Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are opportunistic pathogens and frequently coinfect the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. P. aeruginosa secretes an arsenal of small respiratory inhibitors, like pyocyanin, hydrogen cyanide, or quinoline N-oxides, that may act against the commensal flora as well as host cells. Here, we show that with respect to their susceptibility to these respiratory inhibitors, staphylococcal species can be divided into two groups: the sensitive group, comprised of pathogenic species such as S. aureus and S. epidermidis, and the resistant group, represented by nonpathogenic species such as S. carnosus, S. piscifermentans, and S. gallinarum. The resistance in the latter group of species was due to cydAB genes that encode a pyocyanin- and cyanide-insensitive cytochrome bd quinol oxidase. By exchanging cydB in S. aureus with the S. carnosus-specific cydB, we could demonstrate that CydB determines resistance. The resistant or sensitive phenotype was based on structural alterations in CydB, which is part of CydAB, the cytochrome bd quinol oxidase. CydB represents a prime example of both microevolution and the asymmetric pattern of evolutionary change.
L. Voggu, Schlag, S., Dr. Raja Biswas, Rosenstein, R., Rausch, C., and Götz, F., “Microevolution of cytochrome bd oxidase in staphylococci and its implication in resistance to respiratory toxins released by Pseudomonas”, Journal of bacteriology, vol. 188, pp. 8079–8086, 2006.