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Capsular Polysaccharide Is Essential for the Virulence of the Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogen Enterobacter hormaechei

St John, Amelia; Perault, Andrew I; Giacometti, Sabrina I; Sommerfield, Alexis G; DuMont, Ashley L; Lacey, Keenan A; Zheng, Xuhui; Sproch, Julia; Petzold, Chris; Dancel-Manning, Kristen; Gonzalez, Sandra; Annavajhala, Medini; Beckford, Colleen; Zeitouni, Nathalie; Liang, Feng-Xia; van Bakel, Harm; Shopsin, Bo; Uhlemann, Anne-Catrin; Pironti, Alejandro; Torres, Victor J
Nosocomial infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Enterobacter cloacae complex (ECC) pathogens are on the rise. However, the virulence strategies employed by these pathogens remain elusive. Here, we study the interaction of ECC clinical isolates with human serum to define how this pathogen evades the antimicrobial action of complement, one of the first lines of host-mediated immune defense. We identified a small number of serum-sensitive strains, including Enterobacter hormaechei strain NR3055, which we exploited for the in vitro selection of serum-resistant clones. Comparative genomics between the serum-sensitive NR3055 strain and the isolated serum-resistant clones revealed a premature stop codon in the wzy gene of the capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis locus of NR3055. The complementation of wzy conferred serum resistance to NR3055, prevented the deposition of complement proteins on the bacterial surface, inhibited phagocytosis by human neutrophils, and rendered the bacteria virulent in a mouse model of peritonitis. Mice exposed to a nonlethal dose of encapsulated NR3055 were protected from subsequent lethal infections by encapsulated NR3055, whereas mice that were previously exposed to unencapsulated NR3055 succumbed to infection. Thus, capsule is a key immune evasion determinant for E. hormaechei, and it is a potential target for prophylactics and therapeutics to combat these increasingly MDR human pathogens. IMPORTANCE Infections caused by antimicrobial resistant bacteria are of increasing concern, especially those due to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae pathogens. Included in this group are species of the Enterobacter cloacae complex, regarding which there is a paucity of knowledge on the infection biology of the pathogens, despite their clinical relevance. In this study, we combine techniques in comparative genomics, bacterial genetics, and diverse models of infection to establish capsule as an important mechanism of Enterobacter pathogens to resist the antibacterial activity of serum, a first line of host defense against bacterial infections. We also show that immune memory targeting the Enterobacter capsule protects against lethal infection. The further characterization of Enterobacter infection biology and the immune response to infection are needed for the development of therapies and preventative interventions targeting these highly antibiotic resistant pathogens.
PMID: 36779722
ISSN: 2150-7511
CID: 5421192

MRSA lineage USA300 isolated from bloodstream infections exhibit altered virulence regulation

Dyzenhaus, Sophie; Sullivan, Mitchell J; Alburquerque, Bremy; Boff, Daiane; van de Guchte, Adriana; Chung, Marilyn; Fulmer, Yi; Copin, Richard; Ilmain, Juliana K; O'Keefe, Anna; Altman, Deena R; Stubbe, François-Xavier; Podkowik, Magdalena; Dupper, Amy C; Shopsin, Bo; van Bakel, Harm; Torres, Victor J
The epidemic community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) USA300 lineage has recently become a leading cause of hospital-associated bloodstream infections (BSIs). Here, we leveraged this recent introduction into hospitals and the limited genetic variation across USA300 isolates to identify mutations that contribute to its success in a new environment. We found that USA300 BSI isolates exhibit altered virulence regulation. Using comparative genomics to delineate the genes involved in this phenotype, we discovered repeated and independent mutations in the transcriptional regulator sarZ. Mutations in sarZ resulted in increased virulence of USA300 BSI isolates in a murine model of BSI. The sarZ mutations derepressed the expression and production of the surface protein ClfB, which was critical for the pathogenesis of USA300 BSI isolates. Altogether, these findings highlight ongoing evolution of a major MRSA lineage and suggest USA300 strains can optimize their fitness through altered regulation of virulence.
PMID: 36681080
ISSN: 1934-6069
CID: 5426472

Gut microbiome dysbiosis in antibiotic-treated COVID-19 patients is associated with microbial translocation and bacteremia

Bernard-Raichon, Lucie; Venzon, Mericien; Klein, Jon; Axelrad, Jordan E; Zhang, Chenzhen; Sullivan, Alexis P; Hussey, Grant A; Casanovas-Massana, Arnau; Noval, Maria G; Valero-Jimenez, Ana M; Gago, Juan; Putzel, Gregory; Pironti, Alejandro; Wilder, Evan; Thorpe, Lorna E; Littman, Dan R; Dittmann, Meike; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Shopsin, Bo; Torres, Victor J; Ko, Albert I; Iwasaki, Akiko; Cadwell, Ken; Schluter, Jonas
Although microbial populations in the gut microbiome are associated with COVID-19 severity, a causal impact on patient health has not been established. Here we provide evidence that gut microbiome dysbiosis is associated with translocation of bacteria into the blood during COVID-19, causing life-threatening secondary infections. We first demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 infection induces gut microbiome dysbiosis in mice, which correlated with alterations to Paneth cells and goblet cells, and markers of barrier permeability. Samples collected from 96 COVID-19 patients at two different clinical sites also revealed substantial gut microbiome dysbiosis, including blooms of opportunistic pathogenic bacterial genera known to include antimicrobial-resistant species. Analysis of blood culture results testing for secondary microbial bloodstream infections with paired microbiome data indicates that bacteria may translocate from the gut into the systemic circulation of COVID-19 patients. These results are consistent with a direct role for gut microbiome dysbiosis in enabling dangerous secondary infections during COVID-19.
PMID: 36319618
ISSN: 2041-1723
CID: 5358262

The tempo and mode of gene regulatory programs during bacterial infection

Avital, Gal; Kuperwaser, Felicia; Pountain, Andrew W; Lacey, Keenan A; Zwack, Erin E; Podkowik, Magdalena; Shopsin, Bo; Torres, Victor J; Yanai, Itai
Innate immune recognition of bacterial pathogens is a key determinant of the ensuing systemic response, and host or pathogen heterogeneity in this early interaction can impact the course of infection. To gain insight into host response heterogeneity, we investigate macrophage inflammatory dynamics using primary human macrophages infected with Group B Streptococcus. Transcriptomic analysis reveals discrete cellular states within responding macrophages, one of which consists of four sub-states, reflecting inflammatory activation. Infection with six additional bacterial species-Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Enterococcus faecalis, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Shigella flexneri, and Salmonella enterica-recapitulates these states, though at different frequencies. We show that modulating the duration of infection and the presence of a toxin impacts inflammatory trajectory dynamics. We provide evidence for this trajectory in infected macrophages in an in vivo model of Staphylococcus aureus infection. Our cell-state analysis defines a framework for understanding inflammatory activation dynamics in response to bacterial infection.
PMID: 36223751
ISSN: 2211-1247
CID: 5352072

ACE2-containing defensosomes serve as decoys to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection

Ching, Krystal L; de Vries, Maren; Gago, Juan; Dancel-Manning, Kristen; Sall, Joseph; Rice, William J; Barnett, Clea; Khodadadi-Jamayran, Alireza; Tsirigos, Aristotelis; Liang, Feng-Xia; Thorpe, Lorna E; Shopsin, Bo; Segal, Leopoldo N; Dittmann, Meike; Torres, Victor J; Cadwell, Ken
Extracellular vesicles of endosomal origin, exosomes, mediate intercellular communication by transporting substrates with a variety of functions related to tissue homeostasis and disease. Their diagnostic and therapeutic potential has been recognized for diseases such as cancer in which signaling defects are prominent. However, it is unclear to what extent exosomes and their cargo inform the progression of infectious diseases. We recently defined a subset of exosomes termed defensosomes that are mobilized during bacterial infection in a manner dependent on autophagy proteins. Through incorporating protein receptors on their surface, defensosomes mediated host defense by binding and inhibiting pore-forming toxins secreted by bacterial pathogens. Given this capacity to serve as decoys that interfere with surface protein interactions, we investigated the role of defensosomes during infection by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Consistent with a protective function, exosomes containing high levels of the viral receptor ACE2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from critically ill COVID-19 patients was associated with reduced intensive care unit (ICU) and hospitalization times. We found ACE2+ exosomes were induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and activation of viral sensors in cell culture, which required the autophagy protein ATG16L1, defining these as defensosomes. We further demonstrate that ACE2+ defensosomes directly bind and block viral entry. These findings suggest that defensosomes may contribute to the antiviral response against SARS-CoV-2 and expand our knowledge on the regulation and effects of extracellular vesicles during infection.
PMID: 36099266
ISSN: 1545-7885
CID: 5335192

Microbiome-Independent Effects of Antibiotics in a Murine Model of Nosocomial Infections

Lacey, Keenan A; Gonzalez, Sandra; Yeung, Frank; Putzel, Gregory; Podkowik, Magdalena; Pironti, Alejandro; Shopsin, Bo; Cadwell, Ken; Torres, Victor J
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most common causes of hospital-acquired pneumonia. To better manage patients with MRSA pneumonia, we require a greater understanding of the host-pathogen interactions during infection. MRSA research focuses on highly virulent and cytotoxic strains, which demonstrate robust phenotypes in animal models of infection. However, nosocomial infections are often caused by hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) isolates that exhibit low cytotoxicity and few or no phenotypes in mice, thereby confounding mechanistic studies of pathogenesis. Consequently, virulence pathways utilized by HA-MRSA in nosocomial pneumonia are largely unknown. Here, we report that conditioning mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics lowers the barrier to pneumonia, thereby transforming otherwise avirulent HA-MRSA isolates into lethal pathogens. HA-MRSA isolates are avirulent in gnotobiotic mice, mimicking results in conventional animals. Thus, the observed enhanced susceptibility to infection in antibiotic-treated mice is not due to depletion of the microbiota. More generally, we found that antibiotic conditioning leads to increased susceptibility to infection by diverse antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens of low virulence. Treatment with antibiotics leads to dehydration and malnutrition, suggesting a potential role for these clinically relevant and reducible hospital complications in susceptibility to pathogens. In sum, the model described here mitigates the impact of low virulence in immunocompetent mice, providing a convenient model to gain fundamental insight into the pathogenesis of nosocomial pathogens. IMPORTANCE Antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens are responsible for over 2.8 million infections and over 35,000 deaths per year in the United States. To study these microbes, animal models that are susceptible to these pathogens are required. However, many of these pathogens exhibit low virulence in conventional mice, which has negatively impacted mechanistic studies. Here, we show that mice treated with antibiotics in their drinking water become exquisitely susceptible to low-virulence AMR pathogens. Surprisingly, the increased susceptibility was independent of the impact of antibiotics on the microbiome and seems to be due to an unintended consequence of antibiotic treatment: weight loss due to dehydration and caloric restriction. Unlike other models used to sensitize mice to low-virulence pathogens, our model does not reduce phagocyte numbers. Thus, here, we describe an immunocompetent mouse model to facilitate the identification of novel targets and accelerate the development of preventives and therapeutics to combat infections by AMR pathogens.
PMID: 35612285
ISSN: 2150-7511
CID: 5277522

Pathogen Species Is Associated With Mortality in Nosocomial Bloodstream Infection in Patients With COVID-19

Gago, Juan; Filardo, Thomas D; Conderino, Sarah; Magaziner, Samuel J; Dubrovskaya, Yanina; Inglima, Kenneth; Iturrate, Eduardo; Pironti, Alejandro; Schluter, Jonas; Cadwell, Ken; Hochman, Sarah; Li, Huilin; Torres, Victor J; Thorpe, Lorna E; Shopsin, Bo
Background/UNASSIGNED:The epidemiology of nosocomial bloodstream infections (NBSIs) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is poorly understood, due in part to substantial disease heterogeneity resulting from multiple potential pathogens. Methods/UNASSIGNED:We identified risk factors for NBSIs and examined the association between NBSIs and mortality in a retrospective cohort of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in 2 New York City hospitals during the height of the pandemic. We adjusted for the potential effects of factors likely to confound that association, including age, race, illness severity upon admission, and underlying health status. Results/UNASSIGNED:infections did not have an identifiable source and were not associated with common risk factors for infection by these organisms. Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:Pathogen species and mortality exhibited temporal differences. Early recognition of risk factors among COVID-19 patients could potentially decrease NBSI-associated mortality through early COVID-19 and antimicrobial treatment.
PMID: 35607701
ISSN: 2328-8957
CID: 5283852

Decreased production of epithelial-derived antimicrobial molecules at mucosal barriers during early life

Lokken-Toyli, Kristen L; de Steenhuijsen Piters, Wouter A A; Zangari, Tonia; Martel, Rachel; Kuipers, Kirsten; Shopsin, Bo; Loomis, Cynthia; Bogaert, Debby; Weiser, Jeffrey N
Young age is a risk factor for respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Here, we compared infant and adult mice to identify age-dependent mechanisms that drive susceptibility to mucosal infections during early life. Transcriptional profiling of the upper respiratory tract (URT) epithelium revealed significant dampening of early life innate mucosal defenses. Epithelial-mediated production of the most abundant antimicrobial molecules, lysozyme, and lactoferrin, and the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), responsible for IgA transcytosis, was expressed in an age-dependent manner. This was attributed to delayed functional development of serous cells. Absence of epithelial-derived lysozyme and the pIgR was also observed in the small intestine during early life. Infection of infant mice with lysozyme-susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus in the URT or gastrointestinal tract, respectively, demonstrated an age-dependent regulation of lysozyme enzymatic activity. Lysozyme derived from maternal milk partially compensated for the reduction in URT lysozyme activity of infant mice. Similar to our observations in mice, expression of lysozyme and the pIgR in nasopharyngeal samples collected from healthy human infants during the first year of life followed an age-dependent regulation. Thus, a global pattern of reduced antimicrobial and IgA-mediated defenses may contribute to increased susceptibility of young children to mucosal infections.
PMID: 34465896
ISSN: 1935-3456
CID: 4998412

Microbial signatures in the lower airways of mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients associated with poor clinical outcome

Sulaiman, Imran; Chung, Matthew; Angel, Luis; Tsay, Jun-Chieh J; Wu, Benjamin G; Yeung, Stephen T; Krolikowski, Kelsey; Li, Yonghua; Duerr, Ralf; Schluger, Rosemary; Thannickal, Sara A; Koide, Akiko; Rafeq, Samaan; Barnett, Clea; Postelnicu, Radu; Wang, Chang; Banakis, Stephanie; Pérez-Pérez, Lizzette; Shen, Guomiao; Jour, George; Meyn, Peter; Carpenito, Joseph; Liu, Xiuxiu; Ji, Kun; Collazo, Destiny; Labarbiera, Anthony; Amoroso, Nancy; Brosnahan, Shari; Mukherjee, Vikramjit; Kaufman, David; Bakker, Jan; Lubinsky, Anthony; Pradhan, Deepak; Sterman, Daniel H; Weiden, Michael; Heguy, Adriana; Evans, Laura; Uyeki, Timothy M; Clemente, Jose C; de Wit, Emmie; Schmidt, Ann Marie; Shopsin, Bo; Desvignes, Ludovic; Wang, Chan; Li, Huilin; Zhang, Bin; Forst, Christian V; Koide, Shohei; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Khanna, Kamal M; Ghedin, Elodie; Segal, Leopoldo N
Respiratory failure is associated with increased mortality in COVID-19 patients. There are no validated lower airway biomarkers to predict clinical outcome. We investigated whether bacterial respiratory infections were associated with poor clinical outcome of COVID-19 in a prospective, observational cohort of 589 critically ill adults, all of whom required mechanical ventilation. For a subset of 142 patients who underwent bronchoscopy, we quantified SARS-CoV-2 viral load, analysed the lower respiratory tract microbiome using metagenomics and metatranscriptomics and profiled the host immune response. Acquisition of a hospital-acquired respiratory pathogen was not associated with fatal outcome. Poor clinical outcome was associated with lower airway enrichment with an oral commensal (Mycoplasma salivarium). Increased SARS-CoV-2 abundance, low anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response and a distinct host transcriptome profile of the lower airways were most predictive of mortality. Our data provide evidence that secondary respiratory infections do not drive mortality in COVID-19 and clinical management strategies should prioritize reducing viral replication and maximizing host responses to SARS-CoV-2.
PMID: 34465900
ISSN: 2058-5276
CID: 4998422

Gut microbiome dysbiosis during COVID-19 is associated with increased risk for bacteremia and microbial translocation

Venzon, Mericien; Bernard-Raichon, Lucie; Klein, Jon; Axelrad, Jordan; Hussey, Grant; Sullivan, Alexis; Casanovas-Massana, Arnau; Noval, Maria; Valero-Jimenez, Ana; Gago, Juan; Wilder, Evan; Team, Yale Impact Research; Iwasaki, Akiko; Thorpe, Lorna; Littman, Dan; Dittmann, Meike; Stapleford, Kenneth; Shopsin, Bo; Torres, Victor; Ko, Albert; Cadwell, Ken; Schluter, Jonas
The microbial populations in the gut microbiome have recently been associated with COVID-19 disease severity. However, a causal impact of the gut microbiome on COVID-19 patient health has not been established. Here we provide evidence that gut microbiome dysbiosis is associated with translocation of bacteria into the blood during COVID-19, causing life-threatening secondary infections. Antibiotics and other treatments during COVID-19 can potentially confound microbiome associations. We therefore first demonstrate that the gut microbiome is directly affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection in a dose-dependent manner in a mouse model, causally linking viral infection and gut microbiome dysbiosis. Comparison with stool samples collected from 97 COVID-19 patients at two different clinical sites also revealed substantial gut microbiome dysbiosis, paralleling our observations in the animal model. Specifically, we observed blooms of opportunistic pathogenic bacterial genera known to include antimicrobial-resistant species in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Analysis of blood culture results testing for secondary microbial bloodstream infections with paired microbiome data obtained from these patients suggest that bacteria translocate from the gut into the systemic circulation of COVID-19 patients. These results are consistent with a direct role for gut microbiome dysbiosis in enabling dangerous secondary infections during COVID 19.
PMID: 34341786
ISSN: n/a
CID: 5080792