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Open AccessArticle

Untargeted LC-MS Metabolomics Differentiates Between Virulent and Avirulent Clinical Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

1
Department of Chemical Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
2
Institute of Molecular Bacteriology, Twincore, Centre for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, 30625 Hannover, Germany
3
Department of Molecular Bacteriology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
4
German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hannover-Braunschweig, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomolecules 2020, 10(7), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10071041
Received: 27 May 2020 / Revised: 27 June 2020 / Accepted: 7 July 2020 / Published: 13 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics and Integrated Multi-Omics in Health and Disease)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a facultative pathogen that can cause, inter alia, acute or chronic pneumonia in predisposed individuals. The gram-negative bacterium displays considerable genomic and phenotypic diversity that is also shaped by small molecule secondary metabolites. The discrimination of virulence phenotypes is highly relevant to the diagnosis and prognosis of P. aeruginosa infections. In order to discover small molecule metabolites that distinguish different virulence phenotypes of P. aeruginosa, 35 clinical strains were cultivated under standard conditions, characterized in terms of virulence and biofilm phenotype, and their metabolomes were investigated by untargeted liquid chromatography—mass spectrometry. The data was both mined for individual candidate markers as well as used to construct statistical models to infer the virulence phenotype from metabolomics data. We found that clinical strains that differed in their virulence and biofilm phenotype also had pronounced divergence in their metabolomes, as underlined by 332 features that were significantly differentially abundant with fold changes greater than 1.5 in both directions. Important virulence-associated secondary metabolites like rhamnolipids, alkyl quinolones or phenazines were found to be strongly upregulated in virulent strains. In contrast, we observed little change in primary metabolism. A hitherto novel cationic metabolite with a sum formula of C12H15N2 could be identified as a candidate biomarker. A random forest model was able to classify strains according to their virulence and biofilm phenotype with an area under the Receiver Operation Characteristics curve of 0.84. These findings demonstrate that untargeted metabolomics is a valuable tool to characterize P. aeruginosa virulence, and to explore interrelations between clinically important phenotypic traits and the bacterial metabolome. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; virulence; untargeted metabolomics; LC-MS; random forest classification; biomarker; phenotyping Pseudomonas aeruginosa; virulence; untargeted metabolomics; LC-MS; random forest classification; biomarker; phenotyping
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MDPI and ACS Style

Depke, T.; Thöming, J.G.; Kordes, A.; Häussler, S.; Brönstrup, M. Untargeted LC-MS Metabolomics Differentiates Between Virulent and Avirulent Clinical Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 1041. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10071041

AMA Style

Depke T, Thöming JG, Kordes A, Häussler S, Brönstrup M. Untargeted LC-MS Metabolomics Differentiates Between Virulent and Avirulent Clinical Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Biomolecules. 2020; 10(7):1041. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10071041

Chicago/Turabian Style

Depke, Tobias; Thöming, Janne G.; Kordes, Adrian; Häussler, Susanne; Brönstrup, Mark. 2020. "Untargeted LC-MS Metabolomics Differentiates Between Virulent and Avirulent Clinical Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa" Biomolecules 10, no. 7: 1041. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10071041

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