Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Proteobacteria


The recent discovery of a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria (1).….

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Bacteria, Genome, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Plasmid, Proteobacteria


In a Policy Forum, Teodora Wi and colleagues discuss the challenges of antimicrobial resistance in gonococci.

Concepts: Proteobacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria, Gonorrhea


In 2015, scientists reported the emergence of the plasmid-encoded mcr-1 gene conferring bacterial resistance to the antibiotic colistin (1), signaling potential emergence of a pandrug-resistant bacterium. In May 2016, mcr-1-positive Escherichia coli was first isolated from a specimen from a U.S. patient (2) when a Pennsylvania woman was evaluated for a urinary tract infection. The urine culture and subsequent testing identified the gene in an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli with reduced susceptibility to colistin. The patient had no international travel for approximately 1 year, no livestock exposure, and a limited role in meal preparation with store-bought groceries; however, she had multiple and repeated admissions to four medical facilities during 2016.

Concepts: Kidney, Bacteria, Evolution, Urinary tract infection, Urine, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Proteobacteria


Campylobacter jejuni is an important cause of human foodborne gastroenteritis; strategies to prevent infection are hampered by a poor understanding of the complex interactions between host and pathogen. Previous work showed that C. jejuni could bind human histo-blood group antigens (BgAgs) in vitro and that BgAgs could inhibit the binding of C. jejuni to human intestinal mucosa ex vivo. Here, the major flagella subunit protein (FlaA) and the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) were identified as BgAg-binding adhesins in C. jejuni NCTC11168. Significantly, the MOMP was shown to be O-glycosylated at Thr(268); previously only flagellin proteins were known to be O-glycosylated in C. jejuni. Substitution of MOMP Thr(268) led to significantly reduced binding to BgAgs. The O-glycan moiety was characterized as Gal(β1-3)-GalNAc(β1-4)-GalNAc(β1-4)-GalNAcα1-Thr(268); modelling suggested that O-glycosylation has a notable effect on the conformation of MOMP and this modulates BgAg-binding capacity. Glycosylation of MOMP at Thr(268) promoted cell-to-cell binding, biofilm formation and adhesion to Caco-2 cells, and was required for the optimal colonization of chickens by C. jejuni, confirming the significance of this O-glycosylation in pathogenesis.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Bacteria, Glucose, Proteobacteria, Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter, Campylobacter jejuni


Macroalgae harbor microbial communities whose bacterial biodiversity remains largely uncharacterized. The goals of this study were 1) to examine the composition of the bacterial community associated with Porphyra umbilicalis Kützing from Schoodic Point, ME, 2) determine whether there are seasonal trends in species diversity but a core group of bacteria that are always present, and 3) to determine how the microbial community associated with a laboratory strain ( established in the presence of antibiotics has changed. P. umbilicalis blades (n = 5, fall 2010; n = 5, winter 2011; n = 2, clonal were analyzed by pyrosequencing over two variable regions of the 16 S rDNA (V5-V6 and V8; 147,880 total reads). The bacterial taxa present were classified at an 80% confidence threshold into eight phyla (Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Deinococcus-Thermus, Firmicutes, and the candidate division TM7). The Bacteroidetes comprised the majority of bacterial sequences on both field and lab blades, but the Proteobacteria (Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria) were also abundant. Sphingobacteria (Bacteroidetes) and Flavobacteria (Bacteroidetes) had inverse abundances on natural versus blades. Bacterial communities were richer and more diverse on blades sampled in fall compared to winter. Significant differences were observed between microbial communities among all three groups of blades examined. Only two OTUs were found on all 12 blades, and only one of these, belonging to the Saprospiraceae (Bacteroidetes), was abundant. Lewinella (as 66 OTUs) was found on all field blades and was the most abundant genus. Bacteria from the Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Planctomycetes that are known to digest the galactan sulfates of red algal cell walls were well-represented. Some of these taxa likely provide essential morphogenetic and beneficial nutritive factors to P. umbilicalis and may have had unexpected effects upon evolution of macroalgal form as well as function.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Cell wall, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Porphyra


We report the preparation and characterization of spherical core-shell structured Fe3O4-Au magnetic nanoparticles, modified with two component self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of 3-mercaptophenylboronic acid (3-MBA) and 1-decanethiol (1-DT). The rapid and room temperature synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles was achieved using the hydroxylamine reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-immobilized iron (magnetite Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the presence of an aqueous solution of hexadecyltrimetylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a dispersant. The reduction of gold on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibits a uniform, highly stable, and narrow particle size distribution of Fe3O4-Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of 9 ± 2 nm. The saturation magnetization value for the resulting nanoparticles was found to be 15 emu/g at 298 K. Subsequent surface modification with SAMs against glucoside moieties on the surface of bacteria provided effective magnetic separation. Comparison of the bacteria capturing efficiency, by means of different molecular recognition agents 3-MBA, 1-DT and the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT was presented. The best capturing efficiency of E. coli was achieved with the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT-modified nanoparticles. Molecular specificity and selectivity were also demonstrated by comparing the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of E. coli-nanoparticle conjugates with bacterial growth media.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nanoparticle, Escherichia coli, Chemistry, Magnetism, Proteobacteria, Magnetite


Lactococcus lactis is a Gram-positive (endotoxin-free) food-grade bacteria exploited as alternative to Escherichia coli for recombinant protein production. We have explored here for the first time the ability of this platform as producer of complex, self-assembling protein materials.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Gut flora, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli, Biotechnology, Proteobacteria, Genetic recombination


We aimed to investigate the prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) in Beijing Tongren hospital and find the relationship between colonization and infection. The clinical data of 650 inpatients included between March 2012 and July 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. The prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli among inpatients was 25.7% (167/650), with the highest of 50.0% in rheumatology ward and lowest of 10.0% in intensive care unit. Hospital stay more than 2 years, usage of antibiotics less than 3 months, and use of glucocorticoids or immunosuppressive were found to be significantly associated with ESBL carriage (P < 0.05). Totally, 76 sequence types (ST) were revealed by MLST. ST38 (n = 12, 7.2%) was the most common type, followed by ST10 (n = 10, 6.0%), ST131 and ST167 (n = 9, 5.4%). Among the faecal carriers, only one patient suffered infection, which was resulted by a ST38 strain. In conclusion, in Beijing Tongren hospital, the prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli was not high. The risk factors for ESBL carriage were hospitalization and usage of antibiotics, glucocorticoids and immunosuppressive. ST38, ST10, ST131 and ST167 were the prominent genotypes, but almost 50.0% ST were dispersedly distributed.

Concepts: Bacteria, Hospital, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia, Proteobacteria, Beta-lactamase


The stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori is one of the most prevalent human pathogens. It has dispersed globally with its human host, resulting in a distinct phylogeographic pattern that can be used to reconstruct both recent and ancient human migrations. The extant European population of H. pylori is known to be a hybrid between Asian and African bacteria, but there exist different hypotheses about when and where the hybridization took place, reflecting the complex demographic history of Europeans. Here, we present a 5300-year-old H. pylori genome from a European Copper Age glacier mummy. The “Iceman” H. pylori is a nearly pure representative of the bacterial population of Asian origin that existed in Europe before hybridization, suggesting that the African population arrived in Europe within the past few thousand years.

Concepts: Bacteria, Africa, Pathogen, Stomach, Europe, Helicobacter pylori, Proteobacteria, Helicobacter


The mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-1 has attracted global attention, as it heralds the breach of polymyxins, one of the last-resort antibiotics for the treatment of severe clinical infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. To date, six slightly different variants of mcr-1, and a second mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-2, have been reported or annotated in the GenBank database. Here, we characterized a third mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-3 The gene coexisted with 18 additional resistance determinants in the 261-kb IncHI2-type plasmid pWJ1 from porcine Escherichia colimcr-3 showed 45.0% and 47.0% nucleotide sequence identity to mcr-1 and mcr-2, respectively, while the deduced amino acid sequence of MCR-3 showed 99.8 to 100% and 75.6 to 94.8% identity to phosphoethanolamine transferases found in other Enterobacteriaceae species and in 10 Aeromonas species, respectively. pWJ1 was mobilized to an E. coli recipient by conjugation and contained a plasmid backbone similar to those of other mcr-1-carrying plasmids, such as pHNSHP45-2 from the original mcr-1-harboring E. coli strain. Moreover, a truncated transposon element, TnAs2, which was characterized only in Aeromonas salmonicida, was located upstream of mcr-3 in pWJ1. This ΔTnAs2-mcr-3 element was also identified in a shotgun genome sequence of a porcine E. coli isolate from Malaysia, a human Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate from Thailand, and a human Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolate from the United States. These results suggest the likelihood of a wide dissemination of the novel mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-3 among Enterobacteriaceae and aeromonads; the latter may act as a potential reservoir for mcr-3IMPORTANCE The emergence of the plasmid-mediated colistin resistance gene mcr-1 has attracted substantial attention worldwide. Here, we examined a colistin-resistant Escherichia coli isolate that was negative for both mcr-1 and mcr-2 and discovered a novel mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-3 The amino acid sequence of MCR-3 aligned closely with phosphoethanolamine transferases from Enterobacteriaceae and Aeromonas species originating from both clinical infections and environmental samples collected in 12 countries on four continents. Due to the ubiquitous profile of aeromonads in the environment and the potential transfer of mcr-3 between Enterobacteriaceae and Aeromonas species, the wide spread of mcr-3 may be largely underestimated. As colistin has been and still is widely used in veterinary medicine and used at increasing frequencies in human medicine, the continuous monitoring of mobile colistin resistance determinants in colistin-resistant Gram-negative bacteria is imperative for understanding and tackling the dissemination of mcr genes in both the agricultural and health care sectors.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Bacteria, Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Plasmid, Proteobacteria, Gram negative bacteria