• Dealing with salinity extremes and nitrogen limitation - an unexpected strategy of the marine bacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae.

      Kleist, Sarah; Ulbrich, Marcus; Bill, Nelli; Schmidt-Hohagen, Kerstin; Geffers, Robert; Schomburg, Dietmar; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03)
      Having the right coping strategy for changes in osmolarity or desiccation is essential for the survival of every cell. So far, nothing is known about compatible solutes and the salt adaptation of the marine Rhodobacteraceae. The family member Dinoroseobacter shibae DFL12(T) is shown here to form the compatible solutes α-glucosylglycerol (GG) and α-glucosylglycerate (GGA). To our knowledge, this is the first experimental evidence for GGA formation within the α-proteobacteria. Together with glutamate and putrescine, these substances enable good growth in salinity ranging from 0.3% to 5%. A salinity of 5% leads to a biomass share of 7.6% of compatible solutes and the very low salt level of 0.3% results in an 18-fold increased putrescine concentration compared with environmental conditions. Additionally, the substitution of glutamate by GGA has been shown during exposure to nitrogen limitation and in the stationary growth phase of the organism. Salt shock transcriptome analysis of D. shibae has revealed the essential role of its 153 kb chromid, which carries the genes for GG biosynthesis and several transport and exchange systems. Within the family of Rhodobacteraceae, the genomic capability of forming GG and GGA is strictly restricted to marine family members.
    • Deep transcriptome profiling of clinical Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates reveals strain and sequence type-specific adaptation.

      Bruchmann, Sebastian; Muthukumarasamy, Uthayakumar; Pohl, Sarah; Preusse, Matthias; Bielecka, Agata; Nicolai, Tanja; Hamann, Isabell; Hillert, Roger; Kola, Axel; Gastmeier, Petra; et al. (2015-11)
      Health-care-associated infections by multi-drug-resistant bacteria constitute one of the greatest challenges to modern medicine. Bacterial pathogens devise various mechanisms to withstand the activity of a wide range of antimicrobial compounds, among which the acquisition of carbapenemases is one of the most concerning. In Klebsiella pneumoniae, the dissemination of the K. pneumoniae carbapenemase is tightly connected to the global spread of certain clonal lineages. Although antibiotic resistance is a key driver for the global distribution of epidemic high-risk clones, there seem to be other adaptive traits that may explain their success. Here, we exploited the power of deep transcriptome profiling (RNA-seq) to shed light on the transcriptomic landscape of 37 clinical K. pneumoniae isolates of diverse phylogenetic origins. We identified a large set of 3346 genes which was expressed in all isolates. While the core-transcriptome profiles varied substantially between groups of different sequence types, they were more homogenous among isolates of the same sequence type. We furthermore linked the detailed information on differentially expressed genes with the clinically relevant phenotypes of biofilm formation and bacterial virulence. This allowed for the identification of a diminished expression of biofilm-specific genes within the low biofilm producing ST258 isolates as a sequence type-specific trait.
    • Ex vivo transcriptional profiling reveals a common set of genes important for the adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to chronically infected host sites.

      Bielecki, Piotr; Komor, Uliana; Bielecka, Agata; Müsken, Mathias; Puchałka, Jacek; Pletz, Mathias W; Ballmann, Manfred; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A P; Weiss, Siegfried; Häussler, Susanne; et al. (2013-02)
      The opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major nosocomial pathogen causing both devastating acute and chronic persistent infections. During the course of an infection, P.  aeruginosa rapidly adapts to the specific conditions within the host. In the present study, we aimed at the identification of genes that are highly expressed during biofilm infections such as in chronically infected lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), burn wounds and subcutaneous mouse tumours. We found a common subset of differentially regulated genes in all three in vivo habitats and evaluated whether their inactivation impacts on the bacterial capability to form biofilms in vitro and to establish biofilm-associated infections in a murine model. Additive effects on biofilm formation and host colonization were discovered by the combined inactivation of several highly expressed genes. However, even combined inactivation was not sufficient to abolish the establishment of an infection completely. These findings can be interpreted as evidence that either redundant traits encode functions that are essential for in vivo survival and chronic biofilm infections and/or bacterial adaptation is considerably achieved independently of transcription levels. Supplemental screens, will have to be applied in order to identify the minimal set of key genes essential for the establishment of chronic infectious diseases.
    • The peptide chain release factor methyltransferase PrmC is essential for pathogenicity and environmental adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14.

      Pustelny, Christian; Brouwer, Stephan; Müsken, Mathias; Bielecka, Agata; Dötsch, Andreas; Nimtz, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Department of Molecular Bacteriology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. Christian.pustelny@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013-02)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity and its capability to adapt to multiple environments are dependent on the production of diverse virulence factors, controlled by the sophisticated quorum sensing (QS) network of P. aeruginosa. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie this adaptation we searched for novel key regulators of virulence factor production by screening a PA14 transposon mutant library for potential candidates acting downstream of the unique 2-alkyl-4-quinolone (AQ) QS system of P. aeruginosa. We focused the work on a protein named HemK with high homology to PrmC of Escherichia coli displaying a similar enzymatic activity (therefore also referred to as PrmC). In this study, we demonstrate that PrmC is an S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent methyltransferase of peptide chain release factors (RFs) essential for the expression of several virulence factors, such as pyocyanin, rhamnolipids and the type III-secreted toxin ExoT. Furthermore, the PA14_prmC mutant strain is unable to grow under anoxic conditions and has a significantly reduced pathogenicity in the infection model Galleria mellonella. Along with transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, the presented data indicate that the methylation of RFs in P. aeruginosa seems to have a global effect on cellular processes related to the virulence of this nosocomial pathogen.
    • Unravelling post-transcriptional PrmC-dependent regulatory mechanisms in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Krueger, Jonas; Pohl, Sarah; Preusse, Matthias; Kordes, Adrian; Rugen, Nils; Schniederjans, Monika; Pich, Andreas; Häussler, Susanne; Twincore, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2016-10)
      Transcriptional regulation has a central role in cellular adaptation processes and is well investigated. In contrast, the importance of the post-transcriptional regulation on these processes is less well defined. The technological advancements have been critical to precisely quantify protein and mRNA level changes and hold promise to provide more insights into how post-transcriptional regulation determines phenotypes. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa the methyltransferase PrmC methylates peptide chain release factors to facilitate translation termination. Loss of PrmC activity abolishes anaerobic growth and leads to reduced production of quorum sensing-associated virulence factors. Here, by applying SILAC technology in combination with mRNA-sequencing, they provide evidence that the P. aeruginosa phenotype can be attributed to a change in protein to mRNA ratios of selected protein groups. The UAG-dependent translation termination was more dependent on PrmC activity than the UAA- and UGA-dependent translation termination. Additionally, a bias toward UAG stop codons in global transcriptional regulators was found. The finding that this bias in stop codon usage determines the P. aeruginosa phenotype is unexpected and adds complexity to regulatory circuits. Via modulation of PrmC activity the bacterial cell can cross-regulate targets independently of transcriptional signals, a process with an underestimated impact on the bacterial phenotype.