Colistin-resistant, lipopolysaccharide-deficient Acinetobacter baumannii responds to lipopolysaccharide loss through increased expression of genes involved in the synthesis and transport of lipoproteins, phospholipids, and poly-β-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine
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We recently demonstrated that colistin resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii can result from mutational inactivation of genes essential for lipid A biosynthesis (Moffatt JH, et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971-4977). Consequently, strains harboring these mutations are unable to produce the major Gram-negative bacterial surface component, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To understand how A. baumannii compensates for the lack of LPS, we compared the transcriptional profile of the A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 to that of an isogenic, LPS-deficient, lpxA mutant strain. The analysis of the expression profiles indicated that the LPS-deficient strain showed increased expression of many genes involved in cell envelope and membrane biogenesis. In particular, upregulated genes included those involved in the Lol lipoprotein transport system and the Mla-retrograde phospholipid transport system. In addition, genes involved in the synthesis and transport of poly-beta-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) also were upregulated, and a corresponding increase in PNAG production was observed. The LPS-deficient strain also exhibited the reduced expression of genes predicted to encode the fimbrial subunit FimA and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). The reduced expression of genes involved in T6SS correlated with the detection of the T6SS-effector protein AssC in culture supernatants of the A. baumannii wild-type strain but not in the LPS-deficient strain. Taken together, these data show that, in response to total LPS loss, A. baumannii alters the expression of critical transport and biosynthesis systems associated with modulating the composition and structure of the bacterial surface.
Henry, R. M., Vithanage (Sulthanagoda), N. R., Harrison, P., Seemann, T., Coutts, S. A. J., Moffatt, J. H., Nation, R. L., Li, J., Harper, M., Adler, B., & Boyce, J. D. (2012). Colistin-resistant, lipopolysaccharide-deficient Acinetobacter baumannii responds to lipopolysaccharide loss through increased expression of genes involved in the synthesis and transport of lipoproteins, phospholipids, and poly-β-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 56(1), 59 - 69. https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.05191-11