Changes to its peptidoglycan-remodeling enzyme repertoire modulate ?-lactam resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections and is resistant to many antibiotics. Among its primary mechanisms of resistance is expression of a chromosomally encoded AmpC ?-lactamase that inactivates ?-lactams. The mechanisms leading to AmpC expression in P. aeruginosa remain incompletely understood but are intricately linked to cell wall metabolism. To better understand the roles of peptidoglycan-active enzymes in AmpC expression-and consequent ?-lactam resistance-a phenotypic screen of P. aeruginosa mutants lacking such enzymes was performed. Mutants lacking one of four lytic transglycosylases (LTs) or the nonessential penicillin-binding protein PBP4 (dacB) had altered ?-lactam resistance. mltF and slt mutants with reduced ?-lactam resistance were designated WIMPs (wall-impaired mutant phenotypes), while highly resistant dacB, sltB1, and mltB mutants were designated HARMs (high-level AmpC resistant mutants). Double mutants lacking dacB and sltB1 had extreme piperacillin resistance (>256 ?g/ml) compared to either of the single knockouts (64 ?g/ml for a dacB mutant and 12 ?g/ml for an sltB1 mutant). Inactivation of ampC reverted these mutants to wild-type susceptibility, confirming that AmpC expression underlies resistance. dacB mutants had constitutively elevated AmpC expression, but the LT mutants had wild-type levels of AmpC in the absence of antibiotic exposure. These data suggest that there are at least two different pathways leading to AmpC expression in P. aeruginosa and that their simultaneous activation leads to extreme ?-lactam resistance.
Project description:This study aimed to characterize the role of Pseudomonas aeruginosa low-molecular-mass penicillin-binding proteins (LMM PBPs), namely, PBP4 (DacB), PBP5 (DacC), and PBP7 (PbpG), in peptidoglycan composition, ?-lactam resistance, and ampC regulation. For this purpose, we constructed all single and multiple mutants of dacB, dacC, pbpG, and ampC from the wild-type P. aeruginosa PAO1 strain. Peptidoglycan composition was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ampC expression by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), PBP patterns by a Bocillin FL-binding test, and antimicrobial susceptibility by MIC testing for a panel of ?-lactams. Microscopy and growth rate analyses revealed no apparent major morphological changes for any of the mutants compared to the wild-type PAO1 strain. Of the single mutants, only dacC mutation led to significantly increased pentapeptide levels, showing that PBP5 is the major dd-carboxypeptidase in P. aeruginosa. Moreover, our results indicate that PBP4 and PBP7 play a significant role as dd-carboxypeptidase only if PBP5 is absent, and their dd-endopeptidase activity is also inferred. As expected, the inactivation of PBP4 led to a significant increase in ampC expression (around 50-fold), but, remarkably, the sequential inactivation of the three LMM PBPs produced a much greater increase (1,000-fold), which correlated with peptidoglycan pentapeptide levels. Finally, the ?-lactam susceptibility profiles of the LMM PBP mutants correlated well with the ampC expression data. However, the inactivation of ampC in these mutants also evidenced a role of LMM PBPs, especially PBP5, in intrinsic ?-lactam resistance. In summary, in addition to assessing the effect of P. aeruginosa LMM PBPs on peptidoglycan structure for the first time, we obtained results that represent a step forward in understanding the impact of these PBPs on ?-lactam resistance, apparently driven by the interplay between their roles in AmpC induction, ?-lactam trapping, and dd-carboxypeptidase/?-lactamase activity.
Project description:Enterobacter cloacae complex (ECC), an opportunistic pathogen causing numerous infections in hospitalized patients worldwide, is able to resist ?-lactams mainly by producing the AmpC ?-lactamase enzyme. AmpC expression is highly inducible in the presence of some ?-lactams, but the underlying genetic regulation, which is intricately linked to peptidoglycan recycling, is still poorly understood. In this study, we constructed different mutant strains that were affected in genes encoding enzymes suspected to be involved in this pathway. As expected, the inactivation of ampC, ampR (which encodes the regulator protein of ampC), and ampG (encoding a permease) abolished ?-lactam resistance. Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments combined with phenotypic studies showed that cefotaxime (at high concentrations) and cefoxitin induced the expression of ampC in different ways: one involving NagZ (a N-acetyl-?-D-glucosaminidase) and another independent of NagZ. Unlike the model established for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, inactivation of DacB (also known as PBP4) was not responsible for a constitutive ampC overexpression in ECC, whereas it caused AmpC-mediated high-level ?-lactam resistance, suggesting a post-transcriptional regulation mechanism. Global transcriptomic analysis by transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) of a dacB deletion mutant confirmed these results. Lastly, analysis of 37 ECC clinical isolates showed that amino acid changes in the AmpD sequence were likely the most crucial event involved in the development of high-level ?-lactam resistance in vivo as opposed to P. aeruginosa where dacB mutations have been commonly found. These findings bring new elements for a better understanding of ?-lactam resistance in ECC, which is essential for the identification of novel potential drug targets.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of nosocomial infections. Its relatively impermeable outer membrane (OM) limits antibiotic entry, and a chromosomally encoded AmpC ?-lactamase inactivates ?-lactam antibiotics. AmpC expression is linked to peptidoglycan (PG) recycling, and soluble (sLT) or membrane-bound (mLT) lytic transglycosylases are responsible for generating the anhydromuropeptides that induce AmpC expression. Thus, inhibition of LT activity could reduce AmpC-mediated ?-lactam resistance in P. aeruginosa. Here, we characterized single and combination LT mutants. Strains lacking SltB1 or MltB had increased ?-lactam minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) compared to wild type, while only loss of Slt decreased MICs. An sltB1 mltB double mutant had elevated ?-lactam MICs compared to either the sltB1 or mltB single mutants (96 vs. 32 ?g/mL cefotaxime), without changes to AmpC levels. Time-kill assays with ?-lactams suggested that increased MIC correlated with a slower rate of autolysis in the sltB1 mltB mutant - an antisuicide phenotype. Strains lacking multiple mLTs were more sensitive to ?-lactams and up to 16-fold more sensitive to vancomycin, normally incapable of crossing the OM. Multi-mLT mutants were also sensitive to bile salts and osmotic stress, and were hyperbiofilm formers, all phenotypes consistent with cell envelope compromise. Complementation with genes encoding inactive forms of the enzymes - or alternatively, overexpression of Braun's lipoprotein - reversed the mutants' cell envelope damage phenotypes, suggesting that mLTs help to stabilize the OM. We conclude that P. aeruginosa mLTs contribute physically to cell envelope stability, and that Slt is the preferred target for future development of LT inhibitors that could synergize with ?-lactams.
Project description:We compared the dynamics and mechanisms of resistance development to ceftazidime, meropenem, ciprofloxacin, and ceftolozane-tazobactam in wild-type (PAO1) and mutator (PAOMS, ?mutS) P. aeruginosa. The strains were incubated for 24 h with 0.5 to 64× MICs of each antibiotic in triplicate experiments. The tubes from the highest antibiotic concentration showing growth were reinoculated in fresh medium containing concentrations up to 64× MIC for 7 consecutive days. The susceptibility profiles and resistance mechanisms were assessed in two isolated colonies from each step, antibiotic, and strain. Ceftolozane-tazobactam-resistant mutants were further characterized by whole-genome analysis through RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). The development of high-level resistance was fastest for ceftazidime, followed by meropenem and ciprofloxacin. None of the mutants selected with these antibiotics showed cross-resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam. On the other hand, ceftolozane-tazobactam resistance development was much slower, and high-level resistance was observed for the mutator strain only. PAO1 derivatives that were moderately resistant (MICs, 4 to 8 ?g/ml) to ceftolozane-tazobactam showed only 2 to 4 mutations, which determined global pleiotropic effects associated with a severe fitness cost. High-level-resistant (MICs, 32 to 128 ?g/ml) PAOMS derivatives showed 45 to 53 mutations. Major changes in the global gene expression profiles were detected in all mutants, but only PAOMS mutants showed ampC overexpression, which was caused by dacB or ampR mutations. Moreover, all PAOMS mutants contained 1 to 4 mutations in the conserved residues of AmpC (F147L, Q157R, G183D, E247K, or V356I). Complementation studies revealed that these mutations greatly increased ceftolozane-tazobactam and ceftazidime MICs but reduced those of piperacillin-tazobactam and imipenem, compared to those in wild-type ampC. Therefore, the development of high-level resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam appears to occur efficiently only in a P. aeruginosa mutator background, in which multiple mutations lead to overexpression and structural modifications of AmpC.
Project description:The development of resistance to antipseudomonal penicillins and cephalosporins mediated by the chromosomal ampC gene in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is of clinical importance. We isolated piperacillin-resistant mutants derived from P. aeruginosa PAO1 and analyzed two mutants that had an insertion in mpl and nuoN. One mutant, YT1677, was resistant to piperacillin and ceftazidime and had an insertion in mpl, which encodes UDP-N-acetylmuramate:l-alanyl-γ-d-glutamyl-meso-diaminopimelate ligase. The other mutant, YT7988, showed increased MICs of piperacillin, ceftazidime, cefepime, and cefoperazone, and the insertion was mapped to nuoN, which encodes NADH dehydrogenase I chain N. Complementation experiments demonstrated that these mutations resulted in higher levels of resistance to β-lactams. The expression of genes reported to be involved in β-lactam resistance was examined by real-time PCR in YT1677 and YT7988 mutants. Overexpression was observed for only ampC, and other genes were expressed normally. Deletion of the ampR gene in YT1677 and YT7988 resulted in decreased expression of ampC, indicating that the mutations in YT1677 and YT7988 affected the expression of ampC through the function of AmpR.
Project description:We compared the dynamics and mechanisms of resistance development to ceftazidime, meropenem, ciprofloxacin, and ceftolozane-tazobactam in wild-type (PAO1) and mutator (PAOMS, ∆mutS) P. aeruginosa. The strains were incubated for 24 h with 0.5 to 64× MICs of each antibiotic in triplicate experiments. The tubes from the highest antibiotic concentration showing growth were reinoculated in fresh medium containing concentrations up to 64× MIC for 7 consecutive days. The susceptibility profiles and resistance mechanisms were assessed in two isolated colonies from each step, antibiotic, and strain. Ceftolozane-tazobactam-resistant mutants were further characterized by whole-genome analysis through RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). The development of high-level resistance was fastest for ceftazidime, followed by meropenem and ciprofloxacin. None of the mutants selected with these antibiotics showed cross-resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam. On the other hand, ceftolozane-tazobactam resistance development was much slower, and high-level resistance was observed for the mutator strain only. PAO1 derivatives that were moderately resistant (MICs, 4 to 8 ug/ml) to ceftolozane-tazobactam showed only 2 to 4 mutations, which determined global pleiotropic effects associated with a severe fitness cost. High-level-resistant (MICs, 32 to 128 ug/ml) PAOMS derivatives showed 45 to 53 mutations. Major changes in the global gene expression profiles were detected in all mutants, but only PAOMS mutants showed ampC overexpression, which was caused by dacB or ampR mutations. Moreover, all PAOMS mutants contained 1 to 4 mutations in the conserved residues of AmpC (F147L, Q157R, G183D, E247K, or V356I). Complementation studies revealed that these mutations greatly increased ceftolozane-tazobactam and ceftazidime MICs but reduced those of piperacillin-tazobactam and imipenem, compared to those in wild-type ampC. Therefore, the development of high-level resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam appears to occur efficiently only in a P. aeruginosa mutator background, in which multiple mutations lead to overexpression and structural modifications of AmpC. Mutants of Pseudomonas aeroginosa PAO1 and PAO1 ∆mutS against Ceftolozane-tazobactam were generated and analysed using RNA-Seq
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen that is prevalent in hospitals and continues to develop resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics. Historically, ?-lactam antibiotics have been the first line of therapeutic defense. However, the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of P. aeruginosa, such as AmpC ?-lactamase overproducing mutants, limits the effectiveness of current antibiotics. Among AmpC hyperproducing clinical isolates, inactivation of AmpG, which is essential for the expression of AmpC, increases bacterial sensitivity to ?-lactam antibiotics. We hypothesize that inhibition of AmpG activity will enhance the efficacy of ?-lactams against P. aeruginosa. Here, using a highly drug-resistant AmpC-inducible laboratory strain PAO1, we describe an ultra-high-throughput whole-cell turbidity assay designed to identify small-molecule inhibitors of the AmpG. We screened 645,000 compounds to identify compounds with the ability to inhibit bacterial growth in the presence of cefoxitin, an AmpC inducer, and identified 2663 inhibitors that were also tested in the absence of cefoxitin to determine AmpG specificity. The Z' and signal-to-background ratio were robust at 0.87 ± 0.05 and 2.2 ± 0.2, respectively. Through a series of secondary and tertiary studies, including a novel luciferase-based counterscreen, we ultimately identified eight potential AmpG-specific inhibitors.
Project description:It has long been recognized that the modification of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) to reduce their affinity for beta-lactams is an important mechanism (target modification) by which Gram-positive cocci acquire antibiotic resistance. Among Gram-negative rods (GNR), however, this mechanism has been considered unusual, and restricted to clinically irrelevant laboratory mutants for most species. Using as a model Pseudomonas aeruginosa, high up on the list of pathogens causing life-threatening infections in hospitalized patients worldwide, we show that PBPs may also play a major role in beta-lactam resistance in GNR, but through a totally distinct mechanism. Through a detailed genetic investigation, including whole-genome analysis approaches, we demonstrate that high-level (clinical) beta-lactam resistance in vitro, in vivo, and in the clinical setting is driven by the inactivation of the dacB-encoded nonessential PBP4, which behaves as a trap target for beta-lactams. The inactivation of this PBP is shown to determine a highly efficient and complex beta-lactam resistance response, triggering overproduction of the chromosomal beta-lactamase AmpC and the specific activation of the CreBC (BlrAB) two-component regulator, which in turn plays a major role in resistance. These findings are a major step forward in our understanding of beta-lactam resistance biology, and, more importantly, they open up new perspectives on potential antibiotic targets for the treatment of infectious diseases.
Project description:β-N-Acetylglucosaminidase (NagZ), encoded by the nagZ gene, is a critical enzyme for basal-level ampC derepression (ampC expression in the absence of β-lactam challenge) in ampD and dacB mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Three mutants with a phenotype of basal-level L1 and L2 β-lactamase derepression in Stenotrophomonas maltophilia have been reported, including KJΔDI (ampD(I) mutant), KJΔmrcA (mrcA mutant), and KJΔDIΔmrcA (ampD(I) and mrcA double mutant). In this study, nagZ of S. maltophilia was characterized, and its roles in basal-level β-lactamase derepression, induced β-lactamase activities, and β-lactam resistance of KJΔDI, KJΔmrcA, and KJΔDIΔmrcA were evaluated. Expression of the nagZ gene was constitutive and not regulated by AmpR, AmpD(I), AmpN, AmpG, PBP1a, and NagZ. Introduction of ΔnagZ into KJΔDI nearly abolished basal-level derepressed β-lactamase activity; conversely, introduction of ΔnagZ into KJΔmrcA did not affect it. At least two activator ligands (ALs) are thus considered responsible for β-lactamase expression in the S. maltophilia system, specifically, the NagZ-dependent (AL1) and NagZ-independent (AL2) ligands responsible for the basal-level derepressed β-lactamase activities of KJΔDI and KJΔmrcA, respectively. The contributions of AL1 and AL2 to the induced β-lactamase activities may vary with the types of β-lactams. nagZ inactivation did not affect aztreonam-, cefoxitin-, and carbenicillin-induced β-lactamase activities, but it attenuated cefuroxime- and piperacillin-induced β-lactamase activities. Introduction of ΔnagZ into KJ, KJΔDI, KJΔmrcA, and KJΔDIΔmrcA did not significantly change the MICs of the β-lactams tested except that the MICs of cefuroxime and piperacillin moderately decreased in strains KJΔZ and KJΔDIΔZ (nagZ mutants).
Project description:Ceftazidime-avibactam is a combination of ?-lactam/?-lactamase inhibitor, the use of which is restricted to some clinical cases, including cystic fibrosis patients infected with multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in which mutation is the main driver of resistance. This study aims to predict the mechanisms of mutation-driven resistance that are selected for when P. aeruginosa is challenged with either ceftazidime or ceftazidime-avibactam. For this purpose, P. aeruginosa PA14 was submitted to experimental evolution in the absence of antibiotics and in the presence of increasing concentrations of ceftazidime or ceftazidime-avibactam for 30 consecutive days. Final populations were analyzed by whole-genome sequencing. All evolved populations reached similar levels of ceftazidime resistance. In addition, they were more susceptible to amikacin and produced pyomelanin. A first event in this evolution was the selection of large chromosomal deletions containing hmgA (involved in pyomelanin production), galU (involved in ?-lactams resistance), and mexXY-oprM (involved in aminoglycoside resistance). Besides mutations in mpl and dacB that regulate ?-lactamase expression, mutations related to MexAB-OprM overexpression were prevalent. Ceftazidime-avibactam challenge selected mutants in the putative efflux pump PA14_45890 and PA14_45910 and in a two-component system (PA14_45870 and PA14_45880), likely regulating its expression. All populations produced pyomelanin and were more susceptible to aminoglycosides, likely due to the selection of large chromosomal deletions. Since pyomelanin-producing mutants presenting similar deletions are regularly isolated from infections, the potential aminoglycoside hypersusceptiblity and reduced ?-lactam susceptibility of pyomelanin-producing P. aeruginosa should be taken into consideration for treating infections caused by these isolates.