Burkholderia cenocepacia is an opportunistic pathogen that can lead to severe infections in patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic granulomatous disease. Being an obligate aerobe, B. cenocepacia is unable to grow in the absence of oxygen. In this study, we show that the CF isolate B. cenocepacia H111 can survive in the absence of oxygen. Using a transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) approach, we identified 71 fitness determinants involved in anoxic survival, including a Crp-Fnr family transcriptional regulatory gene (anr2), genes coding for the sensor kinase RoxS and its response regulator RoxR, the sigma factor for flagella biosynthesis (FliA) and subunits of a cytochrome bd oxidase (CydA, CydB and the potentially novel subunit CydP). Individual knockouts of these fitness determinants significantly reduced anoxic survival, and inactivation of both anr copies is shown to be lethal under anoxic conditions. We also show that the two-component system RoxS/RoxR and FliA are important for virulence and swarming/swimming, respectively.
Keywords: Bcc; Burkholderia cenocepacia H111; Galleria mellonella; Tn-seq; anoxic survival; cystic fibrosis; virulence factors.