ExsD is a negative regulator of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion regulon

Mol Microbiol. 2002 Nov;46(4):1123-33. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2002.03228.x.


Expression of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion system is induced by contact with eukaryotic cells, serum or low Ca2+ concentrations. We report that ExsD, a unique protein, is a negative regulator of the type III regulon. Localization studies indicate that ExsD is not secreted by P. aeruginosa. To determine the role of exsD, a non-polar deletion was returned to the chromosome by allelic exchange. The delta exsD mutant is competent for type III secretion and translocation of the ExoU cytotoxin to eukaryotic host cells. To examine the effect of ExsD on transcription, lacZ transcriptional reporter fusions were integrated into the chromosome. Promoters controlling transcription of genes encoding the type III secretory, regulatory and effector proteins demonstrated significant derepression in the delta exsD background. Expression of ExsD from a multicopy plasmid completely repressed transcription of the regulon. Although a mutant in pscC, encoding a structural component of the type III translocase, is repressed for expression of the regulon, a delta exsD, pscC:: omega double mutant is derepressed. Bacterial two-hybrid data indicate that ExsD binds the transcriptional activator of the regulon, ExsA. We conclude that ExsD is a negative regulator and propose that ExsD functions as an ExsA antiactivator to regulate transcription of the regulon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Dosage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Lipoproteins / genetics
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Protein Transport
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Regulon*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ExsA protein, bacteria
  • ExsB protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • ExsD protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Lipoproteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • pseudomonas exoprotein A protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Calcium