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J Bacteriol. 2005 Jan;187(2):554-66.

Staphylococcus aureus serves as an iron source for Pseudomonas aeruginosa during in vivo coculture.

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Department of Periodontics, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 7310, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative opportunistic human pathogen often infecting the lungs of individuals with the heritable disease cystic fibrosis and the peritoneum of individuals undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Often these infections are not caused by colonization with P. aeruginosa alone but instead by a consortium of pathogenic bacteria. Little is known about growth and persistence of P. aeruginosa in vivo, and less is known about the impact of coinfecting bacteria on P. aeruginosa pathogenesis and physiology. In this study, a rat dialysis membrane peritoneal model was used to evaluate the in vivo transcriptome of P. aeruginosa in monoculture and in coculture with Staphylococcus aureus. Monoculture results indicate that approximately 5% of all P. aeruginosa genes are differentially regulated during growth in vivo compared to in vitro controls. Included in this analysis are genes important for iron acquisition and growth in low-oxygen environments. The presence of S. aureus caused decreased transcription of P. aeruginosa iron-regulated genes during in vivo coculture, indicating that the presence of S. aureus increases usable iron for P. aeruginosa in this environment. We propose a model where P. aeruginosa lyses S. aureus and uses released iron for growth in low-iron environments.

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