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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Early interaction between pseudomonas aeruginosa and polarized human bronchial epithelial cells Lo, Andy


Pseudomonas is the most common cause of chronic lung infections leading to death in cystic fibrosis patients. While chronic infection is extremely difficult to eradicate, the initial bacterial-host interactions prior to biofilm formation and establishment of chronic infections represents an attractive therapeutic target. It is clear that interaction between pathogens and the host is a very complex process and successful adaptation requires tight control of virulence factor expression. The aim of this project was to look for early changes in P. aeruginosa global gene expression in response to attachment to epithelial cells. P. aeruginosa PA01 was incubated with polarized HBE cells at a MOI of 100 for 4 hours and bacteria attached to epithelial cells (interacting) were collected separately from those in the supernatant (non-interacting). To minimize media effects observed by others, iron and phosphate were supplemented at appropriate levels to avoid expression changes due to limitation of these nutrients, as confirmed in our microarray experiments. Analysis of 3 independent experiments demonstrated that 766 genes were up or down regulated by more than 1.5 fold during attachment. Among these, 371 genes, including ion, oprC, as well as 3 genes in quorum-sensing systems and 9 genes involved in the pmrAB and phoPQ two-component regulatory systems were found to be induced in the interacting bacteria. On the other hand, 395 genes, including oprG outer membrane porin and pscP involved in type III secretion system were down regulated. To understand the roles of these differentially expressed genes, a cytotoxicity (LDH release) assay was performed and demonstrated that oprG and ion mutants were less capable than the wild type of killing HBE epithelial cells. These findings suggest that, under these interaction assay conditions, regulation of the expression of certain virulence factors provides a potential advantage for successful adaptation. In addition, a mutant lacking a filamentous hemagglutinin like protein was found to be less cytotoxic to HBE cells and also deficient in A549 epithelial cell binding, indicating that this probable non-pilin adhesin has multiple functions in P. aeruginosa.

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