A genetic switch controls Pseudomonas aeruginosa surface colonization

Manner, Christina and Dias Teixeira, Raphael and Saha, Dibya and Kaczmarczyk, Andreas and Zemp, Raphaela and Wyss, Fabian and Jaeger, Tina and Laventie, Benoit-Joseph and Boyer, Sebastien and Malone, Jacob G. and Qvortrup, Katrine and Andersen, Jens Bo and Givskov, Michael and Tolker-Nielsen, Tim and Hiller, Sebastian and Drescher, Knut and Jenal, Urs. (2023) A genetic switch controls Pseudomonas aeruginosa surface colonization. Nature Microbiology, 8 (8). pp. 1520-1533.

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Efficient colonization of mucosal surfaces is essential for opportunistic pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but how bacteria collectively and individually adapt to optimize adherence, virulence and dispersal is largely unclear. Here we identified a stochastic genetic switch, hecR-hecE, which is expressed bimodally and generates functionally distinct bacterial subpopulations to balance P. aeruginosa growth and dispersal on surfaces. HecE inhibits the phosphodiesterase BifA and stimulates the diguanylate cyclase WspR to increase c-di-GMP second messenger levels and promote surface colonization in a subpopulation of cells; low-level HecE-expressing cells disperse. The fraction of HecE; +; cells is tuned by different stress factors and determines the balance between biofilm formation and long-range cell dispersal of surface-grown communities. We also demonstrate that the HecE pathway represents a druggable target to effectively counter P. aeruginosa surface colonization. Exposing such binary states opens up new ways to control mucosal infections by a major human pathogen.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Infection Biology > Microbiology and Biophysics (Drescher)
UniBasel Contributors:Drescher, Knut
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:18 Oct 2023 15:05
Deposited On:18 Oct 2023 15:05

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