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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Aug 15;77(16):5635-42. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02875-10. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Repression of the antifungal activity of Pseudomonas sp. strain DF41 by the stringent response.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Abstract

The stringent response (SR) enables bacteria to adapt to nutrient limitation through production of the nucleotides guanosine tetraphosphate and guanosine pentaphosphate, collectively known as (p)ppGpp. Two enzymes are responsible for the intracellular pools of (p)ppGpp: RelA acts as a synthetase, while SpoT can function as either a synthetase or a hydrolase. We investigated how the SR affects the ability of the biological control agent Pseudomonas sp. strain DF41 to inhibit the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary. Strain DF41 relA and relA spoT mutants were generated and found to exhibit increased antifungal activity. Strain DF41 produces a lipopeptide (LP) molecule that is essential for Sclerotinia biocontrol. LP production and protease activity were both elevated in the relA and relA spoT mutants. Addition of relA but not spoT in trans restored the mutant phenotype to that of the parent. Next, we investigated whether an association exists between the SR and known regulators of biocontrol, including the Gac system and RpoS. A gacS mutant of strain DF41 produced less (p)ppGpp and exhibited a 1.7-fold decrease in relA expression compared to the wild type, suggesting that relA forms part of the Gac regulon. We discovered that rpoS transcription was reduced significantly in the SR mutants. Furthermore, rpoS provided in trans restored protease activity to wild-type levels but did not attenuate antifungal activity. Finally, relA expression was decreased in the mutants, indicating that the SR is required for maximum expression of relA.

PMID:
21705548
PMCID:
PMC3165259
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.02875-10
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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