Stress-induced outer membrane vesicle production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
As an opportunistic Gram-negative pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa must be able to adapt and survive changes and stressors in its environment during the course of infection. To aid survival in the hostile host environment, P. aeruginosa has evolved defense mechanisms, including the production of an exopolysaccharide capsule and the secretion of a myriad of degradative proteases and lipases. The production of outer membrane-derived vesicles (OMVs) serves as a secretion mechanism for virulence factors as well as a general bacterial response to envelope-acting stressors. This study investigated the effect of sublethal physiological stressors on OMV production by P. aeruginosa and whether the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and the MucD periplasmic protease are critical mechanistic factors in this response. Exposure to some environmental stressors was determined to increase the level of OMV production as well as the activity of AlgU, the sigma factor that controls MucD expression. Overexpression of AlgU was shown to be sufficient to induce OMV production; however, stress-induced OMV production was not dependent on activation of AlgU, since stress caused increased vesiculation in strains lacking algU. We further determined that MucD levels were not an indicator of OMV production under acute stress, and PQS was not required for OMV production under stress or unstressed conditions. Finally, an investigation of the response of P. aeruginosa to oxidative stress revealed that peroxide-induced OMV production requires the presence of B-band but not A-band lipopolysaccharide. Together, these results demonstrate that distinct mechanisms exist for stress-induced OMV production in P. aeruginosa.
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