Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major aetiological agent of chronic pulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. However, recent evidence suggests that the polymicrobial community of the CF lung may also harbour oral streptococci, and colonization by these micro-organisms may have a negative impact on P. aeruginosa within the CF lung. Our previous studies demonstrated that nitrite abundance plays an important role in P. aeruginosa survival during co-infection with oral streptococci. Nitrite reductase is a key enzyme involved in nitrite metabolism. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the role nitrite reductase (gene nirS) plays in P. aeruginosa survival during co-infection with an oral streptococcus, Streptococcus parasanguinis. Inactivation of nirS in both the chronic CF isolate FRD1 and acute wound isolate PAO1 reduced the survival rate of P. aeruginosa when co-cultured with S. parasanguinis. Growth of both mutants was restored when co-cultured with S. parasanguinis that was defective for H2O2 production. Furthermore, the nitrite reductase mutant was unable to kill Drosophila melanogaster during co-infection with S. parasanguinis. Taken together, these results suggest that nitrite reductase plays an important role for survival of P. aeruginosa during co-infection with S. parasanguinis.
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