Transcriptomic analysis of longitudinal Burkholderia pseudomallei infecting the cystic fibrosis lung.
ABSTRACT: The melioidosis bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is increasingly being recognised as a pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We have recently catalogued genome-wide variation of paired, isogenic B. pseudomallei isolates from seven Australasian CF cases, which were collected between 4 and 55?months apart. Here, we extend this investigation by documenting the transcriptomic changes in B. pseudomallei in five cases. Following growth in an artificial CF sputum medium, four of the five paired isolates exhibited significant differential gene expression (DE) that affected between 32 and 792 genes. The greatest number of DE events was observed between the strains from patient CF9, consistent with the hypermutator status of the latter strain, which is deficient in the DNA mismatch repair protein MutS. Two patient isolates harboured duplications that concomitantly increased expression of the ?-lactamase-encoding gene penA, and a 35?kb deletion in another abolished expression of 29 genes. Convergent expression profiles in the chronically-adapted isolates identified two significantly downregulated and 17 significantly upregulated loci, including the resistance-nodulation-division (RND) efflux pump BpeEF-OprC, the quorum-sensing hhqABCDE operon, and a cyanide- and pyocyanin-insensitive cytochrome bd quinol oxidase. These convergent pathoadaptations lead to increased expression of pathways that may suppress competing bacterial and fungal pathogens, and that enhance survival in oxygen-restricted environments, the latter of which may render conventional antibiotics less effective in vivo. Treating chronically adapted B. pseudomallei infections with antibiotics designed to target anaerobic infections, such as the nitroimidazole class of antibiotics, may significantly improve pathogen eradication attempts by exploiting this Achilles heel.
Project description:The trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole combination, co-trimoxazole, plays a vital role in the treatment of Burkholderia pseudomallei infections. Previous studies demonstrated that the B. pseudomallei BpeEF-OprC efflux pump confers widespread trimethoprim resistance in clinical and environmental isolates, but this is not accompanied by significant resistance to co-trimoxazole. Using the excluded select-agent strain B. pseudomallei Bp82, we now show that in vitro acquired trimethoprim versus co-trimoxazole resistance is mainly mediated by constitutive BpeEF-OprC expression due to bpeT mutations or by BpeEF-OprC overexpression due to bpeS mutations. Mutations in bpeT affect the carboxy-terminal effector-binding domain of the BpeT LysR-type activator protein. Trimethoprim resistance can also be mediated by dihydrofolate reductase (FolA) target mutations, but this occurs rarely unless BpeEF-OprC is absent. BpeS is a transcriptional regulator that is 62% identical to BpeT. Mutations affecting the BpeS DNA-binding or carboxy-terminal effector-binding domains result in constitutive BpeEF-OprC overexpression, leading to trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole efflux and thus to co-trimoxazole resistance. The majority of laboratory-selected co-trimoxazole-resistant mutants often also contain mutations in folM, encoding a pterin reductase. Genetic analyses of these mutants established that both bpeS mutations and folM mutations contribute to co-trimoxazole resistance, although the exact role of folM remains to be determined. Mutations affecting bpeT, bpeS, and folM are common in co-trimoxazole-resistant clinical isolates, indicating that mutations affecting these genes are clinically significant. Co-trimoxazole resistance in B. pseudomallei is a complex phenomenon, which may explain why resistance to this drug is rare in this bacterium.IMPORTANCEBurkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, a tropical disease that is difficult to treat. The bacterium's resistance to antibiotics limits therapeutic options. The paucity of orally available drugs further complicates therapy. The oral drug of choice is co-trimoxazole, a combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole. These antibiotics target two distinct enzymes, FolA (dihydrofolate reductase) and FolP (dihydropteroate synthase), in the bacterial tetrahydrofolate biosynthetic pathway. Although co-trimoxazole resistance is minimized due to two-target inhibition, bacterial resistance due to folA and folP mutations does occur. Co-trimoxazole resistance in B. pseudomallei is rare and has not yet been studied. Co-trimoxazole resistance in this bacterium employs a novel strategy involving differential regulation of BpeEF-OprC efflux pump expression that determines the drug resistance profile. Contributing are mutations affecting folA, but not folP, and folM, a folate pathway-associated gene whose function is not yet well understood and which has not been previously implicated in folate inhibitor resistance in clinical isolates.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei, the cause of melioidosis, is intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics. Acquired multidrug resistance, including resistance to doxycycline and co-trimoxazole used for melioidosis eradication phase therapy, is mainly attributed to constitutive expression of the BpeEF-OprC efflux pump. Constitutive expression of this pump is caused by mutations affecting two highly similar LysR-type transcriptional regulators (LTTR), BpeT and BpeS, but their interaction with the regulatory region governing BpeEF-OprC expression has not yet been studied. The bpeE-bpeF-oprC genes are distally located in the llpE-bpeE-bpeF-oprC operon. The llpE gene encodes a putative lipase/esterase of unknown function. We show that in a bpeT mutant llpE is constitutively co-transcribed with bpeE-bpeF-oprC. As expected from previous studies with B. cenocepacia, deletion of llpE does not affect antibiotic efflux. Using transcriptional bpeE'-lacZ fusions, we demonstrate that the 188?bp bpeT-llpE intergenic region located between bpeT and the llpE-bpeE-bpeF-oprC operon contains regulatory elements needed for control of bpeT and llpE-bpeE-bpeF-oprC operon expression. By native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays with purified recombinant BpeT and BpeS proteins, we show BpeT and BpeS form oligomers that share a 14?bp binding site overlapping the essential region required for llpE-bpeE-bpeF-oprC expression. The binding site contains the conserved T-N11-A LTTR box motif involved in binding of LysR proteins, which in concert with two other possible LTTR boxes may mediate BpeT and BpeS regulation of BpeEF-OprC expression. These studies form the basis for further investigation of BpeEF-OprC expression and regulation at the molecular level by yet unknown external stimuli.
Project description:Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole) is the primary drug used for oral eradication therapy of Burkholderia pseudomallei infections (melioidosis). Here, we demonstrate that trimethoprim resistance is widespread in clinical and environmental isolates from northeast Thailand and northern Australia. This resistance was shown to be due to BpeEF-OprC efflux pump expression. No dihydrofolate reductase target mutations were involved, although frequent insertion of ISBma2 was noted within the putative folA transcriptional terminator. All isolates tested remained susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, suggesting that resistance to trimethoprim alone in these strains probably does not affect the efficacy of co-trimoxazole therapy.
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.
Project description:AIM:To develop a probe-based triplex quantitative real-time PCR assay to simultaneously detect the upregulation of the efflux pumps AmrAB-OprA, BpeAB-OprB and BpeEF-OprC in Burkholderia pseudomallei strains exhibiting increased minimum inhibitory concentrations toward meropenem, doxycycline or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. METHODS:The triplex assay was developed and subsequently tested on RNA isolated from eight clinical and eight laboratory-generated B. pseudomallei mutants harboring efflux pump regulator mutations. RESULTS:The triplex assay accurately detected efflux pump upregulation in all clinical and laboratory mutants, which corresponded with decreased antibiotic susceptibility or antibiotic resistance. CONCLUSION:Rapid detection of antibiotic resistance provides clinicians with a tool to identify potential treatment failure in near real time, enabling informed alteration of treatment during an infection and improved patient outcomes.
Project description:The airways of individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) often become chronically infected with unique strains of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Several lines of evidence suggest that the infecting P. aeruginosa lineage diversifies in the CF lung niche, yet so far this contemporary diversity has not been investigated at a genomic level. In this work, we sequenced the genomes of pairs of randomly selected contemporary isolates sampled from the expectorated sputum of three chronically infected adult CF patients. Each patient was infected by a distinct strain of P. aeruginosa. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions/deletions (indels) were identified in the DNA common to the paired isolates from different patients. The paired isolates from one patient differed due to just 1 SNP and 8 indels. The paired isolates from a second patient differed due to 54 SNPs and 38 indels. The pair of isolates from the third patient both contained a mutS mutation, which conferred a hypermutator phenotype; these isolates cumulatively differed due to 344 SNPs and 93 indels. In two of the pairs of isolates, a different accessory genome composition, specifically integrated prophage, was identified in one but not the other isolate of each pair. We conclude that contemporary isolates from a single sputum sample can differ at the SNP, indel, and accessory genome levels and that the cross-sectional genomic variation among coeval pairs of P. aeruginosa CF isolates can be comparable to the variation previously reported to differentiate between paired longitudinally sampled isolates.
Project description:Seventy-six Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates recovered from chronically (n=18) and nonchronically (n=18) colonized cystic fibrosis (CF) patients (2002 to 2009) were grouped in separate polyclonal populations. International CF epidemic clones were not identified, but the high-risk clone ST274, also found circulating in Spanish hospitals, was present. Persistent isolates were more resistant to antibiotics than nonpersistent isolates.
Project description:Burkholderia comprises species that are significant biothreat agents and common contaminants of pharmaceutical production facilities. Their extreme antibiotic resistance affects all classes of antibiotics, including polycationic polymyxins and aminoglycosides. The major underlying mechanism is the presence of two permeability barriers, the outer membrane with modified lipid A moieties and active drug efflux pumps. The two barriers are thought to be mechanistically independent and act synergistically to reduce the intracellular concentrations of antibiotics. In this study, we analyzed the interplay between active efflux pumps and the permeability barrier of the outer membrane in Burkholderia thailandensis We found that three efflux pumps, AmrAB-OprA, BpeEF-OprC, and BpeAB-OprB, of B. thailandensis are expressed under standard laboratory conditions and provide protection against multiple antibiotics, including polycationic polymyxins. Our results further suggest that the inactivation of AmrAB-OprA or BpeAB-OprB potentiates the antibacterial activities of antibiotics not only by reducing their efflux, but also by increasing their uptake into cells. Mass spectrometry analyses showed that in efflux-deficient B. thailandensis cells, lipid A species modified with 4-amino-4-deoxy-l-aminoarabinose are significantly less abundant than in the parent strain. Taken together, our results suggest that changes in the outer membrane permeability due to alterations in lipid A structure could be contributing factors in antibiotic hypersusceptibilities of B. thailandensis cells lacking AmrAB-OprA and BpeAB-OprB efflux pumps.
Project description:We report here five improved high-quality draft genomes of Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from Australian cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This pathogen is rarely seen in CF patients. These genomes will be used to better understand chronic carriage of B. pseudomallei in the CF lung and the within-host evolution of longitudinal isolates from these patients.
Project description:The lungs of individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) become chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa that is difficult to eradicate by antibiotic treatment. Two key P. aeruginosa antibiotic resistance mechanisms are the AmpC β-lactamase that degrades β-lactam antibiotics and MexXYOprM, a three-protein efflux pump that expels aminoglycoside antibiotics from the bacterial cells. Levels of antibiotic resistance gene expression are likely to be a key factor in antibiotic resistance but have not been determined during infection. The aims of this research were to investigate the expression of the ampC and mexX genes during infection in patients with CF and in bacteria isolated from the same patients and grown under laboratory conditions. P. aeruginosa isolates from 36 CF patients were grown in laboratory culture and gene expression measured by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). The expression of ampC varied over 20,000-fold and that of mexX over 2,000-fold between isolates. The median expression levels of both genes were increased by the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics. To measure P. aeruginosa gene expression during infection, we carried out RT-qPCR using RNA extracted from fresh sputum samples obtained from 31 patients. The expression of ampC varied over 4,000-fold, while mexX expression varied over 100-fold, between patients. Despite these wide variations, median levels of expression of ampC in bacteria in sputum were similar to those in laboratory-grown bacteria. The expression of mexX was higher in sputum than in laboratory-grown bacteria. Overall, our data demonstrate that genes that contribute to antibiotic resistance can be highly expressed in patients, but there is extensive isolate-to-isolate and patient-to-patient variation.