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Respiratory infections with Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) bacteria in cystic fibrosis (CF) are associated with a worse prognosis and increased risk of death. In this work, we assessed the virulence potential of three B. cenocepacia clonal isolates obtained from a CF patient between the onset of infection (isolate IST439) and before death with cepacia syndrome 3.5 years later (isolate IST4113 followed by IST4134), based on their ability to invade epithelial cells and compromise epithelial monolayer integrity. The two clonal isolates retrieved during late-stage disease were significantly more virulent than IST439. Proteomic profiling by 2-D DIGE of the last isolate recovered before the patient's death, IST4134, and clonal isolate IST439, was performed and compared with a prior analysis of IST4113 vs. IST439. The cytoplasmic and membrane-associated enriched fractions were examined and 52 proteins were found to be similarly altered in the two last isolates compared with IST439. These proteins are involved in metabolic functions, nucleotide synthesis, translation and protein folding, cell envelope biogenesis and iron homeostasis. Results are suggestive of the important role played by metabolic reprogramming in the virulence potential and persistence of B. cenocepacia, in particular regarding bacterial adaptation to microaerophilic conditions. Also, the content of the virulence determinant AidA was higher in the last 2 isolates. Significant levels of siderophores were found to be secreted by the three clonal isolates in an iron-depleted environment, but the two late isolates were more tolerant to low iron concentrations than IST439, consistent with the relative abundance of proteins involved in iron uptake.
McClean, S., Callaghan, M. Tyrrell, J. and Sa Correia, I. Proteomic Profiling of Burkholderia cenocepacia Clonal Isolates with Different Virulence Potential Retrieved from a Cystic Fibrosis Patient during Chronic Lung Infection. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 13;8(12):e83065.