Interactions of the quorum sensing regulator QscR: interaction with itself and the other regulators of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LasR and RhlR

Mol Microbiol. 2003 Apr;48(1):199-210. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03423.x.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa controls the production of many exoproteins and secondary metabolites via a hierarchical quorum sensing (QS) regulatory cascade involving the LuxR-like proteins LasR, RhlR and their cognate signal molecules N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (3O-C12-HSL) and N-(butanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL). The finding of a third LuxR-type protein in P. aeruginosa, QscR, adds further complexity to this regulatory network. It has been shown previously that QscR represses transcription of three QS-controlled gene clusters, phz (phenazine), hcn (hydrogen cyanide) and qsc105 (Chugani, Whiteley, Lee, D'Argenio, Manoil, and Greenberg, 2001, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98: 2752-2757). In this study, we identify two novel QscR targets these are lasB, encoding the extracellular elastase, and the second phenazine gene cluster, both of which are downregulated by QscR. In addition, we show that QscR synthesis is regulated by the two-component response regulator GacA. Taking advantage of the in vivo fluorescence anisotropy technology that we have developed, we show that QscR can be found in several different types of association. Indeed, we identify QscR multimers in the absence of any acyl-HSL, lower order QscR oligomers associated either with C4-HSL or 3O-C12-HSL and QscR-containing heterodimers with LasR or RhlR. The formation of heterodimers between QscR and LasR or RhlR, in the absence of acyl-HSLs, is a very exciting, new result that should improve our understanding of the QscR network and its relationship to the production of P. aeruginosa virulence factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fluorescence Polarization
  • Operon
  • Protein Binding
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • LasR protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • QscR protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • rhiR protein, Rhizobium leguminosarum