Exploration of bacterial bottlenecks and Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis by CRISPRi-seq

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
X. LiuJan-Willem Veening


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a commensal bacterium of the human nasopharynx, but can cause harmful infections if it spreads to other parts of the body, such as pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis. To facilitate pathogenesis studies, we constructed a doxycycline-inducible pooled CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) library targeting all operons in protypical S. pneumoniae strain D39V. Our library design allows fitness within the pool to be assessed by a one-step PCR reaction directly followed by Illumina sequencing (CRISPRi-seq). The doxycycline-inducible CRISPRi system is tightly controllable and suitable for both bottleneck exploration and evaluation of gene fitness in vitro and in vivo. Here, we applied CRISPRi-seq to identify genetic factors important for causing pneumococcal pneumonia. Mice were infected intratracheally with our CRISPRi library and bacteria collected at 24 h (from lung) and 48 h (from both lung and blood) post-infection. CRISPRi-seq showed a critical bottleneck at 48 h after intratracheal infection, with only a few bacteria surviving the brunt of the innate immune response to cause systemic infection. However, earlier at 24 h post-infection, many significant differences in gene fitness cost between in vitro and in vivo...Continue Reading

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