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Microbiology. 2009 Jan;155(Pt 1):124-33. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.020750-0.

Regulation of the PcoI/PcoR quorum-sensing system in Pseudomonas fluorescens 2P24 by the PhoP/PhoQ two-component system.

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Department of Plant Pathology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


A quorum-sensing locus, pcoI/pcoR, which is involved in the regulation of root colonization and plant disease-suppressive ability, was previously identified in Pseudomonas fluorescens 2P24. In this study, we performed random mutagenesis using mini-Tn5 in order to screen the upstream transcriptional regulators of pcoI, a biosynthase gene responsible for the synthesis of N-acylhomoserine lactone signal molecules. Two mutants, PM400 and PM410, with elevated pcoI gene promoter activity, were identified from approximately 10,000 insertion clones. The amino acid sequences of the interrupted genes in these two mutants were highly similar to PhoQ, a sensor protein of the two-component regulatory system PhoP/PhoQ, which responds to environmental Mg2+ starvation and regulates virulence in Salmonella typhimurium and antimicrobial peptide resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The promoter activity of pcoI was also induced under low-Mg2+ conditions in the 2P24 strain of P. fluorescens. Deletion mutagenesis and complementation experiments demonstrated that the transcription of pcoI was negatively regulated by the sensor PhoQ but positively regulated by the response regulator PhoP. Genetic evidence also indicated that transcription of the outer-membrane protein gene oprH was induced by Mg2+ starvation through regulation of the wild-type PhoP/PhoQ system. Additionally, PhoQ was involved in biofilm formation by 2P24 under low-Mg2+ conditions through a PhoP-independent pathway.

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