Identification of the ESKAPE pathogens by mass spectrometric analysis of microbial membrane glycolipids

Leung LM, Fondrie WE, Doi Y, et al. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul

Rapid diagnostics that enable identification of infectious agents improve patient outcomes, antimicrobial stewardship, and length of hospital stay. Current methods for pathogen detection in the clinical laboratory include biological culture, nucleic acid amplification, ribosomal protein characterization, and genome sequencing. Pathogen identification from single colonies by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) analysis of high abundance proteins is gaining popularity in clinical laboratories. Here, we present a novel and complementary approach that utilizes essential microbial glycolipids as chemical fingerprints for identification of individual bacterial species. Gram-positive and negative bacterial glycolipids were extracted using a single optimized protocol. Extracts of the clinically significant ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp. were analyzed by MALDI-TOF-MS in negative ion mode to obtain glycolipid mass spectra. A library of glycolipid mass spectra from 50 microbial entries was developed that allowed bacterial speciation of the ESKAPE pathogens, as well as identification of pathogens directly from blood bottles without culture on solid medium and determination of antimicrobial peptide resistance. These results demonstrate that bacterial glycolipid mass spectra represent chemical barcodes that identify pathogens, potentially providing a useful alternative to existing diagnostics.
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Unique structural modifications are present in the lipopolysaccharide from colistin-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii

Pelletier MR, Casella LG, Jones JW, et al. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Oct

Acinetobacter baumannii is a nosocomial opportunistic pathogen that can cause severe infections, including hospital-acquired pneumonia, wound infections, and sepsis. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains are prevalent, further complicating patient treatment. Due to the increase in MDR strains, the cationic antimicrobial peptide colistin has been used to treat A. baumannii infections. Colistin-resistant strains of A. baumannii with alterations to the lipid A component of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) have been reported; specifically, the lipid A structure was shown to be hepta-acylated with a phosphoethanolamine (pEtN) modification present on one of the terminal phosphate residues. Using a tandem mass spectrometry platform, we provide definitive evidence that the lipid A isolated from colistin-resistant A. baumannii MAC204 LPS contains a novel structure corresponding to a diphosphoryl hepta-acylated lipid A structure with both pEtN and galactosamine (GalN) modifications. To correlate our structural studies with clinically relevant samples, we characterized colistin-susceptible and -resistant isolates obtained from patients. These results demonstrated that the clinical colistin-resistant isolate had the same pEtN and GalN modifications as those seen in the laboratory-adapted A. baumannii strain MAC204. In summary, this work has shown complete structure characterization including the accurate assignment of acylation, phosphorylation, and glycosylation of lipid A from A. baumannii, which are important for resistance to colistin. … Continue readingUnique structural modifications are present in the lipopolysaccharide from colistin-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii

Unique lipid A modifications in Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from the airways of patients with cystic fibrosis

Ernst RK, Moskowitz SM, Emerson JC, et al. J Infect Dis. 2007 Oct

Three structural features of lipid A (addition of palmitate [C16 fatty acid], addition of aminoarabinose [positively charged amino sugar residue], and retention of 3-hydroxydecanoate [3-OH C10 fatty acid]) were determined for Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from patientswith cystic fibrosis (CF; n = 86), from the environment (n = 13), and from patients with other conditions (n = 14). Among P. aeruginosa CF isolates, 100% had lipid A with palmitate, 24.6% with aminoarabinose, and 33.3% retained 3-hydroxydecanoate. None of the isolates from the environment or from patients with other conditions displayed these modifications. These results indicate that unique lipid A modifications occur in clinical CF isolates. … Continue readingUnique lipid A modifications in Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from the airways of patients with cystic fibrosis