Purpose: In the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is exposed to a myriad of antibiotics leading to alterations in antibiotic susceptibility. This study identifies mutations resulting in hypersusceptibility in isogenic mutants of a P. aeruginosa clinical isolate, PA34. Methods: PA34 was exposed to subinhibitory concentrations of doripenem or meropenem during growth to mid-log phase. Antibiotic susceptibility of surviving colonies was determined by agar dilution. Two carbapenem-resistant colonies hypersusceptible to non-carbapenem antibiotics were selected for further analysis. Antibiotic resistance gene expression was evaluated by RT-rtPCR and OprD production by SDS-PAGE. PA34 and isogenic mutants were evaluated with whole genome sequencing. Sequence variants were confirmed by Sanger sequencing, and cognate genes in eight carbapenem-resistant clinical isolates hypersusceptible to non-carbapenem antibiotics were sequenced. Lipopolysaccharide preparations of PA34 and hypersusceptible mutants were evaluated with ProQ-Emerald stain. Results: Isogenic mutants showed 4- to 8-fold MIC increase for imipenem, meropenem, and doripenem. However, they were hypersusceptible (≥4-fold MIC decrease) to aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and non-carbapenem β-lactams. Expression of ampC or mex-opr efflux pumps was unchanged, but OprD production was decreased. Mutations causing Q86H AlgU and G77C LptG amino acid substitutions and nonsense mutations within OprD were observed in both mutants. Lipopolysaccharide modifications were observed between isogenic mutants and PA34. Non-synonymous mutations in LptF or LptG were observed in 6/8 hypersusceptible clinical isolates resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. Conclusion: Evaluation of hypersusceptible mutants identified the association between lptG and a hypersusceptible phenotype. Modifications in lipopolysaccharide profiles suggests LptG modification interferes with lipopolysaccharide transport and contributes to hypersusceptibility.
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