The effect of polymicrobial interactions on pathogen physiology and how it can act either to limit pathogen colonization or to potentiate pathogen expansion and virulence are not well understood. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are opportunistic pathogens commonly found together in polymicrobial human infections. However, we have previously shown that the interactions between these two bacterial species are strain dependent. Whereas P. aeruginosa PAO1, a commonly used laboratory strain, effectively suppressed S. aureus growth, we observed a commensal-like interaction between the human host-adapted strain, DK2-P2M24-2003, and S. aureus. In this study, characterization by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) and mass spectral (MS) molecular networking revealed a significant metabolic divergence between P. aeruginosa PAO1 and DK2-P2M24-2003, which comprised several virulence factors and signaling 4-hydroxy-2-alkylquinoline (HAQ) molecules. Strikingly, a further modulation of the HAQ profile was observed in DK2-P2M24-2003 during interaction with S. aureus, resulting in an area with thickened colony morphology at the P. aeruginosa–S. aureus interface. In addition, we found an HAQ-mediated protection of S. aureus by DK2-P2M24-2003 from the killing effect of tobramycin. Our findings suggest a model where the metabolic divergence manifested in human host-adapted P. aeruginosa is further modulated during interaction with S. aureus and facilitate a proto-cooperative P. aeruginosa–S. aureus relationship.
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Frydenlund Michelsen, C., Khademi, S. M. H., Johansen, H. K., Ingmer, H., Dorrestein, P. C., & Jelsbak, L. (2016). Evolution of metabolic divergence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa during long-term infection facilitates a proto-cooperative interspecies interaction. I S M E Journal, 10, 1323-1336. https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2015.220