Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2013 Nov 8;8(11):e81132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081132. eCollection 2013.

Subinhibitory concentration of kanamycin induces the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type VI secretion system.

Author information

MRC-Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CBMI), Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium found in natural environments including plants, soils and warm moist surfaces. This organism is also in the top ten of nosocomial pathogens, and prevalent in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infections. The ability of P. aeruginosa to colonize a wide variety of environments in a lasting manner is associated with the formation of a resistant biofilm and the capacity to efficiently outcompete other microorganisms. Here we demonstrate that sub-inhibitory concentration of kanamycin not only induces biofilm formation but also induces expression of the type VI secretion genes in the H1-T6SS cluster. The H1-T6SS is known for its role in toxin production and bacterial competition. We show that the antibiotic induction of the H1-T6SS only occurs when a functional Gac/Rsm pathway is present. These observations may contribute to understand how P. aeruginosa responds to antibiotic producing competitors. It also suggests that improper antibiotic therapy may enhance P. aeruginosa colonization, including in the airways of CF patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center