Aureobasidin A (AbA) is a cyclic depsipeptide antifungal compound that inhibits a wide range of pathogenic fungi. In this study, the in vitro susceptibility of 92 clinical isolates of various Candida species against AbA was assessed by determining the planktonic and biofilm MICs of the isolates. The MIC(50) and MIC(90) of the planktonic Candida yeast were 1 and 1 μg ml(-1), respectively, whereas the biofilm MIC(50) and MIC(90) of the isolates were 8 and ≥64 μg ml(-1) respectively. This study demonstrates AbA inhibition on filamentation and biofilm development of C. albicans. The production of short hyphae and a lack of filamentation might have impaired biofilm development of AbA-treated cells. The AbA resistance of mature Candidia biofilms (24 h adherent population) was demonstrated in this study.
The biodiversity and the killer activity of yeasts isolated from various types of fermented food in Malaysia were investigated in this study. Of 252 yeasts isolated from 48 fermented food samples in this study, 19 yeast species were identified based on sequence analysis of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 partial fragments of the yeasts. A total of 29 (11.5%) of the yeast isolates demonstrated killer activity to at least one Candida species tested in this study; including 22 isolates of Trichosporon asahii, 4 isolates of Pichia anomala, and one isolate each of Pichia norvegensis, Pichia fermentans and Issatchenkia orientalis, respectively. The presence of killer yeasts reflects antagonism that occurs during microbial interaction in the fermented food, whereby certain yeasts produce killer toxins and possibly other toxic substances in competition for limited nutrients and space. The anti-Candida activity demonstrated by killer yeasts in this study should be further explored for development of alternative therapy against candidiasis.
This study describes the killer phenotypes of tropical environmental yeasts and the inhibition effects of the culture filtrates on the biofilm of Candida albicans. A total of 26 (10.5%) of 258 yeast isolates obtained from an environmental sampling study demonstrated killer activity to Candida species. The killer yeasts were identified as species belonging to the genus Aureobasidium, Pseudozyma, Ustilago and Candida based on sequence analysis of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region of the yeasts. Pseudozyma showed the broadest killing effects against sensitive strains of Candida. New species of Ustilago and Pseudozyma demonstrating killer phenotypes were identified in this study. Interestingly, more than 50% reduction in the metabolic activity of Candida albicans biofilm was noted after exposure to the culture filtrates of the nine killer yeasts. Purification and characterization of toxin and metabolites are essential for understanding the yeast killing effects.
The presence of Rickettsia felis, Bartonella henselae and B. clarridgeiae in 209 fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) obtained from domestic cats and dogs in several locations in Malaysia was investigated in this study. Using a polymerase chain reaction specific for the citrate synthase (gltA) and 17-kD antigenic protein (17kD) genes of rickettsiae, we detected R. felis DNA in 6 (2.9%) fleas. For detection of bartonellae, amplification of the heme-binding protein (pap31) and riboflavin synthase (ribC) genes identified B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae DNA in 24 (11.5%) and 40 (19.1%) fleas, respectively. The DNA of B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae was detected in 10 (4.8%) fleas. Two B. henselae genogroups (Marseille and Houston-1) were detected in this study; genogroup Marseille (genotype Fizz) was found more often in the fleas. The findings in this study suggest fleas as potential vectors of rickettsioses and cat-scratch disease in this country.
This study compared the enzymatic activity of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii, environmental isolates of C. neoformans and non-neoformans Cryptococcus. Most of the cryptococcal isolates investigated in this study exhibited proteinase and phospholipase activities. Laccase activity was detected from all the C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates, but not from the non-neoformans Cryptococcus isolates. There was no significant difference in the proteinase, phospholipase and laccase activities of C. neoformans and C. gattii. However, significant difference in the enzymatic activities of beta-glucuronidase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase and N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase between C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates was observed in this study. Environmental isolates of C. neoformans exhibited similar enzymatic profiles as the clinical isolates of C. neoformans, except for lower proteinase and laccase activities.
The serological responses to Cryptococcus neoformans proteins of blood donors and HIV patients with active cryptococcosis from a tropical region were investigated in this study. Exposure to C. neoformans, an organism ubiquitous in the environment, contributes to the antibody responses observed in the blood donors. IgG responses to cryptococcal proteins were stronger than IgM responses in most sera tested in this study. A 53-kDa cryptococcal protein fragment was identified as the most immunoreactive protein on the IgM immunoblots of both blood donors and patients. Overall, there was no obvious difference in IgG responses of patients when compared with blood donors. Some immunogenic protein fragments (27.5, 76, 78 and 91.5 kDa) were detected at least two times more frequently on IgM immunoblots of patients compared with those of blood donors. It is yet to be investigated whether the proteins identified in this study may have any potential to be used as biomarker for cryptococcosis.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a healthcare-associated bacterial pathogen which causes severe diseases in immunocompromised individuals. Concanavalin A (conA), a lectin which recognizes proteins with mannose or glucose residues, has been reported to agglutinate K. pneumoniae and hence, is postulated to have therapeutical potential for K. pneumoniae-induced liver infection. This study investigated the conA binding properties of a large collection of clinical isolates of K. pneumoniae. ConA agglutination reaction was demonstrated by 94 (51.4%) of 183 K. pneumoniae isolates using a microtiter plate assay. The conA agglutination reactions were inhibited in the presence of 2.5 mg/ml D-mannose and 2.5 mg/ml glucose, and following pretreatment of the bacterial suspension with protease and heating at 80ºC. Majority of the positive isolates originated from respiratory specimens. Isolation of conA-binding proteins from K. pneumoniae ATCC 700603 strain was performed using conA affinity column and the conA binding property of the eluted proteins was confirmed by western blotting analysis using conA-HRP conjugates. Proteins with molecular weights ranging from 35 to 60 kDa were eluted from the conA affinity column, of which four were identified as outer membrane protein precursor A (37 kDa), outer membrane protein precursor C (40 kDa), enolase (45 kDa) and chaperonin (60 kDa) using mass spectrometry analysis. Several conA binding proteins (including 45 and 60 kDa) were found to be immunogenic when reacted with rabbit anti-Klebsiella antibody. The function and interplay of the conA binding proteins in bacterium-host cell relationship merits further investigation.
The indirect immunoperoxidase (HP) test has been used extensively in most government hospitals in Malaysia for the serodiagnosis of scrub typhus, murine typhus and tick typhus during the 1990s. The test was used to determine the IgG and IgM antibody titers in patients' sera for three rickettsial species, ie Orientia tsutsugamushi OT; the causative agent of scrub typhus), Rickettsia typhi (RT; the causative agent of murine typhus), and TT118 spotted fever group rickettsiae (TT; the causative agent of tick typhus). The serological findings obtained from Malaysian hospitals using the IIP test (1994-1999) were analyzed. During the six-year period, a total of 61,501 patients' sera were tested, of which 9.6%, 10.5%, and 12.9% had antibody (IgG and/or IgM of > or = 1:50) for OT, RT and TT respectively. A total of 8.6%, 9.8%, and 9.7% of sera had IgG antibody of > or = 1:50 for OT, RT, and TT respectively, indicating past infection. A total of 3.4%, 3.8%, and 6.4 % of sera had IgM antibody of > or = 1:50 for OT, RT, and TT respectively, indicating recent infection. A total of 2,986 (4.9%), 1,882 (3.1%), and 1,574 (2.6%) of sera had IgG and/or IgM antibody titers of > or = 1:400 for OT, RT, and TT respectively, suggesting active rickettsial infection. The seropositivity rates of OT, RT and TT varied according to geographical locations. While the seropositivity of OT remained constant during the six-year period, a reduction in the seropositivity of both RT and TT was noted during recent years. The serological findings reflect the endemicity of rickettsial diseases, including tick typhus, and endemic typhus in various parts of Malaysia. Awareness of these diseases by health and medical staff and by the general public is important if the mortality and morbidity associated with scrub typhus, tick typhus, and murine typhus in Malaysia, are to be reduced.
By means of the gentamicin HEp-2 cell invasion assay, it was demonstrated that 82% of the Campylobacters tested were cell-invasive, including 83% of isolates from bloody diarrhoea and 80% of isolates from watery diarrhoea. The large number of invasive strains from watery diarrhoea suggests the possible role of invasiveness in the production of watery diarrhoea. Whether this stage can progress further to more severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea remains to be elucidated. Whether this progression to bloody diarrhoea occurs as a result of toxin production is still debatable. In Vero cells, invasion was less efficient and intracellular multiplication was not observed.
The results of a Mycoplasma pneumoniae serology test performed routinely at the Bacteriology Division, Institute for Medical Research were reviewed. A total of 1402 patients were screened over a period of 4 years (January, 1990-December, 1993), of which 327 (23.3%) were seropositive. The seropositivity rates among Malays, Chinese and Indians were 25.2, 25.4 and 17.8% respectively. The male to female ratio was 1:1. The age specific rate was highest amongst patients of the 6-12 years (35.1%) followed by the 13-20 years age groups (35.0%). In general, infection with M. pneumoniae appears to be relatively common in this country.
Rickettsia felis (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) is an emergent human pathogen that causes febrile illnesses in various parts of the world. This study describes the identification and growth characteristics of a R. felis-like organism (designated as Rickettsia sp. TH2014) cultured from Ctenocephalides orientis fleas in rural Malaysia. In this study, culturing of rickettsiae from filtered triturated flea lysates was performed in Aedes albopictus C6/36 cells. Cytopathic effects were observed from one of the samples 4 d post-inoculation. Electron microscopy revealed actively replicating intracytosolic coccobacillary organisms in the rickettsia-infected cells. Sequence analysis of amplified citrate synthase (gltA) gene fragment shows complete match of the rickettsia with Rickettsia sp. Rf31 in Southeast Asia, and 'Candidatus Rickettsia senegalensis' strain PU01-02 in Africa. The whole-genome sequence of Rickettsia sp. TH2014 was determined and assembled. The estimated genome size and guanine + cytosine content of the rickettsia are 1.37 Mb and 32.9%, respectively. The high values of average nucleotide identity and tetra-nucleotide signature correlation index obtained from pairwise genome comparison study suggest the identification of the rickettsia as R. felis. The whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis demonstrates close genetic relatedness of the rickettsia with R. felis and Rickettsia asemboensis. However, based on sequence analyses of rickettsial genes (16S rDNA, gltA, ompB, and sca4), Rickettsia sp. TH2014 is found to be distinct from R. felis and R. asemboensis. The sequence analyses reveal that Rickettsia sp. TH2014 is highly similar to 'Ca. Rickettsia senegalensis' detected in fleas from Africa, Asia, and North America. Further investigation to provide insights on pathogenic potential and transmission dynamics of the rickettsia is warranted.
The increasing resistance of Candida yeasts towards antifungal compounds and the limited choice of therapeutic drugs have spurred great interest amongst the scientific community to search for alternative anti-Candida compounds. Mycocins and fungal metabolites have been reported to have the potential for treatment of fungal infections. In this study, the growth inhibition of Candida species by a mycocin produced by Wickerhamomyces anomalus and a lactone compound from Aureobasidium pullulans were investigated.
This study reports for the first time molecular detection of Anaplasma platys infection in 4 (13.3%) of 30 Malaysian dogs investigated. A low occurrence (3.3%) of Babesia gibsoni was also noted, being detected in one of the 30 dogs. Rickettsia, Bartonella, Orientia tsutsugamushi, and Ehrlichia DNA were not detected in the dog blood samples. The role of A. platys as an agent of canine anaplasmosis and its transmission through Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks merits further investigation.
Burkholderia pseudomallei the causative agent of melioidosis, is being increasingly recognized as an important cause of morbidity and mortality in South East Asia. Biofilm formation of B. pseudomallei may be responsible for dormancy, latency and relapse of melioidosis. Based on the colonial morphology of the bacteria on B. pseudomallei selective agar medium, seven distinct morphotypes were identified. This study was conducted to assess the in vitro biofilm produced by B. pseudomallei and to investigate possible correlation between B. pseudomallei morphotypes with biofilm forming abilities of the isolates. Using a standard biofilm crystal violet staining assay, comparison was made between the biofilm forming ability of 76 isolates of B. pseudomallei and Burkholderia thailandensis ATCC 700388. Amongst the blood isolates, 30.2% were considered as high biofilm producers and 27.9% were low producers, 33.3% of the pus isolates were considered as high and 16% low biofilm producers. Most of the isolates were identified as morphotype group 1 which displayed a rough centre with irregular circumference on the agar medium. However, we did not find any correlation of B. pseudomallei morphotypes with biofilm forming abilities (p > 0.05). Additional studies are needed to identify internal and external factors which contribute to the high and low biofilm formation of B. pseudomallei.
Ciprofloxacin, a quinolone with good intracellular penetration may possibly be used for treatment of melioidosis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, but problems with resistance may be encountered. Amino acid substitutions in gyrA/gyrB have given rise to fluoroquinolone resistance in various microorganisms. Using published primers for gyrA and gyrB, PCR was performed on 11 isolates of B. pseudomallei with varying degrees of sensitivity to ciprofloxacin, followed by DNA sequencing to detect possible mutations. Results showed an absence of any point mutation in either gene. Local isolates have yet to develop full resistance to ciprofloxacin and probably other mechanisms of resistance may have been involved in the decreased sensitivity to ciprofloxacin.
In this study, 90 non-replicate imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (IRPA) Malaysian isolates collected between October 2005 and March 2008 were subjected to a screening test for detection of the integron and the gene cassette. Class 1 integrons were detected in 54 IRPA clinical isolates, whilst three isolates contained class 2 integrons. Analysis of the gene cassettes associated with the class 1 integrons showed the detection of accC1 in isolates carrying bla(IMP-7) and aacA7 in isolates carrying bla(VIM-2). aadA6 was detected in two isolates carrying bla(IMP-4). Using random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, 14 PCR fingerprint patterns were generated from the 32 isolates carrying metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes (35.5 %), whilst 20 patterns were generated from the 58 non-MBL gene isolates (64.4 %). Based on the differences in the fingerprinting patterns, two clusters (A and B) were identified among the MBL-producing isolates. Cluster A comprised 18 isolates (56 %) carrying the bla(VIM) gene, whereas cluster B comprised 14 (44 %) isolates carrying the bla(IMP) gene. The non-MBL isolates were divided into clusters C and D. Cluster C comprised 22 non-MBL isolates harbouring class 1 integrons, whilst cluster D consisted of three isolates carrying class 2 integrons. These findings suggest that the class 1 integron is widespread among P. aeruginosa isolated in Malaysia and that characterization of cassette arrays of integrons will be a useful epidemiological tool to study the evolution of multidrug resistance and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
Four flagellin allelic types (I to IV) of Burkholderia pseudomallei were identified based on their sequence variation and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the amplified flagellin gene. Flagellin allelic type I was the most predominantly (75.0%) found among the 100 clinical isolates of B. pseudomallei investigated in this study.