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Interactions between chaperone and energy storage networks during the evolution of Legionella pneumophila under heat shock
  • Jeffrey Liang,
  • Sebastien Faucher
Jeffrey Liang
McGill University Department of Natural Resource Sciences
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Sebastien Faucher
McGill University Department of Natural Resource Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Waterborne transmission of the bacterium L. pneumophila has emerged as a major cause of severe nosocomial infections of major public health impact. The major route of transmission involves the uptake of aerosolized bacteria, often from the contaminated hot water systems of large buildings. Public health regulations aimed at controlling the mesophilic pathogen are generally concerned with acute pasteurization and maintaining high temperatures at the heating systems and throughout the plumbing of hot water systems, but L. pneumophila is often able to survive these treatments due to both bacterium-intrinsic and environmental factors. Previous work has established an experimental evolution system to model the observations of increased heat resistance in repeatedly but unsuccessfully pasteurized L. pneumophila populations. Here, we show rapid fixation of novel alleles in lineages selected for resistance to heat shock and shifts in mutational profile related to increases in the temperature of selection. Gene-level and nucleotide-level parallelisms between independently-evolving lineages show the centrality of the DnaJ/DnaK chaperone system in the heat resistance of L. pneumophila. Inference of epistatic interactions through reverse genetics shows an unexpected interaction between DnaJ/DnaK and the polyhydroxybutyrate-accumulation energy storage mechanism used by the species to survive long-term starvation in low-nutrient environments.