Rhamnolipids from Pseudomonas aeruginosa disperse the biofilms of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
ABSTRACT: Biofilm formation is an important problem for many industries. Desulfovibrio vulgaris is the representative sulfate-reducing bacterium (SRB) which causes metal corrosion in oil wells and drilling equipment, and the corrosion is related to its biofilm formation. Biofilms are extremely difficult to remove since the cells are cemented in a polymer matrix. In an effort to eliminate SRB biofilms, we examined the ability of supernatants from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 to disperse SRB biofilms. We found that the P. aeruginosa supernatants dispersed more than 98% of the biofilm. To determine the biochemical basis of this SRB biofilm dispersal, we examined a series of P. aeruginosa mutants and found that mutants rhlA, rhlB, rhlI, and rhlR, defective in rhamnolipids production, had significantly reduced levels of SRB biofilm dispersal. Corroborating these results, purified rhamnolipids dispersed SRB biofilms, and rhamnolipids were detected in the P. aeruginosa supernatants. Hence, P. aeruginosa supernatants disperse SRB biofilms via rhamnolipids. To determine the genetic basis of how the P. aeruginosa supernatants disperse SRB biofilms, a whole transcriptomic analysis was conducted (RNA-seq); based on this analysis, we identified four proteins (DVUA0018, DVUA0034, DVUA0066, and DVUA0084) of the D. vulgaris megaplasmid that influence biofilm formation, with production of DVUA0066 (a putative phospholipase) reducing biofilm formation 5.6-fold. In addition, the supernatants of P. aeruginosa dispersed the SRB biofilms more readily than protease in M9 glucose minimum medium and were also effective against biofilms of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Project description:The human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of causing both acute and chronic infections. Differences in virulence are attributable to the mode of growth: bacteria growing planktonically cause acute infections, while bacteria growing in matrix-enclosed aggregates known as biofilms are associated with chronic, persistent infections. While the contribution of the planktonic and biofilm modes of growth to virulence is now widely accepted, little is known about the role of dispersion in virulence, the active process by which biofilm bacteria switch back to the planktonic mode of growth. Here, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa dispersed cells display a virulence phenotype distinct from those of planktonic and biofilm cells. While the highest activity of cytotoxic and degradative enzymes capable of breaking down polymeric matrix components was detected in supernatants of planktonic cells, the enzymatic activity of dispersed cell supernatants was similar to that of biofilm supernatants. Supernatants of non-dispersing ?bdlA biofilms were characterized by a lack of many of the degradative activities. Expression of genes contributing to the virulence of P. aeruginosa was nearly 30-fold reduced in biofilm cells relative to planktonic cells. Gene expression analysis indicated dispersed cells, while dispersing from a biofilm and returning to the single cell lifestyle, to be distinct from both biofilm and planktonic cells, with virulence transcript levels being reduced up to 150-fold compared to planktonic cells. In contrast, virulence gene transcript levels were significantly increased in non-dispersing ?bdlA and ?dipA biofilms compared to wild-type planktonic cells. Despite this, bdlA and dipA inactivation, resulting in an inability to disperse in vitro, correlated with reduced pathogenicity and competitiveness in cross-phylum acute virulence models. In contrast, bdlA inactivation rendered P. aeruginosa more persistent upon chronic colonization of the murine lung, overall indicating that dispersion may contribute to both acute and chronic infections.
Project description:Biofilms of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are of particular interest as members of this group are culprits in corrosion of industrial metal and concrete pipelines as well as being key players in subsurface metal cycling. Yet the mechanism of biofilm formation by these bacteria has not been determined. Here we show that two supposedly identical wild-type cultures of the SRB Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough maintained in different laboratories have diverged in biofilm formation. From genome resequencing and subsequent mutant analyses, we discovered that a single nucleotide change within DVU1017, the ABC transporter of a type I secretion system (T1SS), was sufficient to eliminate biofilm formation in D. vulgaris Hildenborough. Two T1SS cargo proteins were identified as likely biofilm structural proteins, and the presence of at least one (with either being sufficient) was shown to be required for biofilm formation. Antibodies specific to these biofilm structural proteins confirmed that DVU1017, and thus the T1SS, is essential for localization of these adhesion proteins on the cell surface. We propose that DVU1017 is a member of the lapB category of microbial surface proteins because of its phenotypic similarity to the adhesin export system described for biofilm formation in the environmental pseudomonads. These findings have led to the identification of two functions required for biofilm formation in D. vulgaris Hildenborough and focus attention on the importance of monitoring laboratory-driven evolution, as phenotypes as fundamental as biofilm formation can be altered.IMPORTANCE The growth of bacteria attached to a surface (i.e., biofilm), specifically biofilms of sulfate-reducing bacteria, has a profound impact on the economy of developed nations due to steel and concrete corrosion in industrial pipelines and processing facilities. Furthermore, the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria in oil wells causes oil souring from sulfide production, resulting in product loss, a health hazard to workers, and ultimately abandonment of wells. Identification of the required genes is a critical step for determining the mechanism of biofilm formation by sulfate reducers. Here, the transporter by which putative biofilm structural proteins are exported from sulfate-reducing Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough cells was discovered, and a single nucleotide change within the gene coding for this transporter was found to be sufficient to completely stop formation of biofilm.
Project description:AlgR controls numerous virulence factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, including alginate, hydrogen cyanide production, and type IV pilus-mediated twitching motility. In this study, the role of AlgR in biofilms was examined in continuous-flow and static biofilm assays. Strain PSL317 (DeltaalgR) produced one-third the biofilm biomass of wild-type strain PAO1. Complementation with algR, but not fimTU-pilVWXY1Y2E, restored PSL317 to the wild-type biofilm phenotype. Comparisons of the transcriptional profiles of biofilm-grown PAO1 and PSL317 revealed that a number of quorum-sensing genes were upregulated in the algR deletion strain. Measurement of rhlA::lacZ and rhlI::lacZ promoter fusions confirmed the transcriptional profiling data when PSL317 was grown as a biofilm, but not planktonically. Increased amounts of rhamnolipids and N-butyryl homoserine lactone were detected in the biofilm effluent but not the planktonic supernatants of the algR mutant. Additionally, AlgR specifically bound to the rhlA and rhlI promoters in mobility shift assays. Moreover, PAO1 containing a chromosomal mutated AlgR binding site in its rhlI promoter formed biofilms and produced increased amounts of rhamnolipids similarly to the algR deletion strain. These observations indicate that AlgR specifically represses the Rhl quorum-sensing system during biofilm growth and that such repression is necessary for normal biofilm development. These data also suggest that AlgR may control transcription in a contact-dependent or biofilm-specific manner.
Project description:Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can interact syntrophically with other community members in the absence of sulfate, and interactions with hydrogen-consuming methanogens are beneficial when these archaea consume potentially inhibitory H2 produced by the SRB. A dual continuous culture approach was used to characterize population structure within a syntrophic biofilm formed by the SRB Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough and the methanogenic archaeum Methanococcus maripaludis. Under the tested conditions, monocultures of D. vulgaris formed thin, stable biofilms, but monoculture M. maripaludis did not. Microscopy of intact syntrophic biofilm confirmed that D. vulgaris formed a scaffold for the biofilm, while intermediate and steady-state images revealed that M. maripaludis joined the biofilm later, likely in response to H2 produced by the SRB. Close interactions in structured biofilm allowed efficient transfer of H2 to M. maripaludis, and H2 was only detected in cocultures with a mutant SRB that was deficient in biofilm formation (?pilA). M. maripaludis produced more carbohydrate (uronic acid, hexose, and pentose) as a monoculture compared to total coculture biofilm, and this suggested an altered carbon flux during syntrophy. The syntrophic biofilm was structured into ridges (?300 × 50 ?m) and models predicted lactate limitation at ?50 ?m biofilm depth. The biofilm had structure that likely facilitated mass transfer of H2 and lactate, yet maximized biomass with a more even population composition (number of each organism) when compared to the bulk-phase community. Total biomass protein was equivalent in lactate-limited and lactate-excess conditions when a biofilm was present, but in the absence of biofilm, total biomass protein was significantly reduced. The results suggest that multispecies biofilms create an environment conducive to resource sharing, resulting in increased biomass retention, or carrying capacity, for cooperative populations.
Project description:Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are key contributors to microbe-induced corrosion (MIC), which can lead to serious economic and environmental impact. The presence of a biofilm significantly increases the MIC rate. Inhibition of the quorum-sensing (QS) system is a promising alternative approach to prevent biofilm formation in various industrial settings, especially considering the significant ecological impact of conventional chemical-based mitigation strategies. In this study, the effect of the QS stimulation and inhibition on Desulfovibrio vulgaris is described in terms of anaerobic respiration, cell activity, biofilm formation, and biocorrosion of carbon steel. All these traits were repressed when bacteria were in contact with QS inhibitors but enhanced upon exposure to QS signal molecules compared to the control. The difference in the treatments was confirmed by transcriptomic analysis performed at different time points after treatment application. Genes related to lactate and pyruvate metabolism, sulfate reduction, electron transfer, and biofilm formation were downregulated upon QS inhibition. In contrast, QS stimulation led to an upregulation of the above-mentioned genes compared to the control. In summary, these results reveal the impact of QS on the activity of D. vulgaris, paving the way toward the prevention of corrosive SRB biofilm formation via QS inhibition.IMPORTANCE Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are considered key contributors to biocorrosion, particularly in saline environments. Biocorrosion imposes tremendous economic costs, and common approaches to mitigate this problem involve the use of toxic and hazardous chemicals (e.g., chlorine), which raise health and environmental safety concerns. Quorum-sensing inhibitors (QSIs) can be used as an alternative approach to inhibit biofilm formation and biocorrosion. However, this approach would only be effective if SRB rely on QS for the pathways associated with biocorrosion. These pathways would include biofilm formation, electron transfer, and metabolism. This study demonstrates the role of QS in Desulfovibrio vulgaris on the above-mentioned pathways through both phenotypic measurements and transcriptomic approach. The results of this study suggest that QSIs can be used to mitigate SRB-induced corrosion problems in ecologically sensitive areas.
Project description:Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) biofilm formed on metal surfaces can change the physicochemical properties of metals and cause metal corrosion. To enhance understanding of differential gene expression in Desulfovibrio vulgaris under planktonic and biofilm growth modes, a single-cell based RT-qPCR approach was applied to determine gene expression levels of 8 selected target genes in four sets of the 31 individual cells isolated from each growth condition (i.e., biofilm formed on a mild steel (SS) and planktonic cultures, exponential and stationary phases). The results showed obvious gene-expression heterogeneity for the target genes among D. vulgaris single cells of both biofilm and planktonic cultures. In addition, an increased gene-expression heterogeneity in the D. vulgaris biofilm when compared with the planktonic culture was also observed for seven out of eight selected genes at exponential phase, and six out of eight selected genes at stationary phase, respectively, which may be contributing to the increased complexity in terms of structures and morphology in the biofilm. Moreover, the results showed up-regulation of DVU0281 gene encoding exopolysaccharide biosynthesis protein, and down-regulation of genes involved in energy metabolism (i.e., DVU0434 and DVU0588), stress responses (i.e., DVU2410) and response regulator (i.e., DVU3062) in the D. vulgaris biofilm cells. Finally, the gene (DVU2571) involved in iron transportation was found down-regulated, and two genes (DVU1340 and DVU1397) involved in ferric uptake repressor and iron storage were up-regulated in D. vulgaris biofilm, suggesting their possible roles in maintaining normal metabolism of the D. vulgaris biofilm under environments of high concentration of iron. This study showed that the single-cell based analysis could be a useful approach in deciphering metabolism of microbial biofilms.
Project description:Background. Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough is a sulfate-reducing bacterium (SRB) that is intensively studied in the context of metal corrosion and heavy-metal bioremediation, and SRB populations are commonly observed in pipe and subsurface environments as surface-associated populations. In order to elucidate physiological changes associated with biofilm growth at both the transcript and protein level, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses were done on mature biofilm cells and compared to both batch and reactor planktonic populations. The biofilms were cultivated with lactate and sulfate in a continiouslly fed biofilm reactor, and compared to both batch and reactor planktonic populations. The functional genomic analysis demonstrated that biofilm cells were different compared to planktonic cells, and the majority of altered abundances for genes and proteins were annotated as hypothetical (unknown function), energy conservation, amino acid metabolism, and signal transduction. Genes and proteins that showed similar trends in detected levels were particularly involved in energy conservation such as increases in an annotated ech hydrogenase, formate dehydrogenase, pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, and rnf oxidoreductase, and the biofilm cells had elevated formate dehydrogenase activity. Several other hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenases also showed an increased protein level, while decreased transcript and protein levels were observed for putative coo hydrogenases as well as a lactate permease and hyp hydrogenases for biofilm cells. Genes annotated for amino acid synthesis and nitrogen utilization were also predominant changers within the biofilm state. Ribosomal transcripts and proteins were notably decreased within the biofilm cells compared to exponential-phase cells but were not as low as levels observed in planktonic, stationary-phase cells. Several putative, extracellular proteins (DVU1012, 1545) were also detected in the extracellular fraction from biofilm cells. Even though both the planktonic and biofilm cells were oxidizing lactate and reducing sulfate, the biofilm cells were physiologically distinct compared to planktonic growth states due to altered abundances of genes/proteins involved in carbon/energy flow and extracellular structures. In addition, average expression values for multiple rRNA transcripts and respiratory activity measurements indicated that biofilm cells were metabolically more similar to exponential-phase cells although biofilm cells are structured differently. The characterization of physiological advantages and constraints of the biofilm growth state for sulfate-reducing bacteria will provide insight into bioremediation applications as well as microbially-induced metal corrosion. Overall design: Biofilms grown in reactors were compared to reference samples of reactor, planktonic and batch, planktonic. Each sample had a biological triplicate.
Project description:The human immune cell response against bacterial biofilms is a crucial, but still poorly investigated area of research. Herein, we aim to establish an in vitro host cell-biofilm interaction model suitable to investigate the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. P. aeruginosa biofilms were obtained by incubating bacteria in complete RPMI 1640 medium with 10% human plasma for 24 h. PBMC obtained from healthy donors were added to preformed P. aeruginosa biofilms. Following a further 24 h incubation, we assessed (i) PBMC viability and activation; (ii) cytokine profiles in the supernatants; and (iii) CFU counts of biofilm forming bacteria. Cell-death was <10% upon 24 h incubation of PBMC with P. aeruginosa biofilms. PBMC incubated for 24 h with preformed P. aeruginosa biofilms were significantly more activated compared to PBMC incubated alone. Interestingly, a marked activation of CD56+CD3- natural killer (NK) cells was observed that reached 60% of NK cells as an average of different donors. In the culture supernatants of PBMC co-cultured with P. aeruginosa biofilms, not only pro-inflammatory (IL-1?, IFN-?, IL-6, and TNF-?) but also anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines were significantly increased as compared to PBMC incubated alone. Furthermore, incubation of biofilms with PBMC, caused a statistically significant increase in the CFU number of P. aeruginosa, as compared to biofilms incubated without PBMC. In order to assess whether PBMC products could stimulate the growth of P. aeruginosa biofilms, we incubated preformed P. aeruginosa biofilms with or without supernatants obtained from the co-cultures of PBMC with biofilms. In the presence of the supernatants, the CFU count of biofilm-derived P. aeruginosa, was two to seven times higher than those of biofilms incubated without supernatants (P < 0.01). Overall, the results obtained shed light on the reciprocal interaction between human PBMC and P. aeruginosa biofilms. P. aeruginosa biofilms induced PBMC activation and cytokine secretion but, in turn, the presence of PBMC and/or PBMC-derived components enhanced the number of P. aeruginosa biofilm associated bacteria. This may indicate a successful bacterial defensive/persistence strategy against immune response.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus are pathogens frequently co-inhabiting immunocompromised patient airways, particularly in people with cystic fibrosis. Both microbes depend on the availability of iron, and compete for iron in their microenvironment. We showed previously that the P. aeruginosa siderophore pyoverdine is the main instrument in battling A. fumigatus biofilms, by iron chelation and denial of iron to the fungus. Here we show that A. fumigatus siderophores defend against anti-fungal P. aeruginosa effects. P. aeruginosa supernatants produced in the presence of wildtype A. fumigatus planktonic supernatants (Afsup) showed less activity against A. fumigatus biofilms than P. aeruginosa supernatants without Afsup, despite higher production of pyoverdine by P. aeruginosa. Supernatants of A. fumigatus cultures lacking the sidA gene (Af?sidA), unable to produce hydroxamate siderophores, were less capable of protecting A. fumigatus biofilms from P. aeruginosa supernatants and pyoverdine. Af?sidA biofilm was more sensitive towards inhibitory effects of pyoverdine, the iron chelator deferiprone (DFP), or amphothericin B than wildtype A. fumigatus biofilm. Supplementation of sidA-deficient A. fumigatus biofilm with A. fumigatus siderophores restored resistance to pyoverdine. The A. fumigatus siderophore production inhibitor celastrol sensitized wildtype A. fumigatus biofilms towards the anti-fungal activity of DFP. In conclusion, A. fumigatus hydroxamate siderophores play a pivotal role in A. fumigatus competition for iron against P. aeruginosa.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen that forms highly stable communities - biofilms, which contribute to the establishment and maintenance of infections. The biofilm state and intrinsic/acquired bacterial resistance mechanisms contribute to resistance/tolerance to antibiotics that is frequently observed in P. aeruginosa isolates. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of six novel lytic bacteriophages: viruses that infect bacteria, which together efficiently infect and kill a wide range of P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. The phages were used to formulate a cocktail with the potential to eliminate P. aeruginosa PAO1 planktonic cultures. Two biofilm models were studied, one static and one dynamic, and the phage cocktail was assessed for its ability to reduce and disperse the biofilm biomass. For the static model, after 4 h of contact with the phage suspension (MOI 10) more than 95% of biofilm biomass was eliminated. In the flow biofilm model, a slower rate of activity by the phage was observed, but 48 h after addition of the phage cocktail the biofilm was dispersed, with most cells eliminated (> 4 logs) comparing with the control. This cocktail has the potential for development as a therapeutic to control P. aeruginosa infections, which are predominantly biofilm centred.