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J Bacteriol. 2011 Jun;193(12):2989-99. doi: 10.1128/JB.01546-10. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

The sensor kinase KinB regulates virulence in acute Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Two-component sensors are widely used by bacteria to sense and respond to the environment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has one of the largest sets of two-component sensors known in bacteria, which likely contributes to its unique ability to adapt to multiple environments, including the human host. Several of these two-component sensors, such as GacS and RetS, have been shown to play roles in virulence in rodent infection models. However, the role and function of the majority of these two-component sensors remain unknown. Danio rerio is a recently characterized model host for pathogenesis-related studies that is amenable to higher-throughput analysis than mammalian models. Using zebrafish embryos as a model host, we have systematically tested the role of 60 two-component sensors and identified 6 sensors that are required for P. aeruginosa virulence. We found that KinB is required for acute infection in zebrafish embryos and regulates a number of virulence-associated phenotypes, including quorum sensing, biofilm formation, and motility. Its regulation of these phenotypes is independent of its kinase activity and its known response regulator AlgB, suggesting that it does not fit the canonical two-component sensor-response regulator model.

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