Pseudomonas aeruginosa Alters Staphylococcus aureus Sensitivity to Vancomycin in a Biofilm Model of Cystic Fibrosis Infection.
ABSTRACT: The airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients have thick mucus, which fosters chronic, polymicrobial infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are two of the most prevalent respiratory pathogens in CF patients. In this study, we tested whether P. aeruginosa influences the susceptibility of S. aureus to frontline antibiotics used to treat CF lung infections. Using our in vitro coculture model, we observed that addition of P. aeruginosa supernatants to S. aureus biofilms grown either on epithelial cells or on plastic significantly decreased the susceptibility of S. aureus to vancomycin. Mutant analyses showed that 2-n-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO), a component of the P. aeruginosa Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) system, protects S. aureus from the antimicrobial activity of vancomycin. Similarly, the siderophores pyoverdine and pyochelin also contribute to the ability of P. aeruginosa to protect S. aureus from vancomycin, as did growth under anoxia. Under our experimental conditions, HQNO, P. aeruginosa supernatant, and growth under anoxia decreased S. aureus growth, likely explaining why this cell wall-targeting antibiotic is less effective. P. aeruginosa supernatant did not confer additional protection to slow-growing S. aureus small colony variants. Importantly, P. aeruginosa supernatant protects S. aureus from other inhibitors of cell wall synthesis as well as protein synthesis-targeting antibiotics in an HQNO- and siderophore-dependent manner. We propose a model whereby P. aeruginosa causes S. aureus to shift to fermentative growth when these organisms are grown in coculture, leading to reduction in S. aureus growth and decreased susceptibility to antibiotics targeting cell wall and protein synthesis.IMPORTANCE Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infections are chronic and difficult to eradicate. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are two of the most prevalent respiratory pathogens in CF patients and are associated with poor patient outcomes. Both organisms adopt a biofilm mode of growth, which contributes to high tolerance to antibiotic treatment and the recalcitrant nature of these infections. Here, we show that P. aeruginosa exoproducts decrease the sensitivity of S. aureus biofilm and planktonic populations to vancomycin, a frontline antibiotic used to treat methicillin-resistant S. aureus in CF patients. P. aeruginosa also protects S. aureus from other cell wall-active antibiotics as well as various classes of protein synthesis inhibitors. Thus, interspecies interactions can have dramatic and unexpected consequences on antibiotic sensitivity. This study underscores the potential impact of interspecies interactions on antibiotic efficacy in the context of complex, polymicrobial infections.
Project description:Chronic coinfections of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa frequently fail to respond to antibiotic treatment, leading to significant patient morbidity and mortality. Currently, the impact of interspecies interaction on S. aureus antibiotic susceptibility remains poorly understood. In this study, we utilize a panel of P. aeruginosa burn wound and cystic fibrosis (CF) lung isolates to demonstrate that P. aeruginosa alters S. aureus susceptibility to bactericidal antibiotics in a variable, strain-dependent manner and further identify 3 independent interactions responsible for antagonizing or potentiating antibiotic activity against S. aureus. We find that P. aeruginosa LasA endopeptidase potentiates lysis of S. aureus by vancomycin, rhamnolipids facilitate proton-motive force-independent tobramycin uptake, and 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO) induces multidrug tolerance in S. aureus through respiratory inhibition and reduction of cellular ATP. We find that the production of each of these factors varies between clinical isolates and corresponds to the capacity of each isolate to alter S. aureus antibiotic susceptibility. Furthermore, we demonstrate that vancomycin treatment of a S. aureus mouse burn infection is potentiated by the presence of a LasA-producing P. aeruginosa population. These findings demonstrate that antibiotic susceptibility is complex and dependent not only upon the genotype of the pathogen being targeted, but also on interactions with other microorganisms in the infection environment. Consideration of these interactions will improve the treatment of polymicrobial infections.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are often found together in the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. It was previously shown that the P. aeruginosa exoproduct 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO) suppresses the growth of S. aureus and provokes the emergence of small-colony variants (SCVs). The presence of S. aureus SCVs as well as biofilms have both been associated with chronic infections in CF.<h4>Results</h4>We demonstrated that HQNO stimulates S. aureus to form a biofilm in association with the formation of SCVs. The emergence of SCVs and biofilm production under HQNO exposure was shown to be dependent on the activity of the stress- and colonization-related alternative sigma factor B (SigB). Analysis of gene expression revealed that exposure of a prototypical S. aureus strain to HQNO activates SigB, which was leading to an increase in the expression of the fibronectin-binding protein A and the biofilm-associated sarA genes. Conversely, the quorum sensing accessory gene regulator (agr) system and the alpha-hemolysin gene were repressed by HQNO. Experiments using culture supernatants from P. aeruginosa PAO1 and a double chamber co-culture model confirmed that P. aeruginosa stimulates biofilm formation and activates SigB in a S. aureus strain isolated from a CF patient. Furthermore, the supernatant from P. aeruginosa mutants unable to produce HQNO induced the production of biofilms by S. aureus to a lesser extent than the wild-type strain only in a S. aureus SigB-functional background.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results suggest that S. aureus responds to HQNO from P. aeruginosa by forming SCVs and biofilms through SigB activation, a phenomenon that may contribute to the establishment of chronic infections in CF patients.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus often cause chronic, recalcitrant infections in large part due to their ability to form biofilms. The biofilm mode of growth enables these organisms to withstand antibacterial insults that would effectively eliminate their planktonic counterparts. We found that P. aeruginosa supernatant increased the sensitivity of S. aureus biofilms to multiple antimicrobial compounds, including fluoroquinolones and membrane-targeting antibacterial agents, including the antiseptic chloroxylenol. Treatment of S. aureus with the antiseptic chloroxylenol alone did not decrease biofilm cell viability; however, the combination of chloroxylenol and P. aeruginosa supernatant led to a 4-log reduction in S. aureus biofilm viability compared to exposure to chloroxylenol alone. We found that the P. aeruginosa-produced small molecule 2-n-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO) is responsible for the observed heightened sensitivity of S. aureus to chloroxylenol. Similarly, HQNO increased the susceptibility of S. aureus biofilms to other compounds, including both traditional and nontraditional antibiotics, which permeabilize bacterial membranes. Genetic and phenotypic studies support a model whereby HQNO causes an increase in S. aureus membrane fluidity, thereby improving the efficacy of membrane-targeting antiseptics and antibiotics. Importantly, our data show that P. aeruginosa exoproducts can enhance the ability of various antimicrobial agents to kill biofilm populations of S. aureus that are typically difficult to eradicate. Finally, our discovery that altering membrane fluidity shifts antimicrobial sensitivity profiles of bacterial biofilms may guide new approaches to target persistent infections, such as those commonly found in respiratory tract infections and in chronic wounds.IMPORTANCE The thick mucus in the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients predisposes them to frequent, polymicrobial respiratory infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are frequently coisolated from the airways of individuals with CF, as well as from diabetic foot ulcers and other wounds. Both organisms form biofilms, which are notoriously difficult to eradicate and promote chronic infection. In this study, we have shown that P. aeruginosa-secreted factors can increase the efficacy of compounds that alone have little or no bactericidal activity against S. aureus biofilms. In particular, we discovered that P. aeruginosa exoproducts can potentiate the antistaphylococcal activity of phenol-based antiseptics and other membrane-active drugs. Our findings illustrate that polymicrobial interactions can dramatically increase antibacterial efficacy in vitro and suggest that altering membrane physiology promotes the ability of certain drugs to kill bacterial biofilms-knowledge that may provide a path for the discovery of new biofilm-targeting antimicrobial strategies.
Project description:In young cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, Staphylococcus aureus is typically the most prevalent organism, while in adults, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major pathogen. More recently, it was observed that also Streptococcus anginosus plays an important role in exacerbations of respiratory symptoms. These species are often coisolated from CF lungs, yet little is known about whether antibiotic killing of one species is influenced by the presence of others. In the present study, we compared the activities of various antibiotics against S. anginosus, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa when grown in monospecies biofilms with the activity observed in a multispecies biofilm. Our results show that differences in antibiotic activity against species grown in mono- and multispecies biofilms are species and antibiotic dependent. Fewer S. anginosus cells are killed by antibiotics that interfere with cell wall synthesis (amoxicillin plus sulbactam, cefepime, imipenem, meropenem, and vancomycin) in the presence of S. aureus and P. aeruginosa, while for ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and tobramycin, no difference was observed. In addition, we observed that the cell-free supernatant of S. aureus, but not that of P. aeruginosa biofilms, also caused this decrease in killing. Overall, S. aureus was more affected by antibiotic treatment in a multispecies biofilm, while for P. aeruginosa, no differences were observed between growth in mono- or multispecies biofilms. The results of the present study suggest that it is important to take the community composition into account when evaluating the effect of antimicrobial treatments against certain species in mixed biofilms.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the most prevalent pathogens in airway infections of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. We studied how these pathogens coexist and interact with each other. Clinical isolates of both species were retrieved from adult CF patients. Culture supernatants from 63 P. aeruginosa isolates triggered a wide range of biofilm-stimulatory activities when added to the culture of a control S. aureus strain. The extent of biofilm formation by S. aureus was positively correlated to the levels of the 2-alkyl-4-(1H)-quinolones (AQs) Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) and 2-heptyl-4-hydroxy quinoline N-oxide (HQNO) produced by the P. aeruginosa isolates. Supernatants from P. aeruginosa isogenic mutants deficient in PQS and HQNO production stimulated significantly less biofilm formation by S. aureus than that seen with the parental strain PA14. When studying co-isolated pairs of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus retrieved from patients showing both pathogens, P. aeruginosa supernatants stimulated less biofilm production by the S. aureus counterparts compared to that observed using the control S. aureus strain. Accordingly, some P. aeruginosa isolates produced low levels of exoproducts and also some of the clinical S. aureus isolates were not stimulated by their co-isolates or by PA14 despite adequate production of HQNO. This suggests that colonization of the CF lungs promotes some type of strain selection, or that co-existence requires specific adaptations by either or both pathogens. Results provide insights on bacterial interactions in CF.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen responsible for a variety of nosocomial and community-acquired infections. Recent reports show that the prevalence of Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients is increasing. In 2006 in Marseille, France, we have detected an atypical MRSA strain with a specific antibiotic susceptibility profile and a unique growth phenotype. Because of the clinical importance of the spread of such strain among CF patients we decided to sequence the genome of one representative isolate (strain CF-Marseille) to compare this to the published genome sequences. We also conducted a retrospective epidemiological analysis on all S. aureus isolated from 2002 to 2007 in CF patients from our institution. RESULTS: CF-Marseille is multidrug resistant, has a hetero-Glycopeptide-Intermediate resistance S. aureus phenotype, grows on Cepacia agar with intense orange pigmentation and has a thickened cell wall. Phylogenetic analyses using Complete Genome Hybridization and Multi Locus VNTR Assay showed that CF-Marseille was closely related to strain Mu50, representing vancomycin-resistant S. aureus. Analysis of CF-Marseille shows a similar core genome to that of previously sequenced MRSA strains but with a different genomic organization due to the presence of specific mobile genetic elements i.e. a new SCCmec type IV mosaic cassette that has integrated the pUB110 plasmid, and a new phage closely related to phiETA3. Moreover this phage could be seen by electron microscopy when mobilized with several antibiotics commonly used in CF patients including, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, cotrimoxazole, or imipenem. Phylogenetic analysis of phenotypically similar h-GISA in our study also suggests that CF patients are colonized by polyclonal populations of MRSA that represents an incredible reservoir for lateral gene transfer. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we demonstrated the emergence and spreading of a new isolate of MRSA in CF patients in Marseille, France, that has probably been selected in the airways by antibiotic pressure. Antibiotic-mediated phage induction may result in high-frequency transfer and the unintended consequence of promoting the spread of virulence and/or antibiotic resistance determinants. The emergence of well-adapted MRSA is worrying in such population chronically colonized and receiving many antibiotics and represents a model for emergence of uncontrollable super bugs in a specific niche. REVIEWERS: This article was reviewed by Eric Bapteste, Pierre Pontarotti, and Igor Zhulin. For the full reviews, please go to the Reviewers' comments section.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that predisposes individuals to pulmonary dysfunction and chronic infections. Early infection of the CF lung with Staphylococcus aureus is common, while Pseudomonas aeruginosa becomes dominant as disease progresses. Emergence of P. aeruginosa likely depends on the action of multiple 2-alkyl-4-(1H)-quinolones (AQ) secreted by this organism. We recently showed that antimicrobial activity against S. aureus is enhanced by iron depletion and is dependent upon multiple AQ metabolites. Two of these AQs, the Pseudomonas quinolone signal [PQS; 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone] and 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline (HHQ), are quorum sensing molecules that activate the expression of multiple microbicidal factors. Here we show for the first time that HHQ also exhibits innate antimicrobial activity against S. aureus. We further show that iron depletion potentiates the antistaphylococcal activity of HHQ, as well as 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO), another AQ that functions as a cytochrome B inhibitor. Notably, we found that deletion of the genes for the terminal biosynthetic steps for either PQS or HQNO results in overproduction of the HHQ intermediate, likely maintaining the ability of these mutants to mediate antimicrobial activity. Compensatory increases in HHQ were also observed in PQS-deficient CF isolates, which also retained the ability to mediate iron-regulated antimicrobial activity against S. aureus. These studies demonstrate that iron-regulated antimicrobial activity of P. aeruginosa against S. aureus is due to the cumulative effects of multiple AQ metabolites, both the production and activity of which are modulated by environmental iron levels.
Project description:The lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are often chronically colonized by multiple microbial species that can form biofilms, including the major CF pathogen <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i>. Herewith, lower microbial diversity in CF airways is typically associated with worse health outcomes. In an attempt to treat CF lung infections patients are frequently exposed to antibiotics, which may affect microbial diversity. This study aimed at understanding if common antibiotics that target <i>P. aeruginosa</i> influence microbial diversity. To this end, a microaerophilic multispecies biofilm model of frequently co-isolated members of the CF lung microbiome (<i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i>, <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i>, <i>Streptococcus anginosus</i>, <i>Achromobacter xylosoxidans</i>, <i>Rothia mucilaginosa</i>, and <i>Gemella haemolysans</i>) was exposed to antipseudomonal antibiotics. We found that antibiotics that affected several dominant species (i.e. ceftazidime, tobramycin) resulted in higher species evenness compared to colistin, which is only active against <i>P. aeruginosa</i>. Furthermore, susceptibility of individual species in the multispecies biofilm following antibiotic treatment was compared to that of the respective single-species biofilms, showing no differences. Adding three anaerobic species (<i>Prevotella melaninogenica</i>, <i>Veillonella parvula</i>, and <i>Fusobacterium nucleatum</i>) to the multispecies biofilm did not influence antibiotic susceptibility. In conclusion, our study demonstrates antibiotic-dependent effects on microbial community diversity of multispecies biofilms comprised of CF microbiome members.
Project description:The intrinsic resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to many antibiotics limits treatment options for pseudomonal infections. P. aeruginosa's outer membrane is highly impermeable and decreases antibiotic entry into the cell. We used an unbiased high-throughput approach to examine mechanisms underlying outer membrane-mediated antibiotic exclusion. Insertion sequencing (INSeq) identified genes that altered fitness in the presence of linezolid, rifampin, and vancomycin, antibiotics to which P. aeruginosa is intrinsically resistant. We reasoned that resistance to at least one of these antibiotics would depend on outer membrane barrier function, as previously demonstrated in Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae This approach demonstrated a critical role of the outer membrane barrier in vancomycin fitness, while efflux pumps were primary contributors to fitness in the presence of linezolid and rifampin. Disruption of flagellar assembly or function was sufficient to confer a fitness advantage to bacteria exposed to vancomycin. These findings clearly show that loss of flagellar function alone can confer a fitness advantage in the presence of an antibiotic.IMPORTANCE The cell envelopes of Gram-negative bacteria render them intrinsically resistant to many classes of antibiotics. We used insertion sequencing to identify genes whose disruption altered the fitness of a highly antibiotic-resistant pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in the presence of antibiotics usually excluded by the cell envelope. This screen identified gene products involved in outer membrane biogenesis and homeostasis, respiration, and efflux as important contributors to fitness. An unanticipated fitness cost of flagellar assembly and function in the presence of the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin was further characterized. These findings have clinical relevance for individuals with cystic fibrosis who are infected with P. aeruginosa and undergo treatment with vancomycin for a concurrent Staphylococcus aureus infection.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive lung function decline. CF patients are at an increased risk of respiratory infections, including those by the environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis. Here, we compared the genomes of B. pseudomallei isolates collected between ~4 and 55 months apart from seven chronically infected CF patients. Overall, the B. pseudomallei strains showed evolutionary patterns similar to those of other chronic infections, including emergence of antibiotic resistance, genome reduction, and deleterious mutations in genes involved in virulence, metabolism, environmental survival, and cell wall components. We documented the first reported B. pseudomallei hypermutators, which were likely caused by defective MutS. Further, our study identified both known and novel molecular mechanisms conferring resistance to three of the five clinically important antibiotics for melioidosis treatment. Our report highlights the exquisite adaptability of microorganisms to long-term persistence in their environment and the ongoing challenges of antibiotic treatment in eradicating pathogens in the CF lung. Convergent evolution with other CF pathogens hints at a degree of predictability in bacterial evolution in the CF lung and potential targeted eradication of chronic CF infections in the future.IMPORTANCEBurkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is an environmental opportunistic bacterium that typically infects immunocompromised people and those with certain risk factors such as cystic fibrosis (CF). Patients with CF tend to develop chronic melioidosis infections, for reasons that are not well understood. This report is the first to describe B. pseudomallei evolution within the CF lung during chronic infection. We show that the pathways by which B. pseudomallei adapts to the CF lung are similar to those seen in better-studied CF pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Burkholderia cepacia complex species. Adaptations include the accumulation of antibiotic resistance, loss of nonessential genes, metabolic alterations, and virulence factor attenuation. Known and novel mechanisms of resistance to three of the five antibiotics used in melioidosis treatment were identified. Similar pathways of evolution in CF pathogens, including B. pseudomallei, provide exciting avenues for more-targeted treatment of chronic, recalcitrant infections.