Conditionally essential genes for survival during starvation in Enterococcus faecium E745.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The nosocomial pathogen Enterococcus faecium can survive for prolonged periods of time on surfaces in the absence of nutrients. This trait is thought to contribute to the ability of E. faecium to spread among patients in hospitals. There is currently a lack of data on the mechanisms that are responsible for the ability of E. faecium to survive in the absence of nutrients. RESULTS:We performed a high-throughput transposon mutant library screening (Tn-seq) to identify genes that have a role in long-term survival during incubation in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at 20?°C. A total of 24 genes were identified by Tn-seq to contribute to survival in PBS, with functions associated with the general stress response, DNA repair, metabolism, and membrane homeostasis. The gene which was quantitatively most important for survival in PBS was usp (locus tag: EfmE745_02439), which is predicted to encode a 17.4?kDa universal stress protein. After generating a targeted deletion mutant in usp, we were able to confirm that usp significantly contributes to survival in PBS and this defect was restored by in trans complementation. The usp gene is present in 99% of a set of 1644 E. faecium genomes that collectively span the diversity of the species. CONCLUSIONS:We postulate that usp is a key determinant for the remarkable environmental robustness of E. faecium. Further mechanistic studies into usp and other genes identified in this study may shed further light on the mechanisms by which E. faecium can survive in the absence of nutrients for prolonged periods of time.
Project description:Since Streptococcus pneumoniae transmits through droplet spread, this respiratory tract pathogen may be able to survive in saliva. Here, we show that saliva supports survival of clinically relevant S. pneumoniae strains for more than 24 h in a capsule-independent manner. Moreover, saliva induced growth of S. pneumoniae in growth-permissive conditions, suggesting that S. pneumoniae is well adapted for uptake of nutrients from this bodily fluid. By using Tn-seq, a method for genome-wide negative selection screening, we identified 147 genes potentially required for growth and survival of S. pneumoniae in saliva, among which genes predicted to be involved in cell envelope biosynthesis, cell transport, amino acid metabolism, and stress response predominated. The Tn-seq findings were validated by testing a panel of directed gene deletion mutants for their ability to survive in saliva under two testing conditions: at room temperature without CO2, representing transmission, and at 37 °C with CO2, representing in-host carriage. These validation experiments confirmed that the plsX gene and the amiACDEF and aroDEBC operons, involved in respectively fatty acid metabolism, oligopeptide transport, and biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids play an important role in the growth and survival of S. pneumoniae in saliva at 37 °C. In conclusion, this study shows that S. pneumoniae is well-adapted for growth and survival in human saliva and provides a genome-wide list of genes potentially involved in adaptation. This notion supports earlier evidence that S. pneumoniae can use human saliva as a vector for transmission.
Project description:The Gram-positive bacterium Enterococcus faecium is a commensal of the human gastrointestinal tract and a frequent cause of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients. The mechanisms by which E. faecium can survive and grow in blood during an infection have not yet been characterized. Here, we identify genes that contribute to growth of E. faecium in human serum through transcriptome profiling (RNA-seq) and a high-throughput transposon mutant library sequencing approach (Tn-seq).We first sequenced the genome of E. faecium E745, a vancomycin-resistant clinical isolate, using a combination of short- and long read sequencing, revealing a 2,765,010 nt chromosome and 6 plasmids, with sizes ranging between 9.3 kbp and 223.7 kbp. We then compared the transcriptome of E. faecium E745 during exponential growth in rich medium and in human serum by RNA-seq. This analysis revealed that 27.8% of genes on the E. faecium E745 genome were differentially expressed in these two conditions. A gene cluster with a role in purine biosynthesis was among the most upregulated genes in E. faecium E745 upon growth in serum. The E. faecium E745 transposon mutant library was then used to identify genes that were specifically required for growth of E. faecium in serum. Genes involved in de novo nucleotide biosynthesis (including pyrK_2, pyrF, purD, purH) and a gene encoding a phosphotransferase system subunit (manY_2) were thus identified to be contributing to E. faecium growth in human serum. Transposon mutants in pyrK_2, pyrF, purD, purH and manY_2 were isolated from the library and their impaired growth in human serum was confirmed. In addition, the pyrK_2 and manY_2 mutants were tested for their virulence in an intravenous zebrafish infection model and exhibited significantly attenuated virulence compared to E. faecium E745.Genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and nucleotide biosynthesis of E. faecium are essential for growth in human serum and contribute to the pathogenesis of this organism. These genes may serve as targets for the development of novel anti-infectives for the treatment of E. faecium bloodstream infections.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The ecology of columnaris disease, caused by Flavobacterium columnare, is poorly understood despite the economic losses that this disease inflicts on aquaculture farms worldwide. Currently, the natural reservoir for this pathogen is unknown but limited data have shown its ability to survive in water for extended periods of time. The objective of this study was to describe the ultrastructural changes that F. columnare cells undergo under starvation conditions. Four genetically distinct strains of this pathogen were monitored for 14 days in media without nutrients. Culturability and cell viability was assessed throughout the study. In addition, cell morphology and ultrastructure was analyzed using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Revival of starved cells under different nutrient conditions and the virulence potential of the starved cells were also investigated. RESULTS: Starvation induced unique and consistent morphological changes in all strains studied. Cells maintained their length and did not transition into a shortened, coccus shape as observed in many other Gram negative bacteria. Flavobacterium columnare cells modified their shape by morphing into coiled forms that comprised more than 80% of all the cells after 2 weeks of starvation. Coiled cells remained culturable as determined by using a dilution to extinction strategy. Statistically significant differences in cell viability were found between strains although all were able to survive in absence of nutrients for at least 14 days. In later stages of starvation, an extracellular matrix was observed covering the coiled cells. A difference in growth curves between fresh and starved cultures was evident when cultures were 3-months old but not when cultures were starved for only 1 month. Revival of starved cultures under different nutrients revealed that cells return back to their original elongated rod shape upon encountering nutrients. Challenge experiments shown that starved cells were avirulent for a fish host model. CONCLUSIONS: Specific morphological and ultrastructural changes allowed F. columnare cells to remain viable under adverse conditions. Those changes were reversed by the addition of nutrients. This bacterium can survive in water without nutrients for extended periods of time although long-term starvation appears to decrease cell fitness and resulted in loss of virulence.
Project description:Mammalian cells are surrounded by diverse nutrients, such as glucose, amino acids, various macromolecules and micronutrients, which they can import through transmembrane transporters and endolysosomal pathways. By using different nutrient sources, cells gain metabolic flexibility to survive periods of starvation. Quiescent cells take up sufficient nutrients to sustain homeostasis. However, proliferating cells depend on growth-factor-induced increases in nutrient uptake to support biomass formation. Here, we review cellular nutrient acquisition strategies and their regulation by growth factors and cell-intrinsic nutrient sensors. We also discuss how oncogenes and tumour suppressors promote nutrient uptake and thereby support the survival and growth of cancer cells.
Project description:The pathways that allow quiescent disseminated cancer cells to survive during prolonged dormancy periods are unknown. Here, we identify the transcription factor ATF6alpha as a pivotal survival factor for quiescent but not proliferative squamous carcinoma cells. ATF6alpha is essential for the adaptation of dormant cells to chemotherapy, nutritional stress, and, most importantly, the in vivo microenvironment. Mechanism analysis showed that MKK6 and p38alpha/beta contribute to regulating nuclear translocation and transcriptional activation of ATF6alpha in dormant cancer cells. Downstream, ATF6alpha induces survival through the up-regulation of Rheb and activation of mTOR signaling independent of Akt. Down-regulation of ATF6alpha or Rheb reverted dormant tumor cell resistance to rapamycin and induced pronounced killing only of dormant cancer cells in vivo. Knocking down ATF6alpha also prolonged the survival of nude mice bearing dormant tumor cells. Targeting survival signaling by the ATF6alpha-Rheb-mTOR pathway in dormant tumor cells may favor the eradication of residual disease during dormancy periods.
Project description:Although advanced-stage melanoma patients have a median survival of less than a year, adoptive T cell therapy can induce durable clinical responses in some patients. Successful adoptive T cell therapy to treat cancer requires engraftment of antitumor T lymphocytes that not only retain specificity and function in vivo but also display an intrinsic capacity to survive. To date, adoptively transferred antitumor CD8(+) T lymphocytes (CTLs) have had limited life spans unless the host has been manipulated. To generate CTLs that have an intrinsic capacity to persist in vivo, we developed a human artificial antigen-presenting cell system that can educate antitumor CTLs to acquire both a central memory and an effector memory phenotype as well as the capacity to survive in culture for prolonged periods of time. We examined whether antitumor CTLs generated using this system could function and persist in patients. We showed that MART1-specific CTLs, educated and expanded using our artificial antigen-presenting cell system, could survive for prolonged periods in advanced-stage melanoma patients without previous conditioning or cytokine treatment. Moreover, these CTLs trafficked to the tumor, mediated biological and clinical responses, and established antitumor immunologic memory. Therefore, this approach may broaden the availability of adoptive cell therapy to patients both alone and in combination with other therapeutic modalities.
Project description:Person-to-person transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) may occur via environmental sources in close contact with carriers. Pneumococcal polysaccharide capsules, the determinant of serotype (or type), are heterogeneous in structure and amount and these differences affect rates of transmission. In this study, we examined the contribution of capsule and its variations to the maintenance of pneumococcal viability under starvation conditions. S. pneumoniae retained its ability to colonize infant mice even after incubation for 24hrs in PBS at 25°C. The expression of capsule by the cps locus prolonged survival under these and other nutrient-poor conditions. Analysis of capsule-switch constructs showed that strain-to-strain differences in survival were due to capsule type rather than genetic background. The addition of glucose was sufficient to rescue the survival defect of the capsule-deficient derivative demonstrating that in the absence of capsule survival depends upon nutrient availability. During starvation, there was a decrease in capsule size and amount of capsular polysaccharide that was dependent on bacterial viability and the presence of the cps locus. These observations suggest that pneumococci catabolize their own capsular polysaccharide using the genes involved in its biosynthesis to maintain viability when other carbon sources are unavailable. Our findings describe a new role of the pneumococcal capsule; the prolongation of viability under nutrient limiting conditions as would be encountered during periods when the organism is between hosts.
Project description:Bacterial endospores can survive harsh environmental conditions and long-term dormancy in the absence of nutrients, but can rapidly germinate under favorable conditions. In the present study, we employed transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes with previously uncharacterized roles in spore germination. Identified genes that encoded spore inner membrane proteins were chosen for study of defined mutants, which exhibited delayed germination in several assays in response to varying germinants. Significantly slowed release of DPA indicated that mutants were affected in Stage I of germination. Several mutants exhibited phenotypic traits consistent with failure of a GerA germinant receptor-mediated response, while others appeared to have a more general loss of response to varied germinants. Use of a gerA-lacZ transcriptional fusion and quantitative western blotting of GerAC allowed mutants to be classified based upon normal or decreased gerA transcription and normal or reduced GerA accumulation. Fourteen genes were identified to have newly described roles within Bacillus spore germination. A more complete understanding of this process can contribute to the development of better spore decontamination procedures.
Project description:Although remission rates for metastatic melanoma are generally very poor, some patients can survive for prolonged periods following metastasis. We used gene expression profiling, mitotic index (MI), and quantification of tumor infiltrating leukocytes (TILs) and CD3+ cells in metastatic lesions to search for a molecular basis for this observation and to develop improved methods for predicting patient survival. We identified a group of 266 genes associated with postrecurrence survival. Genes positively associated with survival were predominantly immune response related (e.g., ICOS, CD3d, ZAP70, TRAT1, TARP, GZMK, LCK, CD2, CXCL13, CCL19, CCR7, VCAM1) while genes negatively associated with survival were cell proliferation related (e.g., PDE4D, CDK2, GREF1, NUSAP1, SPC24). Identification of genes associated with survival of metastatic melanoma Survival Analysis was performed using Statistical Analysis of Microarrays B D denotes same patient with multiple reccurences
Project description:From early 2012, a novel clone of vancomycin resistant <i>Enterococcus faecium</i> (assigned the multi locus sequence type ST796) was simultaneously isolated from geographically separate hospitals in south eastern Australia and New Zealand. Here we describe the complete genome sequence of Ef_aus0233, a representative ST796 <i>E. faecium</i> isolate. We used PacBio single molecule real-time sequencing to establish a high quality, fully assembled genome comprising a circular chromosome of 2,888,087 bp and five plasmids. Comparison of Ef_aus0233 to other <i>E. faecium</i> genomes shows Ef_aus0233 is a member of the epidemic hospital-adapted lineage and has evolved from an ST555-like ancestral progenitor by the accumulation or modification of five mosaic plasmids and five putative prophage, acquisition of two cryptic genomic islands, accrued chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms and a 80 kb region of recombination, also gaining Tn<i>1549</i> and Tn<i>916</i>, transposons conferring resistance to vancomycin and tetracycline respectively. The genomic dissection of this new clone presented here underscores the propensity of the hospital <i>E. faecium</i> lineage to change, presumably in response to the specific conditions of hospital and healthcare environments.