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Microbiology. 2009 Mar;155(Pt 3):699-711. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.024554-0.

The sensor kinase PhoQ mediates virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, University of British Columbia, 232-2259 Lower Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous environmental Gram-negative bacterium that is also a major opportunistic human pathogen in nosocomial infections and cystic fibrosis chronic lung infections. PhoP-PhoQ is a two-component regulatory system that has been identified as essential for virulence and cationic antimicrobial peptide resistance in several other Gram-negative bacteria. This study demonstrated that mutation of phoQ caused reduced twitching motility, biofilm formation and rapid attachment to surfaces, 2.2-fold reduced cytotoxicity to human lung epithelial cells, substantially reduced lettuce leaf virulence, and a major, 10 000-fold reduction in competitiveness in chronic rat lung infections. Microarray analysis revealed that PhoQ controlled the expression of many genes consistent with these phenotypes and with its known role in polymyxin B resistance. It was also demonstrated that PhoQ controls the expression of many genes outside the known PhoP regulon.

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