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. 2012 Feb;83(3):536-47.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07947.x. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

An Orphan Sensor Kinase Controls Quinolone Signal Production via MexT in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

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An Orphan Sensor Kinase Controls Quinolone Signal Production via MexT in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

Caroline Zaoui et al. Mol Microbiol. .
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa employs both N-acylhomoserine lactone and 2-alkyl-4(1H)-quinolone (AQ)-mediated interbacterial signalling for the orchestration of a genome-wide gene regulatory network. Despite the many advances that have been made in understanding the target genes of quorum sensing regulation, little is known on how quorum sensing systems are influenced by environmental cues. In this study, we show that AQ production is modulated by an orphan P. aeruginosa sensor kinase. Transcriptional studies of the sensor kinase (MxtR) mutant demonstrated that an induced expression of MexT, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator, largely determined the global transcriptional profile. Thereby, overexpression of the MexT-regulated MexEF-OprN efflux pump led to a delayed expression of the AQ biosynthetic genes and of AQ-dependent virulence factors. Furthermore, we demonstrated that autophosphorylation of MxtR was inhibited by ubiquinone, the central electron carrier of respiration in in vitro experiments. Our results elucidate on a mechanism by which P. aeruginosa senses environmental conditions and adapts by controlling the production of interbacterial AQ signal molecules. A regulatory function of a sensor kinase may indicate that there is a pre-emptive role of adaptation mechanisms that are turned on under distinct environmental conditions and that are important for efficient colonization and pathogenesis.

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