REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0032.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: nucleic acids analogs, antisense, CRISPR, antibiotic resistance, myotonic dystrophy, cholesterol, hematologic malignancy,
Online: 5 June 2019 (08:11:12 CEST)
Oligonucleotides are key compounds widely used for research, diagnostics, and therapeutics. The rapid increase in oligonucleotide-based applications, together with the progress in nucleic acids research, led to the design of nucleotide analogs that when being part of these oligomers enhance their efficiency, bioavailability, or stability. One of the most useful nucleotide analogs are the first-generation bridge nucleic acids (BNA), also known as locked nucleic acids (LNA), which were used in combination with ribonucleotides, deoxyribonucleotides, or other analogs to construct oligomers with diverse applications. However, there is still room to improve their efficiency, bioavailability, stability, and, importantly, toxicity. A second generation BNA, BNANC (2'-O,4'-aminoethylene bridged nucleic acid), has been recently made available. Oligomers containing these analogs not only showed less toxicity when compared to LNA-containing compounds but in some cases also exhibited higher specificity. Although there are still few applications where BNANC-containing compounds were researched, the results are very promising warranting more efforts in incorporating these analogs for other applications. Furthermore, newer BNA compounds will be introduced in the near future offering great hope to oligonucleotide-based fields of research and applications.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0178.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: metalloproteins; zinc transporters; metal chelators; antibiotic resistance; antimicrobials
Online: 11 January 2021 (10:20:01 CET)
Zinc is a redox-inert trace element that is second only to iron in abundance in biological systems. In cells, zinc is typically buffered and bound to metalloproteins, but may also exist as a labile or chelatable (free ion) form. Zinc plays a critical role in prokaryotes and eukaryotes ranging from structural to catalytic to replication to demise. This review discusses the influential properties of zinc on various mechanisms of bacterial proliferation and synergistic action as anti-microbial element. We also touch upon the significance of zinc among eukaryotic cells and how it may modulate their survival and death through its inhibitory or modulatory effect on certain receptors, enzymes, and signaling proteins. A brief discussion on zinc chelators is also presented and chelating agents may be used with or against zinc to affect therapeutics against human diseases. Overall, the multidimensional effects of zinc in cells attest to the growing numbers of scientific research that reveal the consequential prominence of this remarkable transition metal in human health and disease.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: site-specific recombination; carbapenemase; ESKAPE; Acinetobacter; plasmid; Xer; dif; pdif; Re27; gene transfer; gene dissemination; horizontal transfer; horizontal dissemination
Online: 10 July 2020 (02:10:07 CEST)
Modules composed of a resistance gene flanked by Xer site-specific recombination sites, the vast majority of which were found in Acinetobacter baumannii, are thought to behave as elements that facilitate horizontal dissemination. The A. baumannii xerC and xerD genes were cloned, and the recombinant clones used to complement the cognate Escherichia coli mutants. The complemented strains supported resolution of plasmid dimers, and, as is the case with E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae plasmids, the activity was enhanced when cells were growing in low osmolarity growth medium. Binding experiments showed that partially purified A. baumannii XerC and XerD proteins (XerCAb and XerDAb) bound synthetic Xer site-specific recombination sites, some of them with a nucleotide sequence deduced from existing A. baumannii plasmids. Incubation with suicide substrates resulted in covalent attachment of DNA to a recombinase, probably XerCAb, indicating that the first step in the recombination reaction took place. The results described show that XerCAb and XerDAb are functional proteins and support the hypothesis that they participate in horizontal dissemination of resistant genes among bacteria.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0110.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: AAC(2′)-Ia; aminoglycoside 2′-N-acetyltransferase type Ia; aminoglycoside; multidrug resistance; metal ions; plazomicin; adjuvant
Online: 6 January 2023 (02:26:45 CET)
Plazomicin is a recently U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved semisynthetic aminoglycoside. Its structure consists of a sisomicin scaffold modified by adding a 2(S)-hydroxy aminobutyryl group at the N1 position and a hydroxyethyl substituent at the 6′ position. These substitutions produced a molecule refractory to most aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes. The main enzyme within this group that recognizes plazomicin as substrate is the aminoglycoside 2′-N-acetyltransferase type Ia [AAC(2′)-Ia], which reduces the antibiotic’s potency. Designing formulations that combine an antimicrobial with an inhibitor of resistance is a recognized strategy to extend the useful life of existing antibiotics. We have recently found that several metal ions inhibit acetylation of numerous aminoglycosides catalyzed by the aminoglycoside 6′-N-acetyltransferase type Ib [AAC(6′)-Ib]. In particular, Ag1+, which also enhances the effect of aminoglycosides by other mechanisms, is very effective in interfering with AAC(6′)-Ib-mediated resistance to amikacin. Here we report that silver acetate is a potent inhibitor of AAC(2′)-Ia-mediated acetylation of plazomicin in vitro, and it reduces resistance levels of Escherichia coli carrying aac(2′)-Ia. The resistance reversion assays produced equivalent results when the structural gene was expressed under the control of the natural or the blaTEM-1 promoters. The antibiotic effect of plazomicin in combination with silver was bactericidal, and the mix did not show significant toxicity to human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0036.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Acinetobacter baumannii, H-NS, natural transformation, naturally competent, DNA acquisition
Online: 2 August 2021 (12:58:22 CEST)
Most Acinetobacter baumannii strains are naturally competent. Although some information is available about factors that enhance or reduce the frequency of transformation of this bacterium, the regulatory elements and mechanisms are barely understood. In this article, we describe studies on the role of H-NS in the regulation of expression of genes related to natural competency and the ability to uptake foreign DNA. The expression levels of the natural transformation-related genes pilA, pilT, pilQ, comEA, comEC, comF, and drpA were significantly increased in a Δhns derivative of Acinetobacter baumannii A118. Complementation of the mutant with a recombinant plasmid harboring hns restored expression levels of six of these genes (pilT remained expressed at high levels) to those of the wild-type strain. The transformation frequency of the A. baumannii A118 Δhns strain was significantly higher than that of the wild-type. Similar, albeit not identical, effects occurred when hns was deleted from the hypervirulent A. baumannii AB5075 strain. Reduction of gene expression in a few cases was not as pronounced as to reach wild-type levels, and expression of comEA was enhanced further. In conclusion, the expression of all seven transformation-related genes was enhanced after deleting hns in A. baumannii A118 and AB5075, and these modifications are accompanied by an increase in the cells’ transformability. The results demonstrate a role of H-NS in A. baumannii’s natural competence.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0552.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Huma Serum Albumin; Acinetobacter baumannii; quorum sensing; iron; human fluids.
Online: 22 March 2021 (15:49:16 CET)
Acinetobacter baumannii is a nosocomial pathogen capable of causing serious infections associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Due to its antimicrobial drug resistance profile, A. baumannii is categorized as an urgent priority pathogen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and priority group 1 critical microorganism by the World Health Organization. Understanding how A. baumannii adapts to different host environments may provide critical insights into strategically targeting this pathogen with novel antimicrobial and biological therapeutics. Exposure to human fluids was previously shown to alter the gene expression profile of a highly drug susceptible A. baumannii strain A118 leading to persistence and survival of this pathogen. Herein, we explore the impact of human pleural fluid (HPF) and human serum albumin (HSA) on the gene expression profile of a highly multi-drug resistant strain of A. baumannii AB5075. Differential expression was observed for ~30 genes, whose products are involved in quorum sensing, quorum quenching, iron acquisition, fatty acid metabolism, biofilm formation, secretion systems and type IV pilus formation. Phenotypic and further transcriptomic analysis using quantitative RT-PCR confirmed RNA-seq data and pointed out a distinctive role of HSA as the molecule involved in A. baumannii response.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: ESKAPE; Acinetobacter; aminoglycosides; amikacin; acetyltransferase; silver; adjuvant
Online: 9 December 2020 (11:05:29 CET)
Clinical resistance to amikacin and other aminoglycosides is usually due to enzymatic acetylation of the antimicrobial molecule. A ubiquitous resistance enzyme among Gram-negatives is the aminoglycoside 6'-N-acetyltransferase type Ib [AAC(6')-Ib], which catalyzes acetylation using acetyl-CoA as donor substrate. Therapies that combine the antibiotic and an inhibitor of the inactivation reaction could be an alternative to treat infections caused by resistant bacteria. We had previously observed that metal ions such as Zn2+ or Cu2+ in complex with ionophores interfere with the AAC(6')-Ib-mediated inactivation of aminoglycosides and reduced resistance to susceptibility levels. Ag1+ recently attracted attention as a potentiator of aminoglycosides' action by mechanisms still in discussion. We found that silver acetate is also a robust inhibitor of the enzymatic acetylation mediated by AAC(6')-Ib in vitro. This action seems to be independent of other mechanisms, like increased production of reactive oxygen species and enhanced membrane permeability, proposed to explain the potentiation of the antibiotic effect by silver ions. The addition of this compound to aac(6')-Ib harboring Acinetobacter baumannii and Escherichia coli cultures resulted in a dramatic reduction of the resistance levels. Time-kill assays showed that the combination of silver acetate and amikacin was bactericidal and exhibited low cytotoxicity to HEK293 cells.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0950.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: Acinetobacter baumannii; cefiderocol; human pleural fluid; NDM-1; carbapenem-resistance
Online: 13 June 2023 (15:31:43 CEST)
Objectives: Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) isolates are one of the most difficult pathogens to treat. Cefiderocol, a chlorocatechol-substituted siderophore antibiotic, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019 indicated for the treatment of infections due to CRAB infections. Despite the initial positive treatment outcomes with this antimicrobial, recent studies reported higher than all-cause mortality rate in patients treated with cefiderocol. The cause(s) behind these outcomes remains unconfirmed. A plausible hypothesis is heteroresistance, a phenotype characterized by the survival of a small proportion of cells in a population seemingly isogenic. Recent results have shown that the addition of human fluids to CRAB cultures leads to cefiderocol heteroresistance. Here we describe molecular and phenotypic analyses of CRAB heteroresistant bacterial subpopulations to better understand the nature of the less-than-expected successful outcomes after cefiderocol treatment. Methods: Isolation of heteroresistant variants of the CRAB strain AMA40 was carried out in cultures supplemented with cefiderocol and human pleural fluid (HPF). Two AMA40 variants, AMA40 IHC1 and IHC2, were subjected to whole genome sequencing and transcriptional analysis to identify mutations and expression changes associated with cefiderocol heteroresistance. The impact of these mutations on the pharmacodynamic activity of cefiderocol was assessed via susceptibility testing, EDTA and boronic acid inhibition analysis, biofilm formation, and static time-kill assays. Results: Heteroresistant variants AMA40 IHC1 and AMA40 IHC2 have 53 chromosomal mutations, of which 40 are common to both strains. None of the mutations occurred in genes associated with high affinity iron-uptake systems or β-lactam resistance. However, transcriptional analyses showed significant modifications in levels of expression of genes associated with these functions. The blaNDM-1 and blaADC-2, as well as various iron-uptake system genes, were expressed at higher levels than the parental strain. On the other hand, the carO and ompA genes’ expression was reduced. One of the mutations common to both heteroresistant strains mapped within pipA, a gene associated with iron homeostasis in other species. Static time-kill assays showed that supplementing cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton broth with human serum albumin, the main protein component of HPF, considerably reduced cefiderocol killing activity for all three strains tested. Notably, collateral resistance to amikacin was observed in both variants. Conclusions: We conclude that exposing CRAB to fluids containing high HSA facilitates the rise of heteroresistance associated with point mutations and upregulation of genes coding for β-lactamases and biofilm formation.