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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Dec;76(24):8160-73. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01233-10. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Modulation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersal by a cyclic-Di-GMP phosphodiesterase with a putative hypoxia-sensing domain.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 61 Biopolis Drive, Singapore 138673, Republic of Singapore.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa encodes many enzymes that are potentially associated with the synthesis or degradation of the widely conserved second messenger cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP). In this study, we show that mutation of rbdA, which encodes a fusion protein consisting of PAS-PAC-GGDEF-EAL multidomains, results in decreased biofilm dispersal. RbdA contains a highly conserved GGDEF domain and EAL domain, which are involved in the synthesis and degradation of c-di-GMP, respectively. However, in vivo and in vitro analyses show that the full-length RbdA protein only displays phosphodiesterase activity, causing c-di-GMP degradation. Further analysis reveals that the GGDEF domain of RbdA plays a role in activating the phosphodiesterase activity of the EAL domain in the presence of GTP. Moreover, we show that deletion of the PAS domain or substitution of the key residues implicated in sensing low-oxygen stress abrogates the functionality of RbdA. Subsequent study showed that RbdA is involved in positive regulation of bacterial motility and production of rhamnolipids, which are associated with biofilm dispersal, and in negative regulation of production of exopolysaccharides, which are required for biofilm formation. These data indicate that the c-di-GMP-degrading regulatory protein RbdA promotes biofilm dispersal through its two-pronged effects on biofilm development, i.e., downregulating biofilm formation and upregulating production of the factors associated with biofilm dispersal.

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