Melioidosis and leptospirosis, caused by two different bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei and Leptospira spp., are potentially fatal infections that share a very similar spectrum of clinical features and cause significant mortality and morbidity in humans and livestock. Early detection is important for better clinical consequences. To our knowledge, there is no diagnostic tool available to simultaneously detect and differentiate melioidosis and leptospirosis in humans and animals. In this study, we described a duplex TaqMan probe-based qPCR for the detection of B. pseudomallei and Leptospira spp. DNA. The performance of the assay was evaluated on 20 B. pseudomallei isolates, 23 Leptospira strains, and 39 other microorganisms, as well as two sets of serially diluted reference strains. The duplex qPCR assay was able to detect 0.02 pg (~ 4 copies) Leptospira spp. DNA and 0.2 pg (~ 25.6 copies) B. pseudomallei DNA. No undesired amplification was observed in other microorganisms. In conclusion, the duplex qPCR assay was sensitive and specific for the detection of B. pseudomallei & Leptospira spp. DNA and is suitable for further analytical and clinical evaluation.
The Gram-negative saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, an infectious disease which is endemic in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. This bacterium possesses many virulence factors which are thought to contribute to its survival and pathogenicity. Using a virulent clinical isolate of B. pseudomallei and an attenuated strain of the same B. pseudomallei isolate, 6 genes BPSL2033, BP1026B_I2784, BP1026B_I2780, BURPS1106A_A0094, BURPS1106A_1131, and BURPS1710A_1419 were identified earlier by PCR-based subtractive hybridization. These genes were extensively characterized at the molecular level, together with an additional gene BPSL3147 that had been identified by other investigators. Through a reverse genetic approach, single-gene knockout mutants were successfully constructed by using site-specific insertion mutagenesis and were confirmed by PCR. BPSL2033::Km and BURPS1710A_1419::Km mutants showed reduced rates of survival inside macrophage RAW 264.7 cells and also low levels of virulence in the nematode infection model. BPSL2033::Km demonstrated weak statistical significance (P = 0.049) at 8 hours after infection in macrophage infection study but this was not seen in BURPS1710A_1419::Km. Nevertheless, complemented strains of both genes were able to partially restore the gene defects in both in vitro and in vivo studies, thus suggesting that they individually play a minor role in the virulence of B. pseudomallei.
The sRNAs of bacterial pathogens are known to be involved in various cellular roles including environmental adaptation as well as regulation of virulence and pathogenicity. It is expected that sRNAs may also have similar functions for Burkholderia pseudomallei, a soil bacterium that can adapt to diverse environmental conditions, which causes the disease melioidosis and is also able to infect a wide variety of hosts.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis. We initiated this investigation with a virulent and an attenuated strain of B. pseudomallei. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was carried out initially for macrogenomic comparison of both strains of B. pseudomallei. However, the pulsotypes obtained were identical and therefore we applied a subtractive hybridization technique to distinguish and determine the possible differences between the two strains. Six virulence strain-specific DNA fragments were obtained and the encoding homolog proteins were identified as a xenobiotic-responsive element family of transcriptional regulator, a hypothetical protein, an unknown protein, a plasmid recombination enzyme, a regulatory protein and a putative hemolysin activator protein. A combination of at least three of these determinants was identified in 45 clinical isolates when screening was carried out with self-designed multiplex PCR targeting the six putative virulent determinants. Our data demonstrated that different combinations of the six putative virulence genes were present in the clinical isolates indicating their probable role in the pathogenesis of B. pseudomallei infections.
We have developed a multiplex PCR assay for rapid identification and differentiation of cultures for Burkholderia pseudomallei, Burkholderia thailandensis, Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia cepacia complex. The assay is valuable for use in clinical and veterinary laboratories, and in a deployable laboratory during outbreaks.
We have analysed DNA fingerprinting patterns by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of 52 unrelated Burkholderia pseudomallei strains isolated from septicemic and localized infections from Malaysian subjects. A total of 38 PFGE types were observed among 36 septicemic and 16 localized strains with no predominant pattern. Type 25 was seen in 2 epidemiologically related strains, suggesting human to human transmission. Twelve PFGE types were shared among 26 strains (21 septicemic and 5 localized) showing close genetic relatedness with coefficient of similarity of 0.81 to 1.0. The other 26 strains (15 septicemic and 11 localized) were unrelated as shown by the similarity coefficient of < 0.8. This study showed that our B. pseudomallei strains in Malaysia were mainly heterogenous with no predominant type both in septicemic or localized strains.
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.
Melioidosis is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Gram-negative bacillus, primarily found in soils in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. A recent case of melioidosis in non-endemic Arizona was determined to be the result of locally acquired infection, as the patient had no travel history to endemic regions and no previous history of disease. Diagnosis of the case was confirmed through multiple microbiologic and molecular techniques. To enhance the epidemiological analysis, we conducted several molecular genotyping procedures, including multi-locus sequence typing, SNP-profiling, and whole genome sequence typing. Each technique has different molecular epidemiologic advantages, all of which provided evidence that the infecting strain was most similar to those found in Southeast Asia, possibly originating in, or around, Malaysia. Advancements in new typing technologies provide genotyping resolution not previously available to public health investigators, allowing for more accurate source identification.
Restriction enzymes SpeI and XbaI were used in a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) study for molecular characterization of 146 clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates. The PFGE parameters were optimized to enable comparable, reproducible, and robust results. The optimized parameters for both SpeI and XbaI restriction enzymes used in this study were 200 V and a pulse time of 5 to 65 s for a 28-h runtime. Using SpeI, 9 different clusters were identified, whereas 6 clusters were identified by XbaI digestion, which exhibited 85% similarity to SpeI. SpeI (discrimination index [D]=0.854) showed higher discriminatory power than XbaI did (D=0.464).
The constancy of strain genotypes of multiple isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from 13 patients with melioidosis was examined by BamHI ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of XbaI digests of DNA. Seven of 8 patients with single episodes of melioidosis each yielded genetically identical isolates and only one of five patients with recurrent episodes was infected with a new strain clearly distinct from the original primary strain. Variation was observed in PFGE patterns of primary and relapse isolates of another patient but this was insufficient to define genetically distinct strains. We conclude that most patients with single or multiple episodes of melioidosis retain a single strain.
Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology have enabled elucidation of whole genome information from a plethora of organisms. In parallel with this technology, various bioinformatics tools have driven the comparative analysis of the genome sequences between species and within isolates. While drawing meaningful conclusions from a large amount of raw material, computer-aided identification of suitable targets for further experimental analysis and characterization, has also led to the prediction of non-human homologous essential genes in bacteria as promising candidates for novel drug discovery. Here, we present a comparative genomic analysis to identify essential genes in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Our in silico prediction has identified 312 essential genes which could also be potential drug candidates. These genes encode essential proteins to support the survival of B. pseudomallei including outer-inner membrane and surface structures, regulators, proteins involved in pathogenenicity, adaptation, chaperones as well as degradation of small and macromolecules, energy metabolism, information transfer, central/intermediate/miscellaneous metabolism pathways and some conserved hypothetical proteins of unknown function. Therefore, our in silico approach has enabled rapid screening and identification of potential drug targets for further characterization in the laboratory.
Many members of the AraC/XylS family transcription regulator have been proven to play a critical role in regulating bacterial virulence factors in response to environmental stress. By using the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) profile built from the alignment of a 99 amino acid conserved domain sequence of 273 AraC/XylS family transcription regulators, we detected a total of 45 AraC/XylS family transcription regulators in the genome of the Gram-negative pathogen, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Further in silico analysis of each detected AraC/XylS family transcription regulatory protein and its neighboring genes allowed us to make a first-order guess on the role of some of these transcription regulators in regulating important virulence factors such as those involved in three type III secretion systems and biosynthesis of pyochelin, exopolysaccharide (EPS) and phospholipase C. This paper has demonstrated an efficient and systematic genome-wide scale prediction of the AraC/XylS family that can be applied to other protein families.
Forty-nine isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from sporadic cases of melioidosis in Malaysia over the past 18 years were examined by BamHI ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of XbaI digests of total deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Twenty-four patients had septicaemic melioidosis with a mortality of 70%; mortality in the non-septicaemic disease was 16%. Five ribotype patterns were identified, 2 of which accounted for 90% of all isolates. PFGE revealed a number of different strains within these ribotypes, but some pairs of isolates from unrelated cases gave closely similar DNA profiles. These results are in agreement with Australian studies which showed a high prevalence of a few ribotypes of B. pseudomallei which are further divisible by genotyping, in areas where melioidosis is endemic.
Physiological constituents in airway surface liquids (ASL) appear to impact the adherence and invasion potentials of Burkholderia pseudomallei contributing to recrudescent melioidosis. Here, we investigated the factors present in ASL that is likely to influence bacterial adhesion and invasion leading to improved understanding of bacterial pathogenesis. Six B. pseudomallei clinical isolates from different origins were used to investigate the ability of the bacteria to adhere and invade A549 human lung epithelial cells using a system that mimics the physiological ASL with different pH, NaCl, KCl, CaCl2 and glucose concentrations. These parameters resulted in markedly differential adherence and invasion abilities of B. pseudomallei to the lung epithelial cells. The concentration of 20 mM glucose dramatically increased adherence and invasion by increasing the rate of pili formation in depiliated bacteria. Glucose significantly increased adherence and invasion of B. pseudomallei to A549 cells, and presence of NaCl, KCl and CaCl2 markedly ablated the effect despite the presence of glucose. Our data established a link between glucose, enhanced adhesion and invasion potentials of B. pseudomallei, hinting increased susceptibility of individuals with diabetes mellitus to clinical melioidosis.
Chronic bacterial infections occur as a result of the infecting pathogen's ability to live within a biofilm, hence escaping the detrimental effects of antibiotics and the immune defense system. Burkholderia pseudomallei, a gram-negative facultative pathogen, is distinctive in its ability to survive within phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells, to persist in vivo for many years and subsequently leading to relapse as well as the development of chronic disease. The capacity to persist has been attributed to the pathogen's ability to form biofilm. However, the underlying biology of B. pseudomallei biofilm development remains unresolved.
A previously healthy Chinese male working in Malaysia returned to China with high fever. A blood culture showed Burkholderia pseudomallei strain WCBP1. This isolate was sequenced, showing type, ST881, which appears to be present in Malaysia. WCP1 had unusual susceptibility to aminoglycosides and habored the Yersinia-like fimbrial gene cluster for virulence. The patient's condition deteriorated rapidly but he recovered after receiving meropenem and intensive care support. Melioidosis is a potential problem among Chinese imigrant workers with strains new to China being identified.
Epidemiology of melioidosis is poorly understood because its occurrence is influenced by complex interaction of environmental, climatic, physicochemical and host factors. We investigated the potential risk factors for the exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei in small ruminants' farms in Peninsular Malaysia.
Human stomach is the only known natural habitat of Helicobacter pylori (Hp), a major bacterial pathogen that causes different gastroduodenal diseases. Despite this, the impact of Hp on the diversity and the composition of the gastric microbiota has been poorly studied. In this study, we have analyzed the culturable gastric microbiota of 215 Malaysian patients, including 131 Hp positive and 84 Hp negative individuals that were affected by different gastric diseases. Non-Hp bacteria isolated from biopsy samples were identified by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry based biotyping and 16SrRNA sequencing. The presence of Hp did not significantly modify the diversity of the gastric microbiota. However, correlation was observed between the isolation of Streptococci and peptic ulcer disease. In addition, as a first report, Burkholderia pseudomallei was also isolated from the gastric samples of the local population. This study suggested that there may be geographical variations in the diversity of the human gastric microbiome. Geographically linked diversity in the gastric microbiome and possible interactions between Hp and other bacterial species from stomach microbiota in pathogenesis are proposed for further investigations.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is an opportunistic pathogen and the causative agent of melioidosis. It is able to adapt to harsh environments and can live intracellularly in its infected hosts. In this study, identification of transcriptional factors that associate with the β' subunit (RpoC) of RNA polymerase was performed. The N-terminal region of this subunit is known to trigger promoter melting when associated with a sigma factor. A pull-down assay using histidine-tagged B. pseudomallei RpoC N-terminal region as bait showed that a hypothetical protein BPSS1356 was one of the proteins bound. This hypothetical protein is conserved in all B. pseudomallei strains and present only in the Burkholderia genus. A BPSS1356 deletion mutant was generated to investigate its biological function. The mutant strain exhibited reduced biofilm formation and a lower cell density during the stationary phase of growth in LB medium. Electron microscopic analysis revealed that the ΔBPSS1356 mutant cells had a shrunken cytoplasm indicative of cell plasmolysis and a rougher surface when compared to the wild type. An RNA microarray result showed that a total of 63 genes were transcriptionally affected by the BPSS1356 deletion with fold change values of higher than 4. The expression of a group of genes encoding membrane located transporters was concurrently down-regulated in ΔBPSS1356 mutant. Amongst the affected genes, the putative ion transportation genes were the most severely suppressed. Deprivation of BPSS1356 also down-regulated the transcriptions of genes for the arginine deiminase system, glycerol metabolism, type III secretion system cluster 2, cytochrome bd oxidase and arsenic resistance. It is therefore obvious that BPSS1356 plays a multiple regulatory roles on many genes.
In this post genomic era, there are a great number of in silico annotated hypothetical genes. However, experimental validation of the functionality of these genes remains tentative. Two of the major challenges faced by researcher are whether these hypothetical genes are protein-coding genes and whether their corresponding predicted translational start codons are correct. In this report, we demonstrate a convenient procedure to validate the presence of a hypothetical gene product of BPSS1356 from Burkholderia pseudomallei as well as its start codon. It was done by integration of a His-Tag coding sequence into C-terminal end of BPSS1356 gene via homologous recombination. We then purified the native protein using affinity chromatography. The genuine start codon of BPSS1356 was then determined by protein N-terminal sequencing.