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Concept: Streptococcus


BACKGROUND: Tea has been suggested to promote oral health by inhibiting bacterial attachment to the oral cavity. Most studies have focused on prevention of bacterial attachment to hard surfaces such as enamel. FINDINGS: This study investigated the effect of five commercial tea (green, oolong, black, pu-erh and chrysanthemum) extracts and tea components (epigallocatechin gallate and gallic acid) on the attachment of five oral pathogens (Streptococcus mutans ATCC 25175, Streptococcus mutans ATCC 35668, Streptococcus mitis ATCC 49456, Streptococcus salivarius ATCC 13419 and Actinomyces naeslundii ATCC 51655) to the HGF-1 gingival cell line. Extracts of two of the teas (pu-erh and chrysanthemum) significantly (p < 0.05) reduced attachment of all the Streptococcus strains by up to 4 log CFU/well but effects of other teas and components were small. CONCLUSIONS: Pu-erh and chrysanthemum tea may have the potential to reduce attachment of oral pathogens to gingival tissue and improve the health of oral soft tissues.

Concepts: Bacteria, Streptococcus, Tea, Camellia sinensis, Gram positive bacteria, Streptococcaceae, Pu-erh tea, Oolong


BACKGROUND: A few lineages of Group A streptococci (GAS) have been associated with a reemergence of severe invasive streptococcal disease in developed countries. However, the majority of the comparisons between invasive and non-invasive GAS isolates have been performed for collections of reduced genetic diversity or relied on limited typing information to distinguish clones. We characterized by several typing methods and compared a collection of 160 isolates recovered from normally sterile sites with 320 isolates associated with pharyngitis and recovered in the same time period in Portugal. RESULTS: Although most of the isolates belonged to clones that were equally prevalent in invasive infections and pharyngitis, we identified markers of invasiveness, namely the emm types 1 and 64, and the presence of the speA and speJ genes. In contrast, emm4, emm75, and the ssa and speL/M genes were significantly associated with pharyngitis. There was a strong agreement between the emm type, the superantigen (SAg) genes and the clusters defined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiling. Therefore, combinations of particular emm types and SAg genes frequently co-occurred in the same PFGE cluster, but there was no synergistic or antagonistic interaction between them in determining invasiveness. Only macrolide-susceptible PFGE clones were significantly associated with invasive infections or pharyngitis, while the clones of resistant isolates sharing all other molecular properties analyzed were equally prevalent in the two groups of isolates. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed the importance of the widely disseminated emm1-T1-ST28 clone in invasive infections but also identified other clones linked to either invasive infections (emm64-ST164) or pharyngitis (emm4-T4-ST39), which may be more limited in their temporal and geographical spread. Clonal properties like some emm types or SAg genes were associated with disease presentation, highlighting the importance of bacterial genetic factors to the outcome of GAS infections, although other, yet unidentified factors may also play an important role.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Virus, Streptococcus, Invasive, Invasiveness of surgical procedures, Group A streptococcal infection


Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes devastating chronic pulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Although the CF airway is inhabited by diverse species of microorganisms interlaced within a biofilm, many studies focus on the sole contribution of P. aeruginosa pathogenesis in CF morbidity. More recently, oral commensal streptococci have been identified as cohabitants of the CF lung, but few studies have explored the role these bacteria play within the CF biofilm. We examined the interaction between P. aeruginosa and oral commensal streptococci within a dual species biofilm. Here we report that the CF P. aeruginosa isolate, FRD1, enhances biofilm formation and colonization of Drosophila melanogaster by the oral commensal Streptococcus parasanguinis. Moreover, production of the P. aeruginosa exopolysaccharide, alginate, is required for the promotion of S. parasanguinis biofilm formation and colonization. However, P. aeruginosa is not promoted in the dual species biofilm. Furthermore, we show that the streptococcal adhesin, BapA1, mediates alginate-dependent enhancement of the S. parasanguinis biofilm in vitro, and BapA1 along with another adhesin, Fap1, are required for the in vivo colonization of S. parasanguinis in the presence of FRD1. Taken together, our study highlights a new association between streptococcal adhesins and P. aeruginosa alginate, and reveals a mechanism by which S. parasanguinis potentially colonizes the CF lung and interferes with the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Cystic fibrosis, Polysaccharide, Biofilm, Streptococcaceae


Pneumococcal infection in children is a major public health problem worldwide, including in Japan. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 7 (PCV7) was licensed for use in Japan in 2010 followed by PCV13 in 2013. This report includes the results of a nationwide surveillance of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and non-IPD in paediatric patients from January 2012 to December 2014. We collected 343 isolates from 337 IPD patients and 286 isolates from 278 non-IPD patients. Of the IPD isolates, the most identified serotypes included 19A, 24F, and 15A. The prevalence of non-PCV13 serotype isolates increased significantly from 2012 to 2014 (51.6-71.4%, p=0.004). Serotypes 19A, 15A and 35B were highly non-susceptible to penicillin, and the rates of non-susceptible isolates from IPD patients to penicillin and cefotaxime significantly declined during the study period (p=0.029 and p=0.013, respectively). The non-susceptible rate to meropenem increased, particularly for serotype 15A. The IPD isolates comprised clonal complex (CC) 3111 (93.8% was serotype 19A) followed by CC2572 (81.5% was serotype 24F) and CC63 (97.1% was serotype 15A). CC3111, CC63 and CC156 (33.3% was serotype 23A, 28.6% was serotype 6B, and 14.3% was serotype 19A) were highly non-susceptible to penicillin. Of the non-IPD isolates, the most identified serotypes included 19A, 15A, and 3. In conclusion, the introduction of PCV7 and PCV13 resulted in increasing non-PCV13 serotypes and clones, including antimicrobial resistant serotypes 15A and CC63 (Sweden(15A)-25 clone).

Concepts: Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus, Pneumococcal infection, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine


Pulmonary valve endocarditis is an rare type of infective endocarditis (IE). Streptococcus pneumoniae is a pathogen that is uncommonly associated with IE. A 50 year-old man was referred to us to an incidental echocardiographic finding of a pulmonary valve vegetation. He had a recent admission for drainage of a scrotal abscess from which streptococcus pneumoniae was isolated, complicated by hospital acquired pneumonia and pulmonary embolism. Analysis using Polymerase Chain Reaction of the surgically resected mass revealed signs of 16S rDNA consistent with Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. This is the first confirmed case of pneumococcal pulmonary valve IE presenting entirely asymptomatically in the absence of any known risk factors.

Concepts: Bacteria, Polymerase chain reaction, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus, Infective endocarditis, Thermus aquaticus


Disease due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, the pneumococcus, remains a major source of illness in older persons. Globally, it remains the most important pathogen in respiratory infection deaths. Conjugated pneumococcal vaccines are used extensively in national pediatric programs, whereas a polysaccharide vaccine is used in all age groups, but mainly in the elderly and for high-risk groups. Recent data from the Netherlands led to the licensing in many countries of conjugated pneumococcal vaccines for older persons. There are substantial differences in recommendations from various national immunization technical advisory groups, which owe at least as much to differing assessments of available studies as to differences in local epidemiology. This review examines those differences and proposes a way forward.

Concepts: Immune system, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Vaccination, Streptococcus, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine


Streptococcus pyogenes is an important global pathogen, causing considerable morbidity and mortality, especially in low and middle income countries where rheumatic heart disease and invasive infections are common. There is a number of promising vaccine candidates, most notably those based on the M protein, the key virulence factor for the bacterium. Vaccines against Streptococcus pyogenes are considered as impeded vaccines because of a number of crucial barriers to development. Considerable effort is needed by key players to bring current vaccine candidates through phase III clinical trials and there is a clear need to develop a roadmap for future development of current and new candidates.

Concepts: Immune system, Clinical trial, Bacteria, Microbiology, Vaccination, Streptococcus pyogenes, Rheumatic fever, Streptococcus


Commensal organisms with the potential to cause disease pose a challenge in developing treatment options. Using the example featured in this study, pneumococcal disease begins with Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization, followed by triggering events that prompt the release of a virulent subpopulation of bacteria. Current vaccines focus on colonization prevention, which poses unintended consequences of serotype niche replacement. In this study, noncovalent colocalization of two classes of complementary antigens, one to prevent the colonization of the most aggressive S. pneumoniae serotypes and another to restrict virulence transition, provides complete vaccine effectiveness in animal subjects and the most comprehensive coverage of disease reported to date. As a result, the proposed vaccine formulation offers universal pneumococcal disease prevention with the prospect of effectively managing a disease that afflicts tens to hundreds of millions globally. The approach more generally puts forth a balanced prophylactic treatment strategy in response to complex commensal-host dynamics.

Concepts: Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Meningitis


HAMLET (human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells) is a protein-lipid complex from human milk with both tumoricidal and bactericidal activities. HAMLET exerts a rather specific bactericidal activity against some respiratory pathogens, with highest activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae, but lacks activity against most other bacterial pathogens, including Staphylococci. Still, ion transport associated with death in S. pneumoniae is also detected to a lower degree in insensitive organisms. In this study we demonstrate that HAMLET acts as an antimicrobial adjuvant that can increase the activity of a broad spectrum of antibiotics (methicillin, vancomycin, gentamicin and erythromycin) against multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, to a degree where they become sensitive to those same antibiotics, both in antimicrobial assays against planktonic and biofilm bacteria and in an in vivo model of nasopharyngeal colonization. We show that HAMLET exerts these effects specifically by dissipating the proton gradient and inducing a sodium-dependent calcium influx that partially depolarizes the plasma membrane, the same mechanism induced during pneumococcal death. These effects results in an increased cell associated binding and/or uptake of penicillin, gentamicin and vancomycin, especially in resistant stains. Finally, HAMLET inhibits the increased resistance of methicillin seen under antibiotic pressure and the bacteria do not become resistant to the adjuvant, which is a major advantageous feature of the molecule. These results highlight HAMLET as a novel antimicrobial adjuvant with the potential to increase the clinical usefulness of antibiotics against drug resistant strains of S. aureus.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


The structure and composition of bacterial communities can compromise antibiotic efficacy. For example, the secretion of β-lactamase by individual bacteria provides passive resistance for all residents within a polymicrobial environment. Here, we uncover that collective resistance can also develop via intracellular antibiotic deactivation. Real-time luminescence measurements and single-cell analysis demonstrate that the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae grows in medium supplemented with chloramphenicol (Cm) when resistant bacteria expressing Cm acetyltransferase (CAT) are present. We show that CAT processes Cm intracellularly but not extracellularly. In a mouse pneumonia model, more susceptible pneumococci survive Cm treatment when coinfected with a CAT-expressing strain. Mathematical modeling predicts that stable coexistence is only possible when antibiotic resistance comes at a fitness cost. Strikingly, CAT-expressing pneumococci in mouse lungs were outcompeted by susceptible cells even during Cm treatment. Our results highlight the importance of the microbial context during infectious disease as a potential complicating factor to antibiotic therapy.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Antibiotic resistance, Streptococcus, Antibiotic, Microorganism