Author(s): Okkotsu Y, Tieku P, Fitzsimmons LF, Churchill ME, Schurr MJ
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Abstract AlgR is a key Pseudomonas aeruginosa transcriptional response regulator required for virulence. AlgR activates alginate production and twitching motility but represses the Rhl quorum-sensing (QS) system, including rhamnolipid production. The role of AlgR phosphorylation is enigmatic, since phosphorylated AlgR (AlgR-P) is required for twitching motility through the fimU promoter but is not required for the activation of alginate production. In order to examine the role of AlgR phosphorylation in vivo, a PAO1 algRD54E strain (with algR encoding a D-to-E change at position 54), which constitutively activates fimU transcription and exhibits twitching motility, was created. A corresponding PAO1 algRD54N strain (with algR encoding a D-to-N change at position 54) that does not activate fimU or twitching motility was compared to PAO1, PAO1 algRD54E, PAO1 ΔalgZ (deletion of the algZ [fimS] gene, encoding a putative histidine kinase), and PAO1 ΔalgR for swarming motility, rhamnolipid production, and rhlA transcription. PAO1 and PAO1 algRD54E produced approximately 2-fold-higher levels of rhamnolipids than PAO1 algRD54N and PAO1 ΔalgZ, thereby indicating that phosphorylated AlgR is required for normal rhamnolipid production. Examination of purified AlgR, AlgR-P, AlgR D54N, and AlgR D54E showed that AlgR-P and AlgR D54E bound preferentially to the fimU and rhlA promoters. Additionally, AlgR-P bound specifically to two sites within the rhlA promoter that were not bound by unphosphorylated AlgR. Taken together, these results indicate that phosphorylated AlgR-P has increased affinity for the rhlA promoter and is required for the coordinate activation of twitching motility, rhamnolipid production, and swarming motility in P. aeruginosa.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology