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Current Research

RAM Physiology

Colorful, redox active metabolites (RAMs) are made by many different microbes. Their redox activity makes them fun to work with because they typically change color depending on their oxidation state. Historically overlooked as "secondary" metabolites, we have shown that phenazine RAMs play critical roles in helping Pseudomonas aeruginosa survive under anaerobic conditions at lower power outputs, including in the cores of biofilms. Using a variety of approaches, including genetics and high-throughput electrochemistry, we continue to deepen our understanding of RAM-based maintenance metabolism.

Related Recent Publications:

Ciemniecki, John A.;Newman, Dianne K. (2023) NADH dehydrogenases are the predominant phenazine reductases in the electron transport chain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Molecular Microbiology; Vol. 119(5) 560-573

Meirelles, Lucas A. and Newman, Dianne K. (2022) Phenazines and toxoflavin act as interspecies modulators of resilience to diverse antibiotics, Molecular Microbiology, 117 (6). pp. 1384-1404

Meirelles, Lucas A.*.;Perry, Elena M.* et al. (2021) Bacterial defenses against a natural antibiotic promote collateral resilience to clinical antibiotics, PLOS Biology 19(3): e3001093. See commentary here

Saunders, Scott A..;Tse, Edmund T.S et al. (2020) Extracellular DNA promotes efficient extracellular electron transfer by pyocyanin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms, Cell 182. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.07.006. See commentary here

Chronic Infections

Chronic human infections cause major harm, including destroying the lungs of individuals living with cystic fibrosis and resulting in limb amputations due to wound healing failure in diabetics. Because the opportunistic pathogens causing these infections are growing slowly in hypoxic/anoxic environments, they are often physiologically tolerant to conventional antibiotics. We iterate between developing means to characterize the microenvironments in which these pathogens thrive in situ, and using reductionist in vitro approaches to understand how they do so to develop novel therapeutic approaches.

Related Recent Publications:

Wilbert, Steven A. and Newman, Dianne K. (2022) The contrasting roles of nitric oxide drive microbial community organization as a function of oxygen presence, Current Biology, 32 (24) pp. 5221-5234. See commentary here

Perry, Elena M.*;Meirelles, Lucas A.*; Newman, Dianne K. (2022) From the soil to the clinic: the impact of microbial secondary metabolites on antibiotic tolerance and resistance, Nature Reviews Microbiology, 20 (3) pp. 129-142

Dar, Daniel;Dar, Nina et al. (2021) Spatial transcriptomics of planktonic and sessile bacterial populations at single-cell resolution, Science; Vol. 373; Issue 6556, eabi4882. See commentary here

VanDrisse, Chelsey M.;Lipsh-Sokolik Rosalie et al. (2021) Computationally designed pyocyanin demethylase acts synergistically with tobramycin to kill recalcitrant Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; Vol. 118; No. 12. See commentary here and here

Rhizosphere Studies

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring: "There are few studies more fascinating, and at the same time more neglected, than those of the teeming populations that exist in the dark realms of the soil. We know too little of the threads that bind the soil microorganisms to each other and to their world, and to the world above." These words are more resonant today than ever, especially in the context of climate change and the critical role soil plays in carbon cycling and food security. Accordingly, we have begun to study phenazine-based microbial community interactions in diverse rhizospheres.

Related Recent Publications:

McRose, Darcy L.; Li, Jinyang & Newman, Dianne K. (2023) The chemical ecology of coumarins and phenazines affects iron acquisition by pseudomonads, PNAS; 120 (14) e2217951120. See commentary here

Dahlstrom, Kurt M & Newman, Dianne K. (2021) Soil bacteria protect fungi from phenazines by acting as toxin sponges, Current Biology. See commentary here

McRose, Darcy L. & Newman, Dianne K. (2021) Redox-active antibiotics enhance phosphorous bioavailability, Science; Vol. 371, 1033-1037. See commentary here

Dar, Daniel.;Thomashow, L.S. et al. (2020) Global landscape of phenazine biosynthesis and biodegradation reveals species-specific colonization patterns in agricultural soils and crop microbiomes, eLife. See commentary here