Quorum-sensing regulation of a copper toxicity system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The LasR/LasI quorum-sensing system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa influences global gene expression and mediates pathogenesis. In this study, we show that the quorum-sensing system activates, via the transcriptional regulator PA4778, a copper resistance system composed of 11 genes. The quorum-sensing global regulator LasR was recently shown to directly activate transcription of PA4778, a cueR homolog and a MerR-type transcriptional regulator. Using molecular genetic methods and bioinformatics, we verify the interaction of LasR with the PA4778 promoter and further demonstrate the LasR binding site. We also identify a putative PA4778 binding motif and show that the protein directly binds to and activates five promoters controlling the expression of 11 genes--PA3519 to -15, PA3520, mexPQ-opmE, PA3574.1, and cueA, a virulence factor in a murine model. Using gene disruptions, we show that PA4778, along with 7 of 11 gene targets of PA4778, increases the sensitivity of P. aeruginosa to elevated copper concentrations. This work identifies a cellular function for PA4778 and four other previously unannotated genes (PA3515, PA3516, PA3517, and PA3518) and suggests a potential role for copper in the quorum response. We propose to name PA4778 cueR.
Thaden, JT; Lory, S; Gardner, TS
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