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Looft T.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit
Gut microbes

Antibiotics are an essential component of the modern lifestyle. They improve our lives by treating disease, preventing disease, and in the case of agricultural animals by improving feed efficiency. However, antibiotic usage is not without collateral effects. The development and spread of antibiotic resistance is the most notorious concern associated with antibiotic use. New technologies have enabled the study of how the microbiota responds to the antibiotic disturbance, including how the community recovers after the antibiotic is removed. One common theme in studies of antibiotic effects is a rapid increase in Escherichia coli followed by a gradual decline. Increases in E. coli are also associated with systemic host stresses, and may be an indicator of ecosystem disturbances of the intestinal microbiota. Moreover, recent studies have shown additional effects mediated by antibiotics on the gut microbiota, such as the stimulation of gene transfer among gut bacteria and the reduction of immune responses in peripheral organs. Querying the microbiota after antibiotic treatment has led to intriguing hypotheses regarding predicting or mitigating unfavorable treatment outcomes. Here we explore the varied effects of antibiotics on human and animal microbiotas. Source

Bunge J.,Cornell University | Woodard L.,Cornell University | Bhning D.,University of Southampton | Foster J.A.,University of Idaho | And 2 more authors.

Motivation: The massive data produced by next-generation sequencing require advanced statistical tools. We address estimating the total diversity or species richness in a population. To date, only relatively simple methods have been implemented in available software. There is a need for software employing modern, computationally intensive statistical analyses including error, goodness-of-fit and robustness assessments. Results: We present CatchAll, a fast, easy-to-use, platform-independent program that computes maximum likelihood estimates for finite-mixture models, weighted linear regression-based analyses and coverage-based non-parametric methods, along with outlier diagnostics. Given sample 'frequency count' data, CatchAll computes 12 different diversity estimates and applies a model-selection algorithm. CatchAll also derives discounted diversity estimates to adjust for possibly uncertain low-frequency counts. It is accompanied by an Excel-based graphics program. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source

Allen H.K.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit
Current Opinion in Microbiology

Numerous environmental reservoirs contribute to the widespread antibiotic resistance problem in human pathogens. One environmental reservoir of particular importance is the intestinal bacteria of food-producing animals. In this review I examine recent discoveries of antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural animals. Two types of antibiotic resistance gene discoveries will be discussed: the use of classic microbiological and molecular techniques, such as culturing and PCR, to identify known genes not previously reported in animals; and the application of high-throughput technologies, such as metagenomics, to identify novel genes and gene transfer mechanisms. These discoveries confirm that antibiotics should be limited to prudent uses. © 2014. Source

Sharma V.K.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit | Casey T.A.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit

In recent studies, we demonstrated that a deletion of hha caused increased secretion of locus of enterocyte encoded adherence proteins and reduced motility of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7. In addition to the importance of hha in positive regulation of motility, a two-component quorum sensing pathway encoded by the qseBC genes has been shown to activate bacterial motility in response to mammalian stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine as well as bacterially produced autoinducer-3. In this study, we compared regulatory contribution and hierarchy of hha, a member of the Hha/YmoA family of nucleoid-associated proteins, to that of qseBC in the expression of EHEC O157:H7 motility. Since norepinephrine affects motility of EHEC O157:H7 through a qseBC-encoded two-component quorum sensing signaling, we also determined whether the hha-mediated regulation of motility is affected by norepinephrine and whether this effect is qseBC dependent. We used single (Δhha or ΔqseC) and double (Δhha ΔqseC) deletion mutants to show that hha exerts a greater positive regulatory effect in comparison to qseBC on the expression of motility by EHEC O157:H7. We also show that Hha is hierarchically superior in transcriptional regulation of motility than QseBC because transcription of qseC was significantly reduced in the hha deletion mutant compared to that in the parental and the hha-complemented mutant strains. These results suggest that hha regulates motility of EHEC O157:H7 directly as well as indirectly by controlling the transcription of qseBC. Source

Stanton T.B.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit | Humphrey S.B.,Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit
Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Megasphaera elsdenii is a lactate-fermenting, obligately anaerobic bacterium commonly present in the gastrointestinal tracts of mammals, including humans. Swine M. elsdenii strains were previously shown to have high levels of tetracycline resistance (MIC = 64 to >256 μg/ml) and to carry mosaic (recombinant) tetracycline resistance genes. Baby pigs inherit intestinal microbiota from the mother sow. In these investigations we addressed two questions. When do M. elsdenii strains from the sow colonize baby pigs? Can five antibioticsensitive M. elsdenii strains administered intragastrically to newborn pigs affect natural colonization of the piglets by antibiotic-resistant (AR) M. elsdenii strains from the mother? M. elsdenii natural colonization of newborn pigs was undetectable (<10 4 CFU/g [wet weight] of feces) prior to weaning (20 days after birth). After weaning, all pigs became colonized (4 × 10 5 to 2 × 10 8 CFU/g feces). In a separate study, 61% (76/125) of M. elsdenii isolates from a gravid sow never exposed to antibiotics were resistant to chlortetracycline, ampicillin, or tylosin. The inoculation of the sow's offspring with mixtures of M. elsdenii antibiotic-sensitive strains prevented colonization of the offspring by maternal AR strains until at least 11 days postweaning. At 25 and 53 days postweaning, however, AR strains predominated. Antibiotic susceptibility phenotypes and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based identities of M. elsdenii isolated from sow and offspring were unexpectedly diverse. These results suggest that dosing newborn piglets with M. elsdenii antibiotic-sensitive strains delays but does not prevent colonization by maternal resistant strains. M. elsdenii subspecies diversity offers an explanation for the persistence of resistant strains in the absence of antibiotic selection. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. Source

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