Thiol reductive stress induces cellulose-anchored biofilm formation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) forms biofilms harbouring antibiotic-tolerant bacilli in vitro, but the factors that induce biofilm formation and the nature of the extracellular material that holds the cells together are poorly understood. Here we show that intracellular thiol reductive stress (TRS) induces formation of Mtb biofilms in vitro, which harbour drug-tolerant but metabolically active bacteria with unchanged levels of ATP/ADP, NAD(+)/NADH and NADP(+)/NADPH. The development of these biofilms requires DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. Transcriptional analysis suggests that Mtb modulates only ?7% of its genes for survival in biofilms. In addition to proteins, lipids and DNA, the extracellular material in these biofilms is primarily composed of polysaccharides, with cellulose being a key component. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying Mtb biofilm formation, although the clinical relevance of Mtb biofilms in human tuberculosis remains unclear.
Project description:A number of non-tuberculous mycobacterium species are opportunistic pathogens and ubiquitously form biofilms. These infections are often recalcitrant to treatment and require therapy with multiple drugs for long duration. The biofilm resident bacteria also display phenotypic drug tolerance and thus it has been hypothesized that the drug unresponsiveness in vivo could be due to formation of biofilms inside the host. We have discussed the biofilms of several pathogenic non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) species in context to the in vivo pathologies. Besides pathogenic NTMs, Mycobacterium smegmatis is often used as a model organism for understanding mycobacterial physiology and has been studied extensively for understanding the mycobacterial biofilms. A number of components of the mycobacterial cell wall such as glycopeptidolipids, short chain mycolic acids, monomeromycolyl diacylglycerol, etc. have been shown to play an important role in formation of pellicle biofilms. It shall be noted that these components impart a hydrophobic character to the mycobacterial cell surface that facilitates cell to cell interaction. However, these components are not necessarily the constituents of the extracellular matrix of mycobacterial biofilms. In the end, we have described the biofilms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis. Three models of Mtb biofilm formation have been proposed to study the factors regulating biofilm formation, the physiology of the resident bacteria, and the nature of the biomaterial that holds these bacterial masses together. These models include pellicle biofilms formed at the liquid-air interface of cultures, leukocyte lysate-induced biofilms, and thiol reductive stressinduced biofilms. All the three models offer their own advantages in the study of Mtb biofilms. Interestingly, lipids (mainly keto-mycolic acids) are proposed to be the primary component of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) in the pellicle biofilm, whereas the leukocyte lysate-induced and thiol reductive stress-induced biofilms possess polysaccharides as the primary component of EPS. Both models also contain extracellular DNA in the EPS. Interestingly, thiol reductive stressinduced Mtb biofilms are held together by cellulose and yet unidentified structural proteins. We believe that a better understanding of the EPS of Mtb biofilms and the physiology of the resident bacteria will facilitate the development of shorter regimen for TB treatment.
Project description:Successful treatment of human tuberculosis requires 6-9 months' therapy with multiple antibiotics. Incomplete clearance of tubercle bacilli frequently results in disease relapse, presumably as a result of reactivation of persistent drug-tolerant Mycobacterium tuberculosis cells, although the nature and location of these persisters are not known. In other pathogens, antibiotic tolerance is often associated with the formation of biofilms--organized communities of surface-attached cells--but physiologically and genetically defined M. tuberculosis biofilms have not been described. Here, we show that M. tuberculosis forms biofilms with specific environmental and genetic requirements distinct from those for planktonic growth, which contain an extracellular matrix rich in free mycolic acids, and harbour an important drug-tolerant population that persist despite exposure to high levels of antibiotics.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis spontaneously grows at the air-medium interface, forming pellicle biofilms, which harbor more drug-tolerant persisters than planktonic cultures. The underlying basis for increased persisters in M. tuberculosis biofilms is unknown. Using a transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) approach, we show here that multiple genes that are necessary for fitness of M. tuberculosis cells within biofilms, but not in planktonic cultures, are also implicated in tolerance of bacilli to a diverse set of stressors and antibiotics. Thus, development of M. tuberculosis biofilms appears to be associated with an enrichment of population, in which challenging growth conditions within biofilm architecture select for cells that maintain intrinsic tolerance to exogenous stresses, including antibiotic exposure. We further observed that the intrinsic drug tolerance of constituent cells of a biofilm determines the frequency of persisters. These findings together allow us to propose that the selection of elite cells during biofilm development promotes the frequency of persisters. Furthermore, probing the possibility that the population enrichment is an outcome of unique environment within biofilms, we demonstrate biofilm-specific induction in the synthesis of isonitrile lipopeptide (INLP). Mutation analysis indicates that INLP is necessary for the architecture development of M. tuberculosis biofilms. In summary, this study offers an insight into persistence of M. tuberculosis biofilms under antibiotic exposure, while identifying INLP as a potential biomarker for further investigation of this phenomenon.
Project description:Drug resistance and tolerance greatly diminish the therapeutic potential of antibiotics against pathogens. Antibiotic tolerance by bacterial biofilms often leads to persistent infections, but its mechanisms are unclear. Here we use a proteomics approach, pulsed stable isotope labelling with amino acids (pulsed-SILAC), to quantify newly expressed proteins in colistin-tolerant subpopulations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms (colistin is a 'last-resort' antibiotic against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens). Migration is essential for the formation of colistin-tolerant biofilm subpopulations, with colistin-tolerant cells using type IV pili to migrate onto the top of the colistin-killed biofilm. The colistin-tolerant cells employ quorum sensing (QS) to initiate the formation of new colistin-tolerant subpopulations, highlighting multicellular behaviour in antibiotic tolerance development. The macrolide erythromycin, which has been previously shown to inhibit the motility and QS of P. aeruginosa, boosts biofilm eradication by colistin. Our work provides insights on the mechanisms underlying the formation of antibiotic-tolerant populations in bacterial biofilms and indicates research avenues for designing more efficient treatments against biofilm-associated infections.
Project description:Mycobacterial species, like other microbes, spontaneously form multicellular drug-tolerant biofilms when grown in vitro in detergent-free liquid media. The structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis biofilms is formed through genetically programmed pathways and is built upon a large abundance of novel extracellular free mycolic acids (FM), although the mechanism of FM synthesis remained unclear. Here we show that the FM in Mycobacterium smegmatis biofilms is produced through the enzymatic release from constitutively present mycolyl derivatives. One of the precursors for FM is newly synthesized trehalose dimycolate (TDM), which is cleaved by a novel TDM-specific serine esterase, Msmeg_1529. Disruption of Msmeg_1529 leads to undetectable hydrolytic activity, reduced levels of FM in the mutant, and retarded biofilm growth. Furthermore, enzymatic hydrolysis of TDM remains conserved in M. tuberculosis, suggesting the presence of a TDM-specific esterase in this pathogen. Overall, this study provides the first evidence for an enzymatic release of free mycolic acids from cell envelope mycolates during mycobacterial growth.
Project description:Bacterial biofilms are ubiquitous in nature, and their resilience is derived in part from a complex extracellular matrix that can be tailored to meet environmental demands. Although common developmental stages leading to biofilm formation have been described, how the extracellular components are organized to allow three-dimensional biofilm development is not well understood. Here we show that uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains produce a biofilm with a highly ordered and complex extracellular matrix (ECM). We used electron microscopy (EM) techniques to image floating biofilms (pellicles) formed by UPEC. EM revealed intricately constructed substructures within the ECM that encase individual, spatially segregated bacteria with a distinctive morphology. Mutational and biochemical analyses of these biofilms confirmed curli as a major matrix component and revealed important roles for cellulose, flagella, and type 1 pili in pellicle integrity and ECM infrastructure. Collectively, the findings of this study elucidated that UPEC pellicles have a highly organized ultrastructure that varies spatially across the multicellular community.Bacteria can form biofilms in diverse niches, including abiotic surfaces, living cells, and at the air-liquid interface of liquid media. Encasing these cellular communities is a self-produced extracellular matrix (ECM) that can be composed of proteins, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids. The ECM protects biofilm bacteria from environmental insults and also makes the dissolution of biofilms very challenging. As a result, formation of biofilms within humans (during infection) or on industrial material (such as water pipes) has detrimental and costly effects. In order to combat bacterial biofilms, a better understanding of components required for biofilm formation and the ECM is required. This study defined the ECM composition and architecture of floating pellicle biofilms formed by Escherichia coli.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant global health problem for which new therapeutic options are sorely needed. The ability of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to reside within host macrophages and form biofilm-like communities contributes to the persistent and drug-tolerant nature of the disease. Compounds that can prevent or reverse the biofilm-like phenotype have the potential to serve alongside TB antibiotics to overcome this tolerance, and decrease treatment duration. Using Mycobacterium smegmatis as a surrogate organism, we report the identification of two new 2-aminoimidazole compounds that inhibit and disperse mycobacterial biofilms, work synergistically with isoniazid and rifampicin to eradicate preformed M.?smegmatis biofilms in?vitro, are nontoxic toward Galleria mellonella, and exhibit stability in mouse plasma.
Project description:High levels of antibiotic tolerance are a hallmark of bacterial biofilms. In contrast to well-characterized inherited antibiotic resistance, molecular mechanisms leading to reversible and transient antibiotic tolerance displayed by biofilm bacteria are still poorly understood. The physiological heterogeneity of biofilms influences the formation of transient specialized subpopulations that may be more tolerant to antibiotics. In this study, we used random transposon mutagenesis to identify biofilm-specific tolerant mutants normally exhibited by subpopulations located in specialized niches of heterogeneous biofilms. Using Escherichia coli as a model organism, we demonstrated, through identification of amino acid auxotroph mutants, that starved biofilms exhibited significantly greater tolerance towards fluoroquinolone ofloxacin than their planktonic counterparts. We demonstrated that the biofilm-associated tolerance to ofloxacin was fully dependent on a functional SOS response upon starvation to both amino acids and carbon source and partially dependent on the stringent response upon leucine starvation. However, the biofilm-specific ofloxacin increased tolerance did not involve any of the SOS-induced toxin-antitoxin systems previously associated with formation of highly tolerant persisters. We further demonstrated that ofloxacin tolerance was induced as a function of biofilm age, which was dependent on the SOS response. Our results therefore show that the SOS stress response induced in heterogeneous and nutrient-deprived biofilm microenvironments is a molecular mechanism leading to biofilm-specific high tolerance to the fluoroquinolone ofloxacin.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) adaptation to hypoxia is considered crucial to its prolonged latent persistence in humans. Mtb lesions are known to contain physiologically heterogeneous microenvironments that bring about differential responses from bacteria. Here we exploit metabolic variability within biofilm cells to identify alternate respiratory polyketide quinones (PkQs) from both Mycobacterium smegmatis (Msmeg) and Mtb. PkQs are specifically expressed in biofilms and other oxygen-deficient niches to maintain cellular bioenergetics. Under such conditions, these metabolites function as mobile electron carriers in the respiratory electron transport chain. In the absence of PkQs, mycobacteria escape from the hypoxic core of biofilms and prefer oxygen-rich conditions. Unlike the ubiquitous isoprenoid pathway for the biosynthesis of respiratory quinones, PkQs are produced by type III polyketide synthases using fatty acyl-CoA precursors. The biosynthetic pathway is conserved in several other bacterial genomes, and our study reveals a redox-balancing chemicocellular process in microbial physiology.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB), a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), takes one human life every 15?s globally. Disease relapse occurs due to incomplete clearance of the pathogen and reactivation of the antibiotic tolerant bacilli. M.tb, like other bacterial pathogens, creates an ecosystem of biofilm formed by several proteins including the cyclophilins. We show that the M.tb cyclophilin peptidyl-prolyl isomerase (PpiB), an essential gene, is involved in biofilm formation and tolerance to anti-mycobacterial drugs. We predicted interaction between PpiB and US FDA approved drugs (cyclosporine-A and acarbose) by in-silico docking studies and this was confirmed by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy. While all these drugs inhibited growth of Mycobacterium smegmatis (M.smegmatis) when cultured in vitro, acarbose and cyclosporine-A showed bacteriostatic effect while gallium nanoparticle (GaNP) exhibited bactericidal effect. Cyclosporine-A and GaNP additionally disrupted M.tb H37Rv biofilm formation. Co-culturing M.tb in their presence resulted in significant (2-4 fold) decrease in dosage of anti-tubercular drugs- isoniazid and ethambutol. Comparison of the cyclosporine-A and acarbose binding sites in PpiB homologues of other biofilm forming infectious pathogens revealed that these have largely remained unaltered across bacterial species. Targeting bacterial biofilms could be a generic strategy for intervention against bacterial pathogens.