Effect of acute predation with bacteriophage on intermicrobial aggression by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
ABSTRACT: In persons with structural lung disease, particularly those with cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic airway infections cause progressive loss of lung function. CF airways can be colonized by a variety of microorganisms; the most frequently encountered bacterial and fungal pathogens are Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus, respectively. Co-infection with P. aeruginosa and A. fumigatus often results in a more rapid loss of lung function, indicating that interactions between these pathogens affect infection pathogenesis. There has been renewed interest in the use of viruses (bacteriophage, mycoviruses) as alternatives to antibiotics to treat these infections. In previous work, we found that filamentous Pf bacteriophage produced by P. aeruginosa directly inhibited the metabolic activity of A. fumigatus by binding to and sequestering iron. In the current study, we further examined how filamentous Pf bacteriophage affected interactions between P. aeruginosa and A. fumigatus. Here, we report that the antifungal properties of supernatants collected from P. aeruginosa cultures infected with Pf bacteriophage were substantially less inhibitory towards A. fumigatus biofilms. In particular, we found that acute infection of P. aeruginosa by Pf bacteriophage inhibited the production of the virulence factor pyoverdine. Our results raise the possibility that the reduced production of antimicrobials by P. aeruginosa infected by Pf bacteriophage may promote conditions in CF airways that allow co-infection with A. fumigatus to occur, exacerbating disease severity. Our results also highlight the importance of considering how the use of bacteriophage as therapeutic agents could affect the behavior and composition of polymicrobial communities colonizing sites of chronic infection.
Project description:Biofilms-communities of bacteria encased in a polymer-rich matrix-confer bacteria with the ability to persist in pathologic host contexts, such as the cystic fibrosis (CF) airways. How bacteria assemble polymers into biofilms is largely unknown. We find that the extracellular matrix produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa self-assembles into a liquid crystal through entropic interactions between polymers and filamentous Pf bacteriophages, which are long, negatively charged filaments. This liquid crystalline structure enhances biofilm function by increasing adhesion and tolerance to desiccation and antibiotics. Pf bacteriophages are prevalent among P. aeruginosa clinical isolates and were detected in CF sputum. The addition of Pf bacteriophage to sputum polymers or serum was sufficient to drive their rapid assembly into viscous liquid crystals. Fd, a related bacteriophage of Escherichia coli, has similar biofilm-building capabilities. Targeting filamentous bacteriophage or the liquid crystalline organization of the biofilm matrix may represent antibacterial strategies.
Project description:Filamentous bacteriophage (Pf phage) contribute to the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in animal models, but their relevance to human disease is unclear. We sought to interrogate the prevalence and clinical relevance of Pf phage in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) using sputum samples from two well-characterized patient cohorts. Bacterial genomic analysis in a Danish longitudinal cohort of 34 patients with CF revealed that 26.5% (n = 9) were consistently Pf phage positive. In the second cohort, a prospective cross-sectional cohort of 58 patients with CF at Stanford, sputum qPCR analysis showed that 36.2% (n = 21) of patients were Pf phage positive. In both cohorts, patients positive for Pf phage were older, and in the Stanford CF cohort, patients positive for Pf phage were more likely to have chronic P. aeruginosa infection and had greater declines in pulmonary function during exacerbations than patients negative for Pf phage presence in the sputum. Last, P. aeruginosa strains carrying Pf phage exhibited increased resistance to antipseudomonal antibiotics. Mechanistically, in vitro analysis showed that Pf phage sequesters these same antibiotics, suggesting that this mechanism may thereby contribute to the selection of antibiotic resistance over time. These data provide evidence that Pf phage may contribute to clinical outcomes in P. aeruginosa infection in CF.
Project description:Pf bacteriophage are temperate phages that infect the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major cause of chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) and other settings. Pf and other temperate phages have evolved complex, mutualistic relationships with their bacterial hosts that impact both bacterial phenotypes and chronic infection. We and others have reported that Pf phages are a virulence factor that promote the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa infections in animal models and are associated with worse skin and lung infections in humans. Here we review the biology of Pf phage and what is known about its contributions to pathogenesis and clinical disease. First, we review the structure, genetics, and epidemiology of Pf phage. Next, we address the diverse and surprising ways that Pf phages contribute to P. aeruginosa phenotypes including effects on biofilm formation, antibiotic resistance, and motility. Then, we cover data indicating that Pf phages suppress mammalian immunity at sites of bacterial infection. Finally, we discuss recent literature implicating Pf in chronic P. aeruginosa infections in CF and other settings. Together, these reports suggest that Pf bacteriophage have direct effects on P. aeruginosa infections and that temperate phages are an exciting frontier in microbiology, immunology, and human health.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important opportunistic human pathogen that lives in biofilm-like cell aggregates at sites of chronic infection, such as those that occur in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis and nonhealing ulcers. During growth in a biofilm, P. aeruginosa dramatically increases the production of filamentous Pf bacteriophage (Pf phage). Previous work indicated that when in vivo Pf phage production was inhibited, P. aeruginosa was less virulent. However, it is not clear how the production of abundant quantities of Pf phage similar to those produced by biofilms under in vitro conditions affects pathogenesis. Here, using a murine pneumonia model, we show that the production of biofilm-relevant amounts of Pf phage prevents the dissemination of P. aeruginosa from the lung. Furthermore, filamentous phage promoted bacterial adhesion to mucin and inhibited bacterial invasion of airway epithelial cultures, suggesting that Pf phage traps P. aeruginosa within the lung. The in vivo production of Pf phage was also associated with reduced lung injury, reduced neutrophil recruitment, and lower cytokine levels. Additionally, when producing Pf phage, P. aeruginosa was less prone to phagocytosis by macrophages than bacteria not producing Pf phage. Collectively, these data suggest that filamentous Pf phage alters the progression of the inflammatory response and promotes phenotypes typically associated with chronic infection.
Project description:Many cystic fibrosis (CF) airway infections are considered to be polymicrobial and microbe-microbe interactions may play an important role in disease pathology. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus are the most prevalent bacterial and fungal pathogens isolated from the CF airway, respectively. We have previously shown that patients co-colonized with these pathogens had comparable outcomes to those chronically colonized with P. aeruginosa. Our objective was to examine the interactions between A. fumigatus and P. aeruginosa, specifically the effects of co-colonization on biofilm formation, virulence and host pro-inflammatory responses. Our findings suggest that co-infections of A. fumigatus and P. aeruginosa in the Galleria mellonella acute infection model showed that pre-exposure of larvae to sub-lethal inocula of A. fumigatus increased the mortality caused by subsequent P. aeruginosa infection. Co-infection of human bronchial epithelial cells (CFBE41o-) with both pathogens did not enhance IL-6 and IL-8 production beyond the levels observed following single infections. In addition, both pathogens stimulated cytokine secretion via the same two mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) signaling pathways, ERK and p38. Mixed species biofilms showed overall reduced biofilm development with crystal violet staining. Quantification by species-specific qPCR revealed that both pathogens had mutually antagonistic effects on each other. A. fumigatus supernatants showed strong anti-Pseudomonal activity and gliotoxin was the main active agent. Gliotoxin resulted in varying levels of anti-biofilm activity toward other bacteria commonly found in the CF airways. Gliotoxin produced by A. fumigatus colonizing the CF airways may have a significant impact on the CF airway microbiome composition with potential clinical implications.
Project description:Pathogen-pathogen interactions in polymicrobial infections are known to directly impact, often to worsen, disease outcomes. For example, co-infection with <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> and <i>Aspergillus fumigatus</i>, respectively the most common bacterial and fungal pathogens isolated from cystic fibrosis (CF) airways, leads to a worsened prognosis. Recent studies of <i>in vitro</i> microbial cross-talk demonstrated that <i>P. aeruginosa</i>-derived volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) can promote <i>A. fumigatus</i> growth <i>in vitro</i>. However, the mechanistic basis of such cross-talk and its physiological relevance during co-infection remains unknown. In this study we combine genetic approaches and GC-MS-mediated volatile analysis to show that <i>A. fumigatus</i> assimilates VSCs via cysteine (CysB)- or homocysteine (CysD)-synthase. This process is essential for utilization of VSCs as sulfur sources, since <i>P. aeruginosa</i>-derived VSCs trigger growth of <i>A. fumigatus</i> wild-type, but not of a ?<i>cysB</i>?<i>cysD</i> mutant, on sulfur-limiting media. <i>P. aeruginosa</i> produces VSCs when infecting <i>Galleria mellonella</i> and co-infection with <i>A. fumigatus</i> in this model results in a synergistic increase in mortality and of fungal and bacterial burdens. Interestingly, the increment in mortality is much greater with the <i>A. fumigatus</i> wild-type than with the ?<i>cysB</i>?<i>cysD</i> mutant. Therefore, <i>A. fumigatus'</i> ability to assimilate <i>P. aeruginosa</i> derived VSCs significantly triggers a synergistic association that increases the pathobiology of infection. Finally, we show that <i>P. aeruginosa</i> can promote fungal growth when growing on substrates that resemble the lung environment, which suggests that this volatile based synergism is likely to occur during co-infection of the human respiratory airways.
Project description:Bacteriophage are abundant at sites of bacterial infection, but their effects on mammalian hosts are unclear. We have identified pathogenic roles for filamentous Pf bacteriophage produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) in suppression of immunity against bacterial infection. Pf promote Pa wound infection in mice and are associated with chronic human Pa wound infections. Murine and human leukocytes endocytose Pf, and internalization of this single-stranded DNA virus results in phage RNA production. This triggers Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3)- and TIR domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-? (TRIF)-dependent type I interferon production, inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and the suppression of phagocytosis. Conversely, immunization of mice against Pf prevents Pa wound infection. Thus, Pf triggers maladaptive innate viral pattern-recognition responses, which impair bacterial clearance. Vaccination against phage virions represents a potential strategy to prevent bacterial infection.
Project description:Bacteriophages are important in bacterial ecology and evolution. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most prevalent bacterial pathogen in chronic bronchopulmonary infection in cystic fibrosis (CF). In this study, we used bioinformatics, microbiological and microscopy techniques to analyze the bacteriophages present in 24 P. aeruginosa isolates belonging to the international CF clone (ST274-CC274). Interestingly, we detected the presence of five members of the Inoviridae family of prophages (Pf1, Pf4, Pf5, Pf6, Pf7), which have previously been observed in P. aeruginosa. In addition, we identified a new filamentous prophage, designated Pf8, in the P. aeruginosa AUS411.500 isolate belonging to the international CF clone. We detected only one prophage, never previously described, from the family Siphoviridiae (with 66 proteins and displaying homology with PHAGE_Pseudo_phi297_NC_016762). This prophage was isolated from the P. aeruginosa AUS531 isolate carrying a new gene which is implicated in the phage infection ability, named Bacteriophage Control Infection (bci). We characterized the role of the Bci protein in bacteriophage infection and in regulating the host Quorum Sensing (QS) system, motility and biofilm and pyocyanin production in the P. aeruginosa isogenic mutant AUS531?bci isolate. The findings may be relevant for the identification of targets in the development of new strategies to control P. aeruginosa infections, particularly in CF patients.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) airways disease represents an example of polymicrobial infection whereby different bacterial species can interact and influence each other. In CF patients Staphylococcus aureus is often the initial pathogen colonizing the lungs during childhood, while Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the predominant pathogen isolated in adolescents and adults. During chronic infection, P. aeruginosa undergoes adaptation to cope with antimicrobial therapy, host response and co-infecting pathogens. However, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa often co-exist in the same niche influencing the CF pathogenesis. The goal of this study was to investigate the reciprocal interaction of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus and understand the influence of P. aeruginosa adaptation to the CF lung in order to gain important insight on the interplay occurring between the two main pathogens of CF airways, which is still largely unknown. P. aeruginosa reference strains and eight lineages of clinical strains, including early and late clonal isolates from different patients with CF, were tested for growth inhibition of S. aureus. Next, P. aeruginosa/S. aureus competition was investigated in planktonic co-culture, biofilm, and mouse pneumonia model. P. aeruginosa reference and early strains, isolated at the onset of chronic infection, outcompeted S. aureus in vitro and in vivo models of co-infection. On the contrary, our results indicated a reduced capacity to outcompete S. aureus of P. aeruginosa patho-adaptive strains, isolated after several years of chronic infection and carrying several phenotypic changes temporally associated with CF lung adaptation. Our findings provide relevant information with respect to interspecies interaction and disease progression in CF.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients have increased susceptibility to chronic lung infections by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but the ecophysiology within the CF lung during infections is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to elucidate the in vivo growth physiology of P. aeruginosa within lungs of chronically infected CF patients. A novel, quantitative peptide nucleic acid (PNA) fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA-FISH)-based method was used to estimate the in vivo growth rates of P. aeruginosa directly in lung tissue samples from CF patients and the growth rates of P. aeruginosa in infected lungs in a mouse model. The growth rate of P. aeruginosa within CF lungs did not correlate with the dimensions of bacterial aggregates but showed an inverse correlation to the concentration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) surrounding the bacteria. A growth-limiting effect on P. aeruginosa by PMNs was also observed in vitro, where this limitation was alleviated in the presence of the alternative electron acceptor nitrate. The finding that P. aeruginosa growth patterns correlate with the number of surrounding PMNs points to a bacteriostatic effect by PMNs via their strong O2 consumption, which slows the growth of P. aeruginosa in infected CF lungs. In support of this, the growth of P. aeruginosa was significantly higher in the respiratory airways than in the conducting airways of mice. These results indicate a complex host-pathogen interaction in chronic P. aeruginosa infection of the CF lung whereby PMNs slow the growth of the bacteria and render them less susceptible to antibiotic treatment while enabling them to persist by anaerobic respiration.