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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(2)2021 Jan 08.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33430070


The nosocomial opportunistic Gram-negative bacterial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii is resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents and an emerging global health problem. The polymyxin antibiotic colistin, targeting the negatively charged lipid A component of the lipopolysaccharide on the bacterial cell surface, is often considered as the last-resort treatment, but resistance to colistin is unfortunately increasing worldwide. Notably, colistin-susceptible A. baumannii can also develop a colistin dependence after exposure to this drug in vitro. Colistin dependence might represent a stepping stone to resistance also in vivo. However, the mechanisms are far from clear. To address this issue, we combined proteogenomics, high-resolution microscopy, and lipid profiling to characterize and compare A. baumannii colistin-susceptible clinical isolate (Ab-S) of to its colistin-dependent subpopulation (Ab-D) obtained after subsequent passages in moderate colistin concentrations. Incidentally, in the colistin-dependent subpopulation the lpxA gene was disrupted by insertion of ISAjo2, the lipid A biosynthesis terminated, and Ab-D cells displayed a lipooligosaccharide (LOS)-deficient phenotype. Moreover, both mlaD and pldA genes were perturbed by insertions of ISAjo2 and ISAba13, and LOS-deficient bacteria displayed a capsule with decreased thickness as well as other surface imperfections. The major changes in relative protein abundance levels were detected in type 6 secretion system (T6SS) components, the resistance-nodulation-division (RND)-type efflux pumps, and in proteins involved in maintenance of outer membrane asymmetry. These findings suggest that colistin dependence in A. baumannii involves an ensemble of mechanisms seen in resistance development and accompanied by complex cellular events related to insertional sequences (ISs)-triggered LOS-deficiency. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the involvement of ISAjo2 and ISAba13 IS elements in the modulation of the lipid A biosynthesis and associated development of dependence on colistin.