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The ability to de novo synthesize purines has been associated with the intracellular survival of multiple bacterial pathogens. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the predominant cause of urinary tract infections, undergoes a transient intracellular lifestyle during which bacteria clonally expand into multicellular bacterial communities within the cytoplasm of bladder epithelial cells. Here, we characterized the contribution of the conserved de novo purine biosynthesis-associated locus cvpA-purF to UPEC pathogenesis. Deletion of cvpA-purF, or of purF alone, abolished de novo purine biosynthesis but did not impact bacterial adherence properties in vitro or in the bladder lumen. However, upon internalization by bladder epithelial cells, UPEC deficient in de novo purine biosynthesis was unable to expand into intracytoplasmic bacterial communities over time, unless it was extrachromosomally complemented. These findings indicate that UPEC is deprived of purine nucleotides within the intracellular niche and relies on de novo purine synthesis to meet this metabolic requirement.
Copyright © 2016 American Society for Microbiology.
Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) afflict millions of people worldwide both in the community and the hospital setting. The onset, duration, and severity of infection depend on the characteristics of the invading pathogen (yin), as well as the immune response elicited by the infected individual (yang). Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) account for the majority of UTIs, and extensive investigations by many scientific groups have elucidated an elaborate pathogenic UPEC life cycle, involving the occupation of extracellular and intracellular niches and the expression of an arsenal of virulence factors that facilitate niche occupation. This review will summarize the current knowledge on UPEC pathogenesis; the host immune responses elicited to combat infection; and it will describe proteomics approaches used to understand UPEC pathogenesis, as well as drive diagnostics and treatment options. Finally, new strategies are highlighted that could be applied toward furthering our knowledge regarding host-bacterial interactions during UTI.
© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Bacterial biofilms account for a significant number of hospital-acquired infections and complicate treatment options, because bacteria within biofilms are generally more tolerant to antibiotic treatment. This resilience is attributed to transient bacterial subpopulations that arise in response to variations in the microenvironment surrounding the biofilm. Here, we probed the spatial proteome of surface-associated single-species biofilms formed by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the major causative agent of community-acquired and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. We used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) to analyze the spatial proteome of intact biofilms in situ. MALDI-TOF IMS revealed protein species exhibiting distinct localizations within surface-associated UPEC biofilms, including two adhesive fibers critical for UPEC biofilm formation and virulence: type 1 pili (Fim) localized exclusively to the air-exposed region, while curli amyloid fibers localized to the air-liquid interface. Comparison of cells grown aerobically, fermentatively, or utilizing an alternative terminal electron acceptor showed that the phase-variable fim promoter switched to the "OFF" orientation under oxygen-deplete conditions, leading to marked reduction of type 1 pili on the bacterial cell surface. Conversely, S pili whose expression is inversely related to fim expression were up-regulated under anoxic conditions. Tethering the fim promoter in the "ON" orientation in anaerobically grown cells only restored type 1 pili production in the presence of an alternative terminal electron acceptor beyond oxygen. Together these data support the presence of at least two regulatory mechanisms controlling fim expression in response to oxygen availability and may contribute to the stratification of extracellular matrix components within the biofilm. MALDI IMS facilitated the discovery of these mechanisms, and we have demonstrated that this technology can be used to interrogate subpopulations within bacterial biofilms.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections, causing considerable morbidity in females. Infection is highly recurrent despite appropriate antibiotic treatment. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the most common causative agent of UTIs, invades bladder epithelial cells (BECs) and develops into clonal intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs). Upon maturation, IBCs disperse, with bacteria spreading to neighboring BECs to repeat this cycle. This process allows UPEC to gain a foothold in the face of innate defense mechanisms, including micturition, epithelial exfoliation, and the influx of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Here, we investigated the mechanism and dynamics of urothelial exfoliation in the early acute stages of infection. We show that UPEC α-hemolysin (HlyA) induces Caspase-1/Caspase-4-dependent inflammatory cell death in human urothelial cells, and we demonstrate that the response regulator (CpxR)-sensor kinase (CpxA) two-component system (CpxRA), which regulates virulence gene expression in response to environmental signals, is critical for fine-tuning HlyA cytotoxicity. Deletion of the cpxR transcriptional response regulator derepresses hlyA expression, leading to enhanced Caspase-1/Caspase-4- and NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3-dependent inflammatory cell death in human urothelial cells. In vivo, overexpression of HlyA during acute bladder infection induces more rapid and extensive exfoliation and reduced bladder bacterial burdens. Bladder fitness is restored fully by inhibition of Caspase-1 and Caspase-11, the murine homolog of Caspase-4. Thus, we have discovered that fine-tuning of HlyA expression by the CpxRA system is critical for enhancing UPEC fitness in the urinary bladder. These results have significant implications for our understanding of how UPEC establishes persistent colonization.
UNLABELLED - Chaperone-usher pathway (CUP) pili are extracellular organelles produced by Gram-negative bacteria that mediate bacterial pathogenesis. Small-molecule inhibitors of CUP pili, termed pilicides, were rationally designed and shown to inhibit type 1 or P piliation. Here, we show that pilicide ec240 decreased the levels of type 1, P, and S piliation. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses using the cystitis isolate UTI89 revealed that ec240 dysregulated CUP pili and decreased motility. Paradoxically, the transcript levels of P and S pilus genes were increased during growth in ec240, even though the level of P and S piliation decreased. In contrast, the most downregulated transcripts after growth in ec240 were from the type 1 pilus genes. Type 1 pilus expression is controlled by inversion of the fimS promoter element, which can oscillate between phase on and phase off orientations. ec240 induced the fimS phase off orientation, and this effect was necessary for the majority of ec240's inhibition of type 1 piliation. ec240 increased levels of the transcriptional regulators SfaB and PapB, which were shown to induce the fimS promoter phase off orientation. Furthermore, the effect of ec240 on motility was abolished in the absence of the SfaB, PapB, SfaX, and PapX regulators. In contrast to the effects of ec240, deletion of the type 1 pilus operon led to increased S and P piliation and motility. Thus, ec240 dysregulated several uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) virulence factors through different mechanisms and independent of its effects on type 1 pilus biogenesis and may have potential as an antivirulence compound.
IMPORTANCE - CUP pili and flagella play active roles in the pathogenesis of a variety of Gram-negative bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections mediated by UPEC. These are extremely common infections that are often recurrent and increasingly caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms. Preventing piliation and motility through altered regulation and assembly of these important virulence factors could aid in the development of novel therapeutics. This study increases our understanding of the regulation of these virulence factors, providing new avenues by which to target their expression.
Copyright © 2014 Greene et al.
UNLABELLED - Bacterial biofilms are ubiquitous in nature, and their resilience is derived in part from a complex extracellular matrix that can be tailored to meet environmental demands. Although common developmental stages leading to biofilm formation have been described, how the extracellular components are organized to allow three-dimensional biofilm development is not well understood. Here we show that uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains produce a biofilm with a highly ordered and complex extracellular matrix (ECM). We used electron microscopy (EM) techniques to image floating biofilms (pellicles) formed by UPEC. EM revealed intricately constructed substructures within the ECM that encase individual, spatially segregated bacteria with a distinctive morphology. Mutational and biochemical analyses of these biofilms confirmed curli as a major matrix component and revealed important roles for cellulose, flagella, and type 1 pili in pellicle integrity and ECM infrastructure. Collectively, the findings of this study elucidated that UPEC pellicles have a highly organized ultrastructure that varies spatially across the multicellular community.
IMPORTANCE - Bacteria can form biofilms in diverse niches, including abiotic surfaces, living cells, and at the air-liquid interface of liquid media. Encasing these cellular communities is a self-produced extracellular matrix (ECM) that can be composed of proteins, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids. The ECM protects biofilm bacteria from environmental insults and also makes the dissolution of biofilms very challenging. As a result, formation of biofilms within humans (during infection) or on industrial material (such as water pipes) has detrimental and costly effects. In order to combat bacterial biofilms, a better understanding of components required for biofilm formation and the ECM is required. This study defined the ECM composition and architecture of floating pellicle biofilms formed by Escherichia coli.
Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), which accounts for 85% of urinary tract infections (UTI), assembles biofilms in diverse environments, including the host. Besides forming biofilms on biotic surfaces and catheters, UPEC has evolved an intracellular pathogenic cascade that culminates in the formation of biofilm-like intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs) within bladder epithelial cells. Rapid bacterial replication during IBC formation augments a build-up in bacterial numbers and persistence within the host. Relatively little is known about factors mediating UPEC biofilm formation and how these overlap with IBC formation. To address this gap, we screened a UPEC transposon mutant library in three in vitro biofilm conditions: Luria broth (LB)-polyvinyl chloride (PVC), YESCA (yeast extract-Casamino Acids)-PVC, and YESCA-pellicle that are dependent on type 1 pili (LB) and curli (YESCA), respectively. Flagella are important in all three conditions. Mutants were identified that had biofilm defects in all three conditions but had no significant effects on the expression of type 1 pili, curli, or flagella. Thus, this approach uncovered a comprehensive inventory of novel effectors and regulators that are involved in UPEC biofilm formation under multiple conditions. A subset of these mutants was found to be dramatically attenuated and unable to form IBCs in a murine model of UTI. Collectively, this study expands our insights into UPEC multicellular behavior that may provide insights into IBC formation and virulence.
Urinary tract infections (UTI), primarily caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), are one of the leading bacterial infections due to their high frequency and rate of recurrence. Both type 1 pilus adhesive organelles (fim) and the QseC sensor kinase have been implicated in UPEC virulence during UTI and have been individually reported to be promising drug targets. Deletion of qseC leads to pleiotropic effects due to unregulated activation of the cognate response regulator QseB, influencing conserved metabolic processes and diminishing expression of virulence genes, including type 1 pili. Here, we discern the type 1 pilus-dependent and -independent effects that contribute to the virulence attenuation of a UPEC qseC deletion mutant in a murine model of experimental UTI. We show that although a ΔqseC mutant restored for type 1 pilus expression regains the ability to colonize the host and initiate acute infection up to 16 h postinfection, it is rapidly outcompeted during acute infection when coinoculated with a wild-type strain. As a result, this strain has a diminished capacity to establish chronic infection. A prophylactic oral dose of a FimH small-molecular-weight antagonist (ZFH-02056) further reduced the ability of the qseC mutant to establish chronic infection. Thus, loss of QseC significantly enhances the efficacy of ZFH-02056. Collectively, our work indicates that type 1 pili and QseC become critical in different infection stages, and that dual targeting of these factors has an additive effect on ablating UPEC virulence.
Existence in the biofilm state lends bacteria the opportunity to enjoy, at least for a finite amount of time, the benefits of a multicellular entity. The order of events leading to biofilm formation and disassembly has been the topic of interest for numerous studies, aiming to identify factors and mechanisms that underlie this dynamic developmental process. Of particular import is research leveraged at delineating biofilm formation by medically relevant microorganisms, as prevention or eradication of biofilm from medical devices and from within the host pose a serious challenge in the healthcare setting. Recent research describes how a transcriptional regulator modulates biofilm formation in uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) by affecting the expression of the type 1 adhesive organelles in response to extracellular signals.