New insights into virulence mechanisms of rice pathogen Acidovorax avenae subsp. avenae strain RS-1 following exposure to ß-lactam antibiotics.
ABSTRACT: Recent research has shown that pathogen virulence can be altered by exposure to antibiotics, even when the growth rate is unaffected. Investigating this phenomenon provides new insights into understanding the virulence mechanisms of bacterial pathogens. This study investigates the phenotypic and transcriptomic responses of the rice pathogenic bacterium Acidovorax avenae subsp. avenae (Aaa) strain RS-1 to ß-lactam antibiotics especially Ampicillin (Amp). Our results indicate that exposure to Amp does not influence bacterial growth and biofilm formation, but alters the virulence, colonization capacity, composition of extracellular polymeric substances and secretion of Type VI secretion system (T6SS) effector Hcp. This attenuation in virulence is linked to unique or differential expression of known virulence-associated genes based on genome-wide transcriptomic analysis. The reliability of expression data generated by RNA-Seq was verified with quantitative real-time PCR of 21 selected T6SS genes, where significant down-regulation in expression of hcp gene, corresponding to the reduction in secretion of Hcp, was observed under exposure to Amp. Hcp is highlighted as a potential target for Amp, with similar changes observed in virulence-associated phenotypes between exposure to Amp and mutation of hcp gene. In addition, Hcp secretion is reduced in knockout mutants of 4 differentially expressed T6SS genes.
Project description:The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a class of macromolecular machine that is required for the virulence of gram-negative bacteria. However, it is still not clear what the role of T6SS in the virulence of rice bacterial brown stripe pathogen Acidovorax avenae subsp. avenae (Aaa) is. The aim of the current study was to investigate the contribution of T6SS in Aaa strain RS2 virulence using insertional deletion mutation and complementation approaches. This strain produced weak virulence but contains a complete T6SS gene cluster based on a genome-wide analysis. Here we compared the virulence-related phenotypes between the wild-type (RS-2) and 25 T6SS mutants, which were constructed using homologous recombination methods. The mutation of 15 T6SS genes significantly reduced bacterial virulence and the secretion of Hcp protein. Additionally, the complemented 7 mutations ?pppA, ?clpB, ?hcp, ?dotU, ?icmF, ?impJ, and ?impM caused similar virulence characteristics as RS-2. Moreover, the mutant ?pppA, ?clpB, ?icmF, ?impJ and ?impM genes caused by a 38.3~56.4% reduction in biofilm formation while the mutants ?pppA, ?clpB, ?icmF and ?hcp resulted in a 37.5~44.6% reduction in motility. All together, these results demonstrate that T6SS play vital roles in the virulence of strain RS-2, which may be partially attributed to the reductions in Hcp secretion, biofilm formation and motility. However, differences in virulence between strain RS-1 and RS-2 suggest that other factors may also be involved in the virulence of Aaa.
Project description:Response of bacterial pathogen to environmental bacteria and its host is critical for understanding of microbial adaption and pathogenesis. Here, we used RNA-Seq to comprehensively and quantitatively assess the transcriptional response of Acidovorax avenae subsp. avenae strain RS-1 cultivated in vitro, in vivo and in co-culture with rice rhizobacterium Burkholderia seminalis R456. Results revealed a slight response to other bacteria, but a strong response to host. In particular, a large number of virulence associated genes encoding Type I to VI secretion systems, 118 putative non-coding RNAs, and 7 genomic islands (GIs) were differentially expressed in vivo based on comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses. Furthermore, the loss of virulence for knockout mutants of 11 differentially expressed T6SS genes emphasized the importance of these genes in bacterial pathogenicity. In addition, the reliability of expression data obtained by RNA-Seq was supported by quantitative real-time PCR of the 25 selected T6SS genes. Overall, this study highlighted the role of differentially expressed genes in elucidating bacterial pathogenesis based on combined analysis of RNA-Seq data and knockout of T6SS genes.
Project description:This study investigated the transcriptomic response of rice pathogen Acidovorax avenae subsp. avenae (Aaa) strain RS-1 to ß-lactam antibiotics in particular Ampicillin (Amp) and the result highlights the importance of Amp-induced differentially expressed genes in the virulence of Aaa strain RS-1. Overall design: 1 sample (Aaa strain under Amp (+) condition) with 2 biogical replicates; our previous RNA-Seq squencing result of Aaa strain under Amp (-) condition [GSM1220690 and GSM1220691 in GSE50522] was used as the control.
Project description:A type VI secretion system (T6SS) was recently shown to be required for full virulence of Vibrio cholerae O37 serogroup strain V52. In this study, we systematically mutagenized each individual gene in T6SS locus and characterized their functions based on expression and secretion of the hemolysin co-regulated protein (Hcp), virulence towards amoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum and killing of Escherichia coli bacterial cells. We group the 17 proteins characterized in the T6SS locus into four categories: twelve (VipA, VipB, VCA0109-VCA0115, ClpV, VCA0119, and VasK) are essential for Hcp secretion and bacterial virulence, and thus likely function as structural components of the apparatus; two (VasH and VCA0122) are regulators that are required for T6SS gene expression and virulence; another two, VCA0121 and valine-glycine repeat protein G 3 (VgrG-3), are not essential for Hcp expression, secretion or bacterial virulence, and their functions are unknown; the last group is represented by VCA0118, which is not required for Hcp expression or secretion but still plays a role in both amoebae and bacterial killing and may therefore be an effector protein. We also showed that the clpV gene product is required for Dictyostelium virulence but is less important for killing E. coli. In addition, one vgrG gene (vgrG-2) outside of the T6SS gene cluster was required for bacterial killing but another (vgrG-1) was not. However, a bacterial killing defect was observed when vgrG-1 and vgrG-3 were both deleted. Several genes encoded in the same putative operon as vgrG-1 and vgrG-2 also contribute to virulence toward Dictyostelium but have a smaller effect on bacterial killing. Our results provide new insights into the functional requirements of V. cholerae's T6SS in the context of secretion as well as killing of bacterial and eukaryotic phagocytic cells.
Project description:We investigated the genetic background and microbiological features of T6SS-positive Acinetobacter baumannii isolates and clinical impact of the T6SS in patients with A. baumannii bacteremia. One hundred and 62 A. baumannii isolates from patients with bacteremia in 2 tertiary-care hospitals in Korea were included in this study. Approximately one-third (51/162, 31.5%) of the A. baumannii clinical isolates possessed the hcp gene, and the hcp-positive isolates were found in several genotypes in multilocus sequence typing. The expression and secretion of Hcp protein varied among the clinical isolates. A. baumannii isolates with detectable Hcp secretion (T6SS+) could better outcompete Escherichia coli compared with T6SS- isolates, including hcp-negative and inactivated hcp-positive isolates. In addition, T6SS+ isolates showed higher biofilm-forming activity and better survival in the presence of normal human serum than the T6SS- isolates. T6SS+ isolates were more frequently detected in patients with catheter-related bloodstream infection, haematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, and patients receiving immunosuppressive agents. However, T6SS was not a prognostic factor for mortality. Our results suggest that the T6SS of A. baumannii is associated with virulence and contributes to infections in immunocompromised patients and those with implanted medical devices.
Project description:Our laboratory recently molecularly characterized the type II secretion system (T2SS)-associated cytotoxic enterotoxin (Act) and the T3SS-secreted AexU effector from a diarrheal isolate SSU of Aeromonas hydrophila. The role of these toxin proteins in the pathogenesis of A. hydrophila infections was subsequently delineated in in vitro and in vivo models. In this study, we characterized the new type VI secretion system (T6SS) from isolate SSU of A. hydrophila and demonstrated its role in bacterial virulence. Study of the role of T6SS in bacterial virulence is in its infancy, and there are, accordingly, only limited, recent reports directed toward a better understanding its role in bacterial pathogenesis. We have provided evidence that the virulence-associated secretion (vas) genes vasH (Sigma 54-dependent transcriptional regulator) and vasK (encoding protein of unknown function) are essential for expression of the genes encoding the T6SS and/or they constituted important components of the T6SS. Deletion of the vasH gene prevented expression of the potential translocon hemolysin coregulated protein (Hcp) encoding gene from bacteria, while the vasK gene deletion prevented secretion but not translocation of Hcp into host cells. The secretion of Hcp was independent of the T3SS and the flagellar system. We demonstrated that secreted Hcp could bind to the murine RAW 264.7 macrophages from outside, in addition to its ability to be translocated into host cells. Further, the vasH and vasK mutants were less toxic to murine macrophages and human epithelial HeLa cells, and these mutants were more efficiently phagocytosed by macrophages. We also provided evidence that the expression of the hcp gene in the HeLa cell resulted in apoptosis of the host cells. Finally, the vasH and vasK mutants of A. hydrophila were less virulent in a septicemic mouse model of infection, and animals immunized with recombinant Hcp were protected from subsequent challenge with the wild-type (WT) bacterium. In addition, mice infected with the WT A. hydrophila had circulating antibodies to Hcp, indicating an important role of T6SS in the pathogenesis of A. hydrophila infections. Taken together, we have characterized the T6SS from Aeromonas for the first time and provided new features of this secretion system not yet known for other pathogens.
Project description:Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a contact-dependent secretion system, employed by most gram-negative bacteria for translocating effector proteins to target cells. The present study was conducted to investigate T6SS in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), which causes bacterial blight in rice, and to unveil its functions. Two T6SS clusters were found in the genome of Xoo PXO99A. The deletion mutants, ?hcp1, ?hcp2, and ?hcp12, targeting the hcp gene in each cluster, and a double-deletion mutant targeting both genes were constructed and tested for growth rate, pathogenicity to rice, and inter-bacterial competition ability. The results indicated that hcp in T6SS-2, but not T6SS-1, was involved in bacterial virulence to rice plants. However, neither T6SS-1 nor T6SS-2 had any effect on the ability to compete with Escherichia coli or other bacterial cells. In conclusion, T6SS gene clusters in Xoo have been characterized, and its role in virulence to rice was confirmed.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) as a virulence factor-releasing system contributes to virulence development of various pathogens and is often activated upon contact with target cells. Citrobacter freundii strain CF74 has a complete T6SS genomic island (GI) that contains clpV, hcp-2, and vgr T6SS genes. We constructed clpV, hcp-2, vgr, and T6SS GI deletion mutants in CF74 and analyzed their effects on the transcriptome overall and, specifically, on the flagellar system at the levels of transcription and translation. Deletion of the T6SS GI affected the transcription of 84 genes, with 15 and 69 genes exhibiting higher and lower levels of transcription, respectively. Members of the cell motility class of downregulated genes of the CF74?T6SS mutant were mainly flagellar genes, including effector proteins, chaperones, and regulators. Moreover, the production and secretion of FliC were also decreased in clpV, hcp-2, vgr, or T6SS GI deletion mutants in CF74 and were restored upon complementation. In swimming motility assays, the mutant strains were found to be less motile than the wild type, and motility was restored by complementation. The mutant strains were defective in adhesion to HEp-2 cells and were restored partially upon complementation. Further, the CF74?T6SS, CF74?clpV, and CF74?hcp-2 mutants induced lower cytotoxicity to HEp-2 cells than the wild type. These results suggested that the T6SS GI in CF74 regulates the flagellar system, enhances motility, is involved in adherence to host cells, and induces cytotoxicity to host cells. Thus, the T6SS plays a wide-ranging role in C. freundii.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a versatile secretion machine dedicated to various functions in Gram-negative bacteria, including virulence toward eukaryotic cells and antibacterial activity. Activity of T6SS might be followed in vitro by the release of two proteins, Hcp and VgrG, in the culture supernatant. Citrobacter rodentium, a rodent pathogen, harbors two T6SS gene clusters, cts1 and cts2. Reporter fusion and Hcp release assays suggested that the CTS1 T6SS was not produced or not active. The cts1 locus is composed of two divergent operons. We therefore developed a new vector allowing us to swap the two divergent endogenous promoters by P(tac) and P(BAD) using the λ red recombination technology. Artificial induction of both promoters demonstrated that the CTS1 T6SS is functional as shown by the Hcp release assay and confers on C. rodentium a growth advantage in antibacterial competition experiments with Escherichia coli.
Project description:Aeromonas hydrophila, a Gram-negative bacterium, is an emerging human pathogen equipped with both a type 3 and a type 6 secretion system (T6SS). In this study, we evaluated the roles played by paralogous T6SS effector proteins, hemolysin co-regulated proteins (Hcp-1 and -2) and valine glycine repeat G (VgrG-1, -2 and -3) protein family members in A. hydrophila SSU pathogenesis by generating various combinations of deletion mutants of the their genes. In addition to their predicted roles as structural components and effector proteins of the T6SS, our data clearly demonstrated that paralogues of Hcp and VgrG also influenced bacterial motility, protease production and biofilm formation. Surprisingly, there was limited to no observed functional redundancy among and/or between the aforementioned T6SS effector paralogues in multiple assays. Our data indicated that Hcp and VgrG paralogues located within the T6SS cluster were more involved in forming T6SS structures, while the primary roles of Hcp-1 and VgrG-1, located outside of the T6SS cluster, were as T6SS effectors. In terms of influence on bacterial physiology, Hcp-1, but not Hcp-2, influenced bacterial motility and protease production, and in its absence, increases in both of the aforementioned activities were observed. Likewise, VgrG-1 played a major role in regulating bacterial protease production, while VgrG-2 and VgrG-3 were critical in regulating bacterial motility and biofilm formation. In an intraperitoneal murine model of infection, all Hcp and VgrG paralogues were required for optimal bacterial virulence and dissemination to mouse peripheral organs. Importantly, the observed phenotypic alterations of the T6SS mutants could be fully complemented. Taking these results together, we have further established the roles played by the two known T6SS effectors of A. hydrophila by defining their contributions to T6SS function and virulence in both in vitro and in vivo models of infection.