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In-vivo microscopy reveals the impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa social interactions on host colonization


Rezzoagli, Chiara; Granato, Elisa T; Kümmerli, Rolf (2019). In-vivo microscopy reveals the impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa social interactions on host colonization. The ISME journal, 13(10):2403-2414.

Abstract

Pathogenic bacteria engage in social interactions to colonize hosts, which include quorum-sensing-mediated communication and the secretion of virulence factors that can be shared as “public goods” between individuals. While in-vitro studies demonstrated that cooperative individuals can be displaced by “cheating” mutants freeriding on social acts, we know less about social interactions in infections. Here, we developed a live imaging system to track virulence factor expression and social strain interactions in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonizing the gut of Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that shareable siderophores and quorum-sensing systems are expressed during infections, affect host gut colonization, and benefit non-producers. However, non-producers were unable to cheat and outcompete producers. Our results indicate that the limited success of cheats is due to a combination of the down-regulation of virulence factors over the course of the infection, the fact that each virulence factor examined contributed to but was not essential for host colonization, and the potential for negative-frequency dependent selection. Our findings shed new light on bacterial social interactions in infections and reveal potential limits of therapeutic approaches that aim to capitalize on social dynamics between strains for infection control.

Abstract

Pathogenic bacteria engage in social interactions to colonize hosts, which include quorum-sensing-mediated communication and the secretion of virulence factors that can be shared as “public goods” between individuals. While in-vitro studies demonstrated that cooperative individuals can be displaced by “cheating” mutants freeriding on social acts, we know less about social interactions in infections. Here, we developed a live imaging system to track virulence factor expression and social strain interactions in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonizing the gut of Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that shareable siderophores and quorum-sensing systems are expressed during infections, affect host gut colonization, and benefit non-producers. However, non-producers were unable to cheat and outcompete producers. Our results indicate that the limited success of cheats is due to a combination of the down-regulation of virulence factors over the course of the infection, the fact that each virulence factor examined contributed to but was not essential for host colonization, and the potential for negative-frequency dependent selection. Our findings shed new light on bacterial social interactions in infections and reveal potential limits of therapeutic approaches that aim to capitalize on social dynamics between strains for infection control.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Quantitative Biomedicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Microbiology
Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:20 Jan 2020 10:26
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 13:05
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1751-7362
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0442-8
PubMed ID:6775993
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2ZHP3_174751
  • : Project TitleAttack of the Clones - Bacterial combat behavior and its ecological context
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID681295
  • : Project TitleBacterial Individuality
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_182499
  • : Project TitleAn evolutionary ecology approach to disarm bacterial pathogens, control infections, and understand polymicrobial interactions inside hosts

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