• Novel drug targets in cell wall biosynthesis exploited by gene disruption in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Elamin, Ayssar A; Steinicke, Susanne; Oehlmann, Wulf; Braun, Yvonne; Wanas, Hanaa; Shuralev, Eduard A; Huck, Carmen; Maringer, Marko; Rohde, M; Singh, Mahavir; et al. (2017)
      For clinicians, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a nightmare pathogen that is one of the top three causes of opportunistic human infections. Therapy of P. aeruginosa infections is complicated due to its natural high intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. Active efflux and decreased uptake of drugs due to cell wall/membrane permeability appear to be important issues in the acquired antibiotic tolerance mechanisms. Bacterial cell wall biosynthesis enzymes have been shown to be essential for pathogenicity of Gram-negative bacteria. However, the role of these targets in virulence has not been identified in P. aeruginosa. Here, we report knockout (k.o) mutants of six cell wall biosynthesis targets (murA, PA4450; murD, PA4414; murF, PA4416; ppiB, PA1793; rmlA, PA5163; waaA, PA4988) in P. aeruginosa PAO1, and characterized these in order to find out whether these genes and their products contribute to pathogenicity and virulence of P. aeruginosa. Except waaA k.o, deletion of cell wall biosynthesis targets significantly reduced growth rate in minimal medium compared to the parent strain. The k.o mutants showed exciting changes in cell morphology and colonial architectures. Remarkably, ΔmurF cells became grossly enlarged. Moreover, the mutants were also attenuated in vivo in a mouse infection model except ΔmurF and ΔwaaA and proved to be more sensitive to macrophage-mediated killing than the wild-type strain. Interestingly, the deletion of the murA gene resulted in loss of virulence activity in mice, and the virulence was restored in a plant model by unknown mechanism. This study demonstrates that cell wall targets contribute significantly to intracellular survival, in vivo growth, and pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, these findings establish a link between cell wall targets and virulence of P. aeruginosa and thus may lead to development of novel drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infection.
    • A novel protein quality control mechanism contributes to heat shock resistance of worldwide-distributed Pseudomonas aeruginosa clone C strains.

      Lee, Changhan; Wigren, Edvard; Trček, Janja; Peters, Verena; Kim, Jihong; Hasni, Muhammad Sharif; Nimtz, Manfred; Lindqvist, Ylva; Park, Chankyu; Curth, Ute; et al. (2015-11)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly successful nosocomial pathogen capable of causing a wide variety of infections with clone C strains most prevalent worldwide. In this study, we initially characterize a molecular mechanism of survival unique to clone C strains. We identified a P. aeruginosa clone C-specific genomic island (PACGI-1) that contains the highly expressed small heat shock protein sHsp20c, the founding member of a novel subclass of class B bacterial small heat shock proteins. sHsp20c and adjacent gene products are involved in resistance against heat shock. Heat stable sHsp20c is unconventionally expressed in stationary phase in a wide temperature range from 20 to 42°C. Purified sHsp20c has characteristic features of small heat shock protein class B as it is monodisperse, forms sphere-like 24-meric oligomers and exhibits significant chaperone activity. As the P. aeruginosa clone C population is significantly more heat shock resistant than genetically unrelated P. aeruginosa strains without sHsp20c, the horizontally acquired shsp20c operon might contribute to the survival of worldwide-distributed clone C strains.