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Tracking Polymicrobial Metabolism in Cystic Fibrosis Airways: Pseudomonas aeruginosa Metabolism and Physiology Are Influenced by Rothia mucilaginosa-Derived Metabolites.


Due to a lack of effective immune clearance, the airways of cystic fibrosis patients are colonized by polymicrobial communities. One of the most widespread and destructive opportunistic pathogens is Pseudomonas aeruginosa; however, P. aeruginosa does not colonize the airways alone. Microbes that are common in the oral cavity, such as Rothia mucilaginosa, are also present in cystic fibrosis patient sputum and have metabolic capacities different from those of P. aeruginosa Here we examine the metabolic interactions of P. aeruginosa and R. mucilaginosa using stable-isotope-assisted metabolomics. Glucose-derived 13C was incorporated into glycolysis metabolites, namely, lactate and acetate, and some amino acids in R. mucilaginosa grown aerobically and anaerobically. The amino acid glutamate was unlabeled in the R. mucilaginosa supernatant but incorporated the 13C label after P. aeruginosa was cross-fed the R. mucilaginosa supernatant in minimal medium and artificial-sputum medium. We provide evidence that P. aeruginosa utilizes R. mucilaginosa-produced metabolites as precursors for generation of primary metabolites, including glutamate.IMPORTANCEPseudomonas aeruginosa is a dominant and persistent cystic fibrosis pathogen. Although P. aeruginosa is accompanied by other microbes in the airways of cystic fibrosis patients, few cystic fibrosis studies show how P. aeruginosa is affected by the metabolism of other bacteria. Here, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa generates primary metabolites using substrates produced by another microbe that is prevalent in the airways of cystic fibrosis patients, Rothia mucilaginosa These results indicate that P. aeruginosa may get a metabolic boost from its microbial neighbor, which might contribute to its pathogenesis in the airways of cystic fibrosis patients.

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