Insertion sequence (IS) elements are found throughout bacterial genomes and contribute to genome variation by interrupting genes or altering gene expression. Few of the more than thirty IS elements described in Acinetobacter baumannii have been characterized for transposition activity or expression effects. A targeted sequencing method, IS-seq, was developed to efficiently map the locations of new insertion events in A. baumannii genomes and was used to identify novel IS sites following growth in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Serial subculture in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of hydrogen peroxide led to rapid selection of cells carrying an ISAba1 element upstream of the catalase/peroxidase gene katG Several additional sites for the elements ISAba1, ISAba13, ISAba25, ISAba26, and ISAba125 were found at low abundance after serial subculture, indicating that each element is active and contributes to genetic variation that may be subject to selection. Following hydrogen peroxide exposure, rapid changes in gene expression were observed in genes related to iron homeostasis. The IS insertions adjacent to katG resulted in more than 20-fold overexpression of the gene and increased hydrogen peroxide tolerance.Importance Insertion sequences (IS) are contribute to genomic and phenotypic variation in many bacterial species, but little is known about how transposition rates vary among elements or how selective pressure influences this process. A new method, termed "IS-seq" for identifying new insertion locations that arise under experimental growth conditions in the genome was developed and tested with cells grown in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Gene expression changes in response to hydrogen peroxide exposure are similar to those observed in other species and include genes that control free iron concentrations. New IS insertions adjacent to a gene encoding a catalase enzyme confirm that IS elements can rapidly contribute to adaptive variation in the presence of selection. Copyright © 2017 Wright et al.
Journal: Journal of bacteriology