Detalle Profesor

Nuestros investigadores
Imagen Profesor
Raquel Conde Álvarez
Microbiología y Parasitología
Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Navarra
Líneas de investigación
Desarrollo de vacunas,, Brucellosis
Índice H
18, (WoS, 15/01/2021)
13, (Google Scholar, 16/11/2017)
17, (Scopus, 15/01/2021)
Publicaciones científicas más recientes (desde 2010)
Autores: Muñoz, P. M., (Autor de correspondencia); Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Andrés-Barranco, S.; et al.
ISSN   1297-9716  Vol.   53    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: Loperena Barber, Maite; Khames, M.; Leclercq, S. O.; et al.
ISSN   1466-5026  Vol.   72    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: 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: 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: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; de Miguel, M. J.; Martínez Gómez, Estrella de Fátima; et al.
ISSN   0928-4249  Vol.   51    1  2020  págs.   13
Autores: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; de Miguel, M. J.; Lázaro Antón, Leticia; et al.
ISSN   1297-9716  Vol.   51    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    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: Bartholomew, T. L.; Kidd, T. J. ; Pessoa, J. S. ; et al.
ISSN   0019-9567  Vol.   87    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: Guzman-Verri, C.; Suarez-Esquivel, M.; Ruiz-Villalobos, N.; et al.
ISSN   2297-1769  Vol.   6  2019  págs.   253
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: Lanne, A. B. M. ; Goode, A. ; Prattley, C.; et al.
ISSN   0005-2736  Vol.   1861    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: Aragón Aranda, Beatriz; De Miguel, M.J.; Martínez Gómez, Estrella de Fátima; et al.
ISSN   1297-9716  Vol.   50    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: 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    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: 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: 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: Zhao, Y.; Hanniffy, S.; Arce-Gorvel, V.; et al.
ISSN   2150-5594  Vol.   9    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: Fernández-Calvet, A.; Rodríguez-Arce, I.; Almagro, G.; et al.
ISSN   2045-2322  Vol.   8    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: 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.
Autores: Pérez Etayo, Lara; de Miguel, M. J.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
ISSN   1297-9716  Vol.   49    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: Azami, H. Y.; Ducrotoy, M. J.; Bouslikhane, M.; et al.
Revista: PLOS ONE
ISSN   1932-6203  Vol.   13    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: Zhao, Y.; Arce-Gorvel, V.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
ISSN   1286-4579  Vol.   20    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: Salvador Bescós, Miriam; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; et al.
ISSN   1664-302X  Vol.   9    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: 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: de Glanville, W. A. ; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Moriyón Uría, Ignacio; et al.
ISSN   1935-2735  Vol.   11    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: 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 Álvarez, 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    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: Dufort, M. J.; Hanniffy, S.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
ISSN   0022-1767  Vol.   196    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: Casanova, A.; Low, S. H.; Emmenlauer, M.; et al.
ISSN   1940-087X    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: Fontana, C.; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Ståhle, J.; et al.
ISSN   0021-9258  Vol.   291    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: 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: Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; Barbier, Thilbault ; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; et al.
ISSN   0021-9193  Vol.   196    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: Soler Llorens, Pedro Francisco; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; Zabalza Baranguá, Ana; et al.
ISSN   0928-4249  Vol.   45    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: Dieste Pérez, L.; Blasco, J. M.; De Miguel, M. J.; et al.
ISSN   0378-1135  Vol.   168    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: Rämö, P; Drewek, A.; Arrieumerlou, C.; et al.
ISSN   1471-2164  Vol.   15    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: Franceschini, A.; Meier, R.; Casanova, A.; et al.
ISSN   0027-8424  Vol.   111    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: Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Palacios Chaves, 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: Palacios Chaves, Leyre; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; et al.
ISSN   0175-7571  Vol.   42    Supl. 1  2013  págs.   S154
Autores: Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Arce-Gorvel, Vilma; Gil-Ramírez, Yolanda; 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 Chaves, Leyre; Zúñiga Ripa, Amaia; Gutiérrez, A.; et al.
ISSN   1350-0872  Vol.   158    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 Chaves, Leyre; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; et al.
ISSN   1438-4221  Vol.   302    Supl. 1  2012  págs.   79
Autores: Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Arce - Gorvel, V.; Iriarte Cilveti, Maite; et al.
ISSN   1553-7374  Vol.   8    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 Chaves, Leyre; Conde Álvarez, Raquel; Gil Ramírez, Yolanda Teresa; et al.
Revista: PLoS One
ISSN   1932-6203  Vol.   6    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.
Autores: Sánchez Gómez, Susana; Conde Álvarez, 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.
Actividad docente

Curso 2019 - 2020

- Brucellosis: basic and practical aspects of the disease in animals and humans. Facultad de Veterinaria de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Curso 2017 - 2018

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

- Microbiology A. Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Medicina.

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

- Técnicas básicas de investigación en alimentación (EMENU). Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Farmacia y Nutrición.

- Bacteriología Clínica. Universidad de Navarra - Facultad de Medicina.

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

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