Engineering nanoparticles to silence bacterial communication.
ABSTRACT: The alarming spread of bacterial resistance to traditional antibiotics has warranted the study of alternative antimicrobial agents. Quorum sensing (QS) is a chemical cell-to-cell communication mechanism utilized by bacteria to coordinate group behaviors and establish infections. QS is integral to bacterial survival, and therefore provides a unique target for antimicrobial therapy. In this study, silicon dioxide nanoparticles (Si-NP) were engineered to target the signaling molecules [i.e., acylhomoserine lactones (HSLs)] used for QS in order to halt bacterial communication. Specifically, when Si-NP were surface functionalized with ?-cyclodextrin (?-CD), then added to cultures of bacteria (Vibrio fischeri), whose luminous output depends upon HSL-mediated QS, the cell-to-cell communication was dramatically reduced. Reductions in luminescence were further verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analyses of luminescence genes. Binding of HSLs to Si-NPs was examined using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The results indicated that by delivering high concentrations of engineered NPs with associated quenching compounds, the chemical signals were removed from the immediate bacterial environment. In actively-metabolizing cultures, this treatment blocked the ability of bacteria to communicate and regulate QS, effectively silencing and isolating the cells. Si-NPs provide a scaffold and critical stepping-stone for more pointed developments in antimicrobial therapy, especially with regard to QS-a target that will reduce resistance pressures imposed by traditional antibiotics.
Project description:Antarctica, being the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on Earth, represents the most extreme environment in which a living organism can survive. Under constant exposure to harsh environmental threats, terrestrial Antarctica remains home to a great diversity of microorganisms, indicating that the soil bacteria must have adapted a range of survival strategies that require cell-to-cell communication. Survival strategies include secondary metabolite production, biofilm formation, bioluminescence, symbiosis, conjugation, sporulation, and motility, all of which are often regulated by quorum sensing (QS), a type of bacterial communication. Until now, such mechanisms have not been explored in terrestrial Antarctica. In this study, LuxI/LuxR-based quorum sensing (QS) activity was delineated in soil bacterial isolates recovered from Adams Flat, in the Vestfold Hills region of East Antarctica. Interestingly, we identified the production of potential homoserine lactones (HSLs) with chain lengths ranging from medium to long in 19 bacterial species using three biosensors, namely, Agrobacterium tumefaciens NTL4, Chromobacterium violaceum CV026, and Escherichia coli MT102, in conjunction with thin-layer chromatography (TLC). The majority of detectable HSLs were from Gram-positive species not previously known to produce HSLs. This discovery further expands our understanding of the microbial community capable of this type of communication, as well as provides insights into physiological adaptations of microorganisms that allow them to survive in the harsh Antarctic environment.IMPORTANCE Quorum sensing, a type of bacterial communication, is widely known to regulate many processes, including those that confer a survival advantage. However, little is known about communication by bacteria residing within Antarctic soils. Employing a combination of bacterial biosensors, analytical techniques, and genome mining, we found a variety of Antarctic soil bacteria speaking a common language, via LuxI/LuxR-based quorum sensing, thus potentially supporting survival in a mixed microbial community. This study reports potential quorum sensing activity in Antarctic soils and has provided a platform for studying physiological adaptations of microorganisms that allow them to survive in the harsh Antarctic environment.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bacteria release a wide variety of small molecules including cell-to-cell signaling compounds. Gram-negative bacteria use a variety of self-produced autoinducers such as acylated homoserine lactones (acyl-HSLs) as signal compounds for quorum sensing (QS) within and between bacterial species. QS plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases and in beneficial symbiosis by responding to acyl-HSLs in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is considered that the selection of bacterial languages is necessary to regulate gene expression and thus it leads to the regulation of virulence and provides a growth advantage in several environments. In this study, we hypothesized that RND-type efflux pump system MexAB-OprM of P. aeruginosa might function in the selection of acyl-HSLs, and we provide evidence to support this hypothesis. RESULTS: Loss of MexAB-OprM due to deletion of mexB caused increases in QS responses, as shown by the expression of gfp located downstream of the lasB promoter and LasB elastase activity, which is regulated by a LasR-3-oxo-C12-HSL complex. Either complementation with a plasmid containing wild-type mexB or the addition of a LasR-specific inhibitor, patulin, repressed these high responses to 3-oxo-acyl-HSLs. Furthermore, it was shown that the acyl-HSLs-dependent response of P. aeruginosa was affected by the inhibition of MexB transport activity and the mexB mutant. The P. aeruginosa MexAB-OprM deletion mutant showed a strong QS response to 3-oxo-C10-HSL produced by Vibrio anguillarum in a bacterial cross-talk experiment. CONCLUSION: This work demonstrated that MexAB-OprM does not control the binding of LasR to 3-oxo-Cn-HSLs but rather accessibility of non-cognate acyl-HSLs to LasR in P. aeruginosa. MexAB-OprM not only influences multidrug resistance, but also selects acyl-HSLs and regulates QS in P. aeruginosa. The results demonstrate a new QS regulation mechanism via the efflux system MexAB-OprM in P. aeruginosa.
Project description:A number of bacteria, including pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, utilize homoserine lactones (HSLs) as quorum sensing (QS) signaling compounds and engage in cell-to-cell communication to coordinate their behavior. Blocking this bacterial communication may be an attractive strategy for infection control as QS takes a central role in P. aeruginosa biology. In this study, immunomodulation of HSL molecules by monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was used as a novel approach to prevent P. aeruginosa infections and as tools to detect HSLs in bodily fluids as a possible first clue to an undiagnosed Gram-negative infection. Using sheep immunization and recombinant antibody technology, a panel of sheep-mouse chimeric MAbs were generated which recognized HSL compounds with high sensitivity (nanomolar range) and cross-reactivity. These MAbs retained their nanomolar sensitivity in complex matrices and were able to recognize HSLs in P. aeruginosa cultures grown in the presence of urine. In a nematode slow-killing assay, HSL MAbs significantly increased the survival of worms fed on the antibiotic-resistant strain PA058. The therapeutic benefit of these MAbs was further studied using a mouse model of Pseudomonas infection in which groups of mice treated with HSL-2 and HSL-4 MAbs survived, 7 days after pathogen challenge, in significantly greater numbers (83 and 67%, respectively) compared with the control groups. This body of work has provided early proof-of-concept data to demonstrate the potential of HSL-specific, monoclonal antibodies as theranostic clinical leads suitable for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of life-threatening bacterial infections.
Project description:Apart from inter-bacteria communication quorum sensing (QS) mechanisms also enable inter-domain interactions. To interfere with bacterial QS, plants were found to secrete compounds; most of which of unknown identity. We have identified the plant compound rosmarinic acid (RA) to modulate Pseudomonas aeruginosa QS by binding to the RhlR QS regulator. RA was found to be a homoserine-lactone (HSL) mimic that caused agonistic effects on transcription, resulting ultimately in a stimulation of several RhlR controlled phenotypes like virulence factor synthesis or biofilm formation. Our study was initiated by in silico screening of an RhlR model with compound libraries, demonstrating that this approach is suitable to tackle a major bottleneck in signal transduction research, which is the identification of sensor protein ligands. Previous work has shown that plant compounds interfere with the function of orphan QS regulators. Our study demonstrates that this has not necessarily to be the case since RhlR forms a functional pair with the RhlI synthase. A wide range of structurally dissimilar compounds have been found to mimic HSLs suggesting that this class of QS regulators is characterized by a significant plasticity in the recognition of effector molecules. Further research will show to what extent RA impacts on QS mechanisms of other bacteria.
Project description:Quorum sensing (QS) is a process of cell-to-cell communication that bacteria use to orchestrate collective behaviors. QS relies on the cell-density-dependent production, accumulation, and receptor-mediated detection of extracellular signaling molecules called autoinducers (AIs). Gram-negative bacteria commonly use N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) as their AIs, and they are detected by LuxR-type receptors. Often, LuxR-type receptors are insoluble when not bound to a cognate AI. In this report, we show that LuxR-type receptors are encoded on phage genomes, and in the cases we tested, the phage LuxR-type receptors bind to and are solubilized specifically by the AHL AI produced by the host bacterium. We do not yet know the viral activities that are controlled by these phage QS receptors; however, our observations, coupled with recent reports, suggest that their occurrence is more widespread than previously appreciated. Using receptor-mediated detection of QS AIs could enable phages to garner information concerning the population density status of their bacterial hosts. We speculate that such information can be exploited by phages to optimize the timing of execution of particular steps in viral infection.IMPORTANCE Bacteria communicate with chemical signal molecules to regulate group behaviors in a process called quorum sensing (QS). In this report, we find that genes encoding receptors for Gram-negative bacterial QS communication molecules are present on genomes of viruses that infect these bacteria. These viruses are called phages. We show that two phage-encoded receptors, like their bacterial counterparts, bind to the communication molecule produced by the host bacterium, suggesting that phages can "listen in" on their bacterial hosts. Interfering with bacterial QS and using phages to kill pathogenic bacteria represent attractive possibilities for development of new antimicrobials to combat pathogens that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. Our findings of interactions between phages and QS bacteria need consideration as new antimicrobial therapies are developed.
Project description:The widespread emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has highlighted the urgent need of alternative therapeutic approaches for human and animal health. Targeting virulence factors that are controlled by bacterial quorum sensing (QS), seems a promising approach. The aims of this study were to generate novel nanoparticles (NPs) composed of chitosan (CS), sulfo-butyl-ether-?-cyclodextrin (Captisol®) and/or pentasodium tripolyphosphate using ionotropic gelation technique, and to evaluate their potential capacity to arrest QS in bacteria. The resulting NPs were in the size range of 250-400 nm with CS70/5 and 330-600 nm with CS70/20, had low polydispersity index (<0.25) and highly positive zeta potential ranging from ? ~+31 to +40 mV. Quercetin, a hydrophobic model flavonoid, could be incorporated proportionally with increasing amounts of Captisol® in the NPs formualtion, without altering significantly its physicochemical properties. Elemental analysis and FTIR studies revealed that Captisol® and quercetin were effectively integrated into the NPs. These NPs were stable in M9 bacterial medium for 7 h at 37 °C. Further, NPs containing Captisol® seem to prolong the release of associated drug. Bioassays against an E. coli Top 10 QS biosensor revealed that CS70/5 NPs could inhibit QS up to 61.12%, while CS70/20 NPs exhibited high antibacterial effects up to 88.32%. These results suggested that the interaction between NPs and the bacterial membrane could enhance either anti-QS or anti-bacterial activities.
Project description:The growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics requires novel synthetic drugs or new formulations for old drugs. Here, cationic nanostructured particles (NPs) self-assembled from cationic bilayer fragments and polyelectrolytes are tested against four multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of clinical importance. The non-hemolytic poly(diallyldimethylammonium) chloride (PDDA) polymer as the outer NP layer shows a remarkable activity against these organisms. The mechanism of cell death involves bacterial membrane lysis as determined from the leakage of inner phosphorylated compounds and possibly disassembly of the NP with the appearance of multilayered fibers made of the NP components and the biopolymers withdrawn from the cell wall. The NPs display broad-spectrum activity against MDR microorganisms, including Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and yeast.
Project description:Despite a decade of engineering and process improvements, bacterial infection remains the primary threat to implanted medical devices. Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) have demonstrated antimicrobial properties. Their microbial selectivity, stability, ease of production, and low cost make them attractive alternatives to silver NPs or antimicrobial peptides. Here we sought to (1) determine the relative efficacy of ZnO-NPs on planktonic growth of medically relevant pathogens; (2) establish the role of bacterial surface chemistry on ZnO-NP effectiveness; (3) evaluate NP shape as a factor in the dose-response; and (4) evaluate layer-by-layer (LBL) ZnO-NP surface coatings on biofilm growth. ZnO-NPs inhibited bacterial growth in a shape-dependent manner not previously seen or predicted. Pyramid shaped particles were the most effective and contrary to previous work, larger particles were more effective than smaller particles. Differential susceptibility of pathogens may be related to their surface hydrophobicity. LBL ZnO-NO coatings reduced staphylococcal biofilm burden by >95%. From the Clinical Editor: The use of medical implants is widespread. However, bacterial colonization remains a major concern. In this article, the authors investigated the use of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) to prevent bacterial infection. They showed in their experiments that ZnO-NPs significantly inhibited bacterial growth. This work may present a new alternative in using ZnO-NPs in medical devices.
Project description:Natural products (NPs) isolated from bacteria have dramatically advanced human society, especially in medicine and agriculture. The rapidity and ease of genome sequencing have enabled bioinformatics-guided NP discovery and characterization. As a result, NP potential and diversity within a complex community, such as the microbiome of a plant, are rapidly expanding areas of scientific exploration. Here, we assess biosynthetic diversity in the Populus microbiome by analyzing both bacterial isolate genomes and metagenome samples. We utilize the fully sequenced genomes of isolates from the Populus root microbiome to characterize a subset of organisms for NP potential. The more than 3,400 individual gene clusters identified in 339 bacterial isolates, including 173 newly sequenced organisms, were diverse across NP types and distinct from known NP clusters. The ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified peptides were both widespread and divergent from previously characterized molecules. Lactones and siderophores were prevalent in the genomes, suggesting a high level of communication and pressure to compete for resources. We then consider the overall bacterial diversity and NP variety of metagenome samples compared to the sequenced isolate collection and other plant microbiomes. The sequenced collection, curated to reflect the phylogenetic diversity of the Populus microbiome, also reflects the overall NP diversity trends seen in the metagenomic samples. In our study, only about 1% of all clusters from sequenced isolates were positively matched to a previously characterized gene cluster, suggesting a great opportunity for the discovery of novel NPs involved in communication and control in the Populus root microbiome. IMPORTANCE The plant root microbiome is one of the most diverse and abundant biological communities known. Plant-associated bacteria can have a profound effect on plant growth and development, and especially on protection from disease and environmental stress. These organisms are also known to be a rich source of antibiotic and antifungal drugs. In order to better understand the ways bacterial communities influence plant health, we evaluated the diversity and uniqueness of the natural product gene clusters in bacteria isolated from poplar trees. The complex molecule clusters are abundant, and the majority are unique, suggesting a great potential to discover new molecules that could not only affect plant health but also could have applications as antibiotic agents.
Project description:Quorum sensing (QS) is a chemical communication process that Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses to regulate virulence and biofilm formation. Disabling of QS is an emerging approach for combating its pathogenicity. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been widely applied as antimicrobial agents against human pathogenic bacteria and fungi, but not for the attenuation of bacterial QS. Here we mycofabricated AgNPs (mfAgNPs) using metabolites of soil fungus Rhizopus arrhizus BRS-07 and tested their effect on QS-regulated virulence and biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa. Transcriptional studies demonstrated that mfAgNPs reduced the levels of LasIR-RhlIR. Treatment of mfAgNPs inhibited biofilm formation, production of several virulence factors (e.g. LasA protease, LasB elastrase, pyocyanin, pyoverdin, pyochelin, rhamnolipid, and alginate) and reduced AHLs production. Further genes quantification analyses revealed that mfAgNPs significantly down-regulated QS-regulated genes, specifically those encoded to the secretion of virulence factors. The results clearly indicated the anti-virulence property of mfAgNPs by inhibiting P. aeruginosa QS signaling.