Grupos Investigadores

Líneas de Investigación

  • Diagnóstico serológico y molecular de la brucelosis animal y humana
  • Mecanismos de virulencia de Brucella
  • Vacunas frente a la brucelosis

Palabras Clave

  • Brucella
  • Brucellosis
  • Diagnosis
  • Vaccines
  • Zoonosis

Publicaciones Científicas desde 2018

  • Autores: Moriyón Uría, Ignacio (Autor de correspondencia); Blasco, J. M.; Letesson, J. J.; et al.
    ISSN: 2076-2607 Vol.11 N° 8 2023 págs. 2070
    One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment, a concept that historically owes much to the study of brucellosis, including recent political and ethical considerations. Brucellosis One Health actors include Public Health and Veterinary Services, microbiologists, medical and veterinary practitioners and breeders. Brucellosis awareness, and the correct use of diagnostic, epidemiological and prophylactic tools is essential. In brucellosis, One Health implementation faces inherited and new challenges, some aggravated by global warming and the intensification of breeding to meet growing food demands. In endemic scenarios, disease awareness, stakeholder sensitization/engagement and the need to build breeder trust are unresolved issues, all made difficult by the protean characteristics of this zoonosis. Extended infrastructural weaknesses, often accentuated by geography and climate, are critically important. Capacity-building faces misconceptions derived from an uncritical adoption of control/eradication strategies applied in countries with suitable means, and requires additional reference laboratories in endemic areas. Challenges for One Health implementation include the lack of research in species other than cattle and small ruminants, the need for a safer small ruminant vaccine, the need to fill in the infrastructure gap, the need for realistic capacity-building, the creation of reference laboratories in critical areas, and the stepwise implementation of measures not directly transposed from the so-called developed countries.
  • Autores: Elizalde Bielsa, Aitor; Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; Loperena Barber, Maite; et al.
    ISSN: 0882-4010 Vol.174 2023 págs. 105930
    Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease caused by Gram-negative bacteria of the genus Brucella. These pathogens cause long-lasting infections, a process in which Brucella modifications in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and envelope lipids reduce pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) recognition, thus hampering innate immunity activation. In vivo models are essential to investigate bacterial virulence, mice being the most used model. However, ethical and practical considerations impede their use in high-throughput screening studies. Although lacking the complexity of the mammalian immune system, insects share key-aspects of innate immunity with mammals, and Galleria mellonella has been used increasingly as a model. G. mellonella larvae have been shown useful in virulence analyses, including Gram-negative pathogens like Klebsiella pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila. To assess its potential to study Brucella virulence, we first evaluated larva survival upon infection with representative Brucella species (i.e.B. abortus 2308W, B. microti CCM4915 and B. suis biovar 2) and mutants in the VirB type-IV secretion system (T4SS) or in the LPS-O-polysaccharide (O-PS). As compared to K.pneumoniae, the Brucella spp. tested induced a delayed and less severe mortality profile consistent with an escape of innate immunity detection. Brucella replication within larvae was affected by the lack of O-PS, which is reminiscent of their attenuation in natural hosts. On the contrary, replication was not affected by T4SS dysfunction and the mutant induced only slightly less mortality (not statistically significant) than its parental strain. We also evaluated G. mellonella to efficiently recognise Brucella and their LPS by quantification of the pro-phenoloxidase system and melanisation activation, using Pseudomonas LPS as a positive control. Among the brucellae, only B. microti LPS triggered an early-melanisation response consistent with the slightly increased endotoxicity of this species in mice. Therefore, G. mellonella represents a tool to screen for potential Brucella factors modulating innate immunity, but its usefulness to investigate other mechanisms relevant in Brucella intracellular life is limited.
  • Autores: Moreno, E.; Middlebrook, E. A.; Altamirano-Silva, P.; et al.
    ISSN: 0095-1137 Vol.61 N° 8 2023 págs. 1 - 8
    Bacteria of the genus Brucella are facultative intracellular parasites that cause brucellosis, a severe animal and human disease. Recently, a group of taxonomists merged the brucellae with the primarily free-living, phylogenetically related Ochrobactrum spp. in the genus Brucella. This change, founded only on global genomic analysis and the fortuitous isolation of some opportunistic Ochrobactrum spp. from medically compromised patients, has been automatically included in culture collections and databases. We argue that clinical and environmental microbiologists should not accept this nomenclature, and we advise against its use because (i) it was presented without in-depth phylogenetic analyses and did not consider alternative taxonomic solutions; (ii) it was launched without the input of experts in brucellosis or Ochrobactrum; (iii) it applies a non-consensus genus concept that disregards taxonomically relevant differences in structure, physiology, population structure, core-pangenome assemblies, genome structure, genomic traits, clinical features, treatment, prevention, diagnosis, genus description rules, and, above all, pathogenicity; and (iv) placing these two bacterial groups in the same genus creates risks for veterinarians, medical doctors, clinical laboratories, health authorities, and legislators who deal with brucellosis, a disease that is particularly relevant in low- and middle-income countries. Based on all this information, we urge microbiologists, bacterial collections, genomic databases, journals, and public health boards to keep the Brucella and Ochrobactrum genera separate to avoid further bewilderment and harm.
  • Autores: Matamoros-Recio, A. (Autor de correspondencia); Merino, J.; Gallego-Jiménez, A.; et al.
    ISSN: 0144-8617 Vol.318 2023 págs. 121094
    Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are major players in bacterial infection through the recognition by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). The LPS chemical structure, including the oligosaccharide core and the lipid A moiety, can be strongly influenced by adaptation and modulated to assure bacteria protection, evade immune surveillance, or reduce host immune responses. Deep structural understanding of TLRs signaling is essential for the modulation of the innate immune system in sepsis control and inflammation, during bacterial infection. To advance this knowledge, we have employed computational techniques to characterize the TLR4 molecular recognition of atypical LPSs from different opportunistic members of ¿2-Proteobacteria, including Brucella melitensis, Ochrobactrum anthropi, and Ochrobactrum intermedium, with diverse immunostimulatory activities. We contribute to unraveling the role of uncommon lipid A chemical features such as bearing very long-chain fatty acid chains, whose presence has been rarely reported, on modulating the proper heterodimerization of the TLR4 receptor complex. Moreover, we further evaluated the influence of the different oligosaccharide cores, including sugar composition and net charge, on TLR4 activation. Our studies contribute to elucidating, from the molecular and biological perspectives, the impact of the ¿2-Proteobacteria LPS cores and the chemical structure of the atypical lipid A for immune system evasion in opportunistic bacteria.
  • Autores: Blasco, J. M. (Autor de correspondencia); Moreno, E.; Moriyón Uría, Ignacio
    ISSN: 1865-1674 Vol.69 N° 4 2022 págs. 1670 - 1673
  • Autores: Loperena Barber, Maite; Khames, M.; Leclercq, S. O.; et al.
    ISSN: 1466-5026 Vol.72 N° 2 2022 págs. 005223
    Three Gram-negative, rod-shaped, oxidase-positive, non-spore-forming, non-motile strains (C130915_07T, C150915_16 and C150915_17) were isolated from lymph nodes of Algerian cows. On the basis of 16S rRNA gene and whole genome similarities, the isolates were almost identical and clearly grouped in the genus Pseudochrobactrum. This allocation was confirmed by the analysis of fatty acids (C19:cyclo, C18 : 1, C18 : 0, C16 : 1 and C16 : 0) and of polar lipids (major components: phosphatidylethanolamine, ornithine-lipids, phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin and phosphatidylcholine, plus moderate amounts of phosphatidylmonomethylethanolamine, phosphatidyldimethylethanolamine and other aminolipids). Genomic, physiological and biochemical data differentiated these isolates from previously described Pseudochrobactrum species in DNA relatedness, carbon assimilation pattern and growth temperature range. Thus, these organisms represent a novel species of the genus Pseudochrobactrum, for which the name Pseudochrobactrum algeriensis sp. nov. is proposed (type strain C130915_07T=CECT30232T=LMG 32378T).
  • Autores: Moreno, E. (Autor de correspondencia); Blasco, J. M.; Letesson, J. J.; et al.
    Revista: PATHOGENS
    ISSN: 2076-0817 Vol.11 N° 3 2022 págs. 377
    The intracellular pathogens of the genus Brucella are phylogenetically close to Ochrobactrum, a diverse group of free-living bacteria with a few species occasionally infecting medically compromised patients. A group of taxonomists recently included all Ochrobactrum organisms in the genus Brucella based on global genome analyses and alleged equivalences with genera such as Mycobacterium. Here, we demonstrate that such equivalencies are incorrect because they overlook the complexities of pathogenicity. By summarizing Brucella and Ochrobactrum divergences in lifestyle, structure, physiology, population, closed versus open pangenomes, genomic traits, and pathogenicity, we show that when they are adequately understood, they are highly relevant in taxonomy and not unidimensional quantitative characters. Thus, the Ochrobactrum and Brucella differences are not limited to their assignments to different "risk-groups", a biologically (and hence, taxonomically) oversimplified description that, moreover, does not support ignoring the nomen periculosum rule, as proposed. Since the epidemiology, prophylaxis, diagnosis, and treatment are thoroughly unrelated, merging free-living Ochrobactrum organisms with highly pathogenic Brucella organisms brings evident risks for veterinarians, medical doctors, and public health authorities who confront brucellosis, a significant zoonosis worldwide. Therefore, from taxonomical and practical standpoints, the Brucella and Ochrobactrum genera must be maintained apart. Consequently, we urge researchers, culture collections, and databases to keep their canonical nomenclature.
  • Autores: Muñoz, P. M. (Autor de correspondencia); Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Andrés-Barranco, S.; et al.
    ISSN: 1297-9716 Vol.53 N° 1 2022 págs. 16
    Brucella melitensis and Brucella ovis are gram-negative pathogens of sheep that cause severe economic losses and, although B. ovis is non-zoonotic, B. melitensis is the main cause of human brucellosis. B. melitensis carries a smooth (S) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) with an N-formyl-perosamine O-polysaccharide (O-PS) that is absent in the rough LPS of B. ovis. Their control and eradication require vaccination, but B. melitensis Rev 1, the only vaccine available, triggers anti-O-PS antibodies that interfere in the S-brucellae serodiagnosis. Since eradication and serological surveillance of the zoonotic species are priorities, Rev 1 is banned once B. melitensis is eradicated or where it never existed, hampering B. ovis control and eradication. To develop a B. ovis specific vaccine, we investigated three Brucella live vaccine candidates lacking N-formyl-perosamine O-PS: Bov::CA¿wadB (CO2-independent B. ovis with truncated LPS core oligosaccharide); Rev1::wbdR¿wbkC (carrying N-acetylated O-PS); and H38¿wbkF (B. melitensis rough mutant with intact LPS core). After confirming their attenuation and protection against B. ovis in mice, were tested in rams for efficacy. H38¿wbkF yielded similar protection to Rev 1 against B. ovis but Bov::CA¿wadB and Rev1::wbdR¿wbkC conferred no or poor protection, respectively. All H38¿wbkF vaccinated rams developed a protracted antibody response in ELISA and immunoprecipitation B. ovis diagnostic tests. In contrast, all remained negative in Rose Bengal and complement fixation tests used routinely for B. melitensis diagnosis, though some became positive in S-LPS ELISA owing to LPS core epitope reactivity. Thus, H38¿wbkF is an interesting candidate for the immunoprophylaxis of B. ovis in B. melitensis-free areas.
  • Autores: Moreno, E.; Blasco, J. M.; Moriyón Uría, Ignacio (Autor de correspondencia)
    ISSN: 2076-2607 Vol.10 N° 5 2022 págs. 942
    Brucellosis is a major zoonotic disease caused by Brucella species. Historically, the disease received over fifty names until it was recognized as a single entity, illustrating its protean manifestations and intricacies, traits that generated conundrums that have remained or re-emerged since they were first described. Here, we examine confusions concerning the clinical picture, serological diagnosis, and incidence of human brucellosis. We also discuss knowledge gaps and prevalent confusions about animal brucellosis, including brucellosis control strategies, the so-called confirmatory tests, and assumptions about the primary-binding assays and DNA detection methods. We describe how doubtfully characterized vaccines have failed to control brucellosis and emphasize how the requisites of controlled safety and protection experiments are generally overlooked. Finally, we briefly discuss the experience demonstrating that S19 remains the best cattle vaccine, while RB51 fails to validate its claimed properties (protection, differentiating infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA), and safety), offering a strong argument against its current widespread use. These conundrums show that knowledge dealing with brucellosis is lost, and previous experience is overlooked or misinterpreted, as illustrated in a significant number of misguided meta-analyses. In a global context of intensifying livestock breeding, such recurrent oversights threaten to increase the impact of brucellosis.
  • Autores: Lázaro Antón, Leticia; de Miguel, M. J.; Barbier, T.; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.11 2021 págs. 620049
    Brucella species cause brucellosis, a worldwide extended zoonosis. The brucellae are related to free-living and plant-associated alpha 2-Proteobacteria and, since they multiply within host cells, their metabolism probably reflects this adaptation. To investigate this, we used the rodent-associated Brucella suis biovar 5, which in contrast to the ruminant-associated Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis and other B. suis biovars, is fast-growing and conserves the ancestral Entner-Doudoroff pathway (EDP) present in the plant-associated relatives. We constructed mutants in Edd (glucose-6-phosphate dehydratase; first EDP step), PpdK (pyruvate phosphate dikinase; phosphoenolpyruvate pyruvate), and Pyk (pyruvate kinase; phosphoenolpyruvate -> pyruvate). In a chemically defined medium with glucose as the only C source, the Edd mutant showed reduced growth rates and the triple Edd-PpdK-Pyk mutant did not grow. Moreover, the triple mutant was also unable to grow on ribose or xylose. Therefore, B. suis biovar 5 sugar catabolism proceeds through both the Pentose Phosphate shunt and EDP, and EDP absence and exclusive use of the shunt could explain at least in part the comparatively reduced growth rates of B. melitensis and B. abortus. The triple Edd-PpdK-Pyk mutant was not attenuated in mice. Thus, although an anabolic use is likely, this suggests that hexose/pentose catabolism to pyruvate is not essential for B. suis biovar 5 multiplication within host cells, a hypothesis consistent with the lack of classical glycolysis in all Brucella species and of EDP in B. melitensis and B. abortus. These results and those of previous works suggest that within cells, the brucellae use mostly 3 and 4 C substrates fed into anaplerotic pathways and only a limited supply of 5 and 6 C sugars, thus favoring the EDP loss observed in some species.
  • Autores: Chacón-Díaz, C. (Autor de correspondencia); Zabalza-Barangua, A.; San Román, B.; et al.
    Revista: PLOS ONE
    ISSN: 1932-6203 Vol.16 N° 11 2021 págs. e0260288
    Bovine brucellosis induces abortion in cows, produces important economic losses, and causes a widely distributed zoonosis. Its eradication was achieved in several countries after sustained vaccination with the live attenuated Brucella abortus S19 vaccine, in combination with the slaughtering of serologically positive animals. S19 induces antibodies against the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), making difficult the differentiation of infected from vaccinated bovines. We developed an S19 strain constitutively expressing the green fluorescent protein (S19-GFP) coded in chromosome II. The S19-GFP displays similar biological characteristics and immunogenic and protective efficacies in mice to the parental S19 strain. S19-GFP can be distinguished from S19 and B. abortus field strains by fluorescence and multiplex PCR. Twenty-five heifers were vaccinated withS19-GFP (5x10(9) CFU) by the subcutaneous or conjunctival routes and some boosted with GFP seven weeks thereafter. Immunized animals were followed up for over three years and tested for anti-S-LPS antibodies by both the Rose Bengal test and a competitive ELISA. Anti-GFP antibodies were detected by an indirect ELISA and Western blotting. In most cases, anti-S-LPS antibodies preceded for several weeks those against GFP. The anti-GFP antibody response was higher in the GFP boosted than in the non-boosted animals. In all cases, the anti-GFP antibodies persisted longer, or at least as long, as those against S-LPS. The drawbacks and potential advantages of using the S19-GFP vaccine for identifying vaccinated animals in infected environments are discussed.
  • Autores: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; Palacios Chaves, Leyre; Salvador Bescós, Miriam; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.12 2021 págs. 614243
    The brucellae are facultative intracellular bacteria with a cell envelope rich in phosphatidylcholine (PC). PC is abundant in eukaryotes but rare in prokaryotes, and it has been proposed that Brucella uses PC to mimic eukaryotic-like features and avoid innate immune responses in the host. Two PC synthesis pathways are known in prokaryotes: the PmtA-catalyzed trimethylation of phosphatidylethanolamine and the direct linkage of choline to CDP-diacylglycerol catalyzed by the PC synthase Pcs. Previous studies have reported that B. abortus and B. melitensis possess non-functional PmtAs and that PC is synthesized exclusively via Pcs in these strains. A putative choline transporter ChoXWV has also been linked to PC synthesis in B. abortus. Here, we report that Pcs and Pmt pathways are active in B. suis biovar 2 and that a bioinformatics analysis of Brucella genomes suggests that PmtA is only inactivated in B. abortus and B. melitensis strains. We also show that ChoXWV is active in B. suis biovar 2 and conserved in all brucellae except B. canis and B. inopinata. Unexpectedly, the experimentally verified ChoXWV dysfunction in B. canis did not abrogate PC synthesis in a PmtA-deficient mutant, which suggests the presence of an unknown mechanism for obtaining choline for the Pcs pathway in Brucella. We also found that ChoXWV dysfunction did not cause attenuation in B. suis biovar 2. The results of these studies are discussed with respect to the proposed role of PC in Brucella virulence and how differential use of the Pmt and Pcs pathways may influence the interactions of these bacteria with their mammalian hosts.
  • Autores: Alumasa, L.; Thomas, L. F.; Amanya, F.; et al.
    ISSN: 1935-2735 Vol.15 N° 1 2021 págs. 1 - 19
    Hospitals in Kenya continue to use the Febrile Antigen Brucella Agglutination Test (FBAT) to diagnose brucellosis, despite reports showing its inadequacy. This study generated hospital-based evidence on the performance and cost-effectiveness of the FBAT, compared to the Rose Bengal Test (RBT).Twelve hospitals in western Kenya stored patient serum samples that were tested for brucellosis using the FBAT, and these were later re-tested using the RBT. Data on the running time and cost of the FBAT, and the treatment prescribed for brucellosis, were collected. The cost-effectiveness of the two tests, defined as the cost in US Dollars ($) per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) averted, was determined, and a basic sensitivity analysis was run to identify the most influential parameters. Over a 6-month period, 180 patient serum samples that were tested with FBAT at the hospitals were later re-tested with RBT at the field laboratory. Of these 24 (13.3%) and 3 (1.7%) tested positive with FBAT and RBT, respectively. The agreement between the FBAT and RBT was slight (Kappa = 0.12). Treatment prescribed following FBAT positivity varied between hospitals, and only one hospital prescribed a standardized therapy regimen. The mean $/DALY averted when using the FBAT and RBT were $2,065 (95% CI $481-$6,736) and $304 (95% CI $126-$604), respectively. Brucellosis prevalence was the most influential parameter in the cost-effectiveness of both tests. Extrapolation to the national level suggested that an estimated $338,891 (95% CI $47,000-$1,149,000) per year is currently spent unnecessarily treating those falsely testing positive by FBAT. These findings highlight the potential for misdiagnosis using the FBAT. Furthermore, the RBT is cost-effective, and could be considered as the mainstay screening test for human brucellosis in this setting. Lastly, the treatment regimens must be harmonized to ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics for treatment. Author summary Brucellosis is the most common bacterial zoonosis globally, with a higher burden in low-resource settings. In humans, the disease manifests itself with non-specific clinical signs, and current international guidelines recommend the use of two serological diagnostic tests to make a confirmatory diagnosis. Many hospitals in Kenya and some neighbouring countries have been using the Febrile Antigen Brucella Agglutination Test (FBAT) for diagnosis, despite reports showing its poor performance. In this study we compared the diagnostic performance and cost-effectiveness of the FBAT with that of the Rose Bengal Test (RBT), a serological assay recommended by international guidelines. Our results showed that, compared to the RBT, the FBAT incorrectly diagnosed a number of patients. This is of concern as it leads to unnecessary antibiotic treatments, increasing the economic burden of the disease and exacerbating the risk of antibiotic resistance. We also highlight the discrepancies in brucellosis treatment regimens currently being prescribed by various hospitals. Finally, we showed that the RBT is a more cost-effective diagnostic test. Our recommendation, therefore, is for the RBT to be considered as the mainstay diagnostic test for human brucellosis in all Kenyan hospitals, and for the harmonization of treatment guidelines.
  • Autores: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; de Miguel, M. J.; Martínez Gómez, Estrella de Fátima; et al.
    ISSN: 0928-4249 Vol.51 N° 1 2020 págs. 13
  • Autores: Machelart, A.; Willemart, K. ; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; et al.
    ISSN: 0027-8424 Vol.117 N° 42 2020 págs. 26374 - 26381
    Mechanistic understanding of the factors that govern host tropism remains incompletely understood for most pathogens. Brucella species, which are capable of infecting a wide range of hosts, offer a useful avenue to address this question. We hypothesized that metabolic fine-tuning to intrahost niches is likely an underappreciated axis underlying pathogens' ability to infect new hosts and tropism. In this work, we compared the central metabolism of seven Brucella species by stable isotopic labeling and genetics. We identified two functionally distinct groups, one overlapping with the classical zoonotic species of domestic livestock that exclusively use the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) for hexose catabolism, whereas species from the second group use mostly the Entner-Doudoroff pathway (EDP). We demonstrated that the metabolic dichotomy among Brucellae emerged after the acquisition of two independent EDP-inactivating mutations in all classical zoonotic species. We then examined the pathogenicity of key metabolic mutants in mice and confirmed that this trait is tied to virulence. Altogether, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the PPP has been incrementally selected over the EDP in parallel to Brucella adaptation to domestic livestock.
  • Autores: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; de Miguel, M. J.; Lázaro Antón, Leticia; et al.
    ISSN: 1297-9716 Vol.51 N° 1 2020 págs. 92
    Brucella is a genus of gram-negative bacteria that cause brucellosis. B. abortus and B. melitensis infect domestic ruminants while B. suis (biovars 1-3) infect swine, and all these bacteria but B. suis biovar 2 are zoonotic. Live attenuated B. abortus S19 and B. melitensis Rev1 are effective vaccines in domestic ruminants, though both can infect humans. However, there is no swine brucellosis vaccine. Here, we investigated the potential use as vaccines of B. suis biovar 2 rough (R) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mutants totally lacking O-chain (Bs2¿wbkF) or only producing internal O-chain precursors (Bs2¿wzm) and mutants with a smooth (S) LPS defective in the core lateral branch (Bs2¿wadB and Bs2¿wadD). We also investigated mutants in the pyruvate phosphate dikinase (Bs2¿ppdK) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Bs2¿pckA) genes encoding enzymes bridging phosphoenolpyruvate and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. When tested in the OIE mouse model at the recommended R or S vaccine doses (108 and 105 CFU, respectively), CFU/spleen of all LPS mutants were reduced with respect to the wild type and decreased faster for the R than for the S mutants. At those doses, protection against B. suis was similar for Bs2¿wbkF, Bs2¿wzm, Bs2¿wadB and the Rev1 control (105 CFU). As described before for B. abortus, B. suis biovar 2 carried a disabled pckA so that a double mutant Bs2¿ppdK¿pckA had the same metabolic phenotype as Bs2¿ppdK and ppdK mutation was enough to generate attenuation. At 105 CFU, Bs2¿ppdK also conferred the same protection as Rev1. As compared to other B. suis vaccine candidates described before, the mutants described here simultaneously carry irreversible deletions easy to identify as vaccine markers, lack antibiotic-resistance markers and were obtained in a non-zoonotic background. Since R vaccines should not elicit antibodies to the S-LPS and wzm mutants carry immunogenic O-chain precursors and did not improve Bs2¿wbkF, the latter seems a better R vaccine candidate than Bs2¿wzm. However, taking into account that all R vaccines interfere in ELISA and other widely used assays, whether Bs2¿wbkF is advantageous over Bs2¿wadB or Bs2¿ppdK requires experiments in the natural host.
  • Autores: Vizcaino, N. ; Pérez Etayo, Lara; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
    ISSN: 0928-4249 Vol.51 N° 1 2020 págs. 101
    Brucella ovisis a non-zoonotic roughBrucellathat causes genital lesions, abortions and increased perinatal mortality in sheep and is responsible for important economic losses worldwide. Research on virulence factors ofB. ovisis necessary for deciphering the mechanisms that enable this facultative intracellular pathogen to establish persistent infections and for developing a species-specific vaccine, a need in areas where the cross-protecting ovine smoothB. melitensisRev1 vaccine is banned. Although severalB. ovisvirulence factors have been identified, there is little information on its metabolic abilities and their role in virulence. Here, we report that deletion of pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PpdK, catalyzing the bidirectional conversion pyruvate -cc; phosphoenolpyruvate) inB. ovisPA (virulent and CO2-dependent) impaired growth in vitro. In cell infection experiments, although showing an initial survival higher than that of the parental strain, thisppdKmutant was unable to multiply. Moreover, when inoculated at high doses in mice, it displayed an initial spleen colonization higher than that of the parental strain followed by a marked comparative decrease, an unusual pattern of attenuation in mice. A homologous mutant was also obtained in aB. ovisPA CO2-independent construct previously proposed for developingB. ovisvaccines to solve the problem that CO2-dependence represents for large scale production. This CO2-independentppdKmutant reproduced the growth defect in vitro and the multiplication/clearance pattern in mouse spleens, and is thus an interesting vaccine candidate for the immunoprophylaxis ofB. ovisovine brucellosis.
  • Autores: Bertu, W.; Ocholi, R. ; Gusi, A.; et al.
    ISSN: 1201-9712 Vol.101 2020 págs. 533 - 533
  • Autores: Guzman-Verri, C.; Suarez-Esquivel, M.; Ruiz-Villalobos, N.; et al.
    ISSN: 2297-1769 Vol.6 2019 págs. 253
  • Autores: Gusi, A. M.; Bertu, W. J. ; de Miguel, M. J.; et al.
    ISSN: 1935-2735 Vol.13 N° 6 2019 págs. e0007509
    Background Brucellosis is a world-wide extended zoonosis that causes a grave problem in developing economies. Animal vaccination and diagnosis are essential to control brucellosis, and the need for accurate but also simple and low-cost tests that can be implemented in low-infrastructure laboratories has been emphasized. Methodology We evaluated bovine, sheep, goat and swine lateral flow immunochromatography assay kits (LFA), the Rose Bengal test (RBT) and a well-validated protein G indirect ELISA (iELISA) using sera of Brucella culture-positive and unvaccinated brucellosis free livestock. Sera from cattle vaccinated with S19 and RB51 brucellosis vaccines were also tested. Finally, we compared RBT and LFA using sera of white Fulani cattle of unknown bacteriological status from a brucellosis endemic area of Nigeria. Results and conclusions Although differences were not statistically significant, RBT showed the highest values for diagnostic sensitivity/specificity in cattle (LFA, 96.6/98.8; RBT, 98.9/100; and iELISA, 96.6/100) and the iELISA yielded highest values in sheep (LFA, 94.0/100; RBT, 92.0/100; iELISA, 100/100), goats (LFA, 95.7/96.2; RBT, 97.8/100; iELISA, 100/100) and pigs (LFA, 92.3/100; RBT, 92.3/100; iELISA, 100/100). Vaccine S19 administered subcutaneously interfered in all tests but conjunctival application minimized the problem. Although designed not to interfere in serodiagnosis, vaccine RB51 interfered in LFA and iELISA but not in the RBT. We found closely similar apparent prevalence results when testing the Nigerian Fulani cattle by RBT and LFA. Although both RBT and LFA (showing similar diagnostic performance) are suitable for small laboratories in resource-limited areas, RBT has the advantage that a single reagent is useful in all animal species. Considering these advantages, its low cost and that it is also useful for human brucellosis diagnosis, RBT might be a good choice for resource-limited laboratories. Author summary Brucellosis is an important zoonosis of worldwide distribution with a heavy impact wherever domestic livestock are bred, including extensive areas of developing economies. The diagnosis of brucellosis is hampered by the absence of pathognomonic symptoms, and thus accurate laboratory tests are essential. Many serological tests have been proposed but most of them are technically sophisticated and expensive and, therefore, unsuitable for laboratories in resource-limited areas. The need for simple and inexpensive tests has been expressed continuously in works dealing with brucellosis in Africa. We present an evaluation of two simple tests, the lateral flow immunochromatography assay (LFA) and the Rose Bengal test (RBT), carried out with gold standard sera (i.e, sera from Brucella culture-positive and brucellosis-free unvaccinated animals) from cattle, sheep, goats and swine, in comparison with an indirect ELISA (iELISA). We also performed an evaluation in cattle vaccinated with S19 and RB51 brucellosis vaccines. Moreover, we compared RBT and LFA for assessing the apparent prevalence of brucellosis in cattle in an endemic area of Nigeria. Our results showed similar diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for the three tests and disproved the extended misconception that rough brucellosis vaccines do not to interfere in serodiagnosis and that, therefore, are optimal tools for controlling the disease in resource-limited areas. Considering their diagnostic performance and simplicity, we conclude that both RBT and LFA are suitable for laboratories in resource-limited areas. RBT has the additional advantage of its low cost and usefulness for the diagnosis of human brucellosis.
  • Autores: Zabalza-Baranguá, A. ; San-Román, B. ; Chacón-Díaz, C. ; et al.
    ISSN: 1865-1674 Vol.66 N° 1 2019 págs. 505 - 516
    Brucellosis is a worldwide zoonosis causing important economic loss and a public health problem. Small ruminants are the preferred hosts of Brucella melitensis and thus the main source of human infections. Effective control of sheep and goat brucellosis has been achieved in several countries through vaccination with the live-attenuated B. melitensis Rev1 vaccine. However, Rev1 induces a long-lasting serological response that hinders the differentiation between infected and vaccinated animals. A Rev1::gfp strain expressing constitutively the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) was built by stable insertion of a mini-Tn7-gfp in the glmS-recG non-codifying chromosomal region. An associated indirect ELISA-GFP was developed to identify anti-GFP antibodies in vaccinated animals. The resulting Rev1::gfp kept the biological properties of the Rev1 reference strain, including residual virulence and efficacy in mice, and was readily distinguished from Rev1 and other Brucella field strains by direct visualization under ultraviolet illumination, fluorescence microscopy and a multiplex PCR-GFP. The Rev1::gfp strain did not elicit anti-GFP antibodies itself in lambs but when applied in combination with recombinant GFP induced an intense and long-lasting (>9 months) anti-GFP serological response readily detectable by the ELISA-GFP. Overall, our results confirm that Rev1 GFP-tagging can be a suitable alternative for identifying vaccinated sheep in infected contexts.
  • Autores: Guzmán-Verri, C.; Suárez-Esquivel, M.; Ruiz-Villalobos, N.; et al.
    ISSN: 2297-1769 Vol.6 2019 págs. 175
    Members of the genus Brucella cluster in two phylogenetic groups: classical and non-classical species. The former group is composed of Brucella species that cause disease in mammals, including humans. A Brucella species, labeled as Brucella sp. BCCN84.3, was isolated from the testes of a Saint Bernard dog suffering orchiepididymitis, in Costa Rica. Following standard microbiological methods, the bacterium was first defined as "Brucella melitensis biovar 2." Further molecular typing, identified the strain as an atypical "Brucella suis." Distinctive Brucella sp. BCCN84.3 markers, absent in other Brucella species and strains, were revealed by fatty acid methyl ester analysis, high resolution melting PCR and omp25 and omp2a/omp2b gene diversity. Analysis of multiple loci variable number of tandem repeats and whole genome sequencing demonstrated that this isolate was different from the currently described Brucella species. The smooth Brucella sp. BCCN84.3 clusters together with the classical Brucella Glade and displays all the genes required for virulence. Brucella sp. BCCN84.3 is a species nova taxonomical entity displaying pathogenicity; therefore, relevant for differential diagnoses in the context of brucellosis. Considering the debate on the Brucella species concept, there is a need to describe the extant taxonomical entities of these pathogens in order to understand the dispersion and evolution.
  • Autores: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; De Miguel, M.J.; Martínez Gómez, Estrella de Fátima; et al.
    ISSN: 1297-9716 Vol.50 N° 1 2019 págs. 95
    Sheep brucellosis is a worldwide extended disease caused by B. melitensis and B. ovis, two species respectively carrying smooth or rough lipopolysaccharide. Vaccine B. melitensis Rev1 is used against B. melitensis and B. ovis but induces an anti-smooth-lipopolysaccharide response interfering with B. melitensis serodiagnosis, which precludes its use against B. ovis where B. melitensis is absent. In mice, Rev1 deleted in wbkC (Brucella lipopolysaccharide formyl-transferase) and carrying wbdR (E. coli acetyl-transferase) triggered antibodies that could be differentiated from those evoked by wild-type strains, was comparatively attenuated and protected against B. ovis, suggesting its potential as a B. ovis vaccine.
  • Autores: Bartholomew, T. L.; Kidd, T. J. ; Pessoa, J. S. ; et al.
    ISSN: 0019-9567 Vol.87 N° 4 2019 págs. e00066-19
    Acinetobacter baumannii causes a wide range of nosocomial infections. This pathogen is considered a threat to human health due to the increasingly frequent isolation of multidrug-resistant strains. There is a major gap in knowledge on the infection biology of A. baumannii, and only a few virulence factors have been characterized, including lipopolysaccharide. The lipid A expressed by A. baumannii is hepta-acylated and contains 2-hydroxylaurate. The late acyltransferases controlling the acylation of lipid A have been already characterized. Here, we report the characterization of A. baumannii LpxO, which encodes the enzyme responsible for the 2-hydroxylation of lipid A. By genetic methods and mass spectrometry, we demonstrate that LpxO catalyzes the 2-hydroxylation of the laurate transferred by A. baumannii LpxL. LpxO-dependent lipid A 2-hydroxylation protects A. baumannii from polymyxin B, colistin, and human beta-defensin 3. LpxO contributes to the survival of A. baumannii in human whole blood and is required for pathogen survival in the waxmoth Galleria mellonella. LpxO also protects Acinetobacter from G. mellonella antimicrobial peptides and limits their expression. Further demonstrating the importance of LpxO-dependent modification in immune evasion, 2-hydroxylation of lipid A limits the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase Jun N-terminal protein kinase to attenuate inflammatory responses. In addition, LpxO-controlled lipid A modification mediates the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) via the activation of the transcriptional factor CREB. IL-10 in turn limits the production of inflammatory cytokines following A. baumannii infection. Altogether, our studies suggest that LpxO is a candidate for the development of anti-A. baumannii drugs.
  • Autores: Lanne, A. B. M. ; Goode, A. ; Prattley, C.; et al.
    ISSN: 0005-2736 Vol.1861 N° 1 2019 págs. 83 - 92
    Nisin is a lanthionine antimicrobial effective against diverse Gram-positive bacteria and is used as a food preservative worldwide. Its action is mediated by pyrophosphate recognition of the bacterial cell wall receptors lipid II and undecaprenyl pyrophosphate. Nisin/receptor complexes disrupt cytoplasmic membranes, inhibit cell wall synthesis and dysregulate bacterial cell division. Gram-negative bacteria are much more tolerant to anti-microbials including nisin. In contrast to Gram-positives, Gram-negative bacteria possess an outer membrane, the major constituent of which is lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This contains surface exposed phosphate and pyrophosphate groups and hence can be targeted by nisin. Here we describe the impact of LPS on membrane stability in response to nisin and the molecular interactions occurring between nisin and membrane-embedded LPS from different Gram-negative bacteria. Dye release from liposomes shows enhanced susceptibility to nisin in the presence of LPS, particularly rough LPS chemotypes that lack an O-antigen whereas LPS from microorganisms sharing similar ecological niches with antimicrobial producers provides only modest enhancement. Increased susceptibility was observed with LPS from pathogenic Klebsiella pneumoniae compared to LPS from enteropathogenic Salmonella enterica and gut commensal Escherichia coli. LPS from Brucella melitensis, an intracellular pathogen which is adapted to invade professional and non-professional phagocytes, appears to be refractory to nisin. Molecular complex formation between nisin and LPS was studied by solid state MAS NMR and revealed complex formation between nisin and LPS from most organisms investigated except B. melitensis. LPS/nisin complex formation was confirmed in outer membrane extracts from E. coli.
  • Autores: Ducrotoy, M. J.; Munoz, P. M. ; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
    ISSN: 0167-5877 Vol.151 2018 págs. 57 - 72
    Brucellosis is a worldwide extended zoonosis with a heavy economic and public health impact. Cattle, sheep and goats are infected by smooth Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis, and represent a common source of the human disease. Brucellosis diagnosis in these animals is largely based on detection of a specific immunoresponse. We review here the immunological tests used for the diagnosis of cattle brucellosis. First, we discuss how the diagnostic sensitivity (DSe) and specificity (DSp), balance should be adjusted for brucellosis diagnosis, and the difficulties that brucellosis tests specifically present for the estimation of DSe/DSp in frequentistic (gold standard) and Bayesian analyses. Then, we present a systematic review (PubMed, GoogleScholar and CABdirect) of works (154 out of 991; years 1960-August 2017) identified (by title and Abstract content) as DSe and DSp studies of smooth lipopolysaccharide, O-polysaccharide-core, native hapten and protein diagnostic tests. We summarize data of gold standard studies (n = 23) complying with strict inclusion and exclusion criteria with regards to test methodology and definition of the animals studied (infected and S19 or RB51 vaccinated cattle, and Brucella-free cattle affected or not by false positive serological reactions). We also discuss some studies (smooth lipopolysaccharide tests, protein antibody and delayed type hypersensitivity [skin] tests) that do not meet the criteria and yet fill some of the gaps in information. We review Bayesian studies (n = 5) and report that in most cases priors and assumptions on conditional dependence/independence are not coherent with the variable serological picture of the disease in different epidemiological scenarios and the bases (antigen, isotype and immunoglobulin properties involved) of brucellosis tests, practical experience and the results of gold standard studies. We conclude that very useful lipopolysaccharide (buffered plate antigen and indirect ELISA) and native hapten polysaccharide and soluble protein tests exist, provided they are applied taking into account the means available and the epidemiological contexts of this disease: i) mass vaccination; ii) elimination based on vaccination combined with test-and-slaughter; and iii) surveillance and existence of false positive serological reactions. We also conclude that the insistence in recent literature on the lack of usefulness of all smooth lipopolysaccharide or native hapten polysaccharide tests in areas where S19 vaccination is implemented is a misinterpretation that overlooks scientific and practical evidence.
  • Autores: Barbier, T.; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; Moussa, S.; et al.
    ISSN: 1040-841X Vol.44 N° 2 2018 págs. 182 - 211
    The brucellae are facultative intracellular pathogens causing brucellosis, an important zoonosis. Here, we review the nutritional, genetic, proteomic and transcriptomic studies on Brucella carbon uptake and central metabolism, information that is needed for a better understanding of Brucella virulence. There is no uniform picture across species but the studies suggest primary and/or secondary transporters for unknown carbohydrates, lactate, glycerol phosphate, erythritol, xylose, ribose, glucose and glucose/galactose, and routes for their incorporation to central metabolism, including an erythritol pathway feeding the pentose phosphate cycle. Significantly, all brucellae lack phosphoenolpyruvate synthase and phosphofructokinase genes, which confirms previous evidence on glycolysis absence, but carry all Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway and Krebs cycle (and glyoxylate pathway) genes. However, glucose catabolism proceeds through the pentose phosphate cycle in the classical species, and the ED pathway operates in some rodent-associated brucellae, suggesting an ancestral character for this pathway in this group. Gluconeogenesis is functional but does not rely exclusively on classical fructose bisphosphatases. Evidence obtained using infection models is fragmentary but suggests the combined or sequential use of hexoses/pentoses, amino acids and gluconeogenic substrates. We also discuss the role of the phosphotransferase system, stringent reponse, quorum sensing, BvrR/S and sRNAs in metabolism control, an essential aspect of the life style of facultative intracellular parasites.
  • Autores: Azami, H. Y.; Ducrotoy, M. J.; Bouslikhane, M.; et al.
    Revista: PLOS ONE
    ISSN: 1932-6203 Vol.13 N° 9 2018 págs. e0203360
    Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) and brucellosis are major endemic zoonoses in ruminants in Morocco that impact on both animal and human health. This study presents an assessment of the epidemiological and socioeconomic burden of bacterial zoonoses in Sidi Kacem Province in Northern Morocco from a cross-sectional survey of 125 cattle and/or small ruminantowning households. In total, 1082 sheep and goats were examined from 81 households. The single intradermal comparative cervical test to screen for bovine tuberculosis was undertaken on 1194 cattle from 123 households and all cattle were blood sampled. Cattle and small ruminant sera were tested for brucellosis using the standard Rose Bengal Test (sRBT) and the modified Rose Bengal Test (mRBT). Bacteriology was performed on 21 milk samples obtained from cattle that were seropositive for brucellosis for isolation and phenotyping of circulating Brucella strains. Individual and herd prevalence for BTB in cattle of 20.4% (95% CI 18%-23%) and 57.7% (95% CI 48%-66%), respectively, were observed in this study. The prevalence of brucellosis in cattle at individual and herd level was 1.9% (95% CI 1.2%-2.8%) and 9% (95% CI 4.5%-1.5%), respectively. Brucella pathogens were isolated from three cattle milk samples and were identified as B. abortus using Bruceladder (R) multiplex PCR and B. abortus biovar 1 by classical phenotyping. All small ruminants were seronegative to sRBT, two were positive to mRBT. A higher risk of BTB and brucellosis was observed in cattle in intensive livestock systems, in imported and crossed breeds and in animals from larger herds (>15). The three risk factors were usually present in the same herds, leading to higher transmission risk and persistence of both zoonoses. These results highlight the importance of implementing control strategies for both BTB and brucellosis to reduce productivity losses and the risk of transmission to humans. Prioritising control for BTB and brucellosis in intensive livestock production systems is essential for human and animal health.
  • Autores: Fernández-Calvet, A.; Rodríguez-Arce, I.; Almagro, G.; et al.
    ISSN: 2045-2322 Vol.8 N° 1 2018 págs. 6872
    Airway infection by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) associates to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation and asthma neutrophilic airway inflammation. Lipids are key inflammatory mediators in these disease conditions and consequently, NTHi may encounter free fatty acids during airway persistence. However, molecular information on the interplay NTHi-free fatty acids is limited, and we lack evidence on the importance of such interaction to infection. Maintenance of the outer membrane lipid asymmetry may play an essential role in NTHi barrier function and interaction with hydrophobic molecules. VacJ/MlaA-MlaBCDEF prevents phospholipid accumulation at the bacterial surface, being the only system involved in maintaining membrane asymmetry identified in NTHi. We assessed the relationship among the NTHi VacJ/MlaA outer membrane lipoprotein, bacterial and exogenous fatty acids, and respiratory infection. The vacJ/mlaA gene inactivation increased NTHi fatty acid and phospholipid global content and fatty acyl specific species, which in turn increased bacterial susceptibility to hydrophobic antimicrobials, decreased NTHi epithelial infection, and increased clearance during pulmonary infection in mice with both normal lung function and emphysema, maybe related to their shared lung fatty acid profiles. Altogether, we provide evidence for VacJ/MlaA as a key bacterial factor modulating NTHi survival at the human airway upon exposure to hydrophobic molecules.
  • Autores: Pérez Etayo, Lara; de Miguel, M. J.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
    ISSN: 1297-9716 Vol.49 N° 1 2018 págs. 85
    Brucella bacteria cause brucellosis, a major zoonosis whose control requires efficient diagnosis and vaccines. Identification of classical Brucella spp. has traditionally relied on phenotypic characterization, including surface antigens and 5-10% CO2 necessity for growth (CO2-dependence), a trait of Brucella ovis and most Brucella abortus biovars 1-4 strains. Although molecular tests are replacing phenotypic methods, CO2-dependence remains of interest as it conditions isolation and propagation and reflects Brucella metabolism, an area of active research. Here, we investigated the connection of CO2-dependence and carbonic anhydrases (CA), the enzymes catalyzing the hydration of CO2 to the bicarbonate used by anaplerotic and biosynthetic carboxylases. Based on the previous demonstration that B. suis carries two functional CAs (CAI and CAII), we analyzed the CA sequences of CO2-dependent and -independent brucellae and spontaneous mutants. The comparisons strongly suggested that CAII is not functional in CO2-dependent B. abortus and B. ovis, and that a modified CAII sequence explains the CO2-independent phenotype of spontaneous mutants. Then, by mutagenesis and heterologous plasmid complementation and chromosomal insertion we proved that CAI alone is enough to support CO2-independent growth of B. suis in rich media but not of B. abortus in rich media or B. suis in minimal media.
  • Autores: Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; Barbier, T.; Lázaro Antón, Leticia; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.9 2018 págs. 641
    Bacteria of the genus Brucella infect a range of vertebrates causing a worldwide extended zoonosis. The best-characterized brucellae infect domestic livestock, behaving as stealthy facultative intracellular parasites. This stealthiness depends on envelope molecules with reduced pathogen-associated molecular patterns, as revealed by the low lethality and ability to persist in mice of these bacteria. Infected cells are often engorged with brucellae without signs of distress, suggesting that stealthiness could also reflect an adaptation of the parasite metabolism to use local nutrients without harming the cell. To investigate this, we compared key metabolic abilities of Brucella abortus 2308 Wisconsin (2308W), a cattle biovar 1 virulent strain, and B. suis 513, the reference strain of the ancestral biovar 5 found in wild rodents. B. suis 513 used a larger number of C substrates and showed faster growth rates in vitro, two features similar to those of B. microti, a species phylogenomically close to B. suis biovar 5 that infects voles. However, whereas B. microti shows enhanced lethality and reduced persistence in mice, B. suis 513 was similar to B. abortus 2308W in this regard. Mutant analyses showed that B. suis 513 and B. abortus 2308W were similar in that both depend on phosphoenolpyruvate synthesis for virulence but not on the classical gluconeogenic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatases Fbp-GlpX or on isocitrate lyase (AceA). However, B. suis 513 used pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PpdK) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PckA) for phosphoenolpyruvate synthesis in vitro while B. abortus 2308W used only PpdK. Moreover, whereas PpdK dysfunction causes attenuation of B. abortus 2308W in mice, in B. suis, 513 attenuation occurred only in the double PckA-PpdK mutant. Also contrary to what occurs in B. abortus 2308, a B. suis 513 malic enzyme (Mae) mutant was not attenuated, and this independence of Mae and the role of PpdK was confirmed by the lack of attenuation of a double Mae-PckA mutant. Altogether, these results decouple fast growth rates from enhanced mouse lethality in the brucellae and suggest that an Fbp-GlpX-independent gluconeogenic mechanism is ancestral in this group and show differences in central C metabolic steps that may reflect a progressive adaptation to intracellular growth.
  • Autores: Zhao, Y.; Arce-Gorvel, V.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
    ISSN: 1286-4579 Vol.20 N° 9 - 10 2018 págs. 455 - 460
    Vaccines are one of the most important methods for preventing infectious disease. Structural modification of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) provides a strategy for the development of live attenuated vaccines, either by altering the immunogenicity or by attenuating virulence of the bacteria. This review summarizes various approaches that utilize LPS mutants as whole-cell vaccines.
  • Autores: Zhao, Y.; Hanniffy, S.; Arce-Gorvel, V.; et al.
    Revista: VIRULENCE
    ISSN: 2150-5594 Vol.9 N° 1 2018 págs. 465 - 479
    The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a major virulence factor of Brucella, a facultative intracellular pathogenic Gram-negative bacterium. Brucella LPS exhibits a low toxicity and its atypical structure was postulated to delay the host immune response, favouring the establishment of chronic disease. Here we carried out an in-depth in vitro and in vivo characterisation of the immunomodulatory effects of Brucella LPS on different dendritic cell (DC) subpopulations. By using LPSs from bacteria that share some of Brucella LPS structural features, we demonstrated that the core component of B. melitensis wild-type (Bm-wt) LPS accounts for the low activation potential of Brucella LPS in mouse GM-CSF-derived (GM-) DCs. Contrary to the accepted dogma considering Brucella LPS a poor TLR4 agonist and DC activator, Bm-wt LPS selectively induced expression of surface activation markers and cytokine secretion from Flt3-Ligand-derived (FL-) DCs in a TLR4-dependent manner. It also primed in vitro T cell proliferation by FL-DCs. In contrast, modified LPS with a defective core purified from Brucella carrying a mutated wadC gene (Bm-wadC), efficiently potentiated mouse and human DC activation and T cell proliferation in vitro. In vivo, Bm-wt LPS promoted scant activation of splenic DC subsets and limited recruitment of monocyte- DC like cells in the spleen, conversely to Bm-wadC LPS. Bm-wadC live bacteria drove high cytokine secretion levels in sera of infected mice. Altogether, these results illustrate the immunomodulatory properties of Brucella LPS and the enhanced DC activation ability of the wadC mutation with potential for vaccine development targeting Brucella core LPS structure.
  • Autores: Salvador Bescós, Miriam; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.9 N° 2293 2018
    Brucellosis, an infectious disease caused by Brucella, is one of the most extended bacterial zoonosis in the world and an important cause of economic losses and human suffering. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Brucella plays a major role in virulence as it impairs normal recognition by the innate immune system and delays the immune response. The LPS core is a branched structure involved in resistance to complement and polycationic peptides, and mutants in glycosyltransferases required for the synthesis of the lateral branch not linked to the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) are attenuated and have been proposed as vaccine candidates. For this reason, the complete understanding of the genes involved in the synthesis of this LPS section is of particular interest. The chemical structure of the Brucella LPS core suggests that, in addition to the already identified WadB and WadC glycosyltransferases, others could be implicated in the synthesis of this lateral branch. To clarify this point, we identified and constructed mutants in 11 ORFs encoding putative glycosyltransferases in B. abortus. Four of these ORFs, regulated by the virulence regulator MucR (involved in LPS synthesis) or the BvrR/BvrS system (implicated in the synthesis of surface components), were not required for the synthesis of a complete LPS neither for virulence or interaction with polycationic peptides and/or complement. Among the other seven ORFs, six seemed not to be required for the synthesis of the core LPS since the corresponding mutants kept the O-PS and reacted as the wild type with polyclonal sera. Interestingly, mutant in ORF BAB1_0953 (renamed wadD) lost reactivity against antibodies that recognize the core section while kept the O-PS. This suggests that WadD is a new glycosyltransferase adding one or more sugars to the core lateral branch. WadD mutants were more sensitive than the parental strain to components of the innate immune system and played a role in chronic stages of infection. These results corroborate and extend previous work indicating that the Brucella LPS core is a branched structure that constitutes a steric impairment preventing the elements of the innate immune system to fight against Brucella
  • Autores: Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Palacios Chaves, Leyre; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.8 2018
    The brucellae are facultative intracellular bacteria that cause a worldwide extended zoonosis. One of the pathogenicity mechanisms of these bacteria is their ability to avoid rapid recognition by innate immunity because of a reduction of the pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS), free-lipids, and other envelope molecules. We investigated the Brucella homologs of lptA, lpxE, and lpxO, three genes that in some pathogens encode enzymes that mask the LPS PAMP by upsetting the core-lipid A charge/hydrophobic balance. Brucella lptA, which encodes a putative ethanolamine transferase, carries a frame-shift in B. abortus but not in other Brucella spp. and phylogenetic neighbors like the opportunistic pathogen Ochrobactrum anthropi. Consistent with the genomic evidence, a B. melitensis lptA mutant lacked lipid A-linked ethanolamine and displayed increased sensitivity to polymyxin B (a surrogate of innate immunity bactericidal peptides), while B. abortus carrying B. melitensis lptA displayed increased resistance. Brucella lpxE encodes a putative phosphatase acting on lipid A or on a free-lipid that is highly conserved in all brucellae and O. anthropi. Although we found no evidence of lipid A dephosphorylation, a B. abortus lpxE mutant showed increased polymyxin B sensitivity, suggesting the existence of a hitherto unidentified free-lipid involved in bactericidal peptide resistance. Gene lpxO putatively encoding an acyl hydroxylase carries a frame-shift in all brucellae except B. microti and is intact in O. anthropi. Free-lipid analysis revealed that lpxO corresponded to olsC, the gene coding for the ornithine lipid (OL) acyl hydroxylase active in O. anthropi and B. microti, while B. abortus carrying the olsC of O. anthropi and B. microti synthesized hydroxylated OLs. Interestingly, mutants in lptA, lpxE, or olsC were not attenuated in dendritic cells or mice. This lack of an obvious effect on virulence together with the presence of the intact homolog genes in O. anthropi and B. microti but not in other brucellae suggests that LptA, LpxE, or OL beta-hydroxylase do not significantly alter the PAMP properties of Brucella LPS and free-lipids and are therefore not positively selected during the adaptation to intracellular life.
  • Autores: Ogugua, A. J.; Akinseye, V. O.; Cadmus, E. O.; et al.
    ISSN: 0049-4747 Vol.50 N° 7 2018 págs. 1573 - 1582
    Using a cross-sectional survey, we determined the prevalence and risk factors associated with bovine brucellosis in herds under extensive production system in southwestern Nigeria. Antibodies to Brucella species in serum samples were tested using the Rose Bengal test (RBT) and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA); for milk, the milk ring test (MRT) and indirect-ELISA (i-ELISA) were used. Questionnaire was administered to cattle herdsmen to determine factors predisposing the animals to bovine brucellosis. Data were analyzed using STATA 12. From 513 serum and 635 milk samples tested among 120 herds, overall animal-level prevalence of 10.1% (95% CI 7.5-12.7%) and 20.2% (95% CI 17.1-23.3%) were recorded by RBT and MRT, respectively; while 9.4% (95% CI 6.9-11.9%) and 17.8% (95% CI 14.8-20.8%) were obtained using cELISA and i-ELISA, respectively. In all, from the 120 herds tested, 29.2% and 43.3% were positive by RBT and MRT, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression revealed that herd location (OR=8.12, 95% CI 1.68-38.90) and improper disposal of placenta/fetus (OR=17.33, 95% CI 4.81-62.33) were predictors for a seropositive herd using RBT; while herd location (OR=5.13, 95% CI 1.27-20.28), large herd size (OR=2.62, 95% CI 1.15-5.85), and occurrence of abortion for a year or more (OR=4.62, 95% CI 1.53-13.71) were predictors of seropositivity to antibodies to Brucella spp. using MRT. We found high prevalence of brucellosis in cattle herds under extensive management system in southwestern Nigeria. Urgent and coordinated control strategies are required to mitigate this problem.
  • Autores: Martínez Gómez, Estrella de Fátima; Stahle, J.; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; et al.
    ISSN: 1664-302X Vol.9 2018 págs. 1092
    Brucellosis is a bacterial zoonosis of worldwide distribution caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. In Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis, the major species infecting domestic ruminants, the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS) is a virulence factor. This S-LPS carries a N-formyl-perosamine homopolymer O-polysaccharide that is the major antigen in serodiagnostic tests and is required for virulence. We report that the Brucella O-PS can be structurally and antigenically modified using wbdR, the acetyl-transferase gene involved in N-acetyl-perosamine synthesis in Escherichia coli O157:H7. Brucella constructs carrying plasmidic wbdR expressed a modified O-polysaccharide but were unstable, a problem circumvented by inserting wbdR into a neutral site of chromosome II. As compared to wild-type bacteria, both kinds of wbdR constructs expressed shorter O-polysaccharides and NMR analyses showed that they contained both N-formyl and N-acetyl-perosamine. Moreover, deletion of the Brucella formyltransferase gene wbkC in wbdR constructs generated bacteria producing only N-acetyl-perosamine homopolymers, proving that wbdR can replace for wbkC. Absorption experiments with immune sera revealed that the wbdR constructs triggered antibodies to new immunogenic epitope(s) and the use of monoclonal antibodies proved that B. abortus and B. melitensis wbdR constructs respectively lacked the A or M epitopes, and the absence of the C epitope in both backgrounds. The wbdR constructs showed resistance to polycations similar to that of the wild-type strains but displayed increased sensitivity to normal serum similar to that of a per R mutant. In mice, the wbdR constructs produced chronic infections and triggered antibody responses that can be differentiated from those evoked by the wild-type strain in S-LPS ELISAs. These results open the possibilities of developing brucellosis vaccines that are both antigenically tagged and lack the diagnostic epitopes of virulent field strains, thereby solving the diagnostic interference created by current vaccines against Brucella.
  • Autores: Migisha, R. (Autor de correspondencia); Nyehangane, D.; Boum, Y.; et al.
    ISSN: 2045-2322 Vol.8 2018 págs. 15465
    Human brucellosis, a chronic disease contracted through contact with animals and consuption of unpasteurized dairy products is underreported in limited-resource countries. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of brucellosis among febrile patients attending a community hospital in South western Uganda. A questionnaire that captured socio-demographic, occupational and clinical data was administered. Blood samples were tested for Brucella antibodies using Rose Bengal Plate Test (RBPT) and blood culture with standard aerobic BACTEC bottle was done. Of 235 patients enrolled, prevalence of brucellosis (RBPT or culture confirmed) was 14.9% (95%CI 10.6-20.1) with a culture confrmation in 4.3% of the participants. The factors independently associated with brucellosis were consumption of raw milk (aOR 406.15, 95% CI 47.67-3461.69); history of brucellosis in the family (aOR 9.19, 95% CI 1.98-42.54); and selling hides and skins (aOR 162.56, 95% CI 2.86-9256.31). Hepatomegaly (p < 0.001), splenomegaly (p = 0.018) and low body mass index (p = 0.032) were more common in patients with brucellosis compared to others. Our findings reveal a high prevalence of brucellosis among febrile patients and highlight a need for implementing appropiate tests, public awareness activities and vaccination of animals to control and eliminate the disease.

Proyectos desde 2018

  • Título: Probióticos como agentes inmunomoduladores de vacunas
    Código de expediente: GN2022/04
    Investigador principal: CARLOS MANUEL GAMAZO DE LA RASILLA.
    Convocatoria: 2022 GN Proyectos de Investigación en salud
    Fecha de inicio: 22-12-2022
    Fecha fin: 21-12-2025
    Importe concedido: 79.119,13€
    Otros fondos: -
  • Título: Brucellosis ovina: vacunas seguras y estrategias DIVA frente a B. melitensis y B. ovis
    Código de expediente: PID2019-107601RA-C32
    Convocatoria: 2019 AEI PROYECTOS I+D+i (incluye Generación del conocimiento y Retos investigación)
    Fecha de inicio: 01-06-2020
    Fecha fin: 31-05-2024
    Importe concedido: 106.843,00€
    Otros fondos: Fondos FEDER
  • Título: Vacuna no-parental frente a infecciones por Escherichia coli enteroxigénicas
    Código de expediente: PI19/00416
    Convocatoria: 2019 AES Proyectos de investigación
    Fecha de inicio: 01-01-2020
    Fecha fin: 31-12-2022
    Importe concedido: 147.620,00€
    Otros fondos: Fondos FEDER
  • Título: Mejora de dos herramientas de identificación y tipificación molecular de bacterias del género Brucella (Bruladder v.3 y "Brusuis_Hbv2"): Aplicación sobre un medio de enriquecimiento.
    Código de expediente: 011-1383-2019-000005 PT010
    Investigador principal: RAQUEL CONDE ALVAREZ.
    Financiador: GOBIERNO DE NAVARRA
    Convocatoria: 2019 GN Centros
    Fecha de inicio: 01-12-2018
    Fecha fin: 30-11-2019
    Importe concedido: 44.199,25€
    Otros fondos: -
  • Título: Estrategia multisectorial para el control de la brucelosis en África Oriental
    Código de expediente: PCI2018-093119
    Investigador principal: IGNACIO MORIYON URIA, AMAIA ZUÑIGA RIPA.
    Convocatoria: 2018 MINECO APCIN
    Fecha de inicio: 01-09-2018
    Fecha fin: 31-08-2022
    Importe concedido: 43.335,00€
    Otros fondos: -
  • Título: Brucelosis:Tests diagnósticos y vacunas DIVA frente a Brucella ovis y Brucella suis
    Código de expediente: AGL2014-58795-C4-1-R
    Convocatoria: 2014-MINECO Retos Investigación
    Fecha de inicio: 01-01-2015
    Fecha fin: 31-12-2018
    Importe concedido: 121.000,00€
    Otros fondos: Fondos FEDER
  • Título: Next-generation vaccines and diagnostics to prevent livestock reproductive diseases of worldwide impact
    Código de expediente:
    Investigador principal: RAQUEL CONDE ALVAREZ
    Financiador: COMISIÓN EUROPEA
    Convocatoria: HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-06
    Fecha de inicio: 01-09-2022
    Fecha fin: 31-08-2027
    Importe concedido: 106.452,50€
    Otros fondos: -