Comparative transcriptomic analysis of the Burkholderia cepacia tyrosine kinase bceF mutant reveals a role in tolerance to stress, biofilm formation, and virulence

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 May;79(9):3009-20. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00222-13. Epub 2013 Feb 22.


The bacterial tyrosine-kinase (BY-kinase) family comprises the major group of bacterial enzymes endowed with tyrosine kinase activity. We previously showed that the BceF protein from Burkholderia cepacia IST408 belongs to this BY-kinase family and is involved in the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharide cepacian. However, little is known about the extent of regulation of this protein kinase activity. In order to examine this regulation, we performed a comparative transcriptome profile between the bceF mutant and wild-type B. cepacia IST408. The analyses led to identification of 630 genes whose expression was significantly changed. Genes with decreased expression in the bceF mutant were related to stress response, motility, cell adhesion, and carbon and energy metabolism. Genes with increased expression were related to intracellular signaling and lipid metabolism. Mutation of bceF led to reduced survival under heat shock and UV light exposure, reduced swimming motility, and alteration in biofilm architecture when grown in vitro. Consistent with some of these phenotypes, the bceF mutant demonstrated elevated levels of cyclic-di-GMP. Furthermore, BceF contributed to the virulence of B. cepacia for larvae of the Greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Taken together, BceF appears to play a considerable role in many cellular processes, including biofilm formation and virulence. As homologues of BceF occur in a number of pathogenic and plant-associated Burkholderia strains, the modulation of bacterial behavior through tyrosine kinase activity is most likely a widely occurring phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / enzymology
  • Burkholderia cepacia / genetics*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / pathogenicity*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / physiology
  • Cyclic GMP / analogs & derivatives
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Moths
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Transcriptome
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • bis(3',5')-cyclic diguanylic acid
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE38183