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      The Flagellum of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Is Required for Resistance to Clearance by Surfactant Protein A

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          Surfactant protein A (SP-A) is an important lung innate immune protein that kills microbial pathogens by opsonization and membrane permeabilization. We investigated the basis of SP-A-mediated pulmonary clearance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using genetically-engineered SP-A mice and a library of signature-tagged P. aeruginosa mutants. A mutant with an insertion into flgE, the gene that encodes flagellar hook protein, was preferentially cleared by the SP-A +/+ mice, but survived in the SP-A −/− mice. Opsonization by SP-A did not play a role in flgE clearance. However, exposure to SP-A directly permeabilized and killed the flgE mutant, but not the wild-type parental strain. P. aeruginosa strains with mutation in other flagellar genes, as well as mucoid, nonmotile isolates from cystic fibrosis patients, were also permeabilized by SP-A. Provision of the wild-type fliC gene restored the resistance to SP-A-mediated membrane permeabilization in the fliC-deficient bacteria. In addition, non-mucoid, motile revertants of CF isolates reacquired resistance to SP-A-mediated membrane permeability. Resistance to SP-A was dependent on the presence of an intact flagellar structure, and independent of flagellar-dependent motility. We provide evidence that flagellar-deficient mutants harbor inadequate amounts of LPS required to resist membrane permeabilization by SP-A and cellular lysis by detergent targeting bacterial outer membranes. Thus, the flagellum of P. aeruginosa plays an indirect but important role resisting SP-A-mediated clearance and membrane permeabilization.

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          Most cited references 50

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          Flagellar and twitching motility are necessary for Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm development.

          The formation of complex bacterial communities known as biofilms begins with the interaction of planktonic cells with a surface in response to appropriate environmental signals. We report the isolation and characterization of mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 defective in the initiation of biofilm formation on an abiotic surface, polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastic. These mutants are designated surface attachment defective (sad ). Two classes of sad mutants were analysed: (i) mutants defective in flagellar-mediated motility and (ii) mutants defective in biogenesis of the polar-localized type IV pili. We followed the development of the biofilm formed by the wild type over 8 h using phase-contrast microscopy. The wild-type strain first formed a monolayer of cells on the abiotic surface, followed by the appearance of microcolonies that were dispersed throughout the monolayer of cells. Using time-lapse microscopy, we present evidence that microcolonies form by aggregation of cells present in the monolayer. As observed with the wild type, strains with mutations in genes required for the synthesis of type IV pili formed a monolayer of cells on the PVC plastic. However, in contrast to the wild-type strain, the type IV pili mutants did not develop microcolonies over the course of the experiments, suggesting that these structures play an important role in microcolony formation. Very few cells of a non-motile strain (carrying a mutation in flgK) attached to PVC even after 8 h of incubation, suggesting a role for flagella and/or motility in the initial cell-to-surface interactions. The phenotype of these mutants thus allows us to initiate the dissection of the developmental pathway leading to biofilm formation.
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            Lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis.

            While originally characterized as a collection of related syndromes, cystic fibrosis (CF) is now recognized as a single disease whose diverse symptoms stem from the wide tissue distribution of the gene product that is defective in CF, the ion channel and regulator, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Defective CFTR protein impacts the function of the pancreas and alters the consistency of mucosal secretions. The latter of these effects probably plays an important role in the defective resistance of CF patients to many pathogens. As the modalities of CF research have changed over the decades from empirical histological studies to include biophysical measurements of CFTR function, the clinical management of this disease has similarly evolved to effectively address the ever-changing spectrum of CF-related infectious diseases. These factors have led to the successful management of many CF-related infections with the notable exception of chronic lung infection with the gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The virulence of P. aeruginosa stems from multiple bacterial attributes, including antibiotic resistance, the ability to utilize quorum-sensing signals to form biofilms, the destructive potential of a multitude of its microbial toxins, and the ability to acquire a mucoid phenotype, which renders this microbe resistant to both the innate and acquired immunologic defenses of the host.
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              Common virulence factors for bacterial pathogenicity in plants and animals.

              A Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain (UCBPP-PA14) is infectious both in an Arabidopsis thaliana leaf infiltration model and in a mouse full-thickness skin burn model. UCBPP-PA14 exhibits ecotype specificity for Arabidopsis, causing a range of symptoms from none to severe in four different ecotypes. In the mouse model, UCBPP-PA14 is as lethal as other well-studied P. aeruginosa strains. Mutations in the UCBPP-PA14 toxA, plcS, and gacA genes resulted in a significant reduction in pathogenicity in both hosts, indicating that these genes encode virulence factors required for the full expression of pathogenicity in both plants and animals.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                27 June 2007
                : 2
                : 6
                [1 ]Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America
                [2 ]Centre de Recherche sur la Fonction Structure et Ingenierie des Proteines, Pavillon Charles-Eugene Marchand et Faculte de Medecine, Universite Laval, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States of America
                [4 ]Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America
                Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, United States of America
                Author notes
                * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: geelau@

                Conceived and designed the experiments: SZ FM GL. Performed the experiments: SZ GL. Analyzed the data: SZ FM GL. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: RL FM GO GL. Wrote the paper: SZ GL.

                Zhang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Research Article
                Genetics and Genomics/Disease Models
                Genetics and Genomics/Functional Genomics
                Immunology/Cellular Microbiology and Pathogenesis
                Immunology/Immune Response
                Immunology/Immunity to Infections
                Immunology/Innate Immunity
                Microbiology/Cellular Microbiology and Pathogenesis
                Microbiology/Immunity to Infections
                Microbiology/Innate Immunity
                Microbiology/Medical Microbiology
                Microbiology/Microbial Evolution and Genomics
                Infectious Diseases/Respiratory Infections



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