacterial cell envelope components, such as capsule, O-antigen and lipid A, are often essential for the successful establishment of infection. Francisella species express lipid A molecules with unique characteristics involved in circumventing host defences, which significantly contribute to their virulence. In this study, we show that NaxD, a member of the highly conserved YdjC superfamily, is a deacetylase required for an important modification of the outer membrane component lipid A in Francisella. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that NaxD is essential for the modification of a lipid A phosphate with galactosamine in Francisella novicida, a model organism for the study of highly virulent Francisella tularensis. Significantly, enzymatic assays confirmed that this protein is necessary for deacetylation of its substrate. In addition, NaxD was involved in resistance to the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B and critical for replication in macrophages and in vivo virulence. Importantly, this protein is also required for lipid A modification in F. tularensis as well as Bordetella bronchiseptica. Since NaxD homologues are conserved among many Gram-negative pathogens, this work has broad implications for our understanding of host subversion mechanisms of other virulent bacteria. PMID:22966934

  14. Guanylate-binding proteins promote activation of the AIM2 inflammasome during infection with Francisella novicida.

    PubMed

    Meunier, Etienne; Wallet, Pierre; Dreier, Roland F; Costanzo, Stéphanie; Anton, Leonie; Rühl, Sebastian; Dussurgey, Sébastien; Dick, Mathias S; Kistner, Anne; Rigard, Mélanie; Degrandi, Daniel; Pfeffer, Klaus; Yamamoto, Masahiro; Henry, Thomas; Broz, Petr

    2015-05-01

    The AIM2 inflammasome detects double-stranded DNA in the cytosol and induces caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis as well as release of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. AIM2 is critical for host defense against DNA viruses and bacteria that replicate in the cytosol, such as Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida (F. novicida). The activation of AIM2 by F. novicida requires bacteriolysis, yet whether this process is accidental or is a host-driven immunological mechanism has remained unclear. By screening nearly 500 interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) through the use of small interfering RNA (siRNA), we identified guanylate-binding proteins GBP2 and GBP5 as key activators of AIM2 during infection with F. novicida. We confirmed their prominent role in vitro and in a mouse model of tularemia. Mechanistically, these two GBPs targeted cytosolic F. novicida and promoted bacteriolysis. Thus, in addition to their role in host defense against vacuolar pathogens, GBPs also facilitate the presentation of ligands by directly attacking cytosolic bacteria.

  15. Gallium Disrupts Iron Uptake by Intracellular and Extracellular Francisella Strains and Exhibits Therapeutic Efficacy in a Murine Pulmonary Infection Model ▿

    PubMed Central

    Olakanmi, Oyebode; Gunn, John S.; Su, Shengchang; Soni, Shilpa; Hassett, Daniel J.; Britigan, Bradley E.

    2010-01-01

    Francisella tularensis requires iron (Fe) for growth, but the biologic sources of Fe for this organism are largely unknown. We found that Francisella sp. growing in broth culture or within human macrophages can acquire Fe from the two major host Fe-binding proteins, lactoferrin (Lf) and transferrin (Tf). Fe acquisition is a potential target for novel therapies. Gallium (Ga) is a transition metal that interferes with cellular Fe metabolism by competing with Fe for uptake/utilization. Growth of either F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) or Francisella novicida was inhibited by ≥2 μM Ga chelated to Tf or Lf, with GaLf being somewhat more potent. Francisella spp. express two Fe-containing antioxidant enzymes, catalase (KatG) and Fe cofactored superoxide dismutase (FeSOD). Growth of LVS with 10 μM GaTf or GaLf led to a dramatic decrease in bacterial catalase activity and in FeSOD activity that was associated with an increased susceptibility to H2O2. Ga also protected mice from intranasal challenge with F. novicida. Whereas 100% of the F. novicida-infected mice died by day 9, 75% of the mice receiving Ga continued to survive to at least day 15. Thus, a single intranasal dose of Ga followed by daily intraperitoneal Ga at a dose tolerated by the animals resulted in prolonged survival. These data support the potential utility of Ga as a therapy for F. tularensis infection of the lung. PMID:19917753

  16. Paired-End Sequence Mapping Detects Extensive Genomic Rearrangement and Translocation During Divergence of Francisella tularensis Subspecies Tularensis and Francisella tularensis Subspecies holarctica Populations

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-03-30

    CA [1]. The geographic distribution of the organism spans the entire Northern Hemisphere, with only a very recent isolated recovery of the organism...subspecies have classically been differentiated primarily on the basis of glycerol fermentation , production of citrulline ureidase, and erythromycin...chocolate agar at 37°C in 5% CO2. Glycerol fermentation of the limited number of isolates was performed either as described [19], or by using Biolog® (Biolog

  17. Metabolic Labeling to Characterize the Overall Composition of Francisella Lipid A and Lipopolysaccharide Grown in Broth and in Human Phagocytes

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Jason H.; Kaufman, Justin W.; Zhang, DeSheng; Weiss, Jerrold P.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY A hallmark of Francisella tularensis, a highly virulent Gram-negative bacterium, is its unusual lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Detailed analyses of Francisella LPS have revealed both structural heterogeneity and characteristics that may contribute to innate immune evasion. However, none of the methods yet employed has been sufficient to determine the overall LPS composition of Francisella. We now demonstrate that metabolic labeling of Francisellae with [14C]acetate, combined with fractionation of [14C]acetate-labeled lipids by ethanol precipitation rather than hot phenol-water extraction, permits a more sensitive and quantitative appraisal of overall compositional heterogeneity in lipid A and LPS. We show that the majority of lipid A of different Francisellae strains grown in diverse bacteriologic media and within human phagocytes accumulated as very hydrophobic species, including free lipid A, with < 10% of the lipid A molecules substituted with O-antigen polysaccharides. The spectrum of lipid A and LPS species varied in both a medium-dependent and strain-dependent fashion, and intracellular growth in THP-1 cells yielded lipid A species that were not present in the same bacteria grown in brain heart infusion broth. In summary, metabolic labeling with [14C]acetate greatly facilitates assessment of the effect of genotypic and/or environmental variables on the synthesis and net accumulation of lipid A and LPS by Francisella, including during growth within the cytosol of infected host cells. PMID:23729477

  18. Characterization of Francisella species isolated from the cooling water of an air conditioning system.

    PubMed

    Gu, Quan; Li, Xunde; Qu, Pinghua; Hou, Shuiping; Li, Juntao; Atwill, Edward R; Chen, Shouyi

    2015-01-01

    Strains of Francisella spp. were isolated from cooling water from an air conditioning system in Guangzhou, China. These strains are Gram negative, coccobacilli, non-motile, oxidase negative, catalase negative, esterase and lipid esterase positive. In addition, these bacteria grow on cysteine-supplemented media at 20 °C to 40 °C with an optimal growth temperature of 30 °C. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that these strains belong to the genus Francisella. Biochemical tests and phylogenetic and BLAST analyses of 16S rRNA, rpoB and sdhA genes indicated that one strain was very similar to Francisella philomiragia and that the other strains were identical or highly similar to the Francisella guangzhouensis sp. nov. strain 08HL01032 we previously described. Biochemical and molecular characteristics of these strains demonstrated that multiple Francisella species exist in air conditioning systems.

  19. Comparison of bacterial culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica in wild animals.

    PubMed

    Sting, Reinhard; Runge, Martin; Eisenberg, Tobias; Braune, Silke; Müller, Wolfgang; Otto, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Detection of the zoonotic pathogen Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica (EF tularensis) in wild animals with culture techniques as well as polymerase chain reaction were compared and discussed on the basis of the investigation of 60 animals. The samples originated from 55 European brown hares (Lepus europaeus), two red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and one each from a wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a European beaver (Castor fiber), and a lemur (Lemur catta). When comparing the growth of 28 F. tularensis isolates on the cysteine blood agar and the modified Martin-Lewis-agar used in this study, cultivation was successful for 26 isolates on both media, but for two isolates only on the cysteine blood agar. Out of 43 carcasses 19 tested positive in bacteriological culture and PCR. Two culture positive samples of tonsils originating from foxes could not be confirmed by PCR, although PCR was positive in 22 samples that missed growth of F. tularensis. Comparative studies on cultural detection of E. tularensis were performed on samples of 16 hares from lung, spleen, liver and gut and in one case with a peritoneal swab. In at least one of these localizations cultivation of the pathogen was successful. Detection rate was reduced to 94% (15 of 16 hares) considering only the results of the cultures of the lungs and spleens. For a sensitive and rapid detection of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica, the PCR is a suitable method thereby avoiding hazardous multiplying of the pathogen. However, cultivation of F. tularensis is often a prerequisite for further studies on antibiotic resistance patterns of the pathogen, molecular epidemiological and pathological analyses of tularaemia.

  20. The biochemical properties of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI)-encoded proteins IglA, IglB, IglC, PdpB and DotU suggest roles in type VI secretion

    PubMed Central

    de Bruin, Olle M.; Duplantis, Barry N.; Ludu, Jagjit S.; Hare, Rebekah F.; Nix, Eli B.; Schmerk, Crystal L.; Robb, Craig S.; Boraston, Alisdair B.; Hueffer, Karsten

    2011-01-01

    The Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) encodes proteins thought to compose a type VI secretion system (T6SS) that is required for the intracellular growth of Francisella novicida. In this work we used deletion mutagenesis and genetic complementation to determine that the intracellular growth of F. novicida was dependent on 14 of the 18 genes in the FPI. The products of the iglABCD operon were localized by the biochemical fractionation of F. novicida, and Francisella tularensis LVS. Sucrose gradient separation of water-insoluble material showed that the FPI-encoded proteins IglA, IglB and IglC were found in multiple fractions, especially in a fraction that did not correspond to a known membrane fraction. We interpreted these data to suggest that IglA, IglB and IglC are part of a macromolecular structure. Analysis of published structural data suggested that IglC is an analogue of Hcp, which is thought to form long nano-tubes. Thus the fractionation properties of IglA, IglB and IglC are consistent with the current model of the T6SS apparatus, which supposes that IglA and IglB homologues form an outer tube structure that surrounds an inner tube composed of Hcp (IglC) subunits. Fractionation of F. novicida expressing FLAG-tagged DotU (IcmH homologue) and PdpB (IcmF homologue) showed that these proteins localize to the inner membrane. Deletion of dotU led to the cleavage of PdpB, suggesting an interaction of these two proteins that is consistent with results obtained with other T6SSs. Our results may provide a mechanistic basis for many of the studies that have examined the virulence properties of Francisella mutants in FPI genes, namely that the observed phenotypes of the mutants are the result of the disruption of the FPI-encoded T6SS structure. PMID:21980115

  1. Possible Links Between Stress Defense and the Tricarboxylic Acid (TCA) Cycle in Francisella Pathogenesis*

    PubMed Central

    Dieppedale, Jennifer; Gesbert, Gael; Ramond, Elodie; Chhuon, Cerina; Dubail, Iharilalao; Dupuis, Marion; Guerrera, Ida Chiara; Charbit, Alain

    2013-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. In vivo, this facultative intracellular bacterium survives and replicates mainly in the cytoplasm of infected cells. We have recently identified a genetic locus, designated moxR that is important for stress resistance and intramacrophage survival of F. tularensis. In the present work, we used tandem affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry to identify in vivo interacting partners of three proteins encoded by this locus: the MoxR-like ATPase (FTL_0200), and two proteins containing motifs predicted to be involved in protein–protein interactions, bearing von Willebrand A (FTL_0201) and tetratricopeptide (FTL_0205) motifs. The three proteins were designated here for simplification, MoxR, VWA1, and TPR1, respectively. MoxR interacted with 31 proteins, including various enzymes. VWA1 interacted with fewer proteins, but these included the E2 component of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and TPR1. The protein TPR1 interacted with one hundred proteins, including the E1 and E2 subunits of both oxoglutarate and pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme complexes, and their common E3 subunit. Remarkably, chromosomal deletion of either moxR or tpr1 impaired pyruvate dehydrogenase and oxoglutarate dehydrogenase activities, supporting the hypothesis of a functional role for the interaction of MoxR and TPR1 with these complexes. Altogether, this work highlights possible links between stress resistance and metabolism in F. tularensis virulence. PMID:23669032

  2. Identification, Distribution and Population Dynamics of Francisella-like Endosymbiont in Haemaphysalis doenitzi (Acari: Ixodidae)

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Jian-Nan; Yu, Zhi-Jun; Liu, Li-Meng; Li, Ning-Xin; Wang, Rong-Rong; Zhang, Chun-Mian; Liu, Jing-Ze

    2016-01-01

    Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLEs) with significant homology to Francisella tularensis (γ-proteobacteria) have been characterized in several tick species, whereas knowledge on their distribution and population dynamics in ticks remains meager. Hence, in the current study, we identified a novel Francisella-like endosymbiont (FLEs-Hd) from the tick Haemaphysalis doenitzi and evaluated the putative functions of this symbiont. Results indicated that FLEs-Hd had 100% infection rate and a perfect vertical transmission in H. doenitzi, and that it is distributed in ovaries, malpighian tubules, salivary glands and midguts of the ticks, suggesting that FLEs-Hd presumably is a crucial symbiont of the host without specific tissue tropism. To further explore the function of the symbiont, the population dynamics of FLEs-Hd at each developmental stage of ticks and in tissues at different reproductive statuses were determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (real-time qPCR). Results showed that the high density and regular population dynamics of FLEs-Hd appeared in female ovaries, suggesting that the symbiont may provide necessary nutrients or regulators to ensure normal ovary development of ticks. PMID:27731377

  3. Secreted Effectors Encoded within and outside of the Francisella Pathogenicity Island Promote Intramacrophage Growth.

    PubMed

    Eshraghi, Aria; Kim, Jungyun; Walls, Alexandra C; Ledvina, Hannah E; Miller, Cheryl N; Ramsey, Kathryn M; Whitney, John C; Radey, Matthew C; Peterson, S Brook; Ruhland, Brittany R; Tran, Bao Q; Goo, Young Ah; Goodlett, David R; Dove, Simon L; Celli, Jean; Veesler, David; Mougous, Joseph D

    2016-11-09

    The intracellular bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis causes tularemia, a zoonosis that can be fatal. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded by the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) is critical for the virulence of this organism. Existing studies suggest that the complete repertoire of T6SS effectors delivered to host cells is encoded by the FPI. Using a proteome-wide approach, we discovered that the FPI-encoded T6SS exports at least three effectors encoded outside of the island. These proteins share features with virulence determinants of other pathogens, and we provide evidence that they can contribute to intramacrophage growth. The remaining proteins that we identified are encoded within the FPI. Two of these FPI-encoded proteins constitute effectors, whereas the others form a unique complex required for core function of the T6SS apparatus. The discovery of secreted effectors mediating interactions between Francisella and its host significantly advances our understanding of the pathogenesis of this organism. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Mass spectrometry analysis of intact Francisella bacteria identifies lipid A structure remodeling in response to acidic pH stress.

    PubMed

    Robert, Camille B; Thomson, Michael; Vercellone, Alain; Gardner, Francesca; Ernst, Robert K; Larrouy-Maumus, Gérald; Nigou, Jérôme

    2017-08-12

    Structural modification of lipid A, the lipid anchor of LPS, is one of the strategies used by Gram-negative bacteria to evade host innate immunity. Francisella tularensis is a human pathogen that infects and replicates within phagocytic cells. It produces an atypical lipid A, whose structure precludes an efficient recognition by both innate immune players, TLR4 and cationic antimicrobial peptides. Interestingly, a recent report indicates that the lipid A of Francisella (LVS vaccinal strain) undergoes polar modifications when bacteria are grown in human macrophages as compared to in broth. To characterize the structural modifications of lipid A that may be induced intracellularly, Francisella novicida, a surrogate strain for the highly virulent F. tularensis, was submitted to different stress conditions mimicking the harsh environment encountered in the macrophages. To analyze lipid A directly from intact bacteria without any chemical treatment or purification steps, we used a rapid and sensitive MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry approach. Among the many conditions tested, only bacteria exposure to acidic pHs (from 6 to 5) induced a change in lipid A structure. These changes were characterized by an increase in the relative abundance of molecular species bearing an additional hexose unit on the diglucosamine backbone, similar to species present when bacteria are grown under reduced environmental temperature. This lipid A glyco-form, which is observed in trace amounts in normal in vitro growth conditions at 37 °C, may contribute to the intracellular parasitism of macrophages by Francisella. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. and Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire (SFBBM). All rights reserved.

  5. Essential genes from Arctic bacteria used to construct stable, temperature-sensitive bacterial vaccines.

    PubMed

    Duplantis, Barry N; Osusky, Milan; Schmerk, Crystal L; Ross, Darrell R; Bosio, Catharine M; Nano, Francis E

    2010-07-27

    All bacteria share a set of evolutionarily conserved essential genes that encode products that are required for viability. The great diversity of environments that bacteria inhabit, including environments at extreme temperatures, place adaptive pressure on essential genes. We sought to use this evolutionary diversity of essential genes to engineer bacterial pathogens to be stably temperature-sensitive, and thus useful as live vaccines. We isolated essential genes from bacteria found in the Arctic and substituted them for their counterparts into pathogens of mammals. We found that substitution of nine different essential genes from psychrophilic (cold-loving) bacteria into mammalian pathogenic bacteria resulted in strains that died below their normal-temperature growth limits. Substitution of three different psychrophilic gene orthologs of ligA, which encode NAD-dependent DNA ligase, resulted in bacterial strains that died at 33, 35, and 37 degrees C. One ligA gene was shown to render Francisella tularensis, Salmonella enterica, and Mycobacterium smegmatis temperature-sensitive, demonstrating that this gene functions in both Gram-negative and Gram-positive lineage bacteria. Three temperature-sensitive F. tularensis strains were shown to induce protective immunity after vaccination at a cool body site. About half of the genes that could be tested were unable to mutate to temperature-resistant forms at detectable levels. These results show that psychrophilic essential genes can be used to create a unique class of bacterial temperature-sensitive vaccines for important human pathogens, such as S. enterica and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

  6. Nanolipoprotein Particles (NLPs) as Versatile Vaccine Platforms for Co-delivery of Multiple Adjuvants with Subunit Antigens from Burkholderia spp. and F. tularensis - Technical Report

    SciTech Connect

    Fischer, N. O.

    2015-01-13

    The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate that colocalization of protein subunit antigens and adjuvants on nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) can increase the protective efficacy of subunit antigens from Burkholderia spp. and Francisella tularensis against an aerosol challenge. In the third quarter of the third year, F344 rats vaccinated with adjuvanted NLP formulations were challenged with F. tularensis SCHU S4 at Battelle. Preliminary data indicate that up to 65% of females vaccinated intranasally with an NLP-based formulation survived this challenge, compared to only 20% survival of naïve animals. In addition, NLPs were successfully formulated with Burkholderia protein antigens. IACUC approval for immunological assessments in BALB/c mice was received and we anticipate that these assessments will begin by March 2015, pending ACURO approval.

  7. Nanolipoprotein Particles (NLPs) as Versatile Vaccine Platforms for Co-delivery of Multiple Adjuvants with Subunit Antigens from Burkholderia spp. and F. tularensis - Technical Report

    SciTech Connect

    Fischer, N. O.

    2015-01-06

    The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate that colocalization of protein subunit antigens and adjuvants on nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) can increase the protective efficacy of subunit antigens from Burkholderia spp. and Francisella tularensis against an aerosol challenge. In the second quarter of the third year, LLNL finalized all immunological assessments of NLP vaccine formulations in the F344 model. Battelle has immunized rats with three unique NLP formulations by either intramuscular or intranasal administration. All inoculations have been completed, and protective efficacy against an aerosolized challenge will begin at the end of October, 2014.

  8. Francisella philomiragia Infection and Lethality in Mammalian Tissue Culture Cell Models, Galleria mellonella, and BALB/c Mice

    PubMed Central

    Propst, Crystal N.; Pylypko, Stephanie L.; Blower, Ryan J.; Ahmad, Saira; Mansoor, Mohammad; van Hoek, Monique L.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella (F.) philomiragia is a Gram-negative bacterium with a preference for brackish environments that has been implicated in causing bacterial infections in near-drowning victims. The purpose of this study was to characterize the ability of F. philomiragia to infect cultured mammalian cells, a commonly used invertebrate model, and, finally, to characterize the ability of F. philomiragia to infect BALB/c mice via the pulmonary (intranasal) route of infection. This study shows that F. philomiragia infects J774A.1 murine macrophage cells, HepG2 cells and A549 human Type II alveolar epithelial cells. However, replication rates vary depending on strain at 24 h. F. philomiragia infection after 24 h was found to be cytotoxic in human U937 macrophage-like cells and J774A.1 cells. This is in contrast to the findings that F. philomiragia was non-cytotoxic to human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, HepG2 cells and A549 cells. Differential cytotoxicity is a point for further study. Here, it was demonstrated that F. philomiragia grown in host-adapted conditions (BHI, pH 6.8) is sensitive to levofloxacin but shows increased resistance to the human cathelicidin LL-37 and murine cathelicidin mCRAMP when compared to related the Francisella species, F. tularensis subsp. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. LVS. Previous findings that LL-37 is strongly upregulated in A549 cells following F. tularensis subsp. novicida infection suggest that the level of antimicrobial peptide expression is not sufficient in cells to eradicate the intracellular bacteria. Finally, this study demonstrates that F. philomiragia is lethal in two in vivo models; Galleria mellonella via hemocoel injection, with a LD50 of 1.8 × 103, and BALB/c mice by intranasal infection, with a LD50 of 3.45 × 103. In conclusion, F. philomiragia may be a useful model organism to study the genus Francisella, particularly for those researchers with interest in studying microbial ecology or environmental strains of Francisella

  9. Francisella philomiragia Infection and Lethality in Mammalian Tissue Culture Cell Models, Galleria mellonella, and BALB/c Mice.

    PubMed

    Propst, Crystal N; Pylypko, Stephanie L; Blower, Ryan J; Ahmad, Saira; Mansoor, Mohammad; van Hoek, Monique L

    2016-01-01

    Francisella (F.) philomiragia is a Gram-negative bacterium with a preference for brackish environments that has been implicated in causing bacterial infections in near-drowning victims. The purpose of this study was to characterize the ability of F. philomiragia to infect cultured mammalian cells, a commonly used invertebrate model, and, finally, to characterize the ability of F. philomiragia to infect BALB/c mice via the pulmonary (intranasal) route of infection. This study shows that F. philomiragia infects J774A.1 murine macrophage cells, HepG2 cells and A549 human Type II alveolar epithelial cells. However, replication rates vary depending on strain at 24 h. F. philomiragia infection after 24 h was found to be cytotoxic in human U937 macrophage-like cells and J774A.1 cells. This is in contrast to the findings that F. philomiragia was non-cytotoxic to human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, HepG2 cells and A549 cells. Differential cytotoxicity is a point for further study. Here, it was demonstrated that F. philomiragia grown in host-adapted conditions (BHI, pH 6.8) is sensitive to levofloxacin but shows increased resistance to the human cathelicidin LL-37 and murine cathelicidin mCRAMP when compared to related the Francisella species, F. tularensis subsp. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. LVS. Previous findings that LL-37 is strongly upregulated in A549 cells following F. tularensis subsp. novicida infection suggest that the level of antimicrobial peptide expression is not sufficient in cells to eradicate the intracellular bacteria. Finally, this study demonstrates that F. philomiragia is lethal in two in vivo models; Galleria mellonella via hemocoel injection, with a LD50 of 1.8 × 10(3), and BALB/c mice by intranasal infection, with a LD50 of 3.45 × 10(3). In conclusion, F. philomiragia may be a useful model organism to study the genus Francisella, particularly for those researchers with interest in studying microbial ecology or environmental strains of

  10. Francisella novicida Pathogenicity Island Encoded Proteins Were Secreted during Infection of Macrophage-Like Cells

    PubMed Central

    Hare, Rebekah F.; Hueffer, Karsten

    2014-01-01

    Intracellular pathogens and other organisms have evolved mechanisms to exploit host cells for their life cycles. Virulence genes of some intracellular bacteria responsible for these mechanisms are located in pathogenicity islands, such as secretion systems that secrete effector proteins. The Francisella pathogenicity island is required for phagosomal escape, intracellular replication, evasion of host immune responses, virulence, and encodes a type 6 secretion system. We hypothesize that some Francisella novicida pathogenicity island proteins are secreted during infection of host cells. To test this hypothesis, expression plasmids for all Francisella novicida FPI-encoded proteins with C-terminal and N-terminal epitope FLAG tags were developed. These plasmids expressed their respective epitope FLAG-tagged proteins at their predicted molecular weights. J774 murine macrophage-like cells were infected with Francisella novicida containing these plasmids. The FPI proteins expressed from these plasmids successfully restored the intramacrophage growth phenotype in mutants of the respective genes that were deficient for intramacrophage growth. Using these expression plasmids, the localization of the Francisella pathogenicity island proteins were examined via immuno-fluorescence microscopy within infected macrophage-like cells. Several Francisella pathogenicity island encoded proteins (IglABCDEFGHIJ, PdpACE, DotU and VgrG) were detected extracellularly and they were co-localized with the bacteria, while PdpBD and Anmk were not detected and thus remained inside bacteria. Proteins that were co-localized with bacteria had different patterns of localization. The localization of IglC was dependent on the type 6 secretion system. This suggests that some Francisella pathogenicity island proteins were secreted while others remain within the bacterium during infection of host cells as structural components of the secretion system and were necessary for secretion. PMID:25158041

  11. Francisella novicida pathogenicity island encoded proteins were secreted during infection of macrophage-like cells.

    PubMed

    Hare, Rebekah F; Hueffer, Karsten

    2014-01-01

    Intracellular pathogens and other organisms have evolved mechanisms to exploit host cells for their life cycles. Virulence genes of some intracellular bacteria responsible for these mechanisms are located in pathogenicity islands, such as secretion systems that secrete effector proteins. The Francisella pathogenicity island is required for phagosomal escape, intracellular replication, evasion of host immune responses, virulence, and encodes a type 6 secretion system. We hypothesize that some Francisella novicida pathogenicity island proteins are secreted during infection of host cells. To test this hypothesis, expression plasmids for all Francisella novicida FPI-encoded proteins with C-terminal and N-terminal epitope FLAG tags were developed. These plasmids expressed their respective epitope FLAG-tagged proteins at their predicted molecular weights. J774 murine macrophage-like cells were infected with Francisella novicida containing these plasmids. The FPI proteins expressed from these plasmids successfully restored the intramacrophage growth phenotype in mutants of the respective genes that were deficient for intramacrophage growth. Using these expression plasmids, the localization of the Francisella pathogenicity island proteins were examined via immuno-fluorescence microscopy within infected macrophage-like cells. Several Francisella pathogenicity island encoded proteins (IglABCDEFGHIJ, PdpACE, DotU and VgrG) were detected extracellularly and they were co-localized with the bacteria, while PdpBD and Anmk were not detected and thus remained inside bacteria. Proteins that were co-localized with bacteria had different patterns of localization. The localization of IglC was dependent on the type 6 secretion system. This suggests that some Francisella pathogenicity island proteins were secreted while others remain within the bacterium during infection of host cells as structural components of the secretion system and were necessary for secretion.

  12. Understanding Virulence in the Brucellae and Francisellae: Towards Efficacious Treatments for Two Potential Biothreat Agents

    SciTech Connect

    Rasley, A; Parsons, D A; El-Etr, S; Roux, C; Tsolis, R

    2009-12-30

    Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis and Brucellae species are highly infectious pathogens classified as select agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the potential for use in bioterrorism attacks. These organisms are known to be facultative intracellular pathogens that preferentially infect human monocytes. As such, understanding how the host responds to infection with these organisms is paramount in detecting and combating human disease. We have compared the ability of fully virulent strains of each pathogen and their non-pathogenic near neighbors to enter and survive inside the human monocytic cell line THP-1 and have quantified the cellular response to infection with the goal of identifying both unique and common host response patterns. We expanded the scope of these studies to include experiments with pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of Y. pestis, the causative agent of plague. Nonpathogenic strains of each organism were impaired in their ability to survive intracellularly compared with their pathogenic counterparts. Furthermore, infection of THP-1 cells with pathogenic strains of Y. pestis and F. tularensis resulted in marked increases in the secretion of the inflammatory chemokines IL-8, RANTES, and MIP-1{beta}. In contrast, B. melitensis infection failed to elicit any significant increases in a panel of cytokines tested. These differences may underscore distinct strategies in pathogenic mechanisms employed by these pathogens.

  13. Importance of Host Cell Arginine Uptake in Francisella Phagosomal Escape and Ribosomal Protein Amounts*

    PubMed Central

    Ramond, Elodie; Gesbert, Gael; Guerrera, Ida Chiara; Chhuon, Cerina; Dupuis, Marion; Rigard, Mélanie; Henry, Thomas; Barel, Monique; Charbit, Alain

    2015-01-01

    Upon entry into mammalian host cells, the pathogenic bacterium Francisella must import host cell arginine to multiply actively in the host cytoplasm. We identified and functionally characterized an arginine transporter (hereafter designated ArgP) whose inactivation considerably delayed bacterial phagosomal escape and intracellular multiplication. Intramacrophagic growth of the ΔargP mutant was fully restored upon supplementation of the growth medium with excess arginine, in both F. tularensis subsp. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS, demonstrating the importance of arginine acquisition in these two subspecies. High-resolution mass spectrometry revealed that arginine limitation reduced the amount of most of the ribosomal proteins in the ΔargP mutant. In response to stresses such as nutritional limitation, repression of ribosomal protein synthesis has been observed in all kingdoms of life. Arginine availability may thus contribute to the sensing of the intracellular stage of the pathogen and to trigger phagosomal egress. All MS data have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange database with identifier PXD001584 (http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/dataset/PXD001584). PMID:25616868

  14. Francisella philomiragia adenitis and pulmonary nodules in a child with chronic granulomatous disease

    PubMed Central

    Mailman, Timothy L; Schmidt, Matthias H

    2005-01-01

    Francisella philomiragia is a rare and opportunistic pathogen capable of producing invasive infection in patients with compromised neutrophil function and in patients that have survived a near-drowning. A case of F philomiragia adenitis and lung nodules, refractory to cephalosporin therapy, is reported in a 10-year-old boy with chronic granulomatous disease following a facial abrasion from a saltwater crab. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first Canadian clinical isolate to be reported. Genus and species identification was confirmed via 16S ribosomal RNA sequence analysis. A literature review revealed three groups at risk of F philomiragia infection: young patients with chronic granulomatous disease; adults with hematogenous malignancy; and near-drowning patients. Pneumonia, fever without an apparent source and sepsis are the main clinical presentations. Invasive procedures may be required to isolate this organism and ensure appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Limited awareness of F philomiragia has led to delayed identification, patient death and misidentification as Francisella tularensis - a biosafety level three pathogen and potential bioterrorism agent. PMID:18159552

  15. Clusters versus affinity-based approaches in F. tularensis whole genome search of CTL epitopes.

    PubMed

    Zvi, Anat; Rotem, Shahar; Cohen, Ofer; Shafferman, Avigdor

    2012-01-01

    Deciphering the cellular immunome of a bacterial pathogen is challenging due to the enormous number of putative peptidic determinants. State-of-the-art prediction methods developed in recent years enable to significantly reduce the number of peptides to be screened, yet the number of remaining candidates for experimental evaluation is still in the range of ten-thousands, even for a limited coverage of MHC alleles. We have recently established a resource-efficient approach for down selection of candidates and enrichment of true positives, based on selection of predicted MHC binders located in high density "hotspots" of putative epitopes. This cluster-based approach was applied to an unbiased, whole genome search of Francisella tularensis CTL epitopes and was shown to yield a 17-25 fold higher level of responders as compared to randomly selected predicted epitopes tested in Kb/Db C57BL/6 mice. In the present study, we further evaluate the cluster-based approach (down to a lower density range) and compare this approach to the classical affinity-based approach by testing putative CTL epitopes with predicted IC(50) values of <10 nM. We demonstrate that while the percent of responders achieved by both approaches is similar, the profile of responders is different, and the predicted binding affinity of most responders in the cluster-based approach is relatively low (geometric mean of 170 nM), rendering the two approaches complimentary. The cluster-based approach is further validated in BALB/c F. tularensis immunized mice belonging to another allelic restriction (Kd/Dd) group. To date, the cluster-based approach yielded over 200 novel F. tularensis peptides eliciting a cellular response, all were verified as MHC class I binders, thereby substantially increasing the F. tularensis dataset of known CTL epitopes. The generality and power of the high density cluster-based approach suggest that it can be a valuable tool for identification of novel CTLs in proteomes of other

  16. Transcriptome Analysis of Human Immune Responses Following Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) Francisella Tularensis Vaccination

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-03-08

    Bioanalyzer (Agilent Technologies, alo Alto, CA, USA). All plastic materials used in the lysing rocedure were certified RNAse- and DNAse-free and all sam- les...96/ TLR4 associated Antibacterial humoral response, TLR4 (LPS) linked signal transduction: MYD88, IRAK1, TLR2, TLR9 , TLR10,CD14, PI3K, NFkappaB

  17. Discrimination of Pathogenic vs. Nonpathogenic Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei Using Proteomics Mass Spectrometry

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-03-01

    GroEL AhpC/TSA family protein hypothetical protein FTL0617 heat shock protein DnaK succinyl-CoA synthetase subunit beta hypothetical protein...lipoprotein chaperonin GroEL co-chaperonin GroES DNA-directed RNA polymerase subunit beta intracellular growth locus, subunit C 3.2 Differentiation...thailandensis E264 Unique Proteins Whole Cell Lysates OMPs putative lipoprotein glucan 1,4-a-glucosidase glycosy hydrolase family protein putative

  18. Protein, Lipid, Chemical and Structural Signatures of Differentially-Cultivated Francisella tularensis and Acinetobactor baumannii

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-03-05

    natural environment. In furtherence of this goal, we are building protein- and lipid- compostion databases (comprised of three biological replicates...laboratory or grown in the bacterium’s natural environment. In furtherence of this goal, we are building protein- and lipid- compostion databases

  19. Dominance of Human Innate Immune Responses in Primary Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain Vaccination

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-03-31

    Diseases, Bacteriology Division, 425 Porter St, Frederick , MD 21702-5011. Dr Brittingham is the recipient of the National Research Council Fellowship...tularemia vaccine strain) infection by the sera of human recipients of the live tula- remia vaccine. Am J Med Sci 1994;308:83-7. 10. Herzberg VL

  20. Multiple mechanisms of NADPH oxidase inhibition by type A and type B Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    McCaffrey, Ramona L.; Schwartz, Justin T.; Lindemann, Stephen R.; Moreland, Jessica G.; Buchan, Blake W.; Jones, Bradley D.; Allen, Lee-Ann H.

    2010-01-01

    Ft is a facultative intracellular pathogen that infects many cell types, including neutrophils. In previous work, we demonstrated that the type B Ft strain LVS disrupts NADPH oxidase activity throughout human neutrophils, but how this is achieved is incompletely defined. Here, we used several type A and type B strains to demonstrate that Ft-mediated NADPH oxidase inhibition is more complex than appreciated previously. We confirm that phagosomes containing Ft opsonized with AS exclude flavocytochrome b558 and extend previous results to show that soluble phox proteins were also affected, as indicated by diminished phosphorylation of p47phox and other PKC substrates. However, a different mechanism accounts for the ability of Ft to inhibit neutrophil activation by formyl peptides, Staphylococcus aureus, OpZ, and phorbol esters. In this case, enzyme targeting and assembly were normal, and impaired superoxide production was characterized by sustained membrane accumulation of dysfunctional NADPH oxidase complexes. A similar post-assembly inhibition mechanism also diminished the ability of anti-Ft IS to confer neutrophil activation and bacterial killing, consistent with the limited role for antibodies in host defense during tularemia. Studies of mutants that we generated in the type A Ft strain Schu S4 demonstrate that the regulatory factor fevR is essential for NADPH oxidase inhibition, whereas iglI and iglJ, candidate secretion system effectors, and the acid phosphatase acpA are not. As Ft uses multiple mechanisms to block neutrophil NADPH oxidase activity, our data strongly suggest that this is a central aspect of virulence. PMID:20610796

  1. Antivirulence genes: insights into pathogen evolution through gene loss.

    PubMed

    Bliven, Kimberly A; Maurelli, Anthony T

    2012-12-01

    The emergence of new pathogens and the exploitation of novel pathogenic niches by bacteria typically require the horizontal transfer of virulence factors and subsequent adaptation--a "fine-tuning" process--for the successful incorporation of these factors into the microbe's genome. The function of newly acquired virulence factors may be hindered by the expression of genes already present in the bacterium. Occasionally, certain genes must be inactivated or deleted for full expression of the pathogen phenotype to occur. These genes are known as antivirulence genes (AVGs). Originally identified in Shigella, AVGs have improved our understanding of pathogen evolution and provided a novel approach to drug and vaccine development. In this review, we revisit the AVG definition and update the list of known AVGs, which now includes genes from pathogens such as Salmonella, Yersinia pestis, and the virulent Francisella tularensis subspecies. AVGs encompass a wide variety of different roles within the microbe, including genes involved in metabolism, biofilm synthesis, lipopolysaccharide modification, and host vasoconstriction. More recently, the use of one of these AVGs (lpxL) as a potential vaccine candidate highlights the practical application of studying AVG inactivation in microbial pathogens.

  2. Nanolipoprotein Particles (NLPs) as Versatile Vaccine Platforms for Co-delivery of Multiple Adjuvants with Subunit Antigens from Burkholderia spp. and F. tularensis - Annual Technical Report

    SciTech Connect

    Fischer, N. O.

    2015-04-16

    The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate that co-localization of protein subunit antigens and adjuvants on nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) can increase the protective efficacy of recombinant subunit antigens from Burkholderia spp. and Francisella tularensis against an aerosol challenge. NLPs are are biocompatible, high-density lipoprotein mimetics that are amenable to the incorporation of multiple, chemically-disparate adjuvant and antigen molecules. We hypothesize that the ability to co-localize optimized adjuvant formulations with subunit antigens within a single particle will enhance the stimulation and activation of key immune effector cells, increasing the protective efficacy of subunit antigen-based vaccines. While Burkholderia spp. and F. tularensis subunit antigens are the focus of this proposal, we anticipate that this approach is applicable to a wide range of DOD-relevant biothreat agents. The F344 rat aerosol challenge model for F. tularensis has been successfully established at Battelle under this contract, and Year 3 efficacy studies performed at Battelle demonstrated that an NLP vaccine formulation was able to enhance survival of female F344 rats relative to naïve animals. In addition, Year 3 focused on the incorporation of multiple Burkholderia antigens (both polysaccharides and proteins) onto adjuvanted NLPs, with immunological analysis poised to begin in the next quarter.

  3. Francisella Infection in Cultured Tilapia in Thailand and the Inflammatory Cytokine Response.

    PubMed

    Jantrakajorn, Sasibha; Wongtavatchai, Janenuj

    2016-06-01

    Francisella infections developed in freshwater Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus and red tilapia Oreochromis spp. farms in Thailand during 2012-2014. The diseased fish were lethargic and pale in color and showed numerous white nodules in their enlarged spleens. Histopathological examination and electron microscopy suggested that the white nodules were multifocal granulomas consisting of coccobacilli within vacuolated cells. Isolation of Francisella-like bacteria was achieved from 42 of 100 samples, while polymerase chain reaction confirmed Francisella infections in all samples. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene from samples obtained from three different geographical culture areas revealed more than 99% similarity with F. noatunensis subsp. orientalis. The influence of Francisella infection on inflammatory cytokines was determined on splenic cells of fish intraperitoneally injected with the bacteria (0.8 × 10(5) colony-forming units per fish). Infected tilapia showed significantly greater expression of the pro-inflammatory genes interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrotic factor-α (TNF-α) within 24 h postinjection (hpi) and for up to 96 hpi. However, down-regulation of an anti-inflammatory gene, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) was observed as early as 24 hpi. This investigation demonstrates that an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in response to the infection may account for the substantial number of granulomas in fish hematopoietic tissues that was found in the later stage of the disease. Received September 9, 2015; accepted December 13, 2015.

  4. The transcription factor IRF1 and guanylate-binding proteins target activation of the AIM2 inflammasome by Francisella infection.

    PubMed

    Man, Si Ming; Karki, Rajendra; Malireddi, R K Subbarao; Neale, Geoffrey; Vogel, Peter; Yamamoto, Masahiro; Lamkanfi, Mohamed; Kanneganti, Thirumala-Devi

    2015-05-01

    Inflammasomes are critical for mounting host defense against pathogens. The molecular mechanisms that control activation of the AIM2 inflammasome in response to different cytosolic pathogens remain unclear. Here we found that the transcription factor IRF1 was required for activation of the AIM2 inflammasome during infection with the Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida (F. novicida), whereas engagement of the AIM2 inflammasome by mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) or transfected double-stranded DNA did not require IRF1. Infection of F. novicida detected by the DNA sensor cGAS and its adaptor STING induced type I interferon-dependent expression of IRF1, which drove the expression of guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs); this led to intracellular killing of bacteria and DNA release. Our results reveal a specific requirement for IRF1 and GBPs in the liberation of DNA for sensing by AIM2 depending on the pathogen encountered by the cell.

  5. Synthetic Promoters Functional in Francisella novicida and Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    McWhinnie, Ralph L.

    2014-01-01

    In this work, we describe the identification of synthetic, controllable promoters that function in the bacterial pathogen Francisella novicida, a model facultative intracellular pathogen. Synthetic DNA fragments consisting of the tetracycline operator (tetO) flanked by a random nucleotide sequence were inserted into a Francisella novicida shuttle plasmid upstream of a promoterless artificial operon containing the reporter genes cat and lacZ. Fragments able to promote transcription were selected for based on their ability to drive expression of the cat gene, conferring chloramphenicol resistance. Promoters of various strengths were found, many of which were repressed in the presence of the tetracycline repressor (TetR) and promoted transcription only in the presence of the TetR inducer anhydrotetracycline. A subset of both constitutive and inducible synthetic promoters were characterized to find their induction ratios and to identify their transcription start sites. In cases where tetO was located between or downstream of the −10 and −35 regions of the promoter, control by TetR was observed. If the tetO region was upstream of the −35 region by more than 9 bp, it did not confer TetR control. We found that three of three promoters isolated in F. novicida functioned at a comparable level in E. coli; however, none of the 10 promoters isolated in E. coli functioned at a significant level in F. novicida. Our results allowed us to isolate minimal F. novicida promoters of 47 and 48 bp in length. PMID:24141126

  6. Francisella requires dynamic type VI secretion system and ClpB to deliver effectors for phagosomal escape

    PubMed Central

    Brodmann, Maj; Dreier, Roland F.; Broz, Petr; Basler, Marek

    2017-01-01

    Francisella tularensis is an intracellular pathogen that causes the fatal zoonotic disease tularaemia. Critical for its pathogenesis is the ability of the phagocytosed bacteria to escape into the cell cytosol. For this, the bacteria use a non-canonical type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded on the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Here we show that in F. novicida T6SS assembly initiates at the bacterial poles both in vitro and within infected macrophages. T6SS dynamics and function depends on the general purpose ClpB unfoldase, which specifically colocalizes with contracted sheaths and is required for their disassembly. T6SS assembly depends on iglF, iglG, iglI and iglJ, whereas pdpC, pdpD, pdpE and anmK are dispensable. Importantly, strains lacking pdpC and pdpD are unable to escape from phagosome, activate AIM2 inflammasome or cause disease in mice. This suggests that PdpC and PdpD are T6SS effectors involved in phagosome rupture. PMID:28621333

  7. An outbreak of disease caused by Francisella sp. in Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus at a recirculation fish farm in the UK.

    PubMed

    Jeffery, Keith R; Stone, David; Feist, Stephen W; Verner-Jeffreys, David W

    2010-09-02

    This study details the first diagnosis of Francisella sp. in tilapia in the United Kingdom. Losses of tilapia fry at a recirculation fish farm in England were investigated, giving a presumptive positive diagnosis of infection with Francisella sp. by histopathological examination. Most fish sampled showed moderate to marked pathology of the major organs, with lesions being present in most tissues. The most obvious host response was granuloma formulation. A subsequent follow-up visit provided further evidence for the presence of a Francisella species. PCR amplicons were obtained using Francisella spp.-specific primers that shared 100% sequence identity with the 16S rRNA gene of the type strain of the species F. asiatica previously described as the cause of disease in tilapia in Southeast Asia and Central America. This outbreak and the subsequent investigation emphasise the importance of strict biosecurity at fish farms and the care that needs to be taken when using a new supplier of fish.

  8. Molecular detection of Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Coxiella and Francisella bacteria in ticks collected from Artiodactyla in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Sumrandee, Chalao; Baimai, Visut; Trinachartvanit, Wachareeporn; Ahantarig, Arunee

    2016-07-01

    A total of 79 ticks collected from Sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and Wild boar (Sus scrofa) were examined by PCR for the presence of Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Coxiella, and Francisella bacteria. Of the 79 ticks, 13% tested positive for Rickettsia, 15% tested positive for Anaplasma, 4% tested positive for Coxiella, and 3% tested positive for Francisella. Interestingly, triple infection with Anaplasma, Rickettsia and Francisella was determined in a Dermacentor auratus tick. Moreover, another triple infection with Rickettsia, Anaplasma, and Coxiella was found in a Haemaphysalis lagrangei tick. Double infection of Rickettsia with Coxiella was also detected in another H. lagrangei tick. From the phylogenetic analyses, we found a Rickettsia sp. with a close evolutionary relationship to Rickettsia bellii in the H. lagrangei tick. We also found the first evidence of a Rickettsia sp. that is closely related to Rickettsia tamurae in Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus ticks from Thailand. H. lagrangei and Haemaphysalis obesa ticks collected from Sambar deer tested positive for Anaplasma species form the same clade with Anaplasma bovis. In contrast, other H. lagrangei ticks collected from Sambar deer and D. auratus ticks collected from Wild boar were also reported for the first time to be infected with an Anaplasma species that is closely related to Anaplasma platys. The phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene of Coxiella bacteria revealed that Coxiella symbionts from H. lagrangei formed a distinctly different lineage from Coxiella burnetii (a human pathogen). Additionally, Francisella bacteria identified in D. auratus ticks were found to be distantly related to a group of pathogenic Francisella species. The identification of these bacteria in several feeding ticks suggests the risk of various emerging tick-borne diseases and endosymbionts in humans, wildlife, and domestic animals in Thailand. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights

  9. Mass mortality of giant abalone Haliotis gigantea caused by a Francisella sp. bacterium.

    PubMed

    Kamaishi, Takashi; Miwa, Satoshi; Goto, Etsuro; Matsuyama, Tomomasa; Oseko, Norihisa

    2010-03-09

    In February 2005, a mass mortality of giant abalone Haliotis (Nordotis) gigantea Gmelin, 1791 occurred on a private abalone farm in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. The cumulative mortality rate reached about 84%. In histological observations, bacteria-like spherical particles were found in affected animals, suggesting a bacterial infection. Many of the bacteria-like particles were found in the cells that were presumably host phagocytes. DNA was extracted from the hemolymph of a diseased abalone and a bacterial 16S rRNA gene was amplified by PCR. The bacterium was classified within the genus Francisella by gene sequence analysis. A bacterial isolate was obtained by spreading hemolymph of a diseased abalone on modified Eugon agar dissolved in 70% seawater containing 1% (w/v) hemoglobin. A gene fragment of the expected size was amplified from the bacterial isolate by PCR using specific primers for the 16S rRNA gene obtained from the diseased abalone. Experimental infections were carried out by intramuscular injection with the bacterial isolate or by immersion in the bacterial suspension using 2 species of abalone, the giant abalone and the Japanese black abalone Haliotis (Nordotis) discus discus Reeve, 1846. Most (98.6%) of the abalone challenged with the bacterial isolate died in experimental infections. These results suggest that the Francisella sp. isolate was the causative agent for the mass mortality of giant abalone. This is the first report of a pathogenic Francisella sp. isolate for mollusks.

  10. 42 CFR 73.3 - HHS select agents and toxins.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... Diacetoxyscirpenol Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus Ebola viruses Francisella tularensis Lassa fever virus Marburg.... (i) The seizure of Botulinum neurotoxins, Ebola viruses, Francisella tularensis, Lassa fever...

  11. 42 CFR 73.3 - HHS select agents and toxins.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... Diacetoxyscirpenol Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus Ebola viruses Francisella tularensis Lassa fever virus Marburg.... (i) The seizure of Botulinum neurotoxins, Ebola viruses, Francisella tularensis, Lassa fever...

  12. 42 CFR 73.3 - HHS select agents and toxins.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... Diacetoxyscirpenol Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus Ebola viruses Francisella tularensis Lassa fever virus Marburg.... (i) The seizure of Botulinum neurotoxins, Ebola viruses, Francisella tularensis, Lassa fever...

  13. VIRULENCE AND CITRULLINE UREIDASE ACTIVITY OF PASTEURELLA TULARENSIS12

    PubMed Central

    Marchette, Nyven J.; Nicholes, Paul S.

    1961-01-01

    Marchette, Nyven J. (University of Utah, Salt Lake City), and Paul S. Nicholes. Virulence and citrulline ureidase activity of Pasteurella tularensis. J. Bacteriol. 82:26–32. 1961.—The presence of a citrulline ureidase system in Pasteurella tularensis strains of high virulence, and its absence in avirulent strains and strains of low virulence was confirmed. The presence of this system, however, was shown to be not directly related to virulence. The only wild strain of P. tularensis tested that lacked a citrulline ureidase system was isolated from a rodent. All the strains, isolated from rabbits, rabbit ticks, a human being, and a horse, that were tested possessed this system. The existence of two North American varieties of P. tularensis was postulated on the basis of virulence and citrulline ureidase activity. PMID:13766500

  14. Virulence and citrulline ureidase activity of Pasteurella tularensis.

    PubMed

    MARCHETTE, N J; NICHOLES, P S

    1961-07-01

    Marchette, Nyven J. (University of Utah, Salt Lake City), and Paul S. Nicholes. Virulence and citrulline ureidase activity of Pasteurella tularensis. J. Bacteriol. 82:26-32. 1961.-The presence of a citrulline ureidase system in Pasteurella tularensis strains of high virulence, and its absence in avirulent strains and strains of low virulence was confirmed. The presence of this system, however, was shown to be not directly related to virulence. The only wild strain of P. tularensis tested that lacked a citrulline ureidase system was isolated from a rodent. All the strains, isolated from rabbits, rabbit ticks, a human being, and a horse, that were tested possessed this system. The existence of two North American varieties of P. tularensis was postulated on the basis of virulence and citrulline ureidase activity.

  15. Host Genes and Resistance/Sensitivity to Military Priority Pathogens

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-06-01

    different  (p  =   0.02).   similar in B6 irrespective of whether macrophages were depleted or not (PBS control: 4.26 x 106 IFU/ gram ...Clodronate treated; 3.81 x 106 IFU/ gram , p=0.06). Several reports have documented that IRGs reduce pathogen burden in vitro and in vivo, which is...TN 38163 Francisella tularensis (Ft), a gram -negative facultative intracellular bacterium, is the etiologic agent of tularemia and a category A

  16. Host Genes and Resistance/Sensitivity to Military Priority Pathogens

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-06-01

    susceptibility readouts in the parental strains, and then we will move into BXD stains to identify host genetic elements that correlate with strain...baumanii induced a pattern of cytokines characteristic of Gram -negative bacteria. In particular, induction of the chemokines RANTES and IP-10 suggests that...Mark A Miller* Abstract Background: Francisella tularensis (FT) is a gram -negative facultative intracellular coccobacillus and is the causal agent of

  17. Host Genes and Resistance/Sensitivity to Military Priority Pathogens

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-06-01

    Acinetobacter baumannii (Ab), Leishmania major (Lm), SARS, H5Ni avian influenza ) using BXD recombinant inbred mice. We have identified 38 phenotypes...Burkholderia pseudomallei, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), highly pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza virus, Francisella tularensis and multidrug...signaling negatively affects the outcome of infections with West Nile Virus [48] or influenza virus [49]. The fact that IL- 1b is deleterious in

  18. Francisella IglG protein and the DUF4280 proteins: PAAR-like proteins in non-canonical Type VI secretion systems?

    PubMed Central

    Lays, Claire; Tannier, Eric; Henry, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are bacterial molecular machines translocating effector proteins into target cells. T6SS are widely present in Gram-negative bacteria where they predominantly act to kill neighboring bacteria. This secretion system is reminiscent of the tail of contractile bacteriophages and consists of a contractile sheath anchored in the bacterial envelope and an inner tube made of stacks of the Hcp protein. The Hcp tube is capped with a VgrG trimer and a spike protein termed PAAR, which acts as the membrane-puncturing device. Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia, is an intracellular bacterium replicating within the host cy