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Mol Microbiol. 2010 Aug;77(3):787-800. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07246.x. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Genetic analysis of two phosphodiesterases reveals cyclic diguanylate regulation of virulence factors in Dickeya dadantii.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA.


Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a second messenger implicated in the regulation of various cellular properties in several bacterial species. However, its function in phytopathogenic bacteria is not yet understood. In this study we investigated a panel of GGDEF/EAL domain proteins which have the potential to regulate c-di-GMP levels in the phytopathogen Dickeya dadantii 3937. Two proteins, EcpB (contains GGDEF and EAL domains) and EcpC (contains an EAL domain) were shown to regulate multiple cellular behaviours and virulence gene expression. Deletion of ecpB and/or ecpC enhanced biofilm formation but repressed swimming/swarming motility. In addition, the ecpB and ecpC mutants displayed a significant reduction in pectate lyase production, a virulence factor of this bacterium. Gene expression analysis showed that deletion of ecpB and ecpC significantly reduced expression of the type III secretion system (T3SS) and its virulence effector proteins. Expression of the T3SS genes is regulated by HrpL and possibly RpoN, two alternative sigma factors. In vitro biochemical assays showed that EcpC has phosphodiesterase activity to hydrolyse c-di-GMP into linear pGpG. Most of the enterobacterial pathogens encode at least one T3SS, a major virulence factor which functions to subvert host defences. The current study broadens our understanding of the interplay between c-di-GMP, RpoN and T3SS and the potential role of c-di-GMP in T3SS regulation among a wide range of bacterial pathogens.

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