Design of live attenuated bacterial vaccines based on D-glutamate auxotrophy.
ABSTRACT: Vaccine development is a priority for global health due to the growing multidrug resistance in bacteria. D-glutamate synthesis is essential for bacterial cell wall formation. Here we present a strategy for generating effective bacterial whole-cell vaccines auxotrophic for D-glutamate. We apply this strategy to generate D-glutamate auxotrophic vaccines for three major pathogens, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. These bacterial vaccines show virulence attenuation and self-limited growth in mice, and elicit functional and cross-reactive antibodies, and cellular immunity. These responses correlate with protection against acute lethal infection with other strains of the same species, including multidrug resistant, virulent and/or high-risk clones such as A. baumannii AbH12O-A2 and Ab307-0294, P. aeruginosa PA14, and community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus USA300LAC. This approach can potentially be applied for the development of live-attenuated vaccines for virtually any other bacterial pathogens, and does not require the identification of virulence determinants, which are often pathogen-specific.
Project description:New antibiotics that are active against multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii are urgently needed. BAL30072, a siderophore monosulfactam antibiotic that rapidly penetrates the outer membrane of A. baumannii and has potent activity against most isolates, including those harbouring AmpC ?-lactamases and metallo- (class B) or OXA- (class D) carbapenemases, is being developed to meet that need.We assessed the in vitro activity of BAL30072, meropenem and the combination of BAL30072 and meropenem (2:1 and 1:1 ratios) by MIC and time-kill studies. Proof-of-principle in vivo efficacy was determined using a rat soft-tissue infection model. Five diverse strains with defined phenotypic and genetic profiles were tested (AB307-0294, AB8407, AB1697, AB3340 and AB0057).In microdilution assays, combining BAL30072 with meropenem lowered meropenem MICs 2-8-fold. In time-kill studies, the BAL30072 and meropenem combinations resulted in bactericidal concentrations 2-8-fold lower than those of meropenem or BAL30072 alone. In the rat model, BAL30072 was active against four of five strains (AB307-0294, AB8407, AB1697 and AB3340), including meropenem-susceptible and -non-susceptible strains. AB0057 was the only strain resistant to BAL30072 in vivo and in vitro (MIC >64 mg/L). Meropenem was active in vivo against two of the five strains tested (AB307-0294 and AB3340). Both BAL30072 and BAL30072 with meropenem were equally effective in vivo.These data support the continued evaluation of BAL30072 for use in the treatment of infections caused by MDR A. baumannii.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a macromolecular machine that delivers protein effectors into host cells and/or competing bacteria. The effectors may be delivered as noncovalently bound cargo of T6SS needle proteins (VgrG/Hcp/PAAR) or as C-terminal extensions of these proteins. Many Acinetobacter baumannii strains produce a T6SS, but little is known about the specific effectors or how they are delivered. In this study, we show that A. baumannii AB307-0294 encodes three vgrG loci, each containing a vgrG gene, a T6SS toxic effector gene, and an antitoxin/immunity gene. Each of the T6SS toxic effectors could kill Escherichia coli when produced in trans unless the cognate immunity protein was coproduced. To determine the role of each VgrG in effector delivery, we performed interbacterial competitive killing assays using A. baumannii AB307-0294 vgrG mutants, together with Acinetobacter baylyi prey cells expressing pairs of immunity genes that protected against two toxic effectors but not a third. Using this approach, we showed that AB307-0294 produces only three T6SS toxic effectors capable of killing A. baylyi and that each VgrG protein is specific for the carriage of one effector. Finally, we analyzed a number of A. baumannii genomes and identified significant diversity in the range of encoded T6SS VgrG and effector proteins, with correlations between effector types and A. baumannii global clone lineages.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is a pathogen of increasing medical importance with a propensity to be multidrug resistant, thereby making treatment challenging. Little is known of virulence traits in A. baumannii. To identify virulence factors and potential drug targets, random transposon (Tn) mutants derived from the A. baumannii strain AB307-0294 were screened to identify genes essential for growth in human ascites fluid in vitro, an inflammatory exudative fluid. These studies led to the identification of two genes that were predicted to be required for capsule polymerization and assembly. The first, ptk, encodes a putative protein tyrosine kinase (PTK), and the second, epsA, encodes a putative polysaccharide export outer membrane protein (EpsA). Monoclonal antibodies used in flow cytometric and Western analyses confirmed that these genes are required for a capsule-positive phenotype. A capsule-positive phenotype significantly optimized growth in human ascites fluid, survival in human serum, and survival in a rat soft tissue infection model. Importantly, the clearance of the capsule-minus mutants AB307.30 (ptk mutant, capsule minus) and AB307.45 (epsA mutant, capsule minus) was complete and durable. These data demonstrated that the K1 capsule from AB307-0294 was an important protectin. Further, these data suggested that conserved proteins, which contribute to the capsule-positive phenotype, are potential antivirulence drug targets. Therefore, the results from this study have important biologic and translational implications and, to the best of our knowledge, are the first to address the role of capsule in the pathogenesis of A. baumannii infection.
Project description:Polymyxins are often last-line therapeutic agents used to treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii. Recent reports of polymyxin-resistant A. baumannii highlight the urgent need for research into mechanisms of polymyxin resistance. This study employed genomic and transcriptomic analyses to investigate the mechanisms of polymyxin resistance in A. baumannii AB307-0294 using an in vitro dynamic model to mimic four different clinically relevant dosage regimens of polymyxin B and colistin over 96 h. Polymyxin B dosage regimens that achieved peak concentrations above 1 mg/L within 1 h caused significant bacterial killing (~5 log10CFU/mL), while the gradual accumulation of colistin resulted in no bacterial killing. Polymyxin resistance was observed across all dosage regimens; partial reversion to susceptibility was observed in 6 of 8 bacterial samples during drug-free passaging. Stable polymyxin-resistant samples contained a mutation in pmrB. The transcriptomes of stable and non-stable polymyxin-resistant samples were not substantially different and featured altered expression of genes associated with outer membrane structure and biogenesis. These findings were further supported via integrated analysis of previously published transcriptomics data from strain ATCC19606. Our results provide a foundation for understanding the mechanisms of polymyxin resistance following exposure to polymyxins and the need to explore effective combination therapies.
Project description:The Acinetobacter baumannii global clone 1 isolate AB307-0294, recovered in the USA in 1994, and the global clone 2 (GC2) isolate ACICU, isolated in 2005 in Italy, were among the first A. baumannii isolates to be completely sequenced. AB307-0294 is susceptible to most antibiotics and has been used in many genetic studies, and ACICU belongs to a rare GC2 lineage. The complete genome sequences, originally determined using 454 pyrosequencing technology, which is known to generate sequencing errors, were re-determined using Illumina MiSeq and MinION (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) technologies and a hybrid assembly generated using Unicycler. Comparison of the resulting new high-quality genomes to the earlier 454-sequenced versions identified a large number of nucleotide differences affecting protein coding sequence (CDS) features, and allowed the sequences of the long and highly repetitive bap and blp1 genes to be properly resolved for the first time in ACICU. Comparisons of the annotations of the original and revised genomes revealed a large number of differences in the protein CDS features, underlining the impact of sequence errors on protein sequence predictions and core gene determination. On average, 400 predicted CDSs were longer or shorter in the revised genomes and about 200 CDS features were no longer present.
Project description:In order to identify secreted proteins associated with the type VI secretion system (T6SS), the secretome of a wild-type A. baumannii AB307 0294 T6SS active strain was compared to the secretome of a T6SS inactive mutant strain, A. baumannii AB307-0294ΔtssM.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is a hospital-acquired pathogen that shows an extraordinary capacity to stay in the hospital environment. Adherence of the bacteria to eukaryotic cells or to abiotic surfaces is the first step for establishing an infection. The A. baumannii strain AbH12O-A2 showed an exceptional ability to adhere to A549 epithelial cells. The AbFhaB/FhaC 2-partner secretion (TPS) system involved in adhesion was discovered after the screening of the recently determined A. baumannii AbH12O-A2 strain genome (CP009534.1). The AbFhaB is a large exoprotein which transport to the bacterial surface is mediated by the AbFhaC protein. In the present study, the role of this TPS system in the AbH12O-A2 adherence phenotype was investigated. The functional inactivation of this 2-partner secretion system was addressed by analyzing the outer membrane vesicles (OMV) proteomic profile from the wild-type strain and its derivative mutant AbH12O-A2?fhaC demonstrating that AbFhaB is no longer detected in the absence of AbFhaC. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and adhesion experiments demonstrated that inactivation of the AbFhaB/FhaC system significantly decreases bacterial attachment to A549 alveolar epithelial cells. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that this 2-partner secretion system is involved in fibronectin-mediated adherence of the A. baumannii AbH12O-A2 isolate. Finally, we report that the AbFhaB/FhaC system is involved in virulence when tested using invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. These data suggest the potential role that this AbFhaB/FhaC secretion system could play in the pathobiology of A. baumannii.
Project description:Identification and validation is the first phase of target-based antimicrobial development. BfmR (RstA), a response regulator in a two-component signal transduction system (TCS) in Acinetobacter baumannii, is an intriguing potential antimicrobial target. A unique characteristic of BfmR is that its inhibition would have the dual benefit of significantly decreasing in vivo survival and increasing sensitivity to selected antimicrobials. Studies on the clinically relevant strain AB307-0294 have shown BfmR to be essential in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that this phenotype in strains AB307-0294 and AB908 is mediated, in part, by enabling growth in human ascites fluid and serum. Further, BfmR conferred resistance to complement-mediated bactericidal activity that was independent of capsular polysaccharide. Importantly, BfmR also increased resistance to the clinically important antimicrobials meropenem and colistin. BfmR was highly conserved among A. baumannii strains. The crystal structure of the receiver domain of BfmR was determined, lending insight into putative ligand binding sites. This enabled an in silico ligand binding analysis and a blind docking strategy to assess use as a potential druggable target. Predicted binding hot spots exist at the homodimer interface and the phosphorylation site. These data support pursuing the next step in the development process, which includes determining the degree of inhibition needed to impact growth/survival and the development a BfmR activity assay amenable to high-throughput screening for the identification of inhibitors. Such agents would represent a new class of antimicrobials active against A. baumannii which could be active against other Gram-negative bacilli that possess a TCS with shared homology. IMPORTANCE Increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria, particularly Gram-negative bacilli, has significantly affected the ability of physicians to treat infections, with resultant increased morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. In fact, some strains of bacteria are resistant to all available antibiotics, such as Acinetobacter baumannii, which is the focus of this report. Therefore, the development of new antibiotics active against these resistant strains is urgently needed. In this study, BfmR is further validated as an intriguing target for a novel class of antibiotics. Successful inactivation of BfmR would confer the multiple benefits of a decreased ability of A. baumannii to survive in human body fluids, increased sensitivity to complement-mediated bactericidal activity and, importantly, increased sensitivity to other antibiotics. Structural studies support the potential for this "druggable" target, as they identify the potential for small-molecule binding at functionally relevant sites. Next-phase high-throughput screening studies utilizing BfmR are warranted.
Project description:Microorganisms produce a variety of natural products via secondary metabolic biosynthetic pathways. Two of these types of synthetic systems, the nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs), use large modular enzymes containing multiple catalytic domains in a single protein. These multidomain enzymes use an integrated carrier protein domain to transport the growing, covalently bound natural product to the neighboring catalytic domains for each step in the synthesis. Interestingly, some PKS and NRPS clusters contain free-standing domains that interact intermolecularly with other proteins. Being expressed outside the architecture of a multi-domain protein, these so-called type II proteins present challenges to understand the precise role they play. Additional structures of individual and multi-domain components of the NRPS enzymes will therefore provide a better understanding of the features that govern the domain interactions in these interesting enzyme systems. The high-resolution crystal structure of a free-standing carrier protein from Acinetobacter baumannii that belongs to a larger NRPS-containing operon, encoded by the ABBFA_003406-ABBFA_003399 genes of A. baumannii strain AB307-0294, that has been implicated in A. baumannii motility, quorum sensing and biofilm formation, is presented here. Comparison with the closest structural homologs of other carrier proteins identifies the requirements for a conserved glycine residue and additional important sequence and structural requirements within the regions that interact with partner proteins.
Project description:The resistance of Acinetobacter baumannii strains to carbapenems is a worrying problem in hospital settings. The main mechanism of carbapenem resistance is the expression of β-lactamases (metalloenzymes or class D enzymes). The mechanisms of the dissemination of these genes among A. baumannii strains are not fully understood. In this study we used two carbapenem-resistant clinical strains of A. baumannii (AbH12O-A2 and AbH12O-CU3) expressing the plasmid-borne bla(OXA-24) gene (plasmids pMMA2 and pMMCU3, respectively) to demonstrate that A. baumannii releases outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) during in vitro growth. The use of hybridization studies enabled us to show that these OMVs harbored the bla(OXA-24) gene. The incubation of these OMVs with the carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii ATCC 17978 host strain yielded full resistance to carbapenems. The presence of the original plasmids harboring the bla(OXA-24) gene was detected in strain ATCC 17978 after the transformation of OMVs. New OMVs harboring bla(OXA-24) were released by A. baumannii ATCC 17978 after it was transformed with the original OMV-mediated plasmids, indicating the universality of the process. We present the first experimental evidence that clinical isolates of A. baumannii may release OMVs as a mechanism of horizontal gene transfer whereby carbapenem resistance genes are delivered to surrounding A. baumannii bacterial isolates.