The sequence of the rpoB gene from Listeria monocytogenes was determined. Rifampin-resistant (Rifr) mutants arising from L. monocytogenes cultures exposed to rifampin were isolated, and by partial sequencing of their rpoB genes, seven different point mutations affecting five different amino acids (473Asp→Asn or Gly, 479Gly→Asp, 483His→Tyr or Leu, 528Ile→Phe, and 530Ser→Tyr), which led to MICs of 0.5 to 100 μg/ml for the organisms, were determined. These mutants showed various deficiencies for growth at 42°C, with only one being comparable to the wild-type strain. The interaction of these Rifr mutants with human Caco-2 cells was examined by using an immunofluorescence technique. Three mutants failed to interact, while three showed a reduced interaction compared to that of the wild type. It is believed that these pleiotropic phenotypes have arisen as a result of mutations within the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase holoenzyme.
Ninety-nine clinical staphylococcal isolates (58 coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp. [CoNS] and 41 Staphylococcus aureus isolates) were evaluated for susceptibility to oxacillin. The following susceptibility testing methods, media, and incubation conditions were studied: agar dilution by using Mueller-Hinton (MH) medium (Difco) supplemented with either 0, 2, or 4% NaCl and incubation at 30 or 35°C in ambient air for 24 or 48 h; disk diffusion by using commercially prepared MH medium (Difco) and MH II agar (BBL) and incubation at 35°C in ambient air for 24 or 48 h; and agar screen (spot or swab inoculation) by using commercially prepared agar (Remel) or MH agar (Difco) prepared in-house, each containing 4% NaCl and 6 μg of oxacillin/ml (0.6-μg/ml oxacillin was also studied with MH agar prepared in-house for the agar swab method and CoNS isolates) and incubation at 35°C in ambient air for 24 or 48 h for swab inoculation and at 30 or 35°C in ambient air for 24 or 48 h for spot inoculation. The results for these methods were compared to the results for mecA gene detection by a PCR method. Given the ability to support growth and the results for susceptibility testing (the breakpoint for susceptible isolates was ≤2 μg/ml), the best methods for CoNS isolates were (i) agar dilution by using MH medium supplemented with 4% NaCl and incubation at 35°C for 48 h (no growth failures were noted...
We studied the carriage of Acinetobacter spp. at five superficial sites in 79 patients from two hospitals, in 133 healthy controls from the community (medical students and new nurses), and in 198 student nurses in different classes. A total of 431 isolates from 364 positive sites of 201 subjects and 124 blood culture isolates (1997 to 1998) were genospeciated by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis. Genospecies 3 was the most common species. The carriage rate of student nurses (42 of 131) was significantly lower than that of new nurses from the community (25 of 38) (chi-square test, P = 0.0004; odds ratio [OR], 4.08; 95% confidence limits, 1.78 to 9.41) but not significantly different (P = 0.1) from that of patients in the same hospital (20 of 42). Genospecies from blood cultures and subjects (acute patients and student nurses) from Prince of Wales Hospital were similar to one another but different from subjects from the community or from another hospital (chi-square test, P < 0.0001). Half of the subjects who were positive at at least two sites had different genospecies. Of the 28 sites examined, 68% showed strain variation among isolates of the same genospecies by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. Half of the 106 subjects who had samples taken again within 6 weeks or 6 months later were positive only once. In the 17 subjects who were positive on at least two occasions...
No past studies of diarrhea in children of the Middle East have examined in detail the phenotypes of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains, which are important pathogens in this setting. During a prospective study conducted from November 1993 to September 1995 with 242 children under 3 years of age with diarrhea living near Alexandria, Egypt, 125 episodes of diarrhea were positive for ETEC. ETEC strains were available for 98 of these episodes, from which 100 ETEC strains were selected and characterized on the basis of enterotoxins, colonization factors (CFs), and O:H serotypes. Of these representative isolates, 57 produced heat-stable toxin (ST) only, 34 produced heat-labile toxin (LT) only, and 9 produced both LT and ST. Twenty-three ETEC strains expressed a CF, with the specific factors being CF antigen IV (CFA/IV; 10 of 23; 43%), CFA/II (5 of 23; 22%), CFA/I (3 of 23; 13%), PCFO166 (3 of 23; 13%), and CS7 (2 of 23; 9%). No ETEC strains appeared to express CFA/III, CS17, or PCFO159. Among the 100 ETEC strains, 47 O groups and 20 H groups were represented, with 59 O:H serotypes. The most common O serogroups were O159 (13 strains) and O43 (10 strains). O148 and O21 were each detected in five individual strains, O7 and O56 were each detected in four individual strains...
Alleles of the vacuolating cytotoxin gene (vacA) of Helicobacter pylori vary between strains, particularly in the region encoding the signal sequence (which may be type s1 or s2) and the midregion (which may be type m1 or m2). Using a PCR-based typing system developed in the United States, we showed that 36 strains from Asia and South America were all vacA signal sequence type s1; 3 were midregion type m1 and 11 were m2, but 22 could not be typed for the vacA midregion. All strains possessed cagA (cytotoxin-associated gene A), another virulence marker. vacA nucleotide sequence analysis showed that midregion typing failure was due to base substitutions at the primer annealing sites. Using the new sequence data, we developed two new PCR-based vacA midregion typing systems, both of which correctly typed 41 U.S. strains previously typed by the old system and successfully typed all 36 of the non-U.S. strains. All previously untypeable strains were vacA m1, other than one m1/m2 hybrid. In summary, we describe and validate a simple PCR-based system for typing vacuolating cytotoxin (vacA) alleles of H. pylori and show that this system correctly identifies the signal and midregion types of vacA in 77 strains from Asia and North and South America.
The development of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is most likely a consequence of increasing life expectancy and more prolonged exposure to antibiotics. The optimal method for antibiotic susceptibility testing of CF strains, particularly mucoid P. aeruginosa strains, is unknown. Antimicrobial susceptibilities of 48 CF strains (25 mucoid) and 50 non-CF strains to 12 anti-Pseudomonas agents were tested by both agar dilution and commercially custom-prepared broth microdilution plates (PML Microbiologicals, Portland, Oreg.) in three laboratories simultaneously to determine if broth microdilution could substitute for agar dilution as the reference method in subsequent studies. Comparison of MICs generated by agar dilution and broth microdilution demonstrated correlation coefficients (r) exceeding 0.85 for all agents tested; correlation was excellent for aminoglycosides (r ≥ 0.92) and very good for β-lactam agents including agents paired with a β-lactamase inhibitor (r ≥ 0.87) and for ciprofloxacin (r = 0.86). Correlation was not improved by 48-h readings, but correlation between 24- and 48-h readings ranged between 0.91 and 0.98 for both methods. Interlaboratory variations were minimal...
Helicobacter pylori virulence determinants have not previously been studied in detail in Latin Americans with H. pylori infections. We characterized the vacA (vacuolating cytotoxin gene A) and cagA (cytotoxin-associated gene A) types of more than 400 single-colony isolates from 20 patients in Mexico City. For 17 patients H. pylori strains of two or more different vacA genotypes were isolated from gastric biopsy specimens, indicating infection with two or more strains of H. pylori. The most frequent vacA genotype was s1b/m1. vacA diversity was more marked than that described previously, in that isolates from seven patients had untypeable vacA midregions and isolates from nine patients had type s1 signal sequence coding regions which could not be further subtyped. Previously undescribed vacA type s2/m1 strains were found in five patients. All patients were infected with cagA-positive strains, but occasionally, these coexisted with small numbers of cagA-negative strains. In conclusion, coinfection with multiple H. pylori strains is common in Mexico, and vacA in these strains is genetically more diverse than has been described in other populations.
Ten atypical European Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Borrelia spp.) strains were genetically characterized, and the diversity was compared to that encountered among related Borrelia spp. from North America. Phylogenetic analyses of a limited region of the genome and of the whole genome extend existing knowledge about borrelial diversity reported earlier in Europe and the United States. Our results accord with the evidence that North American and European strains may have a common ancestry.
Microbiologists are still encumbered by the variable performance of Amies charcoal transport medium in recovery of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The objective of this study was to evaluate and select a good quality commercial system to replace our in-house preparation. We adsorbed 0.1 ml of a suspension from 30 gonococcal isolates onto each swab type and replaced the swab into the transport medium. We plated the swabs to New York City medium at 0, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h. We compared the survival of each isolate in the commercial Amies transport systems with that in our in-house Amies transport medium. The best recovery was observed with Copan transport systems. Some systems are inadequate and unacceptable for culture of gonococci.
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato A14S was cultured from a skin biopsy specimen of a patient with erythema migrans in The Netherlands. This isolate had a unique DNA fingerprint pattern compared to 135 other B. burgdorferi sensu lato isolates. In this study, the isolate A14S was further characterized by protein analysis with sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and reactivity with various monoclonal antibodies. In addition, the 16S rRNA, ospA, and ospC genes, as well as the 5S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer DNA, were amplified by PCR, cloned, and sequenced. SDS-PAGE protein profiles and phylogenetic analysis based on all of the analyzed genes confirmed that B. burgdorferi sensu lato A14S was phenotypically and genetically different from the three human pathogenic species B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii, and Borrelia afzelii, as well as from other B. burgdorferi sensu lato species. Our findings indicate that Borrelia genomic groups or isolates other than the three well-known human pathogenic species may also cause human Lyme borreliosis.
The slide agglutination test MRSA-Screen (Denka Seiken Co., Niigata, Japan) was compared with the mecA PCR (“gold standard”) for the detection of methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. The MRSA-Screen test detected the penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a) antigen in 87 of 90 genetically diverse methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) stock culture strains, leading to a sensitivity of 97%. The three discrepant MRSA strains displayed positive results only after induction of the mecA gene by exposure to methicillin. Both mecA PCR and MRSA-Screen displayed negative results among the methicillin-susceptible S. aureus strains (n = 106), as well as for Micrococcus spp. (n = 10), members of the family Enterobacteriaceae (n = 10), Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 10), and Enterococcus spp. (n = 10) (specificity = 100%). Producing the same PBP2a antigen, all 10 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis strains score positived in both the latex test and the mecA PCR. Consequently, the MRSA-Screen test should be applied only after identification of the MRSA strain to the species level to rule out coagulase-negative staphylococci. In conclusion, due to excellent specificity and sensitivity the MRSA-Screen latex test has the potential to be successfully used for routine applications in the microbiology laboratory.
Nineteen isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis from patients with ocular infections were analyzed. Patients were selected in retrospect, by choosing cases in which S. epidermidis was the sole isolate. Twelve different patterns were obtained after hybridization with a probe with high-level homology to insertion sequences found in S. epidermidis. Susceptibilities to penicillin, methicillin, gentamicin, tetracycline, erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, vancomycin, and teicoplanin were determined. Six strains were resistant to three or more antibiotics.
Recovery of six anaerobic and five aerobic pathogens from viscose swabs and polyurethane swabs (Culturette EZ) was evaluated quantitatively, and transport in aerobic dry tubes, aerobic Amies transport medium (Transwab), and anaerobic universal transport medium (Port-a-Cul) was compared. The Culturette EZ in aerobic dry tubes gave the highest recovery levels. Data obtained with clinical specimens confirmed these results.
Rapid laboratory diagnosis of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) is highly desirable in the setting of hospital cost containment. We tested 654 stool specimens to compare the performance of two assays for rapid detection of toxin A, the Immunocard Toxin A test (Meridian Diagnostics, Inc.) and the Culturette Brand Toxin CD enzyme immunoassay (EIA) (Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems), with a cytotoxin assay (Cytotoxi Test; Advanced Clinical Diagnostics) and culture on cycloserine-cefoxitin-fructose agar followed by determination of the production of toxins A and B. A chart review was performed for patients whose stool specimens provided positive results on one to three of the assays. With the “gold standard” of all four assays positive or chart review evidence of CDAD, 97 (14.8%) stool specimens were positive by one or more assays and 557 (85.2%) were negative by all methods. Total agreement for all assays was 90.5% (592 of 654). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for toxigenic culture were 94.7, 98.6, 87.1, and 99.5%, respectively, for toxigenic culture; 87.7, 98.6, 86.2, and 98.8%, respectively, for the cytotoxin assay; 71.9, 99.3, 91.1, and 97.3%, respectively...
Providencia heimbachae was first described in 1986. It has been isolated from penguin feces and an aborted bovine fetus. To date, there has been no reported isolation of this organism from human specimens. We now report the isolation of P. heimbachae from the stool of a 23-year-old woman with idiopathic diarrhea. The identity of the human strain was determined biochemically and by DNA relatedness to the type strain of P. heimbachae.
A positive dipstick urinalysis (i.e., leukocyte esterase test and/or nitrite test) did not reliably detect significant bacteriuria in 479 ambulatory women with suspected uncomplicated urinary tract infection; 18.9% of the urine samples that demonstrated significant bacteriuria would have been rejected by the laboratory based on a negative urinalysis screen.
When the flat-bottomed, glass-stoppered, round bottle traditionally used to make VDRL antigen was discontinued, an appropriate substitute was needed. Although many laboratories have switched to one of the other nontreponemal tests for syphilis serology screening, the VDRL test remains the only approved procedure for testing spinal fluids of patients with possible neurosyphilis. We tested 25-ml glass-stoppered, convex-bottomed Erlenmeyer flasks to determine if these could be used as appropriate substitutes. We tested 52 reactive sera and 54 nonreactive sera by using one reference antigen prepared in the traditional flat-bottomed bottles and five antigens prepared in the Erlenmeyer flasks. Results with all serum samples were comparable. We also tested two lots of a commercial antigen plus an additional lot of reference antigen. Again there was no difference in the reactivity of the antigens. Therefore, we conclude that 25-ml glass-stoppered Erlenmeyer flasks can be used as an appropriate substitute for glass-stoppered, flat-bottomed, round glass bottles in the making of VDRL antigen.
We identified Lactobacillus isolates from Japanese women and newborn infants by a DNA-DNA hybridization method. The predominating lactobacilli were Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus gasseri in the women’s vaginas and the newborns’ intestines and L. gasseri and Lactobacillus fermentum in the women’s intestines. All L. crispatus strains were exclusively strong H2O2 producers.
Vancomycin-sensitive, -intermediate, and -heterointermediate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates were tested by using E-tests to explore the interaction of methicillin and vancomycin. For the vancomycin-intermediate and -heterointermediate strains both drugs showed antagonism at concentrations below their MICs but synergy at methicillin concentrations near the MIC. This property could be used to screen for heterointermediate S. aureus strains.
Bartonella henselae is the main causative agent of cat-scratch disease, and both B. henselae and Bartonella quintana cause angioproliferative disorders such as bacillary angiomatosis. To increase the sensitivity of Bartonella detection by PCR and to improve the species differentiation, we developed a semiquantitative, species-specific PCR-based enzyme immunoassay (EIA). The 16S rRNA gene was selected as the target sequence. Internal nucleotide sequences derived from the amplified 16S rRNA region were used to develop species-specific oligonucleotide probes for B. henselae and B. quintana. Biotin-labeled PCR products were immobilized on streptavidin-coated microtiter plates, hybridized to a digoxigenin-labeled probe, and detected with antidigoxigenin peroxidase conjugate. No cross-hybridization with other Bartonella or non-Bartonella species was observed. This EIA was as sensitive as dot blot hybridization and was 10 times more sensitive than visualization of PCR products on agarose gels. Serial dilutions of B. henselae and B. quintana suspensions demonstrated that an optical density (OD) of approximately 0.200 was equivalent to 5 CFU in the reaction mixture. By comparing the OD of the bacterial dilutions with that obtained from clinical specimens we could determine that the number of CFU in clinical samples ranged from 103 to 106 CFU/ml. The PCR-EIA developed in the present study is a rapid...