The involvement of the low-oxygen-activated locus of Burkholderia cenocepacia in adaptation during cystic fibrosis infection

Louise Cullen, Andrew O’connor, Sarah Mccormack, Rebecca A. Owens, Giles S. Holt, Cassandra Collins, Máire Callaghan, Sean Doyle, Darren Smith, Kirsten Schaffer, David A. Fitzpatrick, Siobhán Mcclean

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Abstract

Chronic infection with opportunistic pathogens including Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) is a hallmark of cystic fibrosis (CF). We investigated the adaptive mechanisms facilitating chronic lung infection in sequential Bcc isolates from two siblings with CF (P1 and P2), one of whom also experienced intermittent blood-stream infections (P2). We previously showed increased lung cell attachment with colonisation time in both P1 and P2. WGS analysis confirmed that the isolates are closely related. Twelve genes showed three or more mutations, suggesting these were genes under selection. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNVs) in 45 regulatory genes were also observed. Proteomic analysis showed that the abundance of 149 proteins increased over 61-months in sputum isolates, and both time- and source-related alterations in protein abundance between the second patient’s isolates. A consistent time-dependent increase in abundance of 19 proteins encoded by a low-oxygen-activated (lxa) locus was observed in both sets of isolates. Attachment was dramatically reduced in a B. cenocepacia K56-2Δlxa-locus deletion mutant, further indicating that it encodes protein(s) involved in host-cell attachment. Time-related changes in virulence in Galleria mellonella or motility were not observed. We conclude that the lxa-locus, associated with anoxic persistence in vitro, plays a role in host-cell attachment and adaptation to chronic colonization in the hypoxic niche of the CF lung.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13386
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2018

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