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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 30;107(13):5989-94. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912839107. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Cell-cell signal-dependent dynamic interactions between HD-GYP and GGDEF domain proteins mediate virulence in Xanthomonas campestris.

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Department of Microbiology, BIOMERIT Research Centre, BioSciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


RpfG is a paradigm for a class of widespread bacterial two-component regulators with a CheY-like receiver domain attached to a histidine-aspartic acid-glycine-tyrosine-proline (HD-GYP) cyclic di-GMP phosphodiesterase domain. In the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), a two-component system comprising RpfG and the complex sensor kinase RpfC is implicated in sensing and responding to the diffusible signaling factor (DSF), which is essential for cell-cell signaling. RpfF is involved in synthesizing DSF, and mutations of rpfF, rpfG, or rpfC lead to a coordinate reduction in the synthesis of virulence factors such as extracellular enzymes, biofilm structure, and motility. Using yeast two-hybrid analysis and fluorescence resonance energy transfer experiments in Xcc, we show that the physical interaction of RpfG with two proteins with diguanylate cyclase (GGDEF) domains controls a subset of RpfG-regulated virulence functions. RpfG interactions were abolished by alanine substitutions of the three residues of the conserved GYP motif in the HD-GYP domain. Changing the GYP motif or deletion of the two GGDEF-domain proteins reduced Xcc motility but not the synthesis of extracellular enzymes or biofilm formation. RpfG-GGDEF interactions are dynamic and depend on DSF signaling, being reduced in the rpfF mutant but restored by DSF addition. The results are consistent with a model in which DSF signal transduction controlling motility depends on a highly regulated, dynamic interaction of proteins that influence the localized expression of cyclic di-GMP.

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