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BMC Genomics  2011 

Transcriptional responses of Burkholderia cenocepacia to polymyxin B in isogenic strains with diverse polymyxin B resistance phenotypes

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-472

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Abstract:

A heptoseless LPS mutant of B. cenocepacia was passaged through multiple rounds of selection to regain high levels of polymyxin B-resistance. This process resulted in various phenotypic changes in the isolate that could contribute to polymyxin B resistance and are consistent with LPS-independent changes in the outer membrane. The transcriptional response of three B. cenocepacia strains to subinhibitory concentrations of polymyxin B was analyzed using microarray analysis and validated by quantitative Real Time-PCR. There were numerous baseline changes in expression between the three strains in the absence of polymyxin B. In both K56-2 and RSF34, similar transcriptional changes upon treatment with polymyxin B were found and included upregulation of various genes that may be involved in polymyxin B resistance and downregulation of genes required for the synthesis and operation of flagella. This last result was validated phenotypically as both swimming and swarming motility were impaired in the presence of polymyxin B. RSF34 4000B had altered the expression in a larger number of genes upon treatment with polymyxin B than either K56-2 or RSF34, but the relative fold-changes in expression were lower.It is possible to generate polymyxin B-resistant isolates from polymyxin B-sensitive mutant strains of B. cenocepacia, likely due to the multifactorial nature of polymyxin B resistance of this bacterium. Microarray analysis showed that B. cenocepacia mounts multiple transcriptional responses following exposure to polymyxin B. Polymyxin B-regulated genes identified in this study may be required for polymyxin B resistance, which must be tested experimentally. Exposure to polymyxin B also decreases expression of flagellar genes resulting in reduced swimming and swarming motility.Burkholderia cenocepacia belongs to the B. cepacia complex (Bcc), a group of Gram-negative opportunistic pathogens infecting patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic granulomatous disease [1-3]. The

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