Studi sperimentali (aprile 2003 - aprile 2012)

Roles of interleukin-17 in an experimental Legionella pneumophila pneumonia model

Kimizuka Y, Kimura S, Saga T, Ishii M, Hasegawa N, Betsuyaku T, Iwakura Y, Tateda K, Yamaguchi K.

Department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Infect Immun. 2012 Mar;80(3):1121-7.

ABSTRACT: Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a key factor in T helper type 17 (Th17) lineage host responses and plays critical roles in immunological control of a variety of infectious diseases. Although Legionella pneumophila, an intracellular bacterium found widely in the environment, often causes a serious and life-threatening pneumonia in humans, the contribution of IL-17 to immune function during Legionella pneumonia is unknown. In the present study, we used an experimental Legionella pneumonia infection to clarify the role of IL-17 in the resulting immune response. We observed robust production of pulmonary IL-17A and IL-17F (IL-17A/F), peaking on day 1 and declining thereafter. Upregulated production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), IL-6, and IL-1β, but not monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), was observed in Legionella-infected bone marrow-derived macrophages from BALB/c mice that had been stimulated with IL-17A or IL-17F. A significant decrease in the production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α was observed in IL-17A/F-deficient mice (BALB/c background) infected with L. pneumophila. Moreover, we found impaired neutrophil migration and lower numbers of chemokines (KC, LIX, and MIP-2) in IL-17A/F-deficient mice. IL-17A/F-deficient mice also eliminated L. pneumophila more slowly and were less likely to survive a lethal challenge. These results demonstrate that IL-17A/F plays a critical role in L. pneumophila pneumonia, probably through induction of proinflammatory cytokines and accumulation of neutrophils at the infection site.


Global cellular changes induced by Legionella pneumophila infection of bone marrow-derived macrophages

Fortier A, Faucher SP, Diallo K, Gros P.

Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.

Immunobiology. 2011 Dec;216(12):1274-85.

ABSTRACT: The nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (Nod)-like receptor (NLR) family member Naip5 plays an essential role in restricting Legionella pneumophila growth inside primary macrophages. Upon interaction with bacterial flagellin, the intracellular receptor Naip5 forms a multi-protein complex, the inflammasome, which activation has a protective role against infection. The A/J mouse strain carries a Naip5 allele (Naip5(A/J)), which renders its macrophages susceptible to Legionella infection. However, Naip5(A/J) is still competent for inflammasome activation suggesting that an as yet unidentified signaling pathway located downstream of Naip5 and defective in Naip5(A/J) macrophages regulates macrophage defenses against Legionella. Therefore, transcriptional profiling experiments with macrophages from C57BL/6J mice (B6), and from congenic mice (BcA75) carrying the partial loss-of-function A/J-derived allele (Naip5(A/J)) on a B6 background, infected or not with wild-type L. pneumophila or flagellin-deficient mutant were carried out to identify genes regulated by flagellin and by Naip5. Both the Legionella infection per se and the presence of flagellin had very strong effects on transcriptional responses of macrophages, 4h following infection, including modulation of cellular pathways associated with inflammatory response and cell survival. On the other hand, the presence of wild type or partial loss of function allele (Naip5(A/J)) at Naip5 did not cause large effects on transcriptional responses of macrophages to infection. We also examined in L. pneumophila infected macrophages, the effect of Naip5 alleles on expression and phosphorylation of 524 phosphoproteins, kinases and phosphatases involved in cell proliferation, immune response, stress and apoptosis. Naip5 alleles had an effect on the TLR-Il1R signaling pathway, the cell cycle and the caveolin-mediated response to pathogen. The results of transcriptome and proteome analyses were organized into cellular pathways in macrophages that are modulated in response to Legionella infection.


The surfactant of Legionella pneumophila Is secreted in a TolC-dependent manner and is antagonistic toward other Legionella species

Stewart CR, Burnside DM, Cianciotto NP.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611-3010, USA.

J Bacteriol. 2011 Nov;193(21):5971-84.

ABSTRACT: When Legionella pneumophila grows on agar plates, it secretes a surfactant that promotes flagellum- and pilus-independent "sliding" motility. We isolated three mutants that were defective for surfactant. The first two had mutations in genes predicted to encode cytoplasmic enzymes involved in lipid metabolism. These genes mapped to two adjacent operons that we designated bbcABCDEF and bbcGHIJK. Backcrossing and complementation confirmed the importance of the bbc genes and suggested that the Legionella surfactant is lipid containing. The third mutant had an insertion in tolC. TolC is the outer membrane part of various trimolecular complexes involved in multidrug efflux and type I protein secretion. Complementation of the tolC mutant restored sliding motility. Mutants defective for an inner membrane partner of TolC also lacked a surfactant, confirming that TolC promotes surfactant secretion. L. pneumophila (lspF) mutants lacking type II protein secretion (T2S) are also impaired for a surfactant. When the tolC and lspF mutants were grown next to each other, the lsp mutant secreted surfactant, suggesting that TolC and T2S conjoin to mediate surfactant secretion, with one being the conduit for surfactant export and the other the exporter of a molecule that is required for induction or maturation of surfactant synthesis/secretion. Although the surfactant was not required for the extracellular growth, intracellular infection, and intrapulmonary survival of L. pneumophila, it exhibited antimicrobial activity toward seven other species of Legionella but not toward various non-Legionella species. These data suggest that the surfactant provides L. pneumophila with a selective advantage over other legionellae in the natural environment.


Heteroplasmic mitochondrial disease in Dictyostelium discoideum

Francione LM, Fisher PR.

Department of Microbiology, La Trobe University, VIC 3086, Australia.

Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Nov 15;82(10):1510-20.

ABSTRACT: The bewildering complexity of the relationship between genotype and phenotype in human mitochondrial diseases has delayed an understanding of the related cytopathological mechanisms. To explore the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction in Dictyostelium discoideum and the related cytopathologies, we determined whether the phenotypic outcomes were similar regardless of which D. discoideum mitochondrial gene was targeted for disruption. The disruption of the mitochondrial genes resulted in a similar pattern of phenotypes to those caused by other mitochondrial defects. These include impairment of phototaxis, multicellular development and growth on plates and in liquid medium. As the reduced growth rates could have been due to defective phagocytic or macropinocytic nutrient uptake, these processes were tested but found to be unaffected. Since mitochondria have been associated with Legionella pathogenesis of human macrophages, it was also determined if mitochondrially diseased Dictyostelium strains were better or worse than healthy cells at supporting the growth of Legionella pneumophila. The results revealed that the mitochondrially diseased strains supported greater L. pneumophila growth than the wild type Dictyostelium strain (AX2). Quantitative Northern blotting showed a significant reduction in the level of expression of the entire mitochondrial genome, regardless of which mitochondrial gene was targeted for disruption, suggesting a generalized deficiency in mitochondrial gene expression and function. The phenotypic outcomes were the same as those shown previously to result from chronic hyperactivity of the energy-sensing protein kinase, AMPK, after knockdown of mitochondrial chaperonin 60.


Dissection of a type I interferon pathway in controlling bacterial intracellular infection in mice

Lippmann J, Müller HC, Naujoks J, Tabeling C, Shin S, Witzenrath M, Hellwig K, Kirschning CJ, Taylor GA, Barchet W, Bauer S, Suttorp N, Roy CR, Opitz B.

Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.

Cell Microbiol. 2011 Nov;13(11):1668-82.

ABSTRACT: Defence mechanisms against intracellular bacterial pathogens are incompletely understood. Our study characterizes a type I IFN-dependent cell-autonomous defence pathway directed against Legionella pneumophila, an intracellular model organism and frequent cause of pneumonia. We show that macrophages infected with L. pneumophila produced IFNβ in a STING- and IRF3- dependent manner. Paracrine type I IFNs stimulated upregulation of IFN-stimulated genes and a cell-autonomous defence pathway acting on replicating and non-replicating Legionella within their specialized vacuole. Our infection experiments in mice lacking receptors for type I and/or II IFNs show that type I IFNs contribute to expression of IFN-stimulated genes and to bacterial clearance as well as resistance in L. pneumophila pneumonia in addition to type II IFN. Overall, our study shows that paracrine type I IFNs mediate defence against L. pneumophila, and demonstrates a protective role of type I IFNs in in vivo infections with intracellular bacteria.


Molecular Characterization of Exploitation of the Polyubiquitination and Farnesylation Machineries of Dictyostelium Discoideum by the AnkB F-Box Effector of Legionella Pneumophila

Al-Quadan T, Kwaik YA.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, University of Louisville Louisville, KY, USA.

Front Microbiol. 2011;2:23.

ABSTRACT: The Dot/Icm-translocated Ankyrin B (AnkB) F-box effector of Legionella pneumophila is essential for intra-vacuolar proliferation and functions as a platform for the docking of polyubiquitinated proteins to the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV) within macrophages and ameba. Here we show that ectopically expressed AnkB in Dictyostelium discoideum is targeted to the plasma membrane where it recruits polyubiquitinated proteins and it trans-rescues the intracellular growth defect of the ankB null mutant, which has never been demonstrated for any effector in ameba. Using co-immunoprecipitation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation we show specific interaction of Skp1 of D. discoideum with the F-box domain of AnkB, which has never been demonstrated in ameba. We show that anchoring of AnkB to the cytosolic face of the LCV membrane in D. discoideum is mediated by the host farnesylation of the C-terminal eukaryotic CaaX motif of AnkB and is independent of the F-box and the two ANK domains, which has never been demonstrated in ameba. Importantly, the three host farnesylation enzymes farnesyl transferase, RCE-1, and isoprenyl cysteine carboxyl methyl transferase of D. discoideum are recruited to the LCV in a Dot/Icm-dependent manner, which has never been demonstrated in ameba. We conclude that the polyubiquitination and farnesylation enzymatic machineries of D. discoideum are recruited to the LCV in a Dot/Icm-dependent manner and the AnkB effector exploits the two evolutionarily conserved eukaryotic machineries to proliferate within ameba, similar to mammalian cells. We propose that L. pneumophila has acquired ankB through inter-kingdom horizontal gene transfer from primitive eukaryotes, which facilitated proliferation of L. pneumophila within human cells and the emergence of Legionnaires' disease.


Asc-dependent and independent mechanisms contribute to restriction of legionella pneumophila infection in murine macrophages

Abdelaziz DH, Gavrilin MA, Akhter A, Caution K, Kotrange S, Khweek AA, Abdulrahman BA, Hassan ZA, El-Sharkawi FZ, Bedi SS, Ladner K, Gonzalez-Mejia ME, Doseff AI, Mostafa M, Kanneganti TD, Guttridge D, Marsh CB, Wewers MD, Amer AO.

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Center for Microbial Interface Biology and the Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University Columbus, OH, USA.

Front Microbiol. 2011;2:18.

ABSTRACT: The apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (Asc) is an adaptor molecule that mediates inflammatory and apoptotic signals. Legionella pneumophila is an intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of Legionnaire's pneumonia. L. pneumophila is able to cause pneumonia in immuno-compromised humans but not in most inbred mice. Murine macrophages that lack the ability to activate caspase-1, such as caspase(-1-/-) and Nlrc4(-/-) allow L. pneumophila infection. This permissiveness is attributed mainly to the lack of active caspase-1 and the absence of its down stream substrates such as caspase-7. However, the role of Asc in control of L. pneumophila infection in mice is unclear. Here we show that caspase-1 is moderately activated in Asc(-/-) macrophages and that this limited activation is required and sufficient to restrict L. pneumophila growth. Moreover, Asc-independent activation of caspase-1 requires bacterial flagellin and is mainly detected in cellular extracts but not in culture supernatants. We also demonstrate that the depletion of Asc from permissive macrophages enhances bacterial growth by promoting L. pneumophila-mediated activation of the NF-κB pathway and decreasing caspase-3 activation. Taken together, our data demonstrate that L. pneumophila infection in murine macrophages is controlled by several mechanisms: Asc-independent activation of caspase-1 and Asc-dependent regulation of NF-κB and caspase-3 activation.


Electrochemical inactivation kinetics of boron-doped diamond electrode on waterborne pathogens

Yao Y, Kubota Y, Murakami T, Ochiai T, Ishiguro H, Nakata K, Fujishima A.

Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology, KSP Bldg. West 6F, 3-2-1 Sakado, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 213-0012, Japan.

J Water Health. 2011 Sep;9(3):534-43.

ABSTRACT: A boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrode was constructed as a water disinfector for the inactivation of water borne pathogens. The bactericidal effect of the disinfector was evaluated on artificially contaminated waters containing, respectively, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumophila at high density. By treating the bacterial suspensions with 4 V of constant voltage between the BDD and the counter-electrode for 50 min, the population of E. coli and P. aeruginosa decreased from (10E + 7-8 colony-forming unit mL(-1)) to below the detection limits of the colony-formation method. Meanwhile, L. pneumophila were reduced to virtually zero when analyzed by fluorescence-based staining. The influences of production parameters (voltage, NaCl concentration and flow rate) on the disinfection kinetics of the BDD disinfector were examined with respect to operational conditions. Voltage was the most significant factor for adjusting the extent of electrolysis, followed by NaCl concentration and flow rate, to influence the disinfection efficiency. The disinfection of natural river water samples containing numerous microbes was performed for a practicability investigation of the BDD electrode. Approximately 99.99% bactericidal efficiency was confirmed by viability detection for E. coli and common germs in treated water. The results showed that the BDD electrode is a promising tool for various wastewater disinfections to combat waterborne diseases.


The professional phagocyte Dictyostelium discoideum as a model host for bacterial pathogens

Bozzaro S, Eichinger L.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Ospedale S. Luigi, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.

Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Jun;12(7):942-54.

ABSTRACT: The use of simple hosts such as Dictyostelium discoideum in the study of host pathogen interactions offers a number of advantages and has steadily increased in recent years. Infection-specific genes can often only be studied in a very limited way in man and even in the mouse model their analysis is usually expensive, time consuming and technically challenging or sometimes even impossible. In contrast, their functional analysis in D. discoideum and other simple model organisms is often easier, faster and cheaper. Because host-pathogen interactions necessarily involve two organisms, it is desirable to be able to genetically manipulate both the pathogen and its host. Particularly suited are those hosts, like D. discoideum, whose genome sequence is known and annotated and for which excellent genetic and cell biological tools are available in order to dissect the complex crosstalk between host and pathogen. The review focusses on host-pathogen interactions of D. discoideum with Legionella pneumophila, mycobacteria, and Salmonella typhimurium which replicate intracellularly.


Anti-Legionella activity of staphylococcal hemolytic peptides

Marchand A, Verdon J, Lacombe C, Crapart S, Héchard Y, Berjeaud JM.

Laboratoire de Chimie et Microbiologie de l'Eau, UMR 6008 CNRS, IBMIG - UFR Sciences Fondamentales et Appliquées, Université de Poitiers, 1 rue du Georges Bonnet, 86022 Poitiers Cedex, France.

Peptides. 2011 May;32(5):845-51.

ABSTRACT: A collection of various Staphylococci was screened for their anti-Legionella activity. Nine of the tested strains were found to secrete anti-Legionella compounds. The culture supernatants of the strains, described in the literature to produce hemolytic peptides, were successfully submitted to a two step purification process. All the purified compounds, except one, corresponded to previously described hemolytic peptides and were not known for their anti-Legionella activity. By comparison of the minimal inhibitory concentrations, minimal permeabilization concentrations, decrease in the number of cultivable bacteria, hemolytic activity and selectivity, the purified peptides could be separated in two groups. First group, with warnericin RK as a leader, corresponds to the more hemolytic and bactericidal peptides. The peptides of the second group, represented by the PSMα from Staphylococcus epidermidis, appeared bacteriostatic and poorly hemolytic.


Legionella pneumophila infection is enhanced in a RacH-null mutant of Dictyostelium

Balest A, Peracino B, Bozzaro S.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences; University of Turin; Orbassano, Italy.

Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Mar;4(2):194-7.

ABSTRACT: Recently we reported that Dictyostelium cells ingest Legionella pneumophila by macropinocytosis, whereas other bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium avium, Neisseria meningitidis or Salmonella typhimurium, are taken up by phagocytosis.1 In contrast to phagocytosis, macropinocytosis is partially inhibited by PI3K or PTEN inactivation, whereas both processes are sensitive to PLC inhibition. Independently from reduced uptake, L. pneumophila proliferates more efficiently in PI3K-null than in wild-type cells. PI3K inactivation also neutralizes resistance to infection conferred by constitutively expressing the endo-lysosomal iron transporter Nramp1. We have shown this to be due to altered recruitment of the V-H(+) ATPase, but not Nramp1, in the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV) early during infection.1 As further evidence for impaired LCV acidification we examine here the effects of disrupting the small G protein RacH on Legionella infection.


In vitro activity of antimicrobial agents against Legionella isolated from environmental water systems: first results from Turkey

Erdogan H, Can F, Demirbilek M, Timurkaynak F, Arslan H.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Baskent University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.

Environ Monit Assess. 2010 Dec;171(1-4):487-91.

ABSTRACT: We evaluated the in vitro activity of antimicrobial agents against Legionella obtained from hotel and hospital water systems in three different regions of Turkey. Sixty-five Legionella strains (Legionella pneumophila serogroup 6 [n=32], L. pneumophila serogroup 1 [n=27], L. pneumophila serogroup 3 [n=2], and Legionella spp. [n=4]) were tested against levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, azithromycin, and rifampicin. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of each antimicrobial agent for these strains was determined by the microdilution method using buffered yeast extract medium supplemented with 0.1% ketoglutarate broth. L. pneumophila ATCC 33152, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213, and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 were used as controls. Minimum inhibitory concentration values were in the following ranges: clarithromycin 0.001-0.5 mg/L, azithromycin 0.001-0.5 mg/L, levofloxacin 0.001-0.5 mg/L, ciprofloxacin 0.001-0.125 mg/L, and rifampicin 0.001- 0.5 mg/L. The MIC(90) for rifampicin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin were 0.015, 0.125, 0.06, 0.125, and 0.06 mg/L, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to determine in vitro activities of antimicrobial agents against Legionella species in Turkey. Rifampicin had the lowest MIC(90) value. It would seem that azithromycin and clarithromycin exhibit good activity as well as levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin against Legionella isolated from environmental water systems in Turkey.


Phosphoinositides differentially regulate bacterial uptake and Nramp1-induced resistance to Legionella infection in Dictyostelium

Peracino B, Balest A, Bozzaro S.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, AOU S. Luigi, Reg. Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano, Torino, Italy.

J Cell Sci. 2010 Dec 1;123(Pt 23):4039-51.

ABSTRACT: Membrane phosphatidylinositides recruit cytosolic proteins to regulate phagocytosis, macropinocytosis and endolysosomal vesicle maturation. Here, we describe effects of inactivation of PI3K, PTEN or PLC on Escherichia coli and Legionella pneumophila uptake by the professional phagocyte Dictyostelium discoideum. We show that L. pneumophila is engulfed by macropinocytosis, a process that is partially sensitive to PI3K inactivation, unlike phagocytosis of E. coli. Both processes are blocked by PLC inhibition. Whereas E. coli is rapidly digested, Legionella proliferates intracellularly. Proliferation is blocked by constitutively expressing Nramp1, an endolysosomal iron transporter that confers resistance against invasive bacteria. Inactivation of PI3K, but not PTEN or PLC, enhances Legionella infection and suppresses the protective effect of Nramp1 overexpression. PI3K activity is restricted to early infection and is not mediated by effects on the actin cytoskeleton; rather L. pneumophila, in contrast to E. coli, subverts phosphoinositide-sensitive fusion of Legionella-containing macropinosomes with acidic vesicles, without affecting Nramp1 recruitment. A model is presented to explain how Legionella escapes fusion with acidic vesicles and Nramp1-induced resistance to pathogens.


Detection of protozoan hosts for Legionella pneumophila in engineered water systems by using a biofilm batch test

Valster RM, Wullings BA, van der Kooij D.

KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Groningenhaven 7, P.O. Box 1072, 3430 BB Nieuwegein, Netherlands.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Nov;76(21):7144-53.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila proliferates in aquatic habitats within free-living protozoa, 17 species of which have been identified as hosts by using in vitro experiments. The present study aimed at identifying protozoan hosts for L. pneumophila by using a biofilm batch test (BBT). Samples (600 ml) collected from 21 engineered freshwater systems, with added polyethylene cylinders to promote biofilm formation, were inoculated with L. pneumophila and subsequently incubated at 37°C for 20 days. Growth of L. pneumophila was observed in 16 of 18 water types when the host protozoan Hartmannella vermiformis was added. Twelve of the tested water types supported growth of L. pneumophila or indigenous Legionella anisa without added H. vermiformis. In 12 of 19 BBT flasks H. vermiformis was indicated as a host, based on the ratio between maximum concentrations of L. pneumophila and H. vermiformis, determined with quantitative PCR (Q-PCR), and the composition of clone libraries of partial 18S rRNA gene fragments. Analyses of 609 eukaryotic clones from the BBTs revealed that 68 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) showed the highest similarity to free-living protozoa. Forty percent of the sequences clustering with protozoa showed ≥99.5% similarity to H. vermiformis. None of the other protozoa serving as hosts in in vitro studies were detected in the BBTs. In several tests with growth of L. pneumophila, the protozoa Diphylleia rotans, Echinamoeba thermarum, and Neoparamoeba sp. were identified as candidate hosts. In vitro studies are needed to confirm their role as hosts for L. pneumophila. Unidentified protozoa were implicated as hosts for uncultured Legionella spp. grown in BBT flasks at 15°C.


Predacious bacteria, Bdellovibrio with potential for biocontrol

Markelova NY.

Institute of Basic Biological Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, pr. Nauki 2, Moscow Region, Russia.

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2010 Nov;213(6):428-31.

ABSTRACT: Bacteria of the genus of Bdellovibrio are highly motile Gram-negative predators of other Gram-negative bacteria causing lysis of their prey. Here we report results of studies on the interactions of Bdellovibrio with species of Alcaligenes, Campylobacter, Erwinia, Escherichia, Helicobacter, Pseudomonas, Legionella, and Shigella in agar lower, liquid media and cells attached to a surface. Helicobacter pylori was studied employing both actively growing and viable but nonculturable (VBNC) cells. The majority of the bacterial strains tested were found to be susceptible to Bdellovibrio. A significant observation was that Bdellovibrio attacked both actively growing and VBNC H. pylori, that phenomenon has never been reported. The results indicate that bdellovibrios have potential as biocontrol agents.


Influence of Legionella pneumophila and other water bacteria on the survival and growth of Acanthamoeba polyphaga

Anacarso I, Guerrieri E, Bondi M, de Niederhäusern S, Iseppi R, Sabia C, Contri M, Borella P, Messi P.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Arch Microbiol. 2010 Oct;192(10):877-82.

ABSTRACT: We investigated in solid medium, in water microcosm co-cultures and by light and transmission electron microscopy the influence of Legionella pneumophila Lp-1, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Burkholderia cepacia ATCC 25416 and Pseudomonas fluorescens SSD35 on the growth and survival of Acanthamoeba polyphaga. The infection with L. pneumophila was microscopically characterized by the presence of few bacteria inside protozoa at 4th h, and by the beginning of disruptive effects in late phase of trial. In water microcosm studies, performed at different temperature, the more significant interactions were observed at 30°C. In these conditions, L. pneumophila caused a marked reduction in trophozoite and cyst counts from the 4th day until the end of incubation (11 days). B. cepacia showed, by microscopic observation, few and generally single rods within protozoan phagosomes and caused a light reduction of trophozoite viability and cyst formation in co-cultures. A more invasive type of endocytosis, characterized by an early invasion with the presence of a high bacteria number inside amoebae, was observed for Pseudomonas strains. P. fluorescens produced a violent lysis of the host, whereas P. aeruginosa did not cause lysis or suffering. These results underline that water bacteria other than legionella are capable of intracellular survival in Acanthamoeba, influencing the protozoa viable cycle.


Role of regulatory T cells in long-term immune dysfunction associated with severe sepsis

Nascimento DC, Alves-Filho JC, Sônego F, Fukada SY, Pereira MS, Benjamim C, Zamboni DS, Silva JS, Cunha FQ.

Departments of Biochemistry and Immunology, University of São Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.

Crit Care Med. 2010 Aug;38(8):1718-25.

ABSTRACT:OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of regulatory T cells in the modulation of long-term immune dysfunction during experimental sepsis. It is well established that sepsis predisposes to development of a pronounced immunosuppression. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying the immune dysfunction after sepsis are still not well understood.

DESIGN: Prospective experimental study.

SETTING: University research laboratory.

INTERVENTIONS: Wild-type mice underwent cecal ligation and puncture and were treated with antibiotic during 3 days after surgery. On days 1, 7, or 15 after cecal ligation and puncture, the frequency of regulatory T cells, proliferation of CD4 T cells and bacterial counts were evaluated. Fifteen days after cecal ligation and puncture, surviving mice underwent secondary pulmonary infection by intranasal inoculation of nonlethal dose of Legionella pneumophila. Some mice received agonistic glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor antibody (DTA-1) before induction of secondary infection.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Mice surviving cecal ligation and puncture showed a markedly increased frequency of regulatory T cells in thymus and spleen, which was associated with reduced proliferation of CD4 T cells. Fifteen days after cecal ligation and puncture, all sepsis-surviving mice succumbed to nonlethal injection of L. pneumophila. Treatment of mice with DTA-1 antibody reduced frequency of regulatory T cells, restored CD4 T cell proliferation, reduced the levels of bacteria in spleen, and markedly improved survival of L. pneumophila infection.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that regulatory T cells play an important role in the progression and establishment of immune dysfunction observed in experimental sepsis.


Bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties of a standardized Echinacea extract (Echinaforce): dual actions against respiratory bacteria

Sharma SM, Anderson M, Schoop SR, Hudson JB.

Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2733 Heather Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Phytomedicine. 2010 Jul;17(8-9):563-8.

ABSTRACT: Common symptoms of upper respiratory infections, such as sore throat, cough, and inflammation, are often caused by bacteria, sometimes as a complication of virus infection. Extracts of Echinacea purpurea (Asteraceae) have been advocated traditionally for use by individuals suffering from these symptoms, although the underlying basis for the beneficial effects of Echinacea is not known. We hypothesized that Echinacea could inactivate certain respiratory bacteria and could also reverse inflammatory effects caused by these bacteria in epithelial cells. In order to test this we used a commercial standardized extract of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce), and a novel cytokine array system designed to measure simultaneously the levels of 20 different cytokines secreted by bronchial epithelial cell cultures in response to infection. Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Strep), which is often associated with sore throat and more severe pulmonary infections, was readily inactivated by Echinacea, which also completely reversed the cellular pro-inflammatory response. Hemophilus influenzae and Legionella pneumophila were also readily inactivated, and their pro-inflammatory responses reversed. Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant and sensitive strains) and Mycobacterium smegmatis were less sensitive to the bactericidal effects of Echinacea however, but their pro-inflammatory responses were still completely reversed. In contrast some other pathogens tested, including Candida albicans, were relatively resistant. Thus Echinaforce) exerts a dual action against several important respiratory bacteria, a killing effect and an anti-inflammatory effect. These results support the concept of using a standardized Echinacea preparation to control symptoms associated with bacterial respiratory infections. 


Cellular pharmacodynamics of the novel biaryloxazolidinone radezolid: studies with infected phagocytic and nonphagocytic cells, using Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Listeria monocytogenes, and Legionella pneumophila

Lemaire S, Kosowska-Shick K, Appelbaum PC, Verween G, Tulkens PM, Van Bambeke F.

SIGA Technologies, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Jun;54(6):2549-59.

ABSTRACT: Radezolid is a novel biaryloxazolidinone in clinical development which shows improved activity, including against linezolid-resistant strains. In a companion paper (29), we showed that radezolid accumulates about 11-fold in phagocytic cells, with approximately 60% of the drug localized in the cytosol and approximately 40% in the lysosomes of the cells. The present study examines its activity against (i) bacteria infecting human THP-1 macrophages and located in different subcellular compartments (Listeria monocytogenes, cytosol; Legionella pneumophila, vacuoles; Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, mainly phagolysosomal), (ii) strains of S. aureus with clinically relevant mechanisms of resistance, and (iii) isogenic linezolid-susceptible and -resistant S. aureus strains infecting a series of phagocytic and nonphagocytic cells. Radezolid accumulated to similar levels ( approximately 10-fold) in all cell types (human keratinocytes, endothelial cells, bronchial epithelial cells, osteoblasts, macrophages, and rat embryo fibroblasts). At equivalent weight concentrations, radezolid proved consistently 10-fold more potent than linezolid in all these models, irrespective of the bacterial species and resistance phenotype or of the cell type infected. This results from its higher intrinsic activity and higher cellular accumulation. Time kill curves showed that radezolid's activity was more rapid than that of linezolid both in broth and in infected macrophages. These data suggest the potential interest of radezolid for recurrent or persistent infections where intracellular foci play a determinant role.


Caenorhabditis elegans as an alternative model host for legionella pneumophila, and protective effects of Bifidobacterium infantis

Komura T, Yasui C, Miyamoto H, Nishikawa Y.

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies for Advanced Aged Society, Osaka City University Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka 558-8585, Japan.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jun;76(12):4105-8.

ABSTRACT: The survival times of Caenorhabditis elegans worms infected with Legionella pneumophila from day 7.5 or later after hatching were shorter than those of uninfected worms. However, nematodes fed bifidobacteria prior to Legionella infection were resistant to Legionella. These nematodes may act as a unique alternative host for Legionella research.


Loss of Dictyostelium ATG9 results in a pleiotropic phenotype affecting growth, development, phagocytosis and clearance and replication of Legionella pneumophila

Tung SM, Unal C, Ley A, Peña C, Tunggal B, Noegel AA, Krut O, Steinert M, Eichinger L.

Zentrum für Biochemie, Universität zu Köln, Germany.

Cell Microbiol. 2010 Jun;12(6):765-80.

ABSTRACT: Infection of Dictyostelium discoideum with Legionella pneumophila resulted in a large number of differentially regulated genes among them three core autophagy genes, ATG8, ATG9 and ATG16. Macroautophagy contributes to many physiological and pathological processes and might also constitute an important mechanism in cell-autonomous immunity. For further studies we selected the highly conserved ATG9. In colocalization studies with GFP-tagged ATG9 and different organelle marker proteins we neither observed colocalization with mitochondria, the ER nor lysosomes. However, there was partial colocalization with the Golgi apparatus and many ATG9-GFP-containing vesicles localized along microtubules and accumulated around the microtubule organizing centre. ATG9-deficient cells had pleiotropic defects. In addition to growth defects they displayed severe developmental defects, consistent with the known role of autophagy in Dictyostelium development. Unexpectedly, the ATG9 mutant also had a strong phagocytosis defect that was particularly apparent when infecting the cells with L. pneumophila. However, those Legionellae that entered the host could multiply better in mutant than in wild-type cells, because of a less efficient clearance in the early and a more efficient replication in the late phase of infection. We conclude that ATG9 and hence macroautophagy has a protective role during pathogen infection.


Antimicrobial characterisation of CEM-101 activity against respiratory tract pathogens, including multidrug-resistant pneumococcal serogroup 19A isolates

Farrell DJ, Sader HS, Castanheira M, Biedenbach DJ, Rhomberg PR, Jones RN.

JMI Laboratories, 345 Beaver Kreek Centre, Suite A, North Liberty, IA 52317, USA.

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2010 Jun;35(6):537-43.

ABSTRACT: CEM-101 is a novel fluorinated macrolide-ketolide with potent activity against bacterial pathogens that are susceptible or resistant to other macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLS(B))-ketolide agents. CEM-101 is being developed for oral and parenteral use in moderate to moderately severe community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. The objective of this study was to assess the activity of CEM-101 and comparators against contemporary respiratory tract infection (RTI) isolates. A worldwide sample of organisms was used, including Streptococcus pneumoniae [n=168; 59.3% erythromycin-resistant and 18 multidrug-resistant (MDR) serogroup 19A strains], Moraxella catarrhalis (n=21; 11 beta-lactamase positive), Haemophilus influenzae (n=100; 48 beta-lactamase positive), Haemophilus parainfluenzae and Haemophilus haemolyticus (n=12), and Legionella pneumophila (n=30). Testing and interpretation were performed using reference Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute methods. CEM-101 was very potent against S. pneumoniae [minimum inhibitory concentration for 90% of the organisms (MIC90)=0.25 mg/L; highest MIC at 0.5 mg/L] and was 2- and > or =32-fold more active than telithromycin and clindamycin, respectively. CEM-101 also demonstrated potent activity against S. pneumoniae MDR-19A strains (MIC90=0.5 mg/L). CEM-101 was the most potent antimicrobial agent tested against L. pneumophila, with all MIC values at < or = 0.015 mg/L (telithromycin MIC90=0.03 mg/L). CEM-101 was as potent as azithromycin against Haemophilus spp. RTI pathogens (MIC90=2 mg/L), with no variations for beta-lactamase production. CEM-101 MIC values against M. catarrhalis were all at < or =0.5mg/L. Interestingly, CEM-101 potency was ca. 6 log(2) dilutions greater than telithromycin MIC results among 44 beta-haemolytic streptococci having telithromycin MICs > or = 2 mg/L. CEM-101 exhibited the greatest potency and widest spectrum of activity against RTI pathogens among the tested MLS(B)-ketolide agents (azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin, clindamycin and quinupristin/dalfopristin) and was comparable overall with levofloxacin.


Integration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumophila in drinking water biofilms grown on domestic plumbing materials

Moritz MM, Flemming HC, Wingender J.

Biofilm Centre, Department of Aquatic Microbiology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Duisburg-Essen, D-47057 Duisburg, Germany.

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2010 Jun;213(3):190-7.

ABSTRACT: Drinking water biofilms were grown on coupons of plumbing materials, including ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer (EPDM) rubber, silane cross-linked polyethylene (PE-X b), electron-ray cross-linked PE (PE-X c) and copper under constant flow-through of cold tap water. After 14 days, the biofilms were spiked with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella pneumophila and Enterobacter nimipressuralis (10(6) cells/mL each). The test bacteria were environmental isolates from contamination events in drinking water systems. After static incubation for 24 h, water flow was resumed and continued for 4 weeks. Total cell count and heterotrophic plate count (HPC) of biofilms were monitored, and P. aeruginosa, L. pneumophila and E. nimipressuralis were quantified, using standard culture-based methods or culture-independent fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). After 14 days total cell counts and HPC values were highest on EPDM followed by the plastic materials and copper. P. aeruginosa and L. pneumophila became incorporated into drinking water biofilms and were capable to persist in biofilms on EPDM and PE-X materials for several weeks, while copper biofilms were colonized only by L. pneumophila in low culturable numbers. E. nimipressuralis was not detected in any of the biofilms. Application of the FISH method often yielded orders of magnitude higher levels of P. aeruginosa and L. pneumophila than culture methods. These observations indicate that drinking water biofilms grown under cold water conditions on domestic plumbing materials, especially EPDM and PE-X in the present study, can be a reservoir for P. aeruginosa and L. pneumophila that persist in these habitats mostly in a viable but non-culturable state.


Growth in Acanthamoeba sp. and antibiotic susceptibility of Legionella micdadei isolated from hot spring water samples

Furuhata K, Ogihara K, Okuno R, Oonaka K, Fukuyama M.

School of Life and Environmental Science, Azabu University, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8501, Japan.

Biocontrol Sci. 2009 Dec;14(4):181-4.

ABSTRACT: As part of an epidemiological study on legionellosis, we attempted to isolate Legionella spp. from hot spring water samples, and were able to isolate Legionella micdadei from 3 (5.5%) of 55 samples. All of these isolates were able to grow within Acanthamoeba sp., suggesting that the isolates will be pathogens. We also confirmed that the K-2 strain from hot spring water grew in guinea pig monocytes. Sensitivity tests using 10 drugs showed that the isolates were most sensitive to imipenem, with the MIC90 of 0.032 microg/ml, were least sensitive to minocycline, with the MIC90 of 4 microg/ml, and were not sensitive to low amounts of other drugs.


Cellular pharmacokinetics and intracellular activity of torezolid (TR-700): studies with human macrophage (THP-1) and endothelial (HUVEC) cell lines

Lemaire S, Van Bambeke F, Appelbaum PC, Tulkens PM.

Unité de Pharmacologie cellulaire et moléculaire & Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Avenue E. Mounier 73, Brussels, Belgium.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2009 Nov;64(5):1035-43.

ABSTRACT: Optimal treatment of infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes and Legionella pneumophila requires antibiotics with intracellular activity. Linezolid accumulates poorly within cells. Torezolid (TR-700) is a novel methyltetrazolyl oxazolidinone with potentially different cellular pharmacokinetic properties. Our aim was to examine the accumulation and intracellular activities of torezolid in this context. METHODS: Measurement of torezolid cell content and antibacterial activity in comparison with linezolid using human macrophages (THP-1) and human endothelial cells [human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs)], applying models allowing for the quantitative evaluation of the pharmacodynamics of antibiotics towards intracellular bacteria. RESULTS: Torezolid accumulated rapidly in THP-1 macrophages, reaching a stable intracellular to extracellular ratio of approximately 10 (compared with approximately 1-2 for linezolid) within 15 min. On a weight concentration basis (mg/L), torezolid was approximately 5- to 10-fold more potent intracellularly (lower concentration needed to achieve a bacteriostatic effect) than linezolid against phagocytosed S. aureus, L. monocytogenes and L. pneumophila, with no change in maximal efficacy (approximately 1 log(10) reduction of the original, post-phagocytosis inoculum). When drugs were compared at equipotent concentrations (multiples of the MIC), no difference was seen between linezolid and torezolid, but the higher potency of torezolid allowed control of intracellular infections caused by linezolid-resistant S. aureus. CONCLUSIONS: Torezolid exerts intracellular activity at lower extracellular concentrations than linezolid because of its greater potency independent of its greater intracellular accumulation. This may confer an advantage to torezolid in vivo if the drug can be used at dosages creating serum concentrations similar to those achieved with linezolid.


Legionella pneumophila multiplication is enhanced by chronic AMPK signalling in mitochondrially diseased Dictyostelium cells

Francione L, Smith PK, Accari SL, Taylor PE, Bokko PB, Bozzaro S, Beech PL, Fisher PR.

Department of Microbiology, La Trobe University, VIC 3086, Australia.

Dis Model Mech 2009 Sep-Oct;2(9-10):479-89.

ABSTRACT: Human patients with mitochondrial diseases are more susceptible to bacterial infections, particularly of the respiratory tract. To investigate the susceptibility of mitochondrially diseased cells to an intracellular bacterial respiratory pathogen, we exploited the advantages of Dictyostelium discoideum as an established model for mitochondrial disease and for Legionella pneumophila pathogenesis. Legionella infection of macrophages involves recruitment of mitochondria to the Legionella-containing phagosome. We confirm here that this also occurs in Dictyostelium and investigate the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction on host cell susceptibility to Legionella. In mitochondrially diseased Dictyostelium strains, the pathogen was taken up at normal rates, but it grew faster and reached counts that were twofold higher than in the wild-type host. We reported previously that other mitochondrial disease phenotypes for Dictyostelium are the result of the activity of an energy-sensing cellular alarm protein, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Here, we show that the increased ability of mitochondrially diseased cells to support Legionella proliferation is suppressed by antisense-inhibiting expression of the catalytic AMPKalpha subunit. Conversely, mitochondrial dysfunction is phenocopied, and intracellular Legionella growth is enhanced, by overexpressing an active form of AMPKalpha in otherwise normal cells. These results indicate that AMPK signalling in response to mitochondrial dysfunction enhances Legionella proliferation in host cells.


The amoebal MAP kinase response to Legionella pneumophila is regulated by DupA

Li Z, Dugan AS, Bloomfield G, Skelton J, Ivens A, Losick V, Isberg RR.

Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Sep 17;6(3):253-67

ABSTRACT: The amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum can support replication of Legionella pneumophila. Here we identify the dupA gene, encoding a putative tyrosine kinase/dual-specificity phosphatase, in a screen for D. discoideum mutants altered in allowing L. pneumophila intracellular replication. Inactivation of dupA resulted in depressed L. pneumophila growth and sustained hyperphosphorylation of the amoebal MAP kinase ERK1, consistent with loss of a phosphatase activity. Bacterial challenge of wild-type amoebae induced dupA expression and resulted in transiently increased ERK1 phosphorylation, suggesting that dupA and ERK1 are part of a response to bacteria. Indeed, over 500 of the genes misregulated in the dupA(-) mutant were regulated in response to L. pneumophila infection, including some thought to have immune-like functions. MAP kinase phosphatases are known to be highly upregulated in macrophages challenged with L. pneumophila. Thus, DupA may regulate a MAP kinase response to bacteria that is conserved from amoebae to mammals.


Purification of Legiobactin and importance of this siderophore in lung infection by Legionella pneumophila

Allard KA, Dao J, Sanjeevaiah P, McCoy-Simandle K, Chatfield CH, Crumrine DS, Castignetti D, Cianciotto NP.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.

Infect Immun. 2009 Jul;77(7):2887-95.

ABSTRACT: When cultured in a low-iron medium, Legionella pneumophila secretes a siderophore (legiobactin) that is both reactive in the chrome azurol S (CAS) assay and capable of stimulating the growth of iron-starved legionellae. Using anion-exchange high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), we purified legiobactin from culture supernatants of a virulent strain of L. pneumophila. In the process, we detected the ferrated form of legiobactin as well as other CAS-reactive substances. Purified legiobactin had a yellow-gold color and absorbed primarily from 220 nm and below. In accordance, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed that legiobactin lacks aromatic carbons, and among the 13 aliphatics present, there were 3 carbonyls. When examined by HPLC, supernatants from L. pneumophila mutants inactivated for lbtA and lbtB completely lacked legiobactin, indicating that the LbtA and LbtB proteins are absolutely required for siderophore activity. Independently derived lbtA mutants, but not a complemented derivative, displayed a reduced ability to infect the lungs of A/J mice after intratracheal inoculation, indicating that legiobactin is required for optimal intrapulmonary survival by L. pneumophila. This defect, however, was not evident when the lbtA mutant and its parental strain were coinoculated into the lung, indicating that legiobactin secreted by the wild type can promote growth of the mutant in trans. Legiobactin mutants grew normally in murine lung macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells, suggesting that legiobactin promotes something other than intracellular infection of resident lung cells. Overall, these data represent the first documentation of a role for siderophore expression in the virulence of L. pneumophila.


Conjugative plasmid pLD-TEX-KL promotes growth of host bacterium Legionella dumoffii at low temperatures

Qin T, Iida K, Hirakawa H, Shiota S, Nakayama H, Yoshida S.

Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Arch Microbiol. 2009 Jun;191(6):543-51.

ABSTRACT: Legionella (Fluoribacter) dumoffii is a resident of various aquatic environments and occasionally causes pneumonia in humans. We found that L. dumoffii strain TEX-KL carries a 66-kb circular plasmid. As predicted by the presence of tra genes similar to those of other transferable plasmids, we showed that pLD-TEX-KL was actually capable of transferring itself to a plasmid-cured derivative of the original strain. Unexpectedly, this plasmid-free derivative turned out to be partially defective in terms of growth at temperatures 30 degrees C or lower. Subsequent works revealed that the growth defect was attributable to the loss of the plasmid gene traA(Ti) homologous to the traA gene of Ti plasmid from Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and that the growth was restored by the introduction of the mobA/repB gene of plasmid pMMB207. Since the existence of a DNA nickase domain is the only feature common to the traA(Ti) and mobA/repB gene products, we hypothesized that this growth defect at low temperature is related to insufficient DNA transactions, which can somehow be alleviated by the nickase activity of those plasmid-encoded proteins. It was also noted that the above features of growth defect at low temperatures were seen in L. dumoffii cells parasitizing the amebic host Acanthamoeba culbertsoni.


Experimental Legionella longbeachae infection in intratracheally inoculated mice

Gobin I, Susa M, Begic G, Hartland EL, Doric M.

Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Medical Faculty, University of Rijeka, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.

J Med Microbiol. 2009 Jun;58(Pt 6):723-30.

ABSTRACT: This study established an experimental model of replicative Legionella longbeachae infection in A/J mice. The animals were infected by intratracheal inoculation of 10(3)-10(9) c.f.u. L. longbeachae serogroup 1 (USA clinical isolates D4968, D4969 and D4973). The inocula of 10(9), 10(8), 10(7) and 10(6) c.f.u. of all tested L. longbeachae serogroup 1 isolates were lethal for A/J mice. Inoculation of 10(5) c.f.u. L. longbeachae caused death in 90 % of the animals within 5 days, whilst inoculation of 10(4) c.f.u. caused sporadic death of mice. All animals that received 10(3) c.f.u. bacteria developed acute lower respiratory disease, but were able to clear Legionella from the lungs within 3 weeks. The kinetics of bacterial growth in the lungs was independent of inoculum size and reached a growth peak about 3 logarithms above the initial inoculum at 72 h after inoculation. The most prominent histological changes in the lungs were observed at 48-72 h after inoculation in the form of a focal, neutrophil-dominant, peribronchiolar infiltration. The inflammatory process did not progress towards the interstitial or alveolar spaces. Immunohistological analyses revealed L. longbeachae serogroup 1 during the early phase of infection near the bronchiolar epithelia and later co-localized with inflammatory cells. BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice strains were also susceptible to infection with all L. longbeachae serogroup 1 strains tested and very similar changes were observed in the lungs of infected animals. These results underline the infection potential of L. longbeachae serogroup 1, which is associated with high morbidity and lethality in mice.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa Las quorum sensing autoinducer suppresses growth and biofilm production in Legionella species

Kimura S, Tateda K, Ishii Y, Horikawa M, Miyairi S, Gotoh N, Ishiguro M, Yamaguchi K.

Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Toho University Faculty of Medicine, Ota-ku, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan.

Microbiology. 2009 Jun;155(Pt 6):1934-9.

ABSTRACT:Bacteria commonly communicate with each other by a cell-to-cell signalling mechanism known as quorum sensing (QS). Recent studies have shown that the Las QS autoinducer N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C(12)-HSL) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa performs a variety of functions not only in intraspecies communication, but also in interspecies and interkingdom interactions. In this study, we report the effects of Pseudomonas 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL on the growth and suppression of virulence factors in other bacterial species that frequently co-exist with Ps. aeruginosa in nature. It was found that 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL, but not its analogues, suppressed the growth of Legionella pneumophila in a dose-dependent manner. However, 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL did not exhibit a growth-suppressive effect on Serratia marcescens, Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, Alcaligenes faecalis and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. A concentration of 50 microM 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL completely inhibited the growth of L. pneumophila. Additionally, a significant suppression of biofilm formation was demonstrated in L. pneumophila exposed to 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL. Our results suggest that the Pseudomonas QS autoinducer 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL exerts both bacteriostatic and virulence factor-suppressive activities on L. pneumophila alone.


Transcriptional down-regulation and rRNA cleavage in Dictyostelium discoideum mitochondria during Legionella pneumophila infection

Zhang C, Kuspa A.

Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

PLoS One. 2009 May 27;4(5):e5706.

ABSTRACT: Bacterial pathogens employ a variety of survival strategies when they invade eukaryotic cells. The amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is used as a model host to study the pathogenic mechanisms that Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaire's disease, uses to kill eukaryotic cells. Here we show that the infection of D. discoideum by L. pneumophila results in a decrease in mitochondrial messenger RNAs, beginning more than 8 hours prior to detectable host cell death. These changes can be mimicked by hydrogen peroxide treatment, but not by other cytotoxic agents. The mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA (LSU rRNA) is also cleaved at three specific sites during the course of infection. Two LSU rRNA fragments appear first, followed by smaller fragments produced by additional cleavage events. The initial LSU rRNA cleavage site is predicted to be on the surface of the large subunit of the mitochondrial ribosome, while two secondary sites map to the predicted interface with the small subunit. No LSU rRNA cleavage was observed after exposure of D. discoideum to hydrogen peroxide, or other cytotoxic chemicals that kill cells in a variety of ways. Functional L. pneumophila type II and type IV secretion systems are required for the cleavage, establishing a correlation between the pathogenesis of L. pneumophila and D. discoideum LSU rRNA destruction. LSU rRNA cleavage was not observed in L. pneumophila infections of Acanthamoeba castellanii or human U937 cells, suggesting that L. pneumophila uses distinct mechanisms to interrupt metabolism in different hosts. Thus, L. pneumophila infection of D. discoideum results in dramatic decrease of mitochondrial RNAs, and in the specific cleavage of mitochondrial rRNA. The predicted location of the cleavage sites on the mitochondrial ribosome suggests that rRNA destruction is initiated by a specific sequence of events. These findings suggest that L. pneumophila specifically disrupts mitochondrial protein synthesis in D. discoideum during the course of infection.


Twitching motility in Legionella pneumophila

Coil DA, Anné J.

Laboratory of Bacteriology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Apr;293(2):271-7.

ABSTRACT: Twitching motility is a form of bacterial translocation over solid or semi-solid surfaces mediated by the extension, tethering, and subsequent retraction of type IV pili. These pili are also known to be involved in virulence, biofilm formation, formation of fruiting bodies, horizontal gene transfer, and protein secretion. We have characterized the presence of twitching motility on agar plates in Legionella pneumophila, the etiological agent of Legionnaires' disease. By examining twitching motility zones, we have demonstrated that twitching motility was dependent on agar thickness/concentration, the chemical composition of the media, the presence of charcoal and cysteine, proximity to other bacteria, and temperature. A knockout mutant of the pilus subunit, pilE, exhibited a total loss of twitching motility at 37 degrees C, but not at 27 degrees C, suggesting either the existence of a compensating pilus subunit or of another twitching motility system in this organism. 


Free-living freshwater amoebae differ in their susceptibility to the pathogenic bacterium Legionella pneumophila

Dey R, Bodennec J, Mameri MO, Pernin P.

Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Jan;290(1):10-7.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is known as a facultative intracellular parasite of free-living soil and freshwater amoebae, of which several species have been shown to support the growth of the pathogenic bacteria. We report for the first time the behaviour of two strains (c2c and Z503) of the amoeba Willaertia magna towards different strains of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 and compared it with Acanthamoeba castellanii and Hartmannella vermiformis, known to be L. pneumophila permissive. In contrast to the results seen with other amoebae, W. magna c2c inhibited the growth of one strain of Legionella (L. pneumophila, Paris), but not of others belonging to the same serogroup (L. pneumophila, Philadelphia and L. pneumophila, Lens). Also, the different L. pneumophila inhibited cell growth and induced cell death in A. castellanii, H. vermiformis and W. magna Z503 within 3-4 days while W. magna c2c strain remained unaffected even up to 7 days. Electron microscopy demonstrated that the formation of numerous replicative phagosomes observed within Acanthamoeba and Hartmannella is rarely seen in W. magna c2c cocultured with L. pneumophila. Moreover, the morphological differences were observed between L. pneumophila cultured either with Willaertia or other amoebae. These observations show that amoebae are not all equally permissive to L. pneumophila and highlight W. magna c2c as particularly resistant towards some strains of this bacterium.


Screening of virulence traits in Legionella pneumophila and analysis of the host susceptibility to infection by using the Dictyostelium host model system

Shevchuk O, Steinert M.

Institute for Microbiology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany.

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;470:47-56.

ABSTRACT: The social soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has been established as a host model for several human pathogens including Legionella pneumophila. The complete genome sequence, the genetic tractability, and the phagocytic characteristics of Dictyostelium generate many opportunities for the study of host-pathogen interactions. Important applications of this haploid model organism are (i) the use of Dictyostelium cells as a screening system for bacterial virulence, (ii) the use of Dictyostelium mutant cells to identify genetic host determinants of susceptibility and resistance to infection, and (iii) experiments that allow the dissection of the complex cross-talk with infectious agents. Accordingly, this chapter describes a plaque assay to identify attenuated pathogens, an infection assay for the analysis of host cell mutants and pathogens, and a screening method for the isolation of Legionella mutants that are defective in the reprogramming of the phagolysosomal maturation of the host.


Elevated production of Legionella-specific immunoglobulin A in A/J mice is accompanied by T-helper 1-type polarization

Taniguchi T, Harada T, Hayashi T, Tanikawa T, Kurohane K, Miyake M, Imai Y.

Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology and the Global COE Program, University of Shizuoka School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shizuoka 422-8526, Japan.

Immunol Lett. 2008 Dec 22;121(2):123-6.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila (Lpn) is a Gram-negative bacterium and an intracellular parasite that causes Legionnaires' disease. Secretion of immunoglobulin A (IgA) against Lpn on the mucosal surface of the upper respiratory tract may be important as a self-defense mechanism. A/J mice have been demonstrated to be permissive as to Lpn replication in macrophages due to a natural mutation in neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein 5. We compared A/J and BALB/c mice as to IgA production after repeated intranasal immunization using a heat-killed Lpn in the presence of cholera toxin as a mucosal adjuvant. A/J mice secreted more Lpn-specific IgA in nasal washes than BALB/c mice. The Lpn-specific serum IgA level was also higher in A/J than BALB/c mice. Because both BALB/c and A/J mice are known to exhibit T-helper 2 (Th2)-biased immune responses, we examined whether the Lpn-specific IgA production is related to the stronger Th2 bias. There was no difference in IgG1 (Th2-controlled) while A/J mice produced more IgG2a (Th1-controlled), suggesting that the elevated IgA response was rather correlated with Th1-controlled isotype switching. Our results also suggest that A/J mice will be useful hosts for Lpn-specific IgA production such as for the preparation of IgA monoclonal antibodies.


Passage through Tetrahymena tropicalis triggers a rapid morphological differentiation in Legionella pneumophila

Faulkner G, Berk SG, Garduño E, Ortiz-Jiménez MA, Garduño RA.

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dalhousie University, Sir Charles Tupper Building, 7th floor, 5850 College Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H-1X5.

J Bacteriol. 2008 Dec;190(23):7728-38.

ABSTRACT: The intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila follows a developmental cycle in which replicative forms (RFs) differentiate into infectious stationary-phase forms (SPFs) in vitro and in vivo into highly infectious mature intracellular forms (MIFs). The potential relationships between SPFs and MIFs remain uncharacterized. Previously we determined that L. pneumophila survives, but does not replicate, while it transiently resides (for 1 to 2 h) in food vacuoles of the freshwater ciliate Tetrahymena tropicalis before being expelled as legionellae-laden pellets. We report here that SPFs have the ability to rapidly (<1 h) and directly (in the absence of bacterial replication) differentiate into MIFs while in transit through T. tropicalis, indicating that SPFs and MIFs constitute a differentiation continuum. Mutant RFs lacking the sigma factor gene rpoS, or the response regulator gene letA, were unable to produce normal SPFs in vitro and did not fully differentiate into MIFs in vivo, further supporting the existence of a common mechanism of differentiation shared by SPFs and MIFs. Mutants with a defective Dot/Icm system morphologically differentiated into MIFs while in transit through T. tropicalis. Therefore, T. tropicalis has allowed us to unequivocally conclude that SPFs can directly differentiate into MIFs and that the Dot/Icm system is not required for differentiation, two events that could not be experimentally addressed before. The Tetrahymena model can now be exploited to study the signals that trigger MIF development in vivo and is the only replication-independent model reported to date that allows the differentiation of Dot/Icm mutants into MIFs.


The development of protein chip using protein G for the simultaneous detection of various pathogens

Choi JW, Kim YK, Oh BK.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Sogang University, 1 Shinsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-742, Republic of Korea; Interdisciplinary Program of Integrated Biotechnology, Sogang University, 1 Shinsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-742, Republic of Korea.

Ultramicroscopy. 2008 Sep;108(10):1396-1400.

ABSTRACT: A protein chip using protein G for the simultaneous detection of various pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Legionella pneumophila was developed. In order to endow the orientation of antibody molecules on solid surface, protein G was introduced. The protein G on gold (Au) surface modified with 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) was arrayed and then four different kinds of monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) against pathogens (E. coli O157:H7, S. typhimurium, Y. enterocolitica, and L. pneumophila) on protein G spots were selectively arrayed using a microarrayer, and its spatial density was over 2400spotscm(2). Using the constructed protein chip, the various pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, S. typhimurium, Y. enterocolitica, and L. pneumophila could be detected by a sandwich method and its lowest detection limit for E. coli O157:H7 was 10(2)CFU/ml. The proposed fabrication technique of protein chip for the detection of various pathogens could be applied to construct other protein chips with a high efficiency.


Temperature-dependent parasitic relationship between Legionella pneumophila and a free-living amoeba (Acanthamoeba castellanii)

Ohno A, Kato N, Sakamoto R, Kimura S, Yamaguchi K.

Department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Faculty of Medicine, Toho University, 5-21-16 Omori-Nishi, Ota-Ku, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Jul;74(14):4585-8.

ABSTRACT: We analyzed the effects of temperature on the interaction of Legionella pneumophila with Acanthamoeba castellanii. At <20 degrees C, overexpression of type 1 metacaspase, a stimulator of A. castellanii encystation, was associated with a reduced number of bacteria within amoeba. At low temperatures, A. castellanii seems to eliminate L. pneumophila by encystation and digestion.


Evidence for the presence of Legionella bacteriophages in environmental water samples

Lammertyn E, Vande Voorde J, Meyen E, Maes L, Mast J, Anné J.

Laboratory for Bacteriology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Minderbroedersstraat 10, Leuven, Belgium.

Microb Ecol. 2008 Jul;56(1):191-7.

ABSTRACT: The existence and preliminary characterization of bacteriophages active against the Gram-negative human pathogen Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of a very severe form of pneumonia, are reported. Four phages belonging to the family of the Myoviridae were isolated from various fresh water environments, and preliminary characterization showed that these crude preparations infect exclusively bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella. Standard phage amplification, purification, and characterization procedures were, however, not efficiently applicable making more research into these novel phages and their mechanism of infection necessary. The existence of Legionella bacteriophages is very promising for future applications such as the development of novel molecular tools, the design of new detection and typing methods, and the bioremediation of this environmental pathogen.


Cellular envelope phospholipids from Legionella letica

Palusinska-Szysz M, Kalitynski R, Russa R, Dawidowicz AL, Drozanski WJ.

Department of General Microbiology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Akademicka St. 19, Lublin, Poland.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Jun;283(2):239-46.

ABSTRACT: The composition of phospholipids from the cellular envelope of Legionella lytica grown on artificial medium was determined by two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography. Phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidyl-N-monomethylethanolamine were the predominant phospholipids, while diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidyl-N,N-dimethylethanolamine were present at low concentrations. A trace amount of lipids carrying glycosyl residues was also observed. The fatty acids and their distribution in individual phospholipids were characterized using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight, and gas chromatography/MS methods. The characteristic feature of L. lytica phospholipids was the presence of an unbranched chain (which differentiates this bacterium from Legionella pneumophila) and branched iso and anteiso fatty acids as well as cis-9,10-methylenehexadecanoic acid. According to spectroscopic LC/MS data, the localization of saturated and unsaturated fatty acid residues on phosphorylglycerol was determined. Some aspects of the significance of phosphatidylcholine, one of the main phospholipids in L. lytica, are addressed and taxonomic implications of the data are discussed.


NAIP and Ipaf Control Legionella pneumophila Replication in Human Cells

Vinzing M, Eitel J, Lippmann J, Hocke AC, Zahlten J, Slevogt H, N'guessan PD, Günther S, Schmeck B, Hippenstiel S, Flieger A, Suttorp N, Opitz B.

Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin.

J Immunol. 2008 May 15;180(10):6808-15.

ABSTRACT: In mice, different alleles of the mNAIP5 (murine neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein-5)/mBirc1e gene determine whether macrophages restrict or support intracellular replication of Legionella pneumophila, and whether a mouse is resistant or (moderately) susceptible to Legionella infection. In the resistant mice strains, the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (Nod)-like receptor (NLR) family member mNAIP5/mBirc1e, as well as the NLR protein mIpaf (murine ICE protease-activating factor), are involved in recognition of Legionella flagellin and in restriction of bacterial replication. Human macrophages and lung epithelial cells support L. pneumophila growth, and humans can develop severe pneumonia (Legionnaires disease) after Legionella infection. The role of human orthologs to mNAIP5/mBirc1e and mIpaf in this bacterial infection has not been elucidated. Herein we demonstrate that flagellin-deficient L. pneumophila replicate more efficiently in human THP-1 macrophages, primary monocyte-derived macrophages, and alveolar macrophages, and in A549 lung epithelial cells compared with wild-type bacteria. Additionally, we note expression of the mNAIP5 ortholog hNAIP in all cell types examined, and expression of hIpaf in human macrophages. Gene silencing of hNAIP or hIpaf in macrophages or of hNAIP in lung epithelial cells leads to an enhanced bacterial growth, and overexpression of both molecules strongly reduces Legionella replication. In contrast to experiments with wild-type L. pneumophila, hNAIP or hIpaf knock-down affects the (enhanced) replication of flagellin-deficient Legionella only marginally. In conclusion, hNAIP and hIpaf mediate innate intracellular defense against flagellated Legionella in human cells.


Infection of cultured human endothelial cells by Legionella pneumophila

Chiaraviglio L, Brown DA, Kirby JE.

Department of Pathology, Division of Cancer Biology and Angiogenesis, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

PLoS ONE. 2008 Apr 23;3(4):e2012.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is a gram-negative pathogen that causes a severe pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that L. pneumophila infects and grows within cultured human endothelial cells. Endothelial infection may contribute to lung damage observed during Legionnaires' disease and to systemic spread of this organism.


Replication of Legionella pneumophila in floating biofilms

Declerck P, Behets J, van Hoef V, Ollevier F.

Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Zoological Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Charles Deberiotstraat 32, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Curr Microbiol. 2007 Nov;55(5):435-40.

ABSTRACT: Biofilms are a major source of human pathogenic Legionella pneumophila in aquatic systems. In this study, we investigated the capacity of L. pneumophila to colonize floating biofilms and the impact of Acanthamoeba castellanii on the replication of biofilm-associated Legionella. Biofilms were grown in Petri dishes and consisted of Aeromonas hydrophila, Escherichia coli, Flavobacterium breve, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Six hours following inoculation, Legionella were detected in floating biofilms in mean concentrations of 1.4 x 10(4) cells/cm(2 )(real-time polymerase chain reaction) and 8.3 x 10(2) CFU/cm(2 )(culture). Two-way analysis of variance tests and fluorescent in situ hybridization clearly proved that increased biofilm-associated L. pneumophila concentrations were the result of intracellular replication in A. castellanii. Forty-eight hours after the introduction of A. castellanii in the Petri dishes, 90 +/- 0.8% of the amoebae (infection rate) were completely filled with highly metabolic active L. pneumophila (mean infection intensity).


Zinc-dependent cytoadherence of Legionella pneumophila to human alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Yaradou DF, Raze D, Ginevra C, Ader F, Doléans-Jordheim A, Vandenesch F, Menozzi FD, Etienne J, Jarraud S.

Université de Lyon, Lyon F-69008, France.

Microb Pathog. 2007 Nov-Dec;43(5-6):234-42.

ABSTRACT: Microbial adherence to host cells is an early key step in the establishment of infection. During the course of Legionnaire's disease, Legionella interactions with host cells are best documented for resident macrophages. However, L. pneumophila can also replicate within type I and type II pneumocytes, which cover almost the entire alveolar surface. In the presence of zinc, we observed a significant and concentration-dependent increase in L. pneumophila adherence to and invasion of type II pneumocytes. The zinc-dependent adherence mechanism seemed to be host-cell-independent, as a similar increase in cytoadherence was observed with macrophages. We also found that zinc-dependent adherence of L. pneumophila appears to involve recognition of zinc-binding pneumocyte receptors by a bacterial adhesin, and heparan-sulfated host cell receptors, but not type IV pili.


The secreted pyomelanin pigment of Legionella pneumophila confers ferric reductase activity

Chatfield CH, Cianciotto NP.

Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, 320 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611-3010, USA.

Infect Immun. 2007 Aug;75(8):4062-70.

ABSTRACT: The virulence of Legionella pneumophila is dependent upon its capacity to acquire iron. To identify genes involved in expression of its siderophore, we screened a mutagenized population of L. pneumophila for strains that were no longer able to rescue the growth of a ferrous transport mutant. However, an unusual mutant was obtained that displayed a strong inhibitory effect on the feoB mutant. Due to an insertion in hmgA that encodes homogentisate 1,2-dioxygenase, the mutant secreted increased levels of pyomelanin, the L. pneumophila pigment that is derived from secreted homogentisic acid (HGA). Thus, we hypothesized that L. pneumophila-secreted HGA-melanin has intrinsic ferric reductase activity, converting Fe(3+) to Fe(2+), but that hyperpigmentation results in excessive reduction of iron that can, in the case of the feoB mutant, be inhibitory to growth. In support of this hypothesis, we demonstrated, for the first time, that wild-type L. pneumophila secretes ferric reductase activity. Moreover, whereas the hyperpigmented mutant had increased secreted activity, an lly mutant specifically impaired for pigment production lacked the activity. Compatible with the nature of HGA-melanins, the secreted ferric reductase activity was positively influenced by the amount of tyrosine in the growth medium, resistant to protease, acid precipitable, and heterogeneous in size. Together, these data represent the first demonstration of pyomelanin-mediated ferric reduction by a pathogenic bacterium.


Survival of Mycobacterium avium, Legionella pneumophila, Escherichia coli, and caliciviruses in drinking water-associated biofilms grown under high-shear turbulent flow

Lehtola MJ, Torvinen E, Kusnetsov J, Pitkänen T, Maunula L, von Bonsdorff CH, Martikainen PJ, Wilks SA, Keevil CW, Miettinen IT.

Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, National Public Health Institute, Department of Environmental Health, P.O. Box 95, FI-70701 Kuopio, Finland.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 May;73(9):2854-9.

ABSTRACT: Most of the bacteria in drinking water distribution systems are associated with biofilms. In biofilms, their nutrient supply is better than in water, and biofilms can provide shelter against disinfection. We used a Propella biofilm reactor for studying the survival of Mycobacterium avium, Legionella pneumophila, Escherichia coli, and canine calicivirus (CaCV) (as a surrogate for human norovirus) in drinking water biofilms grown under high-shear turbulent-flow conditions. The numbers of M. avium and L. pneumophila were analyzed with both culture methods and with peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methods. Even though the numbers of pathogens in biofilms decreased during the experiments, M. avium and L. pneumophila survived in biofilms for more than 2 to 4 weeks in culturable forms. CaCV was detectable with a reverse transcription-PCR method in biofilms for more than 3 weeks. E. coli was detectable by culture for only 4 days in biofilms and 8 days in water, suggesting that it is a poor indicator of the presence of certain waterborne pathogens. With L. pneumophila and M. avium, culture methods underestimated the numbers of bacteria present compared to the FISH results. This study clearly proved that pathogenic bacteria entering water distribution systems can survive in biofilms for at least several weeks, even under conditions of high-shear turbulent flow, and may be a risk to water consumers. Also, considering the low number of virus particles needed to result in an infection, their extended survival in biofilms must be taken into account as a risk for the consumer.


Long-term survival of Legionella pneumophila associated with Acanthamoeba castellanii vesicles

Bouyer S, Imbert C, Rodier MH, Héchard Y.

Laboratoire de Parasitologie et Mycologie Médicale, CHU La Milétrie, 86021 Poitiers Cedex, France.

Environ Microbiol. 2007 May;9(5):1341-4.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease, is ubiquitously found in aquatic environments, associated with free living amoebae. Trophozoite forms of the genus Acanthamoeba have been shown to support the intracellular growth of Legionella while it has been proposed that cyst forms are related to survival in harsh environments. This underlines that amoebae are of primary importance in Legionella spreading. In this study, we followed the survival of L. pneumophila Lens over 6 months in a poor medium, with or without Acanthamoeba castellanii. The results demonstrated that L. pneumophila Lens could survive for at least 6 months in association with A. castellanii and that cultivable bacteria are to be found within expelled vesicles rather than within cysts. Our findings suggest that vesicles might be further studied in order to elucidate their production and their role in the environmental spreading of Legionella.


Acanthamoeba polyphaga resuscitates viable non-culturable Legionella pneumophila after disinfection

García MT, Jones S, Pelaz C, Millar RD, Abu Kwaik Y.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Environ Microbiol. 2007 May;9(5):1267-77.

ABSTRACT: Amoebae are the natural hosts for Legionella pneumophila and play essential roles in bacterial ecology and infectivity to humans. When L. pneumophila colonizes an aquatic installation, it can persist for years despite repeated treatments with disinfectants. We hypothesized that freshwater amoebae play an important role in bacterial resistance to disinfectants, and in subsequent resuscitation of viable non-culturable (VNC) L. pneumophila that results in re-emergence of the disease-causing strain in the disinfected water source. Our work showed that in the absence of Acanthamoeba polyphaga, seven L. pneumophila strains became non-culturable after treatment by 256 p.p.m. of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). In contrast, intracellular L. pneumophila within A. polyphaga was resistant to 1024 p.p.m. of NaOCl. In addition, L. pneumophila-infected A. polyphaga exhibited increased resistance to NaOCl. When chlorine-sterilized water samples were co-cultured with A. polyphaga, the non-culturable L. pneumophila were resuscitated and proliferated robustly within A. polyphaga. Upon treatment by NaOCl, uninfected amoebae differentiated into cysts within 48 h. In contrast, L. pneumophila-infected A. polyphaga failed to differentiate into cysts, and L. pneumophila was never detected in cysts of A. polyphaga. We conclude that amoebic trophozoites protect intracellular L. pneumophila from eradication by NaOCl, and play an essential role in resuscitation of VNC L. pneumophila in NaOCl-disinfected water sources. Intracellular L. pneumophila within trophozoites of A. polyphaga block encystation of the amoebae, and the resistance of both organisms to NaOCl is enhanced. To ensure long-term eradication and complete loss of the VNC state of L. pneumophila, we recommend that Legionella-protozoa co-culture should be an important tool to ensure complete loss of the VNC state of L. pneumophila.


Monitoring of biofilm-associated Legionella pneumophila on different substrata in model cooling tower system

Türetgen I, Cotuk A.

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Istanbul University, 34118 Vezneciler, Istanbul, Turkey.

Environ Monit Assess. 2007 Feb;125(1-3):271-9. 

ABSTRACT: Cooling towers have the potential to develop infectious concentrations of Legionella pneumophila. Legionella counts increases where biofilm and warm water temperatures are present. In this study, biofilm associated L. pneumophila and heterotrophic bacteria were compared in terms of material dependence. Model cooling tower system was experimentally infected by L. pneumophila standard strain and monthly monitored. Different materials were tested for a period of 180 days. The lowest L. pneumophila and heterotrophic plate counts were measured on plastic polymers, whereas L. pneumophila and heterotrophic bacteria were accumulated rapidly on galvanized steel surfaces. It can be concluded that selection of plastic polymers, as a manufacturing material, are suitable for recirculating water systems.


Introduction of a boost of Legionella pneumophila into a stagnant-water model by heat treatment

Vervaeren H, Temmerman R, Devos L, Boon N, Verstraete W.

Laboratory Microbial Ecology and Technology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Dec;58(3):583-92.

ABSTRACT: An environmentally representative stagnant-water model was developed to monitor the growth dynamics of Legionella pneumophila. This model was evaluated for three distinct water treatments: untreated tap water, heat-treated tap water, and heat-treated tap water supplemented with Pseudomonas putida, a known biofilm-forming bacterium. Bringing heat-treated tap water after subsequent cooling into contact with a densely formed untreated biofilm was found to promote the number of L. pneumophila by 4 log units within the biofilm, while the use of untreated water only sustained the L. pneumophila levels. Subsequent colonization of the water phase by L. pneumophila was noticed in the heat-treated stagnant-water models, with concentrations as high as 1 x 10(10) mip gene copies L(-1) stagnant water. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis in combination with clustering analysis of the prokaryotic community in the water phase and in the biofilm phase suggests that the different water treatments induced different communities. Moreover, boosts of L. pneumophila arising from heat treatment of water were accompanied by shifts to a more diverse eukaryotic community. Stimulated growth of L. pneumophila after heating of the water may explain the rapid recolonization of L. pneumophila in water systems. These results highlight the need for additional or alternative measures to heat treatment of water in order to prevent or abate potential outbreaks of L. pneumophila.


Cannabinoid treatment suppresses the T-helper cell-polarizing function of mouse dendritic cells stimulated with Legionella pneumophila infection

Lu T, Newton C, Perkins I, Friedman H, Klein TW.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, MDC 10 University of South Florida College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33612, USA.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006 Oct;319(1):269-76.

ABSTRACT: Marijuana cannabinoids, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinoid (THC), suppress type 1 T-helper 1 (Th1) immunity in a variety of models, including infection with the intracellular pathogen Legionella pneumophila (Lp). To examine the cellular mechanism of this effect, bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs) were purified from BALB/c mice and studied following infection and drug treatment. DCs infected in vitro with Lp were able to protect mice when injected prior to a lethal Lp infection; however, the immunization potential of the Lp-loaded cells along with Th1 cytokine production was attenuated by THC treatment at the time of in vitro infection. In addition, THC-treated and Lp-loaded DCs were poorly stimulated in culture-primed splenic CD4(+) T cells to produce interferon-gamma; however, this stimulating deficiency was reversed by adding recombinant interleukin (IL)-12p40 protein to the cultures. Moreover, THC treatment inhibited the expression of DC maturation markers, such as major histocompatibility complex class II and costimulatory molecules CD86 and CD40 as determined by flow cytometry and suppressed the Notch ligand, Del-ta4, as determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. However, THC treatment did not affect other DC functions, such as intracellular killing of Lp, determined by colony-forming unit counts of bacteria, and Lp-induced apoptosis, determined by annexin V staining. In conclusion, the data suggest that THC inhibits Th1 activation by targeting essential DC functions, such as IL-12p40 secretion, maturation, and expression of costimulatory and polarizing molecules.


Effective proliferation of low level Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 cells using coculture procedure with Acanthamoeba castellanii

Seno M, Sakaki M, Ogawa H, Matsuda H, Takeda Y.

Division of 1st Microbiology, Hiroshima Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environment, Minamimachi 1-6-29, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-0007, Japan.

J Microbiol Methods. 2006 Sep;66(3):564-7.

ABSTRACT: The multiplications of low level Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 cells by the coculture procedure with Acanthamoeba castellanii were tested in five strains. The cells in all strains proliferated effectively for isolating. This procedure might be a useful means of improving the successful isolation from environmental and clinical specimens of low level Legionella cells, and pursuing the source of infection.


Effect of flow regimes on the presence of Legionella within the biofilm of a model plumbing system

Liu Z, Lin YE, Stout JE, Hwang CC, Vidic RD, Yu VL.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Aug;101(2):437-42.

ABSTRACT: AIMS: Stagnation is widely believed to predispose water systems to colonization by Legionella. A model plumbing system was constructed to determine the effect of flow regimes on the presence of Legionella within microbial biofilms. METHODS AND RESULTS: The plumbing model contained three parallel pipes where turbulent, laminar and stagnant flow regimes were established. Four sets of experiments were carried out with Reynolds number from 10,000 to 40,000 and from 355 to 2,000 in turbulent and laminar pipes, respectively. Legionella counts recovered from biofilm and planktonic water samples of the three sampling pipes were compared with to determine the effect of flow regime on the presence of Legionella. Significantly higher colony counts of Legionella were recovered from the biofilm of the pipe with turbulent flow compared with the pipe with laminar flow. The lowest counts were in the pipe with stagnant flow. CONCLUSIONS: We were unable to demonstrate that stagnant conditions promoted Legionella colonization. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Plumbing modifications to remove areas of stagnation including deadlegs are widely recommended, but these modifications are tedious and expensive to perform. Controlled studies in large buildings are needed to validate this unproved hypothesis.


Mouse infection by Legionella, a model to analyze autophagy

Dubuisson JF, Swanson MS.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0620, USA.

Autophagy. 2006 Jul-Sep;2(3):179-82.

ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a conserved membrane traffic pathway that equips eukaryotic cells to capture cytoplasmic components within a double-membrane vacuole, or autophagosome, for delivery to lysosomes. Although best known as a mechanism to survive starvation, autophagy is now recognized to combat infection by a variety of microbes.(1-3) Not surprisingly, to establish a replication niche in host cells, some intracellular pathogens have acquired mechanisms either to evade or subvert the autophagic pathway. Because they are amenable to genetic manipulation, these microbes can be exploited as experimental tools to investigate the contribution of autophagy to immunity. Here we discuss the mouse macrophage response to L. pneumophila, the facultative intracellular bacterium responsible for an acute form of pneumonia, Legionnaire's disease.

Efficient transformation of Legionella pneumophila by high-voltage electroporation

Chen DQ, Huang SS, Lu YJ.

Department of Biochemistry and State Key Laboratory for Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen(Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou, China.

Microbiol Res. 2006;161(3):246-51.

ABSTRACT:A simple and reproducible method has been developed to transform Legionella pneumophila by electroporation. Effects of different conditions, including electric field strength, pulse length, DNA quality and cell density, were evaluated. Using our method, an efficiency of up to 6x10(7)transformants/mug DNA was obtained. This optimized transformation procedure should efficiently facilitate gene manipulations in L. pneumophila, such as plasmid transfer, transposon mutagenesis, library transformation for complementation cloning, etc.


Necrotrophic growth of Legionella pneumophila

Temmerman R, Vervaeren H, Noseda B, Boon N, Verstraete W.

Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jun;72(6):4323-8.

ABSTRACT: This study examined whether Legionella pneumophila is able to thrive on heat-killed microbial cells (necrotrophy) present in biofilms or heat-treated water systems. Quantification by means of plate counting, real-time PCR, and flow cytometry demonstrated necrotrophic growth of L. pneumophila in water after 96 h, when at least 100 dead cells are available to one L. pneumophila cell. Compared to the starting concentration of L. pneumophila, the maximum observed necrotrophic growth was 1.89 log units for real-time PCR and 1.49 log units for plate counting. The average growth was 1.57 +/- 0.32 log units (n = 5) for real-time PCR and 1.14 +/- 0.35 log units (n = 5) for plate counting. Viability staining and flow cytometry showed that the fraction of living cells in the L. pneumophila population rose from the initial 54% to 82% after 96 h. Growth was measured on heat-killed Pseudomonas putida, Escherichia coli, Acanthamoeba castellanii, Saccharomyces boulardii, and a biofilm sample. Gram-positive organisms did not result in significant growth of L. pneumophila, probably due to their robust cell wall structure. Although necrotrophy showed lower growth yields compared to replication within protozoan hosts, these findings indicate that it may be of major importance in the environmental persistence of L. pneumophila. Techniques aimed at the elimination of protozoa or biofilm from water systems will not necessarily result in a subsequent removal of L. pneumophila unless the formation of dead microbial cells is minimized.


Membrane vesicles shed by Legionella pneumophila inhibit fusion of phagosomes with lysosomes

Fernandez-Moreira E, Helbig JH, Swanson MS

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, 6734 Medical Sciences Building II, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0620, USA

Infect Immun. 2006 Jun;74(6):3285-95.

When cultured in broth to the transmissive phase, Legionella pneumophila infects macrophages by inhibiting phagosome maturation, whereas replicative-phase cells are transported to the lysosomes. Here we report that the ability of L. pneumophila to inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion correlated with developmentally regulated modifications of the pathogen's surface, as judged by its lipopolysaccharide profile and by its binding to a sialic acid-specific lectin and to the hydrocarbon hexadecane. Likewise, the composition of membrane vesicles shed by L. pneumophila was developmentally regulated, based on binding to the lectin and to the lipopolysaccharide-specific monoclonal antibody 3/1. Membrane vesicles were sufficient to inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion by a mechanism independent of type IV secretion, since only approximately 25% of beads suspended with or coated by vesicles from transmissive phase wild type or dotA secretion mutants colocalized with lysosomal probes, whereas approximately 75% of beads were lysosomal when untreated or presented with vesicles from the L. pneumophila letA regulatory mutant or E. coli. As observed previously for L. pneumophila infection of mouse macrophages, vesicles inhibited phagosome-lysosome fusion only temporarily; by 10 h after treatment with vesicles, macrophages delivered approximately 72% of ingested beads to lysosomes. Accordingly, in the context of the epidemiology of the pneumonia Legionnaires' disease and virulence mechanisms of Leishmania and Mycobacteria, we discuss a model here in which L. pneumophila developmentally regulates its surface composition and releases vesicles into phagosomes that inhibit their fusion with lysosomes.


Attachment and fusion of endoplasmic reticulum with vacuoles containing Legionella pneumophila

Robinson CG, Roy CR.

Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, 295 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.

Cell Microbiol. 2006 May;8(5):793-805.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is an intracellular pathogen that replicates in a unique vacuole that avoids endocytic maturation. Previous studies have shown host vesicles attached to the L. pneumophila-containing vacuole (LCV) minutes after uptake. Here we examine the origin and content of these vesicles by electron microscopy (EM). Our data demonstrate that the attached vesicles are derived from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) based the presence of the resident ER proteins glucose-6-phosphatase, protein disulphide isomerase (PDI) and proteins having the ER-retention signal lysine-aspartic acid-glutamic acid-leucine (KDEL). After tethering occurred, ER markers inside of attached vesicles were delivered into the lumen of the LCV, indicating ER fusion. Treatment of cells with brefeldin A did not interfere with the attachment of ER vesicles with the LCV, suggesting that tethering of these vesicles does not require activities mediated by ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF). ER vesicles were not tethered to the LCV in cells producing the Sar1H79G protein, indicating that vesicles produced by the Sar1/CopII system are necessary for vesicle attachment. From these data we conclude that formation of the organelle that supports L. pneumophila replication is a two-stage process that involves remodelling of the LCV by early secretory vesicles produced by the Sar1/CopII system, followed by attachment and fusion of ER.


Planktonic replication is essential for biofilm formation by Legionella pneumophila in a complex medium under static and dynamic flow conditions

Mampel J, Spirig T, Weber SS, Haagensen JA, Molin S, Hilbi H.

Institute of Microbiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Apr;72(4):2885-95.

Legionella pneumophila persists for a long time in aquatic habitats, where the bacteria associate with biofilms and replicate within protozoan predators. While L. pneumophila serves as a paradigm for intracellular growth within protozoa, it is less clear whether the bacteria form or replicate within biofilms in the absence of protozoa. In this study, we analyzed surface adherence of and biofilm formation by L. pneumophila in a rich medium that supported axenic replication. Biofilm formation by the virulent L. pneumophila strain JR32 and by clinical and environmental isolates was analyzed by confocal microscopy and crystal violet staining. Strain JR32 formed biofilms on glass surfaces and upright polystyrene wells, as well as on pins of "inverse" microtiter plates, indicating that biofilm formation was not simply due to sedimentation of the bacteria. Biofilm formation by an L. pneumophila fliA mutant lacking the alternative sigma factor sigma(28) was reduced, which demonstrated that bacterial factors are required. Accumulation of biomass coincided with an increase in the optical density at 600 nm and ceased when the bacteria reached the stationary growth phase. L. pneumophila neither grew nor formed biofilms in the inverse system if the medium was exchanged twice a day. However, after addition of Acanthamoeba castellanii, the bacteria proliferated and adhered to surfaces. Sessile (surface-attached) and planktonic (free-swimming) L. pneumophila expressed beta-galactosidase activity to similar extents, and therefore, the observed lack of proliferation of surface-attached bacteria was not due to impaired protein synthesis or metabolic activity. Cocultivation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)- and DsRed-labeled L. pneumophila led to randomly interspersed cells on the substratum and in aggregates, and no sizeable patches of clonally growing bacteria were observed. Our findings indicate that biofilm formation by L. pneumophila in a rich medium is due to growth of planktonic bacteria rather than to growth of sessile bacteria. In agreement with this conclusion, GFP-labeled L. pneumophila initially adhered in a continuous-flow chamber system but detached over time; the detachment correlated with the flow rate, and there was no accumulation of biomass. Under these conditions, L. pneumophila persisted in biofilms formed by Empedobacter breve or Microbacterium sp. but not in biofilms formed by Klebsiella pneumoniae or other environmental bacteria, suggesting that specific interactions between the bacteria modulate adherence.


Differences in protein synthesis between wild type and intracellular growth-deficient strains of Legionella pneumophila in U937 and Acanthamoeba polyphaga

Miyake M, Fukui T, Imai Y.

Department of Microbiology and COE Program in the 21st Century, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, 52-1 Yada, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka 422-8526, Japan.

Microb Pathog. 2006 Apr;40(4):161-70.

ABSTRACT: An important aspect of Legionnaires' disease is the growth of the causative agent, Legionella pneumophila, within infected host cells. Many proteins including stress proteins of L. pneumophila were strongly induced in a wild type strain that had been used to infect U937 human macrophage-like cells. In contrast, the expression of the proteins was much weaker within a protozoan host, Acanthamoeba polyphaga. The results suggested that active bacterial protein synthesis is required more within macrophages than within protozoa for adaptation of L. pneumophila to intracellular environments. The synthesis of these proteins was not observed in intracellular growth-deficient strains after infection in either type of host cells. The inability of protein synthesis in these strains is correlated with their inability of intracellular growth. Furthermore, on U937 infection, the synthesis of beta-galactosidase encoded in an inducible reporter construct immediately ceased in the in intracellular growth-deficient strains after infection, while the wild type strain was able to synthesize it during the course of infection. These results suggested that the intracellular growth of Legionella pneumophila within macrophages requires active protein synthesis from an earlier stage of bacterial infection.


Induction of apoptosis by Legionella pneumophila in mammalian cells requires the mitochondrial pathway for caspase activation

Fischer SF, Vier J, Muller-Thomas C, Hacker G.

Institute for Medical Microbiology, Technische Universitat Munchen, D-81675 Munich, Germany.

Microbes Infect. 2006 Mar;8(3):662-9.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila, the agent of human Legionnaire's disease is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium. During infection, the bacteria invade human cells and replicate intracellularly. L. pneumophila can induce apoptosis in human myeloid and epitheloid cells and this may contribute to the development of pathology and disease. However, the molecular mechanism of apoptosis induction is still uncertain. Here we investigate this process. Legionella efficiently induced apoptosis in myeloid cells, T cells and fibroblasts. Induction of apoptosis involved activation of the initiator caspase-9 and effector caspases. Caspase activity was required for cell death. Analysis of mutant cells showed that the death receptor pathway was not involved in Legionella-induced apoptosis. Surprisingly, caspase activity was found almost exclusively in cells that did not harbor bacteria. Infection with Legionella caused the activation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax and the release of cytochrome c. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts deficient for Bax and/or Bak were protected from Legionella-induced caspase activation. These results show a clear contribution of the mitochondrial pathway to Legionella-induced apoptosis.


Dictyostelium transcriptional host cell response upon infection with Legionella

Farbrother P, Wagner C, Na J, Tunggal B, Morio T, Urushihara H, Tanaka Y, Schleicher M, Steinert M, Eichinger L.

Institut fur Biochemie I, Medizinische Fakultat, Universitat zu Koln, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 52, D-50931 Cologne, Germany.

Cell Microbiol. 2006 Mar;8(3):438-56.

ABSTRACT: Differential gene expression of Dictyostelium discoideum after infection with Legionella pneumophila was investigated using DNA microarrays. Investigation of a 48 h time course of infection revealed several clusters of co-regulated genes, an enrichment of preferentially up- or downregulated genes in distinct functional categories and also showed that most of the transcriptional changes occurred 24 h after infection. A detailed analysis of the 24 h time point post infection was performed in comparison to three controls, uninfected cells and co-incubation with Legionella hackeliae and L. pneumophilaDeltadotA. One hundred and thirty-one differentially expressed D. discoideum genes were identified as common to all three experiments and are thought to be involved in the pathogenic response. Functional annotation of the differentially regulated genes revealed that apart from triggering a stress response Legionella apparently not only interferes with intracellular vesicle fusion and destination but also profoundly influences and exploits the metabolism of its host. For some of the identified genes, e.g. rtoA involvement in the host response has been demonstrated in a recent study, for others such a role appears plausible. The results provide the basis for a better understanding of the complex host-pathogen interactions and for further studies on the Dictyostelium response to Legionella infection.


Temperature-regulated formation of mycelial mat-like biofilms by Legionella pneumophila

Piao Z, Sze CC, Barysheva O, Iida K, Yoshida S.

Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Feb;72(2):1613-22.

ABSTRACT: Fifty strains representing 38 species of the genus Legionella were examined for biofilm formation on glass, polystyrene, and polypropylene surfaces in static cultures at 25 degrees C, 37 degrees C, and 42 degrees C. Strains of Legionella pneumophila, the most common causative agent of Legionnaires' disease, were found to have the highest ability to form biofilms among the test strains. The quantity, rate of formation, and adherence stability of L. pneumophila biofilms showed considerable dependence on both temperature and surface material. Glass and polystyrene surfaces gave between two- to sevenfold-higher yields of biofilms at 37 degrees C or 42 degrees C than at 25 degrees C; conversely, polypropylene surface had between 2 to 16 times higher yields at 25 degrees C than at 37 degrees C or 42 degrees C. On glass surfaces, the biofilms were formed faster but attached less stably at 37 degrees C or 42 degrees C than at 25 degrees C. Both scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that biofilms formed at 37 degrees C or 42 degrees C were mycelial mat like and were composed of filamentous cells, while at 25 degrees C, cells were rod shaped. Planktonic cells outside of biofilms or in shaken liquid cultures were rod shaped. Notably, the filamentous cells were found to be multinucleate and lacking septa, but a recA null mutant of L. pneumophila was unaffected in its temperature-regulated filamentation within biofilms. Our data also showed that filamentous cells were able to rapidly give rise to a large number of short rods in a fresh liquid culture at 37 degrees C. The possibility of this biofilm to represent a novel strategy by L. pneumophila to compete for proliferation among the environmental microbiota is discussed.


Population diversity in model potable water biofilms receiving chlorine or chloramine residual

Williams MM, Santo Domingo JW, Meckes MC.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Biofouling. 2005;21(5):279-88.

ABSTRACT: Most water utilities use chlorine or chloramine to produce potable water. These disinfecting agents react with water to produce residual oxidants within a water distribution system (WDS) to control bacterial growth. While monochloramine is considered more stable than chlorine, little is known about the effect it has on WDS biofilms. Community structure of 10-week old WDS biofilms exposed to disinfectants was assessed after developing model biofilms from unamended distribution water. Four biofilm types were developed on polycarbonate slides within annular reactors while receiving chlorine, chloramine, or inactivated disinfectant residual. Eubacteria were identified through 16S rDNA sequence analysis. The model WDS biofilm exposed to chloramine mainly contained Mycobacterium and Dechloromonas sequences, while a variety of alpha- and additional beta-proteobacteria dominated the 16S rDNA clone libraries in the other three biofilms. Additionally, bacterial clones distantly related to Legionella were found in one of the biofilms receiving water with inactivated chlorine residual. The biofilm reactor receiving chloraminated water required increasing amounts of disinfectant after 2 weeks to maintain chlorine residual. In contrast, free chlorine residual remained steady in the reactor that received chlorinated water. The differences in bacterial populations of potable water biofilms suggest that disinfecting agents can influence biofilm development. These results also suggest that biofilm communities in distribution systems are capable of changing in response to disinfection practices.


Impact of Non-Legionella Bacteria on the Uptake and Intracellular Replication of Legionella pneumophila in Acanthamoeba castellanii and Naegleria lovaniensis

Declerck P, Behets J, Delaedt Y, Margineanu A, Lammertyn E, Ollevier F.

Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Zoological Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Charles De Beriotstraat 32, 3000, Louvain, Belgium.

Microb Ecol. 2005 Nov;50(4):536-49.

ABSTRACT: In aquatic environments, Legionella pneumophila survives, in association with other bacteria, within biofilms by multiplying in free-living amoebae. The precise mechanisms underlying several aspects of the uptake and intracellular replication of L. pneumophila in amoebae, especially in the presence of other bacteria, remain unknown. In the present study, we examined the competitive effect of selected non-Legionella bacteria (Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Flavobacterium breve, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) on the uptake of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 by the amoebae Acanthamoeba castellanii and Naegleria lovaniensis. We also investigated their possible influence on the intracellular replication of L. pneumophila in both amoeba species. Our results showed that the non-Legionella bacteria did not compete with L. pneumophila for uptake, suggesting that the amoeba hosts took in L. pneumophila through a specific and presumably highly efficient uptake mechanism. Living and heat-inactivated P. aeruginosa best supported the replication of L. pneumophila in N. lovaniensis and A. castellanii, respectively, whereas for both amoeba species, E. coli yielded the lowest number of replicated L. pneumophila. Furthermore, microscopic examination showed that 100% of the A. castellanii and only 2% of the N. lovaniensis population were infected with L. pneumophila at the end of the experiment. This study clearly shows the influence of some non-Legionella bacteria on the intracellular replication of L. pneumophila in A. castellanii and N. lovaniensis. It also demonstrates the different abilities of the two tested amoeba species to serve as a proper host for the replication and distribution of the human pathogen in man-made aquatic environments such as cooling towers, shower heads, and air conditioning systems with potential serious consequences for human health.


Isolation and characterization of a Staphylococcus warneri strain producing an anti-Legionella peptide

Hechard Y, Ferraz S, Bruneteau E, Steinert M, Berjeaud JM.

Equipe de Microbiologie, Laboratoire de Chimie de l'Eau et de l'Environnement, UMR CNRS 6008, Universite de Poitiers, 40 Avenue du Recteur Pineau, 86022 Poitiers, France.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Nov 1;252(1):19-23.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is a pathogenic bacterium found in freshwater environments that is responsible for pneumonia. People become infected through inhalation of contaminated droplets from water devices, such as cooling towers and showers. It is important to find new treatments that decrease the development of Legionella. We found a Staphylococcus warneri strain that inhibits Legionella growth. This activity is due to a molecule secreted by S. warneri. This molecule displayed a high heat-stability and its activity was lost after protease treatments, suggesting that it might be a bacteriocin. Its purification led us to conclude that this anti-Legionella molecule is an highly hydrophobic peptide. It has an original and very specific spectrum of activity, directed only toward the Legionella genus. This is the first description of an antibacterial peptide active against Legionella.


Epigallocatechin gallate modulates cytokine production by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide or muramyldipeptide, or infected with Legionella pneumophila

Rogers J, Perkins I, van Olphen A, Burdash N, Klein TW, Friedman H.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2005 Oct;230(9):645-51.

ABSTRACT: The primary polyphenol in green tea extract is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Various studies have shown significant suppressive effects of catechin on mammalian cells, either tumor or normal cells, including lymphoid cells. Previous studies from this laboratory reported that EGCG has marked suppressive activity on murine macrophages infected with the intracellular bacterium Legionella pneumophila (Lp), an effect mediated by enhanced production of both tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and gamma-interferon (IFN-gamma). In the present study, primary murine bone marrow (BM)-derived dendritic cells (DCs), a phagocytic monocytic cell essential for innate immunity to intracellular microorganisms, such as Lp, were stimulated in vitro with the microbial stimulant lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from gram-negative bacteria, the cell wall component from gram-positive bacteria muramyldipeptide (MDP) or infected with Lp. Production of the T helper cell (Th1)-activating cytokine, interleukin-12 (IL-12) and the proinflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha),produced mainly by phagocytic cells and important for antimicrobial immunity, was determined in cell culture supernatants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Treatment of the cells with EGCG inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, production of IL-12. In contrast, enhanced production of TNF-alpha occurred in a dose-dependent manner in the DC cultures stimulated with either soluble bacterial product or infected with Lp. Thus, the results of this study show that the EGCG catechin has a marked effect in modulating production of these immunoregulatory cytokines in stimulated DCs, which are important for antimicrobial immunity, especially innate immunity. Further studies are necessary to characterize the physiologic function of the effect of EGCG on TNF-alpha and IL-12 during Lp infection, and the mechanisms involved.


Legionella pneumophila associated with the protozoan Hartmannella vermiformis in a model multi-species biofilm has reduced susceptibility to disinfectants

Donlan RM, Forster T, Murga R, Brown E, Lucas C, Carpenter J, Fields B.

Epidemiology and Laboratory Branch, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta 30333, USA.

Biofouling. 2005;21(1):1-7.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila will infect biofilm-associated protozoa, and in this way might be protected from disinfectants in potable water systems. A base biofilm containing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Flavobacterium spp. was grown on steel coupons in potable water prior to the addition of L. pneumophila and the protozoan H. vermiformis. After 7 d, coupons were removed and treated with 0.5 mgl(-1) free residual chlorine (FRC) or 0.5 mgl(-1) monochloramine (MCA) for 15, 60, or 180 min or 24 h. In a second experiment, only L. pneumophila and the base biofilm organisms were present but with an identical treatment protocol. Treatment of L. pneumophila for 180 min in a system without H. vermiformis resulted in log reductions of 2.07 and 2.11 for FRC and MCA, respectively. When H. vermiformis was present, however, the treatment resulted in log reductions of 0.67 and 0.81 for FRC and MCA, respectively. A similar pattern was observed for 15 and 60 min contact times. These results indicate that L. pneumophila was less susceptible to MCA or FRC when associated with biofilm-associated H. vermiformis in a model potable water biofilm.


Induction of protective immunity by Legionella pneumophila flagellum in an A/J mouse model

Ricci ML, Torosantucci A, Scaturro M, Chiani P, Baldassarri L, Pastoris MC.

Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Roma, Italy.

Vaccine. 2005 Sep 23;23(40):4811-20.

ABSTRACT: The capacity of a purified preparation of Legionella pneumophila flagella (FLA) to induce protective immune responses was studied in an A/J mouse model. Animals immunized with FLA promptly mounted an anti-FLA antibody response and also developed a strong activation of both innate and adaptive cell-mediated immunity, as shown by an early release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the peritoneal cavity, and by a positive cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction and in vitro splenic lymphocyte proliferation in response to FLA antigens. Mice treated with FLA either i.v. or i.p. also survived (100% rate) a lethal i.p. challenge with L. pneumophila. Protection induced by FLA lasted for at least 30 days after treatment, but less than 60, and was effective against the challenge with different serogroups of L. pneumophila. Resistance conferred by FLA immunization could be partially transferred to naive animals by the adoptive transfer of immune splenocytes but not by passive immunization with anti-FLA iperimmune sera. The capacity to induce protective immunity was specifically attributable to flagellar components, as demonstrated by the lack of protection in mice immunized with a sham flagella preparation from a non-flagellated bacterial strain or with protease-digested FLA. In addition, heat-denatured FLA was inactive, suggesting loss of immunogenicity following denaturation. The present study provides evidence that L. pneumophila flagellum is strongly immunogenic and capable to stimulate, without adjuvants, early natural and acquired, T-cell-mediated immune responses and to induce significant protection against a lethal bacterial challenge in A/J mice. Antigenic characterization of this bacterial organelle and elucidation of mechanisms underlying flagella-induced protection would be of great value in understanding the immunopathogenesis of the disease and in developing possible therapeutic strategies for human legionellosis.


Specificity of Legionella pneumophila and Coxiella burnetii vacuoles and versatility of Legionella pneumophila revealed by coinfection

Sauer JD, Shannon JG, Howe D, Hayes SF, Swanson MS, Heinzen RA.

Laboratory of Intracellular Parasites, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 903 S. 4th St., Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.

Infect Immun. 2005 Aug;73(8):4494-504.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila and Coxiella burnetii are phylogenetically related intracellular bacteria that cause aerosol-transmitted lung infections. In host cells both pathogens proliferate in vacuoles whose biogenesis displays some common features. To test the functional similarity of their respective intracellular niches, African green monkey kidney epithelial (Vero) cells, A/J mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages, human macrophages, and human dendritic cells (DC) containing mature C. burnetii replication vacuoles were superinfected with L. pneumophila, and then the acidity, lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP) content, and cohabitation of mature replication vacuoles was assessed. In all cell types, wild-type L. pneumophila occupied distinct vacuoles in close association with acidic, LAMP-positive C. burnetii replication vacuoles. In murine macrophages, but not primate macrophages, DC, or epithelial cells, L. pneumophila replication vacuoles were acidic and LAMP positive. Unlike wild-type L. pneumophila, type IV secretion-deficient dotA mutants trafficked to lysosome-like C. burnetii vacuoles in Vero cells where they survived but failed to replicate. In primate macrophages, DC, or epithelial cells, growth of L. pneumophila was as robust in superinfected cell cultures as in those singly infected. Thus, despite their noted similarities, L. pneumophila and C. burnetii are exquisitely adapted for replication in unique replication vacuoles, and factors that maintain the C. burnetii replication vacuole do not alter biogenesis of an adjacent L. pneumophila replication vacuole. Moreover, L. pneumophila can replicate efficiently in either lysosomal vacuoles of A/J mouse cells or in nonlysosomal vacuoles of primate cells.


Biofilm formation and multiplication of Legionella in a model warm water system with pipes of copper, stainless steel and cross-linked polyethylene

van der Kooij D, Veenendaal HR, Scheffer WJ.

Kiwa Water Research, Groningenhaven 7, P.O. Box 1074, 3430 BB NIEUWEGEIN, The Netherlands.

Water Res. 2005 Aug;39(13):2789-98.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila was grown in a model warm water system with pipes of copper (Cu), stainless steel (SS) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) during recirculation of tap water at 25--35 degrees C. Subsequently, domestic use of warm (37 degrees C) water was simulated using tap water with a low AOC concentration (<10 microg C/L). Two times each week the temperature of the water in the electric heaters (not in the pipes) was elevated to 70 degrees C for 30 min. ATP concentrations in the water sampled from the pipes over a 2-year period were significantly different for the pipe materials, with median values of 2.1 ng/l (Cu), 2.5 ng/l (SS) and 4.5 ng/l (PEX), respectively. Median values of the biofilm concentration were similar on Cu and SS (about 630 pg ATP/cm(2)) and 1870 pg ATP/cm(2) on PEX. Legionella multiplied in these biofilms and median values of Legionella concentrations in water were 1500 CFU/l (Cu) and about 4300 CFU/l for SS and PEX. Legionella to ATP ratios in water had median values of about 0.8 CFU/pg. Hot water flushing (70 degrees C) of the pipes on day 552, followed by 2 weeks of recirculation at 37 degrees C, caused strongly increased concentrations of ATP (up to 300 ng/l) and Legionella (>10(7)CFU/l), with about 100 CFU/pg ATP. Concentrations declined to original levels within 1 week of domestic water use, etc. Legionella concentrations in water and biofilms were at the same levels for all materials after 2 years. Hence, copper temporarily limited the growth of Legionella under the applied conditions and a rapid biomass development strongly increased the Legionella to ATP ratio.


Pharmacodynamic studies of moxifloxacin and erythromycin against intracellular Legionella pneumophila in an in vitro kinetic model

Tano E, Cars O, Lowdin E.

Section of Clinical Bacteriology, Antibiotic Research Unit, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Jul;56(1):240-2.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Newer quinolones are highly active against Legionella pneumophila. Since this pathogen is intracellular, standard in vitro susceptibility tests may not accurately predict clinical efficacy. Few models for studies of intracellular Legionella have been described. In this study, we determined the pharmacodynamic activity of moxifloxacin against intracellular L. pneumophila in comparison with erythromycin. METHODS: A kinetic model for intracellular studies was constructed in which human pharmacokinetics could be simulated. The model consisted of a glass chamber with two exits and a metal rack fitting cell culture inserts. The inserts had a bottom membrane where cells could be cultured while nutrients and antibiotics passed through. The inserts were prepared with a monolayer of HEp-2 cells, which were exposed to a culture of L. pneumophila. At regular intervals cells were harvested and lysed, viable intracellular bacteria counted and compared with untreated controls. RESULTS: The MICs were 0.0156 mg/L for moxifloxacin and 0.5 mg/L for erythromycin. The human pharmacokinetics were simulated in the model with a mean initial antibiotic concentration of 2.4 mg/L for moxifloxacin and 8.4 mg/L for erythromycin. The mean half-life was 9 h for moxifloxacin and 3.4 h for erythromycin. At 12 h, a 2 log(10) reduction in bacterial counts was seen in cells treated with moxifloxacin and no regrowth was detected at 24 h. Cells treated with erythromycin showed no reduction in intracellular L. pneumophilia at 12 h or 24 h. In experiments using static concentrations of 9 mg/L of erythromycin, similar results were obtained. CONCLUSIONS: In this model, moxifloxacin exerts a significantly better antibacterial effect against intracellular L. pneumophila compared with erythromycin.


Dynamic properties of Legionella-containing phagosomes in Dictyostelium amoebae

Lu H, Clarke M.

Program in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK 73121, USA.

Cell Microbiol. 2005 Jul;7(7):995-1007.

ABSTRACT: Summary The natural hosts of the bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila are amoebae and protozoa. In these hosts, as in human macrophages, the pathogen enters the cell through phagocytosis, then rapidly modifies the phagosome to create a compartment that supports its replication. We have examined L. pneumophila entry and behaviour during early stages of the infection of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae. Bacteria were labelled with a red fluorescent marker, and selected proteins and organelles in the host were labelled with GFP, allowing the dynamics and interactions of L. pneumophila -containing phagosomes to be tracked in living cells. These studies demonstrated that entry of L. pneumophila is an actin-mediated process, that the actin-binding protein coronin surrounds the nascent phagosome but dissociates immediately after internalization, that ER membrane is not incorporated into a phagosome during uptake, that the newly internalized phagosome is rapidly transported about the cell on microtubules, that association of ER markers with the phagosome occurs in two steps that correlate with distinct changes in phagosome movement, and that the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase does not associate with mature replication vacuoles. These studies have clarified certain aspects of the infection process and provided new insights into the dynamic interactions between the pathogen and its host. 


Legionella pneumophila evades gamma interferon-mediated growth suppression through interleukin-10 induction in bone marrow-derived macrophages

Yoshizawa S, Tateda K, Matsumoto T, Gondaira F, Miyazaki S, Standiford TJ, Yamaguchi K.

Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Toho University School of Medicine, 5-21-16 Ohmorinishi, Ohtaku, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan.

Infect Immun. 2005 May;73(5):2709-17.

ABSTRACT: We examined the roles of Th1-Th2 cytokine cross talk in Legionella pneumophila-infected bone marrow-derived (BM) macrophages in the presence of costimulation with interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-18. Treatment with gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) alone or treatment with IL-12 in combination with IL-18 resulted in a 3- or 2-log reduction in bacterial numbers, respectively, in BM macrophages, whereas treatment with IL-12 or IL-18 alone had no effect. Significant amounts of IFN-gamma were detected in the culture supernatants of infected macrophages stimulated with IL-12 and IL-18 in combination but not independently. Neutralization of IFN-gamma by antibody completely abolished the growth inhibitory effects of IL-12 and IL-18. Interestingly, higher infectivity ratios of L. pneumophila or the addition of increasing concentrations of heat-killed bacteria (HKB) suppressed the production of IFN-gamma, which resulted in the increased intracellular growth of bacteria. Significant amounts of IL-10 were detected in culture supernatants when Legionella-infected macrophages were cocultured with HKB. Furthermore, neutralization of IL-10 by antibody resulted in an increase in IFN-gamma production by infected BM macrophages when cocultured with HKB. Treatment of HKB with trypsin but not polymyxin B attenuated the growth-promoting effects of HKB, suggesting the involvement of a protein component(s) in regulation of the growth of L. pneumophila. These findings demonstrate a crucial role of Th1-Th2 cross talk in L. pneumophila-infected BM macrophages. Our results also suggest that L. pneumophila modulates the cytokine balance from IFN-gamma-driven Th1 to more Th2 responses, likely through the induction of IL-10 by a bacterial protein component(s). These data provide new insights not only into the cellular mechanisms of Th1-Th2 cross talk in Legionella-infected macrophages but also into the pathogenesis of L. pneumophila pneumonia in humans.


Comparative antimicrobial characterization of LBM415 (NVP PDF-713), a new peptide deformylase inhibitor of clinical importance

Fritsche TR, Sader HS, Cleeland R, Jones RN.

The JONES Group/JMI Laboratories, Inc., 345 Beaver Kreek Centre, Suite A, North Liberty, Iowa 52317, USA.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Apr;49(4):1468-76.

ABSTRACT: LBM415 (NVP PDF-713) is the first member of the peptide deformylase (PDF) inhibitor class being developed for clinical trials as a parenteral and oral agent for treatment of community-acquired respiratory tract disease and serious infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant gram-positive cocci. In this study susceptibility testing results from 1,306 recent clinical isolates selected to over-represent resistance trends among the species were summarized. All staphylococci (153 strains; MIC at which 90% of isolates were inhibited [MIC90], 2 microg/ml), Streptococcus pneumoniae (170 strains; MIC90, 1 microg/ml), other streptococci (150 strains; MIC90, 1 microg/ml), enterococci (104 strains; MIC90, 4 microg/ml), Moraxella catarrhalis (103 strains; MIC90, 0.5 microg/ml), and Legionella pneumophila (50 strains; MIC90, 0.12 microg/ml) were inhibited at < or = 8 microg of LBM415/ml, as were 97% of Haemophilus influenzae isolates (300 strains; MIC90, 4 to 8 microg/ml). Among other bacterial groups, 100% of gram-positive and -negative anaerobes, including 22 Bacteroides spp. strains (31 strains total; MIC90, 1 microg/ml), were inhibited by < or = 4 microg/ml, whereas Enterobacteriaceae (112 strains) and most nonfermentative bacilli (107 strains) were not inhibited at readily achievable concentrations. The compound was found to have a dominantly bacteriostatic action, and spontaneous single-step mutational rates occurred at low levels (10(-6) to <10(-8)). Drug interaction studies failed to identify any class-specific synergistic interactions, nor were antagonistic interactions observed. Variations in broth and agar MIC test conditions demonstrated that, whereas the agar-based method trended towards a 1-log2 dilution-higher MIC than the broth method and was inoculum dependent, other variations in incubation environment, medium supplements, pH, or calcium concentration had little influence on LBM415 MIC results. Use of the efflux inhibitor phe-arg-beta-naphthylamide showed an average of 1 log2 dilution decrease in H. influenzae MICs, demonstrating the contribution of efflux pumps in influencing susceptibility to PDF inhibitors. The in vitro activity of LBM415 against targeted bacterial species, including resistant subsets, and other laboratory characteristics of this novel compound demonstrate the potential of PDF inhibitors as a new class of antimicrobial agents.


The fabrication of protein chip based on surface plasmon resonance for detection of pathogens

Oh BK, Lee W, Chun BS, Bae YM, Lee WH, Choi JW.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Sogang University, 1 Shinsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-742, Republic of Korea.

Biosens Bioelectron. 2005 Mar 15;20(9):1847-50.

ABSTRACT: Protein chip based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) was developed for detection of pathogens existing in contaminated environment, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Legionella pneumophila, and Yersinia enterocolitica. Protein G was immobilized to endow the orientation of antibody molecules on the SPR surface. The pathogen binding of the protein chip was investigated by SPR spectroscopy. Consequently, it was found that the four kinds of pathogen could be selectively detected by using SPR-based protein chip.


The amoebae plate test implicates a paralogue of lpxB in the interaction of Legionella pneumophila with Acanthamoeba castellanii

Albers U, Reus K, Shuman HA, Hilbi H.

Institute of Microbiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Wolfgang-Pauli Str. 10, HCI G405, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

Microbiology. 2005 Jan;151(Pt 1):167-82.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is a bacterial parasite of freshwater amoebae which also grows in alveolar macrophages and thus causes the potentially fatal pneumonia Legionnaires' disease. Intracellular growth within amoebae and macrophages is mechanistically similar and requires the Icm/Dot type IV secretion system. This paper reports the development of an assay, the amoebae plate test (APT), to analyse growth of L. pneumophila wild-type and icm/dot mutant strains spotted on agar plates in the presence of Acanthamoeba castellanii. In the APT, wild-type L. pneumophila formed robust colonies even at high dilutions, icmT, -R, -P or dotB mutants failed to grow, and icmS or -G mutants were partially growth defective. The icmS or icmG mutant strains were used to screen an L. pneumophila chromosomal library for genes that suppress the growth defect in the presence of the amoebae. An icmS suppressor plasmid was isolated that harboured the icmS and flanking icm genes, indicating that this plasmid complements the intracellular growth defect of the mutant. In contrast, different icmG suppressor plasmids rendered the icmG mutant more cytotoxic for A. castellanii without enhancing intracellular multiplication in amoebae or RAW264.7 macrophages. Deletion of individual genes in the suppressor plasmids inserts identified lcs (Legionella cytotoxic suppressor) -A, -B, -C and -D as being required for enhanced cytotoxicity of an icmG mutant strain. The corresponding proteins show sequence similarity to hydrolases, NlpD-related metalloproteases, lipid A disaccharide synthases and ABC transporters, respectively. Overexpression of LcsC, a putative paralogue of the lipid A disaccharide synthase LpxB, increased cytotoxicity of an icmG mutant but not that of other icm/dot or rpoS mutant strains against A. castellanii. Based on sequence comparison and chromosomal location, lcsB and lcsC probably encode enzymes involved in cell wall maintenance and peptidoglycan metabolism. The APT established here may prove useful to identify other bacterial factors relevant for interactions with amoeba hosts.


Phylogenetic characterization of Legionella-like endosymbiotic X-bacteria in Amoeba proteus: a proposal for 'Candidatus Legionella jeonii' sp. Nov

Park M, Yun ST, Kim MS, Chun J, Ahn TI.

School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University , Seoul 151-742, Korea.

Environ Microbiol. 2004 Dec;6(12):1252-63.

ABSTRACT: The X-bacteria which initiated organismic association with the D strain of Amoeba proteus in 1966 as parasites have changed to obligate endosymbionts on which the host depends for survival. Owing to the difficulty in cultivating the bacteria in vitro, the identity of X-bacteria has not been determined. As the life cycle of X-bacteria is similar to that of Legionella spp. in soil amoebae, we applied the polymerase chain reaction method with specific primers aimed at Legionella spp. for the detection and cloning of 16S rRNA gene. The identity and intracellular localization of the endosymbiont were confirmed by the application of a specific fluorescently labelled 16S rRNA-targeted probe. In addition we cloned RNA polymerase beta-subunit gene (rpoB) of X-bacteria by genomic library tagging. A phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene placed the bacterium within a unique monophyletic group containing all other members of the genus Legionella. Phylogeny from rpoB and mip genes further confirmed the taxonomic context of X-bacteria to be a Legionella sp. In all three phylogenic analyses, X-bacterium was placed apart from Legionella-like amoebal pathogens present in soil amoebae. Thus, we propose the name 'Candidatus Legionella jeonii' sp. nov. for the endosymbiotic X-bacteria in Amoeba proteus.


Protective effects of green tea catechins on alveolar macrophages against bacterial infections

Yamamoto Y, Matsunaga K, Friedman H.

Department of Basic Laboratory Sciences, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita 565-0871, Japan.

Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):119-21.

ABSTRACT: Bacterial pneumonia in immunocompromised patients as well as elderly persons often becomes a life threatening disease, even when effective antibiotics are used extensively. In addition, the appearance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in medical facilities as well as in patients requires another approach to treat such patients besides treatment with antibiotics. In this regard, green tea catechins, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), may be one of the potential agents for such purpose due to its possible potential immunomodulatory as well as antimicrobial activity. The studies by us showed that EGCg enhanced the in vitro resistance of alveolar macrophages to Legionella pneumophila infection by selective immunomodulatory effects on cytokine formation. Furthermore, the tobacco smoking-induced impairment of alveolar macrophages regarding antibacterial as well as immune activity was also recovered by EGCg treatment. These results indicate that EGCg may be a possible potential immunotherapeutic agent against respiratory infections in immunocompromised patients, such as heavy smokers.  


Legioliulin, a new isocoumarin compound responsible for blue-white autofluorescence in Legionella (Fluoribacter) dumoffii under long-wavelength UV light

Amemura-Maekawa J, Hayakawa Y, Sugie H, Moribayashi A, Kura F, Chang B, Wada A, Watanabe H.

Department of Bacteriology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Oct 22;323(3):954-9.

ABSTRACT: Legionella dumoffii is one of the causative agents of Legionnaires' disease. There are 50 species in the genus Legionella, of which 10 species including L. dumoffii are known to exhibit uncharacterized blue-white autofluorescence. We constructed an L. dumoffii strain that exhibited a high intensity blue-white fluorescence, isolated a fluorescent pigment from the strain, and determined its molecular formula to be C(19)H(14)O(3) by high-resolution mass spectrometry. An NMR analysis revealed that this was a new isocoumarin compound, which was named legioliulin.


Calnexin, calreticulin and cytoskeleton-associated proteins modulate uptake and growth of Legionella pneumophila in Dictyostelium discoideum

Fajardo M, Schleicher M, Noegel A, Bozzaro S, Killinger S, Heuner K, Hacker J, Steinert M.

Institut fur Molekulare Infektionsbiologie, Universitat Wurzburg, Rontgenring 11, D-97070 Wurzburg, Germany.

Microbiology. 2004 Sep;150(Pt 9):2825-35.

ABSTRACT: The haploid amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is a versatile host system for studying cellular aspects of Legionella pathogenicity. Previous studies have shown that the internalization of L. pneumophila leads to an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived organelle that supports intracellular replication of the bacteria. In this study a roadmap of host-cell factors involved in this process was developed. Phagocytosis assays with specific cellular inhibitors and the effects of well defined host-cell mutants revealed that cytoplasmic calcium levels, cytoskeleton-associated proteins and the calcium-binding proteins of the ER, calreticulin and calnexin, specifically influence the uptake and intracellular growth of L. pneumophila. Confocal microscopic time series with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged calnexin and calreticulin demonstrated the accumulation of both proteins in the phagocytic cup of L. pneumophila-infected host cells. In contrast to the control experiment with Escherichia coli-containing phagosomes, both proteins decorated the replicative vacuole of L. pneumophila during the entire growth phase of the bacteria. The cumulative effects of cytosolic calcium levels, the spatial distribution of calnexin and calreticulin, and the defective invasion and replication of L. pneumophila in calnexin- and calreticulin-minus cells suggest that these factors are part of a regulatory system that leads to the specific vacuole of L. pneumophila.


Legionella-induced acute lung injury in the setting of hyperoxia: protective role of tumour necrosis factor-alpha

Nara C, Tateda K, Matsumoto T, Ohara A, Miyazaki S, Standiford TJ, Yamaguchi K.

Department of Microbiology, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan.

J Med Microbiol. 2004 Aug;53(Pt 8):727-33.

ABSTRACT: Among the main characteristics of Legionella pneumophila pneumonia are acute lung injury and severe hypoxemia. Although high oxygen supplementation is a valuable supportive therapy in these patients, oxygen itself is known to be a risk factor for acute lung injury. The effects of hyperoxia on lung injury of mice with Legionella pneumonia were examined. Hyperoxia treatment reduced survival of the infected mice in an oxygen concentration- and exposure time-dependent manner. The enhanced lethality was associated with an increase in total lung weight and apoptosis markers, but not with bacterial burden in the lungs. Hyperoxia decreased the levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) in infected lungs. Exogenous tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) improved the survival of infected mice kept under hyperoxia. TNF-alpha effects were associated with restoration of total lung weight and histone DNA and GSH levels on day 2, whereas the lung bacterial burden did not differ significantly. Moreover, upregulation of GSH by TNF-alpha was observed in the lungs of mice without infection. These results demonstrate that hyperoxia exacerbates L. pneumophila pneumonia. The data suggest that TNF-alpha may be a potential therapeutic candidate for these individuals, not only through modulating host antibacterial systems, but also by mediating induction of the antioxidant GSH.


Cannabinoid receptors and T helper cells

Klein TW, Newton C, Larsen K, Chou J, Perkins I, Lu L, Nong L, Friedman H.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Florida , 12901 Bruce Downs Boulevard , Tampa , FL 33612 , USA.

J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Feb;147(1-2):91-4.

ABSTRACT: We have reported that injection of marijuana cannabinoids, such as Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), into mice, followed by infection with Legionella pneumophila (Lp), suppresses the development of cell-mediated immunity T helper 1 (Th1) activity. These effects are accompanied by suppression of interleukin (IL)-12 and interferon (IFN) gamma production and enhancement of IL-4 production suggesting THC-induced T helper cell biasing. In the current report, other T helper cell biasing mechanisms were studied. Mice were injected with THC followed 18 h later by a challenge infection with Lp. Two-hour post-infection, spleens were removed and analyzed for mRNA to either IL-12Rbeta2 or GATA3 gene products. The results showed that THC suppressed IL-12Rbeta2 but increased GATA3. Receptor antagonists for CB1 (SR141716A, SR1) and CB2 (SR144528, SR2) were also injected to analyze the involvement of cannabinoid receptors. It was determined that SR1 attenuated the THC suppression of IL-12Rbeta2, while SR2 attenuated the increase in GATA3 mRNA. These results suggest that THC suppresses Th1 biasing activity such as IL-12Rbeta2 by a CB1 mediated mechanism and enhances the Th2 biasing activity, GATA3, by a CB2 mechanism. This dichotomy of receptor involvement might result from differential expression and/or signaling function of CB1 and CB2 on Th1 and Th2 cells.


Macroautophagy is dispensable for intracellular replication of Legionella pneumophila in Dictyostelium discoideum

Otto GP, Wu MY, Clarke M, Lu H, Anderson OR, Hilbi H, Shuman HA, Kessin RH.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University, 630 West 168th St., New York, NY 10032, USA.

Mol Microbiol. 2004 Jan;51(1):63-72.

ABSTRACT: The Gram-negative bacterium Legionella pneumophila is a facultative intracellular pathogen of free-living amoebae and mammalian phagocytes. L. pneumophila is engulfed in phagosomes that initially avoid fusion with lysosomes. The phagosome associates with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria and eventually resembles ER. The morphological similarity of the replication vacuole to autophagosomes, and enhanced bacterial replication in response to macroautophagy-inducing starvation, led to the hypothesis that L. pneumophila infection requires macroautophagy. As L. pneumophila replicates in Dictyostelium discoideum, and macroautophagy genes have been identified and mutated in D. discoideum, we have taken a genetic and cell biological approach to evaluate the relationship between host macroautophagy and intracellular replication of L. pneumophila. Mutation of the apg1, apg5, apg6, apg7 and apg8 genes produced typical macroautophagy defects, including reduced bulk protein degradation and cell viability during starvation. We show that L. pneumophila replicates normally in D. discoideum macroautophagy mutants and produces replication vacuoles that are morphologically indistinguishable from those in wild-type D. discoideum. Furthermore, a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged marker of autophagosomes, Apg8, does not systematically co-localize with DsRed-labelled L. pneumophila. We conclude that macroautophagy is dispensable for L. pneumophila intracellular replication in D. discoideum


Legionella pneumophila type II protein secretion promotes virulence in the A/J mouse model of Legionnaires' disease pneumonia

Rossier O, Starkenburg SR, Cianciotto NP.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.

Infect Immun. 2004 Jan;72(1):310-21.  

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila, the gram-negative agent of Legionnaires' disease, possesses type IV pili and a type II protein secretion (Lsp) system, both of which are dependent upon the PilD prepilin peptidase. By analyzing multiple pilD mutants and various types of Lsp mutants as well as performing trans-complementation of these mutants, we have confirmed that PilD and type II secretion genes are required for L. pneumophila infection of both amoebae and human macrophages. Based upon a complete analysis of lspDE, lspF, and lspG mutants, we found that the type II system controls the secretion of protease, RNase, lipase, phospholipase A, phospholipase C, lysophospholipase A, and tartrate-sensitive and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activities and influences the appearance of colonies. Examination of the developing L. pneumophila genome database indicated that the organism has two other loci (lspC and lspLM) that are predicted to promote secretion and thus a set of genes that is comparable to the type II secretion genes in other gram-negative bacteria. In contrast to lsp mutants, L. pneumophila pilus mutants lacking either the PilQ secretin, the PspA pseudopilin, or pilin were not defective for colonial growth, secreted activities, or intracellular replication. L. pneumophila dot/icm mutants were also not impaired for type II-dependent exoenzymes. Upon intratracheal inoculation into A/J mice, lspDE, lspF, and pilD mutants, but not pilus mutants, exhibited a reduced ability to grow in the lung, as measured by competition assays. The lspF mutant was also defective in an in vivo kinetic assay. Examination of infected mouse sera revealed that type II secreted proteins are expressed in vivo. Thus, the L. pneumophila Lsp system is a virulence factor and the only type II secretion system linked to intracellular infection.


Infection of murine macrophage cell lines by Legionella pneumophila

Yan L, Cirillo JD.

Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 203 VBS, Fair and East Campus Loop, 68583, Lincoln, NE, USA.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Jan 15;230(1):147-52.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila causes pneumonia by infecting alveolar macrophages. Although several model systems have been used for L. pneumophila virulence studies, no detailed comparisons have been made between them. An ideal in vitro virulence model should be cost-effective, easy to obtain in large amounts and as relevant as possible to the actual disease. We compared the MH-S cell line to human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages and the J774A.1 cell line. We found that the interactions of L. pneumophila with MH-S at the cellular level resemble those of human primary monocyte-derived macrophages, suggesting that these cells provide a valuable model for this bacterial pathogen.  


Hyperoxia mediates acute lung injury and increased lethality in murine legionella pneumonia: the role of apoptosis

Tateda K, Deng JC, Moore TA, Newstead MW, Paine R 3rd, Kobayashi N, Yamaguchi K, Standiford TJ.

Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

J Immunol. 2003 Apr 15; 170(8): 4209-16.

ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila is a major cause of life-threatening pneumonia, which is characterized by a high incidence of acute lung injury and resultant severe hypoxemia. Mechanical ventilation using high oxygen concentrations is often required in the treatment of patients with L. pneumophila pneumonia. Unfortunately, oxygen itself may propagate various forms of tissue damage, including acute lung injury. The effect of hyperoxia as a cofactor in the course of L. pneumophila pneumonia is poorly understood. In this study, we show that exposure to hyperoxic conditions during the evolution of pneumonia results in a marked increase in lethality in mice with Legionella pneumonia. The enhanced lethality was associated with an increase in lung permeability, but not changes in either lung bacterial burden or leukocyte accumulation. Interestingly, accelerated apoptosis as evidenced by assessment of histone-DNA fragments and caspase-3 activity were noted in the infected lungs of mice exposed to hyperoxia. TUNEL staining of infected lung sections demonstrated increased apoptosis in hyperoxic mice, predominantly in macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells. In vitro exposure of primary murine alveolar epithelial cells to Legionella in conjunction with hyperoxia accelerated apoptosis and loss of barrier function. Fas-deficient mice demonstrated partial resistance to the lethal effects of Legionella infection induced by hyperoxia, which was associated with attenuated apoptosis in the lung. These results demonstrate that hyperoxia serves as an important cofactor for the development of acute lung injury and lethality in L. pneumophila pneumonia. Exaggerated apoptosis, in part through Fas-mediated signaling, may accelerate hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury in Legionella pneumonia.