In vitro bacterial–fungal interaction studies in cystic fibrosis (CF) have mainly focused on interactions between bacteria and Candida. Here we investigated the effect of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the growth of Scedosporium/Lomentospora spp. Standard suspensions of P. aeruginosa (16 non-mucoid and nine mucoid isolates) were dropped onto paper disks, placed on lawns of Lomentospora prolificans (formerly Scedosporium prolificans) strain WM 14.140 or Scedosporium aurantiacum strain WM 11.78 on solid agar. The median inhibitory activity (mIz) was calculated for each fungal–bacterial combination. As a group, mIz values for non-mucoid phenotype P. aeruginosa strains were significantly lower than those for mucoid strains (P < 0.001); 14/16 (87.5%) non-mucoid strains had mIz <1.0 against both fungi versus just 3/9 mucoid strains (33.4%) (P = 0.01). One non-mucoid (PA14) and one mucoid (CIDMLS-PA-28) P. aeruginosa strain effecting inhibition were selected for further studies. Inhibition of both L. prolificans and S. aurantiacum by these strains was confirmed using the XTT (2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino)carbonyl]-2H-tetrazolium hydroxide) reduction assay. Following incubation with XTT, inhibition of fungal growth was determined as the ratio of absorbance in liquid culture with Pseudomonas to that in control fungal cultures. An absorbance ratio of <1.0 consistent with bacterial inhibition of fungal growth was observed for all four P. aeruginosa–fungal combinations (P < 0.05). Fluorescence microscopy, subsequent to co-culture of either fungal isolate with P. aeruginosa strain PA14 or CIDMLS-PA-28 revealed poorly formed hyphae, compared with control fungal cultures. P. aeruginosa inhibits growth of L. prolificans and S. aurantiacum in vitro, with non-mucoid strains more commonly having an inhibitory effect. As P. aeruginosa undergoes phenotype transitions from non-mucoid to the mucoid form with progression of CF lung disease, this balance may influence the appearance of Scedosporium fungi in the airways.
- Cystic fibrosis
- Bacteria/fungi interactions