Pubmed ID: 35924857
Publication Date: 2022/08/04
Exploiting Violet-Blue Light to Kill : Analysis of Global Responses, Modeling of Transcription Factor Activities, and Identification of Protein Targets.
Campylobacter jejuni is a microaerophilic foodborne zoonotic pathogen of worldwide concern as the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. Many strains are increasingly antibiotic resistant and new methods of control are required to reduce food-chain contamination. One possibility is photodynamic inactivation (PDI) using violet-blue (VB) light, to which C. jejuni is highly susceptible. Here, we show that flavin and protoporphyrin IX are major endogenous photosensitizers and that exposure of cells to VB light increases intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) to high levels, as indicated by a dichlorodihydrofluorescein reporter. Unusually for an oxygen-respiring bacterium, C. jejuni employs several ROS-sensitive iron-sulfur cluster enzymes in central metabolic pathways; we show that VB light causes rapid inactivation of both pyruvate and 2-oxoglutarate oxidoreductases, thus interrupting the citric acid cycle. Cells exposed to VB light also lose heme from -type cytochromes, restricting electron transport, likely due to irreversible oxidation of heme-ligating cysteine residues. Evaluation of global gene expression changes by RNAseq and probabilistic modeling showed a two-stage protein damage/oxidative stress response to VB light, driven by specific regulators, including HspR, PerR, Fur, and RacR. Deletion mutant analysis showed that superoxide dismutase and the cytochrome CccA were particularly important for VB light survival and that abolishing repression of chaperones and oxidative stress resistance genes by HcrA, HspR, or PerR increased tolerance to VB light. Our results explain the high innate sensitivity of C. jejuni to VB light and provide new insights that may be helpful in exploiting PDI for novel food-chain interventions to control this pathogen. Campylobacteriosis caused by C. jejuni is one of the most widespread zoonotic enteric diseases worldwide and represents an enormous human health and economic burden, compounded by the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains. New interventions are urgently needed to reduce food-chain contamination. Although UV light is well known to be bactericidal, it is highly mutagenic and problematic for continuous exposure in food production facilities; in contrast, narrow spectrum violet-blue (VB) light is much safer. We confirmed that C. jejuni is highly susceptible to VB light and then identified some of the global regulatory networks involved in responding to photo-oxidative damage. The identification of damaged cellular components underpins efforts to develop commercial applications of VB light-based technologies.
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