The Pseudomonas aeruginosa Two-Component Regulator AlgR Directly Activates rsmA Expression in a Phosphorylation-Independent Manner.
ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important pathogen of the immunocompromised, causing both acute and chronic infections. In cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, P. aeruginosa causes chronic disease. The impressive sensory network of P. aeruginosa allows the bacterium to sense and respond to a variety of stimuli found in diverse environments. Transcriptional regulators, including alternative sigma factors and response regulators, integrate signals changing gene expression, allowing P. aeruginosa to cause infection. The two-component transcriptional regulator AlgR is important in P. aeruginosa pathogenesis in both acute and chronic infections. In chronic infections, AlgR and the alternative sigma factor AlgU activate the genes responsible for alginate production. Previous work demonstrated that AlgU controls rsmA expression. RsmA is a posttranscriptional regulator that is antagonized by two small RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ. In this work, we demonstrate that AlgR directly activates rsmA expression from the same promoter as AlgU. In addition, phosphorylation was not necessary for AlgR activation of rsmA using algR and algZ mutant strains. AlgU and AlgR appear to affect the antagonizing small RNAs rsmY and rsmZ indirectly. RsmA was active in a mucA22 mutant strain using leader fusions of two RsmA targets, tssA1 and hcnA AlgU and AlgR were necessary for posttranscriptional regulation of tssA1 and hcnA Altogether, our work demonstrates that the alginate regulators AlgU and AlgR are important in the control of the RsmA posttranscriptional regulatory system. These findings suggest that RsmA plays an unknown role in mucoid strains due to AlgU and AlgR activities.IMPORTANCEP. aeruginosa infections are difficult to treat and frequently cause significant mortality in CF patients. Understanding the mechanisms of persistence is important. Our work has demonstrated that the alginate regulatory system also significantly impacts the posttranscriptional regulator system RsmA/Y/Z. We demonstrate that AlgR directly activates rsmA expression, and this impacts the RsmA regulon. This leads to the possibility that the RsmA/Y/Z system plays a role in helping P. aeruginosa persist during chronic infection. In addition, this furthers our understanding of the reach of the alginate regulators AlgU and AlgR.
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: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:In the plant-beneficial soil bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0, the production of biocontrol factors (antifungal secondary metabolites and exoenzymes) is controlled at a posttranscriptional level by the GacS/GacA signal transduction pathway involving RNA-binding protein RsmA as a key regulatory element. This protein is assumed to bind to the ribosome-binding site of target mRNAs and to block their translation. RsmA-mediated repression is relieved at the end of exponential growth by two GacS/GacA-controlled regulatory RNAs RsmY and RsmZ, which bind and sequester the RsmA protein. A gene (rsmE) encoding a 64-amino-acid RsmA homolog was identified and characterized in strain CHA0. Overexpression of rsmE strongly reduced the expression of target genes (hcnA, for a hydrogen cyanide synthase subunit; aprA, for the main exoprotease; and phlA, for a component of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol biosynthesis). Single null mutations in either rsmA or rsmE resulted in a slight increase in the expression of hcnA, aprA, and phlA. By contrast, an rsmA rsmE double mutation led to strongly increased and advanced expression of these target genes and completely suppressed a gacS mutation. Both the RsmE and RsmA levels increased with increasing cell population densities in strain CHA0; however, the amount of RsmA showed less variability during growth. Expression of rsmE was controlled positively by GacA and negatively by RsmA and RsmE. Mobility shift assays demonstrated specific binding of RsmE to RsmY and RsmZ RNAs. The transcription and stability of both regulatory RNAs were strongly reduced in the rsmA rsmE double mutant. In conclusion, RsmA and RsmE together account for maximal repression in the GacS/GacA cascade of strain CHA0.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Small RNAs (sRNAs) are widespread among bacteria and have diverse regulatory roles. Most of these sRNAs have been discovered by a combination of computational and experimental methods. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a ubiquitous Gram-negative bacterium and opportunistic human pathogen, the GacS/GacA two-component system positively controls the transcription of two sRNAs (RsmY, RsmZ), which are crucial for the expression of genes involved in virulence. In the biocontrol bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0, three GacA-controlled sRNAs (RsmX, RsmY, RsmZ) regulate the response to oxidative stress and the expression of extracellular products including biocontrol factors. RsmX, RsmY and RsmZ contain multiple unpaired GGA motifs and control the expression of target mRNAs at the translational level, by sequestration of translational repressor proteins of the RsmA family.<h4>Results</h4>A combined computational and experimental approach enabled us to identify 14 intergenic regions encoding sRNAs in P. aeruginosa. Eight of these regions encode newly identified sRNAs. The intergenic region 1698 was found to specify a novel GacA-controlled sRNA termed RgsA. GacA regulation appeared to be indirect. In P. fluorescens CHA0, an RgsA homolog was also expressed under positive GacA control. This 120-nt sRNA contained a single GGA motif and, unlike RsmX, RsmY and RsmZ, was unable to derepress translation of the hcnA gene (involved in the biosynthesis of the biocontrol factor hydrogen cyanide), but contributed to the bacterium's resistance to hydrogen peroxide. In both P. aeruginosa and P. fluorescens the stress sigma factor RpoS was essential for RgsA expression.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The discovery of an additional sRNA expressed under GacA control in two Pseudomonas species highlights the complexity of this global regulatory system and suggests that the mode of action of GacA control may be more elaborate than previously suspected. Our results also confirm that several GGA motifs are required in an sRNA for sequestration of the RsmA protein.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes chronic airway infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. A classic feature of CF airway isolates is the mucoid phenotype. Mucoidy arises through mutation of the mucA anti-sigma factor and subsequent activation of the AlgU regulon. Inactivation of mucA also results in reduced expression of the Vfr transcription factor. Vfr regulates several important virulence factors, including a type III secretion system (T3SS). In the present study, we report that ExsA expression, the master regulator of T3SS gene expression, is further reduced in mucA mutants through a Vfr-independent mechanism involving the RsmAYZ regulatory system. RsmA is an RNA binding protein required for T3SS gene expression. Genetic experiments suggest that the AlgZR two-component system, part of the AlgU regulon, inhibits ExsA expression by increasing the expression of RsmY and RsmZ, two small noncoding RNAs that sequester RsmA from target mRNAs. Epistasis analyses revealed that increasing the concentration of free RsmA, through either rsmYZ deletion or increased RsmA expression, partially restored T3SS gene expression in the mucA mutant. Furthermore, increasing RsmA availability in combination with Vfr complementation fully restored T3SS expression. Recalibration of the RsmAYZ system by AlgZR, however, did not alter the expression of other selected RsmA-dependent targets. We account for this observation by showing that ExsA expression is more sensitive to changes in free RsmA than other members of the RsmA regulon. Together, these data indicate that recalibration of the RsmAYZ system partially accounts for reduced T3SS gene expression in mucA mutants.
Project description:Two-component systems are capable of profoundly affecting genetic regulation in bacteria by detecting environmental stimuli, allowing them to quickly adapt. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the small RNAs (sRNAs) RsmY and RsmZ are under the control of the GacS/A system. They have been described as ones of the major key players in the control of planktonic and surface-associated behaviors. Genetic regulation by these sRNAs is achieved by the titration of the negative post-transcriptional regulator RsmA which affects the expression of over 500 genes. There is increasing evidence pinpointing the importance of RsmY and RsmZ in the planktonic-sessile P. aeruginosa lifestyles switch control. Using swarming motility as a model, we show here that these sRNA are differentially regulated depending on the selected growth conditions (i.e., planktonic versus surface grown-cells). Also, we report that opposite to planktonically grown cells, rsmZ regulation does not implicate the response regulator GacA in swarming cells. Furthermore, we present data indicating that RsmY/Z expression influence swarming motility via the protein HptB which acts as a negative regulator of these sRNAs and that they do not strictly converge to RsmA as previously reported.
Project description:Alginate production in mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from cystic fibrosis patients is under direct control by AlgU, the P. aeruginosa equivalent of the extreme heat shock sigma factor sigma(E) in gram-negative bacteria, and AlgR, a response regulator from the superfamily of two-component signal transduction systems. In this report, we describe the identification of the algZ gene, located immediately upstream of algR, which is involved in the control of alginate production. The predicted product of the algZ gene showed similarity to a subset of sensory components from the superfamily of signal transduction systems but lacked several of the highly conserved motifs typical of histidine protein kinases. Inactivation of algZ in the wild-type standard genetic strain PAO1 did not affect its nonmucoid morphology. However, inactivation of algZ in a mucoid mutant P. aeruginosa strain, which had AlgU freed from control by the anti-sigma factor MucA, resulted in increased alginate production under growth conditions which did not permit expression of mucoidy in the parental algZ+ strain. The observed effects were abrogated when algR was inactivated in the algZ::Tc(r) background. These findings indicate that algZ plays a regulatory role in alginate production, possibly interacting with AlgR, and that it may have negative effects on expression of the mucoid phenotype under the conditions tested. The presented results suggest that elements of negative regulation exist at the levels of both the alternative sigma factor AlgU and the transcriptional activator AlgR which, once relieved from that suppression, cooperate to bring about the expression of the alginate system.
Project description:Azotobacter vinelandii produces the exopolysaccharide alginate, which is essential for the encystment process. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as in A. vinelandii, the sigmaE factor encoded by algU is required for transcription of algD, which encodes a key enzyme of the alginate biosynthetic pathway. The P. aeruginosa response regulator AlgR activates transcription of algD. fimS, located upstream algR, is proposed to encode the AlgR cognate sensor kinase. We have cloned and characterized the A. vinelandii algR gene; the deduced amino acid sequence of the protein encoded by this gene shows 79% identity with its P. aeruginosa homolog. Sequence analysis around the algR gene revealed the absence of a fimS homolog. Inactivation of A. vinelandii algR diminished alginate production by 50%, but did not affect algD transcription, and completely impaired the capacity to form mature cysts. Electron microscopy of the cyst structures formed by the algR mutant revealed that the encystment process is blocked at the step of exine formation. The transcriptional regulation of the A. vinelandii algR gene and the role of AlgR in alginate production differ significantly from those of its P. aeruginosa counterparts. These differences could be due to the fact that in A. vinelandii, alginate plays a role in encystment, a function not found in P. aeruginosa.
Project description:In Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0, an antagonist of root-pathogenic fungi, the GacS/GacA two-component system tightly controls the expression of antifungal secondary metabolites and exoenzymes at a posttranscriptional level, involving the RNA-binding protein and global regulator of secondary metabolism RsmA. This protein was purified from P. fluorescens, and RNA bound to it was converted to cDNA, which served as a probe to isolate the corresponding chromosomal locus, rsmZ. This gene encoded a regulatory RNA of 127 nucleotides and a truncated form lacking 35 nucleotides at the 3' end. Expression of rsmZ depended on GacA, increased with increasing population density, and was stimulated by the addition of a solvent-extractable extracellular signal produced by strain CHA0 at the end of exponential growth. This signal appeared to be unrelated to N-acyl-homoserine lactones. A conserved upstream element in the rsmZ promoter, but not the stress sigma factor RpoS, was involved in rsmZ expression. Overexpression of rsmZ effectively suppressed the negative effect of gacS and gacA mutations on target genes, i.e., hcnA (for hydrogen cyanide synthase) and aprA (for the major exoprotease). Mutational inactivation of rsmZ resulted in reduced expression of these target genes in the presence of added signal. Overexpression of rsmA had a similar, albeit stronger negative effect. These results support a model in which GacA upregulates the expression of regulatory RNAs, such as RsmZ of strain CHA0, in response to a bacterial signal. By a titration effect, RsmZ may then alleviate the repressing activity of RsmA on the expression of target mRNAs.
Project description:Mucoid strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients produce large amounts of the exopolysaccharide alginate. AlgR has long been considered a key regulator of alginate production, but its cognate sensor has not been identified. Here we show that AlgR is required for twitching motility, which is a form of bacterial surface translocation mediated by type 4 fimbriae. Adjacent to algR we have identified a sensor gene (fimS), which is also required for twitching motility. However, FimS does not appear to be required for alginate production in mucoid strains. FimS and AlgR are representative of a new subclass of two-component transmitter-receiver regulatory systems. The alternative sigma factor AlgU also affects both alginate production and twitching motility. Therefore, these two virulence determinants appear to be closely associated and coordinately regulated.