RpoN regulates virulence factors of Pseudomonas aeruginosa via modulating the PqsR quorum sensing regulator
Reference: International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2015) 16: 28311-28319.

The alternative sigma factor RpoN regulates many cell functions, such as motility, quorum sensing, and virulence in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. P. aeruginosa often evolves rpoN-negative variants during the chronic infection in cystic fibrosis patients. It is unclear how RpoN interacts with other regulatory mechanisms to control virulence of P. aeruginosa. In this study, we show that RpoN modulates the function of PqsR, a quorum sensing receptor regulating production of virulence factors including the phenazine pyocyanin. The rpoN mutant is able to synthesize 4-quinolone signal molecule HHQ but unable to activate PqsR and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (pqs) quorum sensing. The rpoN mutant produces minimal level of pyocyanin and is unable to produce the anti-staphylococcal agents. Providing pqsRin trans in the rpoN mutant restores its pqs quorum sensing and virulence factor production to the wild-type level. Our study provides evidence that RpoN has a regulatory effect on P. aeruginosa virulence through modulating the function of the PqsR quorum sensing regulator.


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