Targeted deletion of Pf prophages from diverse Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates has differential impacts on quorum sensing and virulence traits

Amelia K. Schmidt, Caleb M. Schwartzkopf, Julie D. Pourtois, Elizabeth B. Burgener, Dominick R. Faith, Alex Joyce, Tyrza Lamma, Geetha Kumar, Paul L. Bollyky, Patrick R. Secor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen that commonly causes medical hardware, wound, and respiratory infections. Temperate filamentous Pf phages that infect P. aeruginosa impact numerous virulence phenotypes. Most work on Pf phages has focused on Pf4 and its host P. aeruginosa PAO1. Expanding from Pf4 and PAO1, this study explores diverse Pf phages infecting P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. We describe a simple technique targeting the Pf lysogeny maintenance gene, pflM (PA0718), that enables the effective elimination of Pf prophages from diverse P. aeruginosa hosts. The pflM gene shows diversity among different Pf phage isolates; however, all examined pflM alleles encode the DUF5447 domain. We demonstrate that pflM deletion results in prophage excision but not replication, leading to total prophage loss, indicating a role for lysis/lysogeny decisions for the DUF5447 domain. This study also assesses the effects different Pf phages have on host quorum sensing, biofilm formation, pigment production, and virulence against the bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that Pf phages have strain-specific impacts on quorum sensing and biofilm formation, but nearly all suppress pigment production and increase C. elegans avoidance behavior. Collectively, this research not only introduces a valuable tool for Pf prophage elimination from diverse P. aeruginosa isolates but also advances our understanding of the complex relationship between P. aeruginosa and filamentous Pf phages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume206
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • C. elegans
  • Filamentous Pf bacteriophage
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • biofilms
  • prophage
  • pyocyanin
  • quorum sensing
  • virulence

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