Utility of in vivo transcription profiling for identifying Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes needed for gastrointestinal colonization and dissemination.
ABSTRACT: Microarray analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa mRNA transcripts expressed in vivo during animal infection has not been previously used to investigate potential virulence factors needed in this setting. We compared mRNA expression in bacterial cells recovered from the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of P. aeruginosa-colonized mice to that of P. aeruginosa in the drinking water used to colonize the mice. Genes associated with biofilm formation and type III secretion (T3SS) had markedly increased expression in the GI tract. A non-redundant transposon library in P. aeruginosa strain PA14 was used to test mutants in genes identified as having increased transcription during in vivo colonization. All of the Tn-library mutants in biofilm-associated genes had an attenuated ability to form biofilms in vitro, but there were no significant differences in GI colonization and dissemination between these mutants and WT P. aeruginosa PA14. To evaluate T3SS factors, we tested GI colonization and neutropenia-induced dissemination of both deletional (PAO1 and PAK) and insertional (PA14) mutants in four genes in the P. aeruginosa T3SS, exoS or exoU, exoT, and popB. There were no significant differences in GI colonization among these mutant strains and their WT counterparts, whereas rates of survival following dissemination were significantly decreased in mice infected by the T3SS mutant strains. However, there was a variable, strain-dependent effect on overall survival between parental and T3SS mutants. Thus, increased transcription of genes during in vivo murine GI colonization is not predictive of an essential role for the gene product in either colonization or overall survival following induction of neutropenia.
Project description:An important question regarding the biologic implications of antibiotic-resistant microbes is how resistance impacts the organism's overall fitness and virulence. Currently it is generally thought that antibiotic resistance carries a fitness cost and reduces virulence. For the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, treatment with carbapenem antibiotics is a mainstay of therapy that can lead to the emergence of resistance, often through the loss of the carbapenem entry channel OprD. Transposon insertion-site sequencing was used to analyze the fitness of 300,000 mutants of P. aeruginosa strain PA14 in a mouse model for gut colonization and systemic dissemination after induction of neutropenia. Transposon insertions in the oprD gene led not only to carbapenem resistance but also to a dramatic increase in mucosal colonization and dissemination to the spleen. These findings were confirmed in vivo with different oprD mutants of PA14 as well as with related pairs of carbapenem-susceptible and -resistant clinical isolates. Compared with OprD(+) strains, those lacking OprD were more resistant to killing by acidic pH or normal human serum and had increased cytotoxicity against murine macrophages. RNA-sequencing analysis revealed that an oprD mutant showed dramatic changes in the transcription of genes that may contribute to the various phenotypic changes observed. The association between carbapenem resistance and enhanced survival of P. aeruginosa in infected murine hosts suggests that either drug resistance or host colonization can cause the emergence of more pathogenic, drug-resistant P. aeruginosa clones in a single genetic event.
Project description:During initial colonization and chronic infection, pathogenic bacteria encounter distinct host environments. Adjusting gene expression accordingly is essential for the pathogenesis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has evolved complicated regulatory networks to regulate different sets of virulence factors to facilitate colonization and persistence. The type III secretion system (T3SS) and motility are associated with acute infections, while biofilm formation and the type VI secretion system (T6SS) are associated with chronic persistence. To identify novel regulatory genes required for pathogenesis, we screened a P. aeruginosa transposon (Tn) insertion library and found suhB to be an essential gene for the T3SS gene expression. The expression of suhB was upregulated in a mouse acute lung infection model, and loss of suhB resulted in avirulence. Suppression of T3SS gene expression in the suhB mutant is linked to a defective translation of the T3SS master regulator, ExsA. Further studies demonstrated that suhB mutation led to the upregulation of GacA and its downstream small RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ, triggering T6SS expression and biofilm formation while inhibiting the T3SS. Our results demonstrate that an in vivo-inducible gene, suhB, reciprocally regulates genes associated with acute and chronic infections and plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa.A variety of bacterial pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cause acute and chronic infections in humans. During infections, pathogens produce different sets of virulence genes for colonization, tissue damage, and dissemination and for countering host immune responses. Complex regulatory networks control the delicate tuning of gene expression in response to host environments to enable the survival and growth of invading pathogens. Here we identified suhB as a critical gene for the regulation of virulence factors in P. aeruginosa. The expression of suhB was upregulated during acute infection in an animal model, and mutation of suhB rendered P. aeruginosa avirulent. Moreover, we demonstrate that SuhB is required for the activation of virulence factors associated with acute infections while suppressing virulence factors associated with chronic infections. Our report provides new insights into the multilayered regulatory network of virulence genes in P. aeruginosa.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a pathogen that causes acute and chronic infections in a variety of hosts. The pathogenic potential of P. aeruginosa is strain-dependent. PA14 is a highly virulent strain that causes disease in a wide range of organisms, whereas PAO1 is moderately virulent. Although PA14 carries pathogenicity islands that are absent in PAO1, the presence or absence of specific gene clusters is not predictive of virulence. Here, we show that the virulent strain PA14 has an acquired mutation in the ladS gene. This mutation has a deleterious impact on biofilm, while it results in elevated type III secretion system (T3SS) activity and increased cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells. These phenotypes can be reverted by repairing the ladS mutation on the PA14 genome. The RetS/LadS/GacS signaling cascade is associated with virulence and the switch between acute and chronic infections. RetS is a sensor that down-regulates biofilm formation and up-regulates the T3SS. Mutations in retS are acquired in strains isolated from chronically infected cystic fibrosis patients and lead to hyperbiofilm formation and reduced cytotoxicity. Conversely, the LadS sensor promotes biofilm formation and represses the T3SS. We conclude that the ladS mutation is partly responsible for the high cytotoxicity of PA14, and our findings corroborate the central role of RetS and LadS in the switch between acute and chronic infections. Given the extensive use of the reference strain PA14 in infection and virulence models, the bias caused by the ladS mutation on the observed phenotypes will be crucial to consider in future research.
Project description:High-throughput sequencing of transposon (Tn) libraries created within entire genomes identifies and quantifies the contribution of individual genes and operons to the fitness of organisms in different environments. We used insertion-sequencing (INSeq) to analyze the contribution to fitness of all non-essential genes in the chromosome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA14 based on a library of ?300,000 individual Tn insertions. In vitro growth in LB provided a baseline for comparison with the survival of the Tn insertion strains following 6 days of colonization of the murine gastrointestinal tract as well as a comparison with Tn-inserts subsequently able to systemically disseminate to the spleen following induction of neutropenia. Sequencing was performed following DNA extraction from the recovered bacteria, digestion with the MmeI restriction enzyme that hydrolyzes DNA 16 bp away from the end of the Tn insert, and fractionation into oligonucleotides of 1,200-1,500 bp that were prepared for high-throughput sequencing. Changes in frequency of Tn inserts into the P. aeruginosa genome were used to quantify in vivo fitness resulting from loss of a gene. 636 genes had <10 sequencing reads in LB, thus defined as unable to grow in this medium. During in vivo infection there were major losses of strains with Tn inserts in almost all known virulence factors, as well as respiration, energy utilization, ion pumps, nutritional genes and prophages. Many new candidates for virulence factors were also identified. There were consistent changes in the recovery of Tn inserts in genes within most operons and Tn insertions into some genes enhanced in vivo fitness. Strikingly, 90% of the non-essential genes were required for in vivo survival following systemic dissemination during neutropenia. These experiments resulted in the identification of the P. aeruginosa strain PA14 genes necessary for optimal survival in the mucosal and systemic environments of a mammalian host.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen that is especially adept at forming surface-associated biofilms. P. aeruginosa causes catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) through biofilm formation on the surface of indwelling catheters. P. aeruginosa encodes three extracellular polysaccharides, PEL, PSL, and alginate, and utilizes the PEL and PSL polysaccharides to form biofilms in vitro; however, the requirement of these polysaccharides during in vivo infections is not well understood. Here we show in a murine model of CAUTI that PAO1, a strain harboring pel, psl, and alg genes, and PA14, a strain harboring pel and alg genes, form biofilms on the implanted catheters. To determine the requirement of exopolysaccharide during in vivo biofilm infections, we tested isogenic mutants lacking the pel, psl, and alg operons and showed that PA14 mutants lacking these operons can successfully form biofilms on catheters in the CAUTI model. To determine the host factor(s) that induces the ?pelD mutant to form biofilm, we tested mouse, human, and artificial urine and show that urine can induce biofilm formation by the PA14 ?pelD mutant. By testing the major constituents of urine, we show that urea can induce a pel-, psl-, and alg-independent biofilm. These pel-, psl-, and alg-independent biofilms are mediated by the release of extracellular DNA. Treatment of biofilms formed in urea with DNase I reduced the biofilm, indicating that extracellular DNA supports biofilm formation. Our results indicate that the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa utilizes a distinct program to form biofilms that are independent of exopolysaccharides during CAUTI.
Project description:Agmatine is the decarboxylation product of arginine and a number of bacteria have devoted enzymatic pathways for its metabolism. Pseudomonas aeruginosa harbours the aguBA operon that metabolizes agmatine to putrescine, which can be subsequently converted into other polyamines or shunted into the TCA cycle for energy production. We discovered an alternate agmatine operon in the P. aeruginosa strain PA14 named agu2ABCA' that contains two genes for agmatine deiminases (agu2A and agu2A'). This operon was found to be present in 25% of clinical P. aeruginosa isolates. Agu2A' contains a twin-arginine translocation signal at its N-terminus and site-directed mutagenesis and cell fractionation experiments confirmed this protein is secreted to the periplasm. Analysis of the agu2ABCA' promoter demonstrates that agmatine induces expression of the operon during the stationary phase of growth and during biofilm growth and agu2ABCA' provides only weak complementation of aguBA, which is induced during log phase. Biofilm assays of mutants of all three agmatine deiminase genes in PA14 revealed that deletion of agu2ABCA', specifically its secreted product Agu2A', reduces biofilm production of PA14 following addition of exogenous agmatine. Together, these findings reveal a novel role for the agu2ABCA' operon in the biofilm development of P. aeruginosa.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the most prevalent pathogens in airway infections of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. We studied how these pathogens coexist and interact with each other. Clinical isolates of both species were retrieved from adult CF patients. Culture supernatants from 63 P. aeruginosa isolates triggered a wide range of biofilm-stimulatory activities when added to the culture of a control S. aureus strain. The extent of biofilm formation by S. aureus was positively correlated to the levels of the 2-alkyl-4-(1H)-quinolones (AQs) Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) and 2-heptyl-4-hydroxy quinoline N-oxide (HQNO) produced by the P. aeruginosa isolates. Supernatants from P. aeruginosa isogenic mutants deficient in PQS and HQNO production stimulated significantly less biofilm formation by S. aureus than that seen with the parental strain PA14. When studying co-isolated pairs of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus retrieved from patients showing both pathogens, P. aeruginosa supernatants stimulated less biofilm production by the S. aureus counterparts compared to that observed using the control S. aureus strain. Accordingly, some P. aeruginosa isolates produced low levels of exoproducts and also some of the clinical S. aureus isolates were not stimulated by their co-isolates or by PA14 despite adequate production of HQNO. This suggests that colonization of the CF lungs promotes some type of strain selection, or that co-existence requires specific adaptations by either or both pathogens. Results provide insights on bacterial interactions in CF.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa chronic lung infections are the major cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The P. aeruginosa strains PAO1 and PA14 were compared with the Liverpool epidemic strain LESB58 to assess in vivo growth, infection kinetics, and bacterial persistence and localization within tissues in a rat model of chronic lung infection. The three P. aeruginosa strains demonstrated similar growth curves in vivo but differences in tissue distribution. The LESB58 strain persisted in the bronchial lumen, while the PAO1 and PA14 strains were found localized in the alveolar regions and grew as macrocolonies after day 7 postinfection. Bacterial strains were compared for swimming and twitching motility and for the production of biofilm. The P. aeruginosa LESB58 strain produced more biofilm than PAO1 and PA14. Competitive index (CI) analysis of PAO1, PA14, and LESB58 in vivo indicated CI values of 0.002, 0.0002, and 0.14 between PAO1-PA14, PAO1-LESB58, and LESB58-PA14, respectively. CI analysis comparing the in vivo growth of the PAO1 DeltaPA5441 mutant and four PA14 surface attachment-defective (sad) mutants gave CI values 10 to 1,000 times lower in competitions with their respective wild-type strains PAO1 and PA14. P. aeruginosa strains studied in the rat model of chronic lung infection demonstrated similar in vivo growth but differences in virulence as shown with a competitive in vivo assay. These differences were further confirmed with biofilm and motility in vitro assays, where strain LESB58 produced more biofilm but had less capacity for motility than PAO1 and PA14.
Project description:Chronic Pseudomonas biofilm infections are commonly associated in patients afflicted with cystic fibrosis (CF) leading to high degree of morbidity. In a murine tumor model we demonstrated that P. aeruginosa efficiently colonizes and forms biofilms in cancerous tissue post intra-venous injection. Several non-biofilm forming mutants have been identified and incorporated in the present study. Biofilm formation by wild type strains was evident in electron microscopy and immuno-histological studies. Efficacy of currently available CF infection treatment antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, colistin and tobramycin were tested in this model. We found out that normal doses of these antibiotics were unable to eliminate wild type P. aeruginosa PA14. However, transposon mutants of P. aeruginosa PA14 (pqsA & Pel A) had strong influence on colonization. Subsequently high doses were effective against wild type P. aeruginosa PA14 biofilms. Overall design: The samples of P. aeruginosa PA14 wild type strain and the transposon mutant of pqsA were analyzed by RNA-seq. The control samples were cultivated in the LB medium until the exponential or stationary growth phase. Four biological replicas were pooled in pairs to get two replicas for RNA extraction, library preparation and sequencing. Tumor samples were collected from mice infected with PA14 wild type or PA14 pqsA transposon mutants. There were four mice per group and the material of each group was pooled to assure sufficient bacterial RNA. The tumor samples were split into two technical replicas for sequencing library preparation. Please note that two groups which each processed data file were generated from are indicated in the file names as following; PA14_exponential growth (PA14_e) PA14_stationary growth (PA14_s) WT_murine tumor cells (PA14_t) pqsA_exponential growth (pqsA_e) pqsA_stationary growth (pqsA_s) pqsA_murine tumor cells (pqsA_t)
Project description:Patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) are commonly affected by chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections. This is the main cause for the high disease severity. In this study, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa is able to efficiently colonize murine solid tumors after intravenous injection and to form biofilms in this tissue. Biofilm formation was evident by electron microscopy. Such structures could not be observed with transposon mutants, which were defective in biofilm formation. Comparative transcriptional profiling of P. aeruginosa indicated physiological similarity of the bacteria in the murine tumor model and the CF lung. The efficacy of currently available antibiotics for treatment of P. aeruginosa-infected CF lungs, such as ciprofloxacin, colistin, and tobramycin, could be tested in the tumor model. We found that clinically recommended doses of these antibiotics were unable to eliminate wild-type P. aeruginosa PA14 while being effective against biofilm-defective mutants. However, colistin-tobramycin combination therapy significantly reduced the number of P. aeruginosa PA14 cells in tumors at lower concentrations. Hence, we present a versatile experimental system that is providing a platform to test approved and newly developed antibiofilm compounds.