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Cystic Fibrosis-Associated Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Strain-Specific Adaptations and Responses to pH.

Gallagher, Tara; Phan, Joann; Oliver, Andrew; Chase, Alexander B; England, Whitney E; Wandro, Stephen; Hendrickson, Clark; Riedel, Stefan F; Whiteson, Katrine.
J Bacteriol; 201(7)2019 04 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30642989
The airway fluids of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients contain local pH gradients and are more acidic than those of healthy individuals. pH is a critical factor that is often overlooked in studies seeking to recapitulate the infection microenvironment. We sought to determine the impact of pH on the physiology of a ubiqituous yet understudied microbe, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Phylogenomics was first used to reconstruct evolutionary relationships between 74 strains of S. maltophilia (59 from CF patients). Neither the core genome (2,158 genes) nor the accessory genome (11,978 genes) distinguish the CF and non-CF isolates; however, strains from similar isolation sources grouped into the same subclades. We grew two human and six CF S. maltophilia isolates from different subclades at a range of pH values and observed impaired growth and altered antibiotic tolerances at pH 5. Transcriptomes revealed increased expression of both antibiotic resistance and DNA repair genes in acidic conditions. Although the gene expression profiles of S. maltophilia in lab cultures and CF sputum were distinct, we found that the same genes associated with low pH were also expressed during infection, and the higher pH cultures were more similar to sputum metatranscriptomes. Our findings suggest that S. maltophilia is not well adapted to acidity and may cope with low pH by expressing stress response genes and colonizing less acidic microenvironments. As a whole, our study underlines the impact of microenvironments on bacterial colonization and adaptation in CF infections.IMPORTANCE Understanding bacterial responses to physiological conditions is an important priority for combating opportunistic infections. The majority of CF patients succumb to inflammation and necrosis in the airways, arising from chronic infection due to ineffective mucociliary clearance. Steep pH gradients characterize the CF airways but are not often incorporated in standard microbiology culture conditions. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a prevalent CF opportunistic pathogen also found in many disparate environments, yet this bacterium's contribution to CF lung damage and its response to changing environmental factors remain largely understudied. Here, we show that pH impacts the physiology and antibiotic susceptibility of S. maltophilia, with implications for the development of relevant in vitro models and assessment of antibiotic sensitivity.
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