An orphan cbb3-type cytochrome oxidase subunit supports Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm growth and virulence

Jo, Jeanyoung; Cortez, Krista Lynn; Cornell, William-Cole; Price-Whelan, Alexa M.; Dietrich, Lars

Hypoxia is a common challenge faced by bacteria during associations with hosts due in part to the formation of densely packed communities (biofilms). cbb3-type cytochrome c oxidases, which catalyze the terminal step in respiration and have a high affinity for oxygen, have been linked to bacterial pathogenesis. The pseudomonads are unusual in that they often contain multiple full and partial (i.e. ‘orphan’) operons for cbb3-type oxidases and oxidase subunits. Here, we describe a unique role for the orphan catalytic subunit CcoN4 in colony biofilm development and respiration in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14. We also show that CcoN4 contributes to the reduction of phenazines, antibiotics that support redox balancing for cells in biofilms, and to virulence in a Caenorhabditis elegans model of infection. These results highlight the relevance of the colony biofilm model to pathogenicity and underscore the potential of cbb3-type oxidases as therapeutic targets.


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Biological Sciences
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February 9, 2018