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Medellin, Colombia

Escobar J.S.,Health and Wellness Research Center | Klotz B.,University of La Sabana | Klotz B.,ALPINA S.A. | Valdes B.E.,Health and Wellness Research Center | And 3 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2015

Background: The composition of the gut microbiota has recently been associated with health and disease, particularly with obesity. Some studies suggested a higher proportion of Firmicutes and a lower proportion of Bacteroidetes in obese compared to lean people; others found discordant patterns. Most studies, however, focused on Americans or Europeans, giving a limited picture of the gut microbiome. To determine the generality of previous observations and expand our knowledge of the human gut microbiota, it is important to replicate studies in overlooked populations. Thus, we describe here, for the first time, the gut microbiota of Colombian adults via the pyrosequencing of the 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), comparing it with results obtained in Americans, Europeans, Japanese and South Koreans, and testing the generality of previous observations concerning changes in Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes with increasing body mass index (BMI). Results: We found that the composition of the gut microbiota of Colombians was significantly different from that of Americans, Europeans and Asians. The geographic origin of the population explained more variance in the composition of this bacterial community than BMI or gender. Concerning changes in Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes with obesity, in Colombians we found a tendency in Firmicutes to diminish with increasing BMI, whereas no change was observed in Bacteroidetes. A similar result was found in Americans. A more detailed inspection of the Colombian dataset revealed that five fiber-degrading bacteria, including Akkermansia, Dialister, Oscillospira, Ruminococcaceae and Clostridiales, became less abundant in obese subjects. Conclusion: We contributed data from unstudied Colombians that showed that the geographic origin of the studied population had a greater impact on the composition of the gut microbiota than BMI or gender. Any strategy aiming to modulate or control obesity via manipulation of this bacterial community should consider this effect. © 2014 Escobar et al.

Hernandez O.,Major College of Antioquia | Araque P.,University of Antioquia | Tamayo D.,University of Medellin | Restrepo A.,Cellular and Molecular Biology Unit | And 4 more authors.
Medical mycology | Year: 2015

Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is the etiologic agent of one of the most common systemic mycoses in Latin America. As a dimorphic fungus, it must adapt to different environments during its life cycle, either in nature or within the host, enduring external stresses such as temperature or host-induced oxidative stress. In this study we addressed the role of alternative oxidase (PbAOX) in cellular homeostasis during batch culture growth and the morphological transition of P. brasiliensis. Using a PbAOX-antisense-RNA (PbAOX-aRNA) strain with a 70% reduction in gene expression, we show that PbAOX is crucial for maintaining cell viability and vitality during batch culture growth of yeast cells, in what appears to be a pH-dependent manner. We also show that silencing of PbAOX drastically reduced expression levels of other detoxifying enzymes (PbY20 and PbMSOD). In addition, our data indicate that PbAOX plays a role during the morphological transition, namely, during the yeast-to-mycelia germination and mycelia/conidia-to-yeast transition, essential events during the establishment of infection by dimorphic fungal pathogens. Altogether, our findings support the hypothesis that PbAOX is important for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, possibly by assisting redox balancing during cell growth and the morphological switch of P. brasiliensis. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

Torres I.,University of Antioquia | Hernandez O.,Major College of Antioquia | Tamayo D.,University of Antioquia | Munoz J.F.,University of Antioquia | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Glycoprotein gp43 is an immunodominant diagnostic antigen for paracoccidioidomycosis caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. It is abundantly secreted in isolates such as Pb339. It is structurally related to beta-1,3-exoglucanases, however inactive. Its function in fungal biology is unknown, but it elicits humoral, innate and protective cellular immune responses; it binds to extracellular matrix-associated proteins. In this study we applied an antisense RNA (aRNA) technology and Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation to generate mitotically stable PbGP43 mutants (PbGP43 aRNA) derived from wild type Pb339 to study its role in P. brasiliensis biology and during infection. Control PbEV was transformed with empty vector. Growth curve, cell vitality and morphology of PbGP43 aRNA mutants were indistinguishable from those of controls. PbGP43 expression was reduced 80-85% in mutants 1 and 2, as determined by real time PCR, correlating with a massive decrease in gp43 expression. This was shown by immunoblotting of culture supernatants revealed with anti-gp43 mouse monoclonal and rabbit polyclonal antibodies, and also by affinity-ligand assays of extracellular molecules with laminin and fibronectin. In vitro, there was significantly increased TNF-α production and reduced yeast recovery when PbGP43 aRNA1 was exposed to IFN-γ-stimulated macrophages, suggesting reduced binding/uptake and/or increased killing. In vivo, fungal burden in lungs of BALB/c mice infected with silenced mutant was negligible and associated with decreased lung ΙΛ-10 and IL-6. Therefore, our results correlated low gp43 expression with lower pathogenicity in mice, but that will be definitely proven when PbGP43 knockouts become available. This is the first study of gp43 using genetically modified P. brasiliensis. © 2013 Torres et al.

Tamayo D.,University of Antioquia | Munoz J.F.,University of Antioquia | Torres I.,University of Antioquia | Almeida A.J.,Superior Institute of Maia | And 2 more authors.
Fungal Genetics and Biology | Year: 2013

HSP90 is a molecular chaperone that participates in folding, stabilization, activation, and assembly of several proteins, all of which are key regulators in cell signaling. In dimorphic pathogenic fungi such as Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, the adaptation to a higher temperature, acid pH and oxidative stress, is an essential event for fungal survival and also for the establishing of the infectious process. To further understand the role of this protein, we used antisense RNA technology to generate a P. brasiliensis isolate with reduced PbHSP90 gene expression (PbHSP90-aRNA). Reduced expression of HSP90 decreased yeast cell viability during batch culture growth and increased susceptibility to acid pH environments and imposed oxidative stress. Also, PbHSP90-aRNA yeast cells presented reduced viability upon interaction with macrophages. The findings presented here suggest a protective role for HSP90 during adaptation to hostile environments, one that promotes survival of the fungus during host-pathogen interactions. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Ruiz H.O.,University of Antioquia | Ruiz H.O.,Cellular and Molecular Biology Unit | Ruiz H.O.,Major College of Antioquia | Gonzalez A.,Medical and Experimental Mycology Group | And 7 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2011

Background: Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a human thermal dimorphic pathogenic fungus. Survival of P. brasiliensis inside the host depends on the adaptation of this fungal pathogen to different conditions, namely oxidative stress imposed by immune cells. Aims and Methodology: In this study, we evaluated the role of alternative oxidase (AOX), an enzyme involved in the intracellular redox balancing, during host-P. brasiliensis interaction. We generated a mitotically stable P. brasiliensis AOX (PbAOX) antisense RNA (aRNA) strain with a 70% reduction in gene expression. We evaluated the relevance of PbAOX during interaction of conidia and yeast cells with IFN-γ activated alveolar macrophages and in a mouse model of infection. Additionally, we determined the fungal cell's viability and PbAOX in the presence of H2O2. Results: Interaction with IFN-γ activated alveolar macrophages induced higher levels of PbAOX gene expression in PbWt conidia than PbWt yeast cells. PbAOX-aRNA conidia and yeast cells had decreased viability after interaction with macrophages. Moreover, in a mouse model of infection, we showed that absence of wild-type levels of PbAOX in P. brasiliensis results in a reduced fungal burden in lungs at weeks 8 and 24 post-challenge and an increased survival rate. In the presence of H2O2, we observed that PbWt yeast cells increased PbAOX expression and presented a higher viability in comparison with PbAOX-aRNA yeast cells. Conclusions: These data further support the hypothesis that PbAOX is important in the fungal defense against oxidative stress imposed by immune cells and is relevant in the virulence of P. brasiliensis. © 2011 Hernandez Ruiz et al.

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