Expression of virulence and antimicrobial related proteins in Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei

Armand Paauw*, Holger C. Scholz, Roos H. Mars-Groenendijk, Lennard J.M. Dekker, Theo M. Luider, Hans C. van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei are both potential biological threat agents. Melioidosis caused by B. pseudomallei is endemic in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, while glanders caused by B. mallei infections are rare. Here we studied the proteomes of different B. mallei and B. pseudomallei isolates to determine species specific characteristics. METHODS: The expressed proteins of 5 B. mallei and 6 B. pseudomallei strains were characterized using liquid chromatography high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS/MS). Subsequently, expression of potential resistance and virulence related characteristics were analyzed and compared. RESULTS: Proteome analysis can be used for the identification of B. mallei and B. pseudomallei. Both species were identified based on >60 discriminative peptides. Expression of proteins potentially involved in antimicrobial resistance, AmrAB-OprA, BpeAB-OprB, BpeEF-OprC, PenA as well as several other efflux pump related proteins and putative β-lactamases was demonstrated. Despite, the fact that efflux pump BpeAB-OprB was expressed in all isolates, no clear correlation with an antimicrobial phenotype and the efflux-pump could be established. Also consistent with the phenotypes, no amino acid mutations in PenA known to result in β-lactam resistance could be identified. In all studied isolates, the expression of virulence (related) factors Capsule-1 and T2SS was demonstrated. The expression of T6SS-1 was demonstrated in all 6 B. pseudomallei isolates and in 2 of the 5 B. mallei isolates. In all, except one B. pseudomallei isolate, poly-beta-1,6 N-acetyl-D-glucosamine export porin (Pga), important for biofilm formation, was detected, which were absent in the proteomes of B. mallei. Siderophores, iron binding proteins, malleobactin and malleilactone are possibly expressed in both species under standard laboratory growth conditions. Expression of multiple proteins from both the malleobactin and malleilactone polyketide synthase (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) clusters was demonstrated in both species. All B. pseudomallei expressed at least seven of the nine proteins of the bactobolin synthase cluster (bactobolin, is a ribosome targeting antibiotic), while only in one B. mallei isolate expression of two proteins of this synthase cluster was identified. CONCLUSIONS: Analyzing the expressed proteomes revealed differences between B. mallei and B. pseudomallei but also between isolates from the same species. Proteome analysis can be used not only to identify B. mallei and B. pseudomallei but also to characterize the presence of important factors that putatively contribute to the pathogenesis of B. mallei and B. pseudomallei.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0011006
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was financially supported by
the Dutch Ministry of Defence, grant number
V1802. The funders had no role in study design,
data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or
preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2023 Paauw et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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