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J Bacteriol. 2006 Sep;188(18):6483-9.

The AlgT-dependent transcriptional regulator AmrZ (AlgZ) inhibits flagellum biosynthesis in mucoid, nonmotile Pseudomonas aeruginosa cystic fibrosis isolates.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1064, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a microorganism associated with the disease cystic fibrosis. While environmental P. aeruginosa strains are generally nonmucoid and motile, isolates recovered from the cystic fibrosis lung frequently display a mucoid, nonmotile phenotype. This phenotypic conversion is mediated by the alternative sigma factor AlgT. Previous work has shown that repression of fleQ by AlgT accounts for the loss of flagellum biosynthesis in these strains. Here, we elucidate the mechanism involved in the AlgT-mediated control of fleQ. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays using purified AlgT and extracts derived from isogenic AlgT(+) and AlgT(-) strains revealed that AlgT inhibits fleQ indirectly. We observed that the AlgT-dependent transcriptional regulator AmrZ interacts directly with the fleQ promoter. To determine whether AmrZ functions as a repressor of fleQ, we mutated amrZ in the mucoid, nonmotile P. aeruginosa strain FRD1. Unlike the parental strain, the amrZ mutant was nonmucoid and motile. Complementation of the mutant with amrZ restored the mucoid, nonmotile phenotype. Thus, our data show that AlgT inhibits flagellum biosynthesis in mucoid, nonmotile P. aeruginosa cystic fibrosis isolates by promoting expression of AmrZ, which subsequently represses fleQ. Since fleQ directly or indirectly controls the expression of almost all flagellar genes, its repression ultimately leads to the loss of flagellum biosynthesis.

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