Burkholderia cenocepacia infection often leads to fatal cepacia syndrome in cystic fibrosis patients. However, antibiotic therapy rarely results in complete eradication of the pathogen due to its intrinsic resistance to many clinically available antibiotics. Recent attention has turned to the identification of essential genes as the proteins encoded by these genes may serve as potential targets for development of novel antimicrobials. In this study, we utilized TraDIS (Transposon Directed Insertion-site Sequencing) as a genome-wide screening tool to facilitate the identification of B. cenocepacia genes essential for its growth and viability. A transposon mutant pool consisting of approximately 500,000 mutants was successfully constructed, with more than 400,000 unique transposon insertion sites identified by computational analysis of TraDIS datasets. The saturated library allowed for the identification of 383 genes that were predicted to be essential in B. cenocepacia. We extended the application of TraDIS to identify conditionally essential genes required for in vitro growth and revealed an additional repertoire of 439 genes to be crucial for B. cenocepacia growth under nutrient-depleted conditions. The library of B. cenocepacia mutants can subsequently be subjected to various biologically related conditions to facilitate the discovery of genes involved in niche adaptation as well as pathogenicity and virulence.
Keywords: Burkholderia cenocepacia; TraDIS; essential genes; mutagenesis; transposon.