Quorum sensing governs a transmissive Legionella subpopulation at the pathogen vacuole periphery

Striednig, Bianca and Lanner, Ulrike and Niggli, Selina and Katic, Ana and Vormittag, Simone and Brülisauer, Sabrina and Hochstrasser, Ramon and Kaech, Andres and Welin, Amanda and Flieger, Antje and Ziegler, Urs and Schmidt, Alexander and Hilbi, Hubert and Personnic, Nicolas. (2021) Quorum sensing governs a transmissive Legionella subpopulation at the pathogen vacuole periphery. EMBO reports, 22 (9). e52972.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/87227/

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The Gram-negative bacterium Legionella pneumophila is the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease and replicates in amoebae and macrophages within a distinct compartment, the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV). The facultative intracellular pathogen switches between a replicative, non-virulent and a non-replicating, virulent/transmissive phase. Here, we show on a single-cell level that at late stages of infection, individual motile (P; flaA; -GFP-positive) and virulent (P; ralF; - and P; sidC; -GFP-positive) L. pneumophila emerge in the cluster of non-growing bacteria within an LCV. Comparative proteomics of P; flaA; -GFP-positive and P; flaA; -GFP-negative L. pneumophila subpopulations reveals distinct proteomes with flagellar proteins or cell division proteins being preferentially produced by the former or the latter, respectively. Toward the end of an infection cycle (� 48 h), the P; flaA; -GFP-positive L. pneumophila subpopulation emerges at the cluster periphery, predominantly escapes the LCV, and spreads from the bursting host cell. These processes are mediated by the Legionella quorum sensing (Lqs) system. Thus, quorum sensing regulates the emergence of a subpopulation of transmissive L. pneumophila at the LCV periphery, and phenotypic heterogeneity underlies the intravacuolar bi-phasic life cycle of L. pneumophila.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Services Biozentrum > Proteomics (Schmidt)
UniBasel Contributors:Schmidt, Alexander and Lanner, Ulrike Katharina
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:EMBO press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Jan 2022 12:56
Deposited On:22 Jan 2022 12:56

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