Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23307. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023307. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Magnesium limitation is an environmental trigger of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm lifestyle.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

Abstract

Biofilm formation is a conserved strategy for long-term bacterial survival in nature and during infections. Biofilms are multicellular aggregates of cells enmeshed in an extracellular matrix. The RetS, GacS and LadS sensors control the switch from a planktonic to a biofilm mode of growth in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here we detail our approach to identify environmental triggers of biofilm formation by investigating environmental conditions that repress expression of the biofilm repressor RetS. Mg(2+) limitation repressed the expression of retS leading to increased aggregation, exopolysaccharide (EPS) production and biofilm formation. Repression of retS expression under Mg(2+) limitation corresponded with induced expression of the GacA-controlled small regulatory RNAs rsmZ and rsmY and the EPS biosynthesis operons pel and psl. We recently demonstrated that extracellular DNA sequesters Mg(2+) cations and activates the cation-sensing PhoPQ two-component system, which leads to increased antimicrobial peptide resistance in biofilms. Here we show that exogenous DNA and EDTA, through their ability to chelate Mg(2+), promoted biofilm formation. The repression of retS in low Mg(2+) was directly controlled by PhoPQ. PhoP also directly controlled expression of rsmZ but not rsmY suggesting that PhoPQ controls the equilibrium of the small regulatory RNAs and thus fine-tunes the expression of genes in the RetS pathway. In summary, Mg(2+) limitation is a biologically relevant environmental condition and the first bonafide environmental signal identified that results in transcriptional repression of retS and promotes P. aeruginosa biofilm formation.

PMID:
21858064
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3156716
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (8)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk