Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Oct 22;11:734296. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.734296. eCollection 2021.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus infections frequently co-localize in lungs of immunocompromised patients and individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). The antifungal activity of P. aeruginosa has been described for its filtrates. Pyoverdine and pyocyanin are the principal antifungal P. aeruginosa molecules active against A. fumigatus biofilm metabolism present in iron-limited or iron-replete planktonic P. aeruginosa culture filtrates, respectively. Using various P. aeruginosa laboratory wild-type strains (PA14, PAO1, PAK), we found antifungal activity against Aspergillus colonies on agar. Comparing 36 PA14 and 7 PAO1 mutants, we found that mutants lacking both major siderophores, pyoverdine and pyochelin, display higher antifungal activity on agar than their wild types, while quorum sensing mutants lost antifungal activity. Addition of ferric iron, but not calcium or magnesium, reduced the antifungal effects of P. aeruginosa on agar, whereas iron-poor agar enhanced antifungal effects. Antifungal activity on agar was mediated by PQS and HHQ, via MvfR. Among the MvfR downstream factors, rhamnolipids and elastase were produced in larger quantities by pyoverdine-pyochelin double mutants and showed antifungal activity on agar. In summary, antifungal factors produced by P. aeruginosa on agar differ from those produced by bacteria grown in liquid cultures, are dependent on quorum sensing, and are downregulated by the availability of ferric iron. Rhamnolipids and elastase seem to be major mediators of Pseudomonas‘ antifungal activity on a solid surface.