Resuscitation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from dormancy requires hibernation promoting factor (PA4463) for ribosome preservation


Tatsuya Akiyama, Kerry S. Williamson, Robert Schaefer, Shawna Pratt, Connie B. Chang, Michael J. Franklin


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections are difficult to treat with antibiotic therapy in part because the biofilms contain subpopulations of dormant antibiotic-tolerant cells. The dormant cells can repopulate the biofilms following alleviation of antibiotic treatments. While dormant, the bacteria must maintain cellular integrity, including ribosome abundance, to reinitiate the de novo protein synthesis required for resuscitation. Here, we demonstrate that the P. aeruginosa gene PA4463 [hibernation promoting factor (HPF)], but not the ribosome modulation factor (PA3049), is required for ribosomal RNA preservation during prolonged nutrient starvation conditions. Single-cell–level studies using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and growth in microfluidic drops demonstrate that, in the absence of hpf, the rRNA abundances of starved cells decrease to levels that cause them to lose their ability to resuscitate from starvation, leaving intact nondividing cells. P. aeruginosa defective in the stringent response also had reduced ability to resuscitate from dormancy. However, FISH analysis of the starved stringent response mutant showed a bimodal response where the individual cells contained either abundant or low ribosome content, compared with the wild-type strain. The results indicate that ribosome maintenance is key for maintaining the ability of P. aeruginosa to resuscitate from starvation-induced dormancy and that HPF is the major factor associated with P. aeruginosa ribosome preservation.



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