Browse

You are looking at 141 - 150 of 256 items for :

  • Biology and Life Sciences x
  • User-accessible content x
Clear All

The rising incidences of infections with multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) have gained increasing attention in medicine, but also in the general public and global health politics. The mechanisms underlying opportunistic pathogen—host interactions are unclear, however. To address this, we challenged secondary abiotic IL10−/− mice deficient for Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4−/− × IL10−/−), the main receptor of the Gram-negative cell wall constituent lipopolysaccharide, with a clinical MDR PA isolate. Despite higher intestinal colonization densities, apoptotic colonic epithelial cell numbers were lower in TLR4−/− × IL10−/− mice as compared to IL10−/− controls at day 14 postinfection (p.i.), whereas proliferating/regenerating cells had increased in the latter only. Furthermore, PA-colonized TLR4−/− × IL10−/− mice displayed less distinct innate and adaptive immune cell responses in the colon as compared to IL10−/− counterparts that were accompanied by lower nitric oxide concentrations in mesenteric lymph nodes in the former at day 14 p.i. Conversely, splenic NO levels were higher in both naive and PA-colonized TLR4-deficient IL10−/− mice versus IL10−/− controls. Remarkably, intestinal MDR PA was able to translocate to extra-intestinal including systemic compartments of TLR4−/− × IL10−/− mice only. Hence, MDR PA-induced intestinal and systemic immune responses observed in secondary abiotic IL10−/− mice are TLR4-dependent.

Open access

Climate change brings along trend-like changes as well as changes in the temporal variations in environmental conditions which interact with the biological dynamics of ecological systems. Therefore, only studies covering several decades may unveil long term trends in ecological systems, such as in animal communities. To demonstrate if recent climatic changes have caused fundamental changes in the structure of a key arthropod community, I studied the long-term dynamics of ant colonies for 37 years on a sandy grassland in central Hungary. To be able to monitor colonies – the natural units of ant communities – with the possible least disturbance, I applied two grids of a total of 80 slate plates as artificial nesting sites. Prior to the presented study, a well-defined spatial ant community structure had been identified in the studied habitat, which consisted of three species groups (dune top, transitional and dune slack groups), occupying different habitat patches. During the study period 2813 nests of 11 ant species were recorded under the slates. Over the 37 years, community pattern markedly changed, dune slack species disappeared from the studied plots, while the frequency of drought-tolerant dune top species increased by a significant trend. No significant trend was observed in the case of the transitional species group. On the species population level, two species, Lasius niger and Formica cunicularia, showed an intensive population decline; while the Plagiolepis taurica population significantly increased and spatially joined the transitional species group in the dune slack in the second half of the project. These changes led to a major decline in species richness and a homogenization of species composition across habitat patches. Multiple correlation analyses revealed that the depletion of groundwater had the strongest relationship with these population trends. The study indicates that climate change can be linked to a fundamental change in the community structure of major ecosystem actors.

Open access

How are bryophyte alpha and beta diversities distributed across spatial scales along an elevational gradient in an oceanic island? Which mechanisms and drivers operate to shape them? Starting from a multiscale hierarchical sampling approach along an 1000 m elevational transect, we used additive diversity partitioning and null modeling to evaluate the contributions of the alpha and beta diversity components to overall bryophyte diversity in Terceira Island, Azores. Substrate-level diversity patterns were explored by means of the Sørensen Similarity Index and the Lloyd Index of Patchiness. Elevation-level beta diversity was decomposed into its replacement and richness differences components, with several environmental variables being evaluated as diversity predictors. Bryophyte diversity proved to be primarily due to beta diversity between elevation sites, followed by diversity among substrates. Compositional differences between neighboring sites decreased with elevation, being mainly caused by species replacement and correlating with differences in relative humidity and disturbance. At the substrate level, we found a great homogeneity in terms of species composition, coupled with a low substrate specialization rate. We conclude that, in Terceira’s native vegetation patches, regional processes, such as environmental gradients associated with elevation, play a greater role in shaping bryophyte diversity than local processes. Moister and less disturbed areas at mid-high elevation harbor a richer bryoflora, consistently more similar and stable between neighbouring sites. Simultaneously, the different substrates available are somewhat ecologically redundant, supporting few specialized species, pointing to these areas providing optimal habitat conditions for bryophytes. Our findings provide a better understanding of how bryophyte diversity is generated in Terceira Island, indicating that management and conservation measures should focus on island-level approaches, aiming to protect and rehabilitate additional natural vegetation patches at different elevations, especially in the severely disturbed lowlands.

Open access

Karst rocky desertification (KRD) is a process of soil desertification, which leads to the decline of soil quality and biomass. We conducted a plant community survey in KRD areas in Chongqing, China. Our aims were to determine key soil properties that shape plant communities and to identify essential leaf functional traits (LFTs) in responding to the progression of KRD. The vegetation survey was carried in a total of twenty study sites (five replicates for four stages of KRD) in the Wushan County in Chongqing, China. Leaves were collected from all the species in every site and measured/calculated for five LFTs, namely, specific leaf area, leaf area, leaf thickness, leaf tissue density, and leaf dry matter content. Soil samples were collected in triplicates in each site to measure soil properties. We found that the overall richness and diversity of community decreased along with the progression of KRD. Phanerophytes predominated in all the KRD areas. Soil pH was the main determinant of vegetation structure. Leaves with lower area yet higher density had the optimal adaptability in KRD regions, which can be planted as pioneer vegetation to restore land in KRD regions.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Julia Münch, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Martin Müller, Viktor Kellert, Dorothea Franziska Wiemer, Rebecca Hinz, Norbert Georg Schwarz and Hagen Frickmann

The effectiveness of a disinfectant-based decolonization strategy for multidrug-resistant bacteria like extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-positive Gram-negative bacteria with or without additional fluoroquinolon and carbapenem resistance as well as vancomycin-resistant enterococci and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was assessed.

Between 2011 and 2015, 25 patients from Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine with war traumata were treated at the Bundeswehr hospital Hamburg. The patients were heavily colonized and infected with multidrug-resistant bacteria, altogether comprising 371 distinct combinations of pathogens and isolation sites. Local disinfection was assessed for effectiveness regarding successful decolonization of multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Altogether, 170 cases of successful decolonization were observed, comprising 95 (55.8%) such events at sampling sites that were accessible to disinfecting procedures. The remaining 75 (44.2%) decolonization events had to be considered as spontaneous. In contrast, 95 out of 172 (55.2%) colonized isolation sites that were accessible to disinfection procedures were successfully decolonized. Patient compliance with the enforced hygiene procedures was associated with decolonization success. Systemic antibiotic therapy did not relevantly affect isolation time.

Disinfecting washing moderately supports local decolonization of multidrug-resistant pathogens in comparison with spontaneous decolonization rates if the patients’ compliance with the applied hygiene procedures is ensured.

Open access

Tuberculosis (TB) is the second leading cause of death from infectious disease globally with its impact more dramatic in resource limited settings. Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection who also develop tuberculosis represent a significant challenge to TB control. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of TB—HIV coinfection and pattern of infection among TB patients. We also compared treatment outcome among coinfected patients with those not coinfected.

A six-year retrospective review of records of patients managed at the Tuberculosis Treatment Center of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, South-Western Nigeria from January 2009 to December 2014 was carried out.

One hundred and five (26.3%) of the 399 TB patients seen in the study period were coinfected with HIV. About 10% of the subjects had extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Treatment failure was significantly worse among patients who had both HIV and TB compared with those who had TB only (49.5% vs. 32%, p = 0.001). Death rate was also higher in the coinfected individuals implying a poorer clinical outcome.

High prevalence of TB—HIV coinfection and poor treatment outcome in this group of individuals, though predictable, calls for a more concerted effort in the management of TB—HIV coinfection.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Jana Niemz, Stefanie Kliche, Marina C. Pils, Eliot Morrison, Annika Manns, Christian Freund, Jill R. Crittenden, Ann M. Graybiel, Melanie Galla, Lothar Jänsch and Jochen Huehn

Using quantitative phosphopeptide sequencing of unstimulated versus stimulated primary murine Foxp3+ regulatory and Foxp3 conventional T cells (Tregs and Tconv, respectively), we detected a novel and differentially regulated tyrosine phosphorylation site within the C1 domain of the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor CalDAG GEFI. We hypothesized that the Treg-specific and activation-dependent reduced phosphorylation at Y523 allows binding of CalDAG GEFI to diacylglycerol, thereby impacting the formation of a Treg-specific immunological synapse. However, diacylglycerol binding assays of phosphomutant C1 domains of CalDAG GEFI could not confirm this hypothesis. Moreover, CalDAG GEFI−/− mice displayed normal Treg numbers in thymus and secondary lymphoid organs, and CalDAG GEFI−/− Tregs showed unaltered in vitro suppressive capacity when compared to CalDAG GEFI+/+ Tregs. Interestingly, when tested in vivo, CalDAG GEFI−/− Tregs displayed a slightly reduced suppressive ability in the transfer colitis model when compared to CalDAG GEFI+/+ Tregs. Additionally, CRISPR-Cas9-generated CalDAG GEFI−/− Jurkat T cell clones showed reduced adhesion to ICAM-1 and fibronectin when compared to CalDAG GEFI-competent Jurkat T cells. Therefore, we speculate that deficiency in CalDAG GEFI impairs adherence of Tregs to antigen-presenting cells, thereby impeding formation of a fully functional immunological synapse, which finally results in a reduced suppressive potential.

Open access

In this study, the photoinactivation of Legionella by visible light is investigated. The success of this approach would offer new prospects for technical water disinfection and maybe even for therapeutic measures in cases of Legionella infections. Therefore, Legionella rubrilucens was dispensed on buffered charcoal yeast extract medium agar plates and illuminated with different doses of violet light generated by 405 nm light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A strong photoinactivation effect was observed. A dose of 125 J/ cm2 reduced the bacterial concentration by more than 5 orders of magnitude compared to Legionella on unirradiated agar plates. The necessary dose for a one log-level reduction was about 24 J/cm2. These results were obtained for extracellular L. rubrilucens, but other Legionella species may exhibit a similar behavior.

Open access

Bacterial antimicrobial resistance mediated by the production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) is considered a major threat for treatment of Salmonella and Shigella infections. This study aimed to investigate antibiotic resistance patterns of Salmonella and Shigella spp. and presence of CTX-M from three teaching hospitals in Iran. In the present study, 58 clinical Shigella and 91 Salmonella isolates were recovered between 2009 and 2013 from 3 teaching hospitals in Iran. After culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing, ESBL-positive isolates were subjected to further investigations. These included polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and DNA sequencing of bla CTX-M-15 encoding plasmid. In both genera, high sensitivity to gentamicin and amikacin, but high resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim—sulfamethoxazole, was found. Molecular investigation showed that 31.8% isolates of Salmonella spp. and 34.48% isolates of Shigella spp. were CTX-M positive and all of them were also positive for ISEcpI. Protein translation, comparing with reference sequences, showed that all CTX-M isolates belong to CTX-M-15. The present study suggests that the resistance of ESBLs-producing Salmonella and Shigella spp. in Iran hospitals is very serious. Therefore, strategies to minimize the spread of ESBL-producing isolates should be implemented.

Open access

Host immune responses are crucial for combating enteropathogenic infections including Campylobacter jejuni. Within 1 week following peroral C. jejuni infection, secondary abiotic IL-10−/− mice develop severe immunopathological sequelae affecting the colon (ulcerative enterocolitis). In the present study, we addressed whether pathogen-induced pro-inflammatory immune responses could also be observed in the small intestines dependent on the innate receptor nucleotide-oligomerization-domain-protein 2 (Nod2). Within 7 days following peroral infection, C. jejuni stably colonized the gastrointestinal tract of both IL-10−/− mice lacking Nod2 (Nod2−/− IL-10−/−) and IL-10−/− controls displaying bloody diarrhea with similar frequencies. Numbers of apoptotic and regenerating epithelial cells increased in the small intestines of C. jejuni-infected mice of either genotype that were accompanied by elevated ileal T and B lymphocyte counts. Notably, ileal T cell numbers were higher in C. jejuni-infected Nod2−/− IL-10−/− as compared to IL-10−/− counterparts. Furthermore, multifold increased concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IFN-γ, TNF, and MCP-1 could be measured in small intestinal ex vivo biopsies derived from C. jejuni-infected mice of either genotype. In conclusion, C. jejuni-induced pro-inflammatory immune responses affected the small intestines of both Nod2−/− IL-10−/− and IL-10−/− mice, whereas ileal T lymphocyte numbers were even higher in the former.

Open access