Nuestros investigadores

Raquel Conde Álvarez

Microbiología y Parasitología
Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Navarra
Líneas de investigación
Desarrollo de vacunas,, Brucellosis
Índice H
10, (WoS, 16/11/2017)
13, (Google Scholar, 16/11/2017)
9, (Scopus, 16/11/2017)

Publicaciones científicas más recientes (desde 2010)

Autores: Barbier, T.; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Moussa, S.; et al.
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.
ISSN 1664-302X  Vol. 8  2018  págs. 2657
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: Ducrotoy, M. J.; Muñoz, P. M.; Conde, Raquel; et al.
ISSN 0167-5877  Vol. 151  Nº 1  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: de Glanville, W. A. ; Conde, Raquel; Moriyón, Ignacio; et al.
ISSN 1935-2735  Vol. 11  Nº 4  2017  págs. e0005508
Human brucellosis is considered to be an important but typically under-diagnosed cause of febrile illness in many low and middle-income countries. In Kenya, and throughout East Africa, laboratory diagnosis for the disease is based primarily on the febrile antigen Brucella agglutination test (FBAT), yet few studies of the diagnostic accuracy of this test exist. Assessment of the performance of the FBAT is essential for its appropriate clinical use, as well as for evaluating surveillance data reported by public health systems. To assess FBAT performance, we collected sera from people with symptoms compatible with brucellosis attending two health facilities in Busia County, Kenya. Sera were tested using the FBAT and results compared with those from the Rose Bengal Test (RBT), an assay with well-known performance characteristics. Positives on either test were confirmed using the classical serum agglutination test (SAT)-Coombs test combination and a rapid IgM/IgG lateral flow immunochromatography assay (LFA). A questionnaire focussing on known risk factors for exposure to Brucella spp. was also conducted, and relationships with FBAT positivity examined using logistic regression. Out of 825 recruited individuals, 162 (19.6%) were classified as positive using the FBAT. In contrast, only eight (1.0%) were positive using the RBT. Of the 162 FBAT positives, one (0.62%) had an atypical agglutination in SAT and three (1.9%) showed low Coombs titres. Out of 148 FBAT positive individuals tested using the LFA, five (3.4%) were IgM positive and none were IgG positive. Poor or no correlation was observed between FBAT results and most established risk factors for Brucella infection. We observed substantial disagreement between the FBAT and a number of well-known serological tests, with the majority of reactive FBAT results appearing to be false positives. Poor FBAT specificity, combined with a lack of confirmatory testing, strongly suggests overdiagnosis of brucellosis is common in this low prevalence setting. This is expected to have important economic impacts on affected patients subjected to the long and likely unnecessary courses of multiple antibiotics required for treatment of the disease.
Autores: Ducrotoy, M.; Bertu, W. J.; Matope, G.; et al.
ISSN 0001-706X  Vol. 165  2017  págs. 179 - 193
Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella and affecting domestic and wild mammals. In this paper, the bacteriological and serological evidence of brucellosis in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and its epidemiological characteristics are discussed. The tools available for the diagnosis and treatment of human brucellosis and for the diagnosis and control of animal brucellosis and their applicability in the context of SSA are presented and gaps identified. These gaps concern mostly the need for simpler and more affordable antimicrobial treatments against human brucellosis, the development of a B. melitensis vaccine that could circumvent the drawbacks of the currently available Rev 1 vaccine, and the investigation of serological diagnostic tests for camel brucellosis and wildlife. Strategies for the implementation of animal vaccination are also discussed. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Autores: Khames, M.; Mick, V.; de Miguel, M. J.; et al.
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: Ducrotoy, M. J.; Conde, Raquel; Blasco, J. M.; et al.
ISSN 0165-2427  Vol. 171  2016  págs. 81 - 102
Bacteria of the genus Brucella cause brucellosis, the most common bacterial zoonosis worldwide. The diagnosis of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis ruminant brucellosis is based on bacteriological and immunological tests, the latter being routinely used in control and eradication and surveillance programs. Infections by smooth and rough Brucella spp., the use of smooth and rough vaccines, and the false-positive serological reactions caused by Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 and other cross-reacting bacteria represent the immunological contexts in which those tests are used. This complex context explains the large number of brucellosis tests that have been developed, and that vary in antigen type, antigen presentation, antibody and conditions for the reaction, the response detected and the sample required. This wealth of information and an imperfect understanding of Brucella antigens and of the peculiarities of the immunoresponse to Brucella has created confusion and led to several misconceptions on the usefulness and limitations of the brucellosis diagnostic tests. In this review, Brucella antigens are examined focusing on cellular topology, supramolecular properties, epitopic structure and lipopolysaccharide and protein cross-reactivity in the various contexts of the immune response in ruminants. Then, the significance of these features in diagnostic tests that use whole bacteria is discussed with respect to the activities of ruminant immunoglobulins, and the effect of pH on unspecific agglutinations, non-agglutinating and blocking antibodies, pseudo-prozones and complement activation. Similarly, the bacterial surface lipopolysaccharides and cognate polysaccharides are discussed with regards to topological effects, epitope exposure, ionic strength and antibody avidity in immunoprecipitation, immunosorbent and fluorescence polarization assays. Finally, the search for immunodominant protein antigens and their use in immunological tests is reviewed. Critical review of the existing information is necessary both to select optimal tests according to the logistical means available and the epidemiological context, and to focus the development of new tests.
Autores: Ronneau, S.; Moussa, S.; Barbier, T.; et al.
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: Fontana, C.; Conde, Raquel; Ståhle, J.; et al.
ISSN 0021-9258  Vol. 291  Nº 14  2016  págs. 7727 - 7741
The structures of the lipooligosaccharides from Brucella melitensis mutants affected in the WbkD and ManB(core) proteins have been fully characterized using NMR spectroscopy. The results revealed that disruption of wbkD gives rise to a rough lipopolysaccharide (R-LPS) with a complete core structure (beta-D-Glcp-(1 -> 4)-alpha-Kdop-(2 -> 4)[beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 6)-beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 4)[beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 6)]-beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 3)-alpha-D-Manp-(1 -> 5)]-alpha-Kdop-(2 -> 6)-beta-D-GlcpN3N4P-(1 -> 6)-alpha-D-GlcpN3N1P), in addition to components lacking one of the terminal beta-D-GlcpN and/or the beta-D-Glcp residues (48 and 17%, respectively). These structures were identical to those of the R-LPS from B. melitensis EP, a strain simultaneously expressing both smooth and R-LPS, also studied herein. In contrast, disruption of man-B-core gives rise to a deep-rough pentasaccharide core (beta-D-Glcp-(1 -> 4)-alpha-Kdop-(2 -> 4)-alpha-Kdop-(2 -> 6)-beta-D-GlcpN3N4P-(1 -> 6)-alpha-D-GlcpN3N1P) as the major component (63%), as well as a minor tetrasaccharide component lacking the terminal beta-D-Glcp residue (37%). These results are in agreement with the predicted functions of the WbkD (glycosyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of the O-antigen) and ManB(core) proteins (phosphomannomutase involved in the biosynthesis of a mannosyl precursor needed for the biosynthesis of the core and O-antigen). We also report that deletion of B. melitensis wadC removes the core oligosaccharide branch not linked to the O-antigen causing an increase in overall negative charge of the remaining LPS inner section. This is in agreement with the mannosyltransferase role predicted for WadC and the lack of GlcpN residues in the defective core oligosaccharide. Despite carrying the O-antigen essential in B. melitensis virulence, the core deficiency in the wadC mutant structure resulted in a more efficient detection by innate immunity and attenuation, proving the role of the beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 6)-beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 4)[beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 6)]-beta-D-GlcpN-(1 -> 3)-alpha-D-Manp-(1 -> 5) structure in virulence.
Autores: Casanova, A.; Low, S. H.; Emmenlauer, M.; et al.
ISSN 1940-087X  Nº 114  2016  págs. e54263
Brucella species are facultative intracellular pathogens that infect animals as their natural hosts. Transmission to humans is most commonly caused by direct contact with infected animals or by ingestion of contaminated food and can lead to severe chronic infections. Brucella can invade professional and non-professional phagocytic cells and replicates within endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived vacuoles. The host factors required for Brucella entry into host cells, avoidance of lysosomal degradation, and replication in the ER-like compartment remain largely unknown. Here we describe two assays to identify host factors involved in Brucella entry and replication in HeLa cells. The protocols describe the use of RNA interference, while alternative screening methods could be applied. The assays are based on the detection of fluorescently labeled bacteria in fluorescently labeled host cells using automated wide-field microscopy. The fluorescent images are analyzed using a standardized image analysis pipeline in CellProfiler which allows single cell-based infection scoring. In the endpoint assay, intracellular replication is measured two days after infection. This allows bacteria to traffic to their replicative niche where proliferation is initiated around 12 hr after bacterial entry. Brucella which have successfully established an intracellular niche will thus have strongly proliferated inside host cells. Since intracellular bacteria will greatly outnumber individual extracellular or intracellular non-replicative bacteria, a strain constitutively expressing GFP can be used. The strong GFP signal is then used to identify infected cells. In contrast, for the entry assay it is essential to differentiate between intracellular and extracellular bacteria. Here, a strain encoding for a tetracycline-inducible GFP is used. Induction of GFP with simultaneous inactivation of extracellular bacteria by gentamicin enables the differentiation between intracellular and extracellular bacteria based on the GFP signal, with only intracellular bacteria being able to express GFP. This allows the robust detection of single intracellular bacteria before intracellular proliferation is initiated.
Autores: Dufort, M. J.; Hanniffy, S.; Conde, Raquel; et al.
ISSN 0022-1767  Vol. 196  Nº Supl. 1  2016  págs. 66.21
Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease caused by Brucella bacteria, acquired by humans through contact with or consumption of products from infected animals. Treatment outcomes vary widely; some patients recover, others relapse, and others develop chronic symptoms despite therapy. We employed expression profiling using RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to better understand variation in outcomes and investigate disease mechanisms. We performed RNAseq analysis of whole blood samples from 125 Brucellosis patients and 51 healthy controls from Macedonia. Patients were subdivided based on disease history into primary, secondary, and chronic infection. Secondary and chronic cases did not show differences in gene expression from healthy controls or from each other. Primary cases displayed numerous transcriptional changes relative to healthy controls. Up-regulated genes were enriched for response to interferon-gamma, cytolysis, T cell proliferation, and cell cycle; down-regulated genes, for B cell proliferation. Primary cases were further subdivided based on outcome into those who resolved with treatment and those who developed disease relapse during treatment. In comparison to healthy controls, relapse cases showed larger magnitude differences in expression at diagnosis than resolution cases; this suggests that relapse could potentially be predicted based on transcription levels at time of diagnosis. Differences in gene expression observed at diagnosis were no longer present 6¿9 months after diagnosis. Our results indicate opportunities to prognostically identify patients that may require more intensive treatment and monitoring, and to better understand the symptomology of and immune response to Brucella infection.
Autores: Ducrotoy, M.; W. J. Bertu; G. Matope; et al.
ISSN 0001-706X  Vol. 165  2015  págs. 179 - 193
Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella and affecting domestic and wild mammals. In this paper, the bacteriological and serological evidence of brucellosis in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and its epidemiological characteristics are discussed. The tools available for the diagnosis and treatment of human brucellosis and for the diagnosis and control of animal brucellosis and their applicability in the context of SSA are presented and gaps identified. These gaps concern mostly the need for simpler and more affordable antimicrobial treatments against human brucellosis, the development of a B. melitensis vaccine that could circumvent the drawbacks of the currently available Rev 1 vaccine, and the investigation of serological diagnostic tests for camel brucellosis and wildlife. Strategies for the implementation of animal vaccination are also discussed.
Autores: Schmich, F.; Szczurek, E.; Kreibich, S.; et al.
ISSN 1474-7596  Vol. 16  2015  págs. 220
Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) exhibit strong off-target effects, which confound the gene-level interpretation of RNA interference screens and thus limit their utility for functional genomics studies. Here, we present gespeR, a statistical model for reconstructing individual, gene-specific phenotypes. Using 115,878 siRNAs, single and pooled, from three companies in three pathogen infection screens, we demonstrate that deconvolution of image-based phenotypes substantially improves the reproducibility between independent siRNA sets targeting the same genes. Genes selected and prioritized by gespeR are validated and shown to constitute biologically relevant components of pathogen entry mechanisms and TGF-beta signaling. gespeR is available as a Bioconductor R-package.
Autores: Conde, Raquel; Palacios, Leyre; et al.
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: Dieste Pérez, L.; Blasco, J. M.; De Miguel, M. J.; et al.
ISSN 0378-1135  Vol. 168  Nº 1  2014  págs. 161 - 168
Swine brucellosis by Brucella suis biovar 2 is an emerging disease whose control is based on serological testing and culling. However, current serological tests detect antibodies to the O-polysaccharide (O/PS) moiety of Brucella smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), and thus lack specificity when infections by Yersinia enterocolitica 0:9 and other gram-negative bacteria carrying cross-reacting O/PS occur. The skin test with the protein-rich brucellin extract obtained from rough B. melitensis B115 is assumed to be specific for discriminating these false positive serological reactions (FPSR). However, B115 strain, although unable to synthesize S-LPS, accumulates O/PS internally, which could cause diagnostic problems. Since the brucellin skin test has been seldom used in pigs and FPSR are common in these animals, we assessed its performance using cytosoluble protein extracts obtained from B. abortus rough mutants in manBcore or per genes (critical for O/PS biosynthesis) and B. melitensis B115. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were determined in B. suis biovar 2 culture positive and brucellosis free sows, and apparent prevalence in sows of unknown individual bacteriological and serological status belonging to B. suis biovar 2 naturally infected herds. Moreover, the specificity in discriminating brucellosis from FPSR was assessed in brucellosis free boars showing FPSR. The skin test with B. abortus Delta manBcore and B. melitensis B115 allergens performed similarly, and the former one resulted in 100% specificity when testing animals showing FPSR in indirect ELISA, Rose Bengal and complement fixation serological tests. We conclude that O/PS-free genetically defined mutants represent an appropriate alternative to obtain Brucella protein extracts for diagnosing swine brucellosis.
Autores: Franceschini, A.; Meier, R.; Casanova, A.; et al.
ISSN 0027-8424  Vol. 111  Nº 12  2014  págs. 4548 - 4553
Systematic genetic perturbation screening in human cells remains technically challenging. Typically, large libraries of chemically synthesized siRNA oligonucleotides are used, each designed to degrade a specific cellular mRNA via the RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism. Here, we report on data from three genome-wide siRNA screens, conducted to uncover host factors required for infection of human cells by two bacterial and one viral pathogen. We find that the majority of phenotypic effects of siRNAs are unrelated to the intended "on-target" mechanism, defined by full complementarity of the 21-nt siRNA sequence to a target mRNA. Instead, phenotypes are largely dictated by "off-target" effects resulting from partial complementarity of siRNAs to multiple mRNAs via the "seed" region (i.e., nucleotides 2-8), reminiscent of the way specificity is determined for endogenous microRNAs. Quantitative analysis enabled the prediction of seeds that strongly and specifically block infection, independent of the intended on-target effect. This prediction was confirmed experimentally by designing oligos that do not have any on-target sequence match at all, yet can strongly reproduce the predicted phenotypes. Our results suggest that published RNAi screens have primarily, and unintentionally, screened the sequence space of microRNA seeds instead of the intended on-target space of protein-coding genes. This helps to explain why previously published RNAi screens have exhibited relatively little overlap. Our analysis suggests a possible way of identifying "seed reagents" for controlling phenotypes of interest and establishes a general strategy for extracting valuable untapped information from past and future RNAi screens.
Autores: Soler, Pedro Francisco; A. Zabalza-Baranguá; et al.
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: Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Thilbault Barbier; Conde, Raquel; et al.
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: Rämö, P; Drewek, A.; Arrieumerlou, C.; et al.
ISSN 1471-2164  Vol. 15  Nº 1  2014  págs. 1162
BACKGROUND: Large-scale RNAi screening has become an important technology for identifying genes involved in biological processes of interest. However, the quality of large-scale RNAi screening is often deteriorated by off-targets effects. In order to find statistically significant effector genes for pathogen entry, we systematically analyzed entry pathways in human host cells for eight pathogens using image-based kinome-wide siRNA screens with siRNAs from three vendors. We propose a Parallel Mixed Model (PMM) approach that simultaneously analyzes several non-identical screens performed with the same RNAi libraries. RESULTS: We show that PMM gains statistical power for hit detection due to parallel screening. PMM allows incorporating siRNA weights that can be assigned according to available information on RNAi quality. Moreover, PMM is able to estimate a sharedness score that can be used to focus follow-up efforts on generic or specific gene regulators. By fitting a PMM model to our data, we found several novel hit genes for most of the pathogens studied. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show parallel RNAi screening can improve the results of individual screens. This is currently particularly interesting when large-scale parallel datasets are becoming more and more publicly available. Our comprehensive siRNA dataset provides a public, freely available resource for further statistical and biological analyses in the high-content, high-throughput siRNA screening field.
Autores: Conde, Raquel; Arce-Gorvel; Gil-Ramírez; et al.
ISSN 0882-4010  Vol. 58  2013  págs. 29-34
The gram-negative bacteria of the genus Brucella are facultative intracellular parasites that cause brucellosis, a world wide-distributed zoonotic disease that represents a serious problem for animal and human health. There is no human-to-human contagion and, since there is no human vaccine, animal vaccination is essential to control brucellosis. However, current vaccines (all developed empirically) do not provide 100% protection and are infectious in humans. Attempts to generate new vaccines by obtaining mutants lacking the lipopolysaccharide O-polysaccharide, in purine metabolism or in Brucella type IV secretion system have not been successful. Here we propose a new approach to develop brucellosis vaccines based on the concept that Brucella surface molecules evade efficient detection by innate immunity, thus delaying protective Th1 responses and opening a time window to reach sheltered intracellular compartments. We showed recently that a branch of the core oligosaccharide section of Brucella lipopolysaccharide hampers recognition by TLR4-MD2. Mutation of glycosyltransferase WadC, involved in the synthesis of this branch, results in a lipopolysaccharide that, while keeping the O-polysaccharide essential for optimal protection, shows a truncated core, is more efficiently recognized by MD2 and triggers an increased cytokine response. In keeping with this, the wadC mutant is attenuated in dendritic cells and mice. In the mouse model of brucellosis vaccines, the Brucella abortus wadC mutant conferred protection similar to that provided by S19, the best cattle vaccine available. The properties of the wadC mutant provide the proof of concept for this new approach and open the way for more effective brucellosis vaccines.
Autores: Palacios, Leyre; Conde, Raquel; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; et al.
ISSN 0175-7571  Vol. 42  Nº Supl. 1  2013  págs. S154
Autores: Palacios, Leyre; Zúñiga-Ripa, Amaia; Gutiérrez, A.; et al.
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: Conde, Raquel; Arce ; Iriarte, Maite; et al.
ISSN 1553-7374  Vol. 8  Nº 5  2012  págs. e1002675
Innate immunity recognizes bacterial molecules bearing pathogen-associated molecular patterns to launch inflammatory responses leading to the activation of adaptive immunity. However, the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the gram-negative bacterium Brucella lacks a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern, and it has been postulated that this delays the development of immunity, creating a gap that is critical for the bacterium to reach the intracellular replicative niche. We found that a B. abortus mutant in the wadC gene displayed a disrupted LPS core while keeping both the LPS O-polysaccharide and lipid A. In mice, the wadC mutant induced proinflammatory responses and was attenuated. In addition, it was sensitive to killing by non-immune serum and bactericidal peptides and did not multiply in dendritic cells being targeted to lysosomal compartments. In contrast to wild type B. abortus, the wadC mutant induced dendritic cell maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. All these properties were reproduced by the wadC mutant purified LPS in a TLR4-dependent manner. Moreover, the core-mutated LPS displayed an increased binding to MD-2, the TLR4 co-receptor leading to subsequent increase in intracellular signaling. Here we show that Brucella escapes recognition in early stages of infection by expressing a shield against recognition by innate immunity in its LPS core and identify a novel virulence mechanism in intracellular pathogenic gram-negative bacteria. These results also encourage for an improvement in the generation of novel bacterial vaccines.
Autores: Palacios, Leyre; Conde, Raquel; et al.
ISSN 1438-4221  Vol. 302  Nº Supl. 1  2012  págs. 79
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
Autores: Conde, Raquel; Bengoechea, J. A.; et al.
Libro:  Antimicrobial peptides: properties, functions and role in immune response
2012  págs. 1 - 30
In Gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS or endotoxin) is the major component of the outer leaflet of the bacterial cell wall and one of the most potent immunostimulary molecules known. The basic structure of LPS is highly conserved among Gram-negative organisms and consists of a polysaccharide (O-chain) covalently linked to a membrane-bound glycolipid (lipid A) through a core oligosaccharide. The inner sections of LPS are highly anionic due to numerous phosphoryl and carboxyl groups present in its core and lipid A sections. Even at exceedingly low concentrations, LPS is detected by innate immune system cells bearing the TLR-4/MD-2 receptor-coreceptor, and this recognition induces beneficial responses including moderate fever and local inflammation. However, release of high concentrations of endotoxin by pathogens into the bloodstream triggers acute systemic reactions that may lead to septic shock and eventually to multiorganic failure and death. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are produced by virtually all types of organisms, and often constitute the first line of defense against microbial pathogens. The highly positive charge of AMPs and their amphiphilic character allow them to bind to anionic residues of the bacterial surface (mainly LPS in Gram-negative bacteria) and to rapidly kill their targets. In addition, AMPs can bind and sequester LPS in vivo, thus hampering recognition of this molecule by the immune system. In fact, treatment with AMPs has been shown to prevent sepsis and septic shock in animal models of endotoxemia. The most important mechanism of resistance to AMPs in Gram-negative bacteria involves the expression of LPS variants with the ability to reduce interaction with AMPs. The LPS modifications include changes in electronegativity and/or hydrohobicity and can affect all the sections of the molecule. Whereas some bacteria are intrinsically resistant to AMPs, others have sophisticated systems of AMP detection coupled to their LPS modification machinery. In this chapter, we will review examples of both types of strategies and will describe how some prominent human pathogens (Proteus spp, Yersinia spp. Brucella spp., Salmonella spp., Bordetella spp. and Escherichia coli) modify their LPS and how these alterations affect the bacterial resistance to AMPs. Interestingly, reduced ability to interact with AMPs correlate in some cases with changes in LPS recognition by cell receptors of the immune system. In addition, bacterial cells expressing these altered LPS display profound changes in virulence and endotoxicity. Examples of these correlations will be discussed in detail throughout the chapter.



Seguridad en el laboratorio (MÁSTER). 
Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Medicina.

Trabajo Fin de Grado (Gr.Bioquímica). 
Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Ciencias.

Diversidad de los procariotas (F.Ciencias). 
Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Medicina.

Microbiología de Alimentos (Nutrición). 
Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Medicina.