Levy, Stuart B. (Institut du Radium, Paris, France). Isologous interference with ultraviolet and X-ray irradiated bacteriophage T2. J. Bacteriol. 87:1330–1338. 1964.—Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the interference capacity of an irradiated T2 bacteriophage was made with ultraviolet and X-ray irradiation. Two different effects were found to explain the total interference picture in the ultraviolet-irradiated system: exclusion and depression. Exclusion is the absolute inhibition of infectious phage growth in the bacterial host. Depression is the diminution of burst size in instances where the infectious phage has not been excluded. Both effects were seen when the infectious phage was added after the addition of ultraviolet-irradiated phage. Doses between 1,600 and 2,200 ergs/mm2 (survivals, ca. 10−7) showed the greatest exclusion effect (70%). Exclusion was lost between 6,500 and 7,500 ergs/mm2. The depression effect was highest (90%) at lower doses (survivals, ca. 10−6), falling off as the dose range went above 1,600 ergs/mm2 or survivals of 10−7. Depression was lost at 3,000 ergs/mm2. X-ray irradiation (both direct and indirect) to survivals less than 10−2 showed no interference capacity in the phage irradiated. Indirect X-ray irradiation to survivals between 5 and 10% showed 50% exclusion, but no depression.
A carbapenem-resistant clinical isolate of Escherichia coli, which lacked OmpF and OmpC porins, carried a marR mutation and expressed a functional yedS, a normally nontranslated gene. MarR and YedS are described here as having effects on the ability of this strain to resist carbapenems. Additionally, expression of YedS was regulated by the small RNA MicF in a MarA-dependent way. These findings illustrate how broadly bacteria can mutate within a selective clinical setting, in this case, resistance to carbapenems, by altering three porin genes and one regulatory gene.
Paralogous transcriptional regulators MarA, Rob, and SoxS act individually and together to control expression of more than 80 Escherichia coli genes. Deletion of marA, rob, and soxS from an E. coli clinical isolate prevents persistence beyond 2 days postinfection in a mouse model of pyelonephritis. We used microarray analysis to identify 242 genes differentially expressed between the triple deletion mutant and its parent strain at 2 days postinfection in the kidney. One of these, znuC of the zinc transport system ZnuACB, displayed decreased expression in the triple mutant compared to that in the parental strain, and deletion of znuC from the parental strain reduced persistence. The marA rob soxS triple deletion mutant was less viable in vitro under limited-Zn and Zn-depleted conditions, while disruption of znuC caused a reduction in the growth rates for the parental and triple mutant strains to equally low levels under limited-Zn or Zn-depleted conditions. Complementation of the triple mutant with soxS, but not marA or rob, restored the parental growth rate in Zn-depleted medium, while deletion of only soxS from the parental strain led to low growth in Zn-depleted medium. Both results suggested that SoxS is a major regulator responsible for growth under Zn-depleted conditions. Gel shift experiments failed to show direct binding of SoxS to the znuCB promoter, thus suggesting indirect control of znuCB expression by SoxS. While SoxS expression in the triple mutant fully restored persistence, increased expression of znuACB via a plasmid in this mutant only partially restored wild-type levels of persistence in the kidney. This work implicates SoxS control of znuCB expression as a key factor in persistence of E. coli in murine pyelonephritis.
The efflux pump AcrAB is important in the antibiotic resistance and virulence of several pathogenic bacteria. We report that deletion of the Yersinia pestis AcrAB-TolC homolog leads to increased susceptibility to diverse substrates, including, though unlike in Escherichia coli, the aminoglycosides. Neither is the Y. pestis pump affected by the efflux pump inhibitor phenylalanine-arginine beta-naphthylamide. In mouse plague models, pump deletion does not have a significant effect on tissue colonization.
Like animals and people, insects can serve as both collectors and disseminators of antibiotic resistance genes, as exquisitely demonstrated by a recent study (B. Tian, N. H. Fadhil, J. E. Powell, W. K. Kwong, and N. A. Moran, mBio 3:e00377-12, doi:10.1128/mBio.00377-12, 2012). Notably, the relatively confined ecosystem of the honeybee gut demonstrates a large propensity for harboring a diverse set of tetracycline resistance genes that reveal the environmental burden resulting from the long-time selective pressures of tetracycline use in the honeybee industry. As in humans and animals, these genes have become established in the native, nonpathogenic flora of the insect gut, adding credence to the concept that commensal floras provide large reservoirs of resistance genes that can readily move into pathogenic species. The homology of these tetracycline resistance determinants with those found in tetracycline-resistant bacteria associated with animals and humans strongly suggests a dissemination of similar or identical genes through shared ecosystems. The emergence of linked coresistances (ampicillin and tetracycline) following single-antibiotic therapy mirrors reports from other studies, namely, that long-term, single-agent therapy will result in resistance to multiple drugs. These results contrast with the marked absence of diverse, single- and multiple-drug resistance genes in wild and domestic bees that are not subjected to such selective pressures. Prospective studies that simultaneously track both resistance genes and antibiotic residues will go far in resolving some of the nagging questions that cloud our understanding of antibiotic resistance dissemination.
AdnA in Pseudomonas fluorescens, an ortholog of FleQ in P. aeruginosa, regulates both motility and flagellum-mediated attachment to various surfaces. A whole-genome microarray determined the AdnA transcriptome by comparing the gene expression pattern of wild-type Pf0-1 to that of Pf0-2x (adnA deletion mutant) in broth culture. In the absence of AdnA, expression of 92 genes was decreased, while 11 genes showed increased expression. Analysis of 16 of these genes fused to lacZ confirmed the microarray results. Several genes were further evaluated for their role in motility and biofilm formation. Two genes, Pfl01_1508 and Pfl01_1517, affected motility and had different effects on biofilm formation in Pf0-1. These two genes are predicted to specify proteins similar to the glycosyl transferases FgtA1 and FgtA2, which have been shown to be involved in virulence and motility in P. syringae. Three other genes, Pfl01_1516, Pfl01_1572, and Pfl01_1573, not previously associated with motility and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas had similar effects on biofilm formation in Pf0-1. Deletion of each of these genes led to different motility defects. Our data revealed an additional level of complexity in the control of flagellum function beyond the core genes known to be required and may yield insights into processes important for environmental persistence of P. fluorescens Pf0-1.
Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs), a component of the mammalian immune system, protect the host from bacterial infections. The roles of the Escherichia coli transcriptional regulators MarA, SoxS and Rob in susceptibility to these peptides were examined. Overexpression of marA, either in an antibiotic-resistant marR mutant or from a plasmid, decreased bacterial susceptibility to CAMPs. Overexpression of the soxS gene from a plasmid, which decreased susceptibility to antibiotics, unexpectedly caused no decrease in CAMP susceptibility; instead it produced increased susceptibility to different CAMPs. Deletion or overexpression of rob had little effect on CAMP susceptibility. The marRAB operon was upregulated when E. coli was incubated in sublethal amounts of CAMPs polymyxin B, LL-37 or human β-defensin-1; however, this upregulation required Rob. Deletion of acrAB increased bacterial susceptibility to polymyxin B, LL-37 and human β-defensin-1 peptides. Deletion of tolC yielded an even greater increase in susceptibility to these peptides and also led to increased susceptibility to human α-defensin-2. Inhibition of cellular proton-motive force increased peptide susceptibility for wild-type and acrAB deletion strains; however, it decreased susceptibility of tolC mutants. These findings demonstrate that CAMPs are both inducers of marA-mediated drug resistance through interaction with Rob and also substrates for efflux in E. coli. The three related transcriptional regulators show different effects on bacterial cell susceptibility to CAMPs.
Pseudomonas spp. adapt rapidly to environmental fluctuations. Loss or overproduction of polyphosphate reduces the fitness of Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1, indicating the importance of the fine-tuning of polyphosphate production. An antisense RNA was investigated and shown to regulate the polyphosphate kinase gene (ppk) by a posttranscriptional mechanism reducing ppk transcript abundance.
The ability of soil bacteria to successfully compete with a range of other microbial species is crucial for their growth and survival in the nutrient-limited soil environment. In the present work, we studied the behavior and transcriptional responses of soil-inhabiting Pseudomonas fluorescens strain Pf0-1 on nutrient-poor agar to confrontation with strains of three phylogenetically different bacterial genera, that is, Bacillus, Brevundimonas and Pedobacter. Competition for nutrients was apparent as all three bacterial genera had a negative effect on the density of P. fluorescens Pf0-1; this effect was most strong during the interaction with Bacillus. Microarray-based analyses indicated strong differences in the transcriptional responses of Pf0-1 to the different competitors. There was higher similarity in the gene expression response of P. fluorescens Pf0-1 to the Gram-negative bacteria as compared with the Gram-positive strain. The Gram-negative strains did also trigger the production of an unknown broad-spectrum antibiotic in Pf0-1. More detailed analysis indicated that expression of specific Pf0-1 genes involved in signal transduction and secondary metabolite production was strongly affected by the competitors' identity, suggesting that Pf0-1 can distinguish among different competitors and fine-tune its competitive strategies. The results presented here demonstrate that P. fluorescens Pf0-1 shows a species-specific transcriptional and metabolic response to bacterial competitors and provide new leads in the identification of specific cues in bacteria–bacteria interactions and of novel competitive strategies, antimicrobial traits and genes.
bacterial competition; inter-specific interactions; Pseudomonas fluorescens; transcriptional responses; antibiosis
LcrF (VirF), a transcription factor in the multiple adaptational response (MAR) family, regulates expression of the Yersinia type III secretion system (T3SS). Yersinia pseudotuberculosis lcrF-null mutants showed attenuated virulence in tissue culture and animal models of infection. Targeting of LcrF offers a novel, antivirulence strategy for preventing Yersinia infection. A small molecule library was screened for inhibition of LcrF-DNA binding in an in vitro assay. All of the compounds lacked intrinsic antibacterial activity and did not demonstrate toxicity against mammalian cells. A subset of these compounds inhibited T3SS-dependent cytotoxicity of Y. pseudotuberculosis toward macrophages in vitro. In a murine model of Y. pseudotuberculosis pneumonia, two compounds significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the lungs and afforded a dramatic survival advantage. The MAR family of transcription factors is well conserved, with members playing central roles in pathogenesis across bacterial genera; thus, the inhibitors could have broad applicability.
The MarA protein of Escherichia coli can both activate and repress the initiation of transcription, depending on the position and orientation of its degenerate 20-bp binding site (“marbox”) at the promoter. For all three known repressed genes, the marbox overlaps the promoter. It has been reported that MarA represses the rob promoter via an RNA polymerase (RNAP)-DNA-MarA ternary complex. Under similar conditions, we found a ternary complex for the repressed purA promoter also. These findings, together with the backwards orientation of repressed marboxes, suggested a unique interaction of MarA with RNAP in repression. However, no repression-specific residues of MarA could be found among 38 single-alanine replacement mutations previously shown to retain activation function or among mutants from random mutagenesis. Mutations Thr12Ala, Arg36Ala, Thr95Ile, and Pro106Ala were more damaging for activation than for repression, some up to 10-fold, so these residues may play a specific role in activation. We found that nonspecific binding of RNAP to promoterless regions of DNA was presumably responsible for the ternary complexes seen previously. When RNAP binding was promoter specific, MarA reduced RNAP access to the rob promoter; there was little or no ternary complex. These findings strongly implicate steric hindrance as the mechanism of repression of rob by MarA.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) in clinical isolates of Escherichia coli can be associated with overexpression of marA, a transcription factor that upregulates multidrug efflux and downregulates membrane permeability. Using random transposome mutagenesis, we found that many chromosomal genes and environmental stimuli affected MarA-mediated antibiotic resistance. Seven genes affected resistance mediated by MarA in an antibiotic-specific way; these were mostly genes encoding unrelated enzymes, transporters, and unknown proteins. Other genes affected MarA-mediated resistance to all antibiotics tested. These genes were acrA, acrB, and tolC (which encode the major MarA-regulated multidrug efflux pump AcrAB-TolC), crp, cyaA, hns, and pcnB (four genes involved in global regulation of gene expression), and the unknown gene damX. The last five genes affected MarA-mediated MDR by altering marA expression or MarA function specifically on acrA. These findings demonstrate that MarA-mediated MDR is regulated at multiple levels by different genes and stimuli, which makes it both complex and fine-tuned and interconnects it with global cell regulation and metabolism. Such a regulation could contribute to the adaptation and spread of MDR strains and may be targeted to treat antibiotic-resistant E. coli and related pathogens.
LcrF, a Multiple Adaptational Response (MAR) transcription factor, regulates virulence in Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. In a search for small molecule inhibitors of LcrF, an acrylic amide series of N-hydroxybenzimidazoles was synthesized, and the SAR (structure-activity relationship) was examined. Selected test compounds demonstrated inhibitory activity in a primary cell-free LcrF-DNA binding assay as well as in a secondary whole cell assay (Type III secretion system dependent Y. pseudotuberculosis cytotoxicity assay). The inhibitors exhibited no measurable antibacterial activity in vitro, confirming that they do not target bacterial growth. These results demonstrate that N-hydroxybenzimidazole inhibitors, exemplified by 14, 22 and 36, are effective anti-virulence agents, and have the potential to prevent infections caused by Yersinia spp.
Bacterial two-hybrid studies of randomly cloned Escherichia coli DNA identified a physical interaction between GyrA, subunit A of gyrase, and MarR, a repressor of the marRAB operon. GyrA-His immobilized on Ni-nitrilotriacetic acid (NiNTA) resin bound MarR, while MarR alone did not bind. GyrA interfered with MarR binding to marO, as detected by electrophoretic mobility assays. In a strain bearing the marRAB operon and a marO-lacZ reporter, overexpression of GyrA increased LacZ activity, indicating decreased repression of marO-lacZ by MarR. These results were confirmed by an increased survival of cells treated with quinolones and other antibiotics when GyrA was overexpressed. This work, like a previous study examining TktA (12), shows that unrelated proteins can regulate MarR activity. The findings reveal an unexpected regulatory function of GyrA in antibiotic resistance.
MarA, an AraC/XylS transcriptional regulator in Escherichia coli, affects drug susceptibility and virulence. Two MarA-like proteins have been found in Yersinia pestis: MarA47 and MarA48. Deletion or overexpression of these proteins in the attenuated KIM 1001 Δpgm strain led to a change in multidrug susceptibility (including susceptibility to clinically relevant drugs). Additionally, lung colonization by the marA47 or marA48 deletion mutant was decreased about 10-fold in a pneumonic plague mouse model. Complementation of the deletions by replacing the deleted genes on the chromosome restored wild-type characteristics. These findings show that two MarA homologs in Y. pestis affect antibiotic susceptibility and virulence.
Transposon inactivation of ycgE, a gene encoding a putative transcriptional regulator, led to decreased multidrug susceptibility in an Escherichia coli lon mutant. The multidrug susceptibility phenotype (e.g., to tetracycline and β-lactam antibiotics) required the inactivation of both lon and ycgE. In this mutant, a decreased amount of OmpF porin contributes to the lowered drug susceptibility, with a greater effect at 26°C than at 37°C.
Genome sequences are annotated by computational prediction of coding sequences, followed by similarity searches such as BLAST, which provide a layer of possible functional information. While the existence of processes such as alternative splicing complicates matters for eukaryote genomes, the view of bacterial genomes as a linear series of closely spaced genes leads to the assumption that computational annotations that predict such arrangements completely describe the coding capacity of bacterial genomes. We undertook a proteomic study to identify proteins expressed by Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 from genes that were not predicted during the genome annotation. Mapping peptides to the Pf0-1 genome sequence identified sixteen non-annotated protein-coding regions, of which nine were antisense to predicted genes, six were intergenic, and one read in the same direction as an annotated gene but in a different frame. The expression of all but one of the newly discovered genes was verified by RT-PCR. Few clues as to the function of the new genes were gleaned from informatic analyses, but potential orthologs in other Pseudomonas genomes were identified for eight of the new genes. The 16 newly identified genes improve the quality of the Pf0-1 genome annotation, and the detection of antisense protein-coding genes indicates the under-appreciated complexity of bacterial genome organization.
Knowledge of the genetic basis for bacterial survival and persistence in soil is a critical component in the development of successful biological control strategies and for understanding the ecological success of bacteria. We found a locus specifying polyphosphate kinase (ppk) and a nonpredicted antisense RNA (iiv8) in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 to be necessary for optimal competitive fitness in LB broth culture and sterile loam soil. Pf0-1 lacking ppk and iiv8 was more than 10-fold less competitive against wild-type Pf0-1 in sterile loam soil low in inorganic phosphate. Studies indicated that ppk, and not iiv8, was required for competitive fitness. No role for iiv8 was identified. While a ppk and iiv8 mutant of Pf0-1 did not have increased sensitivity to osmotic, oxidative, and acid stress, it was more sensitive to elevated temperatures in laboratory medium and during growth in sterile soil. ppk was shown to be part of the Pho regulon in P. fluorescens, being upregulated in response to a low external Pi concentration. Of importance, overproduction of polyphosphate in the soil environment appears to be more deleterious than production of none at all. Our findings reveal a new role for polyphosphate (and the need for proper regulation of its production) in competitive fitness of P. fluorescens in laboratory and soil environments.
antibiotic resistance; antimicrobial resistance surveillance; antibacterial products; biocide
The annotation process of a newly sequenced bacterial genome is largely based on algorithms derived from databases of previously defined RNA and protein-encoding gene structures. This process generally excludes the possibility that the two strands of a given stretch of DNA can each harbor a gene in an overlapping manner. While the presence of such structures in eukaryotic genomes is considered to be relatively common, their counterparts in prokaryotic genomes are just beginning to be recognized. Application of an in vivo expression technology has previously identified 22 discrete genetic loci in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 that were specifically activated in the soil environment, of which 10 were present in an antisense orientation relative to previously annotated genes. This observation led to the hypothesis that the physiological role of overlapping genetic structures may be relevant to growth conditions outside artificial laboratory media. Here, we examined the role of one of the overlapping gene pairs, iiv19 and leuA2, in soil. Although iiv19 was previously demonstrated to be preferentially activated in the soil environment, its absence did not alter the ability of P. fluorescens to colonize or survive in soil. Surprisingly, the absence of the leuA2 gene conferred a fitness advantage in the soil environment when leucine was supplied exogenously. This effect was determined to be independent of the iiv19 gene, and further analyses revealed that amino acid antagonism was the underlying mechanism behind the observed fitness advantage of the bacterium in soil. Our findings provide a potential mechanism for the frequent occurrence of auxotrophic mutants of Pseudomonas spp. in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.