Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is an opportunistic pathogen with an exceptional ability to adapt to a range of environments. Part of its adaptive potential is the ability to survive drastic osmolarity changes. Upon a sudden dilution of external medium, such as during exposure to rain, bacteria evade mechanical rupture by engaging tension-activated channels that act as osmolyte release valves. In this study, we compare fast osmotic permeability responses in suspensions of wild-type PA and Escherichia coli (EC) strains in stopped-flow experiments and provide electrophysiological descriptions of osmotic-release channels in PA. Using osmotic dilution experiments, we first show that PA tolerates a broader range of shocks than EC. We record the kinetics of cell equilibration reported by light scattering responses to osmotic up- and down-shocks. PA exhibits a lower water permeability and faster osmolyte release rates during large osmotic dilutions than EC, which correlates with better survival. To directly characterize the PA tension-activated channels, we generate giant spheroplasts from this microorganism and record current responses in excised patches. Unlike EC, which relies primarily on two types of channels, EcMscS and EcMscL, to generate a distinctive two-wave pressure ramp response, PA exhibits a more gradual response that is dominated by MscL-type channels. Genome analysis, cloning, and expression reveal that PA possesses one MscL-type (PaMscL) and two MscS-type (PaMscS-1 and 2) proteins. In EC spheroplasts, both PaMscS channels exhibit a slightly earlier activation by pressure compared with EcMscS. Unitary currents reveal that PaMscS-2 has a smaller conductance, higher anionic preference, stronger inactivation, and slower recovery compared with PaMscS-1. We conclude that PA relies on MscL as the major valve defining a high rate of osmolyte release sufficient to curb osmotic swelling under extreme shocks, but it still requires MscS-type channels with a strong propensity to inactivation to properly terminate massive permeability response.
- Submitted: 21 September 2016
- Revision received 16 January 2017
- Accepted: 20 March 2017
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