While studying virulence gene regulation in Vibrio cholerae during infection of the host small intestine, we identified VieA as a two-component response regulator that contributes to activating expression of cholera toxin. Here we report that VieA represses transcription of Vibrio exopolysaccharide synthesis (vps) genes involved in biofilm formation by a mechanism independent of its phosphorelay and DNA-binding activities. VieA controls the intracellular concentration of the cyclic nucleotide second messenger cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) using an EAL domain that functions as a c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase. Two-dimensional thin layer chromatography of nucleotide extracts confirmed that VieA reduces the concentration of c-di-GMP, opposing the action of c-di-GMP synthetase proteins. Expression of unrelated V. cholerae c-di-GMP synthetase or phosphodiesterae proteins also modulated c-di-GMP concentration and vps gene expression. We propose that c-di-GMP synthetase and phosphodiesterase domain-containing proteins contribute to regulating biofilm formation by controlling c-di-GMP concentration.
Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd