Applied and Environmental Microbiology vol:74 issue:14 pages:4434-4439
Ivy is a lysozyme inhibitor that protects Escherichia coli against lysozyme-mediated cell wall hydrolysis when the outer membrane is permeabilized by mutation or by chemical or physical stress. In the current work, we have investigated whether Ivy is necessary for the survival or growth of E. coli MG1655 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 in hen egg white and in human saliva and breast milk, which are naturally rich in lysozyme and in membrane-permeabilizing components. Wild-type E. coli was able to grow in saliva and breast milk but showed partial inactivation in egg white. The knockout of Ivy did not affect growth in breast milk but slightly increased sensitivity to egg white and caused hypersensitivity to saliva, resulting in the complete inactivation of 10(4) CFU ml(-1) of bacteria within less than 5 hours. The depletion of lysozyme from saliva completely restored the ability of the ivy mutant to grow like the parental strain. P. aeruginosa, in contrast, showed growth in all three substrates, which was not affected by the knockout of Ivy production. These results indicate that lysozyme inhibitors like Ivy promote bacterial survival or growth in particular lysozyme-rich secretions and suggest that they may promote the bacterial colonization of specific niches in the animal host.