Most bacteria exist and interact within polymicrobial communities. These interactions produce unique compounds, increase virulence and augment antibiotic resistance. One community associated with negative healthcare outcomes consists of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. When co-cultured, virulence factors secreted by P. aeruginosa reduce metabolism and growth in S. aureus. When grown in vitro, this allows P. aeruginosa to drive S. aureus toward extinction. However, when found in vivo, both species can co-exist. Previous work has noted that this may be due to altered gene expression or mutations. However, little is known about how the growth environment could influence the co-existence of both species. Using a combination of mathematical modeling and experimentation, we show that changes to bacterial growth and metabolism caused by differences in the growth environment can determine the final population composition. We found that changing the carbon source in growth media affects the ratio of ATP to growth rate for both species, a metric we call absolute growth. We found that as a growth environment increases the absolute growth for one species, that species will increasingly dominate the co-culture. This is due to interactions between growth, metabolism, and metabolism-altering virulence factors produced by P. aeruginosa. Finally, we show that the relationship between absolute growth and the final population composition can be perturbed by altering the spatial structure in the community. Our results demonstrate that differences in growth environment can account for conflicting observations regarding the co-existence of these bacterial species in the literature, provides support for the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, and may offer a novel mechanism to manipulate polymicrobial populations.
All raw experimental data is currently deposited in Dryad and will be publicly available upon publication.
Interactions between metabolism and growth can determine the co-existence of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosaDryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.fn2z34tz3.
- Camryn Pajon
- Marla C Fortoul
- Gabriela Diaz-Tang
- Estefania Marin Meneses
- Ariane R Kalifa
- Elinor Sevy
- Taniya Mariah
- Brandon M Toscan
- Maili Marcelin
- Daniella M Hernandez
- Melissa M Marzouk
- Allison J Lopatkin
- Omar Tonsi Eldakar
- Robert P Smith
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Vaughn S Cooper, University of Pittsburgh, United States
© 2023, Pajon 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.
Diverse chemical modifications fine-tune the function and metabolism of tRNA. Although tRNA modification is universal in all kingdoms of life, profiles of modifications, their functions, and physiological roles have not been elucidated in most organisms including the human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis. To identify physiologically important modifications, we surveyed the tRNA of Mtb, using tRNA sequencing (tRNA-seq) and genome-mining. Homology searches identified 23 candidate tRNA modifying enzymes that are predicted to create 16 tRNA modifications across all tRNA species. Reverse transcription-derived error signatures in tRNA-seq predicted the sites and presence of nine modifications. Several chemical treatments prior to tRNA-seq expanded the number of predictable modifications. Deletion of Mtb genes encoding two modifying enzymes, TruB and MnmA, eliminated their respective tRNA modifications, validating the presence of modified sites in tRNA species. Furthermore, the absence of mnmA attenuated Mtb growth in macrophages, suggesting that MnmA-dependent tRNA uridine sulfation contributes to Mtb intracellular growth. Our results lay the foundation for unveiling the roles of tRNA modifications in Mtb pathogenesis and developing new therapeutics against tuberculosis.
Communication is crucial for organismic interactions, from bacteria, to fungi, to humans. Humans may use the visual sense to monitor the environment before starting acoustic interactions. In comparison, fungi, lacking a visual system, rely on a cell-to-cell dialogue based on secreted signaling molecules to coordinate cell fusion and establish hyphal networks. Within this dialogue, hyphae alternate between sending and receiving signals. This pattern can be visualized via the putative signaling protein Soft (SofT), and the mitogen-activated protein kinase MAK-2 (MakB) which are recruited in an alternating oscillatory manner to the respective cytoplasmic membrane or nuclei of interacting hyphae. Here, we show that signal oscillations already occur in single hyphae of Arthrobotrys flagrans in the absence of potential fusion partners (cell monologue). They were in the same phase as growth oscillations. In contrast to the anti-phasic oscillations observed during the cell dialogue, SofT and MakB displayed synchronized oscillations in phase during the monologue. Once two fusion partners came into each other’s vicinity, their oscillation frequencies slowed down (entrainment phase) and transit into anti-phasic synchronization of the two cells’ oscillations with frequencies of 104±28 s and 117±19 s, respectively. Single-cell oscillations, transient entrainment, and anti-phasic oscillations were reproduced by a mathematical model where nearby hyphae can absorb and secrete a limited molecular signaling component into a shared extracellular space. We show that intracellular Ca2+ concentrations oscillate in two approaching hyphae, and depletion of Ca2+ from the medium affected vesicle-driven extension of the hyphal tip, abolished the cell monologue and the anti-phasic synchronization of two hyphae. Our results suggest that single hyphae engage in a ‘monologue’ that may be used for exploration of the environment and can dynamically shift their extracellular signaling systems into a ‘dialogue’ to initiate hyphal fusion.