As a ubiquitous environmental organism that is occasionally part of the human flora, Pseudomonas aeruginosa could pose a health hazard for the immunocompromised astronauts during long-term missions. Therefore, insights into the behaviour of P. aeruginosa under spaceflight conditions were gained using two spaceflight-analogue culture systems: the rotating wall vessel (RWV) and the random position machine (RPM). Microarray analysis of P. aeruginosa PAO1 grown in the low shear modelled microgravity (LSMMG) environment of the RWV, compared with the normal gravity control (NG), revealed an apparent regulatory role for the alternative sigma factor AlgU (RpoE-like). Accordingly, P. aeruginosa cultured in LSMMG exhibited increased alginate production and upregulation of AlgU-controlled transcripts, including those encoding stress-related proteins. The LSMMG increased heat and oxidative stress resistance and caused a decrease in the oxygen transfer rate of the culture. This study also showed the involvement of the RNA-binding protein Hfq in the LSMMG response, consistent with its previously identified role in the Salmonella LSMMG and spaceflight response. The global transcriptional response of P. aeruginosa grown in the RPM was highly similar to that in NG. Fluid mixing was assessed in both systems and is believed to be a pivotal factor contributing to transcriptional differences between RWV-and RPMgrown P. aeruginosa. This study represents the first step towards the identification of virulence mechanisms of P. aeruginosa activated in response to spaceflight-analogue conditions, and could direct future research regarding the risk assessment and prevention of Pseudomonas infections during spaceflight and in immunocompromised patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics