Antibiotic tolerance and antibiotic resistance are the two major obstacles to the efficient and reliable treatment of bacterial infections. Identifying antibiotic adjuvants that sensitize resistant and tolerant bacteria to antibiotic killing may lead to the development of superior treatments with improved outcomes. Vancomycin, a lipid II inhibitor, is a frontline antibiotic for treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other Gram-positive bacterial infections. However, vancomycin use has led to the increasing prevalence of bacterial strains with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin. Here we show that unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) act as potent vancomycin adjuvants to rapidly kill a range of Gram-positive bacteria, including vancomycin-tolerant and resistant populations. The synergistic bactericidal activity relies on the accumulation of membrane-bound cell wall intermediates that generate large fluid patches in the membrane leading to protein delocalization, aberrant septal formation, and loss of membrane integrity. Our findings provide a natural therapeutic option that enhances vancomycin activity against difficult-to-treat pathogens and the underlying mechanism may be further exploited to develop antimicrobials that target recalcitrant infection.
The raw numerical data for figures 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 are provided in Source Data files for each figure.The full analysis code for Figure 4 is available on Github while all raw imaging data and key processed steps were deposited in Zenodo repository
- Brian P Conlon
- Brian P Conlon
- Brian P Conlon
- Tanja Schneider
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Sophie Helaine, Harvard Medical School, United States
© 2023, Sidders et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
African trypanosomes evade host immune clearance by antigenic variation, causing persistent infections in humans and animals. These parasites express a homogeneous surface coat of variant surface glycoproteins (VSGs). They transcribe one out of hundreds of VSG genes at a time from telomeric expression sites (ESs) and periodically change the VSG expressed by transcriptional switching or recombination. The mechanisms underlying the control of VSG switching and its developmental silencing remain elusive. We report that telomeric ES activation and silencing entail an on/off genetic switch controlled by a nuclear phosphoinositide signaling system. This system includes a nuclear phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphatase (PIP5Pase), its substrate PI(3,4,5)P3, and the repressor-activator protein 1 (RAP1). RAP1 binds to ES sequences flanking VSG genes via its DNA binding domains and represses VSG transcription. In contrast, PI(3,4,5)P3 binds to the N-terminus of RAP1 and controls its DNA binding activity. Transient inactivation of PIP5Pase results in the accumulation of nuclear PI(3,4,5)P3, which binds RAP1 and displaces it from ESs, activating transcription of silent ESs and VSG switching. The system is also required for the developmental silencing of VSG genes. The data provides a mechanism controlling reversible telomere silencing essential for the periodic switching in VSG expression and its developmental regulation.
Purinergic signaling activated by extracellular nucleotides and their derivative nucleosides trigger sophisticated signaling networks. The outcome of these pathways determine the capacity of the organism to survive under challenging conditions. Both extracellular ATP (eATP) and Adenosine (eAdo) act as primary messengers in mammals, essential for immunosuppressive responses. Despite the clear role of eATP as a plant damage-associated molecular pattern, the function of its nucleoside, eAdo, and of the eAdo/eATP balance in plant stress response remain to be fully elucidated. This is particularly relevant in the context of plant-microbe interaction, where the intruder manipulates the extracellular matrix. Here, we identify Ado as a main molecule secreted by the vascular fungus Fusarium oxysporum. We show that eAdo modulates the plant's susceptibility to fungal colonization by altering the eATP-mediated apoplastic pH homeostasis, an essential physiological player during the infection of this pathogen. Our work indicates that plant pathogens actively imbalance the apoplastic eAdo/eATP levels as a virulence mechanism.