Treponema have been implicated recently in the pathogenesis of digital dermatitis (DD) and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) that are infectious diseases of bovine and ovine foot tissues, respectively. Previous analyses of treponemal 16S rDNA sequences, PCR-amplified directly from DD or CODD lesions, have suggested relatedness of animal Treponema to some human oral Treponema species isolated from periodontal tissues. In this study a range of adhesion and virulence-related properties of three animal Treponema isolates have been compared with representative human oral strains of Treponema denticola and Treponema vincentii. In adhesion assays using biotinylated treponemal cells, T. denticola cells bound in consistently higher numbers to fibronectin, laminin, collagen type I, gelatin, keratin and lactoferrin than did T. vincentii or animal Treponema isolates. However, animal DD strains adhered to fibrinogen at equivalent or greater levels than T. denticola. All Treponema strains bound to the amino-terminal heparin I/fibrin I domain of fibronectin. 16S rDNA sequence analyses placed ovine strain UB1090 and bovine strain UB1467 within a cluster that was phylogenetically related to T. vincentii, while ovine strain UB1466 appeared more closely related to T. denticola. These observations correlated with phenotypic properties. Thus, T. denticola ATCC 35405, GM-1, and Treponema UB1466 had similar outer-membrane protein profiles, produced chymotrypsin-like protease (CTLP), trypsin-like protease and high levels of proline iminopeptidase, and co-aggregated with human oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus crista. Conversely, T. vincentii ATCC 35580, D2A-2, and animal strains UB1090 and UB1467 did not express CTLP or trypsin-like protease and did not co-aggregate with P. gingivalis or S. crista. Taken collectively, these results suggest that human oral-related Treponema have broad host specificity and that similar control or preventive strategies might be developed for human and animal Treponema-associated infections.
Whether micro-organisms can live in periapical endodontic lesions of asymptomatic teeth is under debate. The aim of the present study was to visualize and identify micro-organisms within periapical lesions directly, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in combination with epifluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Thirty-nine periapical lesions were surgically removed, fixed, embedded in cold polymerizing resin and sectioned. The probe EUB 338, specific for the domain Bacteria, was used together with a number of species-specific16S rRNA-directed oligonucleotide probes to identify bacteria. To control non-specific binding of EUB 338, probe NON 338 was used. Alternatively, DAPI (4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining was applied to record prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA in the specimens. Hybridization with NON 338 gave no signals despite background fluorescence of the tissue. The eubacterial probe showed bacteria of different morphotypes in 50 % of the lesions. Rods, spirochaetes and cocci were spread out in areas of the tissue while other parts seemed bacteria-free. Bacteria were also seen to co-aggregate inside the tissue, forming microcolonies. Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Tannerella forsythensis and treponemes of phylogenetic Group I were detected with specific probes. In addition, colonies with Streptococcus spp. were seen in some lesions. A number of morphotypes occurred that could not be identified with the specific probes used, indicating the presence of additional bacterial species. CLSM confirmed that bacteria were located in different layers of the tissue. Accordingly, the FISH technique demonstrated mixed consortia of bacteria consisting of rods, spirochaetes and cocci in asymptomatic periapical lesions of root-filled teeth.
The type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded by the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) is required for bacterial replication inside macrophages and for systemic infection in mice. Many TTSS secreted proteins, including effectors and components of the translocon, require chaperones which promote their stability, prevent their premature interactions or facilitate their secretion. In this study, the function of the first gene (sseA) of one of the SPI-2 operons (sseA–G) was investigated. This operon includes genes that encode translocon components (SseB, SseC and SseD), translocated proteins (SseF and SseG) and putative chaperones (SscA and SscB). sseA encodes a 12·5 kDa protein with a C-terminal region with the potential to form a coiled-coil structure, but no sequence similarity to other proteins. Mutation of sseA results in severe virulence attenuation and an intracellular replication defect. It is shown here that SseA is not a secreted protein, but is required for SPI-2-dependent translocation of two effector proteins (SifA and PipB). Furthermore, the translocon components SseB and SseD were not detected in an sseA mutant strain. By using a yeast two-hybrid assay and column binding experiments, it is demonstrated that SseA interacts directly with SseB and SseD. These results indicate that SseA is a chaperone for SseB and SseD. The inability of an sseA mutant to assemble the SPI-2 TTSS translocon accounts for its high level of virulence attenuation in vivo. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first chaperone described for the SPI-2 TTSS.
A large majority of examined Lyme disease spirochaete isolates were demonstrated to contain one or both of the paralogous genes bapA and eppA. Immunological analyses of serum samples collected from infected patients coupled with comparative sequence analyses indicated that bapA gene sequences are quite stable but the encoded proteins do not provoke a strong immune response in most individuals. Conversely, EppA proteins are much more antigenic but vary widely in sequence between different bacteria. Considerable evidence of insertion, deletion and other mutations within eppA genes was observed. A number of significant recombination events were also found to have occurred in regions flanking bapA genes, while the genes themselves rarely exhibited evidence of mutation, suggesting strong selective pressure to maintain BapA sequences within narrow limits. Data from these and other studies suggest important roles for BapA and EppA during the Borrelia burgdorferi infectious cycle.
Listeriolysin O (LLO, hly-encoded), a major virulence factor secreted by the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, is synthesized as a precursor of 529 residues. To impair LLO secretion, the four residues of the predicted signal sequence cleavage site (EA-KD) were deleted and the mutant LLO protein was expressed in a hly-negative derivative of L. monocytogenes. Unexpectedly, the mutant protein was secreted in normal amounts in the culture supernatant and was fully haemolytic. N-terminal sequencing of the secreted LLO molecule revealed that N-terminal processing of the preprotein occurred three residues downstream of the natural cleavage site. L. monocytogenes expressing this truncated LLO showed a reduced capacity to disrupt the phagosomal membranes of bone marrow macrophages and of hepatocytes; and the mutant strain showed a 100-fold decrease in virulence in the mouse model. These results suggest that the first N-terminal residues of mature LLO participate directly in phagosomal escape and bacterial infection.