Identification and characterization of differentially expressed genes in Caenorhabditis elegans in response to pathogenic and nonpathogenic Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an emerging nosocomial pathogen that causes infection in immunocompromised patients. S. maltophilia isolates are genetically diverse, contain diverse virulence factors, and are variably pathogenic within several host species. Members of the Stenotrophomonas genus are part of the native microbiome of C. elegans, being found in greater relative abundance within the worm than its environment, suggesting that these bacteria accumulate within C. elegans. Thus, study of the C. elegans-Stenotrophomonas interaction is of both medical and ecological significance. To identify host defense mechanisms, we analyzed the C. elegans transcriptomic response to S. maltophilia strains of varying pathogenicity: K279a, an avirulent clinical isolate, JCMS, a virulent strain isolated in association with soil nematodes near Manhattan, KS, and JV3, an even more virulent environmental isolate. RESULTS:Overall, we found 145 genes that are commonly differentially expressed in response to pathogenic S. maltophilia strains, 89% of which are upregulated, with many even further upregulated in response to JV3 as compared to JCMS. There are many more JV3-specific differentially expressed genes (225, 11% upregulated) than JCMS-specific differentially expressed genes (14, 86% upregulated), suggesting JV3 has unique pathogenic mechanisms that could explain its increased virulence. We used connectivity within a gene network model to choose pathogen-specific and strain-specific differentially expressed candidate genes for functional analysis. Mutations in 13 of 22 candidate genes caused significant differences in C. elegans survival in response to at least one S. maltophilia strain, although not always the strain that induced differential expression, suggesting a dynamic response to varying levels of pathogenicity. CONCLUSIONS:Variation in observed pathogenicity and differences in host transcriptional responses to S. maltophilia strains reveal that strain-specific mechanisms play important roles in S. maltophilia pathogenesis. Furthermore, utilizing bacteria closely related to strains found in C. elegans natural environment provides a more realistic interaction for understanding host-pathogen response.
Project description:The bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an excellent model for the study of innate immune responses to a variety of bacterial pathogens, including the emerging nosocomial bacterial pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. The study of this interaction has ecological and medical relevance as S. maltophilia is found in association with C. elegans and other nematodes in the wild and is an emerging opportunistic bacterial pathogen. We identified 393 genes that were differentially expressed when exposed to virulent and avirulent strains of S. maltophilia and an avirulent strain of E. coli. We then used a probabilistic functional gene network model (WormNet) to determine that 118 of the 393 differentially expressed genes formed an interacting network and identified a set of highly connected genes with eight or more predicted interactions. We hypothesized that these highly connected genes might play an important role in the defense against S. maltophila and found that mutations of six of seven highly connected genes have a significant effect on nematode survival in response to these bacteria. Of these genes, C48B4.1, mpk-2, cpr-4, clec-67, and lys-6 are needed for combating the virulent S. maltophilia JCMS strain, while dod-22 was solely involved in response to the avirulent S. maltophilia K279a strain. We further found that dod-22 and clec-67 were up regulated in response to JCMS vs. K279a, while C48B4.1, mpk-2, cpr-4, and lys-6 were down regulated. Only dod-22 had a documented role in innate immunity, which demonstrates the merit of our approach in the identification of novel genes that are involved in combating S. maltophilia infection.
Project description:Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen that can infect the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF). The highly viscous mucus in the CF lung, expectorated as sputum, serves as the primary nutrient source for microbes colonizing this site and induces virulence-associated phenotypes and gene expression in several CF pathogens. Here, we characterized the transcriptional responses of three S. maltophilia strains during exposure to synthetic CF sputum medium (SCFM2) to gain insight into how this organism interacts with the host in the CF lung. These efforts led to the identification of 881 transcripts differentially expressed by all three strains, many of which reflect the metabolic pathways used by S. maltophilia in sputum, as well as altered stress responses. The latter correlated with increased resistance to peroxide exposure after pregrowth in SCFM2 for two of the strains. We also compared the SCFM2 transcriptomes of two S. maltophilia CF isolates to that of the acute infection strain, S. maltophilia K279a, allowing us to identify CF isolate-specific signatures in differential gene expression. The expression of genes from the accessory genomes was also differentially altered in response to SCFM2. Finally, a number of biofilm-associated genes were differentially induced in SCFM2, particularly in K279a, which corresponded to increased aggregation and biofilm formation in this strain relative to both CF strains. Collectively, this work details the response of S. maltophilia to an environment that mimics important aspects of the CF lung, identifying potential survival strategies and metabolic pathways used by S. maltophilia during infections.IMPORTANCE Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an important infecting bacterium in the airways of people with cystic fibrosis (CF). However, compared to the other CF pathogens, S. maltophilia has been relatively understudied. The significance of our research is to provide insight into the global transcriptomic changes of S. maltophilia in response to a medium that was designed to mimic important aspects of the CF lung. This study elucidates the overall metabolic changes that occur when S. maltophilia encounters the CF lung and generates a road map of candidate genes to test using in vitro and in vivo models of CF.
Project description:The goal of this study was to elucidate genes that are employed by the bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to respond to the emerging nosocomial bacterial pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Overall design: 12 microarrays (4 per bacterial treatment) were used to identify genes that were differentially expressed when exposed to virulent (JCMS) and avirulent (K279a) strains of S. maltophilia and an avirulent (OP50) strain of E. coli.
Project description:Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a highly versatile species with useful biotechnological potential but also with pathogenic properties. In light of possible differences in virulence characteristics, knowledge about genomic subgroups is therefore desirable. Two different genotyping methods, rep-PCR fingerprinting and partial gyrB gene sequencing were used to elucidate S. maltophilia intraspecies diversity. Rep-PCR fingerprinting revealed the presence of 12 large subgroups, while gyrB gene sequencing distinguished 10 subgroups. For 8 of them, the same strain composition was shown with both typing methods. A subset of 59 isolates representative for the gyrB groups was further investigated with regards to their pathogenic properties in a virulence model using Dictyostelium discoideum and Acanthamoeba castellanii as host organisms. A clear tendency towards accumulation of virulent strains could be observed for one group with A. castellanii and for two groups with D. discoideum. Several virulent strains did not cluster in any of the genetic groups, while other groups displayed no virulence properties at all. The amoeba pathogenicity model proved suitable in showing differences in S. maltophilia virulence. However, the model is still not sufficient to completely elucidate virulence as critical for a human host, since several strains involved in human infections did not show any virulence against amoeba.
Project description:Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a ubiquitous bacterium and an emerging nosocomial pathogen. This bacterium is resistant to many antibiotics, associated with a number of infections, and a significant health risk, especially for immunocompromised patients. Given that Caenorhabditis elegans shares many conserved genetic pathways and pathway components with higher organisms, the study of its interaction with bacterial pathogens has biomedical implications. S. maltophilia has been isolated in association with nematodes from grassland soils, and it is likely that C. elegans encounters this bacterium in nature. We found that a local S. maltophilia isolate, JCMS, is more virulent than the other S. maltophilia isolates (R551-3 and K279a) tested. JCMS virulence correlates with intestinal distension and bacterial accumulation and requires the bacteria to be alive. Many of the conserved innate immune pathways that serve to protect C. elegans from various pathogenic bacteria also play a role in combating S. maltophilia JCMS. However, S. maltophilia JCMS is virulent to normally pathogen-resistant DAF-2/16 insulin-like signaling pathway mutants. Furthermore, several insulin-like signaling effector genes were not significantly differentially expressed between S. maltophilia JCMS and avirulent bacteria (Escherichia coli OP50). Taken together, these findings suggest that S. maltophilia JCMS evades the pathogen resistance conferred by the loss of DAF-2/16 pathway components. In summary, we have discovered a novel host-pathogen interaction between C. elegans and S. maltophilia and established a new animal model with which to study the mode of action of this emerging nosocomial pathogen.
Project description:A novel Siphoviridae phage specific to the bacterial species Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was isolated from a pristine soil sample and characterized as a second member of the newly established Delepquintavirus genus. Phage DLP3 possesses one of the broadest host ranges of any S. maltophilia phage yet characterized, infecting 22 of 29 S. maltophilia strains. DLP3 has a genome size of 96,852 bp and a G+C content of 58.4%, which is significantly lower than S. maltophilia host strain D1571 (G+C content of 66.9%). The DLP3 genome encodes 153 coding domain sequences covering 95% of the genome, including five tRNA genes with different specificities. The DLP3 lysogen exhibits a growth rate increase during the exponential phase of growth as compared to the wild type strain. DLP3 also encodes a functional erythromycin resistance protein, causing lysogenic conversion of the host D1571 strain. Although a temperate phage, DLP3 demonstrates excellent therapeutic potential because it exhibits a broad host range, infects host cells through the S. maltophilia type IV pilus, and exhibits lytic activity in vivo. Undesirable traits, such as its temperate lifecycle, can be eliminated using genetic techniques to produce a modified phage useful in the treatment of S. maltophilia bacterial infections.
Project description:A Gram-negative bacterium, designated as strain KB2, was isolated from activated sludge and was found to utilize different aromatic substrates as sole carbon and energy source. On the basis of morphological and physiochemical characteristics and 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, the isolated strain KB2 was identified as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Strain KB2 is from among different Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strains the first one described as exhibiting the activities of three types of dioxygenases depending on the structure of the inducer. The cells grown on benzoate and catechol showed mainly catechol 1,2-dioxygenase activity. The activity of 2,3-dioxygenase was detected after phenol induction. Protocatechuate 3,4-dioxygenase was found in crude cell extracts of this strain after incubation with 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, protocatechuic acid and vanillic acid. Because of broad spectrum of dioxygenases' types that Stenotrophomonas maltophilia KB2 can exhibit, this strain appears to be very powerful and useful tool in the biotreatment of wastewaters and in soil decontamination.
Project description:The interaction of the Gram-negative bacterium Stenotrophomonas maltophilia with eukaryotes can improve overall plant growth and health, but can also cause opportunistic infections in humans. While the quorum sensing molecule DSF (diffusible signal factor) is responsible for the regulation of phenotypes in pathogenic Stenotrophomonas, up until now, no beneficial effects were reported to be controlled by it. Our objective was to study the function of DSF in the plant growth promoting model strain S. maltophilia R551-3 using functional and transcriptomic analyses. For this purpose, we compared the wild-type strain with a mutant deficient in the rpfF (regulation of pathogenicity factors) gene that is essential for the synthesis of DSF. Oilseed rape seeds treated with the wild-type strain showed a statistically significant increase in germination rate compared with those treated with the rpfF mutant. Similarly, the wild-type strain exhibited better plant growth promotion and a greater efficiency in colonizing oilseed rape compared to the mutant strain. Moreover, only the wild-type was capable of forming structured cell aggregates both in vitro and in the rhizosphere, a characteristic mediated by DSF. Gene transcription analyses showed that numerous genes known to play a role in plant colonization (e.g. chemotaxis, cell motility, biofilm formation, multidrug efflux pumps) are controlled by the rpf/DSF system in S. maltophilia. In addition, we detected new potential functions of spermidine, primarily for both growth promotion and stress protection. Overall, our results showed a correspondence between the regulation of DSF and the positive interaction effect with the plant host.
Project description:Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a Gram-negative pathogen with emerging nosocomial incidence. Little is known about its pathogenesis and the genomic diversity exhibited by clinical isolates complicates the study of pathogenicity and virulence factors. Here, we present a strategy to identify such factors in new clinical isolates of S. maltophilia, incorporating an adult-zebrafish model of S. maltophilia infection to evaluate relative virulence coupled to 2D difference gel electrophoresis to explore underlying differences in protein expression. In this study we report upon three recent clinical isolates and use the collection strain ATCC13637 as a reference. The adult-zebrafish model shows discrimination capacity, i.e. from very low to very high mortality rates, with clinical symptoms very similar to those observed in natural S. maltophilia infections in fish. Strain virulence correlates with resistance to human serum, in agreement with previous studies in mouse and rat and therefore supporting zebrafish as a replacement model. Despite its clinical origin, the collection strain ATCC13637 showed obvious signs of attenuation in zebrafish, with null mortality. Multilocus-sequence-typing analysis revealed that the most virulent strains, UV74 and M30, exhibit the strongest genetic similitude. Differential proteomic analysis led to the identification of 38 proteins with significantly different abundance in the three clinical strains relative to the reference strain. Orthologs of several of these proteins have been already reported to have a role in pathogenesis, virulence or resistance mechanisms thus supporting our strategy. Proof of concept is further provided by protein Ax21, whose abundance is shown here to be directly proportional to mortality in the zebrafish infection model. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that this protein is a quorum-sensing-related virulence factor.
Project description:The quorum-sensing (QS) system present in the emerging nosocomial pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is based on the signaling molecule diffusible signal factor (DSF). Production and detection of DSF are governed by the rpf cluster, which encodes the synthase RpfF and the sensor RpfC, among other components. Despite a well-studied system, little is known about its implication in virulence regulation in S. maltophilia. Here, we have analyzed the rpfF gene from 82 S. maltophilia clinical isolates. Although rpfF was found to be present in all of the strains, it showed substantial variation, with two populations (rpfF-1 and rpfF-2) clearly distinguishable by the N-terminal region of the protein. Analysis of rpfC in seven complete genome sequences revealed a corresponding variability in the N-terminal transmembrane domain of its product, suggesting that each RpfF variant has an associated RpfC variant. We show that only RpfC-RpfF-1 variant strains display detectable DSF production. Heterologous rpfF complementation of ?rpfF mutants of a representative strain of each variant suggests that RpfF-2 is, however, functional and that the observed DSF-deficient phenotype of RpfC-RpfF-2 variant strains is due to permanent repression of RpfF-2 by RpfC-2. This is corroborated by the ?rpfC mutant of the RpfC-RpfF-2 representative strain. In line with this observations, deletion of rpfF from the RpfC-RpfF-1 strain leads to an increase in biofilm formation, a decrease in swarming motility, and relative attenuation in the Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish infection models, whereas deletion of the same gene from the representative RpfC-RpfF-2 strain has no significant effect on these virulence-related phenotypes.