The Fish Pathogen Vibrio ordalii Under Iron Deprivation Produces the Siderophore Piscibactin.
ABSTRACT: Vibrio ordalii is the causative agent of vibriosis, mainly in salmonid fishes, and its virulence mechanisms are still not completely understood. In previous works we demonstrated that V. ordalii possess several iron uptake mechanisms based on heme utilization and siderophore production. The aim of the present work was to confirm the production and utilization of piscibactin as a siderophore by V. ordalii. Using genetic analysis, identification by peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) of iron-regulated membrane proteins and chemical identification by LC-HRMS, we were able to clearly demonstrate that V. ordalii produces piscibactin under iron limitation. The synthesis and transport of this siderophore is encoded by a chromosomal gene cluster homologous to another one described in V. anguillarum, which also encodes the synthesis of piscibactin. Using ?-galactosidase assays we were able to show that two potential promoters regulated by iron control the transcription of this gene cluster in V. ordalii. Moreover, biosynthetic and transport proteins corresponding to piscibactin synthesis and uptake could be identified in membrane fractions of V. ordalii cells grown under iron limitation. The synthesis of piscibactin was previously reported in other fish pathogens like Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida and V. anguillarum, which highlights the importance of this siderophore as a key virulence factor in Vibrionaceae bacteria infecting poikilothermic animals.
Project description:Vibrio anguillarum causes vibriosis, a hemorrhagic septicaemia that affects many cultured marine fish species worldwide. Two catechol siderophores, vanchrobactin and anguibactin, were previously identified in this bacterium. While vanchrobactin is a chromosomally encoded system widespread in all pathogenic and environmental strains, anguibactin is a plasmid-encoded system restricted to serotype O1 strains. In this work, we have characterized, from a serotype O2 strain producing vanchrobactin, a novel genomic island containing a cluster of genes that would encode the synthesis of piscibactin, a siderophore firstly described in the fish pathogen Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida. The chemical characterization of this siderophore confirmed that some strains of V. anguillarum produce piscibactin. An in silico analysis of the available genomes showed that this genomic island is present in many of the highly pathogenic V. anguillarum strains lacking the anguibactin system. The construction of single and double biosynthetic mutants for vanchrobactin and piscibactin allowed us to study the contribution of each siderophore to iron uptake, cell fitness, and virulence. Although both siderophores are simultaneously produced, piscibactin constitute a key virulence factor to infect fish, while vanchrobactin seems to have a secondary role in virulence. In addition, a transcriptional analysis of the gene cluster encoding piscibactin in V. anguillarum showed that synthesis of this siderophore is favored at low temperatures, being the transcriptional activity of the biosynthetic genes three-times higher at 18°C than at 25°C. We also show that iron levels and temperature contribute to balance the synthesis of both siderophores.
Project description:Vibrio neptunius is an inhabitant of mollusc microbiota and an opportunistic pathogen causing disease outbreaks in marine bivalve mollusc species including oysters and clams. Virulence of mollusc pathogenic vibrios is mainly associated with the production of extracellular products. However, siderophore production is a common feature in pathogenic marine bacteria but its role in fitness and virulence of mollusc pathogens remains unknown. We previously found that V. neptunius produces amphibactin, one of the most abundant siderophores in marine microbes. In this work, synthesis of the siderophore piscibactin was identified as the second siderophore produced by V. neptunius. Single and double mutants in biosynthetic genes of each siderophore system, piscibactin and amphibactin, were constructed in V. neptunius and their role in growth ability and virulence was characterized. Although the High Pathogenicity Island encoding piscibactin is a major virulence factor in vibrios pathogenic for fish, the V. neptunius wild type did not cause mortality in turbot. The results showed that amphibactin contributes more than piscibactin to bacterial fitness in vitro. However, infection challenges showed that each siderophore system contributes equally to virulence for molluscs. The V. neptunius strain unable to produce any siderophore was severely impaired to cause vibriosis in clams. Although the inactivation of one of the two siderophore systems (either amphibactin or piscibactin) significantly reduced virulence compared to the wild type strain, the ability to produce both siderophores simultaneously maximised the degree of virulence. Evaluation of the gene expression pattern of each siderophore system showed that they are simultaneously expressed when V. neptunius is cultivated under low iron availability in vitro and ex vivo. Finally, the analysis of the distribution of siderophore systems in genomes of Vibrio spp. pathogenic for molluscs showed that the gene clusters encoding amphibactin and piscibactin are widespread in the Coralliilyticus clade. Thus, siderophore production would constitute a key virulence factor for bivalve molluscs pathogenic vibrios.
Project description:Vibrio anguillarum causes a hemorrhagic septicemia that affects cold- and warm-water adapted fish species. The main goal of this work was to determine the temperature-dependent changes in the virulence factors that could explain the virulence properties of V. anguillarum for fish cultivated at different temperatures. We have found that although the optimal growth temperature is around 25°C, the degree of virulence of V. anguillarum RV22 is higher at 15°C. To explain this result, an RNA-Seq analysis was performed to compare the whole transcriptome profile of V. anguillarum RV22 cultured under low-iron availability at either 25 or 15°C, which would mimic the conditions that V. anguillarum finds during colonization of fish cultivated at warm- or cold-water temperatures. The comparative analysis of transcriptomes at high- and low-iron conditions showed profound metabolic adaptations to grow under low iron. These changes were characterized by a down-regulation of the energetic metabolism and the induction of virulence-related factors like biosynthesis of LPS, production of hemolysins and lysozyme, membrane transport, heme uptake, or production of siderophores. However, the expression pattern of virulence factors under iron limitation showed interesting differences at warm and cold temperatures. Chemotaxis, motility, as well as the T6SS1 genes are expressed at higher levels at 25°C than at 15°C. By contrast, hemolysin RTX pore-forming toxin, T6SS2, and the genes associated with exopolysaccharides synthesis were preferentially expressed at 15°C. Notably, at this temperature, the siderophore piscibactin system was strongly up-regulated. In contrast, at 25°C, piscibactin genes were down-regulated and the vanchrobactin siderophore system seems to supply all the necessary iron to the cell. The results showed that V. anguillarum adjusts the expression of virulence factors responding to two environmental signals, iron levels and temperature. Thus, the relative relevance of each virulence factor for each fish species could vary depending on the water temperature. The results give clues about the physiological adaptations that allow V. anguillarum to cause infections in different fishes and could be relevant for vaccine development against fish vibriosis.
Project description:The high-pathogenicity island <i>irp</i>-HPI is widespread among <i>Vibrionaceae</i> encoding the piscibactin siderophore system. The expression of piscibactin genes in the fish pathogen <i>Vibrio anguillarum</i> is favored by low temperatures. However, information about the regulatory mechanism behind <i>irp</i>-HPI gene expression is scarce. In this work, in-frame deletion mutants of <i>V. anguillarum</i> defective in the putative regulators AraC1 and AraC2, encoded by <i>irp</i>-HPI, and in the global regulators H-NS and ToxRS, were constructed and their effect on <i>irp</i>-HPI gene expression was analyzed at 15 and 25°C. The results proved that only AraC1 (renamed as PbtA) is required for the expression of piscibactin biosynthesis and transport genes. PbtA inactivation led to an inability to grow under iron restriction, a loss of the outer membrane piscibactin transporter FrpA, and a significant decrease in virulence for fish. Inactivation of the global repressor H-NS, which is involved in silencing of horizontally acquired genes, also resulted in a lower transcriptional activity of the <i>frpA</i> promoter. Deletion of <i>toxR-S</i>, however, did not have a relevant effect on the expression of the <i>irp</i>-HPI genes. Therefore, while <i>irp</i>-HPI would not be part of the ToxR regulon, H-NS must exert an indirect effect on piscibactin gene expression. Thus, the temperature-dependent expression of the piscibactin-encoding pathogenicity island described in <i>V. anguillarum</i> is the result of the combined effect of the AraC-like transcriptional activator PbtA, harbored in the island, and other not yet defined regulator(s) encoded by the genome. Furthermore, different expression patterns were detected within different <i>irp</i>-HPI evolutionary lineages, which supports a long-term evolution of the <i>irp</i>-HPI genomic island within <i>Vibrionaceae.</i> The mechanism that modulates piscibactin gene expression could also be involved in global regulation of virulence factors in response to temperature changes.
Project description:The fish pathogen Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida produces the siderophore piscibactin. A gene cluster that resembles the Yersinia high-pathogenicity island (HPI) encodes piscibactin biosynthesis. Here, we report that this HPI-like cluster is part of a hitherto-uncharacterized 68-kb plasmid dubbed pPHDP70. This plasmid lacks homologs of genes that mediate conjugation, but we found that it could be transferred at low frequencies from P. damselae subsp. piscicida to a mollusk pathogenic Vibrio alginolyticus strain and to other Gram-negative bacteria, likely dependent on the conjugative functions of the coresident plasmid pPHDP60. Following its conjugative transfer, pPHDP70 restored the capacity of a vibrioferrin mutant of V. alginolyticus to grow under low-iron conditions, and piscibactin became detectable in its supernatant. Thus, pPHDP70 appears to harbor all the genes required for piscibactin biosynthesis and transport. P. damselae subsp. piscicida strains cured of pPHDP70 no longer produced piscibactin, had impaired growth under iron-limited conditions, and exhibited markedly decreased virulence in fish. Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of pPHDP70, with its capacity for piscibactin-mediated iron acquisition, in the virulence of P. damselae subsp. piscicida. Horizontal transmission of this plasmid-borne piscibactin synthesis gene cluster in the marine environment may facilitate the emergence of new pathogens.
Project description:The genetic heterogeneity of the close relatives Vibrio anguillarum and Vibrio ordalii, both serious pathogens of fish causing extensive losses in aquaculture, was studied. Eight housekeeping genes, i.e., atpA, ftsZ, gapA, gyrB, mreB, rpoA, topA, and pyrH, were partially sequenced in 116 isolates from diverse fish species and geographical areas. The eight genes appear to be under purifying selection, and the genetic diversity in the total data set was estimated to be 0.767 ± 0.026. Our multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) scheme identified several widespread clonal complexes and resolved the isolates, for the most part, according to serotype. Serotype O2b isolates from diseased cod in Norway, Ireland, and Scotland were found to be extremely homogeneous. Horizontal gene transfer appears to be fairly common within and between clonal complexes. Taken together, MLSA and in silico DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH) calculations suggest that some isolates previously characterized as V ordalii, i.e., 12B09, FF93, FS144, and FS238, are in fact V. anguillarum isolates. The precise taxonomic situation for two isolates from Atlantic cod that display several traits consistent with V. ordalii, i.e., NVI 5286 and NVI 5918, and a single environmental strain that was previously considered to represent V. ordalii, i.e., FF167, is less clear.It is still being debated whether V. anguillarum and V ordalii represent separate bacterial species. Our study addresses this issue and elucidates the degree of genetic variability within this group of closely related bacteria, based on a substantial number of isolates. Our results clearly illustrate the existence of different populations among putative V ordalii isolates. On the basis of additional full-length genomic analysis, we conclude that most environmental isolates previously identified as V ordalii lie firmly within the species V. anguillarum While bona fide fish-pathogenic V ordalii isolates display a very close genetic relationship with V. anguillarum, they combine a clearly divergent evolutionary pattern with clear phenotypic differences. The study also highlights the need for further characterization of fish-pathogenic isolates from the northern Atlantic region that share phenotypic characteristics with V. ordalii but are genetically closer to V. anguillarum The retention of taxonomic distinctions between the phenotypically different groups of bacteria is of practical advantage to microbial ecologists and veterinarians.
Project description:We analysed the taxonomic position of the genus Listonella based on phylogenetic, genomic and phenotypic data. The species of the genus Listonella were nested within the genus Vibrio according to the 16S rRNA gene sequence-based phylogenetic tree. The closest neighbour of Vibrio (Listonella) anguillarum strains LMG 4437(T) and ATCC 68554 (=strain 775) was Vibrio ordalii LMG 13544(T), with more than 99.5% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity. Furthermore, Vibrio (Listonella) pelagius is highly related to Vibrio splendidus. According to average amino acid identity (AAI), multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) and Karlin genome signature, the closest neighbour of L. anguillarum ATCC 68554 is V. ordalii LMG 13544(T), with 95% AAI, 98% MLSA and 5 in Karlin. V. anguillarum ATCC 68554 and Vibrio cholerae N16961 had 77% similarity in AAI, 85% in MLSA and 14 in the Karlin signature. Phenotypic analyses of previously published data for V. (L.) anguillarum and V. (L.) pelagius revealed that the genus Listonella is extremely similar to the genus Vibrio. V. ordalii and L. anguillarum strains yielded up to 67% DNA-DNA hybridization. There are only a few phenotypic features that might be used to discriminate these two species: L. anguillarum is positive for the Voges-Proskauer reaction, citrate utilization, starch hydrolysis, lipase activity and acid production from glycerol, sorbitol and trehalose, whereas V. ordalii is negative for these traits. We suggest that the genus Listonella is a later heterotypic synonym of the genus Vibrio and propose to use the names Vibrio anguillarum and Vibrio pelagius in place of Listonella anguillarum and Listonella pelagia, respectively.
Project description:We dissected the complete genome sequence of the O1 serotype strain Vibrio anguillarum 775(pJM1) and determined the draft genomic sequences of plasmidless strains of serotype O1 (strain 96F) and O2? (strain RV22) and V. ordalii. All strains harbor two chromosomes, but 775 also harbors the virulence plasmid pJM1, which carries the anguibactin-producing and cognate transport genes, one of the main virulence factors of V. anguillarum. Genomic analysis identified eight genomic islands in chromosome 1 of V. anguillarum 775(pJM1) and two in chromosome 2. Some of them carried potential virulence genes for the biosynthesis of O antigens, hemolysins, and exonucleases as well as others for sugar transport and metabolism. The majority of genes for essential cell functions and pathogenicity are located on chromosome 1. In contrast, chromosome 2 contains a larger fraction (59%) of hypothetical genes than does chromosome 1 (42%). Chromosome 2 also harbors a superintegron, as well as host "addiction" genes that are typically found on plasmids. Unique distinctive properties include homologues of type III secretion system genes in 96F, homologues of V. cholerae zot and ace toxin genes in RV22, and the biofilm formation syp genes in V. ordalii. Mobile genetic elements, some of them possibly originated in the pJM1 plasmid, were very abundant in 775, resulting in the silencing of specific genes, with only few insertions in the 96F and RV22 chromosomes.
Project description:Haemophilus influenzae has an absolute aerobic growth requirement for either heme, or iron in the presence of protoporphyrin IX. Both iron and heme in the mammalian host are strictly limited in their availability to invading microorganisms. Many bacterial species overcome iron limitation in their environment by the synthesis and secretion of small iron binding molecules termed siderophores, which bind iron and deliver it into the bacterial cell via specific siderophore receptor proteins on the bacterial cell surface. There are currently no reports of siderophore production or utilization by H. influenzae.Comparative genomics revealed a putative four gene operon in the recently sequenced nontypeable H. influenzae strain R2846 that encodes predicted proteins exhibiting significant identity at the amino acid level to proteins involved in the utilization of the siderophore ferrichrome in other bacterial species. No siderophore biosynthesis genes were identified in the R2846 genome. Both comparative genomics and a PCR based analysis identified several additional H. influenzae strains possessing this operon. In growth curve assays strains containing the genes were able to utilize ferrichrome as an iron source. H. influenzae strains lacking the operon were unable to obtain iron from ferrichrome. An insertional mutation in one gene of the operon abrogated the ability of strains to utilize ferrichrome. In addition transcription of genes in the identified operon were repressible by high iron/heme levels in the growth media.We have identified an iron/heme-repressible siderophore utilization locus present in several nontypeable H. influenzae strains. The same strains do not possess genes encoding proteins associated with siderophore synthesis. The siderophore utilization locus may enable the utilization of siderophores produced by other microorganisms in the polymicrobial environmental niche of the human nasopharynx colonized by H. influenzae. This is the first report of siderophore utilization by H. influenzae.
Project description:Some strains of Vibrio anguillarum, the causative agent of vibriosis in a variety of marine animals, produce a catechol-type siderophore named vanchrobactin. The biosynthetic pathway and regulation of vanchrobactin are quite well understood. However, aspects concerning its entry into the cell have remained uncharacterized. In the present study we characterized two genes, fvtA and orf13, encoding potential TonB-dependent ferric-vanchrobactin receptors in serotype O2 V. anguillarum strain RV22. We found that an fvtA mutant was defective for growth under iron limitation conditions and for utilization of vanchrobactin, suggesting that fvtA encodes the vanchrobactin receptor of V. anguillarum. Interestingly, an orf13 mutant was not significantly affected, and results of reverse transcriptase PCR, as well as analysis of outer membrane proteins by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, suggested that this gene is not expressed. Furthermore, fatA, a plasmid gene coding for the anguibactin receptor in plasmid pJM1-harboring strains, is also present in the chromosome of RV22, although it is inactivated by insertion of transposases. In addition, we found that FvtA is the route of entry for vanchrobactin analogues, and there is evidence that it recognizes primarily the catechol-iron center. These analogues are potential candidate vectors for a Trojan horse strategy aimed at generating antimicrobial compounds exploiting the same route of entry for native siderophores. We found that fvtA and vanchrobactin biosynthesis genes are ubiquitous in both vanchrobactin- and anguibactin-producing V. anguillarum strains, which reinforces the utility of the vanchrobactin route of entry for the design of future strategies for the control of vibriosis.