• The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary C; Cotter, Paul D; O’Sullivan, O.; Stanton, Catherine; Hill, C.; Shanahan, F.; Plant, B. J; Ross, R. Paul (Biomed Central, 2017-03-09)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary C; Cotter, Paul D; O’Sullivan, Orla; Stanton, Catherine; Hill, C.; Shanahan, F.; Plant, B. J; Ross, R. Paul (Biomed Central, 2017-03-09)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • Bacteriocins: Novel Solutions to Age Old Spore-Related Problems?

      Egan, Kevin; Field, Des; Rea, Mary C.; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D. (Frontiers Media S. A., 2016-04-08)
      Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria, which have the ability to kill or inhibit other bacteria. Many bacteriocins are produced by food grade lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Indeed, the prototypic bacteriocin, nisin, is produced by Lactococcus lactis, and is licensed in over 50 countries. With consumers becoming more concerned about the levels of chemical preservatives present in food, bacteriocins offer an alternative, more natural approach, while ensuring both food safety and product shelf life. Bacteriocins also show additive/synergistic effects when used in combination with other treatments, such as heating, high pressure, organic compounds, and as part of food packaging. These features are particularly attractive from the perspective of controlling sporeforming bacteria. Bacterial spores are common contaminants of food products, and their outgrowth may cause food spoilage or food-borne illness. They are of particular concern to the food industry due to their thermal and chemical resistance in their dormant state. However, when spores germinate they lose the majority of their resistance traits, making them susceptible to a variety of food processing treatments. Bacteriocins represent one potential treatment as they may inhibit spores in the post-germination/outgrowth phase of the spore cycle. Spore eradication and control in food is critical, as they are able to spoil and in certain cases compromise the safety of food by producing dangerous toxins. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which bacteriocins exert their sporostatic/sporicidal activity against bacterial spores will ultimately facilitate their optimal use in food. This review will focus on the use of bacteriocins alone, or in combination with other innovative processing methods to control spores in food, the current knowledge and gaps therein with regard to bacteriocin-spore interactions and discuss future research approaches to enable spores to be more effectively targeted by bacteriocins in food settings.
    • A Bioengineered Nisin Derivative to Control Biofilms of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius

      Field, Des; Gaudin, Noemie; Lyons, Francy; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul (PLoS, 2015-03-19)
      Antibiotic resistance and the shortage of novel antimicrobials are among the biggest challenges facing society. One of the major factors contributing to resistance is the use of frontline clinical antibiotics in veterinary practice. In order to properly manage dwindling antibiotic resources, we must identify antimicrobials that are specifically targeted to veterinary applications. Nisin is a member of the lantibiotic family of antimicrobial peptides that exhibit potent antibacterial activity against many gram-positive bacteria, including human and animal pathogens such as Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Listeria, and Clostridium. Although not currently used in human medicine, nisin is already employed commercially as an anti-mastitis product in the veterinary field. Recently we have used bioengineering strategies to enhance the activity of nisin against several high profile targets, including multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and also against staphylococci and streptococci associated with bovine mastitis. However, newly emerging pathogens such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) pose a significant threat in terms of veterinary health and as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance determinants. In this study we created a nisin derivative with enhanced antimicrobial activity against S. pseudintermedius. In addition, the novel nisin derivative exhibits an enhanced ability to impair biofilm formation and to reduce the density of established biofilms. The activities of this peptide represent a significant improvement over that of the wild-type nisin peptide and merit further investigation with a view to their use to treat S. pseudintermedius infections.
    • A Bioengineered Nisin Derivative, M21A, in Combination with Food Grade Additives Eradicates Biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes

      Smith, Muireann K.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Hazelhoff, Pieter-Jan; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin (Frontiers, 2016-11-30)
      The burden of foodborne disease has large economic and social consequences worldwide. Despite strict regulations, a number of pathogens persist within the food environment, which is greatly contributed to by a build-up of resistance mechanisms and also through the formation of biofilms. Biofilms have been shown to be highly resistant to a number of antimicrobials and can be extremely difficult to remove once they are established. In parallel, the growing concern of consumers regarding the use of chemically derived antimicrobials within food has led to a drive toward more natural products. As a consequence, the use of naturally derived antimicrobials has become of particular interest. In this study we investigated the efficacy of nisin A and its bioengineered derivative M21A in combination with food grade additives to treat biofilms of a representative foodborne disease isolate of Listeria monocytogenes. Investigations revealed the enhanced antimicrobial effects, in liquid culture, of M21A in combination with citric acid or cinnamaldehyde over its wild type nisin A counterpart. Subsequently, an investigation was conducted into the effects of these combinations on an established biofilm of the same strain. Nisin M21A (0.1 μg/ml) alone or in combination with cinnamaldehyde (35 μg/ml) or citric acid (175 μg/ml) performed significantly better than combinations involving nisin A. All combinations of M21A with either citric acid or cinnamaldehyde eradicated the L. monocytogenes biofilm (in relation to a non-biofilm control). We conclude that M21A in combination with available food additives could further enhance the antimicrobial treatment of biofilms within the food industry, simply by substituting nisin A with M21A in current commercial products such as Nisaplin® (Danisco, DuPont).
    • Bioengineering Lantibiotics for Therapeutic Success

      Field, Des; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul (Frontiers Media S. A., 2015-11)
      Several examples of highly modified antimicrobial peptides have been described. While many such peptides are non-ribosomally synthesized, ribosomally synthesized equivalents are being discovered with increased frequency. Of the latter group, the lantibiotics continue to attract most attention. In the present review, we discuss the implementation of in vivo and in vitro engineering systems to alter, and even enhance, the antimicrobial activity, antibacterial spectrum and physico-chemical properties, including heat stability, solubility, diffusion and protease resistance, of these compounds. Additionally, we discuss the potential applications of these lantibiotics for use as therapeutics.
    • Comparative Analysis of Pyrosequencing and a Phylogenetic Microarray for Exploring Microbial Community Structures in the Human Distal Intestine

      Claesson, Marcus J.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Wang, Qiong; Nikkila, Janne; Marchesi, Julian R.; Smidt, Hauka; de Vos, Willem M.; Ross, R. Paul; O'Toole, Paul W. (PLOS, 2009-08-20)
      Background: Variations in the composition of the human intestinal microbiota are linked to diverse health conditions. Highthroughput molecular technologies have recently elucidated microbial community structure at much higher resolution than was previously possible. Here we compare two such methods, pyrosequencing and a phylogenetic array, and evaluate classifications based on two variable 16S rRNA gene regions. Methods and Findings: Over 1.75 million amplicon sequences were generated from the V4 and V6 regions of 16S rRNA genes in bacterial DNA extracted from four fecal samples of elderly individuals. The phylotype richness, for individual samples, was 1,400–1,800 for V4 reads and 12,500 for V6 reads, and 5,200 unique phylotypes when combining V4 reads from all samples. The RDP-classifier was more efficient for the V4 than for the far less conserved and shorter V6 region, but differences in community structure also affected efficiency. Even when analyzing only 20% of the reads, the majority of the microbial diversity was captured in two samples tested. DNA from the four samples was hybridized against the Human Intestinal Tract (HIT) Chip, a phylogenetic microarray for community profiling. Comparison of clustering of genus counts from pyrosequencing and HITChip data revealed highly similar profiles. Furthermore, correlations of sequence abundance and hybridization signal intensities were very high for lower-order ranks, but lower at family-level, which was probably due to ambiguous taxonomic groupings. Conclusions: The RDP-classifier consistently assigned most V4 sequences from human intestinal samples down to genuslevel with good accuracy and speed. This is the deepest sequencing of single gastrointestinal samples reported to date, but microbial richness levels have still not leveled out. A majority of these diversities can also be captured with five times lower sampling-depth. HITChip hybridizations and resulting community profiles correlate well with pyrosequencing-based compositions, especially for lower-order ranks, indicating high robustness of both approaches. However, incompatible grouping schemes make exact comparison difficult.
    • Early Gut Microbiota Perturbations Following Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis to Prevent Group B Streptococcal Disease

      Mazzola, Giuseppe; Murphy, Kiera; Ross, R. Paul; Di Gioia, Diana; Biavati, Bruno; Corvaglia, Luigi T.; Faldella, Giacomo; Stanton, Catherine (PLOS, 2016-06-22)
      The faecal microbiota composition of infants born to mothers receiving intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis with ampicillin against group B Streptococcus was compared with that of control infants, at day 7 and 30 of life. Recruited newborns were both exclusive breastfed and mixed fed, in order to also study the effect of dietary factors on the microbiota composition. Massive parallel sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene and qPCR analysis were performed. Antibiotic prophylaxis caused the most marked changes on the microbiota in breastfed infants, mainly resulting in a higher relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae, compared with control infants (52% vs. 14%, p = 0.044) and mixed-fed infants (52% vs. 16%, p = 0.13 NS) at day 7 and in a lower bacterial diversity compared to mixed-fed infants and controls. Bifidobacteria were also particularly vulnerable and abundances were reduced in breastfed (p = 0.001) and mixed-fed antibiotic treated groups compared to non-treated groups. Reductions in bifidobacteria in antibiotic treated infants were also confirmed by qPCR. By day 30, the bifidobacterial population recovered and abundances significantly increased in both breastfed (p = 0.025) and mixed-fed (p = 0.013) antibiotic treated groups, whereas Enterobacteriaceae abundances remained highest in the breastfed antibiotic treated group (44%), compared with control infants (16%) and mixed-fed antibiotic treated group (28%). This study has therefore demonstrated the short term consequences of maternal intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis on the infant faecal microbial population, particularly in that of breastfed infants.
    • The Effect of Feeding Bt MON810 Maize to Pigs for 110 Days on Intestinal Microbiota

      Buzoianu, Stefan G.; Walsh, Maria C.; Rea, Mary C.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Crispie, Fiona; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R. Paul; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Lawlor, Peadar G (PLOS, 2012-05-04)
      Objective To assess the effects of feeding Bt MON810 maize to pigs for 110 days on the intestinal microbiota. Methodology/Principal Findings Forty male pigs (~40 days old) were blocked by weight and litter ancestry and assigned to one of four treatments; 1) Isogenic maize-based diet for 110 days (Isogenic); 2) Bt maize-based diet (MON810) for 110 days (Bt); 3) Isogenic maize-based diet for 30 days followed by a Bt maize-based diet for 80 days (Isogenic/Bt); 4) Bt maize-based diet for 30 days followed by an isogenic maize-based diet for 80 days (Bt/Isogenic). Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus and total anaerobes were enumerated in the feces using culture-based methods on days 0, 30, 60 and 100 of the study and in ileal and cecal digesta on day 110. No differences were found between treatments for any of these counts at any time point. The relative abundance of cecal bacteria was also determined using high-throughput 16 S rRNA gene sequencing. No differences were observed in any bacterial taxa between treatments, with the exception of the genus Holdemania which was more abundant in the cecum of pigs fed the isogenic/Bt treatment compared to pigs fed the Bt treatment (0.012 vs 0.003%; P≤0.05). Conclusions/Significance Feeding pigs a Bt maize-based diet for 110 days did not affect counts of any of the culturable bacteria enumerated in the feces, ileum or cecum. Neither did it influence the composition of the cecal microbiota, with the exception of a minor increase in the genus Holdemania. As the role of Holdemania in the intestine is still under investigation and no health abnormalities were observed, this change is not likely to be of clinical significance. These results indicate that feeding Bt maize to pigs in the context of its influence on the porcine intestinal microbiota is safe.
    • The Effects of Freezing on Faecal Microbiota as Determined Using MiSeq Sequencing and Culture-Based Investigations

      Fouhy, Fiona; Deane, Jennifer; Rea, Mary C.; O’Sullivan, Orla; Ross, R. Paul; O’Callaghan, Grace; Plant, Barry J.; Stanton, Catherine (PLoS, 2015-03-06)
      Background High-throughput sequencing has enabled detailed insights into complex microbial environments, including the human gut microbiota. The accuracy of the sequencing data however, is reliant upon appropriate storage of the samples prior to DNA extraction. The aim of this study was to conduct the first MiSeq sequencing investigation into the effects of faecal storage on the microbiota, compared to fresh samples. Culture-based analysis was also completed. Methods Seven faecal samples were collected from healthy adults. Samples were separated into fresh (DNA extracted immediately), snap frozen on dry ice and frozen for 7 days at -80°C prior to DNA extraction or samples frozen at -80°C for 7 days before DNA extraction. Sequencing was completed on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Culturing of total aerobes, anaerobes and bifidobacteria was also completed. Results No significant differences at phylum or family levels between the treatment groups occurred. At genus level only Faecalibacterium and Leuconostoc were significantly different in the fresh samples compared to the snap frozen group (p = 0.0298; p = 0.0330 respectively). Diversity analysis indicated that samples clustered based on the individual donor, rather than by storage group. No significant differences occurred in the culture-based analysis between the fresh, snap or -80°C frozen samples. Conclusions Using the MiSeq platform coupled with culture-based analysis, this study highlighted that limited significant changes in microbiota occur following rapid freezing of faecal samples prior to DNA extraction. Thus, rapid freezing of samples prior to DNA extraction and culturing, preserves the integrity of the microbiota.
    • Evolution of gut microbiota composition from birth to 24 weeks in the INFANTMET Cohort

      Hill, Cian J; Lynch, Denise B; Murphy, Kiera; Ulaszewska, Marynka; Jeffery, Ian B; O’Shea, Carol A; Watkins, Claire; Dempsey, Eugene; Mattivi, Fulvio; Touhy, Kieran; Ross, R. Paul; Ryan, C. A; O’ Toole, Paul W; Stanton, Catherine (Biomed Central, 2017-01-17)
      Background The gut is the most extensively studied niche of the human microbiome. The aim of this study was to characterise the initial gut microbiota development of a cohort of breastfed infants (n = 192) from 1 to 24 weeks of age. Methods V4-V5 region 16S rRNA amplicon Illumina sequencing and, in parallel, bacteriological culture. The metabolomic profile of infant urine at 4 weeks of age was also examined by LC-MS. Results Full-term (FT), spontaneous vaginally delivered (SVD) infants’ microbiota remained stable at both phylum and genus levels during the 24-week period examined. FT Caesarean section (CS) infants displayed an increased faecal abundance of Firmicutes (p < 0.01) and lower abundance of Actinobacteria (p < 0.001) after the first week of life compared to FT-SVD infants. FT-CS infants gradually progressed to harbouring a microbiota closely resembling FT-SVD (which remained stable) by week 8 of life, which was maintained at week 24. The gut microbiota of preterm (PT) infants displayed a significantly greater abundance of Proteobacteria compared to FT infants (p < 0.001) at week 1. Metabolomic analysis of urine at week 4 indicated PT-CS infants have a functionally different metabolite profile than FT (both CS and SVD) infants. Co-inertia analysis showed co-variation between the urine metabolome and the faecal microbiota of the infants. Tryptophan and tyrosine metabolic pathways, as well as fatty acid and bile acid metabolism, were found to be affected by delivery mode and gestational age. Conclusions These findings confirm that mode of delivery and gestational age both have significant effects on early neonatal microbiota composition. There is also a significant difference between the metabolite profile of FT and PT infants. Prolonged breastfeeding was shown to have a significant effect on the microbiota composition of FT-CS infants at 24 weeks of age, but interestingly not on that of FT-SVD infants. Twins had more similar microbiota to one another than between two random infants, reflecting the influence of similarities in both host genetics and the environment on the microbiota.
    • Evolution of gut microbiota composition from birth to 24 weeks in the INFANTMET Cohort

      Hill, Cian J; Lynch, Denise B; Murphy, Kiera; Ulaszewska, Marynka; Jeffery, Ian B; O’Shea, Carol A; Watkins, Claire; Dempsey, Eugene; Mattivi, Fulvio; Tuohy, Kieran; Ross, R. Paul; Ryan, C. A; O’ Toole, Paul W; Stanton, Catherine (Biomed Central, 2017-01-17)
      Background The gut is the most extensively studied niche of the human microbiome. The aim of this study was to characterise the initial gut microbiota development of a cohort of breastfed infants (n = 192) from 1 to 24 weeks of age. Methods V4-V5 region 16S rRNA amplicon Illumina sequencing and, in parallel, bacteriological culture. The metabolomic profile of infant urine at 4 weeks of age was also examined by LC-MS. Results Full-term (FT), spontaneous vaginally delivered (SVD) infants’ microbiota remained stable at both phylum and genus levels during the 24-week period examined. FT Caesarean section (CS) infants displayed an increased faecal abundance of Firmicutes (p < 0.01) and lower abundance of Actinobacteria (p < 0.001) after the first week of life compared to FT-SVD infants. FT-CS infants gradually progressed to harbouring a microbiota closely resembling FT-SVD (which remained stable) by week 8 of life, which was maintained at week 24. The gut microbiota of preterm (PT) infants displayed a significantly greater abundance of Proteobacteria compared to FT infants (p < 0.001) at week 1. Metabolomic analysis of urine at week 4 indicated PT-CS infants have a functionally different metabolite profile than FT (both CS and SVD) infants. Co-inertia analysis showed co-variation between the urine metabolome and the faecal microbiota of the infants. Tryptophan and tyrosine metabolic pathways, as well as fatty acid and bile acid metabolism, were found to be affected by delivery mode and gestational age. Conclusions These findings confirm that mode of delivery and gestational age both have significant effects on early neonatal microbiota composition. There is also a significant difference between the metabolite profile of FT and PT infants. Prolonged breastfeeding was shown to have a significant effect on the microbiota composition of FT-CS infants at 24 weeks of age, but interestingly not on that of FT-SVD infants. Twins had more similar microbiota to one another than between two random infants, reflecting the influence of similarities in both host genetics and the environment on the microbiota.
    • Fermented beverages with health-promoting potential: Past and future perspectives

      Marsh, Alan J.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D. (Elsevier, 2014-07-16)
      Fermentation is an ancient form of food preservation, which also improves the nutritional content of foods. In many regions of the world, fermented beverages have become known for their health-promoting attributes. In addition to harnessing traditional beverages for commercial use, there have recently been innovative efforts to develop non-dairy probiotic fermented beverages from a variety of substrates, including soy milk, whey, cereals and vegetable and fruit juices. On the basis of recent developments, it is anticipated that fermented beverages will continue to be a significant component within the functional food market.
    • Fermented beverages with health-promoting potential: Past and future perspectives

      Marsh, Alan J.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D. (Elsevier, 2014-05-20)
      Highlights • Traditional fermented beverages are reviewed. • Microbiology and probiotic potential of beverages are considered. • Recent developments in novel probiotic beverage production. • Beverages produced from a number of different substrates are explored. • Review of enchancements (prebiotics, flavours and neutraceuticals). Fermentation is an ancient form of food preservation, which also improves the nutritional content of foods. In many regions of the world, fermented beverages have become known for their health-promoting attributes. In addition to harnessing traditional beverages for commercial use, there have recently been innovative efforts to develop non-dairy probiotic fermented beverages from a variety of substrates, including soy milk, whey, cereals and vegetable and fruit juices. On the basis of recent developments, it is anticipated that fermented beverages will continue to be a significant component within the functional food market.
    • The Gut Microbiota Composition in Dichorionic Triplet Sets Suggests a Role for Host Genetic Factors

      Murphy, Kiera; O'Shea, Carol Anne; Ryan, C. Anthony; Dempsey, Eugene M.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R. Paul (PLoS, 2015-04-14)
      Monozygotic and dizygotic twin studies investigating the relative roles of host genetics and environmental factors in shaping gut microbiota composition have produced conflicting results. In this study, we investigated the gut microbiota composition of a healthy dichorionic triplet set. The dichorionic triplet set contained a pair of monozygotic twins and a fraternal sibling, with similar pre- and post-natal environmental conditions including feeding regime. V4 16S rRNA and rpoB amplicon pyrosequencing was employed to investigate microbiota composition, and the species and strain diversity of the culturable bifidobacterial population was also examined. At month 1, the monozygotic pair shared a similar microbiota distinct to the fraternal sibling. By month 12 however, the profile was more uniform between the three infants. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) of the microbiota composition revealed strong clustering of the monozygotic pair at month 1 and a separation of the fraternal infant. At months 2 and 3 the phylogenetic distance between the monozygotic pair and the fraternal sibling has greatly reduced and by month 12 the monozygotic pair no longer clustered separately from the fraternal infant. Pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis of the bifidobacterial population revealed a lack of strain diversity, with identical strains identified in all three infants at month 1 and 12. The microbiota of two antibiotic-treated dichorionic triplet sets was also investigated. Not surprisingly, in both triplet sets early life antibiotic administration appeared to be a major determinant of microbiota composition at month 1, irrespective of zygosity. By month 12, early antibiotic administration appeared to no longer exert such a strong influence on gut microbiota composition. We hypothesize that initially host genetics play a significant role in the composition of an individual’s gut microbiota, unless an antibiotic intervention is given, but by month 12 environmental factors are the major determinant.
    • Impact of Environmental Factors on Bacteriocin Promoter Activity in Gut-Derived Lactobacillus salivarius

      Guinane, Caitriona M.; Piper, Clare; Draper, Lorraine A.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D. (American Society for Microbiology, 2015-09-04)
      Bacteriocin production is regarded as a desirable probiotic trait that aids in colonization and persistence in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Strains of Lactobacillus salivarius, a species associated with the GIT, are regarded as promising probiotic candidates and have a number of associated bacteriocins documented to date. These include multiple class IIb bacteriocins (salivaricin T, salivaricin P, and ABP-118) and the class IId bacteriocin bactofencin A, which show activity against medically important pathogens. However, the production of a bacteriocin in laboratory media does not ensure production under stressful environmental conditions, such as those encountered within the GIT. To allow this issue to be addressed, the promoter regions located upstream of the structural genes encoding the L. salivarius bacteriocins mentioned above were fused to a number of reporter proteins (green fluorescent protein [GFP], red fluorescent protein [RFP], and luciferase [Lux]). Of these, only transcriptional fusions to GFP generated signals of sufficient strength to enable the study of promoter activity in L. salivarius. While analysis of the class IIb bacteriocin promoter regions indicated relatively weak GFP expression, assessment of the promoter of the antistaphylococcal bacteriocin bactofencin A revealed a strong promoter that is most active in the absence of the antimicrobial peptide and is positively induced in the presence of mild environmental stresses, including simulated gastric fluid. Taken together, these data provide information on factors that influence bacteriocin production, which will assist in the development of strategies to optimize in vivo and in vitro production of these antimicrobials.
    • In Silico Assigned Resistance Genes Confer Bifidobacterium with Partial Resistance to Aminoglycosides but Not to Β-Lactams

      Fouhy, Fiona; O’Connell Motherway, Mary; Fitzgerald, Gerald F.; Ross, R. Paul; Stanton, Catherine; van Sinderen, Douwe; Cotter, Paul D. (PLoS, 2013-12-06)
      Bifidobacteria have received significant attention due to their contribution to human gut health and the use of specific strains as probiotics. It is thus not surprising that there has also been significant interest with respect to their antibiotic resistance profile. Numerous culture-based studies have demonstrated that bifidobacteria are resistant to the majority of aminoglycosides, but are sensitive to β-lactams. However, limited research exists with respect to the genetic basis for the resistance of bifidobacteria to aminoglycosides. Here we performed an in-depth in silico analysis of putative Bifidobacterium-encoded aminoglycoside resistance proteins and β-lactamases and assess the contribution of these proteins to antibiotic resistance. The in silico-based screen detected putative aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance proteins across the Bifidobacterium genus. Laboratory-based investigations of a number of representative bifidobacteria strains confirmed that despite containing putative β-lactamases, these strains were sensitive to β-lactams. In contrast, all strains were resistant to the aminoglycosides tested. To assess the contribution of genes encoding putative aminoglycoside resistance proteins in Bifidobacterium sp. two genes, namely Bbr_0651 and Bbr_1586, were targeted for insertional inactivation in B. breve UCC2003. As compared to the wild-type, the UCC2003 insertion mutant strains exhibited decreased resistance to gentamycin, kanamycin and streptomycin. This study highlights the associated risks of relying on the in silico assignment of gene function. Although several putative β-lactam resistance proteins are located in bifidobacteria, their presence does not coincide with resistance to these antibiotics. In contrast however, this approach has resulted in the identification of two loci that contribute to the aminoglycoside resistance of B. breve UCC2003 and, potentially, many other bifidobacteria.
    • In Vitro Activities of Nisin and Nisin Derivatives Alone and In Combination with Antibiotics against Staphylococcus Biofilms

      Field, Des; O'Connor, Rory; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin (Frontiers Media S. A., 2016-04-18)
      The development and spread of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to the existing catalog of antibiotics is a major public health threat. Biofilms are complex, sessile communities of bacteria embedded in an organic polymer matrix which serve to further enhance antimicrobial resistance. Consequently, novel compounds and innovative methods are urgently required to arrest the proliferation of drug-resistant infections in both nosocomial and community environments. Accordingly, it has been suggested that antimicrobial peptides could be used as novel natural inhibitors that can be used in formulations with synergistically acting antibiotics. Nisin is a member of the lantibiotic family of antimicrobial peptides that exhibit potent antibacterial activity against many Gram-positive bacteria. Recently we have used bioengineering strategies to enhance the activity of nisin against several high profile targets, including multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycinresistant enterococci, staphylococci, and streptococci associated with bovine mastitis. We have also identified nisin derivatives with an enhanced ability to impair biofilm formation and to reduce the density of established biofilms of methicillin resistant S. pseudintermedius. The present study was aimed at evaluating the potential of nisin and nisin derivatives to increase the efficacy of conventional antibiotics and to assess the possibility of killing and/or eradicating biofilm-associated cells of a variety of staphylococcal targets. Growth curve-based comparisons established that combinations of derivatives nisin V C penicillin or nisin I4V C chloramphenicol had an enhanced inhibitory effect against S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284, respectively, compared to the equivalent nisin A C antibiotic combinations or when each antimicrobial was administered alone. Furthermore, the metabolic activity of established biofilms treated with nisin V C chloramphenicol and nisin I4V C chloramphenicol combinations revealed a significant decrease in S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284 biofilm viability, respectively, compared to the nisin A C antibiotic combinations as determined by the rapid colorimetric XTT assay. The results indicate that the activities of the nisin derivative and antibiotic combinations represent a significant improvement over that of the wild-type nisin and antibiotic combination and merit further investigation with a view to their use as anti-biofilm agents.
    • Influence of GABA and GABA-producing Lactobacillus brevis DPC 6108 on the development of diabetes in a streptozotocin rat model

      Marques, T. M.; Patterson, E.; Wall, R.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Fitzgerald, G. F.; Cotter, Paul D.; Dinan, T. G.; Cryan, J. F.; Ross, R. Paul; Stanton, Catherine (Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2016-05-26)
      The aim of this study was to investigate if dietary administration of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-producing Lactobacillus brevis DPC 6108 and pure GABA exert protective effects against the development of diabetes in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic Sprague Dawley rats. In a first experiment, healthy rats were divided in 3 groups (n=10/group) receiving placebo, 2.6 mg/kg body weight (bw) pure GABA or L. brevis DPC 6108 (~109microorganisms). In a second experiment, rats (n=15/group) were randomised to five groups and four of these received an injection of STZ to induce type 1 diabetes. Diabetic and non-diabetic controls received placebo [4% (w/v) yeast extract in dH2O], while the other three diabetic groups received one of the following dietary supplements: 2.6 mg/kg bw GABA (low GABA), 200 mg/kg bw GABA (high GABA) or ~109 L. brevis DPC 6108. L. brevis DPC 6108 supplementation was associated with increased serum insulin levels (P<0.05), but did not alter other metabolic markers in healthy rats. Diabetes induced by STZ injection decreased body weight (P<0.05), increased intestinal length (P<0.05) and stimulated water and food intake. Insulin was decreased (P<0.05), whereas glucose was increased (P<0.001) in all diabetic groups, compared with non-diabetic controls. A decrease (P<0.01) in glucose levels was observed in diabetic rats receiving L. brevis DPC 6108, compared with diabetic-controls. Both the composition and diversity of the intestinal microbiota were affected by diabetes. Microbial diversity in diabetic rats supplemented with low GABA was not reduced (P>0.05), compared with non-diabetic controls while all other diabetic groups displayed reduced diversity (P<0.05). L. brevis DPC 6108 attenuated hyperglycaemia induced by diabetes but additional studies are needed to understand the mechanisms involved in this reduction.
    • Insights into the Mode of Action of the Sactibiotic Thuricin CD

      Mathur, Harsh; Fallico, Vicenzo; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul (Frontiers, 2017-04-20)
      Thuricin CD is a two-component bacteriocin, consisting of the peptides Trnα and Trnβ, and belongs to the newly designated sactibiotic subclass of bacteriocins. While it is clear from studies conducted thus far that it is a narrow-spectrum bacteriocin, requiring the synergistic activity of the two peptides, the precise mechanism of action of thuricin CD has not been elucidated. This study used a combination of flow cytometry and traditional culture-dependent assays to ascertain the effects of the thuricin CD peptides on the morphology, physiology and viability of sensitive Bacillus firmus DPC6349 cells. We show that both Trnα and Trnβ are membrane-acting and cause a collapse of the membrane potential, which could not be reversed even under membrane-repolarizing conditions. Furthermore, the depolarizing action of thuricin CD is accompanied by reductions in cell size and granularity, producing a pattern of physiological alterations in DPC6349 cells similar to those triggered by the pore-forming single-component bacteriocin Nisin A, and two-component lacticin 3147. Taken together, these results lead us to postulate that the lytic activity of thuricin CD involves the insertion of thuricin CD peptides into the membrane of target cells leading to permeabilization due to pore formation and consequent flux of ions across the membrane, resulting in membrane depolarization and eventual cell death.