[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium that is ubiquitous in the environment, and it is an opportunistic pathogen that can infect a
variety of hosts, including humans. During the process of infection, P. aeruginosa coordinates the expression of numerous virulence factors through the production of multiple cell-to-cell signaling molecules.
The production of these signaling molecules is linked through a regulatory network, with the signal N-(3-oxododecanoyl) homoserine lactone and its receptor LasR controlling the induction of a second acyl-homoserine lactone
signal and the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS). LasR-mediated control of PQS occurs partly by activating the transcription of pqsR, a gene that encodes the PQS receptor and is necessary for PQS production. We show that LasR interacts with a single binding
site in the pqsR promoter region and that it does not influence the transcription of the divergently transcribed gene, nadA. Using DNA affinity chromatography, we identified additional proteins that interact with the pqsR-nadA intergenic region. These include the H-NS family members MvaT and MvaU, and CysB, a transcriptional regulator that controls
sulfur uptake and cysteine biosynthesis. We show that CysB interacts with the pqsR promoter and that CysB represses pqsR transcription and PQS production. Additionally, we provide evidence that CysB can interfere with the activation of pqsR transcription by LasR. However, as seen with other CysB-regulated genes, pqsR expression was not differentially regulated in response to cysteine levels. These findings demonstrate a novel role for CysB
in influencing cell-to-cell signal production by P. aeruginosa.
IMPORTANCE The production of PQS and other 4-hydroxy-2-alkylquinolone (HAQs) compounds is a key component of the P. aeruginosa cell-to-cell signaling network, impacts multiple physiological functions, and is required for virulence. PqsR directly regulates
the genes necessary for HAQ production, but little is known about the regulation of pqsR. We identified CysB as a novel regulator of pqsR and PQS production, but, unlike other CysB-controlled genes, it does not appear to regulate pqsR in response to cysteine. This implies that CysB functions as both a cysteine-responsive and cysteine-unresponsive regulator
in P. aeruginosa.
Journal of bacteriology 04/2015; 197(12). DOI:10.1128/JB.00246-15 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa can sense and respond to a myriad of environmental signals and utilizes a system of small molecules to communicate through intercellular signaling. The small molecule 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone (Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal [PQS]) is one of these signals and its synthesis is important for virulence. Previously, we identified an RpiR-type transcriptional regulator, QapR, that positively affects PQS production by repressing the qapR operon. An in-frame deletion of this regulator caused P. aeruginosa to produce a greatly reduced concentration of PQS. Here, we report that QapR translation is linked to the downstream gene PA5507. We found that introduction of a premature stop codon within qapR eliminates transcriptional autorepression of the qapR operon as expected but has no effect on PQS concentration. This was investigated with a series of lacZ reporter fusions which showed that translation of QapR must terminate at, or close to, the native qapR stop codon in order for translation of PA5507 to occur. Also, it was shown that truncation of the 5' end of the qapR transcript permitted PA5507 translation without translation of QapR. Our findings led us to conclude that PA5507 transcription and translation are both tightly controlled by QapR and this control is important for PQS homeostasis.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common nosocomial pathogen that relies on three cell-to-cell signals to regulate multiple virulence factors. The Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS; 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone) is one of these signals, and it is known to be important for P. aeruginosa pathogenesis. PQS is synthesized in a multistep reaction that condenses anthranilate and a fatty acid. In P. aeruginosa, anthranilate is produced via the kynurenine pathway and two separate anthranilate synthases, TrpEG and PhnAB, the latter
of which is important for PQS synthesis. Others have previously shown that a P. aeruginosa tryptophan auxotroph could grow on tryptophan-depleted medium with a frequency of 10−5 to 10−6. These revertants produced more pyocyanin and had increased levels of phnA transcript. In this study, we constructed similar tryptophan auxotroph revertants and found that the reversion resulted from
a synonymous G-to-A nucleotide mutation within pqsC. This change resulted in increased pyocyanin and decreased PQS, along with an increase in the level of the pqsD, pqsE, and phnAB transcripts. Reporter fusion and reverse transcriptase PCR studies indicated that a novel transcript containing pqsD, pqsE, and phnAB occurs in these revertants, and quantitative real-time PCR experiments suggested that the same transcript appears in the
wild-type strain under nutrient-limiting conditions. These results imply that the PQS biosynthetic operon can produce an internal
transcript that increases anthranilate production and greatly elevates the expression of the PQS signal response protein PqsE.
This suggests a novel mechanism to ensure the production of both anthranilate and PQS-controlled virulence factors.
Journal of bacteriology 04/2014; 196(13). DOI:10.1128/JB.01635-14 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zinc is essential for all bacteria, but excess amounts of the metal can have toxic effects. To address this, bacteria have developed tightly regulated zinc uptake systems, such as the ZnuABC zinc transporter which is regulated by the Fur-like zinc uptake regulator (Zur). In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Zur protein has yet to be identified experimentally, however, sequence alignment revealed that the zinc-responsive transcriptional regulator Np20, encoded by np20 (PA5499), shares high sequence identity with Zur found in other bacteria. In this study, we set out to determine whether Np20 was functioning as Zur in P. aeruginosa. Using RT-PCR, we determined that np20 (hereafter known as zur) formed a polycistronic operon with znuC and znuB. Mutant strains, lacking the putative znuA, znuB, or znuC genes were found to grow poorly in zinc deplete conditions as compared to wild-type strain PAO1. Intracellular zinc concentrations in strain PAO-Zur (Δzur) were found to be higher than those for strain PAO1, further implicating the zur as the zinc uptake regulator. Reporter gene fusions and real time RT-PCR revealed that transcription of znuA was repressed in a zinc-dependent manner in strain PAO1, however zinc-dependent transcriptional repression was alleviated in strain PAO-Zur, suggesting that the P. aeruginosa Zur homolog (ZurPA) directly regulates expression of znuA. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays also revealed that recombinant ZurPA specifically binds to the promoter region of znuA and does not bind in the presence of the zinc chelator N,N',N-tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl) ethylenediamine (TPEN). Taken together, these data support the notion that Np20 is the P. aeruginosa Zur, which regulates the transcription of the genes encoding the high affinity ZnuABC zinc transport system.
PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(9):e75389. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075389 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen that can cause disease in varied sites within the human body and is a significant
source of morbidity and mortality in those afflicted with cystic fibrosis. P. aeruginosa is able to coordinate group behaviors, such as virulence factor production, through the process of cell-to-cell signaling.
There are three intercellular signaling systems employed by P. aeruginosa, and one of these systems utilizes the small molecule 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone (Pseudomonas quinolone signal [PQS]). PQS is required for virulence in multiple infection models and has been found in the lungs of cystic
fibrosis patients colonized by P. aeruginosa. In this study, we have identified an RpiR family transcriptional regulator, QapR, which is an autoregulatory repressor.
We found that mutation of qapR caused overexpression of the qapR operon. We characterized the qapR operon to show that it contains genes qapR, PA5507, PA5508, and PA5509 and that QapR directly controls the transcription of these genes in a negative manner. We also
show that derepression of this operon greatly reduces PQS concentration in P. aeruginosa. Our results suggest that qapR affects PQS concentration by repressing an enzymatic pathway that acts on PQS or a PQS precursor to lower the PQS concentration.
We believe that this operon comprises a novel mechanism to regulate PQS concentration in P. aeruginosa.
Journal of bacteriology 05/2013; 195(15). DOI:10.1128/JB.00448-13 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa can utilize a variety of carbon sources and produces many secondary metabolites to help survive harsh environments. P. aeruginosa is part of a small group of bacteria that use the kynurenine pathway to catabolize tryptophan. Through the kynurenine pathway,
tryptophan is broken down into anthranilate, which is further degraded into tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates or utilized
to make numerous aromatic compounds, including the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS). We have previously shown that the kynurenine pathway is a critical source of anthranilate for PQS
synthesis and that the kynurenine pathway genes (kynA and kynBU) are upregulated in the presence of kynurenine. A putative Lrp/AsnC-type transcriptional regulator (gene PA2082, here called
kynR), is divergently transcribed from the kynBU operon and is highly conserved in Gram-negative bacteria that harbor the kynurenine pathway. We show that a mutation in kynR renders P. aeruginosa unable to utilize l-tryptophan as a sole carbon source and decreases PQS production. In addition, we found that the increase of kynA and kynB transcriptional activity in response to kynurenine was completely abolished in a kynR mutant, further indicating that KynR mediates the kynurenine-dependent expression of the kynurenine pathway genes. Finally,
we found that purified KynR specifically bound the kynA promoter in the presence of kynurenine and bound the kynB promoter in the absence or presence of kynurenine. Taken together, our data show that KynR directly regulates the kynurenine
Journal of bacteriology 09/2011; 193(23):6567-75. DOI:10.1128/JB.05803-11 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS), 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone, is an intercellular alkyl quinolone signaling molecule produced by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Alkyl quinolone signaling is an atypical system that, in P. aeruginosa, controls the expression of numerous virulence factors. PQS is synthesized from the tryptophan pathway intermediate, anthranilate, which is derived either from the kynurenine pathway or from an alkyl quinolone specific anthranilate synthase encoded by phnAB. Anthranilate is converted to PQS by the enzymes encoded by the pqsABCDE operon and pqsH. PqsA forms an activated anthraniloyl-CoA thioester that shuttles anthranilate to the PqsD active site where it is transferred to Cys112 of PqsD. In the only biochemically characterized reaction, a condensation then occurs between anthraniloyl-PqsD and malonyl-CoA or malonyl-ACP, a second PqsD substrate, forming 2,4-dihydroxyquinoline (DHQ). The role PqsD plays in the biosynthesis of other alkyl quinolones, such as PQS, is unclear, though it has been reported to be required for their production. No evidence exists that DHQ is a PQS precursor, however. Here we present a structural and biophysical characterization of PqsD that includes several crystal structures of the enzyme, including that of the PqsD-anthranilate covalent intermediate and the inactive Cys112Ala active site mutant in complex with anthranilate. The structure reveals that PqsD is structurally similar to the FabH and chalcone synthase families of fatty acid and polyketide synthases. The crystallographic asymmetric unit contains a PqsD dimer. The PqsD monomer is composed of two nearly identical approximately 170-residue alphabetaalphabetaalpha domains. The structures show anthranilate-liganded Cys112 is positioned deep in the protein interior at the bottom of an approximately 15 A long channel while a second anthraniloyl-CoA molecule is waiting in the cleft leading to the protein surface. Cys112, His257, and Asn287 form the FabH-like catalytic triad of PqsD. The C112A mutant is inactive, although it still reversibly binds anthraniloyl-CoA. The covalent complex between anthranilate and Cys112 clearly illuminates the orientation of key elements of the PqsD catalytic machinery and represents a snapshot of a key point in the catalytic cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many bacteria utilize acyl-homoserine lactones as cell to cell signals that can regulate the expression of numerous genes. Structural differences in acyl-homoserine lactones produced by different bacteria, such as acyl side chain length and the presence or absence of an oxy group, make many of the commonly used detection bioassays impractical for broad range detection. Here we present a simple, broad range acyl-homoserine lactone detection bioassay that can be used to detect a wide range of these chemical signals. A plasmid (pEAL01) was constructed and transformed into Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain QSC105 to allow for detection of a broad range of acyl-homoserine lactones through induction of a lasB'-lacZ transcriptional fusion. Monitoring beta-galactosidase activity from this bioassay showed that P. aeruginosa strain QSC105 (pEAL01) could detect the presence of eight acyl-homoserine lactones tested at physiological concentrations. This novel strain could also detect acyl-homoserine lactones from the extracts of four different bacteria that produce different acyl-homoserine lactones signals. These data indicate that strain QSC105 (pEAL01) can be used to detect a wide variety of acyl-homoserine lactones by a simple beta-galactosidase assay and this bioassay could be a useful and inexpensive tool to quickly identify the presence of these signal molecules.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes both acute and chronic infections in immunocompromised individuals. This gram-negative
bacterium produces a battery of virulence factors that allow it to infect and survive in many different hostile environments.
The control of many of these virulence factors falls under the influence of one of three P. aeruginosa cell-to-cell signaling systems. The focus of this study, the quinolone signaling system, functions through the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS), previously identified as 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone. This signal binds to and activates the LysR-type
transcriptional regulator PqsR (also known as MvfR), which in turn induces the expression of the pqsABCDE operon. The first four genes of this operon are required for PQS synthesis, but the fifth gene, pqsE, is not. The function of the pqsE gene is not known, but it is required for the production of multiple PQS-controlled virulence factors and for virulence in
multiple models of infection. In this report, we show that PqsE can activate PQS-controlled genes in the absence of PqsR and
PQS. Our data also suggest that the regulatory activity of PqsE requires RhlR and indicate that a pqsE mutant can be complemented for pyocyanin production by a large excess of exogenous N-butyryl homoserine lactone (C4-HSL). Finally, we show that PqsE enhances the ability of Escherichia coli expressing RhlR to respond to C4-HSL. Overall, our data lead us to conclude that PqsE functions as a regulator that is independent of PqsR and PQS but dependent
on the rhl quorum-sensing system.
Journal of bacteriology 10/2008; 190(21):7043-51. DOI:10.1128/JB.00753-08 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) as an intercellular signaling mechanism to regulate gene expression in local populations. Plant and algal hosts, in turn, secrete compounds that mimic bacterial QS signals, allowing these hosts to manipulate QS-regulated gene expression in bacteria. Lumichrome, a derivative of the vitamin riboflavin, was purified and chemically identified from culture filtrates of the alga Chlamydomonas as a QS signal-mimic compound capable of stimulating the Pseudomonas aeruginosa LasR QS receptor. LasR normally recognizes the N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) signal, N-3-oxo-dodecanoyl homoserine lactone. Authentic lumichrome and riboflavin stimulated the LasR receptor in bioassays and lumichrome activated LasR in gel shift experiments. Amino acid substitutions in LasR residues required for AHL binding altered responses to both AHLs and lumichrome or riboflavin. These results and docking studies indicate that the AHL binding pocket of LasR recognizes both AHLs and the structurally dissimilar lumichrome or riboflavin. Bacteria, plants, and algae commonly secrete riboflavin or lumichrome, raising the possibility that these compounds could serve as either QS signals or as interkingdom signal mimics capable of manipulating QS in bacteria with a LasR-like receptor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In iron-replete environments, the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Fur (ferric uptake regulator) protein represses expression of two small regulatory RNAs encoded by prrF1 and prrF2. Here we describe the effects of iron and PrrF regulation on P. aeruginosa physiology. We show that PrrF represses genes encoding enzymes for the degradation of anthranilate (i.e. antABC), a precursor of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS). Under iron-limiting conditions, PQS production was greatly decreased in a ΔprrF1,2 mutant as compared with wild type. The addition of anthranilate to the growth medium restored PQS production to the ΔprrF1,2 mutant, indicating that its defect in PQS production is a consequence of anthranilate degradation. PA2511 was shown to encode
an anthranilate-dependent activator of the ant genes and was subsequently renamed antR. AntR was not required for regulation of antA by PrrF but was required for optimal iron activation of antA. Furthermore, iron was capable of activating both antA and antR in a ΔprrF1,2 mutant, indicating the presence of two distinct yet overlapping pathways for iron activation of antA (AntR-dependent and PrrF-dependent). Additionally, several quorum-sensing regulators, including PqsR, influenced antA expression, demonstrating that regulation of anthranilate metabolism is intimately woven into the quorum-sensing network
of P. aeruginosa. Overall, our data illustrate the extensive control that both iron regulation and quorum sensing exercise in basic cellular
physiology, underlining how intermediary metabolism can affect the regulation of virulence factors in P. aeruginosa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen which relies on several intercellular signaling systems for optimum population density-dependent
regulation of virulence genes. The Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) is a 3-hydroxy-4-quinolone with a 2-alkyl substitution which is synthesized by the condensation of
anthranilic acid with a 3-keto-fatty acid. The pqsABCDE operon has been identified as being necessary for PQS production, and the pqsA gene encodes a predicted protein with homology to acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) ligases. In order to elucidate the first step
of the 4-quinolone synthesis pathway in P. aeruginosa, we have characterized the function of the pqsA gene product. Extracts prepared from Escherichia coli expressing PqsA were shown to catalyze the formation of anthraniloyl-CoA from anthranilate, ATP, and CoA. The PqsA protein
was purified as a recombinant His-tagged polypeptide, and this protein was shown to have anthranilate-CoA ligase activity.
The enzyme was active on a variety of aromatic substrates, including benzoate and chloro and fluoro derivatives of anthranilate.
Inhibition of PQS formation in vivo was observed for the chloro- and fluoroanthranilate derivatives, as well as for several
analogs which were not PqsA enzymatic substrates. These results indicate that the PqsA protein is responsible for priming
anthranilate for entry into the PQS biosynthetic pathway and that this enzyme may serve as a useful in vitro indicator for
potential agents to disrupt quinolone signaling in P. aeruginosa.
Journal of bacteriology 03/2008; 190(4):1247-55. DOI:10.1128/JB.01140-07 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesol is a sesquiterpene produced by many organisms, including the fungus Candida albicans. Here, we report that the addition of farnesol to cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic human bacterial pathogen, leads to decreased production of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and the PQS-controlled virulence factor, pyocyanin. Within 15 min of farnesol addition, decreased transcript levels of pqsA, the first gene in the PQS biosynthetic operon, were observed. Transcript levels of pqsR (mvfR), which encodes the transcription factor that positively regulates pqsA, were unaffected. An Escherichia coli strain producing PqsR and containing the pqsA promoter fused to lacZ similarly showed that farnesol inhibited PQS-stimulated transcription. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that, like PQS, farnesol stimulated PqsR binding to the pqsA promoter at a previously characterized LysR binding site, suggesting that farnesol promoted a non-productive interaction between PqsR and the pqsA promoter. Growth with C. albicans leads to decreased production of PQS and pyocyanin by P. aeruginosa, suggesting that the amount of farnesol produced by the fungus is sufficient to impact P. aeruginosa PQS signalling. Related isoprenoid compounds, but not other long-chain alcohols, also inhibited PQS production at micromolar concen-trations, suggesting that related compounds may participate in interspecies interactions with P. aeruginosa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes serious infections in immunocompromised patients and those with cystic fibrosis (CF). This gram-negative bacterium uses multiple cell-to-cell signals to control numerous cellular functions and virulence. One of these signals is 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone, which is referred to as the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS). This signal functions as a coinducer for a transcriptional regulator (PqsR) to positively control multiple virulence genes and its own synthesis. PQS production is required for virulence in multiple models of infection, and it has been shown to be produced in the lungs of CF patients infected by P. aeruginosa. One of the precursor compounds from which PQS is synthesized is the metabolite anthranilate. This compound can be derived from the conversion of chorismate to anthranilate by an anthranilate synthase or through the degradation of tryptophan via the anthranilate branch of the kynurenine pathway. In this study, we present data which help to define the kynurenine pathway in P. aeruginosa and show that the kynurenine pathway serves as a critical source of anthranilate for PQS synthesis. We also show that the kyn pathway genes are induced during growth with tryptophan and that they are autoregulated by kynurenine. This study provides solid foundations for the understanding of how P. aeruginosa produces the anthranilate that serves as a precursor to PQS and other 4-quinolones.
Journal of Bacteriology 06/2007; 189(9):3425-33. DOI:10.1128/JB.00209-07 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The production of several virulence factors by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is regulated through the hierarchical cell-density dependent quorum sensing (QS) systems las and rhl. A third component of the QS hierarchy, the Pseudomonas quinolone signal PQS, also controls the expression of several genes. We previously described P. aeruginosa PtxR as a transcriptional activator of the exotoxin A gene toxA. Here, we provide evidence that PtxR regulates the production of other virulence factors. Mutation of ptxR in PAO1 increased pyocyanin production. This increase was reduced in the presence of a ptxR plasmid. Throughout the growth cycle, PtxR reduced the expression of the pyocyanin operon phzA1-G1 but not phzA2-G2. As pyocyanin production is stringently controlled by QS, we examined the effect of PtxR on QS-related genes in PAO1. PtxR also reduced the expression of the PQS synthesis operon pqsABCDE. ptxR mutation increased the expression of the rhamnolipid synthesis gene rhlA but decreased lasB expression. The expression of the RhlI synthase gene rhlI and the production of the C(4)-HSL autoinducer were increased in the ptxR mutant, while the expression of the LasI synthase gene lasI and the production of 3OC(12)-HSL were reduced. These results suggest that PtxR negatively regulates the expression of the rhamnolipid and pyocyanin genes through rhlI and the pqsABCDE operon while it positively regulates the expression of lasB through lasI.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients and is a major source of nosocomial infections. This bacterium controls many virulence factors by using two quorum-sensing systems, las and rhl. The las system is composed of the LasR regulator protein and its cell-to-cell signal, N-(3-oxododecanoyl) homoserine lactone, and the rhl system is composed of RhlR and the signal N-butyryl homoserine lactone. A third intercellular signal, the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS; 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone), also regulates numerous virulence factors. PQS synthesis requires the expression of multiple operons, one of which is pqsABCDE. Previous experiments showed that the transcription of this operon, and therefore PQS production, is negatively regulated by the rhl quorum-sensing system and positively regulated by the las quorum-sensing system and PqsR (also known as MvfR), a LysR-type transcriptional regulator protein. With the use of DNA mobility shift assays and beta-galactosidase reporter fusions, we have studied the regulation of pqsR and its relationship to pqsA, lasR, and rhlR. We show that PqsR binds the promoter of pqsA and that this binding increases dramatically in the presence of PQS, implying that PQS acts as a coinducer for PqsR. We have also mapped the transcriptional start site for pqsR and found that the transcription of pqsR is positively regulated by lasR and negatively regulated by rhlR. These results suggest that a regulatory chain occurs where pqsR is under the control of LasR and RhlR and where PqsR in turn controls pqsABCDE, which is required for the production of PQS.
Journal of Bacteriology 08/2005; 187(13):4372-80. DOI:10.1128/JB.187.13.4372-4380.2005 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative bacterium that causes serious infections in immunocompromised individuals and cystic fibrosis patients. This opportunistic pathogen controls many of its virulence factors and cellular functions through the activity of three cell-to-cell signals, N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone, N-butyryl-L-homoserine lactone, and the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS). The activity of these signals is dependent upon their ability to dissolve in and freely diffuse through the aqueous solution in which P. aeruginosa happens to reside. Despite this, our data indicated that PQS was relatively insoluble in aqueous solutions, which led us to postulate that P. aeruginosa could be producing a PQS-solubilizing factor. In this report, we show that the P. aeruginosa-produced biosurfactant rhamnolipid greatly enhances the solubility of PQS in aqueous solutions. The enhanced solubility of PQS led to an increase in PQS bioactivity, as measured by both a gene induction assay and an apoptosis assay. This is the first demonstration of the importance of a bacterial surfactant in the solubilization and bioactivity of a cell-to-cell signal.
Infection and Immunity 03/2005; 73(2):878-82. DOI:10.1128/IAI.73.2.878-882.2005 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The stringent response is a mechanism by which bacteria adapt to nutritional deficiencies through the production of the guanine
nucleotides ppGpp and pppGpp, produced by the RelA enzyme. We investigated the role of the relA gene in the ability of an extracellular pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to cause infection. Strains lacking the relA gene were created from the prototypical laboratory strain PAO1 as well as the mucoid cystic fibrosis isolate 6106, which
lacks functional quorum-sensing systems. The absence of relA abolished the production of ppGpp and pppGpp under conditions of amino acid starvation. We found that strains lacking relA exhibited reduced virulence in a D. melanogaster feeding assay. In conditions of low magnesium, the relA gene enhanced production of the cell-cell signal N-[3-oxododecanoyl]-l-homoserine lactone, whereas relA reduced the production of the 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone signal during serine hydroxamate induction of the stringent
response. In the relA mutant, alterations in the Pseudomonas quinolone system pathways seemed to increase the production of pyocyanin and decrease the production of elastase. Deletion
of relA also resulted in reduced levels of the RpoS sigma factor. These results suggest that adjustment of cellular ppGpp and pppGpp
levels could be an important regulatory mechanism in P. aeruginosa adaptation in pathogenic relationships.
Infection and Immunity 11/2004; 72(10):5638-45. DOI:10.1128/IAI.72.10.5638-5645.2004 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa regulates the production of numerous virulence factors via the action of two separate but coordinated quorum sensing systems, las and rhl. These systems control the transcription of genes in response to population density through the intercellular signals N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C(12)-HSL) and N-(butanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (C(4)-HSL). A third P. aeruginosa signal, 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone [Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS)], also plays a significant role in the transcription of multiple P. aeruginosa virulence genes. PQS is intertwined in the P. aeruginosa quorum sensing hierarchy with its production and bioactivity requiring the las and rhl quorum sensing systems, respectively. This report presents a preliminary transcriptional analysis of pqsA, the first gene of the recently discovered PQS biosynthetic gene cluster. We show that pqsA transcription required pqsR, a transcriptional activator protein encoded within the PQS biosynthetic gene cluster. It was also found that the transcription of pqsA and subsequent production of PQS was induced by the las quorum sensing system and repressed by the rhl quorum sensing system. In addition, PQS production was dependent on the ratio of 3-oxo-C(12)-HSL to C(4)-HSL, suggesting a regulatory balance between quorum sensing systems. These data are an important early step toward understanding the regulation of PQS synthesis and the role of PQS in P. aeruginosa intercellular signaling.