Serralysin family metalloproteases protects Serratia marcescens from predation by the predatory bacteria Micavibrio aeruginosavorus.
ABSTRACT: Micavibrio aeruginosavorus is an obligate Gram-negative predatory bacterial species that feeds on other Gram-negative bacteria by attaching to the surface of its prey and feeding on the prey's cellular contents. In this study, Serratia marcescens with defined mutations in genes for extracellular cell structural components and secreted factors were used in predation experiments to identify structures that influence predation. No change was measured in the ability of the predator to prey on S. marcescens flagella, fimbria, surface layer, prodigiosin and phospholipase-A mutants. However, higher predation was measured on S. marcescens metalloprotease mutants. Complementation of the metalloprotease gene, prtS, into the protease mutant, as well as exogenous addition of purified serralysin metalloprotease, restored predation to wild type levels. Addition of purified serralysin also reduced the ability of M. aeruginosavorus to prey on Escherichia coli. Incubating M. aeruginosavorus with purified metalloprotease was found to not impact predator viability; however, pre-incubating prey, but not the predator, with purified metalloprotease was able to block predation. Finally, using flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy, we were able to confirm that the ability of the predator to bind to the metalloprotease mutant was higher than that of the metalloprotease producing wild-type. The work presented in this study shows that metalloproteases from S. marcescens could offer elevated protection from predation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Although bacterial predators play important roles in the dynamics of natural microbial communities, little is known about the molecular mechanism of bacterial predation and the evolution of diverse predatory lifestyles. RESULTS: We determined the complete genome sequence of Micavibrio aeruginosavorus ARL-13, an obligate bacterial predator that feeds by "leeching" externally to its prey. Despite being an obligate predator depending on prey for replication, M. aeruginosavorus encodes almost all major metabolic pathways. However, our genome analysis suggests that there are multiple amino acids that it can neither make nor import directly from the environment, thus providing a simple explanation for its strict dependence on prey. Remarkably, despite apparent genome reduction, there is a massive expansion of genomic islands of foreign origin. At least nine genomic islands encode many genes that are likely important for Micavibrio-prey interaction such as hemolysin-related proteins. RNA-Seq analysis shows substantial transcriptome differences between the attack phase, when M. aeruginosavorus seeks its prey, and the attachment phase, when it feeds and multiplies. Housekeeping genes as well as genes involved in protein secretion were all dramatically up-regulated in the attachment phase. In contrast, genes involved in chemotaxis and flagellum biosynthesis were highly expressed in the attack phase but were shut down in the attachment phase. Our transcriptomic analysis identified additional genes likely important in Micavibrio predation, including porins, pilins and many hypothetical genes. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from our phylogenomic and transcriptomic analyses shed new light on the biology and evolution of the epibiotic predatory lifestyle of M. aeruginosavorus. The analysis reported here and the availability of the complete genome sequence should catalyze future studies of this organism.
Project description:Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria have emerged as a serious threat to human and animal health. Bdellovibrio spp. and Micavibrio spp. are Gram-negative bacteria that prey on other Gram-negative bacteria. In this study, the ability of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus to prey on MDR Gram-negative clinical strains was examined. Although the potential use of predatory bacteria to attack MDR pathogens has been suggested, the data supporting these claims is lacking. By conducting predation experiments we have established that predatory bacteria have the capacity to attack clinical strains of a variety of ß-lactamase-producing, MDR Gram-negative bacteria. Our observations indicate that predatory bacteria maintained their ability to prey on MDR bacteria regardless of their antimicrobial resistance, hence, might be used as therapeutic agents where other antimicrobial drugs fail.
Project description:Serralysin-like proteases are found in a wide variety of bacteria. These metalloproteases are frequently implicated in virulence and are members of the widely conserved RTX-toxin family. We identified a serralysin-like protease in the genome of a clinical isolate of Serratia marcescens that is highly similar to the canonical serralysin protein, PrtS. This gene was named serralysin-like protease E, SlpE, and was found in the majority (67%) of tested clinical isolates, but was absent from most tested non-clinical isolates including the insect pathogen and reference S. marcescens strain Db11. Purified recombinant SlpE exhibited calcium-dependent protease activity similar to metalloproteases PrtS and SlpB. Induction of slpE in the low-protease-producing S. marcescens strain PIC3611 highly elevated extracellular protease activity, and extracellular secretion required the lipD type 1 secretion system gene. Transcription of slpE was highly reduced in an eepR transcription factor mutant. Mutation of the slpE gene in a highly proteolytic clinical isolate reduced its protease activity, and evidence suggests that SlpE confers cytotoxicity of S. marcescens to the A549 airway carcinoma cell line. Together, these data reveal SlpE to be an EepR-regulated cytotoxic metalloprotease associated with clinical isolates of an important opportunistic pathogen.
Project description:Predatory bacteria are Gram-negative bacteria that prey on other Gram-negative bacteria and have been considered as potential therapeutic agents against multi-drug resistant pathogens. In vivo animal models have demonstrated that predatory bacteria are non-toxic and non-immunogenic in rodents. In order to consider the use of predatory bacteria as live antibiotics, it is important to investigate their effect on human cells. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus strains 109J and HD100, and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus strain ARL-13 on cell viability and inflammatory responses of five human cell lines, representative of clinically relevant tissues. We found that the predators were not cytotoxic to any of the human cell lines tested. Microscopic imaging showed no signs of cell detachment, as compared to predator-free cells. In comparison to an E. coli control, exposure to higher concentrations of the predators did not trigger a significant elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines in four of the five human cell lines tested. Our work underlines the non-pathogenic attributes of predatory bacteria on human cells and highlights their potential use as live antibiotics against human pathogens.
Project description:Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALO) are obligate predators of Gram-negative bacteria, belonging to the ?- and ?-proteobacteria. BALO prey using either a periplasmic or an epibiotic predatory strategy, but the genetic background underlying these phenotypes is not known. Here we compare the epibiotic Bdellovibrio exovorus and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus to the periplasmic B. bacteriovorus and Bacteriovorax marinus. Electron microscopy showed that M. aeruginosavorus, but not B. exovorus, can attach to prey cells in a non-polar manner through its longitudinal side. Both these predators were resistant to a surprisingly high number of antibiotic compounds, possibly via 26 and 19 antibiotic-resistance genes, respectively, most of them encoding efflux pumps. Comparative genomic analysis of all the BALOs revealed that epibiotic predators have a much smaller genome (ca. 2.5?Mbp) than the periplasmic predators (ca. 3.5?Mbp). Additionally, periplasmic predators have, on average, 888 more proteins, at least 60% more peptidases, and one more rRNA operon. Fifteen and 219 protein families were specific to the epibiotic and the periplasmic predators, respectively, the latter clearly forming the core of the periplasmic 'predatome', which is upregulated during the growth phase. Metabolic deficiencies of epibiotic genomes include the synthesis of inosine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and the siderophore aerobactin. The phylogeny of the epibiotic predators suggests that they evolved by convergent evolution, with M. aeruginosavorus originating from a non-predatory ancestor while B. exovorus evolved from periplasmic predators by gene loss.
Project description:Purpose: Protozoan predators affect the structure of bacterial communities, but investigations into how predation influences bacterial evolution and antagonistic behaviours are scarce. We performed a 20-day predator-prey evolution experiment on solid media to investigate the adaptive traits that arise in bacterial prey under continuous protozoan predation. Methods: Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 and a wild Acanthamoeba sp. isolate as a predator prey pair co-evolved for 20 days yielded both previously described (Wrinkly Spreader; WS) and novel colony morphotype (Wrinkly Fried Egg; WFE) isolates with conferred grazing resistance. These isolates were subjected to RNAseq profiling with and without predation to determine transcriptional changes contributing to grazing resistance. Results: For differential gene expression the WT SBW25 without predation was used as a baseline. For the WS condition, a total of 881 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, of which 424 were upregulated and 457 were downregulated. In the WFE condition, a total of 908 DEGs were identified, of which 475 were upregulated and 434 were downregulated. Among all DEGs, 335 upregulated and 313 downregulated genes were shared between the WS1 and WFE conditions Conclusions: Our findings suggest that protozoan predation can profoundly influence the course of genetic and phenotypic evolution in a short period of time. Together, the differential expression results suggest expression of features that would be expected to increase biofilm formation in WFE according to previous studies. However, increased expression of these traits may not lead to a stronger biofilm, but may still provide predation resistance. For example, fibrils may increase the effective profile size of a bacterial cell. Increased Fap-mediated biofilm formation also induces increased alginate synthesis in P. aeruginosa PA01, an exopolysaccharide that protects mucoid P. aeruginosa against macrophage killing. Interestingly, we found increased expression of alginate biosynthesis genes in both WFE and WS1 (algA, algF), suggesting alternate mechanisms leading to increased alginate production in these two strains. Overall design: mRNA profiles of Co-evolved predator (Acathamoeba sp.) and prey (Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25)
Project description:Little is known about the impact of prey sexual dimorphism on predator-prey dynamics and the impact of sex-selective harvesting and trophy hunting on long-term stability of exploited populations.We review the quantitative evidence for sex-selective predation and study its long-term consequences using several simple predator-prey models. These models can be also interpreted in terms of feedback between harvesting effort and population size of the harvested species under open-access exploitation. Among the 81 predator-prey pairs found in the literature, male bias in predation is 2.3 times as common as female bias. We show that long-term effects of sex-selective predation depend on the interplay of predation bias and prey mating system. Predation on the 'less limiting' prey sex can yield a stable predator-prey equilibrium, while predation on the other sex usually destabilizes the dynamics and promotes population collapses. For prey mating systems that we consider, males are less limiting except for polyandry and polyandrogyny, and male-biased predation alone on such prey can stabilize otherwise unstable dynamics. On the contrary, our results suggest that female-biased predation on polygynous, polygynandrous or monogamous prey requires other stabilizing mechanisms to persist.Our modelling results suggest that the observed skew towards male-biased predation might reflect, in addition to sexual selection, the evolutionary history of predator-prey interactions. More focus on these phenomena can yield additional and interesting insights as to which mechanisms maintain the persistence of predator-prey pairs over ecological and evolutionary timescales. Our results can also have implications for long-term sustainability of harvesting and trophy hunting of sexually dimorphic species.
Project description:Predation influences prey diversity and productivity while it effectuates the flux and reallocation of organic nutrients into biomass at higher trophic levels. However, it is unknown how bacterivorous protists are influenced by the diversity of their bacterial prey. Using 456 microcosms, in which different bacterial mixtures with equal initial cell numbers were exposed to single or multiple predators (Tetrahymena sp., Poterioochromonas sp. and Acanthamoeba sp.), we showed that increasing prey richness enhanced production of single predators. The extent of the response depended, however, on predator identity. Bacterial prey richness had a stabilizing effect on predator performance in that it reduced variability in predator production. Further, prey richness tended to enhance predator evenness in the predation experiment including all three protists predators (multiple predation experiment). However, we also observed a negative relationship between prey richness and predator production in multiple predation experiments. Mathematical analysis of potential ecological mechanisms of positive predator diversity-functioning relationships revealed predator complementarity as a factor responsible for both enhanced predator production and prey reduction. We suggest that the diversity at both trophic levels interactively determines protistan performance and might have implications in microbial ecosystem processes and services.
Project description:Spatial variation in habitat riskiness has a major influence on the predator-prey space race. However, the outcome of this race can be modulated if prey shares enemies with fellow prey (i.e., another prey species). Sharing of natural enemies may result in apparent competition, and its implications for prey space use remain poorly studied. Our objective was to test how prey species spend time among habitats that differ in riskiness, and how shared predation modulates the space use by prey species. We studied a one-predator, two-prey system in a coastal dune landscape in the Netherlands with the European hare (Lepus europaeus) and European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) as sympatric prey species and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) as their main predator. The fine-scale space use by each species was quantified using camera traps. We quantified residence time as an index of space use. Hares and rabbits spent time differently among habitats that differ in riskiness. Space use by predators and habitat riskiness affected space use by hares more strongly than space use by rabbits. Residence time of hare was shorter in habitats in which the predator was efficient in searching or capturing prey species. However, hares spent more time in edge habitat when foxes were present, even though foxes are considered ambush predators. Shared predation affected the predator-prey space race for hares positively, and more strongly than the predator-prey space race for rabbits, which were not affected. Shared predation reversed the predator-prey space race between foxes and hares, whereas shared predation possibly also released a negative association and promoted a positive association between our two sympatric prey species. Habitat riskiness, species presence, and prey species' escape mode and foraging mode (i.e., central-place vs. noncentral-place forager) affected the prey space race under shared predation.
Project description:Fear of predation has been shown to affect prey fitness and behaviour, however, to date little is known about the underlying genetics of responses to predator-associated risk. In an effort to fill this gap we exposed four naïve clones of green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), maintained on the model crop Brassica oleracea, to different types of cues from aphid lion (Chrysoperla carnea). The respective predation risks, we termed Fear Factors, were either lethal (consumption by predator), or non-lethal (non-consumptive predator-associated cues: plant-tethered predator cadavers and homogenised shoot-sprayed or soil-infused blends of predator remains). Our results show that the non-lethal risk cues differentially impeded prey reproductive success that varied by clone, suggesting genotype-specific response to fear of predation. Furthermore, whether plants were perceived as being safe or risky influenced prey responses as avoidance behaviour in prey depended on clone type. Our findings highlight that intra-specific genetic variation underlies prey responses to consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predation. This allows selection to act on anti-predator responses to fear of predation that may ramify and influence higher trophic levels in model agroecosystems.