Mark A Schembri

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Traditional treatment of infectious diseases is based on compounds that kill or inhibit growth of bacteria. A major concern with this approach is the frequent development of resistance to antibiotics. The discovery of communication systems (quorum sensing systems) regulating bacterial virulence has afforded a novel opportunity to control infectious bacteria(More)
It is now apparent that microorganisms undergo significant changes during the transition from planktonic to biofilm growth. These changes result in phenotypic adaptations that allow the formation of highly organized and structured sessile communities, which possess enhanced resistance to antimicrobial treatments and host immune defence responses.(More)
Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii is a bloom-forming cyanobacterium found in both tropical and temperate climates which produces cylindrospermopsin, a potent hepatotoxic secondary metabolite. This organism is notorious for its association with a significant human poisoning incident on Palm Island, Australia, which resulted in the hospitalization of 148 people.(More)
The development and maturation of E. coli biofilms in flow-chambers was investigated. We found that the presence of transfer constitutive IncF plasmids induced biofilm development forming structures resembling those reported for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The development occurred in a step-wise process: (i). attachment of cells to the substratum, (ii). clonal(More)
Type 1 fimbriae are adhesion organelles expressed by many Gram-negative bacteria. They facilitate adherence to mucosal surfaces and inflammatory cells in vitro, but their contribution to virulence has not been defined. This study presents evidence that type 1 fimbriae increase the virulence of Escherichia coli for the urinary tract by promoting bacterial(More)
Conventional wisdom regarding mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis holds that pathogens arise by external acquisition of distinct virulence factors, whereas determinants shared by pathogens and commensals are considered to be functionally equivalent and have been ignored as genes that could become adapted specifically for virulence. It is shown here,(More)
Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) is a globally disseminated, multidrug resistant (MDR) clone responsible for a high proportion of urinary tract and bloodstream infections. The rapid emergence and successful spread of E. coli ST131 is strongly associated with several factors, including resistance to fluoroquinolones, high virulence gene content,(More)
Bacteria have mechanisms to export proteins for diverse purposes, including colonization of hosts and pathogenesis. A small number of archetypal bacterial secretion machines have been found in several groups of bacteria and mediate a fundamentally distinct secretion process. Perhaps erroneously, proteins called 'autotransporters' have long been thought to(More)
Bladder infections affect millions of people yearly, and recurrent symptomatic infections (cystitis) are very common. The rapid increase in infections caused by multidrug-resistant uropathogens threatens to make recurrent cystitis an increasingly troubling public health concern. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) cause the vast majority of bladder(More)
Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii is a toxic-bloom-forming cyanobacterium that is commonly found in tropical to subtropical climatic regions worldwide, but it is also recognized as a common component of cyanobacterial communities in temperate climates. Genetic profiles of C. raciborskii were examined in 19 cultured isolates originating from geographically(More)