Virulence profiles and innate immune responses against highly lethal, multidrug-resistant nosocomial isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii from a tertiary care hospital in Mexico
Virulence profiles and innate immune responses against highly lethal, multidrug- resistant nosocomial isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii from a tertiary care hospital in Mexico
Roberto Rosales-Reyes 0 1
Catalina Gayosso-VaÂ zquez 0 1
Jos eÂ Luis FernaÂ ndez-VaÂ zquez 0 1
Ma Dolores Jarillo-Quijada 0 1
CeÂ sar Rivera-BenÂõtez 1
JoseÂ Ignacio Santos-Preciado 0 1
MarÂõa Dolores AlcaÂ ntar-Curiel 0 1
0 Unidad de InvestigacioÂn en Medicina Experimental, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional AutoÂnoma de MeÂxico. Ciudad de MeÂxico, MeÂxico, 2 Hospital General de MeÂxico , Dr. Fernando Liceaga, Ciudad de MeÂxico, MeÂxico
1 Editor: Hsin-Chih Lai, Chang Gung University , TAIWAN
Virulence profiles and innate immune responses were studied in Acinetobacter baumannii from nosocomial infections collected over one year in a tertiary care hospital in Mexico. A. baumannii were identified by VITEK 2 System followed by susceptibility tests. Carbapenemase genes, active efflux mechanism to imipenem and meropenem and outer membrane proteins profile were analyzed to evaluate their role on the activity of carbapenem resistance. All isolates were genotyped by pulsed field gel electrophoresis. The ability to form biofilm was determined on a polystyrene surface. The resistance to complement was determined with a pooled human normal serum and TNFα release by infected macrophages was determined by ELISA. The 112 isolates from this study were associated with a 52% of mortality. All were resistance to β-lactams, fluoroquinolones, and trimethroprim-sulfamethoxal, 96 and 90% were resistant to meropenem and imipenem, respectively, but with high susceptibility to polymyxin B, colistin and tigecyclin. Isolates were classified in 11 different clones. Most isolates, 88% (99/112), were metallo-β-lactamases and carbapenemases producers, associated in 95% with the presence of blaOXA-72 gene. Only 4/99 and 1/99 of the carbapenem-resistant isolates were related to efflux mechanism to meropenem or imipenem resistance, respectively. The loss of expression of 22, 29, and/or 33-36-kDa proteins was detected in 8/11 of the clinical isolates with resistance to carbapenem. More than 96% (108/112) of the isolates were high producers of biofilms on biotic surfaces. Finally, all isolates showed variable resistance to normal human serum activity and were high inductors of TNFα release by macrophages. In summary, these results suggest that multidrug-resistant A. baumannii can persist in the hospital environment through its ability to form biofilms. The high mortality observed was due to their ability to survive normal human serum activity and
Data Availability Statement: All relevant data are
within the paper.
Competing interests: The authors have declared
that no competing interests exist.
capability to induce potent inflammatory immune response making this nosocomial
pathogen a serious threat to hospitalized patients.
Over the last few years, infections involving species of Gram-negative non-enteric and
multidrug-resistant bacteria have been increasing worldwide [
]. Among these bacteria,
Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as the most important opportunistic pathogen involved in serious
hospital infection outbreaks [
]. These bacteria have been isolated from different
environmental sources, including soil, water, food products, and medical devices as well from the skin
of hospital staff. [4±12]. A. baumannii is a bacterium that has acquired diverse mechanisms of
resistance to several antibiotic families, which has led to the emergence of important multidrug
or pandrug resistant phenotypes . Until recently, the carbapenems were the first antibiotics
of choice in the treatment of nosocomial infections, including A. baumannii [
emergence of resistance by A baumannii to carbapenems has been reported from different parts of
the world [
]. The carbapenem resistance by A. baumannii is due to: a) the production of
class B carbapenemases also known as metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) and class D enzymes (also
known as oxacillinases), b) genetic alterations of penicillin binding proteins, c) overexpression
of efflux pumps belonging to the resistance-nodulation-cell division (RND) family and d) the
loss of outer membrane proteins associated with the formation of pores [
]. The increased
multidrug resistance and the persistence for long periods of time in hospitals make A.
baumannii a serious threat to hospitalized patients. The capability of A. baumannii to form biofilm on
biotic or abiotic surfaces partially explains the persistence of these bacteria in the hospital
To date, few virulence mechanisms have been described in A. baumannii . The
lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Acinetobacter is a potent inducer of the inflammatory immune
response through the stimulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) release by phagocytic
cells via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling [
]. In addition, A. baumannii has the ability to
resist the killing action of normal human serum (NHS) [
]. This serum resistance is
attributed in part to LPS expression [
In the present study, we analyzed clinical nosocomial isolates of A. baumannii from a
tertiary care hospital in Mexico City by their antimicrobial susceptibility profile, clonal
relationships, ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces, by their capability to resist to human normal
serum activity as well as their ability to induce TNFα release by phagocytic cells. Our results
attempt to clarify the participation of antimicrobial resistance, virulence profiles and the innate
immune response on the prevalence, endemicity and lethality of A. baumannii in critically ill
patient in the hospital environment.
Materials and methods
The clinical isolates of A. baumannii used in this study were from patients with nosocomial
infections during the study period, from January to December of 2014, at Hospital General de
MeÂxico Dr. Eduardo Liceaga, Mexico City, Mexico. The isolates were identified by the VITEK
2 System (bioMerieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France), confirmed by API20NE (bioMeriux1SA) [
and by detecting the intrinsic carbapenemase blaOXA-51-like gene. Only one isolate per patient
episode was analyzed. All samples were collected as part of routine care, identified and handled
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anonymously. Nosocomial infections were defined according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria, and by Infectious Diseases Unit physicians [
Antibiotic susceptibility testing
The isolate strains were tested for their susceptibilities to 17 antibiotics: gentamicin,
tobramycin, cefepime, ceftriaxone, ampicillin/sulbactam, imipenem, meropenem, ciprofloxacin,
levofloxacin, minocycline, tetracycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, colistin, polymyxin B,
and tigecycline. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) was determined using the
VITEK 2 System and were confirmed using an agar dilution method, according to Clinical
Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines [
]. Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC
27853 and E. coli ATCC 25922 were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. In
carbapenem-resistant isolates, MBLs were determined by EDTA disc synergy tests using
meropenem and meropenem plus EDTA and the Hodge modified method .
Detection of blaOXA-51-like, blaIMP, blaVIM, blaOXA carbapenemase and
Chromosomal DNA was extracted from the isolates; 2-μL volume of this extract was used for
PCR reactions. Amplification of blaOXA-51-like, blaIMP, blaVIM and blaOXA genes was performed
using primers and conditions of amplification as previously reported [
15, 26, 27
]. The presence
of the ISAba1 promoter sequence and its association with carbapenemase genes was
investigated by PCR using ISAba-1 [
], ISAba1 + blaOXA-51-like and ISAba1 + blaOXA primers [
Amplified products were subjected to nucleotide sequencing at the Instituto de BiotecnologÂõa,
Universidad Nacional AutoÂnoma de MeÂxico.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)
To determine the spread of A. baumannii within the hospital setting, all isolates were
genotyped using Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). Bacterial genomic DNAs were prepared
as previously described [
], digested with ApaI (New England Biolabs, Beverly, MA) and
subjected to PFGE analysis using a Gene Path system (BioRad1). Tenover criteria and Dice
coefficient were used to determine similar profiles between isolates, a correlation > 85% were
considered to have the same pulsotype (clones) [
Detection of the efflux pumps phenotype
In order to determine the role of the efflux mechanisms, all carbapenem-intermediate
or-resistant isolates were selected to identify the inhibitory effect of the efflux inhibitor carbonil
cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) (Sigma, St. Louis, MO) on the change of meropenem
or imipenem susceptibility had on the isolates. Briefly, MuÈeller-Hinton agar plates with
meropenem or imipenem double serial dilution in the presence or absence of 25, 50, and 100 mg/L
CCCP inhibitor were used [
]. Positive contribution of an efflux pump was defined as a
fourfold decrease in the MIC of antibiotics when efflux pump inhibitor was added to the agar plates
Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) profile
The A. baumannii OMPs expression from one representative isolate of each
carbapenem-resistant clone identified in this study were used to support the contribution of the porin profile
modification in the carbapenem-resistance. As a control we used a carbapenem-susceptible A.
baumannii-176 clinical isolate [
]. The OMPs were prepared as previously described [
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Twenty μg of extracted proteins of each sample were resolved in one-dimensional sodium
dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Silver staining (Silver Stain
Plus BioRad1) was used to visualize the protein bands.
The biofilm production on an abiotic surface was quantified as previously described [
Briefly, 5 ml overnight cultures grown at 37°C were diluted to OD600 0.003 in Luria Bertani
(LB) media and triplicate 500 μl aliquots were dispensed into polystyrene tubes. Following 24
h of static incubation at 37°C, the medium was removed and the tubes were washed gently
once with deionized water. Adherent bacteria were stained with 1% (w/v) crystal violet and
washed three times with deionized water. The bound crystal violet was dissolved in 1 ml of
100% methanol and quantified by measuring OD540 nm.
Serum resistance assay
The assay was conducted as previously reported [
] with few modifications. Briefly, A.
baumannii isolates were grown in MuÈller Hinton (MH) broth to the mid-log phase. We adjusted
the inoculum to 1x107 bacteria with 40% [in phosphate buffered saline (PBS)] either pooled
normal human serum (NHS) (Cedarlane Laboratories Limited, Ontario, Canada) or with
heat-inactivated human serum (HIS), the samples were incubated for 3 h at 37°C without
shaking. After the incubation, the number of surviving bacteria in each sample was determined by
a serial dilution and plating in MH agar at 37°C for 18 h. The serum bactericidal effect was
calculated with the following formula: (CFUs-NHS / CFUs-HIS) 100. NHS and HIS were
assessed using Salmonella typhi 9:12:Vid as a sensitive strains to determine the complement
pathway activated by these bacteria [
]. All experiments were performed in triplicate and
results were expressed as percent of survival.
TNFα release assay
RAW 264.7 (ATCC TIB-71) macrophages were grown in 24-well plates at 2.5x105 cells per
well and incubated during 24 h. Overnight bacterial cultures were grown in MH broth at 37ÊC
with shaking. Bacterial cultures were washed twice with RPMI plus 10% fetal bovine serum
(FBS) and used to infect macrophages monolayers at an MOI of 100 as described [
to synchronize the infection, plates were centrifuged for 1 min at 1400 rpm and incubated for
3 h at 37ÊC under 5% carbon dioxide. After infection, the supernatants were removed and
centrifuged at 14000 rpm to remove bacteria. The supernatants were evaluated for the
TNFαrelease by ELISA (R&D systems) as described [
The data represents the mean of the standard deviation (SD) and were analyzed by one-way
ANOVA followed by a post hoc Tukey's comparison. In some cases, data with normal
distribution were analyzed using Student t test. The p values, 0.05 was considered significant. The
data were analyzed using GraphPad Prism 6 software.
Clinical isolate data
A total of 112 A. baumannii isolates causing nosocomial infections were identified. The mean
age of patients was 47.56 years (ranging of 0.4 to 83), 66.07% of them were male. The mortality
rate in this study was 51.78% (58/112); the majority of the deaths 27/58 occurred in the
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Pulmonary Medicine Ward (manuscript in preparation). The A. baumannii clinical isolates
were obtained from different sources: 50% (56/112) of them were from respiratory sources,
23.2% (26/112) from wound secretions, 14.2% (16/112) from blood culture, 7.1% (8/112) from
urine, 3.6% (4/112) from cerebral spinal fluid, 0.9% (1/112) from vascular catheter and 0.9%
(1/112) from eye drainage. The most frequent site of isolation 38% (43/112) was the
Pulmonary Medicine Ward, with 13% (15/112) the Intensive Care Unit, 9% (10/112) the Infectious
Diseases Unit and 7% (8/112) the Surgery Ward. The remaining isolation sites 32.1% (36/112)
were from various medical subspecialties and surgical wards.
All A. baumannii isolates were confirmed by amplification of blaOXA-51-like gene. The isolates
were 100% resistant to β-lactams, fluoroquinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole,
96.4% with resistance to meropenem and 89.2% to imipenem (Table 1). All isolates were
susceptible to colistin and tigeciclyne and only the 2.7% of them were resistant to polymyxin B
(Table 1). MBL activity was found in 88.4% (99/112) carbapenem-resistant isolates (Table 2).
By PCR and sequencing we detected in 95% (94/99) of the isolates the blaOXA-72 gene
(GenBank accession number: JX968505.1). None of the isolates were carrying either blaVIM or
blaIMP genes (Table 2). Insertion sequences ISAba-1 were detected in all of the isolates,
however, blaOXA-51-like or blaOXA-72 genes were not adjacent to the ISAba-1.
Genotyping of A. baumannii isolates
PFGE fingerprinting analysis revealed 11 clones in the 112 A. baumannii clinical isolates
studied that were classified by assigning them letters from A to K (Fig 1). Nine clones were
endemic in the Pulmonary Medicine Ward (Fig 2A). Clone B was the most frequently detected
in 30% (34/112) of the clinical isolates (Fig 2B) and was responsible for an outbreak between
February and March (Fig 2A and 2B). Clone B was also detected 7 times in the Pulmonary
Medicine Ward and 4 times in the Intensive Care Unit (Fig 2A). Clone C was the second most
frequently identified with 20.5% (23/112) of the isolates. This clone was detected between
February-July and was also associated with the outbreak of February-March (Fig 2B). This clone
was identified 7 times in the Pulmonary Medicine Ward and 5 times in the infectious diseases
unit (Fig 2A). The third most frequent clone was the clone F with 15 isolates 13%. Members of
this clone were identified at the end of the study (Fig 2B).
Efflux pump phenotype
Results indicated that in the minority of the carbapenem-intermediate or -resistant isolates,
efflux pump expression was not related to the carbapenem resistant phenotype (Table 2). Only
4/112 isolates exhibited a four-fold or greater decrease in MICs to meropenem. These isolates
belonged to three different clones, two were from clone I, one from clone D and one from
clone H. Only one isolate (0.89%) from clone F exhibited efflux pump activity to imipenem
(Table 2). None of the isolates resistant to imipenem and meropenem exhibited an efflux
pump to both carbapenems.
The OMPs profiles of the one member or each clone carbapenem-resistant were obtained. In
agreement with previous studies, our results showed that 72.7% (8/11) of the OMPs profiles
had the absence of one, two or three of proteins of 22, 29, and/or 33-36-kDa, compared to the
OMPs profile of the carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolate (Table 3).
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The susceptibility profile was determined with the Vitek 2 automated system.
aThe susceptibility to carbapenems profile was determined by doubling dilutions in agar (CLSI/2015).
The ability of each A. baumannii isolate to form biofilm is summarized in Fig 3A. The OD450
values for the reference strain (ATCC-17961) and negative control (MH broth) were 1.215 and
0.026 respectively. The OD450 for the reference strain (ATCC-17961) was defined as 1.0, the
values presented in the Fig 3B represent the biofilm formation of every clone in relation to the
biofilm formed by A. baumannii-ATCC- 17961. The results show that the 96.4% (108/112) of
the clinical isolates form biofilm on abiotic surface and only 4/112 (3.6%) produce weak
Fig 1. Dendrogram constructed from PFGE patterns of one representative isolate for each Acinetobacter baumannii clone.
Clone B contained most of the isolates.
biofilm (less than 5% amount relative to ATCC-17961) (Fig 3A). In the Fig 3B, we present an
analysis of all isolates classified by clone. The results indicate that 13/112 were weak biofilm
producers (represents the 0±25% of the biofilm produced by ATCC-17961); 7/112 produced
moderate-low biofilm (25±50% of the biofilm formed by ATCC-17961). In contrast, 17/112
(15.18%) were moderate-high biofilm producers (50±75% of the biofilm formed by
ATCC17961). Of note, 33.04% (37/112) were good biofilm producers (75±100% of the biofilm
produced by ATCC-17961), and 36/112 (32.14%) were high biofilm producers (more than the
biofilm formed by ATCC-17961) (Fig 3B).
Serum resistance assay
Evidence from the literature indicates that clinical isolates of A. baumannii show a differential
capacity to survive NHS activity [
]. In this study, we quantified the capacity of all clinical
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Fig 2. Frequency analysis of A. baumannii clones during 2014. (A) Frequency of each clone isolated by ward.
(B) Frequency of each clone by month of isolation.
isolates to survive to the NHS, as a control we used NHS-heat inactivated (HI). The percent
survival of each clinical isolate after incubation for 3 h in 40% of NHS is presented in Fig 4A.
Under these conditions, S. typhi, the control strain is highly serum-sensitive. The results in Fig
4B show that 6/112 (5.35%) of the isolates presented a survival rate of 1±25% in NHS, 11/112
(9.82%) a survival rate of 26±50% in NHS, 26/112 (23.21%) a survival rate of 51±75% and 69/
112 (61.60%) a survival rate of 76±100% in the presence of NHS. In summary, the clinical
isolates showed differential susceptibility/resistance to NHS, however, the majority of the clinical
isolates were resistant.
Quantitation of TNFα release by macrophages. During the interaction between A.
baumannii with phagocytic cells, the TLR4 recognizes the LPS of A. baumannii with the
consequent release of TNFα [
]. In order to determine the ability of A. baumannii isolates to
induce TNFα release by macrophages, we infected macrophages for 3 h and then quantified
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TNFα release. The results presented in the Fig 5 show that all A. baumannii isolates were able
to induce more than 1500 pg/ml of TNFα and only 9.8% (11/112) isolates were higher inducers
of TNF-α release (more than 6000 pg/ml). These results indicate that A. baumannii can be a
potent inductor or inflammatory immune response.
During the last two decades A. baumannii has emerged as an important nosocomial pathogen,
especially in hospitalized patients requiring intensive care [
]. One of the main factors that
characterize clinical A. baumannii isolates is the abundance of plasmids, transposons and
Fig 3. Ability of the A. baumannii clones to produce biofilm. All isolates were assessed for their ability to produce biofilm on a polystyrene surface.
(A) We show the ability of each isolate to form biofilm. (B) We present the biofilm formation by the members of each clone. Open circle indicate patients
that improved and closed circles correspond to patients that died. A. baumannii ATCC 17961 was used as the control. The dotted lines indicate weak,
moderate-low, moderate-high, good and high production of biofilm. Each point corresponds to the average of two independent experiments by
duplicate. Each column indicates the standard deviation.
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Fig 4. Analysis of serum resistance activity by A. baumannii clones. Each A. baumannii isolate was assessed by its ability to survive in normal
human serum (NHS). (A) We show the percentage of A. baumannii isolates to survive in presence of 40% of NHS. (B) We show the ability of the
members of each clone to survive at 40% of NHS. The dotted lines indicate the survival rate (0±25, 26±50, 51±75 and 76±100%) in presence of 40%
of NHS. Open circle indicate patients that improved and every closed circle corresponded to a patient that died. Each point corresponds to the average
of two independent experiments by duplicate. Each column indicates the SD.
frequent genetic exchanges that confer multidrug-resistance, limiting therapeutic options
which often leads to high mortality rates in hospitalized patients [
This work was carried out in one of the major tertiary hospitals in Mexico City. The
hospital has 1,245 beds, with an average of 45,000 discharges per year. During 2014, 112 clinical A.
baumannii isolates from nosocomial infections were collected. The isolates exhibited high
resistance to multiple antibiotics including 88% to carbapenems. These results are very similar
to those we reported previously in a tertiary hospital in western Mexico [
] as well as reports
from others countries [40±42].
Carbapenem resistance in the isolates studied was associated mainly with MBLs 88.4% and
blaOXA-72 (83.9%) production. Since 2012, blaOXA-72 has been reported in Asia and currently
in different parts of the world, including western Mexico [
]. Although all isolates carried
blaOXA-51, and a high proportion presented blaOXA-72, the high expression of these two genes
was not colinear with the ISAba1, similar to what has been reported previously [
]. In this
study, blaVIM-1 or blaIMP genes were not detected in MBLs producing A. baumannii isolates,
indicating that these isolates carried other type of MBLs, not tested.
Regarding other mechanisms of carbapenem resistance, we detected a lesser proportion of
efflux pump expression associated with meropenem (3.57%) or imipenem (0.89%) resistance;
these results differ from previous studies which showed drug export by efflux pump reduced
meropenem susceptibility among the vast majority 65.7% of nosocomial A. baumannii isolates
]. We noted a decrease in the number of isolates expressing this mechanism when
compared with the nosocomial A. baumannii isolates studied in previous work [
]. Regarding the
analysis of OPMs profiles, we observed that a high number of isolates 72.1% (8/11)
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Fig 5. Ability of the A. baumannii clones to produce TNFα. Each A. baumannii isolate was assessed by its ability to induce the release of TNFα by
macrophages. (A) We show the production of TNFα by each A. baumannii isolate. (B) We show the production of TNFα by the members of each clone.
The dotted lines indicate 1000 and 6000 pg/ml of TNFα. Open circle indicate patients that improved and closed circles corresponded to patients that
died. Each point corresponds to the average of two independent experiments by duplicate. Each column indicates the standard deviation.
representing each of the carbapenem-resistant clones showed the absence of 1, 2 or 3 porins.
This suggests that this mechanism contributes significantly to the resistance to carbapenems in
A. baumannii isolates causing nosocomial infections in this hospital in central Mexico.
In this study, patients with A. baumannii infection showed higher mortality rate (52.8%)
than those with A. baumannii infection into the Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico (28.2%)
reported previously [
]. In other countries, the mortality rate due to bloodstream
imipenemresistant A. baumannii infections is ranges from 52.2 to 86.7% [
]. We demonstrated that
the spread of clones B and C were responsible for an outbreak during February and March
2014 and these clones persisted during the first six months of that year. Epidemiological
analysis showed that both clones were the most frequent and together represented half of the isolates
50.8% (57/112) identified in this study. The vast majority of these clones 94.7% produced
MBLs, which explains why at least half of A. baumannii infections producing MBLs are due to
outbreaks. Interestingly, when we compared eleven PFGE profiles of the clones detected in
this study with the PFGE profiles of the clones of A. baumannii recently reported in a previous
study in hospital from western Mexico  we found that clone H, the fourth most frequent
clone with 10 isolates, was identical to clone 22, the most frequent clone previously described
]. These results demonstrate that this multidrug-resistant clone has spread at least between
these two distant geographically area of Mexico. To better understand how this clone emerged
or where it has spread, we compared the genotype of clone H with those obtained by enzymatic
restriction enzymatic with ApaI and PFGE reported for clones disseminated internationally.
We used the genotypes of European clones I-III representative strains of outbreaks from
United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and Israel previously reported [
found no similarities between these and clone H. Our results show that genotyping is a
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methodology that allows us to monitor the geographic spread of epidemic pathogens, and
understand their epidemiology.
The persistence of A. baumannii in the hospital environment is associated with their ability
to form biofilms on diverse biomedically relevant surfaces [
]. A study developed by
Rodríguez-Baño et al. [
] showed that the 63% of unrelated clinical isolates were able to produce
biofilm on abiotic surfaces. In contrast, 92.2% of the members of a highly prevalent clone of A.
baumannii in the Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico were able to produce biofilm [
Our results show that almost all unrelated isolates were biofilm producers. The high
percentage of biofilm formation by unrelated clinical isolates could be due by the presence of one or
more of the mechanism associated to biofilm formation including the presence of blaPER-1
] or to the presence of genes that encode for the pili assembly system (csuC, csuD
and csuE) , the autoinducer synthase gene (abaI) [
] or the OmpA expression [
A. baumannii exhibits several virulence factors , its ability to survive complement
activity is one of them [
20, 33, 37
]. The OmpA expression contributes to complement resistance by
direct binding to the complement regulator, factor H. Thus, A. baumannii inhibits
complement activation [
]. Our results show that the clinical isolates of A. baumannii present
variable resistance to human serum. This ability to survive complement activity could be due
either OmpA [
] or LPS expression [
The A. baumannii interaction with phagocytic cells induces proinflammatory cytokine
release. The LPS of A. baumannii is a potent stimulator of TLR-4 [
]. Our results show,
that all clinical isolates assessed were potent inductors of TNFα release. Previous studies have
documented that TNFα release during A. baumannii infection contributes in vivo to lung cell
Based on our results, the high prevalence of nosocomial isolates of A. baumannii with high
mortality rate observed in this study was due to multidrug-resistant phenotypes in conjunction
of their ability to form biofilm on abiotic surfaces, their high resistance to normal human
serum and potent capacity to induce macrophage TNFα release.
We want to thank Diego CalderoÂn-Campos and Rubi Aca-Teutle for technical assistance with
some experiments on the determination of serum resistance and TNFα quantification.
Conceptualization: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, MarÂõa Dolores AlcaÂntar-Curiel.
Formal analysis: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, JoseÂ Ignacio Santos-Preciado, MarÂõa Dolores
Funding acquisition: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, MarÂõa Dolores AlcaÂntar-Curiel.
Investigation: Catalina Gayosso-VaÂzquez, JoseÂ Luis FernaÂndez-VaÂzquez, Ma Dolores
Quijada, CeÂsar Rivera-BenÂõtez.
Methodology: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, Catalina Gayosso-VaÂzquez, JoseÂ Luis
FernaÂndez-VaÂzquez, Ma Dolores Jarillo-Quijada.
Resources: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, CeÂsar Rivera-BenÂõtez, MarÂõa Dolores AlcaÂntar-Curiel.
Writing ± original draft: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, JoseÂ Ignacio Santos-Preciado, MarÂõa Dolores
12 / 16
Writing ± review & editing: Roberto Rosales-Reyes, JoseÂ Ignacio Santos-Preciado, MarÂõa
13 / 16
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