Cell individuality: the bistable gene expression of the type III secretion system in Dickeya dadantii 3937.
ABSTRACT Dickeya dadantii 3937 is a gram-negative phytopathogenic bacterium that expresses genes encoding a type III secretion system (T3SS) in a bistable pattern when cultured in a homogeneous minimal media. In this work, we further characterized the bistable gene expression of T3SS at the single-cell level. We demonstrated that bistable expression of the HrpL-regulon genes, such as hrpA and hrpN, is controlled by the same regulatory mechanism. We also showed that the expression level of the T3SS master regulatory gene hrpL plays an important role in the development of the bistable expression of hrpA. A high expression level of hrpL is required but unable to guarantee the high-state expression of hrpA in a cell. In addition, bistable expression patterns of T3SS genes in other gram-negative pathogens of the Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonadaceae families were also described in this study. This suggests that the T3SS bistability might be a conserved population behavior in several gram-negative bacterial pathogens.
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ABSTRACT: Many cellular decision processes, including proliferation, differentiation, and phenotypic switching, are controlled by bistable signaling networks. In response to transient or intermediate input signals, these networks allocate a population fraction to each of two distinct states (e.g. OFF and ON). While extensive studies have been carried out to analyze various bistable networks, they are primarily focused on responses of bistable networks to sustained input signals. In this work, we investigate the response characteristics of bistable networks to transient signals, using both theoretical analysis and numerical simulation. We find that bistable systems exhibit a common property: for input signals with short durations, the fraction of switching cells increases linearly with the signal duration, allowing the population to integrate transient signals to tune its response. We propose that this allocation algorithm can be an optimal response strategy for certain cellular decisions in which excessive switching results in lower population fitness.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105408. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105408 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae B728a grows and survives on leaf surfaces and in the leaf apoplast of its host, bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). To understand the contribution of distinct regulators to B728a fitness and pathogenicity, we performed a transcriptome analysis of strain B728a and nine regulatory mutants recovered from the surfaces and interior of leaves and exposed to environmental stresses in culture. The quorum-sensing regulators AhlR and AefR influenced few genes in planta or in vitro. In contrast, GacS and a downstream regulator, SalA, formed a large regulatory network that included a branch that regulated diverse traits and was independent of plant-specific environmental signals and a plant signal-dependent branch that positively regulated secondary metabolite genes and negatively regulated the type III secretion system. SalA functioned as a central regulator of iron status based on its reciprocal regulation of pyoverdine and achromobactin genes and also sulfur uptake, suggesting a role in the iron-sulfur balance. RetS functioned almost exclusively to repress secondary metabolite genes when the cells were not on leaves. Among the sigma factors examined, AlgU influenced many more genes than RpoS, and most AlgU-regulated genes depended on RpoN. RpoN differentially impacted many AlgU- and GacS-activated genes in cells recovered from apoplastic versus epiphytic sites, suggesting differences in environmental signals or bacterial stress status in these two habitats. Collectively, our findings illustrate a central role for GacS, SalA, RpoN, and AlgU in global regulation in B728a in planta and a high level of plasticity in these regulators' responses to distinct environmental signals.mBio 08/2014; 5(5). DOI:10.1128/mBio.01683-14 · 6.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The bacterial soft rot pathogen Dickeya dadantii utilizes the type III secretion system (T3SS) to suppress host defense responses, and secretes pectate lyase (Pel) to disintegrate the plant cell wall. A transposon mutagenesis fluorescence-activated cell sorting screen was used to identify mutants with altered promoter activities of the T3SS pilus gene hrpA. Several insertion mutations, resulting in changes in hrpA expression, were mapped to a new locus, opgGH, which encodes the gene cluster responsible for osmoregulated periplasmic glucan (OPG) synthesis proteins. Our data showed that OPG was involved in T3SS and Pel regulation by altering the expression of the regulatory small RNA RsmB. Through genome searching, the mechanism of two novel regulatory components, the RcsCD-RcsB phosphorelay and CsrD on OPG and the rsmB gene, was further investigated. The Rcs phosphorelay and OPG inversely regulated rsmB at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, respectively. CsrD exhibited dual functionality in T3SS and Pel regulation by manipulating levels of RsmB RNA and cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP). CsrD positively regulated the promoter activity of the rsmB gene but negatively controlled RsmB RNA at the post-transcriptional level via OpgGH. In addition, CsrD contains both GGDEF and EAL domains but acted as a c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase. When the expression of the csrD gene was induced, CsrD regulated T3SS expression and Pel production through controlling intracellular c-di-GMP levels.Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 10/2014; 27(10):1119-1131. DOI:10.1094/MPMI-01-14-0026-R · 4.46 Impact Factor