A cyclic di-GMP–binding adaptor protein interacts with a chemotaxis methyltransferase to control flagellar motor switching
Reference: Science Signaling (2016) 9(450): ra102

The bacterial messenger cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) binds to various effectors, the most common of which are single-domain PilZ proteins. These c-di-GMP effectors control various cellular functions and multicellular behaviors at the transcriptional or posttranslational level. We found that MapZ (methyltransferase-associated PilZ; formerly known as PA4608), a single-domain PilZ protein from the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, directly interacted with the methyltransferase CheR1 and that this interaction was enhanced by c-di-GMP. In vitro assays indicated that, in the presence of c-di-GMP, MapZ inhibited CheR1 from methylating the chemoreceptor PctA, which would be expected to increase its affinity for chemoattractants and promote chemotaxis. MapZ localized to the poles of P. aeruginosa cells, where the flagellar motor and other chemotactic proteins, including PctA and CheR1, are also located. P. aeruginosa cells exhibit a random walk behavior by frequently switching the direction of flagellar rotation in a uniform solution. We showed that binding of c-di-GMP to MapZ decreased the frequency of flagellar motor switching and that MapZ was essential for generating the heterogeneous motility typical of P. aeruginosa cell populations and for efficient surface attachment during biofilm formation. Collectively, the studies revealed that c-di-GMP affects flagellar motor output by regulating the methylation of chemoreceptors through a single-domain PilZ adaptor protein.

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Xu L., Xin L., Zeng Y., Yam K. H. J., Ding Y., Venkataramani P., Cheang Q.W., Yang X., Tang X., Zhang L., Chiam K., Yang L., Liang Z.