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Ex vivo transcriptional profiling reveals a common set of genes important for the adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to chronically infected host sites

Authors

  • Piotr Bielecki,

    1. Institute for Molecular Bacteriology, Twincore, Center for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center of Infection Research and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
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    • Both authors contributed equally to the study.
  • Uliana Komor,

    1. Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
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    • Both authors contributed equally to the study.
  • Agata Bielecka,

    1. Department of Molecular Bacteriology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
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  • Mathias Müsken,

    1. Institute for Molecular Bacteriology, Twincore, Center for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center of Infection Research and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
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  • Jacek Puchałka,

    1. Systems and Synthetic Biology Group, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
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  • Mathias W. Pletz,

    1. Center for Infectious Diseases and Infection Control, Center for Sepsis Control and Care, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany
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  • Manfred Ballmann,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
    2. Department of Paediatric Pumonology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
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  • Vítor AP Martins dos Santos,

    1. Systems and Synthetic Biology Group, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
    2. Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands
    3. LifeGlimmer GmbH, Berlin, Germany
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  • Siegfried Weiss,

    1. Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
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    • Shared last authorship.
  • Susanne Häussler

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Molecular Bacteriology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
    • Institute for Molecular Bacteriology, Twincore, Center for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center of Infection Research and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
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    • Shared last authorship.

For correspondence. E-mail Susanne.Haeussler@helmholtz-hzi.de; Tel. (+49) 511 220027212; Fax (+49) 511 220027203.

Summary

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.

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