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J Bacteriol. 2004 May;186(10):2936-45.

Positive control of swarming, rhamnolipid synthesis, and lipase production by the posttranscriptional RsmA/RsmZ system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1.

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  • 1Institut de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the small RNA-binding, regulatory protein RsmA is a negative control element in the formation of several extracellular products (e.g., pyocyanin, hydrogen cyanide, PA-IL lectin) as well as in the production of N-acylhomoserine lactone quorum-sensing signal molecules. RsmA was found to control positively the ability to swarm and to produce extracellular rhamnolipids and lipase, i.e., functions contributing to niche colonization by P. aeruginosa. An rsmA null mutant was entirely devoid of swarming but produced detectable amounts of rhamnolipids, suggesting that factors in addition to rhamnolipids influence the swarming ability of P. aeruginosa. A small regulatory RNA, rsmZ, which antagonized the effects of RsmA, was identified in P. aeruginosa. Expression of the rsmZ gene was dependent on both the global regulator GacA and RsmA, increased with cell density, and was subject to negative autoregulation. Overexpression of rsmZ and a null mutation in rsmA resulted in quantitatively similar, negative or positive effects on target genes, in agreement with a model that postulates titration of RsmA protein by RsmZ RNA.

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