Pyomelanin produced by Vibrio cholerae confers resistance to predation by Acanthamoeba castellanii

Publication Type:
Journal Article
FEMS microbiology ecology, 2017, 93 (12)
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© FEMS 2017. Protozoan predation is one of the main environmental factors constraining bacterial growth in aquatic environments, and thus has led to the evolution of a number of defence mechanisms that protect bacteria from predation. These mechanisms may also function as virulence factors in infection of animal and human hosts. Whole transcriptome shotgun sequencing of Vibrio cholerae biofilms during predation by the amoebae, Acanthamoeba castellanii, revealed that 131 transcripts were significantly differentially regulated when compared to the non-grazed control. Differentially regulated transcripts included those involved in biosynthetic and metabolic pathways. The transcripts of genes involved in tyrosine metabolism were down-regulated in the grazed population, which indicates that the tyrosine metabolic regulon may have a role in the response of V. cholerae biofilms to A. castellanii predation. Homogentisate 1, 2-dioxygenase (HGA) is the main intermediate of the normal L-tyrosine catabolic pathway which is known to auto-oxidize, leading to the formation of the pigment, pyomelanin. Indeed, a pigmented mutant, disrupted in hmgA, was more resistant to amoebae predation than the wild type. Increased grazing resistance was correlated with increased production of pyomelanin and thus reactive oxygen species (ROS), suggesting that ROS production is a defensive mechanism used by bacterial biofilms against predation by amoebae A. castellanii.
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