Infections associated with the biofilms of Candidaalbicans are a challenge to antifungal treatment. Combinatorial therapy involving plant molecules with antifungal drugs would be an effective complementary approach against drug-resistant Candida biofilms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of three bioactive terpenoids (carvacrol, eugenol and thymol) in combination with fluconazole against planktonic cells, biofilm development and mature biofilms of C.albicans. Activities of the selected molecules were tested using a microplate-based methodology, while their combinations with fluconazole were performed in a checkerboard format. Biofilms were quantitated by XTT-metabolic assay and confirmed by microscopic observations. Combinations of carvacrol and eugenol with fluconazole were found synergistic against planktonic growth of C.albicans, while that of thymol with fluconazole did not have any interaction. Biofilm development and mature biofilms were highly resistant to fluconazole, but susceptible to three terpenoids. Sensitization of cells by sub-inhibitory concentrations of carvacrol and eugenol resulted in prevention of biofilm formation at low fluconazole concentrations, i.e. 0.032 and 0.002 mg ml－1, respectively. Addition of thymol could not potentiate activity of fluconazole against biofilm formation by C.albicans. Fractional inhibitory concentration indices (FICI) for carvacrol-fluconazole and eugenol-fluconazole combinations for biofilm formation were 0.311 and 0.25, respectively. The FICI value of 1.003 indicated a status of indifference for the combination of thymol and fluconazole against biofilm formation. Eugenol and thymol combinations with fluconazole did not have useful interaction against mature biofilms of C.albicans, but the presence of 0.5 mg ml－1 of carvacrol caused inhibition of mature biofilms at a significantly low concentration (i.e. 0.032 mg ml－1)of fluconazole. The study indicated that carvacrol and eugenol combinations with fluconazole would be a potential alternative strategy for prevention and control of biofilm-associated C.albicans infections.
Brine shrimp are aquatic crustaceans belonging to a genus of Artemia. This organism is widely used for testing the toxicity of chemicals. In this study, brine shrimp were evaluated as an infection model organism to study bacterial virulence. Artemia nauplii were infected with various pathogenic bacteria, such as Vibriovulnificus,Pseudomonasaeruginosa,Burkholderiavietnamiensis,Staphylococcusaureus, and Escherichiacoli, and the susceptibility to these bacteria was investigated by counting the survival of the infected nauplii. While all of the tested bacteria have significant virulence to brine shrimp, killing the nauplii in a few days, V.vulnificus showed the strongest virulence. P.aeruginosa also showed a dose-dependent virulence to brine shrimp, but the virulence was weaker than that of V.vulnificus. The virulence tests using the virulence-attenuated mutants of V.vulnificus and P.aeruginosa, such as quorum sensing (QS) mutants or protease-deficient mutants showed a significant attenuation of virulence, demonstrating that the QS mechanism is important in the virulence of these bacteria to brine shrimp. B.vietnamiensis,S.aureus, and E.coli were also virulent to brine shrimp and the virulence was correlated with dosage within 24 h under our conditions. Salmonellaenterica Typhimurium and Bacillussubtilis were also virulent to brine shrimp, but the virulence was weak and slowly exerted compared with that of other bacteria. Taken together, we suggest that brine shrimp are a good infection model to assay bacterial virulence, especially for V.vulnificus and P.aeruginosa, and QS is important in the bacterial virulence to brine shrimp.
Bacillus subtilis is used industrially for the production of secreted enzymes. The most characteristic feature of the secreted enzymes is variation in the N-terminal signal peptides that is recognized by secretion machinery, which is one of the determinants of efficiency and must be customized in each case. Culturing cellulolytic B.subtilis to secrete heterologous cellulases combined with customized signal peptides would be beneficial for producing biocommodities from cellulosic biomass. Four Clostridiumthermocellum genes, encoding endoglucanases (celA and celB) and exoglucanases (celK and celS) were cloned to construct random libraries of combinations with 173 different signal peptides originating from the B.subtilis genome. The libraries were successfully screened to identify the signal peptides most efficient in secretion of each of the four cellulases, which were theoretically unpredictable. The secreted cellulases were assayed on carboxymethyl cellulose, phosphoric acid swollen cellulose, and microcrystalline cellulose to determine the possible effects of the signal peptides on substrate specificity. The customized signal peptides for CelA, CelB, and CelS did not affect enzyme performance but those for CelK might influence its substrate specificity.
In this study, genetically engineered Pseudomonas putida TODE1 served as a biocatalyst for the bioproduction of valuable 3-methylcatechol (3MC) from toluene in an aqueous-organic two-phase system. The two-phase system was used as an approach to increase the biocatalyst efficiency. Among the organic solvent tested, n-decanol offered several benefits including having the highest partitioning of 3MC, with a high 3MC yield and low cell toxicity. The effect of media supplementation with carbon/energy sources (glucose, glycerol, acetate and succinate), divalent metal cations (Mg2+, Ca2+, Mn2+ and Fe2+), and short-chain alcohols (ethanol, n-propanol and n-butanol) as a cofactor regeneration system on the toluene dioxygenase (TDO) activity, cell viability, and overall 3MC yield were evaluated. Along with the two-step cell preparation protocol, supplementation of the medium with 4 mM glycerol as a carbon/energy source, and 0.4 mM Fe2+ as a cofactor for TDO significantly enhanced the 3MC production level. When in combination with the use of n-decanol and n-butanol as the organic phase, a maximum overall 3MC concentration of 31.8 mM (166 mM in the organic phase) was obtained in a small-scale production, while it was at 160.5 mM (333.2 mM in the organic phase) in a 2-L scale. To our knowledge, this is the highest 3MC yield obtained from a TDO-based system so far.
An Escherichia coli system was engineered for the heterologous production of itaconic acid via the expression of cis-aconitate decarboxylase gene (cad), and then maximal itaconic acid levels produced by engineered E. coli were evaluated. Expression of cad in E. coli grown in Luria-Bertani (LB) medium without glucose in a test tube resulted in 0.07 g/L itaconic acid production after 78 h at 20°C. To increase itaconic acid production, E. coli recombinants were constructed by inactivating the isocitrate dehydrogenase gene (icd) and/or the isocitrate lyase gene (aceA). Expression of cad and inactivation of icd resulted in 0.35 g/L itaconic acid production after 78 h, whereas aceA inactivation had no effect on itaconic acid production. The intracellular itaconate concentration in the Δicd strain was higher than that in the cad-expressing strain without icd inactivation, which suggests that the extracellular secretion of itaconate in E. coli is the rate-determining step during itaconic acid production. pH-stat cultivation using the cad-expressing Δicd strain in LB medium with 3% glucose in a jar fermenter resulted in 1.71 g/L itaconic acid production after 97 h at 28°C. To further increase itaconic acid production, the aconitase B gene (acnB) was overexpressed in the cad-expressing Δicd strain. Simultaneous overexpression of acnB with the expression of cad in the Δicd strain led to 4.34 g/L itaconic acid production after 105 h. Our findings indicate that icd inactivation and acnB overexpression considerably enhance itaconic acid production in cad-expressing E. coli.
Direct ethanol fermentation from amorphous cellulose was achieved using an engineered industrial Saccharomycescerevisiae strain. Two cellulase genes endoglucanase (eg3) and β-glucosidase (bgl1) were obtained from Trichodermaviride and integrated into the genome of S. cerevisiae. These two cellulases could be constitutively coexpressed and secreted by the recombinant strain S. cerevisiae-eb. The enzyme activities were analyzed in the culture supernatants, with the highest endoglucanase activity of 2.34 units/ml and β-glucosidase activity of 0.95 units/ml. The effects of pH, temperature and metal ions on enzyme activities were analyzed. The coexpression strain S. cerevisiae-eb could grow in carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and utilize it as the single carbon source. The 20 g/L CMC as a model substrate of amorphous cellulose was used in fermentation. The ethanol production reached 4.63 g/L in 24 h, with the conversion ratio of 64.2% compared with the theoretical concentration. This study demonstrated that the engineered industrial strain S. cerevisiae-eb could convert amorphous cellulose to ethanol simultaneously and achieve consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) directly.