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A PQS-Cleaving Quorum Quenching Enzyme Targets Extracellular Membrane Vesicles of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses quorum sensing to control its virulence. One of its major signal molecules, the Pseudomonas quinolone signal PQS, has high affinity to membranes and is known to be trafficked mainly via outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). We previously reported that several 3-hydroxy-4(1 H )-quinolone 2,4-dioxygenases (HQDs) catalyze the cleavage of PQS and thus act as quorum quenching enzymes. Further analysis showed that, in contrast to other HQDs, the activity of HQD from Streptomyces bingchenggensis (HQD S . b . ) was unexpectedly stabilized by culture supernatants of P. aeruginosa . Interestingly, the stabilizing effect was higher with supernatants from the strain PA14 than with supernatants from the strain PAO1. Heat treatment and lyophilization hardly affected the stabilizing effect; however, fractionation of the supernatant excluded small molecules as stabilizing agents. In a pull-down assay, HQD S . b . appeared to interact with several P. aeruginosa proteins previously found in the OMV proteome. This prompted us to probe the physical interaction of HQD S . b . with prepared extracellular membrane vesicles. Homo-FRET of fluorescently labeled HQD S . b . indeed indicated a spatial clustering of the protein on the vesicles. Binding of a PQS-cleaving enzyme to the OMVs of P. aeruginosa may enhance PQS degradation and is highly reconcilable with its function as a quorum quenching enzyme.

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