Alkaline pH Increases Swimming Speed and Facilitates Mucus Penetration for Vibrio cholerae.
ABSTRACT: Intestinal mucus is the first line of defense against intestinal pathogens. It acts as a physical barrier between epithelial tissues and the lumen that enteropathogens must overcome to establish a successful infection. We investigated the motile behavior of two Vibrio cholerae strains (El Tor C6706 and Classical O395) in mucus using single-cell tracking in unprocessed porcine intestinal mucus. We determined that V. cholerae can penetrate mucus using flagellar motility and that alkaline pH increases swimming speed and, consequently, improves mucus penetration. Microrheological measurements indicate that changes in pH between 6 and 8 (the physiological range for the human small intestine) had little effect on the viscoelastic properties of mucus. Finally, we determined that acidic pH promotes surface attachment by activating the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MshA) pilus in V. cholerae El Tor C6706 without a measurable change in the total cellular concentration of the secondary messenger cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP). Overall, our results support the hypothesis that pH is an important factor affecting the motile behavior of V. cholerae and its ability to penetrate mucus. Therefore, changes in pH along the human small intestine may play a role in determining the preferred site for V. cholerae during infection.IMPORTANCE The diarrheal disease cholera is still a burden for populations in developing countries with poor sanitation. To develop effective vaccines and prevention strategies against Vibrio cholerae, we must understand the initial steps of infection leading to the colonization of the small intestine. To infect the host and deliver the cholera toxin, V. cholerae has to penetrate the mucus layer protecting the intestinal tissues. However, the interaction of V. cholerae with intestinal mucus has not been extensively investigated. In this report, we demonstrated using single-cell tracking that V. cholerae can penetrate intestinal mucus using flagellar motility. In addition, we observed that alkaline pH improves the ability of V. cholerae to penetrate mucus. This finding has important implications for understanding the dynamics of infection, because pH varies significantly along the small intestine, between individuals, and between species. Blocking mucus penetration by interfering with flagellar motility in V. cholerae, reinforcing the mucosa, controlling intestinal pH, or manipulating the intestinal microbiome will offer new strategies to fight cholera.
Project description:The viscoelastic mucus layer of gastrointestinal tracts is a host defense barrier that a successful enteric pathogen, such as Vibrio cholerae, must circumvent. V. cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, is able to penetrate the mucosa and colonize the epithelial surface of the small intestine. In this study, we found that mucin, the major component of mucus, promoted V. cholerae movement on semisolid medium and in liquid medium. A genome-wide screen revealed that Vibrio polysaccharide (VPS) production was inversely correlated with mucin-enhanced motility. Mucin adhesion assays indicated that VPS bound to mucin. Moreover, we found that vps expression was reduced upon exposure to mucin. In an infant mouse colonization model, mutants that overexpressed VPS colonized less effectively than wild-type strains in more distal intestinal regions. These results suggest that V. cholerae is able to sense mucosal signals and modulate vps expression accordingly so as to promote fast motion in mucus, thus allowing for rapid spread throughout the intestines.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of cholera, an acute diarrheal disease that remains endemic in many parts of the world. The mechanisms underlying immunity to cholera remain poorly defined, though it is increasingly clear that protection is associated with antibodies against lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Here we report that ZAC-3, a monoclonal antibody against the core/lipid A region of V. cholerae LPS is a potent inhibitor of V. cholerae flagellum-based motility in viscous and liquid environments. ZAC-3 arrested motility of the classical Ogawa strain O395, as well as the El Tor Inaba strain C6706. In addition, we demonstrate, in the neonatal mouse model, that ZAC-3 IgG and Fab fragments significantly reduced the ability of both V. cholerae strains O395 and C6706 to colonize the intestinal epithelium, revealing the potential of antibodies against the core/lipid A to contribute to immunity across biotypes, possibly through a mechanism involving motility arrest.
Project description:Defined mutant libraries allow for efficient genome-scale screening and provide a convenient collection of mutations in almost any nonessential gene of interest. Here, we present a near-saturating transposon insertion library in Vibrio cholerae strain C6706, a clinical isolate belonging to the O1 El Tor biotype responsible for the current cholera pandemic. Automated sequencing analysis of 23,312 mutants allowed us to build a 3,156-member subset library containing a representative insertion in every disrupted ORF. Because uncharacterized mutations that affect motility have shown utility in attenuating V. cholerae live vaccines, we used this genome-wide subset library to define all genes required for motility and to further assess the accuracy and purity of the library. In this screen, we identified the hypothetical gene VC2208 (flgT) as essential for motility. Flagellated cells were very rare in a flgT mutant, and transcriptional analysis showed it was specifically stalled at the class III/IV assembly checkpoint of the V. cholerae flagellar regulatory system. Because FlgT is predicted to have structural homology to TolB, a protein involved in determining outer membrane architecture, and the sheath of the V. cholerae flagellum appears to be derived from the cell's outer membrane, FlgT may play a direct role in flagellar sheath formation.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae, the agent of cholera, is a motile non-invasive pathogen that colonizes the small intestine (SI). Most of our knowledge of the processes required for V. cholerae intestinal colonization is derived from enumeration of wt and mutant V. cholerae recovered from orogastrically infected infant mice. There is limited knowledge of the distribution of V. cholerae within the SI, particularly its localization along the villous axis, or of the bacterial and host factors that account for this distribution. Here, using confocal and intravital two-photon microscopy to monitor the localization of fluorescently tagged V. cholerae strains, we uncovered unexpected and previously unrecognized features of V. cholerae intestinal colonization. Direct visualization of the pathogen within the intestine revealed that the majority of V. cholerae microcolonies attached to the intestinal epithelium arise from single cells, and that there are notable regiospecific aspects to V. cholerae localization and factors required for colonization. In the proximal SI, V. cholerae reside exclusively within the developing intestinal crypts, but they are not restricted to the crypts in the more distal SI. Unexpectedly, V. cholerae motility proved to be a regiospecific colonization factor that is critical for colonization of the proximal, but not the distal, SI. Furthermore, neither motility nor chemotaxis were required for proper V. cholerae distribution along the villous axis or in crypts, suggesting that yet undefined processes enable the pathogen to find its niches outside the intestinal lumen. Finally, our observations suggest that host mucins are a key factor limiting V. cholerae intestinal colonization, particularly in the proximal SI where there appears to be a more abundant mucus layer. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the potent capacity of direct pathogen visualization during infection to deepen our understanding of host pathogen interactions.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is a motile bacterium responsible for the disease cholera, and motility has been hypothesized to be inversely regulated with virulence. We examined the transcription profiles of V. cholerae strains containing mutations in flagellar regulatory genes (rpoN, flrA, flrC, and fliA) by utilizing whole-genome microarrays. Results revealed that flagellar transcription is organized into a four-tiered hierarchy. Additionally, genes with proven or putative roles in virulence (e.g., ctx, tcp, hemolysin, and type VI secretion genes) were upregulated in flagellar regulatory mutants, which was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Flagellar regulatory mutants exhibit increased hemolysis of human erythrocytes, which was due to increased transcription of the thermolabile hemolysin (tlh). The flagellar regulatory system positively regulates transcription of a diguanylate cyclase, CdgD, which in turn regulates transcription of a novel hemagglutinin (frhA) that mediates adherence to chitin and epithelial cells and enhances biofilm formation and intestinal colonization in infant mice. Our results demonstrate that the flagellar regulatory system modulates the expression of nonflagellar genes, with induction of an adhesin that facilitates colonization within the intestine and repression of virulence factors maximally induced following colonization. These results suggest that the flagellar regulatory hierarchy facilitates correct spatiotemporal expression patterns for optimal V. cholerae colonization and disease progression.
Project description:To successfully infect a host and cause the diarrheal disease cholera, Vibrio cholerae must penetrate the intestinal mucosal layer and express virulence genes. Previous studies have demonstrated that the transcriptional regulator HapR, which is part of the quorum sensing network in V. cholerae, represses the expression of virulence genes. Here, we show that hapR expression is also modulated by the regulatory network that governs flagellar assembly. Specifically, FliA, which is the alternative sigma-factor (sigma(28)) that activates late-class flagellin genes in V. cholerae, represses hapR expression. In addition, we show that mucin penetration by V. cholerae is sufficient to break flagella and so cause the secretion of FlgM, the anti-sigma factor that inhibits FliA activity. During initial colonization of host intestinal tissue, hapR expression is repressed because of low cell density. However, full repression of hapR expression does not occur in fliA mutants, which results in attenuated colonization. Our results suggest that V. cholerae uses flagellar machinery to sense particular intestinal signals before colonization and enhance the expression of virulence genes by modulating the output of quorum sensing signaling.
Project description:Numerous bacterial pathogens, particularly those that colonize fast-flow areas in the bladder and gastrointestinal tract, require motility to establish infection and spread beyond the initially colonized tissue. Vibrio cholerae strains of serogroups O1 and O139, the causative agents of the diarrheal illness cholera, express a single polar flagellum powered by sodium motive force and require motility to colonize and spread along the small intestine. Therefore, motility may be an attractive target for small molecules that can prevent and/or block the infective process. In this study, we describe a high-throughput screening (HTS) assay to identify small molecules that selectively inhibit bacterial motility. The HTS assay was used to screen an ?8,000-compound structurally diverse chemical library for inhibitors of V. cholerae motility. The screen identified a group of quinazoline-2,4-diamino analogs that completely suppressed motility without affecting the growth rate in broth. A further study on the effects of one analog, designated Q24DA, showed that it induces a flagellated but nonmotile (Mot(-)) phenotype and is specific for the Na(+)-driven flagellar motor of pathogenic Vibrio species. A mutation conferring phenamil-resistant motility did not eliminate inhibition of motility by Q24DA. Q24DA diminished the expression of cholera toxin and toxin-coregulated pilus as well as biofilm formation and fluid secretion in the rabbit ileal loop model. Furthermore, treatment of V. cholerae with Q24DA impacted additional phenotypes linked to Na(+) bioenergetics, such as the function of the primary Na(+) pump, Nqr, and susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. The above results clearly show that the described HTS assay is capable of identifying small molecules that specifically block bacterial motility. New inhibitors such as Q24DA may be instrumental in probing the molecular architecture of the Na(+)-driven polar flagellar motor and in studying the role of motility in the expression of other virulence factors.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is the aetiological agent of the severe diarrhoeal disease cholera. This highly motile organism uses the processes of motility and chemotaxis to travel and colonize the intestinal epithelium. Chemotaxis in V. cholerae is far more complex than that in Escherichia coli or Salmonella typhimurium, with multiple paralogues of various chemotaxis genes. In contrast to the single copy of the chemotaxis response-regulator protein CheY in E. coli, V. cholerae contains four CheYs (CheY1-CheY4), of which CheY3 is primarily responsible for interacting with the flagellar motor protein FliM, which is one of the major constituents of the ;switch complex' in the flagellar motor. This interaction is the key step that controls flagellar rotation in response to environmental stimuli. CheY3 has been cloned, overexpressed and purified by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography followed by gel filtration. Crystals of CheY3 were grown in space group R3, with a calculated Matthews coefficient of 2.33 A3 Da(-1) (47% solvent content) assuming the presence of one molecule per asymmetric unit.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative bacterium with a monotrichous flagellum that causes the human disease cholera. Flagellum-mediated motility is an integral part of the bacterial life cycle inside the host and in the aquatic environment. The V. cholerae flagellar filament is composed of five flagellin subunits (FlaA, FlaB, FlaC, FlaD, and FlaE); however, only FlaA is necessary and sufficient for filament synthesis. flaA is transcribed from a class III flagellar promoter, whereas the other four flagellins are transcribed from class IV promoters. However, expressing flaA from a class IV promoter still facilitated motility in a strain that was otherwise lacking all five flagellins (?flaA-E). Furthermore, FlaA from V. parahaemolyticus (FlaAVP; 77% identity) supported motility of the V. cholerae ?flaA-E strain, whereas FlaA from V. vulnificus (FlaAVV; 75% identity) did not, indicating that FlaA amino acid sequence is responsible for its critical role in flagellar synthesis. Chimeric proteins composed of different domains of FlaAVC and FlaD or FlaAVV revealed that the N-terminal D1 domain (D1N) contains an important region required for FlaA function. Further analyses of chimeric FlaAVC-FlaD proteins identified a lysine residue present at position 145 of the other flagellins but absent from FlaAVC that can prevent monofilament formation. Moreover, the D1N region of amino acids 87 to 153 of FlaAVV inserted into FlaAVC allows monofilament formation but not motility, apparently due to the lack of filament curvature. These results identify residues within the D1N domain that allow FlaAVC to fold into a functional filament structure and suggest that FlaAVC assists correct folding of the other flagellins.IMPORTANCEV. cholerae causes the severe diarrheal disease cholera. Its ability to swim is mediated by rotation of a polar flagellum, and this motility is integral to its ability to cause disease and persist in the environment. The current studies illuminate how one specific flagellin (FlaA) within a multiflagellin structure mediates formation of the flagellar filament, thus allowing V. cholerae to swim. This knowledge can lead to safer vaccines and potential therapeutics to inhibit cholera.
Project description:<i>Vibrio cholerae</i> is a global health threat and a model enteric pathogen that causes the human disease cholera. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the seventh-pandemic <i>V. cholerae</i> O1 El Tor strain C6706.