• Biofilms 2012: new discoveries and significant wrinkles in a dynamic field.

      Haussler, Susanne; Fuqua, Clay; Twincore, Center for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center of Infection Research, Braunschweig, and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2013-07)
      The ASM 6th Conference on Biofilms was held in Miami, Florida, 29 September to 4 October, 2012. The conference provided an opportunity for the exchange of new findings and ideas with regard to biofilm research. A wide range of findings, spanning applied biology, evolution, ecology, physiology, and molecular biology, were presented at the conference. This review summarizes the presentations with regard to emerging biofilm-related themes.
    • Coculture of Staphylococcus aureus with Pseudomonas aeruginosa Drives S. aureus towards Fermentative Metabolism and Reduced Viability in a Cystic Fibrosis Model.

      Filkins, Laura M; Graber, Jyoti A; Olson, Daniel G; Dolben, Emily L; Lynd, Lee R; Bhuju, Sabin; O'Toole, George A (2015-07-15)
      The airways of patients with cystic fibrosis are colonized with diverse bacterial communities that change dynamically during pediatric years and early adulthood. Staphylococcus aureus is the most prevalent pathogen during early childhood, but during late teens and early adulthood, a shift in microbial composition occurs leading to Pseudomonas aeruginosa community predominance in ∼50% of adults. We developed a robust dual-bacterial in vitro coculture system of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus on monolayers of human bronchial epithelial cells homozygous for the ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) mutation to better model the mechanisms of this interaction. We show that P. aeruginosa drives the S. aureus expression profile from that of aerobic respiration to fermentation. This shift is dependent on the production of both 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO) and siderophores by P. aeruginosa. Furthermore, S. aureus-produced lactate is a carbon source that P. aeruginosa preferentially consumes over medium-supplied glucose. We find that initially S. aureus and P. aeruginosa coexist; however, over extended coculture P. aeruginosa reduces S. aureus viability, also in an HQNO- and P. aeruginosa siderophore-dependent manner. Interestingly, S. aureus small-colony-variant (SCV) genetic mutant strains, which have defects in their electron transport chain, experience reduced killing by P. aeruginosa compared to their wild-type parent strains; thus, SCVs may provide a mechanism for persistence of S. aureus in the presence of P. aeruginosa. We propose that the mechanism of P. aeruginosa-mediated killing of S. aureus is multifactorial, requiring HQNO and P. aeruginosa siderophores as well as additional genetic, environmental, and nutritional factors.
    • Genome sequence of the thermophilic strain Bacillus coagulans 2-6, an efficient producer of high-optical-purity L-lactic acid.

      Su, Fei; Yu, Bo; Sun, Jibin; Ou, Hong-Yu; Zhao, Bo; Wang, Limin; Qin, Jiayang; Tang, Hongzhi; Tao, Fei; Jarek, Michael; et al. (2011-09)
      Bacillus coagulans 2-6 is an efficient producer of lactic acid. The genome of B. coagulans 2-6 has the smallest genome among the members of the genus Bacillus known to date. The frameshift mutation at the start of the d-lactate dehydrogenase sequence might be responsible for the production of high-optical-purity l-lactic acid.
    • Identification of the alternative sigma factor SigX regulon and its implications for Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity.

      Blanka, Andrea; Schulz, Sebastian; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Franke, Raimo; Bielecka, Agata; Nicolai, Tanja; Casilag, Fiordiligie; Düvel, Juliane; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Kaever, Volkhard; et al. (2014-01)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is distinguished by its broad metabolic diversity and its remarkable capability for adaptation, which relies on a large collection of transcriptional regulators and alternative sigma (σ) factors. The largest group of alternative σ factors is that of the extracytoplasmic function (ECF) σ factors, which control key transduction pathways for maintenance of envelope homeostasis in response to external stress and cell growth. In addition, there are specific roles of alternative σ factors in regulating the expression of virulence and virulence-associated genes. Here, we analyzed a deletion mutant of the ECF σ factor SigX and applied mRNA profiling to define the SigX-dependent regulon in P. aeruginosa in response to low-osmolarity-medium conditions. Furthermore, the combination of transcriptional data with chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) led to the identification of the DNA binding motif of SigX. Genome-wide mapping of SigX-binding regions revealed enrichment of downstream genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis, type III secretion, swarming and cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) signaling. In accordance, a sigX deletion mutant exhibited altered fatty acid composition of the cell membrane, reduced cytotoxicity, impaired swarming activity, elevated c-di-GMP levels, and increased biofilm formation. In conclusion, a combination of ChIP-seq with transcriptional profiling and bioinformatic approaches to define consensus DNA binding sequences proved to be effective for the elucidation of the regulon of the alternative σ factor SigX, revealing its role in complex virulence-associated phenotypes in P. aeruginosa.
    • The PqsR and RhlR transcriptional regulators determine the level of Pseudomonas quinolone signal synthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by producing two different pqsABCDE mRNA isoforms.

      Brouwer, Stephan; Pustelny, Christian; Ritter, Christiane; Klinkert, Birgit; Narberhaus, Franz; Häussler, Susanne (2014-12)
      Regulation of gene expression plays a key role in bacterial adaptability to changes in the environment. An integral part of this gene regulatory network is achieved via quorum sensing (QS) systems that coordinate bacterial responses under high cellular densities. In the nosocomial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the 2-alkyl-4-quinolone (pqs) signaling pathway is crucial for bacterial survival under stressful conditions. Biosynthesis of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) is dependent on the pqsABCDE operon, which is positively regulated by the LysR family regulator PqsR and repressed by the transcriptional regulator protein RhlR. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this inhibition have remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that not only PqsR but also RhlR activates transcription of pqsA. The latter uses an alternative transcriptional start site and induces expression of a longer transcript that forms a secondary structure in the 5' untranslated leader region. As a consequence, access of the ribosome to the Shine-Dalgarno sequence is restricted and translation efficiency reduced. We propose a model of a novel posttranscriptional regulation mechanism that fine-tunes PQS biosynthesis, thus highlighting the complexity of quorum sensing in P. aeruginosa.