Send to

Choose Destination
J Bacteriol. 2007 Mar;189(6):2203-9. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Presence or absence of lipopolysaccharide O antigens affects type III secretion by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Author information

Biology Department, California State University, San Francisco, CA 94142, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the major causative agents of mortality and morbidity in hospitalized patients due to a multiplicity of virulence factors associated with both chronic and acute infections. Acute P. aeruginosa infection is primarily mediated by planktonic bacteria expressing the type III secretion system (TTSS), a surface-attached needle-like complex that injects cytotoxins directly into eukaryotic cells, causing cellular damage. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the principal surface-associated virulence factor of P. aeruginosa. This molecule is known to undergo structural modification (primarily alterations in the A- and B-band O antigen) in response to changes in the mode of life (e.g., from biofilm to planktonic). Given that LPS exhibits structural plasticity, we hypothesized that the presence of LPS lacking O antigen would facilitate eukaryotic intoxication and that a correlation between the LPS O-antigen serotype and TTSS-mediated cytotoxicity would exist. Therefore, strain PAO1 (A+ B+ O-antigen serotype) and isogenic mutants with specific O-antigen defects (A+ B-, A- B+, and A- B-) were examined for TTSS expression and cytotoxicity. A strong association existed in vitro between the absence of the large, structured B-band O antigen and increased cytotoxicity of these strains. In vivo, all three LPS mutant strains demonstrated significantly increased lung injury compared to PAO1. Clinical strains lacking the B-band O antigen also demonstrated increased TTSS secretion. These results suggest the existence of a cooperative association between LPS O-antigen structure and the TTSS in both laboratory and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center