Molecular Modifications of the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal in the Intermicrobial Competition with Aspergillus.
ABSTRACT: The Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) is an important quorum-sensing molecule for Pseudomonas aeruginosa that regulates virulence factors, chelates iron, and is an important factor in interactions with eukaryotes, including fungi and mammalian hosts. It was previously shown to inhibit or boost Aspergillus, depending on the milieu iron concentration. We studied several molecular modifications of the PQS molecule, and their effects on Aspergillus biofilm metabolism and growth in vitro, and the effects of iron supplementation. We found that most molecules inhibited Aspergillus at concentrations similar to that of PQS, but with relatively flat dose-responses, and all were less potent than PQS. The inhibition was reversible by iron, suggesting interference with fungal iron metabolism. Stimulation of Aspergillus was not noted. We conclude that the critical Aspergillus-inhibiting moeities of the PQS molecule were partially, but not completely, interfered with by molecular modifications at several sites on the PQS molecule. The mechanism, as with PQS, appears to relate to fungal iron metabolism.
Project description:<i>Aspergillus</i> and <i>Pseudomonas</i> compete in nature, and are the commonest bacterial and fungal pathogens in some clinical settings, such as the cystic fibrosis lung. Virus infections of fungi occur naturally. Effects on fungal physiology need delineation. A common reference <i>Aspergillus fumigatus</i> strain, long studied in two (of many) laboratories, was found infected with the AfuPmV-1 virus. One isolate was cured of virus, producing a virus-free strain. Virus from the infected strain was purified and used to re-infect three subcultures of the virus-free fungus, producing six fungal strains, otherwise isogenic. They were studied in intermicrobial competition with <i>Pseudomonas</i><i>aeruginosa. Pseudomonas</i> culture filtrates inhibited forming or preformed <i>Aspergillus</i> biofilm from infected strains to a greater extent, also seen when <i>Pseudomonas</i> volatiles were assayed on <i>Aspergillus</i>. Purified iron-chelating <i>Pseudomonas</i> molecules, known inhibitors of <i>Aspergillus</i> biofilm, reproduced these differences. Iron, a stimulus of <i>Aspergillus</i>, enhanced the virus-free fungus, compared to infected. All infected fungal strains behaved similarly in assays. We show an important consequence of virus infection, a weakening in intermicrobial competition. Viral infection may affect the outcome of bacterial-fungal competition in nature and patients. We suggest that this occurs via alteration in fungal stress responses, the mechanism best delineated here is a result of virus-induced altered <i>Aspergillus</i> iron metabolism.
Project description:The 2-alkyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone 2,4-dioxygenase HodC was previously described to cleave the Pseudomonas quinolone signal, PQS, which is exclusively used in the complex quorum sensing (QS) system of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen employing QS to regulate virulence and biofilm development. Degradation of PQS by exogenous addition of HodC to planktonic cells of P. aeruginosa attenuated production of virulence factors, and reduced virulence in planta. However, proteolytic cleavage reduced the efficacy of HodC. Here, we identified the secreted protease LasB of P. aeruginosa to be responsible for HodC degradation. In static biofilms of the P. aeruginosa PA14 lasB::Tn mutant, the catalytic activity of HodC led to an increase in viable biomass in newly formed but also in established biofilms, and reduced the expression of genes involved in iron metabolism and siderophore production, such as pvdS, pvdL, pvdA, and pvdQ. This is likely due to an increase in the levels of bioavailable iron by degradation of PQS, which is able to sequester iron from the surrounding environment. Thus, HodC, despite its ability to quench the production of virulence factors, is contraindicated for combating P. aeruginosa biofilms.
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 (AfΔsidA), unable to produce hydroxamate siderophores, were less capable of protecting A. fumigatus biofilms from P. aeruginosa supernatants and pyoverdine. AfΔsidA 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:When environmental conditions deteriorate and become inhospitable, generic survival strategies for populations of bacteria may be to enter a dormant state that slows down metabolism, to develop a general tolerance to hostile parameters that characterize the habitat, and to impose a regime to eliminate damaged members. Here, we provide evidence that the pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) mediates induction of all of these phenotypes. For individual cells, PQS, an interbacterial signaling molecule of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has both deleterious and beneficial activities: on the one hand, it acts as a pro-oxidant and sensitizes the bacteria towards oxidative and other stresses and, on the other, it efficiently induces a protective anti-oxidative stress response. We propose that this dual function fragments populations into less and more stress tolerant members which respond differentially to developing stresses in deteriorating habitats. This suggests that a little poison may be generically beneficial to populations, in promoting survival of the fittest, and in contributing to bacterial multi-cellular behavior. It further identifies PQS as an essential mediator of the shaping of the population structure of Pseudomonas and of its response to and survival in hostile environmental conditions.
Project description:The expression of virulence determinants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is coordinately regulated in response to both the social environment--commonly referred to as quorum sensing--and to environmental cues. In this study we have dissected the various independent regulation levels for pyocyanin production, which is influenced by the homoserine lactone- and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS)-mediated quorum-sensing systems as well as by iron and phosphate availability. We demonstrate that the phosphate regulon is involved in the transcriptional activation of rhlR and the augmentation of PQS and pyocyanin production under phosphate limitation. However, we also observed an enhancement of rhlR transcription under low-iron medium conditions and after the addition of PQS that was independent of the phosphate regulon. These results highlight the complexity of secondary metabolite production in P. aeruginosa via environmental cues and the quorum-sensing system.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen capable of group behaviors, including biofilm formation and swarming motility. These group behaviors are regulated by both the intracellular signaling molecule c-di-GMP and acylhomoserine lactone quorum-sensing systems. Here, we show that the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) system also contributes to the regulation of swarming motility. Specifically, our data indicate that 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ), a precursor of PQS, likely induces the production of the phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA), which in turn acts via an as-yet-unknown downstream mechanism to repress swarming motility. We show that this HHQ- and PCA-dependent swarming repression is apparently independent of changes in global levels of c-di-GMP, suggesting complex regulation of this group behavior.
Project description:Gram-negative bacteria produce outer-membrane vesicles (OMVs) that package genetic elements, virulence factors, and cell-to-cell communication signaling compounds. Despite their importance in many disease-related processes, how these versatile structures are formed is incompletely understood. A self-produced secreted small molecule, the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS), has been shown to initiate OMV formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by interacting with the outer membrane (OM) and inducing its curvature. Other bacterial species have also been shown to respond to PQS, supporting a common biophysical mechanism. Here, we conducted molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the specific interactions between PQS and a model P. aeruginosa OM at the atomistic scale. We discovered two characteristic states of PQS interacting with the biologically relevant membrane, namely attachment to the membrane surface and insertion into the lipid A leaflet. The hydrogen bonds between PQS and the lipid A phosphates drove the PQS-membrane association. An analysis of PQS trajectory and molecular conformation revealed sequential events critical for spontaneous insertion, including probing, docking, folding, and insertion. Remarkably, PQS bent its hydrophobic side chain into a closed conformation to lower the energy barrier for penetration through the hydrophilic headgroup zone of the lipid A leaflet, which was confirmed by the potential of mean force (PMF) measurements. Attachment and insertion were simultaneously observed in the simulation with multiple PQS molecules. Our findings uncover a sequence of molecular interactions that drive PQS insertion into the bacterial OM and provide important insight into the biophysical mechanism of small molecule-induced OMV biogenesis.
Project description:A bacterial strain, which based on the sequences of its 16S rRNA, gyrB, catA, and qsdA genes, was identified as a Rhodococcus sp. closely related to Rhodococcus erythropolis, was isolated from soil by enrichment on the Pseudomonas quinolone signal [PQS; 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone], a quorum sensing signal employed by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The isolate, termed Rhodococcus sp. strain BG43, cometabolically degraded PQS and its biosynthetic precursor 2-heptyl-4(1H)-quinolone (HHQ) to anthranilic acid. HHQ degradation was accompanied by transient formation of PQS, and HHQ hydroxylation by cell extracts required NADH, indicating that strain BG43 has a HHQ monooxygenase isofunctional to the biosynthetic enzyme PqsH of P. aeruginosa. The enzymes catalyzing HHQ hydroxylation and PQS degradation were inducible by PQS, suggesting a specific pathway. Remarkably, Rhodococcus sp. BG43 is also capable of transforming 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline-N-oxide to PQS. It thus converts an antibacterial secondary metabolite of P. aeruginosa to a quorum sensing signal molecule.
Project description:The Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) is an important quorum-sensing molecule in Pseudomonas aeruginosa that also mediates its own packaging and transport by stimulating outer membrane vesicle (OMV) formation. Because OMVs have been implicated in many virulence-associated behaviors, it is critical that we understand how they are formed. Our group proposed the bilayer-couple model for OMV biogenesis, where PQS intercalates into the outer membrane, causing expansion of the outer leaflet and consequently inducing curvature. In accordance with the model, we hypothesized that PQS must be transported from the cytoplasm to the outer membrane before it can initiate OMV formation. We initially examined two laboratory strains of P. aeruginosa and found significant strain-dependent differences. PQS export correlated strongly with OMV production, even though equivalent amounts of total PQS were produced by both strains. Interestingly, we discovered that poor OMV producers sequestered the majority of PQS in the inner membrane, which appeared to be the result of early saturation of the export pathway. Further analysis showed that strain-specific PQS export and OMV biogenesis patterns were stable once established but could be significantly altered by changing the growth medium. Finally, we demonstrated that the associations described for laboratory strains also held for three clinical strains. These results suggest that factors controlling the export of PQS dictate OMV biogenesis. This work provides new insight into PQS-controlled virulence in P. aeruginosa and provides important tools to further study signal export and OMV biogenesis.IMPORTANCE Bacterial secretion has been recognized as an essential facet of microbial pathogenesis and human disease. Numerous virulence factors have been found to be transported within outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), and delivery using these biological nanoparticles often results in increased potency. OMV biogenesis is an important but poorly understood process that is ubiquitous among Gram-negative organisms. Our group seeks to understand the biochemical mechanisms behind the formation of OMVs and has developed a model of small-molecule-induced membrane curvature as an important driver of this process. With this work, we demonstrate that PQS, a known small-molecule OMV inducer, must be exported to promote OMV biogenesis in both lab-adapted and clinical strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa In supporting and expanding the bilayer-couple model of OMV biogenesis, the current work lays the groundwork for studying environmental and genetic factors that modulate OMV production and, consequently, the packaging and delivery of many bacterial factors.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus infections frequently co-localize in lungs of immunocompromised patients and individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). The antifungal activity of P. aeruginosa has been described for its filtrates. Pyoverdine and pyocyanin are the principal antifungal P. aeruginosa molecules active against A. fumigatus biofilm metabolism present in iron-limited or iron-replete planktonic P. aeruginosa culture filtrates, respectively. Using various P. aeruginosa laboratory wild-type strains (PA14, PAO1, PAK), we found antifungal activity against Aspergillus colonies on agar. Comparing 36 PA14 and 7 PAO1 mutants, we found that mutants lacking both major siderophores, pyoverdine and pyochelin, display higher antifungal activity on agar than their wild types, while quorum sensing mutants lost antifungal activity. Addition of ferric iron, but not calcium or magnesium, reduced the antifungal effects of P. aeruginosa on agar, whereas iron-poor agar enhanced antifungal effects. Antifungal activity on agar was mediated by PQS and HHQ, via MvfR. Among the MvfR downstream factors, rhamnolipids and elastase were produced in larger quantities by pyoverdine–pyochelin double mutants and showed antifungal activity on agar. In summary, antifungal factors produced by P. aeruginosa on agar differ from those produced by bacteria grown in liquid cultures, are dependent on quorum sensing, and are downregulated by the availability of ferric iron. Rhamnolipids and elastase seem to be major mediators of Pseudomonas’ antifungal activity on a solid surface.