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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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The OmpR Regulator of Burkholderia multivorans Controls Properties Associated with Persistence in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung

The OmpR Regulator of Burkholderia multivorans Controls Properties Associated with Persistence in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung | iBB | Scoop.it

Within the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung, bacteria experience high-osmolarity conditions due to an ion unbalance resulting from defects in CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein activity in epithelial cells. Understanding how bacterial CF pathogens thrive in this environment might help the development of new therapeutic interventions to prevent chronic respiratory infections. In a recent publication in Journal of Bacteriology, researchers from BSRG-iBB led by Leonilde M. Moreira, in collaboration with Dr. Vaughn Cooper from University of Pittsburgh, USA, and Dr. Jörg Becker from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, provide evidence that mutations in OmpR experience positive selection during the adaptation of Burkholderia to chronic infections of the CF airway, and these selective forces can be recapitulated in the laboratory. Characterization of OmpR shows that it is a major regulator of many traits related to cell envelope composition and central metabolism, in which loss-of-function mutants enable greater tolerance and growth under stress conditions but are costly for fitness under other conditions.

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Evolution of Burkholderia multivorans During Chronic Lung Infections

Evolution of Burkholderia multivorans During Chronic Lung Infections | iBB | Scoop.it

B. multivorans is the most commonly isolated Burkholderia species from chronic infections of the airways of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients worldwide, yet our understanding of the traits required for bacterial colonization and persistence, as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptation, are limited. In a recently published paper in mSystems, Inês N. Silva and Leonilde M. Moreira from BSRG-iBB, in collaboration with researchers from Canada, US and Portugal, put together their expertise to study how the bacteria adapts in CF patients. The genomic and functional evolution of B. multivorans was analyzed by studying sputum samples collected from a CF patient over a 20-year period. The evolutionary history of these isolates highlighted bacterial genes and pathways that were likely subject to strong selection within the host and were associated with altered phenotypes, such as biofilm production, and antimicrobial resistance. Notably, multiple lineages coexisted for years or even decades within the infection, and the period of diversification within the dominant lineage was associated with deterioration of the patient’s lung function. The work sheds new light onto Burkholderia evolution and suggests that monitoring evolutionary and molecular patterns could be used to design responsive therapies that limit population diversity and disease progression. Click on the title to learn more and access paper at

 http://msystems.asm.org/content/1/3/e00029-16.

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