Growth, motility and resistance to oxidative stress of the melioidosis pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei are enhanced by epinephrine

Narin Intarak, Veerachat Muangsombut, Paiboon Vattanaviboon, Mark P Stevens, Sunee Korbsrisate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, a severe invasive disease endemic in South-East Asia and Northern Australia. Bacterial pathogens of several genera have been reported to be able to sense and respond to the stress-related catecholamine hormone epinephrine. Here, we report that epinephrine induces growth of B. pseudomallei in minimal serum-rich medium and heat-inactivated whole human serum and enhances bacterial motility, transcription of flagellar genes and flagellin synthesis. The effect of epinephrine on motility, but not bacterial growth, could be partially reversed by the alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonist phentolamine. Epinephrine also altered the transcription of iron-regulated genes encoding superoxide dismutase (sodB) and the malleobactin receptor (fmtA). Consistent with induction of sodB expression, epinephrine-treated B. pseudomallei exhibited increased resistance to superoxide. Epinephrine treatment did not stimulate Type III secretion via the virulence-associated Bsa apparatus or the ability of B. pseudomallei to invade epithelial cells in culture. This study provides the first evidence that epinephrine, a hormone released from the host under stress and upon therapy, can affect B. pseudomallei virulence-associated properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
JournalPathogens and disease
Volume72
Issue number1
Early online date12 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • epinephrine
  • iron
  • growth
  • motility
  • oxidative stress

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