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Abstract

Anthrax is an infectious disease of relevance for military forces. Although spores of Bacillus anthracis obiquitously occur in soil, reports on soil-borne transmission to humans are scarce. In this narrative review, the potential of soil-borne transmission of anthrax to humans is discussed based on pathogen-specific characteristics and reports on anthrax in the course of several centuries of warfare. In theory, anthrax foci can pose a potential risk of infection to animals and humans if sufficient amounts of virulent spores are present in the soil even after an extended period of time. In praxis, however, transmissions are usually due to contacts with animal products and reported events of soil-based transmissions are scarce. In the history of warfare, even in the trenches of World War I, reported anthrax cases due to soil-contaminated wounds are virtually absent. Both the perspectives and the experience of the Western hemisphere and of former Soviet Republics are presented. Based on the accessible data as provided in the review, the transmission risk of anthrax by infections of wounds due to spore-contaminated soil is considered as very low under the most circumstance. Active historic anthrax foci may, however, still pose a risk to the health of deployed soldiers.

Open access

Abstract

The physiological colonization resistance exerted by the murine gut microbiota prevents conventional mice from Campylobacter jejuni infection. In the present study we addressed whether this also held true for Campylobacter coli. Following peroral application, C. coli as opposed to C. jejuni could stably establish within the gastrointestinal tract of conventionally colonized mice until 3 weeks post-challenge. Neither before nor after either Campylobacter application any changes in the gut microbiota composition could be observed. C. coli, but not C. jejuni challenge was associated with pronounced regenerative, but not apoptotic responses in colonic epithelia. At day 21 following C. coli versus C. jejuni application mice exhibited higher numbers of adaptive immune cells including T-lymphocytes and regulatory T-cells in the colonic mucosa and lamina propria that were accompanied by higher large intestinal interferon-γ (IFN-γ) concentrations in the former versus the latter but comparable to naive levels. Campylobacter application resulted in decreased splenic IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-6 concentrations, whereas IL-12p70 secretion was increased in the spleens at day 21 following C. coli application only. In either Campylobacter cohort decreased IL-10 concentrations could be measured in splenic and serum samples. In conclusion, the commensal gut microbiota prevents mice from C. jejuni, but not C. coli infection.

Open access

Abstract

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an aerobic, oxidase-negative and catalase-positive bacillus. S. maltophilia is a recognized opportunistic pathogen. Due to the advancements in invasive medical procedures, organ transplantation and chemotherapy of malignant illnesses, the relevance of this pathogen increased significantly. The therapy of S. maltophilia infections is challenging, as these bacteria show intrinsic resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics, the first-choice drug is sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim. Our aim was to assess the epidemiology of S. maltophilia from various clinical samples and the characterization of resistance-levels and resistotyping of these samples over a long surveillance period. The study included S. maltophilia bacterial isolates from blood culture samples, respiratory samples and urine samples and the data for the samples, received between January 2008 until December 2017, a total of 817 S. maltophilia isolates were identified (respiratory samples n = 579, 70.9%, blood culture samples n = 175, 21.4% and urine samples n = 63, 7.7%). Levofloxacin and colistin-susceptibility rates were the highest (92.2%; n = 753), followed by tigecycline (90.5%, n = 739), the first-line agent sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (87.4%, n = 714), while phenotypic resistance rate was highest for amikacin (72.5% of isolates were resistant, n = 592). The clinical problem of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim-resistance is a complex issue, because there is no guideline available for the therapy of these infections.

Open access

Probiotic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 (EcN) has a long history of safe use. However, the recently discovered presence of a pks locus in its genome presumably producing colibactin has questioned its safety, as colibactin has been implicated in genotoxicity. Here, we assess the genotoxic potential of EcN. Metabolic products were tested in vitro by the Ames test, a mutagenicity assay developed to detect point mutation-inducing activity. Live EcN were tested by an adapted Ames test. Neither the standard nor the adapted Ames test resulted in increased numbers of revertant colonies, indicating that EcN metabolites or viable cells lacked mutagenic activity. The in vivo Mammalian Alkaline Comet Assay (the gold standard for detecting DNA-strand breaks) was used to determine potentially induced DNA-strand breaks in cells of the gastro-intestinal tract of rats orally administered with viable EcN. Bacteria were given at 109–1011 colony forming units (CFU) per animal by oral gavage on 2 consecutive days and daily for a period of 28 days to 5 rats per group. No significant differences compared to negative controls were found. These results demonstrate that EcN does not induce DNA-strand breaks and does not have any detectable genotoxic potential in the test animals.

Open access

The gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori colonizes approximately half of the human world population. The bacterium injects the effector protein cytotoxin associated gene A (CagA) via a type-IV secretion system into host epithelial cells, where the protein becomes phosphorylated at specific EPIYA-motifs by cellular kinases. Inside the host cell, CagA can interact with over 25 different proteins in both phosphorylation-dependent and phosphorylation-independent manners, resulting in manipulation of host-cell signaling pathways. During the course of an H. pylori infection, certain host-cell proteins undergo tyrosine dephosphorylation in a CagA-dependent manner, including the actin-binding proteins cortactin and vinculin. A predominant response of intracellular CagA is the binding and activation of tyrosine phosphatase, the human Src-homology-region-2-domain-containing-phosphatase-2 (SHP2). Here, we considered the possibility that activated SHP2 might be responsible for the dephosphorylation of cortactin and vinculin. To investigate this, phosphatase inhibitor studies were performed. Additionally, a complete knockout mutant of SHP2 in AGS cells was created by CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and these cells were infected with H. pylori. However, neither the presence of an inhibitor nor the inactivation of SHP2 prevented the dephosphorylation of cortactin and vinculin upon CagA delivery. Tyrosine dephosphorylation of these proteins is therefore independent of SHP2 and instead must be caused by another, as yet unidentified, protein tyrosine phosphatase.

Open access

The terricolous species Cladonia foliacea (Cladoniaceae, lichenised Ascomycota) widely distributed in open, dry lowland steppe and rocky mountain grassland vegetation in Europe was chosen as a potential test organism for ecological experiments, since their thalli are producing cortical solar radiation-protective and UV screening pigment dibenzofuran usnic acid and medullary secondary substance depsidone fumarprotocetraric acid. Significant seasonal differences were found in the amounts of lichen secondary metabolites analysed by HPTLC and HPLC-PDA between summer and winter collected thalli in sandy grassland area in Hungary. The concentrations of usnic acid varied between 7.34 and 15.52 mg/g in summer collected samples and 13.90 and 21.61 mg/g in winter collected ones. A comparable amount (11.61±0.29 mg/g) was measured in pulverised samples. The concentrations of fumarprotocetraric acid varied between 0.60 and 3.01 mg/g in summer collected samples and 2.26 and 5.81 mg/g in winter collected thalli. A comparable amount (2.45±0.21 mg/g) was found in pulverised samples. The range of concentration values is comparable with data known from lichens. A higher amount of usnic acid is produced in winter probably to ensure sufficient protection also for summer. The fumarprotocetraric acid content of the medulla might contribute to the solar irradiation reflecting role of the pale lower surface lobes turning upwards in dry condition.

Open access
Acta Botanica Hungarica
Authors: M. Dudáš, P. Eliáš jun., D. R. Letz, Z. Bártová and V. Kolarčik

The distribution of Sonchus palustris in Slovakia was studied using herbarium specimens and literary sources. The herbarium studies, supplemented with targeted field search in the years 2015–2018, revealed 61 new localities and confirmed many other older locations. The species has been recorded in 19 phytogeographical districts and sub-districts of Slovakia. Most of the records are concentrated in the Podunajská nížina lowland in SW Slovakia and in the Ipel'sko-rimavská brázda region in southern Slovakia. Our results showed that the species is relatively common in different types of wetlands and its re-evaluation in the recent version of the Slovak red list is not needed. Chromosome number data for two new populations in eastern Slovakia (both 2n = 18) were counted. The distribution map is given.

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The diversity of fungal endophytes is poorly known and particularly in the case of Nicotiana tabacum, the literature is limited. The present study assessed and compared the diversity and distribution of endophytic fungi between different organs of tobacco plants. We calculated the relative frequency and rates of colonisation and of isolation of endophytic fungi in roots, stems and leaves, as well as the Shannon–Wiener and Simpson diversity indexes. Similarities between assemblages from the studied organs were also analysed. A total of 1588 endophytic fungal strains assigned to 31 morphospecies were isolated. The highest diversity of endophytes was found in leaves, being Fusarium graminearum and Alternaria botrytis the most common fungal species. This study provides information on the distribution of fungal endophytes inhabiting leaves, stems, and roots of N. tabacum and thus can serve as a starting point for increasing our comprehension on the interactions in which these fungi are involved.

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Heterocentron subtriplinervium (Link et Otto) A. Braun et C. D. Bouche, a potential invasive alien species is reported here for the first time for Asia from the Western Ghats of India. The plant is probably introduced deliberately into gardens for ornamental purpose from where it escaped and become naturalised in the Western Ghats. This species is a potential weed, which quickly conquers areas wherever introduced displacing the indigenous flora. A detailed description, illustration, photograph and relevant notes are provided for easy identification in the field.

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For restoration purposes nature conservation preferably requests the use of local seed sources based on the “local-is-best” (LIB) approach. However, counter-arguments against this usage are potential benefits by increased variation, which could be beneficial especially in times of global change. We here investigate intraspecific morphological variability of one of the most common herbaceous, insect pollinated and zoochorous plants from seed mixtures used for landscape restoration processes in central Europe, the wild carrot, Daucus carota L. (Apiaceae). Our results show that D. carota features no vegetative but two generative characters that significantly differed among plants originating from seeds of natural (I) and restored (R) sites. We could show that effects of mowing always overlay origin-specific characteristics. The earlier genetic analysis did not support a regional provenance concept for restoration purposes, while slight differences in phenological parameters related to fitness pinpoint to ‘mix and match-admixture provenancing’ as a compromise strategy.

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