Modulation of Type III Secretion System in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Involvement of the PA4857 Gene Product.
ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes serious acute or chronic infections in humans. Acute infections typically involve the type III secretion systems (T3SSs) and bacterial motility, whereas chronic infections are often associated with biofilm formation and the type VI secretion system. To identify new genes required for pathogenesis, a transposon mutagenesis library was constructed and the gene PA4857, named tspR, was found to modulate T3SS gene expression. Deletion of P. aeruginosa tspR reduced the virulence in a mouse acute lung infection model and diminished cytotoxicity. Suppression of T3SS gene expression in the tspR mutant resulted from compromised translation of the T3SS master regulator ExsA. TspR negatively regulated two small RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ, which control RsmA. Our data demonstrated that defects in T3SS expression and biofilm formation in retS mutant could be partially restored by overexpression of tspR. Taken together, our results demonstrated that the newly identified retS-tspR pathway is coordinated with the retS-gacS system, which regulates the genes associated with acute and chronic infections and controls the lifestyle choice of P. aeruginosa.
Project description:Bacterial pathogenesis often depends on regulatory networks, two-component systems and small RNAs (sRNAs). In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the RetS sensor pathway downregulates expression of two sRNAs, rsmY and rsmZ. Consequently, biofilm and the Type Six Secretion System (T6SS) are repressed, whereas the Type III Secretion System (T3SS) is activated. We show that the HptB signalling pathway controls biofilm and T3SS, and fine-tunes P. aeruginosa pathogenesis. We demonstrate that RetS and HptB intersect at the GacA response regulator, which directly controls sRNAs production. Importantly, RetS controls both sRNAs, whereas HptB exclusively regulates rsmY expression. We reveal that HptB signalling is a complex regulatory cascade. This cascade involves a response regulator, with an output domain belonging to the phosphatase 2C family, and likely an anti-anti-sigma factor. This reveals that the initial input in the Gac system comes from several signalling pathways, and the final output is adjusted by a differential control on rsmY and rsmZ. This is exemplified by the RetS-dependent but HptB-independent control on T6SS. We also demonstrate a redundant action of the two sRNAs on T3SS gene expression, while the impact on pel gene expression is additive. These features underpin a novel mechanism in the fine-tuned regulation of gene expression.
Project description:Biofilm formation is a conserved strategy for long-term bacterial survival in nature and during infections. Biofilms are multicellular aggregates of cells enmeshed in an extracellular matrix. The RetS, GacS and LadS sensors control the switch from a planktonic to a biofilm mode of growth in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here we detail our approach to identify environmental triggers of biofilm formation by investigating environmental conditions that repress expression of the biofilm repressor RetS. Mg(2+) limitation repressed the expression of retS leading to increased aggregation, exopolysaccharide (EPS) production and biofilm formation. Repression of retS expression under Mg(2+) limitation corresponded with induced expression of the GacA-controlled small regulatory RNAs rsmZ and rsmY and the EPS biosynthesis operons pel and psl. We recently demonstrated that extracellular DNA sequesters Mg(2+) cations and activates the cation-sensing PhoPQ two-component system, which leads to increased antimicrobial peptide resistance in biofilms. Here we show that exogenous DNA and EDTA, through their ability to chelate Mg(2+), promoted biofilm formation. The repression of retS in low Mg(2+) was directly controlled by PhoPQ. PhoP also directly controlled expression of rsmZ but not rsmY suggesting that PhoPQ controls the equilibrium of the small regulatory RNAs and thus fine-tunes the expression of genes in the RetS pathway. In summary, Mg(2+) limitation is a biologically relevant environmental condition and the first bonafide environmental signal identified that results in transcriptional repression of retS and promotes P. aeruginosa biofilm formation.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen with distinct acute and chronic virulence phenotypes. Whereas acute virulence is typically associated with expression of a type III secretion system (T3SS), chronic virulence is characterized by biofilm formation. Many of the phenotypes associated with acute and chronic virulence are inversely regulated by RsmA and RsmF. RsmA and RsmF are both members of the CsrA family of RNA-binding proteins and regulate protein synthesis at the posttranscriptional level. RsmA activity is controlled by two small noncoding regulatory RNAs (RsmY and RsmZ). Bioinformatic analyses suggest that RsmY and RsmZ each have 3 or 4 putative RsmA binding sites. Each predicted binding site contains a GGA sequence presented in the loop portion of a stem-loop structure. RsmY and RsmZ regulate RsmA, and possibly RsmF, by sequestering these proteins from target mRNAs. In this study, we used selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension and mutational profiling (SHAPE-MaP) chemistry to determine the secondary structures of RsmY and RsmZ and functional assays to characterize the contribution of each GGA site to RsmY/RsmZ activity. Our data indicate that RsmA has two preferential binding sites on RsmY and RsmZ, while RsmF has one preferential binding site on RsmY and two sites on RsmZ. Despite RsmF and RsmA sharing a common consensus site, RsmF binding properties are more restrictive than those of RsmA.IMPORTANCE CsrA homologs are present in many bacteria. The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses RsmA and RsmF to inversely regulate factors associated with acute and chronic virulence phenotypes. RsmA has an affinity for RsmY and RsmZ higher than that of RsmF. The goal of this study was to understand the differential binding properties of RsmA and RsmF by using the RsmY and RsmZ regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) as a model. Mutagenesis of the predicted RsmA/RsmF binding sites on RsmY and RsmZ revealed similarities in the sites required to control RsmA and RsmF activity in vivo Whereas binding by RsmA was relatively tolerant of binding site mutations, RsmF was sensitive to disruption to all but two of the sites, further demonstrating that the requirements for RsmF binding activity in vivo and in vitro are more stringent than those for RsmA.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen capable of causing both acute and chronic infections in a wide range of hosts. Expression of the type III secretion system (T3SS) proteins is correlated with virulence in models of acute infection, while downregulation of the T3SS and upregulation of genes important for biofilm formation are observed during chronic infections. RetS, a hybrid sensor kinase-response regulator protein of P. aeruginosa, plays a key role in the reciprocal regulation of virulence factors required for acute versus chronic infection and is postulated to act in concert with two other sensor kinase-response regulator hybrids, GacS and LadS. This work examines the roles of the putative sensing and signal transduction domains of RetS in induction of the T3SS in vitro and in a murine model of acute pneumonia. We identify distinct signaling roles for the tandem receiver domains of RetS and present evidence suggesting that RetS may serve as a substrate for another sensor kinase. Phenotypes associated with RetS alleles lacking periplasmic and/or transmembrane domains further indicate that the periplasmic domain of RetS may transmit a signal that inhibits RetS activity during acute infections.
Project description:During initial colonization and chronic infection, pathogenic bacteria encounter distinct host environments. Adjusting gene expression accordingly is essential for the pathogenesis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has evolved complicated regulatory networks to regulate different sets of virulence factors to facilitate colonization and persistence. The type III secretion system (T3SS) and motility are associated with acute infections, while biofilm formation and the type VI secretion system (T6SS) are associated with chronic persistence. To identify novel regulatory genes required for pathogenesis, we screened a P. aeruginosa transposon (Tn) insertion library and found suhB to be an essential gene for the T3SS gene expression. The expression of suhB was upregulated in a mouse acute lung infection model, and loss of suhB resulted in avirulence. Suppression of T3SS gene expression in the suhB mutant is linked to a defective translation of the T3SS master regulator, ExsA. Further studies demonstrated that suhB mutation led to the upregulation of GacA and its downstream small RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ, triggering T6SS expression and biofilm formation while inhibiting the T3SS. Our results demonstrate that an in vivo-inducible gene, suhB, reciprocally regulates genes associated with acute and chronic infections and plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa.A variety of bacterial pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cause acute and chronic infections in humans. During infections, pathogens produce different sets of virulence genes for colonization, tissue damage, and dissemination and for countering host immune responses. Complex regulatory networks control the delicate tuning of gene expression in response to host environments to enable the survival and growth of invading pathogens. Here we identified suhB as a critical gene for the regulation of virulence factors in P. aeruginosa. The expression of suhB was upregulated during acute infection in an animal model, and mutation of suhB rendered P. aeruginosa avirulent. Moreover, we demonstrate that SuhB is required for the activation of virulence factors associated with acute infections while suppressing virulence factors associated with chronic infections. Our report provides new insights into the multilayered regulatory network of virulence genes in P. aeruginosa.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa may cause both acute and chronic-persistent infections in predisposed individuals. Acute infections require the presence of a functional type III secretion system (T3SS), whereas chronic P. aeruginosa infections are characterized by the formation of drug-resistant biofilms. The T3SS and biofilm formation are reciprocally regulated by the signaling kinases LadS, RetS, and GacS. RetS downregulates biofilm formation and upregulates expression of the T3SS through a unique mechanism. RetS forms a heterodimeric complex with GacS and thus prevents GacS autophosphorylation and downstream signaling. The signals that regulate RetS are not known but RetS possesses a distinctive periplasmic sensor domain that is believed to serve as receptor for the regulatory ligand. We have determined the crystal structure of the RetS sensory domain at 2.0 A resolution. The structure closely resembles those of carbohydrate binding modules of other proteins, suggesting that the elusive ligands are likely carbohydrate moieties. In addition to the conserved beta-sandwich structure, the sensory domain features two alpha helices which create a unique surface topology. Protein-protein crosslinking and fluorescence energy transfer experiments also revealed that the sensory domain dimerizes with a dissociation constant of K(d) = 580 +/- 50 nM, a result with interesting implications for our understanding of the underlying signaling mechanism.
Project description:In response to environmental changes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is able to switch from a planktonic (free swimming) to a sessile (biofilm) lifestyle. The two-component system (TCS) GacS/GacA activates the production of two small non-coding RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ, but four histidine kinases (HKs), RetS, GacS, LadS and PA1611, are instrumental in this process. RetS hybrid HK blocks GacS unorthodox HK autophosphorylation through the formation of a heterodimer. PA1611 hybrid HK, which is structurally related to GacS, interacts with RetS in P. aeruginosa in a very similar manner to GacS. LadS hybrid HK phenotypically antagonizes the function of RetS by a mechanism that has never been investigated. The four sensors are found in most Pseudomonas species but their characteristics and mode of signaling may differ from one species to another. Here, we demonstrated in P. aeruginosa that LadS controls both rsmY and rsmZ gene expression and that this regulation occurs through the GacS/GacA TCS. We additionally evidenced that in contrast to RetS, LadS signals through GacS/GacA without forming heterodimers, either with GacS or with RetS. Instead, we demonstrated that LadS is involved in a genuine phosphorelay, which requires both transmitter and receiver LadS domains. LadS signaling ultimately requires the alternative histidine-phosphotransfer domain of GacS, which is here used as an Hpt relay by the hybrid kinase. LadS HK thus forms, with the GacS/GacA TCS, a multicomponent signal transduction system with an original phosphorelay cascade, i.e. H1LadS?D1LadS?H2GacS?D2GacA. This highlights an original strategy in which a unique output, i.e. the modulation of sRNA levels, is controlled by a complex multi-sensing network to fine-tune an adapted biofilm and virulence response.
Project description:The Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa has distinct genetic programs that favor either acute or chronic virulence gene expression. Acute virulence is associated with twitching and swimming motility, expression of a type III secretion system (T3SS), and the absence of alginate, Psl, or Pel polysaccharide production. Traits associated with chronic infection include growth as a biofilm, reduced motility, and expression of a type VI secretion system (T6SS). The Rsm posttranscriptional regulatory system plays important roles in the inverse control of phenotypes associated with acute and chronic virulence. RsmA and RsmF are RNA-binding proteins that interact with target mRNAs to control gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. Previous work found that RsmA activity is controlled by at least three small, noncoding regulatory RNAs (RsmW, RsmY, and RsmZ). In this study, we took an in silico approach to identify additional small RNAs (sRNAs) that might function in the sequestration of RsmA and/or RsmF (RsmA/RsmF) and identified RsmV, a 192-nucleotide (nt) transcript with four predicted RsmA/RsmF consensus binding sites. RsmV is capable of sequestering RsmA and RsmF in vivo to activate translation of tssA1, a component of the T6SS, and to inhibit T3SS gene expression. Each of the predicted RsmA/RsmF consensus binding sites contributes to RsmV activity. Electrophoretic mobility shifts assays show that RsmF binds RsmV with >10-fold higher affinity than RsmY and RsmZ. Gene expression studies revealed that the temporal expression pattern of RsmV differs from those of RsmW, RsmY, and RsmZ. These findings suggest that each sRNA may play a distinct role in controlling RsmA and RsmF activity.IMPORTANCE The members of the CsrA/RsmA family of RNA-binding proteins play important roles in posttranscriptional control of gene expression. The activity of CsrA/RsmA proteins is controlled by small noncoding RNAs that function as decoys to sequester CsrA/RsmA from target mRNAs. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has two CsrA family proteins (RsmA and RsmF) and at least four sequestering sRNAs (RsmV [identified in this study], RsmW, RsmY, and RsmZ) that control RsmA/RsmF activity. RsmY and RsmZ are the primary sRNAs that sequester RsmA/RsmF, and RsmV and RsmW appear to play smaller roles. Differences in the temporal and absolute expression levels of the sRNAs and in their binding affinities for RsmA/RsmF may provide a mechanism of fine-tuning the output of the Rsm system in response to environmental cues.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is responsible for a wide range of acute and chronic infections. The transition to chronic infections is accompanied by physiological changes in the bacteria favoring formation of biofilm communities. Here we report the identification of LadS, a hybrid sensor kinase that controls the reciprocal expression of genes for type III secretion and biofilm-promoting polysaccharides. Domain organization of LadS and the range of LadS-controlled genes suggest that it counteracts the activities of another sensor kinase, RetS. These two pathways converge by controlling the transcription of a small regulatory RNA, RsmZ. This work identifies a previously undescribed signal transduction network in which the activities of signal-receiving sensor kinases LadS, RetS, and GacS regulate expression of virulence genes associated with acute or chronic infection by transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a pathogen that causes acute and chronic infections in a variety of hosts. The pathogenic potential of P. aeruginosa is strain-dependent. PA14 is a highly virulent strain that causes disease in a wide range of organisms, whereas PAO1 is moderately virulent. Although PA14 carries pathogenicity islands that are absent in PAO1, the presence or absence of specific gene clusters is not predictive of virulence. Here, we show that the virulent strain PA14 has an acquired mutation in the ladS gene. This mutation has a deleterious impact on biofilm, while it results in elevated type III secretion system (T3SS) activity and increased cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells. These phenotypes can be reverted by repairing the ladS mutation on the PA14 genome. The RetS/LadS/GacS signaling cascade is associated with virulence and the switch between acute and chronic infections. RetS is a sensor that down-regulates biofilm formation and up-regulates the T3SS. Mutations in retS are acquired in strains isolated from chronically infected cystic fibrosis patients and lead to hyperbiofilm formation and reduced cytotoxicity. Conversely, the LadS sensor promotes biofilm formation and represses the T3SS. We conclude that the ladS mutation is partly responsible for the high cytotoxicity of PA14, and our findings corroborate the central role of RetS and LadS in the switch between acute and chronic infections. Given the extensive use of the reference strain PA14 in infection and virulence models, the bias caused by the ladS mutation on the observed phenotypes will be crucial to consider in future research.