Genome-wide transposon mutagenesis of Proteus mirabilis: Essential genes, fitness factors for catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and the impact of polymicrobial infection on fitness requirements.
ABSTRACT: The Gram-negative bacterium Proteus mirabilis is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), which are often polymicrobial. Numerous prior studies have uncovered virulence factors for P. mirabilis pathogenicity in a murine model of ascending UTI, but little is known concerning pathogenesis during CAUTI or polymicrobial infection. In this study, we utilized five pools of 10,000 transposon mutants each and transposon insertion-site sequencing (Tn-Seq) to identify the full arsenal of P. mirabilis HI4320 fitness factors for single-species versus polymicrobial CAUTI with Providencia stuartii BE2467. 436 genes in the input pools lacked transposon insertions and were therefore concluded to be essential for P. mirabilis growth in rich medium. 629 genes were identified as P. mirabilis fitness factors during single-species CAUTI. Tn-Seq from coinfection with P. stuartii revealed 217/629 (35%) of the same genes as identified by single-species Tn-Seq, and 1353 additional factors that specifically contribute to colonization during coinfection. Mutants were constructed in eight genes of interest to validate the initial screen: 7/8 (88%) mutants exhibited the expected phenotypes for single-species CAUTI, and 3/3 (100%) validated the expected phenotypes for polymicrobial CAUTI. This approach provided validation of numerous previously described P. mirabilis fitness determinants from an ascending model of UTI, the discovery of novel fitness determinants specifically for CAUTI, and a stringent assessment of how polymicrobial infection influences fitness requirements. For instance, we describe a requirement for branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis by P. mirabilis during coinfection due to high-affinity import of leucine by P. stuartii. Further investigation of genes and pathways that provide a competitive advantage during both single-species and polymicrobial CAUTI will likely provide robust targets for therapeutic intervention to reduce P. mirabilis CAUTI incidence and severity.
Project description:Providencia stuartii is a common cause of polymicrobial catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), and yet literature describing the molecular mechanisms of its pathogenesis is limited. To identify factors important for colonization during single-species infection and during polymicrobial infection with a common cocolonizer, Proteus mirabilis, we created a saturating library of ?50,000 transposon mutants and conducted transposon insertion site sequencing (Tn-Seq) in a murine model of CAUTI. P. stuartii strain BE2467 carries 4,398 genes, 521 of which were identified as essential for growth in laboratory medium and therefore could not be assessed for contribution to infection. Using an input/output fold change cutoff value of 20 and P values of <0.05, 340 genes were identified as important for establishing single-species infection only and 63 genes as uniquely important for polymicrobial infection with P. mirabilis, and 168 genes contributed to both single-species and coinfection. Seven mutants were constructed for experimental validation of the primary screen that corresponded to flagella (fliC mutant), twin arginine translocation (tatC), an ATP-dependent protease (clpP), d-alanine-d-alanine ligase (ddlA), type 3 secretion (yscI and sopB), and type VI secretion (impJ). Infection-specific phenotypes validated 6/7 (86%) mutants during direct cochallenge with wild-type P. stuartii and 3/5 (60%) mutants during coinfection with P. mirabilis, for a combined validation rate of 9/12 (75%). Tn-Seq therefore successfully identified genes that contribute to fitness of P. stuartii within the urinary tract, determined the impact of coinfection on fitness requirements, and added to the identification of a collection of genes that may contribute to fitness of multiple urinary tract pathogens.IMPORTANCE Providencia stuartii is a common cause of polymicrobial catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), particularly during long-term catheterization. However, little is known regarding the pathogenesis of this organism. Using transposon insertion site sequencing (Tn-Seq), we performed a global assessment of P. stuartii fitness factors for CAUTI while simultaneously determining how coinfection with another pathogen alters fitness requirements. This approach provides four important contributions to the field: (i) the first global estimation of P. stuartii genes essential for growth in laboratory medium, (ii) identification of novel fitness factors for P. stuartii colonization of the catheterized urinary tract, (iii) identification of core fitness factors for both single-species and polymicrobial CAUTI, and (iv) assessment of conservation of fitness factors between common uropathogens. Genomewide assessment of the fitness requirements for common uropathogens during single-species and polymicrobial CAUTI thus elucidates complex interactions that contribute to disease severity and will uncover conserved targets for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Urinary catheter use is prevalent in health care settings, and polymicrobial colonization by urease-positive organisms, such as Proteus mirabilis and Providencia stuartii, commonly occurs with long-term catheterization. We previously demonstrated that coinfection with P. mirabilis and P. stuartii increased overall urease activity in vitro and disease severity in a model of urinary tract infection (UTI). In this study, we expanded these findings to a murine model of catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI), delineated the contribution of enhanced urease activity to coinfection pathogenesis, and screened for enhanced urease activity with other common CAUTI pathogens. In the UTI model, mice coinfected with the two species exhibited higher urine pH values, urolithiasis, bacteremia, and more pronounced tissue damage and inflammation compared to the findings for mice infected with a single species, despite having a similar bacterial burden within the urinary tract. The presence of P. stuartii, regardless of urease production by this organism, was sufficient to enhance P. mirabilis urease activity and increase disease severity, and enhanced urease activity was the predominant factor driving tissue damage and the dissemination of both organisms to the bloodstream during coinfection. These findings were largely recapitulated in the CAUTI model. Other uropathogens also enhanced P. mirabilis urease activity in vitro, including recent clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa We therefore conclude that the underlying mechanism of enhanced urease activity may represent a widespread target for limiting the detrimental consequences of polymicrobial catheter colonization, particularly by P. mirabilis and other urease-positive bacteria.
Project description:Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CaUTIs) are the most common hospital-acquired infections worldwide and are frequently polymicrobial. The urease-positive species Proteus mirabilis and Providencia stuartii are two of the leading causes of CaUTIs and commonly co-colonize catheters. These species can also cause urolithiasis and bacteremia. However, the impact of coinfection on these complications has never been addressed experimentally.A mouse model of ascending UTI was utilized to determine the impact of coinfection on colonization, urolithiasis, and bacteremia. Mice were infected with P. mirabilis or a urease mutant, P. stuartii, or a combination of these organisms. In vitro experiments were conducted to assess growth dynamics and impact of co-culture on urease activity.Coinfection resulted in a bacterial load similar to monospecies infection but with increased incidence of urolithiasis and bacteremia. These complications were urease-dependent as they were not observed during coinfection with a P. mirabilis urease mutant. Furthermore, total urease activity was increased during co-culture.We conclude that P. mirabilis and P. stuartii coinfection promotes urolithiasis and bacteremia in a urease-dependent manner, at least in part through synergistic induction of urease activity. These data provide a possible explanation for the high incidence of bacteremia resulting from polymicrobial CaUTI.
Project description:Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are common hospital-acquired infections and frequently polymicrobial, which complicates effective treatment. However, few studies experimentally address the consequences of polymicrobial interactions within the urinary tract, and the clinical significance of polymicrobial bacteriuria is not fully understood. Proteus mirabilis is one of the most common causes of monomicrobial and polymicrobial CAUTI and frequently cocolonizes with Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Providencia stuartii, and Morganella morganii P. mirabilis infections are particularly challenging due to its potent urease enzyme, which facilitates formation of struvite crystals, catheter encrustation, blockage, and formation of urinary stones. We previously determined that interactions between P. mirabilis and other uropathogens can enhance P. mirabilis urease activity, resulting in greater disease severity during experimental polymicrobial infection. Our present work reveals that M. morganii acts on P. mirabilis in a contact-independent manner to decrease urease activity. Furthermore, M. morganii actively prevents urease enhancement by E. faecalis, P. stuartii, and E. coli Importantly, these interactions translate to modulation of disease severity during experimental CAUTI, predominantly through a urease-dependent mechanism. Thus, products secreted by multiple bacterial species in the milieu of the catheterized urinary tract can directly impact prognosis.
Project description:The human genitourinary tract is a common anatomical niche for polymicrobial infection and a leading site for the development of bacteremia and sepsis. Most uncomplicated, community-acquired urinary tract infections (UTI) are caused by Escherichia coli, while another bacterium, Proteus mirabilis, is more often associated with complicated UTI. Here, we report that uropathogenic E. coli and P. mirabilis have divergent requirements for specific central pathways in vivo despite colonizing and occupying the same host environment. Using mutants of specific central metabolism enzymes, we determined glycolysis mutants lacking pgi, tpiA, pfkA, or pykA all have fitness defects in vivo for P. mirabilis but do not affect colonization of E. coli during UTI. Similarly, the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway is required only for P. mirabilis in vivo. In contrast, gluconeogenesis is required only for E. coli fitness in vivo. The remarkable difference in central pathway utilization between E. coli and P. mirabilis during experimental UTI was also observed for TCA cycle mutants in sdhB, fumC, and frdA. The distinct in vivo requirements between these pathogens suggest E. coli and P. mirabilis are not direct competitors within host urinary tract nutritional niche. In support of this, we found that co-infection with E. coli and P. mirabilis wild-type strains enhanced bacterial colonization and persistence of both pathogens during UTI. Our results reveal that complementary utilization of central carbon metabolism facilitates polymicrobial disease and suggests microbial activity in vivo alters the host urinary tract nutritional niche.
Project description:The Gram-negative bacterium Proteus mirabilis is a common cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), which can progress to secondary bacteremia. While numerous studies have investigated experimental infection with P. mirabilis in the urinary tract, little is known about pathogenesis in the bloodstream. This study identifies the genes that are important for survival in the bloodstream using a whole-genome transposon insertion-site sequencing (Tn-Seq) approach. A library of 50,000 transposon mutants was utilized to assess the relative contribution of each non-essential gene in the P. mirabilis HI4320 genome to fitness in the livers and spleens of mice at 24 hours following tail vein inoculation compared to growth in RPMI, heat-inactivated (HI) naïve serum, and HI acute phase serum. 138 genes were identified as ex vivo fitness factors in serum, which were primarily involved in amino acid transport and metabolism, and 143 genes were identified as infection-specific in vivo fitness factors for both spleen and liver colonization. Infection-specific fitness factors included genes involved in twin arginine translocation, ammonia incorporation, and polyamine biosynthesis. Mutants in sixteen genes were constructed to validate both the ex vivo and in vivo results of the transposon screen, and 12/16 (75%) exhibited the predicted phenotype. Our studies indicate a role for the twin arginine translocation (tatAC) system in motility, translocation of potential virulence factors, and fitness within the bloodstream. We also demonstrate the interplay between two nitrogen assimilation pathways in the bloodstream, providing evidence that the GS-GOGAT system may be preferentially utilized. Furthermore, we show that a dual-function arginine decarboxylase (speA) is important for fitness within the bloodstream due to its role in putrescine biosynthesis rather than its contribution to maintenance of membrane potential. This study therefore provides insight into pathways needed for fitness within the bloodstream, which may guide strategies to reduce bacteremia-associated mortality.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and urolithiasis. The transcriptional regulator MrpJ inversely modulates two critical aspects of P. mirabilis UTI progression: fimbria-mediated attachment and flagellum-mediated motility. Transcriptome data indicated a network of virulence-associated genes under MrpJ's control. Here, we identify the direct gene regulon of MrpJ and its contribution to P. mirabilis pathogenesis, leading to the discovery of novel virulence targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used for the first time in a CAUTI pathogen to probe for in vivo direct targets of MrpJ. Selected MrpJ-regulated genes were mutated and assessed for their contribution to UTI using a mouse model. ChIP-seq revealed a palindromic MrpJ binding sequence and 78 MrpJ-bound regions, including binding sites upstream of genes involved in motility, fimbriae, and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). A combinatorial mutation approach established the contribution of three fimbriae (fim8A, fim14A, and pmpA) to UTI and a new pathogenic role for the T6SS in UTI progression. In conclusion, this study (i) establishes the direct gene regulon and an MrpJ consensus binding site and (ii) led to the discovery of new virulence genes in P. mirabilis UTI, which could be targeted for therapeutic intervention of CAUTI.
Project description:Enterococcus faecalis, a member of the human gastrointestinal microbiota, is an opportunistic pathogen associated with hospital-acquired wound, bloodstream, and urinary tract infections. E. faecalis can subvert or evade immune-mediated clearance, although the mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we examined E. faecalis-mediated subversion of macrophage activation. We observed that E. faecalis actively prevents NF-?B signaling in mouse RAW264.7 macrophages in the presence of Toll-like receptor agonists and during polymicrobial infection with Escherichia coliE. faecalis and E. coli coinfection in a mouse model of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) resulted in a suppressed macrophage transcriptional response in the bladder compared to that with E. coli infection alone. Finally, we demonstrated that coinoculation of E. faecalis with a commensal strain of E. coli into catheterized bladders significantly augmented E. coli CAUTI. Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that E. faecalis suppression of NF-?B-driven responses in macrophages promotes polymicrobial CAUTI pathogenesis, especially during coinfection with less virulent or commensal E. coli strains.
Project description:Pathogenicity islands (PAIs) are a specific group of genomic islands that contribute to genomic variability and virulence of bacterial pathogens. Using a strain-specific comparative genomic hybridization array, we report the identification of a 94-kb PAI, designated ICEPm1, that is common to Proteus mirabilis, Providencia stuartii, and Morganella morganii. These organisms are highly prevalent etiologic agents of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (caUTI), the most common hospital acquired infection. ICEPm1 carries virulence factors that are important for colonization of the urinary tract, including a known toxin (Proteus toxic agglutinin) and the high pathogenicity island of Yersinia spp. In addition, this PAI shares homology and gene organization similar to the PAIs of other bacterial pathogens, several of which have been classified as mobile integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs). Isolates from this study were cultured from patients with caUTI and show identical sequence similarity at three loci within ICEPm1, suggesting its transfer between bacterial genera. Screening for the presence of ICEPm1 among P. mirabilis colonizing isolates showed that ICEPm1 is more prevalent in urine isolates compared to P. mirabilis strains isolated from other body sites (P<0.0001), further suggesting that it contributes to niche specificity and is positively selected for in the urinary tract.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis, a Gram-negative uropathogen, is a major causative agent in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Mannose-resistant Proteus-like fimbriae (MR/P) are crucially important for P. mirabilis infectivity and are required for biofilm formation and auto-aggregation, as well as for bladder and kidney colonization. Here, the X-ray crystal structure of the MR/P tip adhesin, MrpH, is reported. The structure has a fold not previously described and contains a transition metal center with Zn2+ coordinated by three conserved histidine residues and a ligand. Using biofilm assays, chelation, metal complementation, and site-directed mutagenesis of the three histidines, we show that an intact metal binding site occupied by zinc is essential for MR/P fimbria-mediated biofilm formation, and furthermore, that P. mirabilis biofilm formation is reversible in a zinc-dependent manner. Zinc is also required for MR/P-dependent agglutination of erythrocytes, and mutation of the metal binding site renders P. mirabilis unfit in a mouse model of UTI. The studies presented here provide important clues as to the mechanism of MR/P-mediated biofilm formation and serve as a starting point for identifying the physiological MR/P fimbrial receptor.