Identification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes required for epithelial cell injury

Mol Microbiol. 1997 Jun;24(6):1249-62. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.1997.4311793.x.


We have developed a simple, reproducible and rapid genetic screen for Pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced epithelial cell cytotoxicity in cultures of MDCK cells. This screen was used to isolate isogenic transposon-tagged non-cytotoxic mutants of a cytotoxic and lung-virulent strain of P. aeruginosa (PA103). The transposon-insertion site was determined by using an inverse polymerase chain reaction followed by DNA-sequence analysis. On the basis of phenotype and sequence analysis, these mutants fell into four classes. One class had absent or defective pill, based on their resistance to phage PO4 and/or loss of twitching motility (twt-). A second class exhibited decreased adherence. A third class of mutants exhibited probable defects in the machinery or targets of type III protein secretion. A final class of mutants exhibited decreased but not absent cytotoxicity. This class included members of the first three classes as well as other mutants. These results suggest that localized cytotoxicity is likely to require several steps and several components, including pili and other (unidentified) extracellular proteins. The type III protein-secretion apparatus appears to be involved in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Dogs
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Transposable Elements