The metal-specific CzcRS two-component system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is involved in the repression of the OprD porin, causing in turn carbapenem antibiotic resistance in the presence of high zinc concentration. It has also been shown that CzcR is able to directly regulate the expression of multiple genes including virulence factors. CzcR is therefore an important regulator connecting (i) metal response, (ii) pathogenicity and (iii) antibiotic resistance in P. aeruginosa. Recent data have suggested that other regulators could negatively control oprD expression in the presence of zinc. Here we show that the RNA chaperone Hfq is a key factor acting independently of CzcR for the repression of oprD upon Zn treatment. Additionally, we found that an Hfq-dependent mechanism is necessary for the localization of CzcR to the oprD promoter, mediating oprD transcriptional repression. Furthermore, in the presence of Cu, CopR, the transcriptional regulator of the CopRS two-component system also requires Hfq for oprD repression. Altogether, these results suggest important roles for this RNA chaperone in the context of environment-sensing and antibiotic resistance in P. aeruginosa.
Keywords: Copper; Hfq; OprD; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Zinc; carbapenem resistance; two‐component system.