I am a Molecular Microbiologist (PhD awarded 2004) with an interest in chlamydia and chlamydial diseases. My work has mainly focussed on understadning the chlamydial mechanisms of disease, persistence, and how the disease causes infertility in women. I am also interested in the role proteases have in pathogenesis and biology. I have strong expertise in intracellular infection models and human dsease models. My team has research project on-going in chamydial biology, human disease pathology, diagnosis and treatment. We welcome enquiries from interested students or collaborators.
I am an advocate for equity and diversity in STEMM. My contributions in this field include; I serve as a co-covener of the UTS Academic Women in Sciece group, a Chair of the Faculty of Sciece Equity and Diversity Committee, and a member of the UTS Athena SWAN Commications Committee.
I am a member of
The Australian Society for Microbiology
The International Proteolysis Society
I am an active participant in school based activities and Scientist in Schools and other outreach programs.
Can supervise: YES
My group is focussed on understanding how chlamydial causes infertility in women and how this intracellular bacterial pathogen interacts with human cells. We are also interested in pelvic inflammatory disease.
We are focussed on understanding the bacterial pathogenic factors in order to develop future improved diagnostics and therapeutics for humans.
We are also interested in chlamydia and Koalas and the development of new drugs to treat this devastating disease.
I am experienced in teaching microbiology, molecular microbiology, chemistry and genetics.
I am also interested in learning and curriculum design and served as Program Director for Medical Science and currently serve as Program Director for Master in Medical Biotechnology.
Luo, Z, Neville, SL, Campbell, R, Morey, JR, Menon, S, Thomas, M, Eijkelkamp, BA, Ween, MP, Huston, WM, Kobe, B & McDevitt, CA 2020, 'Structure and Metal Binding Properties of Chlamydia trachomatis YtgA', JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY, vol. 202, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Callan, T, Debattista, J, Berry, B, Brown, J, Woodcock, S, Hocking, JS & Huston, WM 2020, 'A retrospective cohort study examining STI testing and perinatal records demonstrates reproductive health burden of chlamydia and gonorrhea.', Pathogens and disease.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and tubal factor infertility, have been associated with Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoea infections. These reproductive health outcomes could be complemented by measuring subsequent pregnancies to assess impact on fertility. The study design was a cohort study of women in Queensland (QLD), Australia, using data linkage methods to link chlamydia and/or gonorrhea testing records (including an unexposed group undergoing full blood count tests) (2000 and 2005) with the QLD Perinatal Registry (2000 to 2013). The cohort included 132 962 women, with 69 533 records of pregnancies. Women in the exposed group, with no prior pregnancy, had a reduced odds of a pregnancy during the follow up of the study (20 year old (at 2005) aOR 0.91 95% CI 0.87-0.95, and 25 year old aOR 0.71 95% CI 0.68-0.75). Women in the exposed group with a prior pregnancy had increased odds of pregnancy during the follow up of the study (20 year old (at 2005) aOR 1.72 95% CI 1.59-1.86, and 25 year old aOR 1.35 95% CI 1.26-1.45). Our data provides further evidence at a population level of the significant impact on reproductive outcomes associated with chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Agbowuro, AA, Hwang, J, Peel, E, Mazraani, R, Springwald, A, Marsh, JW, McCaughey, L, Gamble, AB, Huston, WM & Tyndall, JDA 2019, 'Structure-activity analysis of peptidic Chlamydia HtrA inhibitors.', Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, vol. 27, no. 18, pp. 4185-4199.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia trachomatis high temperature requirement A (CtHtrA) is a serine protease that performs proteolytic and chaperone functions in pathogenic Chlamydiae; and is seen as a prospective drug target. This study details the strategies employed in optimizing the irreversible CtHtrA inhibitor JO146 [Boc-Val-Pro-ValP(OPh)2] for potency and selectivity. A series of adaptations both at the warhead and specificity residues P1 and P3 yielded 23 analogues, which were tested in human neutrophil elastase (HNE) and CtHtrA enzyme assays as well as Chlamydia cell culture assays. Trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibition assays were also conducted to measure off-target selectivity. Replacing the phosphonate moiety with α-ketobenzothiazole produced a reversible analogue with considerable CtHtrA inhibition and cell culture activity. Tertiary leucine at P3 (8a) yielded approximately 33-fold increase in CtHtrA inhibitory activity, with an IC50 = 0.68 ± 0.02 µM against HNE, while valine at P1 retained the best anti-chlamydial activity. This study provides a pathway for obtaining clinically relevant inhibitors.
Christensen, S, Halili, MA, Strange, N, Petit, GA, Huston, WM, Martin, JL & McMahon, RM 2019, 'Oxidoreductase disulfide bond proteins DsbA and DsbB form an active redox pair in Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium with disulfide dependent infection and development.', PloS one, vol. 14, no. 9, pp. e0222595-e0222595.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular bacterium with a distinctive biphasic developmental cycle that alternates between two distinct cell types; the extracellular infectious elementary body (EB) and the intracellular replicating reticulate body (RB). Members of the genus Chlamydia are dependent on the formation and degradation of protein disulfide bonds. Moreover, disulfide cross-linking of EB envelope proteins is critical for the infection phase of the developmental cycle. We have identified in C. trachomatis a homologue of the Disulfide Bond forming membrane protein Escherichia coli (E. coli) DsbB (hereafter named CtDsbB) and-using recombinant purified proteins-demonstrated that it is the redox partner of the previously characterised periplasmic oxidase C. trachomatis Disulfide Bond protein A (CtDsbA). CtDsbA protein was detected in C. trachomatis inclusion vacuoles at 20 h post infection, with more detected at 32 and similar levels at 44 h post infection as the developmental cycle proceeds. As a redox pair, CtDsbA and CtDsbB largely resemble their homologous counterparts in E. coli; CtDsbA is directly oxidised by CtDsbB, in a reaction in which both periplasmic cysteine pairs of CtDsbB are required for complete activity. In our hands, this reaction is slow relative to that observed for E. coli equivalents, although this may reflect a non-native expression system and use of a surrogate quinone cofactor. CtDsbA has a second non-catalytic disulfide bond, which has a small stabilising effect on the protein's thermal stability, but which does not appear to influence the interaction of CtDsbA with its partner protein CtDsbB. Expression of CtDsbA during the RB replicative phase and during RB to EB differentiation coincided with the oxidation of the chlamydial outer membrane complex (COMC). Together with our demonstration of an active redox pairing, our findings suggest a potential role for CtDsbA and CtDsbB in the critical disulfide bond formation step in...
Christensen, S, McMahon, RM, Martin, JL & Huston, WM 2019, 'Life inside and out: making and breaking protein disulfide bonds in Chlamydia.', Critical reviews in microbiology, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 33-50.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Disulphide bonds are widely used among all domains of life to provide structural stability to proteins and to regulate enzyme activity. Chlamydia spp. are obligate intracellular bacteria that are especially dependent on the formation and degradation of protein disulphide bonds. Members of the genus Chlamydia have a unique biphasic developmental cycle alternating between two distinct cell types; the extracellular infectious elementary body (EB) and the intracellular replicating reticulate body. The proteins in the envelope of the EB are heavily cross-linked with disulphides and this is known to be critical for this infectious phase. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the redox state of chlamydial envelope proteins throughout the developmental cycle. We focus especially on the factors responsible for degradation and formation of disulphide bonds in Chlamydia and how this system compares with redox regulation in other organisms. Focussing on the unique biology of Chlamydia enables us to provide important insights into how specialized suites of disulphide bond (Dsb) proteins cater for specific bacterial environments and lifecycles.
Hayward, RJ, Marsh, JW, Humphrys, MS, Huston, WM & Myers, GSA 2019, 'Early Transcriptional Landscapes of Chlamydia trachomatis-Infected Epithelial Cells at Single Cell Resolution.', Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, vol. 9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia are Gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens responsible for a variety of disease in humans and animals worldwide. Chlamydia trachomatis causes trachoma in disadvantaged populations, and is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in humans, causing reproductive tract disease. Antibiotic therapy successfully treats diagnosed chlamydial infections, however asymptomatic infections are common. High-throughput transcriptomic approaches have explored chlamydial gene expression and infected host cell gene expression. However, these were performed on large cell populations, averaging gene expression profiles across all cells sampled and potentially obscuring biologically relevant subsets of cells. We generated a pilot dataset, applying single cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) to C. trachomatis infected and mock-infected epithelial cells to assess the utility, pitfalls and challenges of single cell approaches applied to chlamydial biology, and to potentially identify early host cell biomarkers of chlamydial infection. Two hundred sixty-four time-matched C. trachomatis-infected and mock-infected HEp-2 cells were collected and subjected to scRNA-Seq. After quality control, 200 cells were retained for analysis. Two distinct clusters distinguished 3-h cells from 6- and 12-h. Pseudotime analysis identified a possible infection-specific cellular trajectory for Chlamydia-infected cells, while differential expression analyses found temporal expression of metallothioneins and genes involved with cell cycle regulation, innate immune responses, cytoskeletal components, lipid biosynthesis and cellular stress. We find that changes to the host cell transcriptome at early times of C. trachomatis infection are readily discernible by scRNA-Seq, supporting the utility of single cell approaches to identify host cell biomarkers of chlamydial infection, and to further deconvolute the complex host response to infection.
Lau, A, Kong, FYS, Huston, W, Chow, EPF, Fairley, CK & Hocking, JS 2019, 'Factors associated with anorectal Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae test positivity in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis.', Sexually transmitted infections, vol. 95, no. 5, pp. 361-367.View/Download from: Publisher's site
OBJECTIVES:There has been considerable discussion about anorectal Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) in women, with some calling for anorectal CT screening, but little about anorectal Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). Given that urogenital NG is more strongly associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, this is an evidence gap. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigates the associations between anorectal CT in women and CT positivity at other sites (urogenital/oropharyngeal) and with anal intercourse, and compares these with anorectal NG within the same study populations. METHODS:Electronic databases were searched for English-language studies published to October 2018 using the following terms: ("Chlamydia" OR "Chlamydia trachomatis") AND (("anal" OR "rect*" OR "anorect*") OR ("extra?genital" OR "multi?site")). Studies were included if anorectal NG data were available. Random-effects meta-analyses calculated pooled estimates; heterogeneity was investigated using meta-regression. RESULTS:25 studies were eligible. Anorectal CT positivity ranged from 0% to 17.5%, with a summary estimate of 8.0% (95% CI 7.0 to 9.1; I2=88.5%). Anorectal NG positivity ranged from 0% to 17.0%, with a summary estimate of 2.1% (95% CI 1.6 to 2.8; I2=92.7%). The association between urogenital and anorectal positivity was stronger for NG than CT (summary prevalence ratio (PR)=89.3 (95% CI 53.1 to 150.3; I2=80.1%), PR=32.2 (95% CI 25.6 to 40.7; I2=70.3%), respectively), and between oropharyngeal and anorectal positivity it was stronger for NG than CT (PR=34.8 (95% CI 10.2 to 118.2; I2=89.9%), PR=8.8 (95% CI 6.8 to 11.5; I2=58.1%), respectively). Anal intercourse was associated with anorectal NG (PR=4.3; 95% CI 2.2 to 8.6; I2=0.0%) but not with anorectal CT (PR=1.0; 95% CI 0.7 to 1.4; I2=0.0%). CONCLUSIONS:Anorectal CT is more common than anorectal NG, but anorectal NG is more strongly associated with anal intercourse, urogenital and oropharyngeal NG, suggesting that ongoing discussion about ano...
Mazraani, R, Timms, P, Hill, PC, Suaalii-Sauni, T, Niupulusu, T, Temese, SVA, Iosefa-Siitia, L, Auvaa, L, Tapelu, SA, Motu, MF, Righarts, A, Walsh, MS, Rombauts, L, Allan, JA, Horner, P & Huston, WM 2019, 'Evaluation of a PGP3 ELISA for surveillance of the burden of Chlamydia infection in women from Australia and Samoa.', Pathogens and disease, vol. 77, no. 3.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Serological assays can be used to investigate the population burden of infection and potentially sequelae from Chlamydia. We investigated the PGP3 ELISA as a sero-epidemiological tool for infection or sub-fertility in Australian and Samoan women. The PGP3 ELISA absorbance levels were compared between groups of women with infertility, fertile, and current chlamydial infections. In the Australian groups, women with chlamydial tubal factor infertility had significantly higher absorbance levels in the PGP3 ELISA compared to fertile women (P < 0.0001), but not when compared to women with current chlamydial infection (P = 0.44). In the Samoan study, where the prevalence of chlamydial infections is much higher there were significant differences in the PGP3 ELISA absorbance levels between chlamydial sub-fertile women and fertile women (P = 0.003). There was no difference between chlamydial sub-fertile women and women with a current infection (P = 0.829). The results support that the PGP3 assay is effective for sero-epidemiological analysis of burden of infection, but not for evaluation of chlamydial pathological sequelae such as infertility.
Ziklo, N, Huston, WM, Taing, K & Timms, P 2019, 'High expression of IDO1 and TGF-β1 during recurrence and post infection clearance with Chlamydia trachomatis, are independent of host IFN-γ response.', BMC infectious diseases, vol. 19, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Chlamydia trachomatis infections in women continue to be a major public health concern due to their high prevalence and consequent reproductive morbidities. While antibiotics are usually efficient to clear the Chlamydia, repeat infections are common and may contribute to pathological outcomes. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-mediated immunity has been suggested to be protective against reinfection, and represent an important anti-chlamydial agent, primarily via the induction of indoleamine-2,3 dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) enzyme. IDO1 catalyzes the degradation of tryptophan, which can eliminate C. trachomatis infection in vitro. Here, we sought to measure IDO1 expression levels and related immune markers during different C. trachomatis infection statuses (repeated vs single infection vs post antibiotic treatment), in vitro and in vivo. METHODS:In this study, we measured the expression levels of IDO1 and immune regulatory markers, transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and forkhead box P3 (FoxP3), in vaginal swab samples of C. trachomatis-infected women, with either single or repeated infection. In addition, we used an in vitro co-culture model of endometrial carcinoma cell-line and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to measure the same immune markers. RESULTS:We found that in women with repeated C. trachomatis infections vaginal IDO1 and TGF-β1 expression levels were significantly increased. Whereas, women who cleared their infection post antibiotic treatment, had increased levels of IDO1 and TGF-β1, as well as FoxP3. Similarly, using the in vitro model, we found significant upregulation of IDO1 and TGF-β1 levels in the co-culture infected with C. trachomatis. Furthermore, we found that in PBMCs infected with C. trachomatis there was a significant upregulation in IDO1 levels, which was independent of IFN-γ. In fact, C. trachomatis infection in PBMCs failed to induce IFN-γ levels in comparison to the uninfected culture. CONCLUSIONS:Our data provide evidence fo...
Huston, WM, Cranfield, CG, Forbes, SL & Leigh, A 2019, 'A sponsorship action plan for increasing diversity in STEMM.', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 2340-2345.View/Download from: Publisher's site
There are numerous structural and cultural barriers to the progression of women and marginalized groups to leadership in academia, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). A range of interventions have been described to address this inequity, with varying success. Here, we suggest that sponsorship could be one effective intervention and propose an institutional action plan to implement a sponsorship program in academia. We outline why sponsorship could be an effective strategy, especially if implemented through a deliberate program by an institution. We then detail the three components of an action plan to be considered in implementation: the elements of the program, the activities that sponsorship in academia likely encompasses, and the selection of sponsors and protégés. The plan could also be enacted by academic leadership in the absence of an institutional program and could serve as a guide to individuals in academia aspiring to address diversity and inclusion in STEMM.
Agbowuro, AA, Huston, WM, Gamble, AB & Tyndall, JDA 2018, 'Proteases and protease inhibitors in infectious diseases.', Medicinal Research Reviews, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 1295-1331.View/Download from: Publisher's site
There are numerous proteases of pathogenic organisms that are currently targeted for therapeutic intervention along with many that are seen as potential drug targets. This review discusses the chemical and biological makeup of some key druggable proteases expressed by the five major classes of disease causing agents, namely bacteria, viruses, fungi, eukaryotes, and prions. While a few of these enzymes including HIV protease and HCV NS3-4A protease have been targeted to a clinically useful level, a number are yet to yield any clinical outcomes in terms of antimicrobial therapy. A significant aspect of this review discusses the chemical and pharmacological characteristics of inhibitors of the various proteases discussed. A total of 25 inhibitors have been considered potent and safe enough to be trialed in humans and are at different levels of clinical application. We assess the mechanism of action and clinical performance of the protease inhibitors against infectious agents with their developmental strategies and look to the next frontiers in the use of protease inhibitors as anti-infective agents.
Agbowuro, AA, Mazraani, R, McCaughey, LC, Huston, WM, Gamble, AB & Tyndall, JDA 2018, 'Stereochemical basis for the anti-chlamydial activity of the phosphonate protease inhibitor JO146', Tetrahedron, vol. 74, no. 12, pp. 1184-1190.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd JO146, a mixture of two diastereomers of a peptidic phosphonate inhibitor for Chlamydial HtrA (CtHtrA), has reported activity against Chlamydia species in both human and koala. In this study we isolated the individual diastereomers JO146-D1 and JO146-D2 (in ≥90% purity) and assessed their individual inhibitory activity against the serine protease human neutrophil elastase (HNE) which is structurally and functionally related to CtHtrA, as well as in Chlamydia trachomatis cell culture. JO146-D2 [S,S,R-Boc-Val-Pro-Val P (OPh) 2 ], the isomer with the physiologically relevant valine at P1, had an approximate 2.5 – fold increase in in vitro HNE inhibition potency over JO146-D1 [S,S,S-Boc-Val-Pro-Val P (OPh) 2 ] and greater than 100 – fold increase in cellular anti-chlamydial activity compared to JO146-D1 which possesses the unnatural valine at P1. JO146 and the individual diastereomers had excellent selectivity for the serine protease HNE over the potential off-target serine proteases trypsin and chymotrypsin. Docking studies supported the biological data with a geometrically unfavoured interaction observed between the P1 valine residue of JO146-D1 and the enzyme S1 sub-pocket.
Dawson, A, Huston, W, Kawaguchi, S, King, C, Cropp, R, Wild, S, Eisenmann, P, Townsend, K & Nash, SB 2018, 'Uptake and Depuration Kinetics Influence Microplastic Bioaccumulation and Toxicity in Antarctic KriII (Euphausia superba)', ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 3195-3201.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Dawson, A, Poulsen, A, Huston, W & Bengtson Nash, S 2018, 'Expression of common biomarkers in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) exposed to an organochlorine contaminant', Polar Biology, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 505-513.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Persistent organic pollutant (POP) contamination of Polar Regions continues to present a major ecological challenge and an environmental stressor to local biota. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) are a keystone species of the Antarctic sea ice ecosystem. Krill have repeatedly been found to accumulate a diverse array of POPs and thereby serve as vectors of these to the remainder of the Antarctic food web. p,p'-Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) is a dominant POP compound accumulating in Antarctic krill and higher trophic level predators. Recently, p,p'-DDE uptake dynamics, associated behavioural and developmental toxicity were evaluated in this species. The present study investigated the response of enzymes with known roles in detoxification (glutathione S-transferase, GST and cytochrome P450 2B, CYP2B), neurotoxicity (acetylcholinesterase, AChE) and oxidative stress (glutathione peroxidase GPx) in Antarctic krill exposed to p,p'-DDE. CYP2B was not detectable in Antarctic krill. No strong concentration responses resulted from the exposure to p,p'-DDE. These findings do not provide evidence for an activated detoxification response to this compound via the tested biochemical pathways in Antarctic krill. This is the first time that GST, AChE and GPx have been characterised in this species following pollutant exposure. Further research with additional pollutants and compound mixtures is necessary to assess the practical role of these enzymes as biomarkers of pollutant exposure in Antarctic krill. These first exploratory findings present a valuable contribution to a critical knowledge gap in polar ecotoxicology, namely the comparative sensitivity of polar organisms relative to temperate and tropical counterparts.
Dawson, AL, Kawaguchi, S, King, CK, Townsend, KA, King, R, Huston, WM & Nash, SMB 2018, 'Turning microplastics into nanoplastics through digestive fragmentation by Antarctic krill', NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol. 9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Giffard, PM, Andersson, P, Wilson, J, Buckley, C, Lilliebridge, R, Harris, TM, Kleinecke, M, O Grady, KAF, Huston, WM, Lambert, SB, Whiley, DM & Holt, DC 2018, 'CtGEM typing: Discrimination of Chlamydia trachomatis ocular and urogenital strains and major evolutionary lineages by high resolution melting analysis of two amplified DNA fragments', PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Giffard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Chlamydia trachomatis infects the urogenital tract (UGT) and eyes. Anatomical tropism is correlated with variation in the major outer membrane protein encoded by ompA. Strains possessing the ocular ompA variants A, B, Ba and C are typically found within the phyloge-netically coherent "classical ocular lineage". However, variants B, Ba and C have also been found within three distinct strains in Australia, all associated with ocular disease in children and outside the classical ocular lineage. CtGEM genotyping is a method for detecting and discriminating ocular strains and also the major phylogenetic lineages. The rationale was facilitation of surveillance to inform responses to C. trachomatis detection in UGT specimens from young children. CtGEM typing is based on high resolution melting analysis (HRMA) of two PCR amplified fragments with high combinatorial resolving power, as defined by computerised comparison of 65 whole genomes. One fragment is from the hypothetical gene defined by Jali-1891 in the C. trachomatis B_Jali20 genome, while the other is from ompA. Twenty combinatorial CtGEM types have been shown to exist, and these encompass unique genotypes for all known ocular strains, and also delineate the TI and T2 major phylogenetic lineages, identify LGV strains and provide additional resolution beyond this. CtGEM typing and Sanger sequencing were compared with 42 C. trachomatis positive clinical specimens, and there were no disjunctions. CtGEM typing is a highly efficient method designed and tested using large scale comparative genomics. It divides C. trachomatis into clinically and biologically meaningful groups, and may have broad application in surveillance.
Islam, MM, Jelocnik, M, Huston, WM, Timms, P & Polkinghorne, A 2018, 'Characterization of the In Vitro Chlamydia pecorum Response to Gamma Interferon.', Infection and immunity, vol. 86, no. 4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia pecorum is an important intracellular bacterium that causes a range of diseases in animals, including a native Australian marsupial, the koala. In humans and animals, a gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-mediated immune response is important for the control of intracellular bacteria. The present study tested the hypotheses that C. pecorum can escape IFN-γ-mediated depletion of host cell tryptophan pools. In doing so, we demonstrated that, unlike Chlamydia trachomatis, C. pecorum is completely resistant to IFN-γ in human epithelial cells. While the growth of C. pecorum was inhibited in tryptophan-deficient medium, it could be restored by the addition of kynurenine, anthranilic acid, and indole, metabolites that could be exploited by the gene products of the C. pecorum tryptophan biosynthesis operon. We also found that expression of trp genes was detectable only when C. pecorum was grown in tryptophan-free medium, with gene repression occurring in response to the addition of kynurenine, anthranilic acid, and indole. When grown in bovine kidney epithelial cells, bovine IFN-γ also failed to restrict the growth of C. pecorum, while C. trachomatis was inhibited, suggesting that C. pecorum could use the same mechanisms to evade the immune response in vivo in its natural host. Highlighting the different mechanisms triggered by IFN-γ, however, both species failed to grow in murine McCoy cells treated with murine IFN-γ. This work confirms previous hypotheses about the potential survival of C. pecorum after IFN-γ-mediated host cell tryptophan depletion and raises questions about the immune pathways used by the natural hosts of C. pecorum to control the widespread pathogen.
Kroon, SJ, Ravel, J & Huston, WM 2018, 'Cervicovaginal microbiota, women's health, and reproductive outcomes.', Fertility and sterility, vol. 110, no. 3, pp. 327-336.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The human microbiome project has shown a remarkable diversity of microbial ecology within the human body. The vaginal microbiota is unique in that in many women it is most often dominated by Lactobacillus species. However, in some women it lacks Lactobacillus spp. and is comprised of a wide array of strict and facultative anaerobes, a state that broadly correlates with increased risk for infection, disease, and poor reproductive and obstetric outcomes. Interestingly, the level of protection against infection can also vary by species and strains of Lactobacillus, and some species although dominant are not always optimal. This factors into the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and possibly influences the occurrence of resultant adverse reproductive outcomes such as tubal factor infertility. The composition and function of the vaginal microbiota appear to play an important role in pregnancy and fertility treatment outcomes and future research in this field will shed further translational mechanistic understanding onto the interplay of the vaginal microbiota with women's health and reproduction.
Phillips, S, Vodstrcil, LA, Huston, WM, Lawerence, A, Timms, P, Chen, MY, Worthington, K, McIver, R, Bradshaw, CS, Garland, SM, Tabrizi, SN & Hocking, JS 2018, 'Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis mRNA using digital PCR as a more accurate marker of viable organism.', European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases : official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology, vol. 37, no. 11, pp. 2117-2122.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Spontaneous resolution of urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) without treatment has previously been described, but a limitation of these reports is that DNA or RNA-based amplification tests used do not differentiate between viable infection and non-viable DNA. We modified a previously published CT mRNA detection (omp2) method to differentiate between viable infection and non-viable DNA in a sample of CT DNA PCR positive women. We modified a CT mRNA detection (omp2) method from reverse transcriptase qPCR (RTqPCR) to digital PCR (dPCR) and evaluated it in samples from CT DNA positive women. Firstly, CT infected McCoy B cells treated with azithromycin in vitro identified detectable mRNA levels disappeared <2 days, while DNA persisted up to 6 days. We used 55 self-collected vaginal swabs from a cohort of women diagnosed as DNA positive for chlamydia obtained pre- and 7 days of post-azithromycin treatment. Concordance with DNA results was higher for dPCR than RTqPCR (74.5% versus 65.5%). At visit 1, there was a strong linear relationship between DNA and mRNA (r = 0.9, p < 0.000); 24 samples had both mRNA and DNA detected (82.8%) and 5 had only DNA detected with a potential false positive proportion of 17.2% (95%CI: 5.8, 35.8). At visit 2, there was poor correlation between DNA and mRNA (r = 0.14, p = 0.55); eight specimens had only DNA detected (42.1%; 95%CI: 20.25, 66.50) and one had mRNA detected. DNA detection methods alone may detect non-viable DNA. Consideration should be given to further develop mRNA assays as ancillary tests to improve detection of viable chlamydia.
Wang, JTH, Huston, WM, Johanesen, P, Lloyd, M & Waller, KL 2018, '"A Laboratory Competency Examination in Microbiology".', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol. 365, no. 20.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The American Society for Microbiology's curricular guidelines for Introductory Microbiology highlighted key laboratory skills in the isolation, visualization, and identification of microorganisms as core learning objectives in the discipline. Since the publication of these guidelines in 2012, there has been a paucity of diagnostic assessment tools in the literature that can be used to assess competencies in the microbiology laboratory. This project aimed to establish a laboratory competency examination for introductory microbiology, with tasks specifically aligned to laboratory skills and learning outcomes outlined in curricular guidelines for microbiology. A Laboratory Competency Examination assessing student skills in light microscopy, Gram-staining, pure culture, aseptic technique, serial dilution, dilution calculations, and pipetting was developed at The University of Queensland, Australia. The Laboratory Competency Examination was field-tested in a large introductory microbiology subject (∼400 students), and student performance and learning gains data was collected from 2016-2017 to evaluate the validity of the assessment. The resulting laboratory assessment is presented as an endpoint diagnostic tool for assessing laboratory competency that can be readily adapted towards different educational contexts.
Wee, BA, Thomas, M, Sweeney, EL, Frentiu, FD, Samios, M, Ravel, J, Gajer, P, Myers, G, Timms, P, Allan, JA & Huston, WM 2018, 'A retrospective pilot study to determine whether the reproductive tract microbiota differs between women with a history of infertility and fertile women.', The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ANZJOG), vol. 58.View/Download from: Publisher's site
We know very little about the microbiota inhabiting the upper female reproductive tract and how it impacts on fertility.This pilot study aimed to examine the vaginal, cervical and endometrial microbiota for women with a history of infertility compared to women with a history of fertility.Using a retrospective case-control study design, women were recruited for collection of vaginal, cervical and endometrial samples. The microbiota composition was analysed by 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene amplification and endometrial expression of selected human genes by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.Sixty-five specimens from the reproductive tract of 31 women were successfully analysed using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing (16 controls and 15 cases). The dominant microbial community members were consistent in the vagina and cervix, and generally consistent with the endometrium although the relative proportions varied. We detected three major microbiota clusters that did not group by tissue location or case-control status. There was a trend that infertile women more often had Ureaplasma in the vagina and Gardnerella in the cervix. Testing for the expression of selected genes in the endometrium did not show evidence of correlation with case-control status, or with microbial community composition, although Tenascin-C expression correlated with a history of miscarriage.There is a need for further exploration of the endometrial microbiota, and how the microbiota members or profile interplays with fertility or assisted reproductive technologies.
Woodhall, SC, Gorwitz, RJ, Migchelsen, SJ, Gottlieb, SL, Horner, PJ, Geisler, WM, Winstanley, C, Hufnagel, K, Waterboer, T, Martin, DL, Huston, WM, Gaydos, CA, Deal, C, Unemo, M, Dunbar, JK & Bernstein, K 2018, 'Advancing the public health applications of Chlamydia trachomatis serology', The Lancet Infectious Diseases, vol. 18, no. 12, pp. e399-e407.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection. Trachoma is caused by ocular infection with C trachomatis and is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. New serological assays for C trachomatis could facilitate improved understanding of C trachomatis epidemiology and prevention. C trachomatis serology offers a means of investigating the incidence of chlamydia infection and might be developed as a biomarker of scarring sequelae, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Therefore, serological assays have potential as epidemiological tools to quantify unmet need, inform service planning, evaluate interventions including screening and treatment, and to assess new vaccine candidates. However, questions about the performance characteristics and interpretation of C trachomatis serological assays remain, which must be addressed to advance development within this field. In this Personal View, we explore the available information about C trachomatis serology and propose several priority actions. These actions involve development of target product profiles to guide assay selection and assessment across multiple applications and populations, establishment of a serum bank to facilitate assay development and evaluation, and development of technical and statistical methods for assay evaluation and analysis of serological findings. The field of C trachomatis serology will benefit from collaboration across the public health community to align technological developments with their potential applications.
Ziklo, N, Vidgen, ME, Taing, K, Huston, WM & Timms, P 2018, 'Dysbiosis of the Vaginal Microbiota and Higher Vaginal Kynurenine/Tryptophan Ratio Reveals an Association with Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infections.', Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, vol. 8.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The natural course of Chlamydia trachomatis urogenital tract infections varies between individuals. While protective immunity can occur, some women can become reinfected, contributing to the development of severe pathology. While the reasons for these differences are unknown, an individual's response to induced interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is suggested to be critical. IFN-γ induction of the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, which depletes tryptophan, may be the key. One hypothesis suggests that indole-producing bacteria in the vaginal microbiota can provide a substrate for the Chlamydia to synthesize tryptophan, rescuing the Chlamydia from host IFN-γ attack. We studied a cohort of 25 women who were either, Chlamydia negative, Chlamydia positive with a single infection, or Chlamydia positive with repeated infection, to test our hypothesis. We characterized their vaginal microbiota, cytokine response, as well as their tryptophan, kynurenine and indole concentrations directly in vaginal secretions. We found that C. trachomatis urogenital tract infections either initial or repeat infections, were associated with elevated vaginal kynurenine/tryptophan ratios, primarily as a result of elevated kynurenine levels. In addition, vaginal microbiota of community state type (CST) IV showed significantly lower vaginal tryptophan levels compared to CST I and III, which might be related to a higher abundance of indole producers found within this group. Furthermore, we found a higher abundance of indole producers in women who cleared their Chlamydia infection post antibiotic treatment. This study demonstrates for the first time in vivo, the association between high vaginal kynurenine/tryptophan ratios and C. trachomatis infections. In addition, tryptophan depletion was associated with vaginal microbiota of CST IV.
Burke, C, Burnard, D, Polkinghorne, A, Webb, J & Huston, WM 2018, 'Cloacal and Ocular Microbiota of the Endangered Australian Northern Quoll.', Microorganisms, vol. 6, no. 3.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The Australian northern quoll is an important predatory marsupial carnivore that is currently endangered due to inappropriate fire regimes, predation, and the spread of invasive cane toads. The microbiota of Australian marsupials has not been extensively studied, but is thought to play a role in their health. This study provides an initial characterization of the cloacal microbiota of the northern quoll, as well as other marsupials including possums and kangaroos which were opportunistically sampled. The northern quoll cloaca microbiota was dominated by Enterococcus and Lactobacillus and had a relatively high proportion of members of the Proteobacteria phylum, which has been observed in other carnivorous marsupials. The diversity and structure of the microbiota was not influenced by presence of Chlamydiales which are intracellular bacteria and potential pathogens. The microbiota of the other marsupials was quite varied, which may be related to their health status. Characterization of the northern quoll microbiota will help to better understand the biology of this endangered animal.
Castrillon, J, Huston, W & Bengtson Nash, S 2017, 'The blubber adipocyte index: A nondestructive biomarker of adiposity in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7, no. 14, pp. 5131-5139.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The ability to accurately evaluate the energetic health of wildlife is of critical importance, particularly under conditions of environmental change. Despite the relevance of this issue, currently there are no reliable, standardized, nonlethal measures to assess the energetic reserves of large, free-roaming marine mammals such as baleen whales. This study investigated the potential of adipocyte area analysis and further, a standardized adipocyte index (AI), to yield reliable information regarding humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) adiposity. Adipocyte area and AI, as ascertained by image analysis, showed a direct correlation with each other but only a weak correlation with the commonly used, but error prone, blubber lipid-percent measure. The relative power of the three respective measures was further evaluated by comparing humpback whale cohorts at different stages of migration and fasting. Adipocyte area, AI, and blubber lipid-percent were assessed by binary logistic regression revealing that adipocyte area had the greatest probability to predict the migration cohort with a high level of redundancy attributed to the AI given their strong linear relationship (r = -.784). When only AI and lipid-percent were assessed, the performance of both predictor variables was significant but the power of AI far exceeded lipid-percent. The sensitivity of adipocyte metrics and the rapid, nonlethal, and inexpensive nature of the methodology and AI calculation validate the inclusion of the AI in long-term monitoring of humpback whale population health, and further raises its potential for broader wildlife applications.
Gupta, VK, Waugh, CA, Ziklo, N, Huston, WM, Hocking, JS & Timms, P 2017, 'Systemic antibody response to Chlamydia Trachomatis infection in patients either infected or reinfected with different Chlamydia serovars.', Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 394-401.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia trachomatis is the etiological agent for the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infection in both developed and developing countries. The aim of present study was to characterize the antibody response between two groups of individuals, having either a single C. trachomatis infection and or repeated infections.Current study consisted of two groups, one with an initial Chlamydia infection and a second with repeated infections. A titre based estimation of specific serum (IgG and IgA) levels using ELISA were performed, which further validated by western blot. In vitro neutralizing ability of each patient's serum against both homologous and heterologous strains was also determined.Individuals infected with one of the C. trachomatis serovars D, E or K exhibited a strong systemic antibody response as characterized by ELISA and western blot. These individuals may have developed at least some level of protection as they only represented single infection. By comparison, individuals infected with serovar D, E or F that exhibited low systemic antibody response often presented repeated C. trachomatis infections, suggesting an association with poor immune response. An in vitro neutralizing level of 60-90% was observed in the human sera against homologous serovar D and two heterologous C. trachomatis serovars E and K, compared to <40% against heterologous serovars F.Individuals infected with serovars D and K showed a potential association between circulating antibody response and re-infection risk. While the patients infected with serovars E showed a disconnection between systemic antibody response and re-infection risk.
Kerr, MC, Gomez, GA, Ferguson, C, Tanzer, MC, Murphy, JM, Yap, AS, Parton, RG, Huston, WM & Teasdale, RD 2017, 'Laser-mediated rupture of chlamydial inclusions triggers pathogen egress and host cell necrosis.', Nature Communications, vol. 8, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Remarkably little is known about how intracellular pathogens exit the host cell in order to infect new hosts. Pathogenic chlamydiae egress by first rupturing their replicative niche (the inclusion) before rapidly lysing the host cell. Here we apply a laser ablation strategy to specifically disrupt the chlamydial inclusion, thereby uncoupling inclusion rupture from the subsequent cell lysis and allowing us to dissect the molecular events involved in each step. Pharmacological inhibition of host cell calpains inhibits inclusion rupture, but not subsequent cell lysis. Further, we demonstrate that inclusion rupture triggers a rapid necrotic cell death pathway independent of BAK, BAX, RIP1 and caspases. Both processes work sequentially to efficiently liberate the pathogen from the host cytoplasm, promoting secondary infection. These results reconcile the pathogen's known capacity to promote host cell survival and induce cell death.
Marsh, JW, Djoko, KY, McEwan, AG & Huston, WM 2017, 'Copper(II)-bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complexes as anti-chlamydial agents', Pathogens and Disease, vol. 75, no. 7, pp. 1-4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Lipophilic copper (Cu)-containing complexes have shown promising antibacterial activity against a range of bacterial pathogens. To examine the susceptibility of the intracellular human pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis to copper complexes containing bis(thiosemicarbazone) ligands [Cu(btsc)], we tested the in vitro effect of CuII-diacetyl- and CuII-glyoxal-bis[N(4)-methylthiosemicarbazonato] (Cu(atsm) and Cu(gtsm), respectively) on C. trachomatis. Cu(atsm) and to a greater extent, Cu(gtsm), prevented the formation of infectious chlamydial progeny. Impacts on host cell viability and respiration were also observed in addition to the Chlamydia impacts. This work suggests that copper-based complexes may represent a new lead approach for future development of new therapeutics against chlamydial infections, although host cell impacts need to be fully explored.
Marsh, JW, Ong, VA, Lott, WB, Timms, P, Tyndall, JDA & Huston, WM 2017, 'CtHtrA: the lynchpin of the chlamydial surface and a promising therapeutic target.', Future Microbiology, vol. 12, no. 9, pp. 817-829.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial infection worldwide and the leading cause of preventable blindness. Reports have emerged of treatment failure, suggesting a need to develop new antibiotics to battle Chlamydia infection. One possible candidate for a new treatment is the protease inhibitor JO146, which is an effective anti-Chlamydia agent that targets the CtHtrA protein. CtHtrA is a lynchpin on the chlamydial cell surface due to its essential and multifunctional roles in the bacteria's stress response, replicative phase of development, virulence and outer-membrane protein assembly. This review summarizes the current understanding of CtHtrA function and presents a mechanistic model that highlights CtHtrA as an effective target for anti-Chlamydia drug development.
Paul, B, Kim, HS, Kerr, MC, Huston, WM, Teasdale, RD & Collins, BM 2017, 'Structural basis for the hijacking of endosomal sorting nexin proteins by Chlamydia trachomatis.', eLife, vol. 6, pp. 1-23.View/Download from: Publisher's site
During infection chlamydial pathogens form an intracellular membrane-bound replicative niche termed the inclusion, which is enriched with bacterial transmembrane proteins called Incs. Incs bind and manipulate host cell proteins to promote inclusion expansion and provide camouflage against innate immune responses. Sorting nexin (SNX) proteins that normally function in endosomal membrane trafficking are a major class of inclusion-associated host proteins, and are recruited by IncE/CT116. Crystal structures of the SNX5 phox-homology (PX) domain in complex with IncE define the precise molecular basis for these interactions. The binding site is unique to SNX5 and related family members SNX6 and SNX32. Intriguingly the site is also conserved in SNX5 homologues throughout evolution, suggesting that IncE captures SNX5-related proteins by mimicking a native host protein interaction. These findings thus provide the first mechanistic insights both into how chlamydial Incs hijack host proteins, and how SNX5-related PX domains function as scaffolds in protein complex assembly.
Vodstrcil, LA, Rupasinghe, TWT, Kong, FYS, Tull, D, Worthington, K, Chen, MY, Huston, WM, Timms, P, McConville, MJ, Fairley, CK, Bradshaw, CS, Tabrizi, SN & Hocking, JS 2017, 'Measurement of tissue azithromycin levels in self-collected vaginal swabs post treatment using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).', PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Azithromycin is recommended for the treatment of uncomplicated urogenital chlamydia infection although the standard 1gram dose sometimes fails to eradicate the infection (treatment failure). One hypothesis proposed for treatment failure has been insufficient levels of the antibiotic at the site of infection. We developed an assay using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to measure azithromycin concentration in high-vaginal swabs and monitor how concentration changes over time following routine azithromycin treatment.Azithromycin concentrations were measured in two groups of women either within the first 24h of taking a 1g dose (N = 11) or over 9 days (N = 10). Azithromycin concentrations were normalised to an internal standard (leucine enkephalin), and the bulk lipid species phosphatidylcholine [PC(34:1)], using an Agilent 6490 triple quadrupole instrument in positive ionisation mode. The abundances of azithromycin, PC(34:1), and leu-enkephalin were determined by multiple reaction monitoring and absolute levels of azithromycin estimated using standard curves prepared on vaginal specimens.Vaginal azithromycin concentrations of women were rapidly obtained after 5h post-treatment (mean concentration = 1031mcg/mg of lipid, range = 173-2693mcg/mg). In women followed for 9 days, peak concentrations were highest after day 2 (mean concentration = 2206mcg/mg, range = 721-5791mcg/mg), and remained high for at least 9 days with a mean concentration of 384mcg/mg (range = 139-1024mcg/mg) on day 9.Our study confirmed that a single 1g dose of azithromycin is rapidly absorbed and remains in the vagina at relatively high levels for at least a week, suggesting that poor antibiotic absorption is unlikely to be an explanation for treatment failure.
Burnard, D, Huston, WM, Webb, JK, Jelocnik, M, Reiss, A, Gillett, A, Fitzgibbon, S, Carver, S, Carrucan, J, Flanagan, C, Timms, P & Polkinghorne, A 2017, 'Molecular evidence of Chlamydia pecorum and arthropod-associated Chlamydiae in an expanded range of marsupials.', Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The order Chlamydiales are biphasic intracellular bacterial pathogens infecting humans and domesticated animals. Wildlife infections have also been reported, with the most studied example being Chlamydia pecorum infections in the koala, an iconic Australian marsupial. In koalas, molecular evidence suggests that spill-over from C. pecorum infected livestock imported into Australia may have had a historical or contemporary role. Despite preliminary evidence that other native Australian marsupials also carry C. pecorum, their potential as reservoirs of this pathogen and other Chlamydia-related bacteria (CRBs) has been understudied. Mucosal epithelial samples collected from over 200 native Australian marsupials of different species and geographic regions across Australia were PCR screened for Chlamydiales. Previously described and genetically distinct C. pecorum genotypes and a range of 16S rRNA genotypes sharing similarity to different CRBs in the broader Chlamydiales order were present. One 16S rRNA Chlamydiales genotype recently described in Australian ticks that parasitise native Australian marsupials was also identified. This study provides further evidence that chlamydial infections are widespread in native fauna and that detailed investigations are required to understand the influence these infections have on host species conservation, but also whether infection spill-over plays a role in their epidemiology.
Donnelly, S, Huston, WM, Johnson, M, Tiberti, N, Saunders, B, O'Brien, B, Burke, C, Labbate, M & Combes, V 2017, 'Targeting the master regulator mTOR: a new approach to prevent the neurological of consequences of parasitic infections?', Parasites & Vectors, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-6.View/Download from: Publisher's site
A systematic analysis of 240 causes of death in 2013 revealed that parasitic diseases were responsible for more than one million deaths. The vast majority of these fatalities resulted from protozoan infections presenting with neurological sequelae. In the absence of a vaccine, development of effective therapies is essential to improving global public health. In 2015, an intriguing strategy to prevent cerebral malaria was proposed by Gordon et al. 2015 mBio, 6:e00625. Their study suggested that inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin prevented experimental cerebral malaria by blocking the damage to the blood brain barrier and stopping the accumulation of parasitized red blood cells and T cells in the brain. Here, we hypothesize that the same therapeutic strategy could be adopted for other protozoan infections with a brain tropism, to prevent cerebral parasitosis by limiting pathogen replication and preventing immune mediated destruction of brain tissue.
Christensen, S, Grøftehauge, MK, Byriel, K, Huston, WM, Furlong, E, Heras, B, Martin, JL & McMahon, RM 2016, 'Structural and Biochemical Characterization of Chlamydia trachomatis DsbA Reveals a Cysteine-Rich and Weakly Oxidising Oxidoreductase.', PLoS ONE, vol. 11, no. 12, pp. 1-22.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The Gram negative bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular human pathogen that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and blinding trachoma. C. trachomatis encodes a homolog of the dithiol oxidoreductase DsbA. Bacterial DsbA proteins introduce disulfide bonds to folding proteins providing structural bracing for secreted virulence factors, consequently these proteins are potential targets for antimicrobial drugs. Despite sharing functional and structural characteristics, the DsbA enzymes studied to date vary widely in their redox character. In this study we show that the truncated soluble form of the predicted membrane anchored protein C. trachomatis DsbA (CtDsbA) has oxidase activity and redox properties broadly similar to other characterized DsbA proteins. However CtDsbA is distinguished from other DsbAs by having six cysteines, including a second disulfide bond, and an unusual dipeptide sequence in its catalytic motif (Cys-Ser-Ala-Cys). We report the 2.7 Å crystal structure of CtDsbA revealing a typical DsbA fold, which is most similar to that of DsbA-II type proteins. Consistent with this, the catalytic surface of CtDsbA is negatively charged and lacks the hydrophobic groove found in EcDsbA and DsbAs from other enterobacteriaceae. Biochemical characterization of CtDsbA reveals it to be weakly oxidizing compared to other DsbAs and with only a mildly destabilizing active site disulfide bond. Analysis of the crystal structure suggests that this redox character is consistent with a lack of contributing factors to stabilize the active site nucleophilic thiolate relative to more oxidizing DsbA proteins.
Lawrence, A, Eglezos, S & Huston, W 2016, 'Environmental Legionella spp. collected in urban test sites of South East Queensland, Australia, are virulent to human macrophages in vitro', RESEARCH IN MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 167, no. 2, pp. 149-153.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Lawrence, A, Fraser, T, Gillett, A, Tyndall, JD, Timms, P, Polkinghorne, A & Huston, WM 2016, 'Chlamydia Serine Protease Inhibitor, targeting HtrA, as a New Treatment for Koala Chlamydia infection.', Scientific Reports, vol. 6, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The koala, an iconic marsupial native to Australia, is a threatened species in many parts of the country. One major factor in the decline is disease caused by infection with Chlamydia. Current therapeutic strategies to treat chlamydiosis in the koala are limited. This study examines the effectiveness of an inhibitor, JO146, which targets the HtrA serine protease for treatment of C. pecorum and C. pneumoniae in vitro and ex vivo with the aim of developing a novel therapeutic for koala Chlamydia infections. Clinical isolates from koalas were examined for their susceptibility to JO146. In vitro studies demonstrated that treatment with JO146 during the mid-replicative phase of C. pecorum or C. pneumoniae infections resulted in a significant loss of infectious progeny. Ex vivo primary koala tissue cultures were used to demonstrate the efficacy of JO146 and the non-toxic nature of this compound on peripheral blood mononuclear cells and primary cell lines established from koala tissues collected at necropsy. Our results suggest that inhibition of the serine protease HtrA could be a novel treatment strategy for chlamydiosis in koalas.
Menon, S, Alexander, K, Timms, P, Allan, JA & Huston, WM 2016, 'CXCL10, CXCL11, HLA-A and IL-1β are induced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from women with Chlamydia trachomatis related infertility.', Pathogens and Disease, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. ftv099-ftv099.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia trachomatis infections can result in the development of serious sequelae such as pelvic inflammatory disease and tubal infertility. In this study, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from women who were undergoing or had recently undergone IVF treatment were cultured ex vivo with C. trachomatis to identify the immune responses associated with women who had serological evidence of a history of Chlamydia infection. Cytokines secreted into the supernatant from the cultures were measured using ELISA, and the level of IL-1β was found to be significantly higher in Chlamydia positive women than Chlamydia negative women. qRT-PCR analysis of the expression of 88 immune-related genes showed trends towards an upregulation of CXCL10, CXCL11 and HLA-A in Chlamydia positive women compared with Chlamydia negative women. These findings support that some women launch a more marked proinflammatory response upon infection with C. trachomatis and this may be associated with why C. trachomatis induces infertility in some infected women.
Menon, S, Stansfield, SH, Logan, B, Hocking, JS, Timms, P, Rombauts, L, Allan, JA & Huston, WM 2016, 'Development and evaluation of a multi-antigen peptide ELISA for the diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis-related infertility in women', JOURNAL OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 65, pp. 915-922.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Menon, S, Stansfield, SH, Walsh, M, Hope, E, Isaia, L, Righarts, AA, Niupulusu, T, Temese, SVA, Iosefa-Siitia, L, Auvaa, L, Tapelu, SA, Motu, MF, Suaalii-Sauni, T, Timms, P, Hill, PC & Huston, WM 2016, 'Sero-epidemiological assessment of Chlamydia trachomatis infection and sub-fertility in Samoan women.', BMC Infectious Diseases, vol. 16, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In our recent village-based cross-sectional study, the prevalence of nucleic acid amplification technique (NAAT) diagnosed Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) in sexually active Samoan women was very high (36 %), and test positivity was associated with sub-fertility. We conducted a serological and epidemiological analysis in these participants to identify if serological data can provide further insight into the potential contribution of CT to sub-fertility in this population.Serological prediction of CT associated sub-fertility was conducted using a series of commercial tests. The correlation between fertility or sub-fertility, behavioral factors, and serologically predicted CT associated sub-fertility was determined.A positive antibody reaction against the Chlamydia Major Outer Membrane Protein (MOMP) was significantly associated with sub-fertility, with 50 % of infertile women being positive. Serum IgG and IgA antibodies against MOMP correlated with current infection measured by urine NAAT, suggesting longer term infections are common in this population. Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies were frequently detected in this population (84 %), and unexpectedly, were significantly associated with sub-fertility.The high prevalence of chlamydial infection and of positive chlamydial sub-fertility results suggests that CT is an important and frequent contributory factor to sub-fertility in this population.
Teo, WX, Kerr, MC, Huston, WM & Teasdale, RD 2016, 'Sortilin is associated with the chlamydial inclusion and is modulated during infection.', Biology Open, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 429-435.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia species are obligate intracellular pathogens that have a major impact on human health. The pathogen replicates within an intracellular niche called an inclusion and is thought to rely heavily on host-derived proteins and lipids, including ceramide. Sortilin is a transmembrane receptor implicated in the trafficking of acid sphingomyelinase, which is responsible for catalysing the breakdown of sphingomyelin to ceramide. In this study, we examined the role of sortilin in Chlamydia trachomatis L2 development. Western immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry analysis revealed that endogenous sortilin is not only associated with the inclusion, but that protein levels increase in infected cells. RNAi-mediated depletion of sortilin, however, had no detectable impact on ceramide delivery to the inclusion or the production of infectious progeny. This study demonstrates that whilst Chlamydia redirects sortilin trafficking to the chlamydial inclusion, RNAi knockdown of sortilin expression is insufficient to determine if this pathway is requisite for the development of the pathogen.
Zhu, Y, Pham, TH, Nhiep, TH, Vu, NM, Marcellin, E, Chakrabortti, A, Wang, Y, Waanders, J, Lo, R, Huston, WM, Bansal, N, Nielsen, LK, Liang, ZX & Turner, MS 2016, 'Cyclic-di-AMP synthesis by the diadenylate cyclase CdaA is modulated by the peptidoglycan biosynthesis enzyme GlmM in Lactococcus lactis.', Molecular microbiology, vol. 99, no. 6, pp. 1015-1027.
The second messenger cyclic-di-AMP plays important roles in growth, virulence, cell wall homeostasis, potassium transport and affects resistance to antibiotics, heat and osmotic stress. Most Firmicutes contain only one c-di-AMP synthesizing diadenylate cyclase (CdaA) however little is known about signals and effectors controlling CdaA activity and c-di-AMP levels. In this study, a genetic screen was employed to identify components which affect the c-di-AMP level in Lactococcus. We characterised suppressor mutations that restored osmoresistance to spontaneous c-di-AMP phosphodiesterase gdpP mutants which contain high c-di-AMP levels. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations were identified in the cdaA and gdpP genes, respectively, which led to lower c-di-AMP levels. A mutation was also identified in the phosphoglucosamine mutase gene glmM which is commonly located within the cdaA operon in bacteria. The glmM I154F mutation resulted in a lowering of the c-di-AMP level and a reduction in the key peptidoglycan precursor UDP-N-acetylglucosamine in L. lactis. C-di-AMP synthesis by CdaA was shown to be inhibited by GlmM(I154F) more than GlmM and GlmM(I154F) was found to bind more strongly to CdaA than GlmM. These findings identify GlmM as a c-di-AMP level modulating protein and provide a direct connection between c-di-AMP synthesis and peptidoglycan biosynthesis.
Ziklo, N, Huston, WM, Hocking, JS & Timms, P 2016, 'Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Tract Infections: When Host Immune Response and the Microbiome Collide', TRENDS IN MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 24, no. 9, pp. 750-765.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Ziklo, N, Huston, WM, Taing, K, Katouli, M & Timms, P 2016, 'In vitro rescue of genital strains of Chlamydia trachomatis from interferon-γ and tryptophan depletion with indole-positive, but not indole-negative Prevotella spp.', BMC Microbiology, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 286-286.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND: The natural course of sexually transmitted infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis varies between individuals. In addition to parasite and host effects, the vaginal microbiota might play a key role in the outcome of C. trachomatis infections. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), known for its anti-chlamydial properties, activates the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) in epithelial cells, an enzyme that catabolizes the amino acid L- tryptophan into N-formylkynurenine, depleting the host cell's pool of tryptophan. Although C. trachomatis is a tryptophan auxotroph, urogenital strains (but not ocular strains) have been shown in vitro to have the ability to produce tryptophan from indole using the tryptophan synthase (trpBA) gene. It has been suggested that indole producing bacteria from the vaginal microbiota could influence the outcome of Chlamydia infection. RESULTS: We used two in vitro models (treatment with IFN-γ or direct limitation of tryptophan), to study the effects of direct rescue by the addition of exogenous indole, or by the addition of culture supernatant from indole-positive versus indole-negative Prevotella strains, on the growth and infectivity of C. trachomatis. We found that only supernatants from the indole-positive strains, P. intermedia and P. nigrescens, were able to rescue tryptophan-starved C. trachomatis. In addition, we analyzed vaginal secretion samples to determine physiological indole concentrations. In spite of the complexity of vaginal secretions, we demonstrated that for some vaginal specimens with higher indole levels, there was a link to higher recovery of the Chlamydia under tryptophan-starved conditions, lending preliminary support to the critical role of the IFN-γ-tryptophan-indole axis in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide evidence for the ability of both exogenous indole as well as supernatant from indole producing bacteria such as Prevotella, to rescue genital C. trachomatis from tryptophan starvation. This...
Chacko, A, Beagley, KW, Timms, P & Huston, WM 2015, 'Human Chlamydia pneumoniae isolates demonstrate ability to recover infectivity following penicillin treatment whereas animal isolates do not.', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol. 362, no. 6, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chlamydia pneumoniae strains have recently been demonstrated to have substantially different capacities to enter and recover from IFN-γ-induced persistence, depending on whether they are from human or animal host sources. Here, we examined the ability of two human and two animal strains to enter and be rescued from penicillin-induced persistence. The ability to form inclusions after the addition of penicillin was much reduced in the two animal isolates (koala LPCoLN, bandicoot B21) compared to the two human isolates (respiratory AR39 and heart A03). The penicillin treatment resulted in a dose-dependent loss of infectious progeny for all isolates, with the human strains failing to produce infectious progeny at lower doses of penicillin than the animal strains. The most remarkable finding however was the contrasting ability of the isolates to recover infectious progeny production after rescue by removal of the penicillin (at 72 h) and continued culture. The animal isolates both showed virtually no recovery from the penicillin treatment conditions. In contrast, the human isolates showed a significant ability to recovery infectivity, with the heart isolate (A03) showing the most marked recovery. Combined, these data further support the hypothesis that the ability to establish and recover from persistence appears to be enhanced in human C. pneumoniae strains compared to animal strains.
Deeudom, M, Huston, W & Moir, JWB 2015, 'Lipid-modified azurin of Neisseria meningitidis is a copper protein localized on the outer membrane surface and not regulated by FNR', ANTONIE VAN LEEUWENHOEK INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GENERAL AND MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 107, no. 4, pp. 1107-1116.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hocking, JS, Kong, FYS, Timms, P, Huston, WM & Tabrizi, SN 2015, 'Treatment of rectal chlamydia infection may be more complicated than we originally thought', JOURNAL OF ANTIMICROBIAL CHEMOTHERAPY, vol. 70, no. 4, pp. 961-964.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kong, FYS, Tabrizi, SN, Fairley, CK, Vodstrcil, LA, Huston, WM, Chen, M, Bradshaw, C & Hocking, JS 2015, 'The efficacy of azithromycin and doxycycline for the treatment of rectal chlamydia infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis', JOURNAL OF ANTIMICROBIAL CHEMOTHERAPY, vol. 70, no. 5, pp. 1290-1297.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Marsh, JW, Wee, BA, Tyndall, JDA, Lott, WB, Bastidas, RJ, Caldwell, HD, Valdivia, RH, Kari, L & Huston, WM 2015, 'A Chlamydia trachomatis strain with a chemically generated amino acid substitution (P370L) in the cthtrA gene shows reduced elementary body production', BMC Microbiology, vol. 15, no. 194, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Menon, S, Timms, P, Allan, JA, Alexander, K, Rombauts, L, Horner, P, Keltz, M, Hocking, J & Huston, WM 2015, 'Human and Pathogen Factors Associated with Chlamydia trachomatis-Related Infertility in Women', CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY REVIEWS, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 969-985.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Ong, VA, Lawrence, A, Timms, P, Vodstrcil, LA, Tabrizi, SN, Beagley, KW, Allan, JA, Hocking, JS & Huston, WM 2015, 'In vitro susceptibility of recent Chlamydia trachomatis clinical isolates to the CtHtrA inhibitor JO146', MICROBES AND INFECTION, vol. 17, no. 11-12, pp. 738-744.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Roulis, E, Bachmann, N, Humphrys, M, Myers, G, Huston, W, Polkinghorne, A & Timms, P 2015, 'Phylogenetic analysis of human Chlamydia pneumoniae strains reveals a distinct Australian indigenous clade that predates European exploration of the continent.', BMC Genomics, vol. 16, pp. 1-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common respiratory pathogen, which has been found in a range of hosts including humans, marsupials and amphibians. Whole genome comparisons of human C. pneumoniae have previously highlighted a highly conserved nucleotide sequence, with minor but key polymorphisms and additional coding capacity when human and animal strains are compared.In this study, we sequenced three Australian human C. pneumoniae strains, two of which were isolated from patients in remote indigenous communities, and compared them to all available C. pneumoniae genomes. Our study demonstrated a phylogenetically distinct human C. pneumoniae clade containing the two indigenous Australian strains, with estimates that the most recent common ancestor of these strains predates the arrival of European settlers to Australia. We describe several polymorphisms characteristic to these strains, some of which are similar in sequence to animal C. pneumoniae strains, as well as evidence to suggest that several recombination events have shaped these distinct strains.Our study reveals a greater sequence diversity amongst both human and animal C. pneumoniae strains, and suggests that a wider range of strains may be circulating in the human population than current sampling indicates.
Roulis, E, Bachmann, NL, Myers, GSA, Huston, W, Summersgill, J, Hudson, A, Dreses-Werringloer, U, Polkinghorne, A & Timms, P 2015, 'Comparative genomic analysis of human Chlamydia pneumoniae isolates from respiratory, brain and cardiac tissues', GENOMICS, vol. 106, no. 6, pp. 373-383.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Vodstrcil, LA, McIver, R, Huston, WM, Tabrizi, SN, Timms, P & Hocking, JS 2015, 'The Epidemiology of Chlamydia trachomatis Organism Load During Genital Infection: A Systematic Review', JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, vol. 211, no. 10, pp. 1628-1645.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Walsh, MS, Hope, E, Isaia, L, Righarts, A, Niupulusu, T, Temese, SVA, Iosefa-Siitia, L, Auvaa, L, Tapelu, SA, Motu, MF, Edwards, C, Wernick, M, Huston, WM, Suaalii-Sauni, T & Hill, PC 2015, 'Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in Samoan women aged 18 to 29 and assessment of possible risk factors: a community-based study', TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, vol. 109, no. 4, pp. 245-251.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Bengtson Nash, S, Dawson, A, Burkhard, M, Waugh, C & Huston, W 2014, 'Detoxification enzyme activities (CYP1A1 and GST) in the skin of humpback whales as a function of organochlorine burdens and migration status.', Aquatic Toxicology, vol. 155, pp. 207-212.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The activities of glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and cytochrome P-450 1A1 (CYP1A1) enzymes were measured in freshly extracted epidermis of live-biopsied, migrating, southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The two quantified enzyme activities did not correlate strongly with each other. Similarly, neither correlated strongly with any of the organochlorine compound groups previously measured in the superficial blubber of the sample biopsy core, likely reflecting the anticipated low levels of typical aryl-hydrocarbon receptor ligands. GST activity did not differ significantly between genders or between northward (early migration) or southward (late migration) migrating cohorts. Indeed, the inter-individual variability in GST measurements was relatively low. This observation raises the possibility that measured activities were basal activities and that GST function was inherently impacted by the fasting state of the sampled animals, as seen in other species. These results do not support the implementation of CYP1A1 or GST as effective biomarkers of organochlorine contaminant burdens in southern hemisphere populations of humpback whales as advocated for other cetacean species. Further investigation of GST activity in feeding versus fasting cohorts may, however, provide some insight into the fasting metabolism of these behaviourally adapted populations.
Chacko, A, Barker, CJ, Beagley, KW, Hodson, MP, Plan, MR, Timms, P & Huston, WM 2014, 'Increased sensitivity to tryptophan bioavailability is a positive adaptation by the human strains of Chlamydia pneumoniae.', Molecular Microbiology, vol. 93, no. 4, pp. 797-813.View/Download from: Publisher's site
One of the most significant activities induced by interferon-gamma against intracellular pathogens is the induction of IDO (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase) expression, which subsequently results in the depletion of tryptophan. We tested the hypothesis that human strains of Chlamydia pneumoniae are more sensitive to tryptophan limitation than animal C. pneumoniae strains. The human strains were significantly more sensitive to IFN-γ than the animal strains in a lung epithelia cell model (BEAS-2B), with exposure to 1 U ml(-1) IFN-γ resulting in complete loss of infectious yield of human strains, compared to the animal strains where reductions in infectious progeny were around 3.5-4.0 log. Strikingly, the IFN-γ induced loss of ability to form infectious progeny production was completely rescued by removal of the IFN-γ and addition of exogenous tryptophan for the human strains, but not the animal strains. In fact, a human heart strain was more capable of entering a non-infectious, viable persistent stage when exposed to IFN-γ and was also more effectively rescued, compared to a human respiratory strain. Exquisite susceptibility to IFN-γ, specifically due to tryptophan availability appears to be a core adaptation of the human C. pneumoniae strains, which may reflect the chronic nature of their infections in this host.
Huston, WM, Barker, CJ, Chacko, A & Timms, P 2014, 'Evolution to a chronic disease niche correlates with increased sensitivity to tryptophan availability for the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae.', Journal of Bacteriology, vol. 196, no. 11, pp. 1915-1924.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The chlamydiae are obligate intracellular parasites that have evolved specific interactions with their various hosts and host cell types to ensure their successful survival and consequential pathogenesis. The species Chlamydia pneumoniae is ubiquitous, with serological studies showing that most humans are infected at some stage in their lifetime. While most human infections are asymptomatic, C. pneumoniae can cause more-severe respiratory disease and pneumonia and has been linked to chronic diseases such as asthma, atherosclerosis, and even Alzheimer's disease. The widely dispersed animal-adapted C. pneumoniae strains cause an equally wide range of diseases in their hosts. It is emerging that the ability of C. pneumoniae to survive inside its target cells, including evasion of the host's immune attack mechanisms, is linked to the acquisition of key metabolites. Tryptophan and arginine are key checkpoint compounds in this host-parasite battle. Interestingly, the animal strains of C. pneumoniae have a slightly larger genome, enabling them to cope better with metabolite restrictions. It therefore appears that as the evolutionarily more ancient animal strains have evolved to infect humans, they have selectively become more "susceptible" to the levels of key metabolites, such as tryptophan. While this might initially appear to be a weakness, it allows these human C. pneumoniae strains to exquisitely sense host immune attack and respond by rapidly reverting to a persistent phase. During persistence, they reduce their metabolic levels, halting progression of their developmental cycle, waiting until the hostile external conditions have passed before they reemerge.
Lawrence, A, K Nicholls, S, H Stansfield, S & M Huston, W 2014, 'Characterization of the tail-specific protease (Tsp) from Legionella.', The Journal of general and applied microbiology, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 95-100.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Bacterial tail-specific proteases (Tsps) have been attributed a wide variety of functions including intracellular virulence, cell wall morphology, proteolytic signal cascades and stress response. This study tested the hypothesis that Tsp has a key function for the transmissive form of Legionella pneumophila. A tsp mutant was generated in Legionella pneumophila 130b and the characteristics of this strain and the isogenic wild-type were examined using a range of growth and proteomic analyses. Recombinant Tsp protein was also produced and analyzed. The L. pneumophila tsp mutant showed no defect in growth on rich media or during thermo-osmotic stress conditions. In addition, no defects in cellular morphology were observed when the cells were examined using transmission electron microscopy. Purified recombinant Tsp was found to be an active protease with a narrow substrate range. Proteome analysis using iTRAQ (5% coverage of the proteome) found that, of those proteins detected, only 5 had different levels in the tsp mutant compared to the wild type. ACP (Acyl Carrier Protein), which has a key role for Legionella differentiation to the infectious form, was reduced in the tsp mutant; however, tsp(-) was able to infect and replicate inside macrophages to the same extent as the wild type. Combined, these data demonstrate that Tsp is a protease but is not essential for Legionella growth or cell infection. Thus, Tsp may have functional redundancy in Legionella.
Patel, P, De Boer, L, Timms, P & Huston, WM 2014, 'Evidence of a conserved role for Chlamydia HtrA in the replication phase of the chlamydial developmental cycle.', Microbes and Infection, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 690-694.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Identification of the HtrA inhibitor JO146 previously enabled us to demonstrate an essential function for HtrA during the mid-replicative phase of the Chlamydia trachomatis developmental cycle. Here we extend our investigations to other members of the Chlamydia genus. C. trachomatis isolates with distinct replicative phase growth kinetics showed significant loss of viable infectious progeny after HtrA was inhibited during the replicative phase. Mid-replicative phase addition of JO146 was also significantly detrimental to Chlamydia pecorum, Chlamydia suis and Chlamydia cavie. These data combined indicate that HtrA has a conserved critical role during the replicative phase of the chlamydial developmental cycle.
Carey, AJ, Huston, WM, Cunningham, KA, Hafner, LM, Timms, P & Beagley, KW 2013, 'Characterization of In Vitro Chlamydia muridarum Persistence and Utilization in an In Vivo Mouse Model of Chlamydia Vaccine', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 69, no. 5, pp. 475-485.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Cunningham, K, Stansfield, SH, Patel, P, Menon, S, Kienzle, V, Allan, JA & Huston, WM 2013, 'The IL-6 response to Chlamydia from primary reproductive epithelial cells is highly variable and may be involved in differential susceptibility to the immunopathological consequences of chlamydial infection', BMC IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 14.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Gloeckl, S, Ong, V, Patel, P, Tyndall, J, Timms, P, Beagley, K, Allan, J, Armitage, C, Turnbull, L, Whitchurch, CB, Merdanovic, M, Ehrmann, M, Powers, J, Oleksyszyn, J, Verdoes, M, Bogyo, M & Huston, W 2013, 'Identification Of A Serine Protease Inhibitor Which Causes Inclusion Vacuole Reduction And Is Lethal To Chlamydia Trachomatis', Molecular Microbiology, vol. 89, no. 4, pp. 676-689.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The mechanistic details of the pathogenesis of Chlamydia, an obligate intracellular pathogen of global importance, have eluded scientists due to the scarcity of traditional molecular genetic tools to investigate this organism. Here we report a chemical b
Hocking, JS, Vodstrcil, LA, Huston, WM, Timms, P, Chen, MY, Worthington, K, McIver, R & Tabrizi, SN 2013, 'A cohort study of Chlamydia trachomatis treatment failure in women: a study protocol', BMC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, vol. 13.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Marsh, JW, Lott, WB, Tyndall, JDA & Huston, WM 2013, 'Proteolytic activation of Chlamydia trachomatis HTRA is mediated by PDZ1 domain interactions with protease domain loops L3 and LC and beta strand beta 5', CELLULAR & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LETTERS, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 522-537.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Ong, VA, Marsh, JW, Lawrence, A, Allan, JA, Timms, P & Huston, WM 2013, 'The protease inhibitor JO146 demonstrates a critical role for CtHtrA for Chlamydia trachomatis reversion from penicillin persistence', FRONTIERS IN CELLULAR AND INFECTION MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 3.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Stansfield, SH, Patel, P, Debattista, J, Armitage, CW, Cunningham, K, Timms, P, Allan, J, Mittal, A & Huston, WM 2013, 'Proof of concept: A bioinformatic and serological screening method for identifying new peptide antigens for Chlamydia trachomatis related sequelae in women.', Results in Immunology, vol. 3, pp. 33-39.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This study aimed to identify new peptide antigens from Chlamydia (C.) trachomatis in a proof of concept approach which could be used to develop an epitope-based serological diagnostic for C. trachomatis related infertility in women. A bioinformatics analysis was conducted examining several immunodominant proteins from C. trachomatis to identify predicted immunoglobulin epitopes unique to C. trachomatis. A peptide array of these epitopes was screened against participant sera. The participants (all female) were categorized into the following cohorts based on their infection and gynecological history; acute (single treated infection with C. trachomatis), multiple (more than one C. trachomatis infection, all treated), sequelae (PID or tubal infertility with a history of C. trachomatis infection), and infertile (no history of C. trachomatis infection and no detected tubal damage). The bioinformatics strategy identified several promising epitopes. Participants who reacted positively in the peptide 11 ELISA were found to have an increased likelihood of being in the sequelae cohort compared to the infertile cohort with an odds ratio of 16.3 (95% c.i. 1.65-160), with 95% specificity and 46% sensitivity (0.19-0.74). The peptide 11 ELISA has the potential to be further developed as a screening tool for use during the early IVF work up and provides proof of concept that there may be further peptide antigens which could be identified using bioinformatics and screening approaches.
Gloeckl, S, Tyndall, JDA, Stansfield, SH, Timms, P & Huston, WM 2012, 'The Active Site Residue V266 of Chlamydial HtrA Is Critical for Substrate Binding during both in vitro and in vivo Conditions', JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 10-16.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Harvie, M, Mittal, A, Timms, P & Beagley, KW 2012, 'Vaccination to protect against infection of the female reproductive tract', EXPERT REVIEW OF CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 81-94.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Gloeckl, S, de Boer, L, Beagley, KW & Timms, P 2011, 'Apoptosis is Induced in Chlamydia trachomatis-infected HEp-2 Cells by the Addition of a Combination Innate Immune Activation Compounds and the Inhibitor Wedelolactone', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 65, no. 5, pp. 460-465.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Tyndall, JDA, Lott, WB, Stansfield, SH & Timms, P 2011, 'Unique Residues Involved in Activation of the Multitasking Protease/Chaperone HtrA from Chlamydia trachomatis', PLOS ONE, vol. 6, no. 9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Waugh, CA, Huston, WM, Noad, MJ & Nash, SB 2011, 'Cytochrome P450 isozyme protein verified in the skin of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): Implications for biochemical biomarker assessment', MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, vol. 62, no. 4, pp. 758-761.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM 2010, 'Bacterial proteases from the intracellular vacuole niche; protease conservation and adaptation for pathogenic advantage', FEMS IMMUNOLOGY AND MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 1-10.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Armitage, CW, Lawrence, A, Gloeckl, S, Bell, SJ, Debattista, J, Allan, JA & Timms, P 2010, 'HtrA, RseP, and Tsp proteins do not elicit a pathology-related serum IgG response during sexually transmitted infection with Chlamydia trachomatis', JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 168-171.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Beagley, KW, Huston, WM, Hansbro, PM & Timms, P 2009, 'Chlamydial Infection of Immune Cells: Altered Function and Implications for Disease', CRITICAL REVIEWS IN IMMUNOLOGY, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 275-305.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Naylor, J, Cianciotto, NP, Jennings, MP & McEwan, AG 2008, 'Functional analysis of the multi-copper oxidase from Legionella pneumophila', MICROBES AND INFECTION, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 497-503.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Theodoropoulos, C, Mathews, SA & Timms, P 2008, 'Chlamydia trachomatis responds to heat shock, penicillin induced persistence, and IFN-gamma persistence by altering levels of the extracytoplasmic stress response protease HtrA', BMC MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 8.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Tan, YP, Giffard, PM, Barry, DG, Huston, WM & Turner, MS 2008, 'Random Mutagenesis Identifies Novel Genes Involved in the Secretion of Antimicrobial, Cell Wall-Lytic Enzymes by Lactococcus lactis', APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 74, no. 24, pp. 7490-7496.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Harhangi, HR, Leech, AP, Butler, CS, Jetten, MSM, den Camp, HJMO & Moir, JWB 2007, 'Expression and characterisation of a major c-type cytochrome encoded by gene kustc0563 from Kuenenia stuttgartiensis as a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli', PROTEIN EXPRESSION AND PURIFICATION, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 28-33.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Swedberg, JE, Harris, JM, Walsh, TP, Mathews, SA & Timms, P 2007, 'The temperature activated HtrA protease from pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis acts as both a chaperone and protease at 37 degrees C', FEBS LETTERS, vol. 581, no. 18, pp. 3382-3386.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Andrew, CR, Servid, AE, McKay, AL, Leech, AP, Butler, CS & Moir, JWB 2006, 'Heterologous overexpression and purification of cytochrome c ' from Rhodobacter capsulatus and a mutant (K42E) in the dimerization region. Mutation does not alter oligomerization but impacts the heme iron spin state and nitric oxide binding properties', BIOCHEMISTRY, vol. 45, no. 14, pp. 4388-4395.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Andrew, CR, Kemper, LJ, Busche, TL, Tiwari, AM, Kecskes, MC, Stafford, JM, Croft, LC, Lu, S, Moenne-Loccoz, P, Huston, W, Moir, JWB & Eady, RR 2005, 'Accessibility of the distal heme face, rather than Fe-His bond strength, determines the heme-nitrosyl coordination number of cytochromes c: Evidence from spectroscopic studies', BIOCHEMISTRY, vol. 44, no. 24, pp. 8664-8672.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Lowe, EC, Butler, CS & Moir, JWB 2005, 'Purification and characterization of cytochrome c ' from Neisseria meningitidis', BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS, vol. 33, pp. 187-189.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Potter, AJ, Jennings, MP, Rello, J, Hauser, AR & McEwan, AG 2004, 'Survey of ferroxidase expression and siderophore production in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 2806-2809.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Huston, WM, Jennings, MP & McEwan, AG 2002, 'The multicopper oxidase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ferroxidase with a central role in iron acquisition', MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 1741-1750.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hocking, JS, Huston, WM & Chen, M 2017, 'Chlamydia trachomatis Infection' in Sexually Transmitted Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Special Populations A Clinical Guide, Springer.
This text is the only book to provide a comprehensive and state-of-the-art review of issues relevant to STI care in the HIV-infected adult, adolescent, and transgendered populations.
Marsh, JW, Gloeckl, S, Tyndall, JDA & Huston, WM 2012, 'The role of HtrA as a chaperone and protease in bacterial pathogenesis' in Boulanger, A & Blanc, M (eds), Bacterial Pathogens: Virulence Mechanisms, Diagnosis, and Management, Nova Science Publishers, Inc, Happauge, New York, pp. 117-164.
Marsh, JW, Gloeckl, S, Tyndall, JDA & Huston, WM 2011, 'The role of HtrA as a chaperone and protease in bacterial pathogenesis' in Berhardt, LV (ed), Advances in Medicine and Biology, Nova Biomedical, Hauppage, New York, pp. 87-121.
HtrA (High Temperature Requirement A) is a critical stress response protease and chaperone for many bacteria. HtrA is a multitasking protein which can degrade unfolded proteins, conduct specific proteolysis of some substrates for correct assembly, interact with substrates to ensure correct folding, assembly or localisation, and chaperone unfolded proteins. These functions are critical for the virulence of a number of bacterial pathogens, in some cases not simply due to the broad activities of HtrA in protection against the protein stress conditions which occur during virulence. But also due to the role of HtrA in either specific proteolysis or assembly of key protein substrates which function directly in virulence. Remarkably, these activities are all conducted without any requirement for ATP. The biochemical mechanism of HtrA relies both on the chymotryptic serine protease active site as well as the presence of two PDZ (protein binding) domains. The mechanism is a unique combination of activation by substrate motifs to alter the confirmation of the active site, and assembly into a multimeric complex which has enhanced degradation and may also act as a protective cage for proteins which are not degraded. The role of this protease in the pathogenesis of a number of bacteria and the details of its distinctive biochemical activation and assembly mechanisms are discussed in this chapter
Lima, N, Gibbs, C, Huston, W & Todd, A 2019, 'P070 Determination of antibiotic susceptibility and efficacy by VITA-PCR', Poster Presentations, Abstracts for the STI & HIV World Congress (Joint Meeting of the 23rd ISSTDR and 20th IUSTI), July 14–17, 2019, Vancouver, Canada, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Callan, T, Berry, B, Hocking, J, Woodcock, S, Brown, J & Huston, W 2019, 'Is chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing associated with pregnancy outcomes? A retrospective data-linkage cohort study', Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI & HIV World Congress (Joint Meeting of the 23rd ISSTDR and 20th IUSTI), BMJ Publishing Group, Vancouver, pp. A222-A223.
Christensen, S, Groftehauge, M, Byriel, K, Heras, B, Huston, WM, Martin, JL & McMahon, R 2017, 'Chlamydia trachomatis DsbA: A weakly oxidising oxidoreductase', EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, 19th IUPAB Congress / 11th EBSA Congress, SPRINGER, British Biophys Soc, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND, pp. S155-S155.
Hocking, J, Kong, F, Vodstrcil, L, Guy, R, Chen, M, Fairley, C, Bradshaw, C & Tabrizi, S 2013, 'AZITHROMYCIN VERSUS DOXYCYCLINE FOR THE TREATMENT OF GENITAL CHLAMYDIA INFECTION - A META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIALS', SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS, BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, pp. A30-A30.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Andrew, CR, McKay, AL, Servid, AE, Tiwari, AM, Huston, W & Moir, JWB 2006, 'CHED 212-Spectroscopic and kinetic studies of NO binding to ferrous heme in the K42E mutant of Rhodobacter capsulatus cytochrome c'', ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, AMER CHEMICAL SOC.
Tiwari, AM, Servid, AE, Kecskes, MC, Stafford, JM, Moir, JWB, Huston, W, Eady, RR & Andrew, CR 2005, 'Heme coordination chemistry of ferric cytochromes c'.', ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 229th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS), AMER CHEMICAL SOC, San Diego, CA, pp. U483-U483.