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Pyocyanin degradation by a tautomerizing demethylase inhibits Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

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Science  08 Dec 2016:
aag3180
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag3180

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Abstract

The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces colorful redox-active metabolites called phenazines, which underpin biofilm development, virulence and clinical outcomes. Though phenazines exist in many forms, the best studied is pyocyanin. Here, we describe pyocyanin demethylase (PodA), a hitherto uncharacterized protein that oxidizes the pyocyanin methyl group to formaldehyde and reduces the pyrazine ring via an unusual tautomerizing demethylation reaction. Treatment with PodA disrupts P. aeruginosa biofilm formation similarly to DNase, suggesting interference with the pyocyanin-dependent release of extracellular DNA into the matrix. PodA-dependent pyocyanin demethylation also restricts established biofilm aggregate populations experiencing anoxic conditions. Together, these results show that modulating extracellular redox-active metabolites can influence the fitness of a biofilm-forming microorganism.

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