Mutation of putative glycosyl transferases PslC and PslI confers susceptibility to antibiotics and leads to drastic reduction in biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Microbiology (Reading). 2023 Sep;169(9). doi: 10.1099/mic.0.001392.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic, multidrug-resistant pathogen capable of adapting to numerous environmental conditions and causing fatal infections in immunocompromised patients. The predominant lifestyle of P. aeruginosa is in the form of biofilms, which are structured communities of bacteria encapsulated in a matrix containing exopolysaccharides, extracellular DNA (eDNA) and proteins. The matrix is impervious to antibiotics, rendering the bacteria tolerant to antimicrobials. P. aeruginosa also produces a plethora of virulence factors such as pyocyanin, rhamnolipids and lipopolysaccharides among others. In this study we present the molecular characterization of pslC and pslI genes, of the exopolysaccharide operon, that code for putative glycosyltransferases. PslC is a 303 amino acid containing putative GT2 glycosyltrasferase, whereas PslI is a 367 aa long protein, possibly functioning as a GT4 glycosyltransferase. Mutation in either of these two genes results in a significant reduction in biofilm biomass with concomitant decline in c-di-GMP levels in the bacterial cells. Moreover, mutation in pslC and pslI dramatically increased susceptibility of P. aeruginosa to tobramycin, colistin and ciprofloxacin. Additionally, these mutations also resulted in an increase in rhamnolipids and pyocyanin formation. We demonstrate that elevated rhamnolipids promote a swarming phenotype in the mutant strains. Together these results highlight the importance of PslC and PslI in the biogenesis of biofilms and their potential as targets for increased antibiotic susceptibility and biofilm inhibition.

PMID:37702709 | DOI:10.1099/mic.0.001392


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