Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a prevalent and pernicious pathogen equipped with both extraordinary capabilities to infect the host and to develop antimicrobials resistance (AMR). Monitoring the emergence of AMR high risk clones and understanding the interplay of their pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance is of paramount importance to avoid resistance dissemination and to control P. aeruginosa infections. In this study, we report the identification of a multidrug resistant (MDR) P. aeruginosa strain PA154197 isolated from a blood stream infection in Hong Kong. PA154197 belongs to a distinctive MLST550 clonal complex shared by two other international P. aeruginosa isolates VW0289 and AUS544. Comparative genome and transcriptome analysis of PA154197 with the reference strain PAO1 led to the identification of a variety of genetic variations in antibiotic resistance genes and the hyper-expression of three multidrug efflux pumps MexAB-OprM, MexEF-OprN, and MexGHI-OpmD in PA154197. Yet the strain does not display a metabolic cost and a compromised virulence compared to PAO1. PA154197 produces a substantially higher level of the P. aeruginosa major virulence factor pyocyanin (PYO), but a decreased level of pyoverdine and displays decreased biofilm formation than PAO1. Further analysis revealed that the secondary quorum sensing system Pqs which primarily controls the PYO production is hyper-active in PA154197 independent of the master QS systems Las and Rhl. Together, these investigations disclose a unique, uncoupled QS mediated pathoadaptation mechanism in clinical P. aeruginosa which may account for the high pathogenic potentials and antibiotics resistance in the MDR isolate PA154197.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank Dr. Karen Yuen (School of Biological Sciences, HKU) for her help to establish the C. elegans killing assay. This work is supported by the Hong Kong University Grants Council General Research Fund (17142316, to AY), Seed Funding for Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Scheme (HKU 2017, to AY), and Shenzhen City Knowledge Innovation Plan (JCYJ20160530174441706 to AY).