This mini review article described the exposure of aflatoxin in Malaysia, including its presence in the foodstuffs and the detection of aflatoxin biomarkers in human biological samples. Historically, the exposure of aflatoxin in Malaysia can be dated in 1960s where an outbreak of disease in pig farms caused severe liver damage to the animals. Later, an aflatoxicosis case in Perak in 1988 was reported and caused death to 13 children, as up to 3 mg of aflatoxin was present in a single serving of contaminated noodles. Since then, extensive research on aflatoxin has been conducted in Malaysia. The food commodities such as peanuts, cereals, spices, and their products are the main commodities commonly found to be contaminated with aflatoxin. Surprisingly, some of the contaminated foods had levels greater than the permissible limit adopted by the Malaysian Food Regulation 1985. Besides, exposure assessment through the measurement of aflatoxin biomarkers in human biological samples is still in its infancy stage. Nevertheless, some studies had reported the presence of these biomarkers. In fact, it is postulated that Malaysians are moderately exposed to aflatoxin compared to those high risk populations, where aflatoxin contamination in the diets is prevalent. Since the ingestion of aflatoxin could be the integral to the development of liver cancer, the incidence of cancer attributable by dietary aflatoxin exposure in Malaysia has also been reported and published in the literatures. Regardless of these findings, the more important task is to monitor and control humans from being exposed to aflatoxin. The enforcement of law is insufficient to minimize human exposure to aflatoxin. Preventive strategies include agricultural, dietary, and clinical measures should be implemented. With the current research on aflatoxin in Malaysia, a global networking for research collaboration is needed to expand the knowledge and disseminate the information to the global scientific community.
The detection of Legionella pneumophila in environmental and clinical samples is frequently performed by PCR amplification of the mip and/or 16S rRNA genes. Combined with DNA sequencing, these two genetic loci can be used to distinguish different species of Legionella and identify L. pneumophila. However, the recent Legionella genome sequences have opened up hundreds of possibilities for the development of new molecular targets for detection and diagnosis. Ongoing comparative genomics has the potential to fine tune the identification of Legionella species and serogroups by combining specific and general genetic targets. For example, the coincident detection of LPS biosynthesis genes and virulence genes may allow the differentiation of both pathogen and serogroup without the need for nucleotide sequencing. We tested this idea using data derived from a previous genomic subtractive hybridization we performed between L. pneumophila serogroup 1 and L. micdadei. Although not yet formally tested, these targets serve as an example of how comparative genomics has the potential to improve the scope and accuracy of Legionella molecular detection if embraced by laboratories undertaking Legionella surveillance.
Screening of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) isolated from ewe colostrum led to the identification and isolation of Enterococcus faecium CM33 with interesting features like high survival rates under acidic or bile salts condition, high tolerance for the simulated gastrointestinal condition, and high adhesive potential to Caco-2 cells. According the inhibition of pathogen adhesion test results, this strain can reduce more than 50% adhesion capacity of Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus to Caco-2 cells. Based on the antibiotic sensitivity test findings, E. faecium CM33 was susceptible to gentamycin, vancomycin, erythromycin, ampicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, and rifampicin, but resistant to chloramphenicol, clindamycin, and kanamycin. Upon assessment of the virulence determinants for E. faecium CM33, this strain was negative for all tested virulence genes. Furthermore, the genome of this strain was evaluated for the incidence of the known enterocin genes by specific PCR amplification and discovered the genes encoding enterocins A, 31, X, and Q. Based on this study findings, the strain E. faecium CM33 can be considered as a valuable nutraceutical and can be introduced as a new potential probiotic.
Based on the hygiene hypothesis, a low prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection may explain the recent high prevalence of allergic diseases including food allergy. However, there are very few studies that investigate the relationship between H. pylori and food allergy.
The enzymes involved in synthesizing the bacterial cell wall are attractive targets for the design of antibacterial compounds, since this pathway is essential for bacteria and is absent in animals, particularly humans. A survey of the genome of a bacterium that belongs to the phylum Verrucomicrobia, the closest free-living relative to bacteria from the Chlamydiales phylum, shows genetic evidence that Verrucomicrobium spinosum possesses a novel fusion open reading frame (ORF) annotated by the locus tag (VspiD_010100018130). The ORF, which is predicted to encode the enzymes UDP-N-acetylenolpyruvoylglucosamine reductase (MurB) and UDP-N-acetylmuramate:l-alanine ligase (MurC) that are involved in the cytoplasmic steps of peptidoglycan biosynthesis, was cloned. In vivo analyses using functional complementation showed that the fusion gene was able to complement Escherichia coli murB and murC temperature sensitive mutants. The purified recombinant fusion enzyme (MurB/C Vs ) was shown to be endowed with UDP-N-acetylmuramate:l-alanine ligase activity. In vitro analyses demonstrated that the latter enzyme had a pH optimum of 9.0, a magnesium optimum of 10 mM and a temperature optimum of 44-46°C. Its apparent K m values for ATP, UDP-MurNAc, and l-alanine were 470, 90, and 25 μM, respectively. However, all attempts to demonstrate an in vitro UDP-N-acetylenolpyruvoylglucosamine reductase (MurB) activity were unsuccessful. Lastly, Hidden Markov Model-based similarity search and phylogenetic analysis revealed that this fusion enzyme could only be identified in specific lineages within the Verrucomicrobia phylum.
Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungus that causes fatal meningoencephalitis especially in AIDS patients. There is an increasing need for discovery of new anti-cryptococcal drugs due to emergence of resistance cases in recent years. In this study, we aim to elucidate the antifungal effect of triclosan against C. neoformans.
Toxoplasmosis is a foodborne disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular parasite. Severe symptoms occur in the immunocompromised patients and pregnant women leading to fatality and abortions respectively. Vaccination development is essential to control the disease. The T. gondii dense granule antigen 2 and 5 (GRA2 and GRA5) have been targeted in this study because these proteins are essential to the development of parasitophorous vacuole (PV), a specialized compartment formed within the infected host cell. PV is resistance to host cell endosomes and lysosomes thereby protecting the invaded parasite. Recombinant dense granular proteins, GRA2 (rGRA2) and GRA5 (rGRA5) were cloned, expressed, and purified in Escherichia coli, BL21 (DE3) pLysS. The potential of these purified antigens as subunit vaccine candidates against toxoplasmosis were evaluated through subcutaneous injection of BALB/c mice followed by immunological characterization (humoral- and cellular-mediated) and lethal challenge against virulent T. gondii RH strain in BALB/c mice. Results obtained demonstrated that rGRA2 and rGRA5 elicited humoral and cellular-mediated immunity in the mice. High level of IgG antibody was produced with the isotype IgG2a/IgG1 ratio of ≈0.87 (p < 0.001). Significant increase (p < 0.05) in the level of four cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10) was obtained. The antibody and cytokine results suggest that a mix mode of Th1/Th2-immunity was elicited with predominant Th1-immune response inducing partial protection against T. gondii acute infection in BALB/c mice. Our findings indicated that both GRA2 and GRA5 are potential candidates for vaccine development against T. gondii acute infection.
Human rhinovirus-C (HRV-C) has been implicated in more severe illnesses than HRV-A and HRV-B, however, the limited number of HRV-C complete genomes (complete 5' and 3' non-coding region and open reading frame sequences) has hindered the in-depth genetic study of this virus. This study aimed to sequence seven complete HRV-C genomes from Malaysia and compare their genetic characteristics with the 18 published HRV-Cs. Seven Malaysian HRV-C complete genomes were obtained with newly redesigned primers. The seven genomes were classified as HRV-C6, C12, C22, C23, C26, C42, and pat16 based on the VP4/VP2 and VP1 pairwise distance threshold classification. Five of the seven Malaysian isolates, namely, 3430-MY-10/C22, 8713-MY-10/C23, 8097-MY-11/C26, 1570-MY-10/C42, and 7383-MY-10/pat16 are the first newly sequenced complete HRV-C genomes. All seven Malaysian isolates genomes displayed nucleotide similarity of 63-81% among themselves and 63-96% with other HRV-Cs. Malaysian HRV-Cs had similar putative immunogenic sites, putative receptor utilization and potential antiviral sites as other HRV-Cs. The genomic features of Malaysian isolates were similar to those of other HRV-Cs. Negative selections were frequently detected in HRV-Cs complete coding sequences indicating that these sequences were under functional constraint. The present study showed that HRV-Cs from Malaysia have diverse genetic sequences but share conserved genomic features with other HRV-Cs. This genetic information could provide further aid in the understanding of HRV-C infection.
The β-lactamase inhibitor, clavulanic acid is frequently used in combination with β-lactam antibiotics to treat a wide spectrum of infectious diseases. Clavulanic acid prevents drug resistance by pathogens against these β-lactam antibiotics by preventing the degradation of the β-lactam ring, thus ensuring eradication of these harmful microorganisms from the host. This systematic review provides an overview on the fermentation conditions that affect the production of clavulanic acid in the firstly described producer, Streptomyces clavuligerus. A thorough search was conducted using predefined terms in several electronic databases (PubMed, Medline, ScienceDirect, EBSCO), from database inception to June 30th 2015. Studies must involve wild-type Streptomyces clavuligerus, and full texts needed to be available. A total of 29 eligible articles were identified. Based on the literature, several factors were identified that could affect the production of clavulanic acid in S. clavuligerus. The addition of glycerol or other vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil, corn oil) could potentially affect clavulanic acid production. Furthermore, some amino acids such as arginine and ornithine, could serve as potential precursors to increase clavulanic acid yield. The comparison of different fermentation systems revealed that fed-batch fermentation yields higher amounts of clavulanic acid as compared to batch fermentation, probably due to the maintenance of substrates and constant monitoring of certain entities (such as pH, oxygen availability, etc.). Overall, these findings provide vital knowledge and insight that could assist media optimization and fermentation design for clavulanic acid production in S. clavuligerus.
Influenza A viruses evolve at a high rate requiring continuous monitoring to maintain the efficacy of vaccines and antiviral drugs. We performed next generation sequencing analysis of 100 influenza A/H3N2 isolates collected in four Asian countries (Japan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Vietnam) during 2012-2015. Phylogenetic analysis revealed several reassortment events leading to the circulation of multiple clades within the same season. This was particularly evident during the 2013 and 2013/2014 seasons. Importantly, our data showed that certain lineages appeared to be fitter and were able to persist into the following season. The majority of A/H3N2 viruses continued to harbor the M2-S31N mutation conferring amantadine-resistance. In addition, an S31D mutation in the M2-protein, conferring a similar level of resistance as the S31N mutation, was detected in three isolates obtained in Japan during the 2014/2015 season. None of the isolates possessed the NA-H274Y mutation conferring oseltamivir-resistance, though a few isolates were found to contain mutations at the catalytic residue 151 (D151A/G/N or V) of the NA protein. These variations did not alter the susceptibility to neuraminidase inhibitors and were not detected in the original clinical specimens, suggesting that they had been acquired during their passage in MDCK cells. Novel polymorphisms were detected in the PB1-F2 open-reading frame resulting in truncations in the protein of 24-34 aminoacids in length. Thus, this study has demonstrated the utility of monitoring the full genome of influenza viruses to allow the detection of the potentially fittest lineages. This enhances our ability to predict the strain(s) most likely to persist into the following seasons and predict the potential degree of vaccine match or mismatch with the seasonal influenza season for that year. This will enable the public health and clinical teams to prepare for any related healthcare burden, depending on whether the vaccine match is predicted to be good or poor for that season.
Toxoplasma gondii is the causative agent for toxoplasmosis. The rhoptry protein 1 (ROP1) is secreted by rhoptry, an apical secretory organelle of the parasite. ROP1 plays an important role in host cell invasion. In this study, the efficacy of ROP1 as a vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis was evaluated through intramuscular or subcutaneous injection of BALB/c mice followed by immunological characterization (humoral- and cellular-mediated) and lethal challenge against virulent T. gondii RH strain in BALB/c mice. Briefly, a recombinant DNA plasmid (pVAX1-GFP-ROP1) was expressed in CHO cells while expression of recombinant ROP1 protein (rROP1) was carried out in Escherichia coli expression system. Immunization study involved injection of the recombinant pVAX1-ROP1 and purified rROP1 into different group of mice. Empty vector and PBS served as two different types of negative controls. Results obtained demonstrated that ROP1 is an immunogenic antigen that induced humoral immune response whereby detection of a protein band with expected size of 43 kDa was observed against vaccinated mice sera through western blot analysis. ROP1 antigen was shown to elicit cellular-mediated immunity as well whereby stimulated splenocytes with total lysate antigen (TLA) and rROP1 from pVAX1-ROP1 and rROP1-immunized mice, respectively, readily proliferated and secreted large amount of IFN-γ (712 ± 28.1 pg/ml and 1457 ± 31.19 pg/ml, respectively) and relatively low IL-4 level (94 ± 14.5 pg/ml and 186 ± 14.17 pg/ml, respectively). These phenomena suggested that Th1-favored immunity was being induced. Vaccination with ROP1 antigen was able to provide partial protection in the vaccinated mice against lethal challenge with virulent RH strain of tachyzoites. These findings proposed that the ROP1 antigen is a potential candidate for the development of vaccine against toxoplasmosis.
Allura Red AC (E129) is an azo dye that widely used in drinks, juices, bakery, meat, and sweets products. High consumption of Allura Red has claimed an adverse effects of human health including allergies, food intolerance, cancer, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, brain damage, nausea, cardiac disease and asthma due to the reaction of aromatic azo compounds (R = R' = aromatic). Several countries have banned and strictly controlled the uses of Allura Red in food and beverage products. This review paper is critically summarized on the available analytical and advanced methods for determination of Allura Red and also concisely discussed on the acceptable daily intake, toxicology and extraction methods.
In response to the increased seafood demand from the ever-going human population, aquaculture has become the fastest growing animal food-producing sector. However, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics as a biological control agents for fish pathogens has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance bacteria. Probiotics are defined as living microbial supplement that exert beneficial effects on hosts as well as improvement of environmental parameters. Probiotics have been proven to be effective in improving the growth, survival and health status of the aquatic livestock. This review aims to highlight the genus Streptomyces can be a good candidate for probiotics in aquaculture. Studies showed that the feed supplemented with Streptomyces could protect fish and shrimp from pathogens as well as increase the growth of the aquatic organisms. Furthermore, the limitations of Streptomyces as probiotics in aquaculture is also highlighted and solutions are discussed to these limitations.
Periodontal disease represents a group of oral inflammatory infections initiated by oral pathogens which exist as a complex biofilms on the tooth surface and cause destruction to tooth supporting tissues. The severity of this disease ranges from mild and reversible inflammation of the gingiva (gingivitis) to chronic destruction of connective tissues, the formation of periodontal pocket and ultimately result in loss of teeth. While human subgingival plaque harbors more than 500 bacterial species, considerable research has shown that Porphyromonas gingivalis, a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium, is the major etiologic agent which contributes to chronic periodontitis. This black-pigmented bacterium produces a myriad of virulence factors that cause destruction to periodontal tissues either directly or indirectly by modulating the host inflammatory response. Here, this review provides an overview of P. gingivalis and how its virulence factors contribute to the pathogenesis with other microbiome consortium in oral cavity.
Streptomyces pluripotens MUSC 137 was isolated from mangrove soil obtained from Tanjung Lumpur, Pahang, Malaysia. We investigated the phylogenetic, genomic, biochemical, and phenotypic characteristics of this strain. Uniquely adapted microorganisms from mangrove habitats have previously yielded compounds of biopharmaceutical interest. In order to examine the bioactivities possessed by the strain, fermentation extract was prepared through solvent extraction method prior to bioactivities screenings. Antioxidant activity was examined via DPPH assay while the cytotoxic effect was assessed by means of examining the activity of the extract against selected human cancer cell lines, namely colon cancer cells (HCT-116, Caco-2, SW480, and HT-29), breast cancer cell (MCF-7), lung cancer cell (A549), prostate cancer cell (DU145), and cervical cancer cell (Ca Ski). The results revealed MUSC 137 possesses significant antioxidant activity and demonstrates cytotoxic effect against several cancer cell lines tested. The results indicated MCF-7 cells were most susceptible to the extract with the lowest IC50 (61.33 ± 17.10 μg/mL), followed by HCT-116 and A549. Additionally, selective index (SI) showed that MUSC 137 extract was less toxic against normal cell lines when compared to MCF-7 and HCT-116 cells. The extract was further subjected to chemical analysis using GC-MS and revealed the presence of deferoxamine and pyrrolizidines related compounds which may account for the antioxidant and cytotoxic properties observed.
The role of aerial dispersal in shaping patterns of biodiversity remains poorly understood, mainly due to a lack of coordinated efforts in gathering data at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. It has been long known that the rate of dispersal to an ecosystem can significantly influence ecosystem dynamics, and that aerial transport has been identified as an important source of biological input to remote locations. With the considerable effort devoted in recent decades to understanding atmospheric circulation in the south-polar region, a unique opportunity has emerged to investigate the atmospheric ecology of Antarctica, from regional to continental scales. This concept note identifies key questions in Antarctic microbial biogeography and the need for standardized sampling and analysis protocols to address such questions. A consortium of polar aerobiologists is established to bring together researchers with a common interest in the airborne dispersion of microbes and other propagules in the Antarctic, with opportunities for comparative studies in the Arctic.
Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) that causes extraintestinal infections often harbor plasmids encoding fitness traits such as resistance and virulence determinants that are of clinical importance. We determined the complete nucleotide sequence of plasmid pEC302/04 from a multidrug-resistant E. coli EC302/04 which was isolated from the tracheal aspirate of a patient in Malaysia. In addition, we also performed comparative sequence analyses of 18 related IncFIIA plasmids to determine the phylogenetic relationship and diversity of these plasmids. The 140,232 bp pEC302/04 is a multireplicon plasmid that bears three replication systems (FII, FIA, and FIB) with subtype of F2:A1:B1. The plasmid is self-transmissible with a complete transfer region. pEC302/04 also carries antibiotic resistance genes such as bla TEM-1 and a class I integron containing sul1, cml and aadA resistance genes, conferring multidrug resistance (MDR) to its host, E. coli EC302/04. Besides, two iron acquisition systems (SitABCD and IutA-IucABCD) which are the conserved virulence determinants of ExPEC-colicin V or B and M (ColV/ColBM)-producing plasmids were identified in pEC302/04. Multiple toxin-antitoxin (TA)-based addiction systems (i.e., PemI/PemK, VagC/VagD, CcdA/CcdB, and Hok/Sok) and a plasmid partitioning system, ParAB, and PsiAB, which are important for plasmid maintenance were also found. Comparative plasmid analysis revealed only one conserved gene, the repA1 as the core genome, showing that there is an extensive diversity among the IncFIIA plasmids. The phylogenetic relationship of 18 IncF plasmids based on the core regions revealed that ColV/ColBM-plasmids and non-ColV/ColBM plasmids were separated into two distinct groups. These plasmids, which carry highly diverse genetic contents, are also mosaic in nature. The atypical combination of genetic materials, i.e., the MDR- and ColV/ColBM-plasmid-virulence encoding regions in a single ExPEC plasmid is rare but of clinical importance. Such phenomenon is bothersome when the plasmids are transmissible, facilitating the spread of virulence and resistance plasmids among pathogenic bacteria. Notably, certain TA systems are more commonly found in particular ExPEC plasmid types, indicating the possible relationships between certain TA systems and ExPEC pathogenesis.
Typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, remains an important public health burden in Southeast Asia and other endemic countries. Various genotyping methods have been applied to study the genetic variations of this human-restricted pathogen. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is one of the widely accepted methods, and recently, there is a growing interest in the re-application of MLST in the post-genomic era. In this study, we provide the global MLST distribution of S. Typhi utilizing both publicly available 1,826 S. Typhi genome sequences in addition to performing conventional MLST on S. Typhi strains isolated from various endemic regions spanning over a century. Our global MLST analysis confirms the predominance of two sequence types (ST1 and ST2) co-existing in the endemic regions. Interestingly, S. Typhi strains with ST8 are currently confined within the African continent. Comparative genomic analyses of ST8 and other rare STs with genomes of ST1/ST2 revealed unique mutations in important virulence genes such as flhB, sipC, and tviD that may explain the variations that differentiate between seemingly successful (widespread) and unsuccessful (poor dissemination) S. Typhi populations. Large scale whole-genome phylogeny demonstrated evidence of phylogeographical structuring and showed that ST8 may have diverged from the earlier ancestral population of ST1 and ST2, which later lost some of its fitness advantages, leading to poor worldwide dissemination. In response to the unprecedented increase in genomic data, this study demonstrates and highlights the utility of large-scale genome-based MLST as a quick and effective approach to narrow the scope of in-depth comparative genomic analysis and consequently provide new insights into the fine scale of pathogen evolution and population structure.
Emergence of antimicrobial resistance coupled with the slowdown in discovery of new antimicrobial compounds points to serious consequences for human health. Therefore, scientists are looking for new antimicrobial compounds from unique and understudied ecosystems such as tropical peat swamp forests. Over the course of isolating antimicrobial producing bacteria from North Selangor tropical peat swamp forest, Malaysia, a Gram variable, rod shaped, endospore forming, facultative anaerobic novel strain MSt1(T) that exerts potent and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity was isolated. Phylogenetic analysis using 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that strain MSt1(T) belonged to the genus Paenibacillus with the highest similarity to Paenibacillus elgii SD17(T) (99.5%). Whole genome comparison between strain MSt1(T) with its closely related species using average nucleotide identity (ANI) revealed that similarity between strain MSt1(T) with P. elgii B69 (93.45%) and Paenibacillus ehimensis A2 (90.42%) was below the recommended threshold of 95%. Further analysis using in silico pairwise DDH also showed that similarity between strain MSt1(T) with P. elgii B69 (55.4%) and P. ehimensis A2 (43.7%) was below the recommended threshold of 70%. Strain MSt1(T) contained meso-diaminopilemic acid in the cell wall and MK-7 as the major menaquinone. The major fatty acids of strain MSt1(T) were anteiso-C15:0 (48.2%) and C16:0 (29.0%) whereas the polar lipid profile consisted of phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, one unknown lipid, two unknown glycolipids, and one unknown phospholipid. Total DNA G+C content of strain MSt1(T) was 51.5 mol%. The extract from strain MSt1(T) exerted strong antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 (MIC = 1.5 μg/mL), MRSA ATCC 700699 (MIC = 25 μg/mL) and Candida albicans IMR (MIC = 12.5 μg/mL). Partially purified active fraction exerted a strong effect against E. coli ATCC 25922 resulting in cell rupture when viewed with SEM. Based on distinctive taxonomic differences between strain MSt1(T) when compared to its closely related type species, we propose that strain MSt1(T) represents a novel species within the genus of Paenibacillus, for which the name Paenibacillus tyrfis sp. nov. (= DSM 100708(T) = MCCC 1K01247(T)) is proposed.