Optogenetic Modification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Enables Controllable Twitching Motility and Host Infection.
Abstract: Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is an important secondary messenger that controls carbon metabolism, type IVa pili biogenesis, and virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Precise manipulation of bacterial intracellular cAMP levels may enable tunable control of twitching motility or virulence, and optogenetic tools are attractive because they afford excellent spatiotemporal resolution and are easy to operate. Here, we developed an engineered P. aeruginosa strain (termed pactm) with light-dependent intracellular cAMP levels through introducing a photoactivated adenylate cyclase gene (bPAC) into bacteria. On blue light illumination, pactm displayed a 15-fold increase in the expression of the cAMP responsive promoter and an 8-fold increase in its twitching activity. The skin lesion area of nude mouse in a subcutaneous infection model after 2-day pactm inoculation was increased 14-fold by blue light, making pactm suitable for applications in controllable bacterial host infection. In addition, we achieved directional twitching motility of pactm colonies through localized light illumination, which will facilitate the studies of contact-dependent interactions between microbial species.