Purpose. Persister cells, a subpopulation of tolerant cells within the bacterial culture, are commonly thought to be responsible for antibiotic therapy failure and infection recurrence. Klebsiella pneumoniae is a notorious human pathogen for its increasing resistance to antibiotics and wide involvement in severe infections. In this study, we aimed to investigate the persister subpopulation of K. pneumoniae.
Methodology. The presence of persisters in K. pneumoniae was determined by treatment with high concentrations of antibiotics, used alone or in combination. The effect of low level of antibiotics on persister formation was investigated by pre-exposure of cells to antibiotics with low concentrations followed by higher doses. The dependence of persister levels on growth phase was determined by measuring the survival ability of cells along the growth stages upon exposure to a high concentration of antibiotic. Analysis on persister type was carried out by persister elimination assays.
Results/Key findings. We show that K. pneumoniae produces high levels of tolerant persister cells to survive treatment by a variety of high concentrations of bactericidal antibiotics and persister formation is prevalent among K. pneumoniae clinical strains. Besides, we find that persister cells can be induced by low concentrations of antibiotics. Finally, we provide evidence that persister formation is growth phase-dependent and Type II persisters dominate the persister subpopulation during the entire exponential phase of K. pneumoniae.
Conclusion. Our study describes the formation of tolerant persister cells that allow survival of treatment by high concentrations of antibiotics in K. pneumoniae.
Although tuberculosis treatment is dependent on drug-susceptibility testing (DST) and molecular drug-resistance detection, treatment failure and relapse remain a challenge. This could be partially due to the emergence of antibiotic-tolerant dormant mycobacteria, where host lipids have been shown to play an important role. This study evaluated the susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to two antibiotic combinations – rifampicin, moxifloxacin, amikacin and metronidazole (RIF-MXF-AMK-MTZ), and rifampicin, moxifloxacin, amikacin and pretomanid (RIF-MXF-AMK-PA) – in a lipid-rich dormancy model. Although their effectiveness in in vitro cultures with dextrose as a carbon source has been proved, we observed that none of the antibiotic mixtures were bactericidal in the presence of lipids. The presence of lipids may confer tolerance to M. tuberculosis against the mixture of antibiotics tested and such tolerance could be even higher during the dormant stages. The implementation of lipids in DST on clinical isolates could potentially lead to a better treatment strategy.
To prevent secondary invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) cases and outbreaks, antimicrobial prophylaxis of high-risk contacts is indicated. This study reports two ciprofloxacin-resistant Neisseria meningitidis strains in Brazil. The 3523 N. meningitidis isolates collected throughout Brazil from 2009 to 2016 were evaluated for antimicrobial resistance. Meningococcal isolates showing minimal inhibitory concentrations, MICs≥0.125µg ml−1 to ciprofloxacin, were analysed to determine the presence of mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDRs) of gyrA and parC genes. Two ciprofloxacin-resistant N. meningitidis isolates were found, both presenting a single mutation in the quinolone resistance-determining region of the gyrA gene. These results confirmed that ciprofloxacin is still a first-line drug for chemoprophylaxis. However, we highlight the importance of continued surveillance to monitor the trends of N. meningitidis susceptibility profiles to the antimicrobials recommended for chemoprophylaxis and IMD treatment.
Purpose. To understand the diversity of porin disruption in Klebsiella pneumoniae, the major outer membrane protein (OMP) porins, OmpK35 and OmpK36, were examined in a set of isolates that did not harbour traditional carbapenem-hydrolysing enzymes, but nevertheless tested non-susceptible to ertapenem.
Methods. A world-wide collection of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates that were part of the Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART) surveillance project over the years 2008–2014 were characterised with regard to their β-lactamase gene carriage and potential permeability defects. Four hundred and eighty-seven isolates that did not carry carbapenemase genes, but were non-susceptible to ertapenem, were investigated by sequence analysis of the genes encoding OmpK35 and OmpK36. Isolates without obvious genetic lesions in either major porin gene were further examined by outer membrane protein SDS-PAGE.
Results. The majority of isolates, 83.0 % (404/487), exhibited clear genetic disruption in either or both of the ompK35 and ompK36 genes. Among the proportion of the collection with the highest ertapenem MIC value (>4 mg l−1), 60.5 % (115/190) showed mutation in both porin genes. Isolates without obvious genetic mutations were examined by SDS-PAGE, and 90.4 % (75/83) were found to lack or show altered expression of at least one of the major OMPs when compared to an ertapenem sensitive control strain.
Conclusion. This study illustrates that porin deficiency in Klebsiella pneumoniae is a widespread phenomenon, and in combination with ESBLs and/or AmpC enzymes, likely accounts for the elevated ertapenem MICs observed in this study.
Purpose. P128, a phage-derived lysin, exerts antibacterial activity on staphylococci by cleaving the pentaglycine-bridge of peptidoglycan. We sought to determine whether the presence of P128 could re-sensitize drug-resistant bacteria to antibiotics by virtue of its cell wall degrading property.
Methodology. P128 was tested in combination with standard-of-care (SoC) drugs by chequerboard assays on planktonic cells and biofilms of strains individually resistant to these drugs. The bactericidal effect of P128 and drug combinations on planktonic cells and biofilms was measured by c.f.u. reduction assays. A mouse model of MRSA bacteraemia was used to test the efficacy of P128 and oxacillin in combination.
Results. A combination of sub-MIC P128 (0.025–0.20 µg ml−1) and 0.5 µg ml−1 of oxacillin resulted in inhibition of bacterial growth in four MRSA strains. Similar results were seen with all the other drugs tested, wherein sub-MIC of P128 re-sensitized S. aureus and CoNS strains to SoC drugs. The chequerboard assays on strains of S. aureus and CoNS showed that combinations of P128 and antibiotics consistently inhibited bacterial growth on biofilms. Data from scanning electron microscopy and c.f.u. reduction assays on drug-resistant S. aureus and CoNS demonstrated that sub-MICs of P128 and SoC antibiotics could kill biofilm-embedded bacteria. In vivo, a combination of sub-therapeutic doses of P128 and oxacillin could help protect animals from fatal bacteraemia.
Conclusion. The ability of P128 to re-sensitize bacteria to SoC drugs suggests that combinations of P128 and SoC antibiotics can potentially be developed to treat infections caused by drug-resistant strains of staphylococci.