Image_7_Characterization of the Achromobacter xylosoxidans Type VI Secretion System and Its Implication in Cystic Fibrosis.tiff
Bacteria of the genus Achromobacter are environmental germs, with an unknown reservoir. It can become opportunistic pathogens in immunocompromised patients, causing bacteremia, meningitis, pneumonia, or peritonitis. In recent years, Achromobacter xylosoxidans has emerged with increasing incidence in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Recent studies showed that A. xylosoxidans is involved in the degradation of the respiratory function of patients with CF. The respiratory ecosystem of patients with CF is colonized by bacterial species that constantly fight for space and access to nutrients. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) empowers this constant bacterial antagonism, and it is used as a virulence factor in several pathogenic bacteria. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of the T6SS genes in A. xylosoxidans isolated in patients with CF. We also evaluated clinical and molecular characteristics of T6SS-positive A. xylosoxidans strains. We showed that A. xylosoxidans possesses a T6SS gene cluster and that some environmental and clinical isolates assemble a functional T6SS nanomachine. A. xylosoxidans T6SS is used to target competing bacteria, including other CF-specific pathogens. Finally, we demonstrated the importance of the T6SS in the internalization of A. xylosoxidans in lung epithelial cells and that the T6SS protein Hcp is detected in the sputum of patients with CF. Altogether, these results suggest for the first time a role of T6SS in CF-lung colonization by A. xylosoxidans and opens promising perspective to target this virulence determinant as innovative theranostic options for CF management.