Posts Tagged ‘Pathogen’

Mummified smallpox virus shows the disease isn’t as old as we thought

The mummy of a young boy discovered buried in a crypt beneath a Lithuanian church contains the oldest-known complete set of smallpox genes, and scientists hope that the discovery will shed new light on the history of the infamous pathogen, according to NPR and BBC News reports. Save for a few secured, frozen samples, smallpox […]

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Microcins mediate competition among Enterobacteriaceae in the inflamed gut

The Enterobacteriaceae are Gram-negative bacteria and include commensal organisms as well as primary and opportunistic pathogens that are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although Enterobacteriaceae often comprise less than 1% of a healthy intestine’s microbiota1, some of these organisms can bloom in the inflamed gut2,3,4,5; indeed, expansion of enterobacteria is a hallmark of microbial imbalance known as “dysbiosis”6. Microcins are small secreted proteins that possess antimicrobial activity in vitro7,8, but whose role in vivo has been unclear. Here we demonstrate that microcins enable the probiotic bacterium Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) to limit expansion of competing Enterobacteriaceae (including pathogens and pathobionts) during intestinal inflammation. Microcin-producing EcN limited growth of competitors in the inflamed intestine, including commensal E. coli, adherent-invasive E. coli, and the related pathogen Salmonella enterica. Moreover, only therapeutic administration of the wild-type, microcin-producing EcN to mice previously infected with S. enterica substantially reduced intestinal colonization of the pathogen. Our work provides the first evidence that microcins mediate inter- and intra-species competition among the Enterobacteriaceae in the inflamed gut. Moreover, we show that microcins can be narrow-spectrum therapeutics to inhibit enteric pathogens and reduce enterobacterial blooms.

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