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Microbiology. 2010 Jul;156(Pt 7):2058-67. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.036848-0. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Role of bacteriocins in mediating interactions of bacterial isolates taken from cystic fibrosis patients.

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Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) and Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) lung infections are responsible for much of the mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF). However, little is known about the ecological interactions between these two, often co-infecting, species. This study provides what is believed to be the first report of the intra- and interspecies bacteriocin-like inhibition potential of Pa and Bcc strains recovered from CF patients. A total of 66 strains were screened, and shown to possess bacteriocin-like inhibitory activity (97 % of Pa strains and 68 % of Bcc strains showed inhibitory activity), much of which acted across species boundaries. Further phenotypic and molecular-based assays revealed that the source of this inhibition differs for the two species. In Pa, much of the inhibitory activity is due to the well-known S and RF pyocins. In contrast, Bcc inhibition is due to unknown mechanisms, although RF-like toxins were implicated in some strains. These data suggest that bacteriocin-based inhibition may play a role in governing Pa and Bcc interactions in the CF lung and may, therefore, offer a novel approach to mediating these often fatal infections.

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