Characterization of Acinetobacter baumannii Copper Resistance Reveals a Role in Virulence.
ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is often highly drug-resistant and causes severe infections in compromised patients. These infections can be life threatening due to limited treatment options. Copper is inherently antimicrobial and increasing evidence indicates that copper containing formulations may serve as non-traditional therapeutics against multidrug-resistant bacteria. We previously reported that A. baumannii is sensitive to high concentrations of copper. To understand A. baumannii copper resistance at the molecular level, herein we identified putative copper resistance components and characterized 21 strains bearing mutations in these genes. Eight of the strains displayed a copper sensitive phenotype (pcoA, pcoB, copB, copA/cueO, copR/cusR, copS/cusS, copC, copD); the putative functions of these proteins include copper transport, oxidation, sequestration, and regulation. Importantly, many of these mutant strains still showed increased sensitivity to copper while in a biofilm. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry revealed that many of these strains had defects in copper mobilization, as the mutant strains accumulated more intracellular copper than the wild-type strain. Given the crucial antimicrobial role of copper-mediated killing employed by the immune system, virulence of these mutant strains was investigated in Galleria mellonella; many of the mutant strains were attenuated. Finally, the cusR and copD strains were also investigated in the murine pneumonia model; both were found to be important for full virulence. Thus, copper possesses antimicrobial activity against multidrug-resistant A. baumannii, and copper sensitivity is further increased when copper homeostasis mechanisms are interrupted. Importantly, these proteins are crucial for full virulence of A. baumannii and may represent novel drug targets.
Project description:In this study, we examined the association between antimicrobial resistance, CRISPR/Cas systems and virulence with phage susceptibility in Acinetobacter baumannii and investigated draft genomes of phage susceptible multidrug resistant A. baumannii strains from Thailand. We investigated 230 A. baumannii strains using 17 lytic A. baumannii phages and the phage susceptibility was 46.5% (107/230). Phage susceptibility was also associated with resistance to numerous antibiotics (p-value?<?0.05). We also found association between biofilm formation and the presence of ompA gene among phage susceptible A. baumannii strains (p-value?<?0.05). A. baumannii isolates carrying cas5 or combinations of two or three other cas genes, showed a significant increase in phage resistance. Whole-genome sequences of seven phage susceptible A. baumannii isolates revealed that six groups of antibiotic resistance genes were carried by all seven phage susceptible A. baumannii. All strains carried biofilm associated genes and two strains harbored complete prophages, acquired copper tolerance genes, and CRISPR-associated (cas) genes. In conclusion, our data exhibits an association between virulence determinants and biofilm formation among phage susceptible A. baumannii strains. These data help to understand the bacterial co-evolution with phages.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii causes nosocomial infections due to its multidrug resistance and high environmental adaptability. Colistin is a polypeptide antibacterial agent that targets lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and is currently used to control serious multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, including those caused by A. baumannii. However, A. baumannii may acquire colistin resistance by losing their LPS. In mouse models, LPS-deficient A. baumannii have attenuated virulence. Nevertheless, the mechanism through which the pathogen is cleared by host immune cells is unknown. Here, we established colistin-resistant A. baumannii strains and analyzed possible mechanisms through which they are cleared by neutrophils. Colistin-resistant, LPS-deficient strains harbor mutations or insertion sequence (IS) in lpx genes, and introduction of intact lpx genes restored LPS deficiency. Analysis of interactions between these strains and neutrophils revealed that compared with wild type, LPS-deficient A. baumannii only weakly stimulated neutrophils, with consequent reduced levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory cytokine production. Nonetheless, neutrophils preferentially killed LPS-deficient A. baumannii compared to wild-type strains. Moreover, LPS-deficient A. baumannii strains presented with increased sensitivities to antibacterial lysozyme and lactoferrin. We revealed that neutrophil-secreted lysozyme was the antimicrobial factor during clearance of LPS-deficient A. baumannii strains. These findings may inform the development of targeted therapeutics aimed to treat multidrug-resistant infections in immunocompromised patients who are unable to mount an appropriate cell-mediated immune response.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is an important emerging pathogen that is capable of causing many types of severe infection, especially in immunocompromised hosts. Since A. baumannii can rapidly acquire antibiotic resistance genes, many infections are on the verge of being untreatable, and novel therapies are desperately needed. To investigate the potential utility of copper-based antibacterial strategies against Acinetobacter infections, we characterized copper resistance in a panel of recent clinical A. baumannii isolates. Exposure to increasing concentrations of copper in liquid culture and on solid surfaces resulted in dose-dependent and strain-dependent effects; levels of copper resistance varied broadly across isolates, possibly resulting from identified genotypic variation among strains. Examination of the growth-phase-dependent effect of copper on A. baumannii revealed that resistance to copper increased dramatically in stationary phase. Moreover, A. baumannii biofilms were more resistant to copper than planktonic cells but were still susceptible to copper toxicity. Exposure of bacteria to subinhibitory concentrations of copper allowed them to better adapt to and grow in high concentrations of copper; this copper tolerance response is likely achieved via increased expression of copper resistance mechanisms. Indeed, genomic analysis revealed numerous putative copper resistance proteins that share amino acid homology to known proteins in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Transcriptional analysis revealed significant upregulation of these putative copper resistance genes following brief copper exposure. Future characterization of copper resistance mechanisms may aid in the search for novel antibiotics against Acinetobacter and other highly antibiotic-resistant pathogens.Acinetobacter baumannii causes many types of severe nosocomial infections; unfortunately, some isolates have acquired resistance to almost every available antibiotic, and treatment options are incredibly limited. Copper is an essential nutrient but becomes toxic at high concentrations. The inherent antimicrobial properties of copper give it potential for use in novel therapeutics against drug-resistant pathogens. We show that A. baumannii clinical isolates are sensitive to copper in vitro, both in liquid and on solid metal surfaces. Since bacterial resistance to copper is mediated though mechanisms of efflux and detoxification, we identified genes encoding putative copper-related proteins in A. baumannii and showed that expression of some of these genes is regulated by the copper concentration. We propose that the antimicrobial effects of copper may be beneficial in the development of future therapeutics that target multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Project description:The number of fully active antibiotic options that treat nosocomial infections due to multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) is extremely limited. Magnolia officinalis, Mahonia bealei, Rabdosia rubescens, Rosa rugosa, Rubus chingii, Scutellaria baicalensis, and Terminalia chebula plant extracts were previously shown to have growth inhibitory activity against a multidrug-resistant clinical strain of A. baumannii. In this study, the compounds responsible for their antimicrobial activity were identified by fractionating each plant extract using high performance liquid chromatography, and determining the antimicrobial activity of each fraction against A. baumannii. The chemical structures of the fractions inhibiting >40% of the bacterial growth were elucidated by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The six most active compounds were identified as: ellagic acid in Rosa rugosa; norwogonin in Scutellaria baicalensis; and chebulagic acid, chebulinic acid, corilagin, and terchebulin in Terminalia chebula. The most potent compound was identified as norwogonin with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 128 µg/mL, and minimum bactericidal concentration of 256 µg/mL against clinically relevant strains of A. baumannii. Combination studies of norwogonin with ten anti-Gram negative bacterial agents demonstrated that norwogonin did not enhance the antimicrobial activity of the synthetic antibiotics chosen for this study. In conclusion, of all identified antimicrobial compounds, norwogonin was the most potent against multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strains. Further studies are warranted to ascertain the prophylactic and therapeutic potential of norwogonin for infections due to multidrug-resistant A. baumannii.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii causes severe, fulminant, community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in tropical and subtropical regions. We compared the population structure, virulence and antimicrobial resistance determinants of northern Australian community-onset A. baumannii strains with local and global strains. We performed whole-genome sequencing on 55 clinical and five throat colonization A. baumannii isolates collected in northern Australia between 1994 and 2016. Clinical isolates included CAP (n=41), healthcare-associated pneumonia (n=7) and nosocomial bloodstream (n=7) isolates. We also included 93 publicly available international A. baumannii genome sequences in the analyses. Patients with A. baumannii CAP were almost all critically unwell; 82?% required intensive care unit admission and 18?% died during their inpatient stay. Whole-genome phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that community-onset strains were not phylogenetically distinct from nosocomial strains. Some non-multidrug-resistant local strains were closely related to multidrug-resistant strains from geographically distant locations. Pasteur sequence type (ST)10 was the dominant ST and accounted for 31/60 (52?%) northern Australian strains; the remainder belonged to a diverse range of STs. The most recent common ancestor for ST10 was estimated to have occurred in 1738 (95?% highest posterior density, 1626-1826), with evidence of multiple introduction events between Australia and Southeast Asia between then and the present day. Virulence genes associated with biofilm formation and the type 6 secretion system (T6SS) were absent in many strains, and were not associated with in-hospital mortality. All strains were susceptible to gentamicin and meropenem; none carried an AbaR resistance island. Our results suggest that international dissemination of A. baumannii is occurring in the community on a contemporary timescale. Genes associated with biofilm formation and the T6SS may not be required for survival in community niches. The relative contributions of host and bacterial factors to the clinical severity of community-onset A. baumannii infection require further investigation.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii causes difficult-to-treat nosocomial infections, which often lead to morbidity due to the development of antimicrobial drug resistance and expression of virulence genes. Data regarding the association of resistance to colistin, a last treatment option, and the virulence gene expression of A. baumannii is scarce.We evaluated the MLVA genotype, antimicrobial resistance, and biofilm formation of 100 A. baumannii isolates from burn patients, and further compared the in vitro and in vivo expression of four virulence genes among five colistin-resistant A. baumannii (Cst-R-AB) isolates. Five Cst-R-AB isolates were tested; one from the present study, and four isolated previously.Our results showed that reduced expression of recA, along with increased in vivo expression of lpsB, dnaK, and blsA; are associated with colistin resistance among Cst-R-AB isolates. Differences in virulence gene expressions among Cst-R-AB isolates, may in part explain common discrepant in vitro vs. in vivo susceptibility data during treatment of infections caused by Cst-R-AB.Our findings highlight the intricate relationship between colistin-resistance and virulence among A. baumannii isolates, and underscore the importance of examining the interactions between virulence and antimicrobial resistance toward efforts to control the spread of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii (MDR-AB) isolates, and also to reduce disease severity in burn patients with MDR-AB infection.
Project description:The genus Acinetobacter encompasses multiple nosocomial opportunistic pathogens that are of increasing worldwide relevance because of their ability to survive exposure to various antimicrobial and sterilization agents. Among these, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter nosocomialis, and Acinetobacter pittii are the most frequently isolated in hospitals around the world. Despite the growing incidence of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp., little is known about the factors that contribute to pathogenesis. New strategies for treating and managing infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter strains are urgently needed, and this requires a detailed understanding of the pathobiology of these organisms. In recent years, some virulence factors important for Acinetobacter colonization have started to emerge. In this review, we focus on several recently described virulence factors that act at the bacterial surface level, such as the capsule, O-linked protein glycosylation, and adhesins. Furthermore, we describe the current knowledge regarding the type II and type VI secretion systems present in these strains.
Project description:Photodynamic antimicrobial chemotherapy (PACT), as a novel and effective therapeutic modality to eradicate drug resistant bacteria without provoking multidrug resistance, has attracted increasing attention. This study examined the antimicrobial efficacy of the novel cationic amino acid-porphyrin conjugate 4I with four lysine groups against two different clinical isolated strains (drug sensitive and multidrug resistant) of the Acinetobacter baumannii species and its toxicity on murine dermal fibroblasts in vitro, as well as the therapeutic effect of PACT on acute, potentially lethal multidrug resistant strain excisional wound infections in vivo. The PACT protocol exposed 4I to illumination, exhibiting high antimicrobial efficacy on two different strains due to a high yield of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and non-selectivity to microorganisms. The photoinactivation effects of 4I against two different strains were dose-dependent. At 3.9 ?M and 7.8 ?M, PACT induced 6 log units of inactivation of sensitive and multidrug resistant strains. In contrast, 4I alone and illumination alone treatments had no visibly antimicrobial effect. Moreover, cytotoxicity tests revealed the great safety of the photosensitizer 4I in mice. In the in vivo study, we found 4I-mediated PACT was not only able to kill bacteria but also accelerated wound recovery. Compared with non-treated mice, over 2.89 log reduction of multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strain was reached in PACT treat mice at 24 h post-treatment. These results imply that 4I-mediated PACT therapy is an effective and safe alternative to conventional antibiotic therapy and has clinical potential for superficial drug-resistant bacterial infections.
Project description:The human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii possesses high genetic plasticity and frequently acquires antimicrobial resistance genes. Here we investigated the role of natural transformation in these processes. Genomic DNA from different sources, including from carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strains, was mixed with A. baumannii A118 cells. Selected transformants were analysed by whole-genome sequencing. In addition, bioinformatics analyses and in silico gene flow prediction were also performed to support the experimental results. Transformant strains included some that became resistant to carbapenems or changed their antimicrobial susceptibility profile. Foreign DNA acquisition was confirmed by whole-genome analysis. The acquired DNA most frequently identified corresponded to mobile genetic elements, antimicrobial resistance genes and operons involved in metabolism. Bioinformatics analyses and in silico gene flow prediction showed continued exchange of genetic material between A. baumannii and K. pneumoniae when they share the same habitat. Natural transformation plays an important role in the plasticity of A. baumannii and concomitantly in the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The aims of this study were to understand the molecular epidemiology of integron-associated gene cassettes in Acinetobacter baumannii across four hospitals in northern Taiwan and to clarify the relationship between the presence of integrons and antibiotic-resistant phenotypes. METHODS: Sixty-five A. baumannii isolates, collected from the patients of four regional hospitals in northern Taiwan in 2009, were tested for the presence of integrons and their associated gene cassettes. The susceptibility difference between integron-positive and integron-negative A. baumannii strains was analyzed. Antibiotic-resistant phenotypes among A. baumannii with different types of gene cassette array combinations were also compared. RESULTS: Around 72% of the A. baumannii isolates carried class 1 integrase genes. Despite this, only three gene cassette arrays were found in the integrons. Integron-positive strains were significantly more resistant to all the tested antibiotics than the integrase-negative strains. All the four types of A. baumannii with different gene cassette array combinations were multidrug-resistant in nature. Gene cassette array aacA4-catB8-aadA1 existed in all the integron-positive A. baumannii isolates. Repetitive-sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) results revealed the prevalence of one major cluster of imipenem-resistant A. baumannii strains (84%) in the four regional hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of integrons with associated antimicrobial resistance gene cassettes can be used as a representative marker of multidrug resistance in A. baumannii. Some prevalent gene cassette arrays may exist among epidemiologically unrelated A. baumannii strains.