Spiroplasma poulsonii is a maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbiont that is naturally associated with Drosophila melanogaster. S. poulsonii resides extracellularly in the hemolymph, where it must acquire metabolites to sustain proliferation. In this study, we find that Spiroplasma proliferation specifically depletes host hemolymph diacylglyceride, the major lipid class transported by the lipoprotein, Lpp. RNAi-mediated knockdown of Lpp expression, which reduces the amount of circulating lipids, inhibits Spiroplasma proliferation demonstrating that bacterial proliferation requires hemolymph-lipids. Altogether, our study shows that an insect endosymbiont acquires specific lipidic metabolites from the transport lipoproteins in the hemolymph of its host. In addition, we show that the proliferation of this endosymbiont is limited by the availability of hemolymph lipids. This feature could limit endosymbiont over-proliferation under conditions of host nutrient limitation as lipid availability is strongly influenced by the nutritional state.
- Utpal Banerjee, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
© 2014, Herren et al.
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Bacterial pathogens show high levels of chromosomal genetic diversity, but the influence of this diversity on the evolution of antibiotic resistance by plasmid acquisition remains unclear. Here, we address this problem in the context of colistin, a ‘last line of defence’ antibiotic. Using experimental evolution, we show that a plasmid carrying the MCR-1 colistin resistance gene dramatically increases the ability of Escherichia coli to evolve high-level colistin resistance by acquiring mutations in lpxC, an essential chromosomal gene involved in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Crucially, lpxC mutations increase colistin resistance in the presence of the MCR-1 gene, but decrease the resistance of wild-type cells, revealing positive sign epistasis for antibiotic resistance between the chromosomal mutations and a mobile resistance gene. Analysis of public genomic datasets shows that lpxC polymorphisms are common in pathogenic E. coli, including those carrying MCR-1, highlighting the clinical relevance of this interaction. Importantly, lpxC diversity is high in pathogenic E. coli from regions with no history of MCR-1 acquisition, suggesting that pre-existing lpxC polymorphisms potentiated the evolution of high-level colistin resistance by MCR-1 acquisition. More broadly, these findings highlight the importance of standing genetic variation and plasmid/chromosomal interactions in the evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resistance.
A key attribute of persistent or recurring bacterial infections is the ability of the pathogen to evade the host’s immune response. Many Enterobacteriaceae express type 1 pili, a pre-adapted virulence trait, to invade host epithelial cells and establish persistent infections. However, the molecular mechanisms and strategies by which bacteria actively circumvent the immune response of the host remain poorly understood. Here, we identified CD14, the major co-receptor for lipopolysaccharide detection, on mouse dendritic cells (DCs) as a binding partner of FimH, the protein located at the tip of the type 1 pilus of Escherichia coli. The FimH amino acids involved in CD14 binding are highly conserved across pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains. Binding of the pathogenic strain CFT073 to CD14 reduced DC migration by overactivation of integrins and blunted expression of co-stimulatory molecules by overactivating the NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T-cells) pathway, both rate-limiting factors of T cell activation. This response was binary at the single-cell level, but averaged in larger populations exposed to both piliated and non-piliated pathogens, presumably via the exchange of immunomodulatory cytokines. While defining an active molecular mechanism of immune evasion by pathogens, the interaction between FimH and CD14 represents a potential target to interfere with persistent and recurrent infections, such as urinary tract infections or Crohn’s disease.