Trauma patients (TPs) are highly susceptible to infections, which often lead to sepsis. Among the numerous causative agents, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is especially important, as P. aeruginosa sepsis is often fatal. Understanding the mechanism of its pathogenesis in bloodstream infections is imperative; however, this mechanism has not been previously described. To examine the effect of trauma-induced changes in blood on the expression of P. aeruginosa genes, we grew strain UCBPP-PA14 (PA14) in blood samples from eight TPs and seven healthy volunteers (HVs). Compared with its growth in blood from HVs, the growth of PA14 in blood from TPs significantly altered the expression of 285 genes. Genes whose expression was significantly increased were related to carbon metabolism, especially malonate utilization and mannitol uptake, and efflux of heavy metals. Genes whose expression was significantly reduced included genes of the type VI secretion system, genes related to uptake and metabolism of amino acids, and genes related to biosynthesis and transport of the siderophores pyoverdine and pyochelin. These results suggest that during systemic infection in trauma patients, and to adapt to the trauma-induced changes in blood, P. aeruginosa adjusts positively and negatively the expression of numerous genes related to carbon metabolism and virulence, respectively. IMPORTANCE While a considerable body of knowledge regarding sepsis in trauma patients is available, the potential influence of trauma-induced changes in the blood of these patients on the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is basically an unexplored area. Rather than using standard laboratory media, we grew P. aeruginosa in whole blood from either healthy volunteers or trauma patients. The specific changes in the P. aeruginosa transcriptome in response to growth in blood from trauma patients reflect the adaptation of this organism to the bloodstream environment. This knowledge is vital for understanding the strategies this pathogen uses to adapt and survive within the host during systemic infection. Such information will help researchers and clinicians to develop new approaches for treatment of sepsis caused by P. aeruginosa in trauma patients, especially in terms of recognizing the effects of specific therapies (e.g., iron, zinc, or mannitol) on the organism. Further, this information can most likely be extrapolated to all patients with P. aeruginosa septicemia.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa