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Toxins (Basel). 2016 Apr 19;8(4):113. doi: 10.3390/toxins8040113.

Identification and Characterization of the HicAB Toxin-Antitoxin System in the Opportunistic Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. liganglg1990@163.com.
2
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. shenmengyu890905@163.com.
3
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. shulang88@126.com.
4
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. leshuai2004@tmmu.edu.cn.
5
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. tanyinling2011@163.com.
6
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. wangjing2008@aliyun.com.
7
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. zhaoxia413@163.com.
8
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. shenwei356@gmail.com.
9
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. doublekeguo@163.com.
10
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. yangyuhui199090@126.com.
11
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. zhulaobiao1991@163.com.
12
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. raoxiancai@126.com.
13
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. hufuquan2009@aliyun.com.
14
Department of Microbiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. liming@tmmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are small genetic modules that are widely distributed in the genomes of bacteria and archaea and have been proposed to fulfill numerous functions. Here, we describe the identification and characterization of a type II TA system, comprising the hicAB locus in the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The hicAB locus consists of genes hicA and hicB encoding a toxin and its cognate antitoxin, respectively. BLAST analysis revealed that hicAB is prevalent in approximately 36% of P. aeruginosa strains and locates in the same genomic region. RT-PCR demonstrated that hicAB forms a bicistronic operon that is cotranscribed under normal growth conditions. Overproduction of HicA inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli, and this effect could be counteracted by co-expression of HicB. The Escherichia coli kill/rescue assay showed that the effect of HicA is bacteriostatic, rather than bactericidal. Deletion of hicAB had no effect on the biofilm formation and virulence of P. aeruginosa in a mice infection model. Collectively, this study presents the first characterization of the HicAB system in the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa.

KEYWORDS:

HicAB; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; biofilm formation; toxin-antitoxin system; virulence

PMID:
27104566
PMCID:
PMC4848639
DOI:
10.3390/toxins8040113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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