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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60076. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060076. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Inhibition of SypG-induced biofilms and host colonization by the negative regulator SypE in Vibrio fischeri.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA.

Abstract

Vibrio fischeri produces a specific biofilm to promote colonization of its eukaryotic host, the squid Euprymna scolopes. Formation of this biofilm is induced by the sensor kinase RscS, which functions upstream of the response regulator SypG to regulate transcription of the symbiosis polysaccharide (syp) locus. Biofilm formation is also controlled by SypE, a multi-domain response regulator that consists of a central regulatory receiver (REC) domain flanked by an N-terminal serine kinase domain and a C-terminal serine phosphatase domain. SypE permits biofilm formation under rscS overexpression conditions, but inhibits biofilms induced by overexpression of sypG. We previously investigated the function of SypE in controlling biofilm formation induced by RscS. Here, we examined the molecular mechanism by which SypE naturally inhibits SypG-induced biofilms. We found that SypE's N-terminal kinase domain was both required and sufficient to inhibit SypG-induced biofilms. This effect did not occur at the level of syp transcription. Instead, under sypG-overexpressing conditions, SypE inhibited biofilms by promoting the phosphorylation of another syp regulator, SypA, a putative anti-sigma factor antagonist. Inhibition by SypE of SypG-induced biofilm formation could be overcome by the expression of a non-phosphorylatable SypA mutant, indicating that SypE functions primarily if not exclusively to control SypA activity via phosphorylation. Finally, the presence of SypE was detrimental to colonization under sypG-overexpressing conditions, as cells deleted for sypE outcompeted wild-type cells for colonization when both strains overexpressed sypG. These results provide further evidence that biofilm formation is critical to symbiotic colonization, and support a model in which SypE naturally functions to restrict biofilm formation, and thus host colonization, to the appropriate environmental conditions.

PMID:
23555890
PMCID:
PMC3610818
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0060076
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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