Doctor of Philosophy, Universitetet I Oslo (2014)
Master of Science, Bangalore University, Biotechnology (2004)
Bachelor of Science, Sri Venkateswara University (2001)
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Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A streptococcus; GAS) is a human pathogen causing diseases from uncomplicated tonsillitis to life-threatening invasive infections. GAS secretes EndoS, an endoglycosidase that specifically cleaves the conserved N-glycan on IgG antibodies. In vitro, removal of this glycan impairs IgG effector functions, but its relevance to GAS infection in vivo is unclear. Using targeted mass spectrometry, we characterized the effects of EndoS on host IgG glycosylation during the course of infections in humans. Substantial IgG glycan hydrolysis occurred at the site of infection and systemically in the severe cases. We demonstrated decreased resistance to phagocytic killing of GAS lacking EndoS in vitro and decreased virulence in a mouse model of invasive infection. This is the first described example of specific bacterial IgG glycan hydrolysis during infection and thereby verifies the hypothesis that EndoS modifies antibodies in vivo. This mechanisms of immune evasion could have implications for treatment of severe GAS infections and for future efforts at vaccine development.
View details for DOI 10.1084/jem.20190293
View details for Web of Science ID 000473325900013
View details for PubMedID 31092533
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6605743
View details for Web of Science ID 000452746700094
Encapsulating antibiotics such as rifampicin in biodegradable nanoparticles provides several advantages compared to free drug administration, including reduced dosing due to localized targeting and sustained release. Consequently, these characteristics reduce systemic drug toxicity. However, new nanoformulations need to be tested in complex biological systems to fully characterize their potential for improved drug therapy. Tuberculosis, caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, requires lengthy and expensive treatment, and incomplete therapy contributes to an increasing incidence of drug resistance. Recent evidence suggests that standard therapy may be improved by combining antibiotics with bacterial efflux pump inhibitors, such as thioridazine. However, this drug is difficult to use clinically due to its toxicity. Here, we encapsulated thioridazine in poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid nanoparticles and tested them alone and in combination with rifampicin nanoparticles, or free rifampicin in macrophages and in a zebrafish model of tuberculosis. Whereas free thioridazine was highly toxic in both cells and zebrafish embryos, after encapsulation in nanoparticles no toxicity was detected. When combined with rifampicin nanoparticles, the nanoparticles loaded with thioridazine gave a modest increase in killing of both Mycobacterium bovis BCG and M. tuberculosis in macrophages. In the zebrafish, the thioridazine nanoparticles showed a significant therapeutic effect in combination with rifampicin by enhancing embryo survival and reducing mycobacterial infection. Our results show that the zebrafish embryo is a highly sensitive indicator of drug toxicity and that thioridazine nanoparticle therapy can improve the antibacterial effect of rifampicin in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.3109/17435390.2015.1107146
View details for PubMedID 26573343
The polysaccharide capsule surrounding Streptococcus pneumoniae is essential for virulence. Recently, Streptococcus mitis, a human commensal and a close relative of S. pneumoniae, was also shown to have a capsule. In this study, the S. mitis type strain switched capsule by acquisition of the serotype 4 capsule locus of S. pneumoniae TIGR4, following induction of competence for natural transformation. Comparison of the wild type with the capsule-switching mutant and with a capsule deletion mutant showed that the capsule protected S. mitis against phagocytosis by RAW 264.7 macrophages. This effect was enhanced in the S. mitis strain expressing the S. pneumoniae capsule, which showed, in addition, increased resistance against early clearance in a mouse model of lung infection. Expression of both capsules also favored survival in human blood, and the effect was again more pronounced for the capsule-switching mutant. S. mitis survival in horse blood or in a mouse model of bacteremia was not significantly different between the wild type and the mutant strains. In all models, S. pneumoniae TIGR4 showed higher rates of survival than the S. mitis type strain or the capsule-switching mutant, except in the lung model, in which significant differences between S. pneumoniae TIGR4 and the capsule-switching mutant were not observed. Thus, we identified conditions that showed a protective function for the capsule in S. mitis. Under such conditions, S. mitis resistance to clearance could be enhanced by capsule switching to serotype 4, but it was enhanced to levels lower than those for the virulent strain S. pneumoniae TIGR4.
View details for DOI 10.1128/IAI.01840-14
View details for PubMedID 24958712
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4187822
Nanoparticles (NPs) are increasingly used as biodegradable vehicles to selectively deliver therapeutic agents such as drugs or antigens to cells. The most widely used vehicle for this purpose is based on copolymers of lactic acid and glycolic acid (PLGA) and has been extensively used in experiments aimed at delivering antibiotics against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in animal models of tuberculosis. Here, we describe fabrication of PLGA NPs containing either a high concentration of rifampicin or detectable levels of the green fluorescent dye, coumarin-6. Our goal here was twofold: first to resolve the controversial issue of whether, after phagocytic uptake, PLGA NPs remain membrane-bound or whether they escape into the cytoplasm, as has been widely claimed. Second, we sought to make NPs that enclosed sufficient rifampicin to efficiently clear macrophages of infection with Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Using fluorescence microscopy and immuno-electron microscopy, in combination with markers for lysosomes, we show that BCG bacteria, as expected, localized to early phagosomes, but that at least 90% of PLGA particles were targeted to, and remained in, low pH, hydrolase-rich phago-lysosomes. Our data collectively argue that PLGA NPs remain membrane-enclosed in macrophages for at least 13 days and degrade slowly. Importantly, provided that the NPs are fabricated with sufficient antibiotic, one dose given after infection is sufficient to efficiently clear the BCG infection after 9-12 days of treatment, as shown by estimates of the number of bacterial colonies in vitro.
View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.121814
View details for PubMedID 23687375