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Department of Quantitative Biomedicine

The Kümmerli group publishes their collaborative work on population invasion through exploitation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa public goods

Loss of a pyoverdine secondary receptor in Pseudomonas aeruginosa results in a fitter strain suitable for population invasion

Fig.1b González et al. © 2020 The Authors

This work results from a collaboration between the groups of Rolf Kümmerli and José I. Jiménez at the Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London.

The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens in healthcare requires the development of novel treatment strategies. Promising avenues include the exploitation of microbial social interactions based on public goods, which are produced by cooperative microorganisms at a fitness cost and can be exploited by cheaters that do not produce these goods. In this work, González and colleagues took a novel approach by manipulating uptake (rather than production) of public goods, focusing on the siderophore pyoverdine produced by the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Deletion and/or overexpression of the pyoverdine primary and secondary receptors revealed that receptor synthesis feeds back on the rates of pyoverdine production and uptake, resulting in bacterial strains with altered pyoverdine-associated costs and benefits. These findings show that manipulation of public good uptake can result in fitter bacterial strains suitable for population invasion, which could potentially be harnessed for medical interventions.

See González et al, ISME Journal