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J Bacteriol. 2012 Mar;194(5):914-24. doi: 10.1128/JB.05807-11. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Output targets and transcriptional regulation by a cyclic dimeric GMP-responsive circuit in the Vibrio parahaemolyticus Scr network.

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Department of Microbiology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Scr system modulates decisions pertinent to surface colonization by affecting the cellular level of cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP). In this work, we explore the scope and mechanism of this regulation. Transcriptome comparison of ΔscrABC and wild-type strains revealed expression differences with respect to ∼100 genes. Elevated c-di-GMP repressed genes in the surface-sensing regulon, including those encoding the lateral flagellar and type III secretion systems and N-acetylglucosamine-binding protein GpbA while inducing genes encoding other cell surface molecules and capsular polysaccharide. The transcription of a few regulatory genes was also affected, and the role of one was characterized. Mutations in cpsQ suppressed the sticky phenotype of scr mutants. cpsQ encodes one of four V. parahaemolyticus homologs in the CsgD/VpsT family, members of which have been implicated in c-di-GMP signaling. Here, we demonstrate that CpsQ is a c-di-GMP-binding protein. By using a combination of mutant and reporter analyses, CpsQ was found to be the direct, positive regulator of cpsA transcription. This c-di-GMP-responsive regulatory circuit could be reconstituted in Escherichia coli, where a low level of this nucleotide diminished the stability of CpsQ. The molecular interplay of additional known cps regulators was defined by establishing that CpsS, another CsgD family member, repressed cpsR, and the transcription factor CpsR activated cpsQ. Thus, we are developing a connectivity map of the Scr decision-making network with respect to its wiring and output strategies for colonizing surfaces and interaction with hosts; in doing so, we have isolated and reproduced a c-di-GMP-sensitive regulatory module in the circuit.

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