Identification and characterisation of toxin-antitoxin systems (TA) in Burkholderia pseudomallei
Butt, Aaron Trevor
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The aim of this study was to identify and characterise type II toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems in Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of the human disease melioidosis. 8 putative TA systems were identified within the genome of B. pseudomallei K96243. 5 of these were located witihn genome islands. Of the candidate toxins, BPSL0175 (RelE1) or BPSS1060 (RelE2) caused growth to cease when expressed in Escherichia coli, whereas expression of BPSS0390 (HicA) or BPSS1584 (HipA) (in an E. coli ΔhipBA background) caused a reduction in the number of culturable bacteria. HicA also caused growth arrest in B. pseudomallei K96243 ΔhicAB. These toxin induced phenotypes were enhanced by an <3kDa extracellular factor that accumulated in the spent medium during growth. Expression of the cognate antitoxins could restore growth and culturability of cells. Expression of hicA in E. coli gave an increased number of persister cells in response to ciprofloxacin or ceftazidime. Site directed mutagenesis studies identified two key residues within the HicA toxin that were essential for both the reduced culturability and increased persistence phenotypes. Deletion of hicAB from B. pseudomallei K96243 did not affect persister cell or survival frequencies compared to the wild type following treatment with a variety of stress conditions. Deletion of the ΔhipBA locus from B. pseudomallei K96243 also had no affect on bacterial persistence or survival under the conditions tested.
Butt, A., C. Muller, et al. (2012). "Identification of type II toxin-antitoxin modules in Burkholderia pseudomallei." FEMS Microbiol Lett 338(1): 86-94.
PhD in Biological Sciences