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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Selection for Staphylococcus aureus small-colony variants due to growth in the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Opportunistic infections are often polymicrobial. Two of the most important bacterial opportunistic pathogens of humans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, frequently are coisolated from infections of catheters, endotracheal tubes, skin, eyes, and the respiratory tract, including the airways of people with cystic fibrosis ( CF). Here, we show that suppression of S. aureus respiration by a P. aeruginosa exoproduct, 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO), protects S. aureus during coculture from killing by commonly used aminoglycoside antibiotics such as tobramycin. Furthermore, prolonged growth of S. aureus with either P. aeruginosa or with physiological concentrations of pure HQNO selects for typical S. aureus small-colony variants (SCVs), well known for stable aminoglycoside resistance and persistence in chronic infections, including those found in CF. We detected HQNO in the sputum of CF patients infected with P. aeruginosa, but not in uninfected patients, suggesting that this HQNO-mediated interspecies interaction occurs in CF airways. Thus, in all coinfections with P. aeruginosa, S. aureus may be underappreciated as a pathogen because of the formation of antibiotic-resistant and difficult to detect small-colony variants. Interspecies microbial interactions, analogous to those mediated by HQNO, commonly may alter not only the course of disease and the response to therapy, but also the population structure of bacterial communities that promote the health of host animals, plants, and ecosystems.[1]


  1. Selection for Staphylococcus aureus small-colony variants due to growth in the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Hoffman, L.R., D??ziel, E., D'Argenio, D.A., L??pine, F., Emerson, J., McNamara, S., Gibson, R.L., Ramsey, B.W., Miller, S.I. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
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