Determinants of Extreme β-Lactam Tolerance in the Burkholderia pseudomallei Complex

Kiara Held, Joe Gasper, Sarah Morgan, Richard Siehnel, Pradeep Singh, Colin Manoil
2018 Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  
Slow-growing bacteria are insensitive to killing by antibiotics, a trait known as antibiotic tolerance. In this study, we characterized the genetic basis of an unusually robust β-lactam (meropenem) tolerance seen in Burkholderia species. We identified tolerance genes under three different slow-growth conditions by extensive transposon mutant sequencing (Tn-seq), followed by single mutant validation. There were three principal findings. First, mutations in a small number of genes reduced
more » ... e under multiple conditions. Most of the functions appeared to be specific to peptidoglycan synthesis and the response to its disruption by meropenem action rather than being associated with more general physiological processes. The top tolerance genes are involved in immunity toward a type VI toxin targeting peptidoglycan (BTH_I0069), peptidoglycan recycling (ldcA), periplasmic regulation by proteolysis (prc), and an envelope stress response (rpoE and degS). Second, most of the tolerance functions did not contribute to growth in the presence of meropenem (intrinsic resistance), indicating that the two traits are largely distinct. Third, orthologues of many of the top Burkholderia thailandensis tolerance genes were also important in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Overall, these studies show that the determinants of meropenem tolerance differ considerably depending on cultivation conditions, but that there are a few shared functions with strong mutant phenotypes that are important in multiple Burkholderia species.
doi:10.1128/aac.00068-18 pmid:29439964 fatcat:cak5cljnjjc35cktl5d54tnwui