• Fitness of isogenic colony morphology variants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in murine airway infection.

      Rakhimova, Elza; Munder, Antje; Wiehlmann, Lutz; Bredenbruch, Florian; Tümmler, Burkhard; Clinical Research Group, OE6710, Hanover Medical School, Hanover, Germany. (2008)
      Chronic lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa are associated with the diversification of the persisting clone into niche specialists and morphotypes, a phenomenon called 'dissociative behaviour'. To explore the potential of P. aeruginosa to change its morphotype by single step loss-of-function mutagenesis, a signature-tagged mini-Tn5 plasposon library of the cystic fibrosis airway isolate TBCF10839 was screened for colony morphology variants under nine different conditions in vitro. Transposon insertion into 1% of the genome changed colony morphology into eight discernable morphotypes. Half of the 55 targets encode features of primary or secondary metabolism whereby quinolone production was frequently affected. In the other half the transposon had inserted into genes of the functional categories transport, regulation or motility/chemotaxis. To mimic dissociative behaviour of isogenic strains in lungs, pools of 25 colony morphology variants were tested for competitive fitness in an acute murine airway infection model. Six of the 55 mutants either grew better or worse in vivo than in vitro, respectively. Metabolic proficiency of the colony morphology variant was a key determinant for survival in murine airways. The most common morphotype of self-destructive autolysis did unexpectedly not impair fitness. Transposon insertions into homologous genes of strain PAO1 did not reproduce the TBCF10839 mutant morphotypes for 16 of 19 examined loci pointing to an important role of the genetic background on colony morphology. Depending on the chosen P. aeruginosa strain, functional genome scans will explore other areas of the evolutionary landscape. Based on our discordant findings of mutant phenotypes in P. aeruginosa strains PAO1, PA14 and TBCF10839, we conclude that the current focus on few reference strains may miss modes of niche adaptation and dissociative behaviour that are relevant for the microevolution of complex traits in the wild.
    • SiaA and SiaD are essential for inducing autoaggregation as a specific response to detergent stress in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Klebensberger, Janosch; Birkenmaier, Antoinette; Geffers, Robert; Kjelleberg, Staffan; Philipp, Bodo; Universität Konstanz, Fachbereich Biologie, Mikrobielle Okologie, Fach M654, 78457 Konstanz, Germany. (2009-12)
      Cell aggregation is a stress response and serves as a survival strategy for Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 during growth with the toxic detergent Na-dodecylsulfate (SDS). This process involves the psl operon and is linked to c-di-GMP signalling. The induction of cell aggregation in response to SDS was studied. Transposon and site-directed mutagenesis revealed that the cupA-operon and the co-transcribed genes siaA (PA0172) and siaD (PA0169) were essential for SDS-induced aggregation. While siaA encodes a putative membrane protein with a HAMP and a PP2C-like phosphatase domain, siaD encodes a putative diguanylate cyclase involved in the biosynthesis of c-di-GMP. Complementation studies uncovered that the loss of SDS-induced aggregation in the formerly isolated spontaneous mutant strain N was caused by a non-functional siaA allele. DNA-microarray analysis of SDS-grown cells revealed consistent activation of eight genes, including cupA1, with known or presumptive important functions in cell aggregation in the parent strain compared with non-aggregating siaA and siaD mutants. A siaAD-dependent increase of cupA1 mRNA levels in SDS-grown cells was also shown by Northern blots. These results clearly demonstrate that SiaAD are essential for inducing cell aggregation as a specific response to SDS and suggest that they are responsible for perceiving and transducing SDS-related stress.