Analysis of the role of the QseBC two-component sensory system in epinephrine-induced motility and intracellular replication of Burkholderia pseudomallei

Chatruthai Meethai, Muthita Vanaporn, Narin Intarak, Varintip Lerdsittikul, Patoo Withatanung, Sujintana Janesomboon, Paiboon Vattanaviboon, Sorujsiri Chareonsudjai, Toby Wilkinson, Mark P Stevens, Joanne M Stevens, Sunee Korbsrisate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Burkholderia pseudomallei is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes melioidosis, a severe invasive disease of humans. We previously reported that the stress-related catecholamine hormone epinephrine enhances motility of B. pseudomallei, transcription of flagellar genes and the production of flagellin. It has been reported that the QseBC two-component sensory system regulates motility and virulence-associated genes in other Gram-negative bacteria in response to stress-related catecholamines, albeit disparities between studies exist. We constructed and whole-genome sequenced a mutant of B. pseudomallei with a deletion spanning the predicted qseBC homologues (bpsl0806 and bpsl0807). The ΔqseBC mutant exhibited significantly reduced swimming and swarming motility and reduced transcription of fliC. It also exhibited a defect in biofilm formation and net intracellular survival in J774A.1 murine macrophage-like cells. While epinephrine enhanced bacterial motility and fliC transcription, no further reduction in these phenotypes was observed with the ΔqseBC mutant in the presence of epinephrine. Plasmid-mediated expression of qseBC suppressed bacterial growth, complicating attempts to trans-complement mutant phenotypes. Our data support a role for QseBC in motility, biofilm formation and net intracellular survival of B. pseudomallei, but indicate that it is not essential for epinephrine-induced motility per se.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0282098
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Animals
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei/metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins/genetics
  • Flagellin/metabolism
  • Melioidosis
  • Epinephrine/pharmacology


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