Cytochrome bd promotes Escherichia coli biofilm antibiotic tolerance by regulating accumulation of noxious chemicals

Connor J. Beebout, Levy A. Sominsky, Allison R. Eberly, Gerald T. Van Horn, Maria Hadjifrangiskou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nutrient gradients in biofilms cause bacteria to organize into metabolically versatile communities capable of withstanding threats from external agents including bacteriophages, phagocytes, and antibiotics. We previously determined that oxygen availability spatially organizes respiration in uropathogenic Escherichia coli biofilms, and that the high-affinity respiratory quinol oxidase cytochrome bd is necessary for extracellular matrix production and biofilm development. In this study we investigate the physiologic consequences of cytochrome bd deficiency in biofilms and determine that loss of cytochrome bd induces a biofilm-specific increase in expression of general diffusion porins, leading to elevated outer membrane permeability. In addition, loss of cytochrome bd impedes the proton mediated efflux of noxious chemicals by diminishing respiratory flux. As a result, loss of cytochrome bd enhances cellular accumulation of noxious chemicals and increases biofilm susceptibility to antibiotics. These results identify an undescribed link between E. coli biofilm respiration and stress tolerance, while suggesting the possibility of inhibiting cytochrome bd as an antibiofilm therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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