Nuestros investigadores

Amaia Zúñiga Ripa

Líneas de investigación
Bacterias gram-negativas, patogenicidad, Brucella, Lipopolisacárido. Vacunas. Péptidos antimicrobianos.

Publicaciones científicas más recientes (desde 2010)

Autores: De Miguel, M.J.; et al.
Revista: VETERINARY RESEARCH
ISSN 1297-9716  Vol. 50  Nº 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: Barbier, T.; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Moussa, S.; et al.
Revista: CRITICAL REVIEWS IN MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 1040-841X  Vol. 44  Nº 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: Conde, Raquel; Palacios, Leyre; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
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: Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Barbier, T.; Lázaro, Leticia; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
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: Azami, H. Y.; Ducrotoy, M. J.; Bouslikhane, M.; et al.
Revista: PLOS ONE
ISSN 1932-6203  Vol. 13  Nº 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: Migisha, R., (Autor de correspondencia); Nyehangane, D.; Boum, Y.; et al.
Revista: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS
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.
Autores: de Miguel, M. J.; Conde, Raquel; et al.
Revista: VETERINARY RESEARCH
ISSN 1297-9716  Vol. 49  Nº 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: Salvador, Miriam; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 1664-302X  Vol. 9  Nº 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: Stahle, J.; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
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: Camacho, Ana Isabel; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
Revista: VACCINE
ISSN 0264-410X  Vol. 36  Nº 49  2018  págs. 7509 - 7519
Disruption of one or more components of the Tol-Pal system, involved in maintaining the integrity of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, has been proposed as a method to increase the yield obtained from natural production of outer membrane vesicles (OMV). We present a new OMV-based product, obtained from genetically modified Shigella flexneri 2a with a non-polar deletion in tolR and heat-inactivated (HT-Delta tolR). The S. flexneri Delta tolR strain lead to a higher release of vesicles, more than 8-times when compared to the yield obtained from chemically inactivated wild type strain. S. flexneri mutant strain appeared to be more sensitive to different chemical compounds, including antibiotics, bile salts or human complement and it was also less virulent in both in vitro and in vivo assays. The mutation produced some changes in the LPS O-chain and protein expression. S. flexneri Delta tolR was enriched in long and very long LPS O-chain and expressed a different pattern of surface proteins or lipoproteins. In vitro toxicity and activation properties were determined in Raw 267.4 macrophage cell line. HT-Delta tolR antigenic complex was non-cytotoxic and activation markers, such as MHC-II or CD40, were highly expressed during incubation with this product. Finally, preliminary studies on the antibody response elicited by HT-Delta tolR demonstrated a robust and diverse response in mice. Considering these promising results, HT-Delta toIR antigenic extract appears as a new potential vaccine candidate to face shigellosis.
Autores: Letesson, J. J.; Barbier, T.; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 1664-302X  Vol. 8  2017  págs. 506
Autores: Khames, M.; Mick, V.; de Miguel, M. J.; et al.
Revista: VETERINARY MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 0378-1135  Vol. 211  2017  págs. 124 - 128
Brucellosis is a zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella that causes important economic losses and human suffering worldwide. Brucellosis control requires an understanding of the Brucella species circulating in livestock and humans and, although prevalent in African countries of the Mediterranean basin, data for this area are mostly restricted to isolates obtained from humans and small ruminants. Here, we report the characterization of twenty-four Brucella strains isolated from Algerian cattle. Bruce-ladder multiplex PCR and conventional biotyping showed that Algerian cattle are infected mostly by B. abortus biovar 3, and to less extent by B. abortus biovar 1 and B. melitensis biovar 3. Extended AMOS-ERY PCR showed that all Algerian B. abortus biovar 3 strains were of the subgroup 3b. Although by multi locus variable number of tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) most isolates were closer to the European counterparts, five strains displayed characteristics distinct from the European isolates and those of countries across the Sahara, including three repetitions of marker Bruce55. These five strains, plus an earlier isolate from an Algerian human patient, may represent a lineage close to clades previously described in Africa. These data provide the basis for additional molecular epidemiology studies in northern Africa and indicate that further bacteriological and molecular investigations are necessary for a complete understanding of the epidemiology of cattle brucellosis in countries north and south of the Sahara.
Autores: Barbier, T.; Machelart, A.; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 1664-302X  Vol. 8  2017  págs. 1088
Erythritol is the preferential carbon source for most brucellae, a group of facultative intracellular bacteria that cause a worldwide zoonosis. Since this polyol is abundant in genital organs of ruminants and swine, it is widely accepted that erythritol accounts at least in part for the characteristic genital tropism of brucellae. Nevertheless, proof of erythritol availability and essentiality during Brucella intracellular multiplication has remained elusive. To investigate this relationship, we compared ¿eryH (erythritol-sensitive and thus predicted to be attenuated if erythritol is present), ¿eryA (erythritol-tolerant but showing reduced growth if erythritol is a crucial nutrient) and wild type B. abortus in various infection models. This reporting system indicated that erythritol was available but not required for B. abortus multiplication in bovine trophoblasts. However, mice and humans have been considered to lack erythritol, and we found that it was available but not required for B. abortus multiplication in human and murine trophoblastic and macrophage-like cells, and in mouse spleen and conceptus (fetus, placenta and envelopes). Using this animal model, we found that B. abortus infected cells and tissues contained aldose reductase, an enzyme that can account for the production of erythritol from pentose cycle precursors.
Autores: Ronneau, S.; Moussa, S.; Barbier, T.; et al.
Revista: CRITICAL REVIEWS IN MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 1040-841X  Vol. 42  Nº 4  2016  págs. 507 - 525
Abstract The brucellae are ¿-Proteobacteria causing brucellosis, an important zoonosis. Although multiplying in endoplasmic reticulum-derived vacuoles, they cause no cell death, suggesting subtle but efficient use of host resources. Brucellae are amino-acid prototrophs able to grow with ammonium or use glutamate as the sole carbon-nitrogen source in vitro. They contain more than twice amino acid/peptide/polyamine uptake genes than the amino-acid auxotroph Legionella pneumophila, which multiplies in a similar vacuole, suggesting a different nutritional strategy. During these two last decades, many mutants of key actors in nitrogen metabolism (transporters, enzymes, regulators, etc.) have been described to be essential for full virulence of brucellae. Here, we review the genomic and experimental data on Brucella nitrogen metabolism and its connection with virulence. An analysis of various aspects of this metabolism (transport, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, respiration and regulation) has highlighted differences and similarities in nitrogen metabolism with other ¿-Proteobacteria. Together, these data suggest that, during their intracellular life cycle, the brucellae use various nitrogen sources for biosynthesis, catabolism and respiration following a strategy that requires prototrophy and a tight regulation of nitrogen use.
Autores: Bertu, W.J.; Ducrotoy, M.J.; Muñoz, P.M.; et al.
Revista: VETERINARY MICROBIOLOGY
ISSN 0378-1135  Vol. 180  Nº 1 - 2  2015  págs. 103 - 108
Brucellosis is a worldwide widespread zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. Control of this disease in a given area requires an understanding of the Brucella species circulating in livestock and humans. However, because of the difficulties intrinsic to Brucella isolation and typing, such data are scarce for resource-poor areas. The paucity of bacteriological data and the consequent imperfect epidemiological picture are particularly critical for Sahelian and Sub-Sahara African countries. Here, we report on the characterization of 34 isolates collected between 1976 and 2012 from cattle, sheep and horses in Nigeria. All isolates were identified as Brucella abortus by Bruce-ladder PCR and assigned to biovar 3 by conventional typing. Further analysis by enhanced AMOS-ERY PCR showed that all of them belonged to the 3a sub-biovar, and MLVA analysis grouped them in a cluster clearly distinct from that formed by European B. abortus biovar 3b strains. Nevertheless, MLVA detected heterogeneity within the Nigerian biovar 3a strains. The close genetic profiles of the isolates from cattle, sheep and horses, suggest that, at least in some parts of Nigeria, biovar 3a circulates among animal species that are not the preferential hosts of B. abortus. Consistent with previous genetic analyses of 7 strains from Ivory Cost, Gambia and Togo, the analysis of these 34 Nigerian strains supports the hypothesis that the B. abortus biovar 3a lineage is dominant in West African countries.
Autores: Barbier, T.; Collard, F.; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
Revista: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ISSN 0027-8424  Vol. 111  Nº 50  2014  págs. 17815 - 17820
Erythritol is an important nutrient for several ¿-2 Proteobacteria, including N2-fixing plant endosymbionts and Brucella, a worldwide pathogen that finds this four-carbon polyol in genital tissues. Erythritol metabolism involves phosphorylation to l-erythritol-4-phosphate by the kinase EryA and oxidation of the latter to l-3-tetrulose 4-phosphate by the dehydrogenase EryB. It is accepted that further steps involve oxidation by the putative dehydrogenase EryC and subsequent decarboxylation to yield triose-phosphates. Accordingly, growth on erythritol as the sole C source should require aldolase and fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase to produce essential hexose-6-monophosphate. However, we observed that a mutant devoid of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatases grew normally on erythritol and that EryC, which was assumed to be a dehydrogenase, actually belongs to the xylose isomerase superfamily. Moreover, we found that TpiA2 and RpiB, distant homologs of triose phosphate isomerase and ribose 5-phosphate isomerase B, were necessary, as previously shown for Rhizobium. By using purified recombinant enzymes, we demonstrated that l-3-tetrulose-4-phosphate was converted to d-erythrose 4-phosphate through three previously unknown isomerization reactions catalyzed by EryC (tetrulose-4-phosphate racemase), TpiA2 (d-3-tetrulose-4-phosphate isomerase; renamed EryH), and RpiB (d-erythrose-4-phosphate isomerase; renamed EryI), a pathway fully consistent with the isotopomer distribution of the erythrose-4-phosphate-derived amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine obtained from bacteria grown on (13)C-labeled erythritol. d-Erythrose-4-phosphate is then converted by enzymes of the pentose phosphate pathway to glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and fructose 6-phosphate, thus bypassing fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. This is the first description to our knowledge of a route feeding carbohydrate metabolism exclusively via d-erythrose 4-phosphate, a pathway that may provide clues to the preferential metabolism of erythritol by Brucella and its role in pathogenicity.
Autores: Soler, Pedro Francisco; A. Zabalza-Baranguá; et al.
Revista: VETERINARY RESEARCH
ISSN 0928-4249  Vol. 45  Nº 72  2014 
Brucella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria that behave as facultative intracellular parasites of a variety of mammals. This genus includes smooth (S) and rough (R) species that carry S and R lipopolysaccharides (LPS), respectively. S-LPS is a virulence factor, and mutants affected in the S-LPS O-polysaccharide (R mutants), core oligosaccharide or both show attenuation. However, B. ovis is naturally R and is virulent in sheep. We studied the role of B. ovis LPS in virulence by mutating the orthologues of wadA, wadB and wadC, three genes known to encode LPS core glycosyltransferases in S brucellae. When mapped with antibodies to outer membrane proteins (Omps) and R-LPS, wadB and wadC mutants displayed defects in LPS structure and outer membrane topology but inactivation of wadA had little or no effect. Consistent with these observations, the wadB and wadC but not the wadA mutants were attenuated in mice. When tested as vaccines, the wadB and wadC mutants protected mice against B. ovis challenge. The results demonstrate that the LPS core is a structure essential for survival in vivo not only of S brucellae but also of a naturally R Brucella pathogenic species, and they confirm our previous hypothesis that the Brucella LPS core is a target for vaccine development. Since vaccine B. melitensis Rev 1 is S and thus interferes in serological testing for S brucellae, wadB mutant represents a candidate vaccine to be evaluated against B. ovis infection of sheep suitable for areas free of B. melitensis.
Autores: Conde, Raquel; Palacios, Leyre; et al.
Revista: MICROBIAL PATHOGENESIS
ISSN 0882-4010  Vol. 73  2014  págs. 53 - 59
Brucellosis is a worldwide extended zoonosis caused by Brucella spp. These gram-negative bacteria are not readily detected by innate immunity, a virulence-related property largely linked to their surface lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The role of the LPS lipid A and O-polysaccharide in virulence is well known. Moreover, mutation of the glycosyltransferase gene wadC of Brucella abortus, although not affecting O-polysaccharide assembly onto the lipid-A core section causes a core oligosaccharide defect that increases recognition by innate immunity. Here, we report on a second gene (wadB) encoding a LPS core glycosyltransferase not involved in the assembly of the O-polysaccharide-linked core section. As compared to wild-type B. abortus, a wadB mutant was sensitive to bactericidal peptides and non-immune serum, and was attenuated in mice and dendritic cells. These observations show that as WadC, WadB is also involved in the assembly of a branch of Brucella LPS core and support the concept that this LPS section is a virulence-related structure.
Autores: Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Thilbault Barbier; Conde, Raquel; et al.
Revista: JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY
ISSN 0021-9193  Vol. 196  Nº 16  2014  págs. 3045 - 3057
The brucellae are the etiological agents of brucellosis, a worldwide-distributed zoonosis. These bacteria are facultative intracellular parasites and thus are able to adjust their metabolism to the extra- and intracellular environments encountered during an infectious cycle. However, this aspect of Brucella biology is imperfectly understood, and the nutrients available in the intracellular niche are unknown. Here, we investigated the central pathways of C metabolism used by Brucella abortus by deleting the putative fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (fbp and glpX), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (pckA), pyruvate phosphate dikinase (ppdK), and malic enzyme (mae) genes. In gluconeogenic but not in rich media, growth of ¿ppdK and ¿mae mutants was severely impaired and growth of the double ¿fbp-¿glpX mutant was reduced. In macrophages, only the ¿ppdK and ¿mae mutants showed reduced multiplication, and studies with the ¿ppdK mutant confirmed that it reached the replicative niche. Similarly, only the ¿ppdK and ¿mae mutants were attenuated in mice, the former being cleared by week 10 and the latter persisting longer than 12 weeks. We also investigated the glyoxylate cycle. Although aceA (isocitrate lyase) promoter activity was enhanced in rich medium, aceA disruption had no effect in vitro or on multiplication in macrophages or mouse spleens. The results suggest that B. abortus grows intracellularly using a limited supply of 6-C (and 5-C) sugars that is compensated by glutamate and possibly other amino acids entering the Krebs cycle without a critical role of the glyoxylate shunt.
Autores: Palacios, Leyre; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Gutiérrez, A.; et al.
Revista: MICROBIOLOGY-SGM
ISSN 1350-0872  Vol. 158  Nº 4  2012  págs. 1037 - 1044
The brucellae are facultative intracellular pathogens of mammals that are transmitted by contact with infected animals or contaminated materials. Several major lipidic components of the brucella cell envelope are imperfectly recognized by innate immunity, thus contributing to virulence. These components carry large proportions of acyl chains of lactobacillic acid, a long chain cyclopropane fatty acid (CFA). CFAs result from addition of a methylene group to unsaturated acyl chains and contribute to resistance to acidity, dryness and high osmolarity in many bacteria and to virulence in mycobacteria. We examined the role of lactobacillic acid in Brucella abortus virulence by creating a mutant in ORF BAB1_0476, the putative CFA synthase gene. The mutant did not incorporate [(14)C]methyl groups into lipids, lacked CFAs and synthesized the unsaturated precursors, proving that BAB1_0476 actually encodes a CFA synthase. BAB1_0476 promoter-luxAB fusion studies showed that CFA synthase expression was promoted by acid pH and high osmolarity. The mutant was not attenuated in macrophages or mice, strongly suggesting that CFAs are not essential for B. abortus intracellular life. However, when the mutant was tested under high osmolarity on agar and acid pH, two conditions likely to occur on contaminated materials and fomites, they showed reduced ability to grow or survive. Since CFA synthesis entails high ATP expenses and brucellae produce large proportions of lactobacillic acyl chains, we speculate that the CFA synthase has been conserved because it is useful for survival extracellularly, thus facilitating persistence in contaminated materials and transmission to new hosts.
Autores: Palacios, Leyre; Conde, Raquel; et al.
Revista: PLoS One
ISSN 1932-6203  Vol. 6  Nº 1  2011  págs. e16030
The brucellae are ¿-Proteobacteria facultative intracellular parasites that cause an important zoonosis. These bacteria escape early detection by innate immunity, an ability associated to the absence of marked pathogen-associated molecular patterns in the cell envelope lipopolysaccharide, lipoproteins and flagellin. We show here that, in contrast to the outer membrane ornithine lipids (OL) of other Gram negative bacteria, Brucella abortus OL lack a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern activity. We identified two OL genes (olsB and olsA) and by generating the corresponding mutants found that olsB deficient B. abortus did not synthesize OL or their lyso-OL precursors. Liposomes constructed with B. abortus OL did not trigger IL-6 or TNF-¿ release by macrophages whereas those constructed with Bordetella pertussis OL and the olsB mutant lipids as carriers were highly active. The OL deficiency in the olsB mutant did not promote proinflammatory responses or generated attenuation in mice. In addition, OL deficiency did not increase sensitivity to polymyxins, normal serum or complement consumption, or alter the permeability to antibiotics and dyes. Taken together, these observations indicate that OL have become dispensable in the extant brucellae and are consistent within the trend observed in ¿-Proteobacteria animal pathogens to reduce and eventually eliminate the envelope components susceptible of recognition by innate immunity.

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