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Mol Microbiol. 2013 May;88(4):784-97. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12223. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

Hybrid sensor kinase PA1611 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa regulates transitions between acute and chronic infection through direct interaction with RetS.

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Key Laboratory of Resources Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, Faculty of Life Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710069, China.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes serious acute and chronic infections in humans. Major differences exist in disease pathogenesis, clinical treatment and outcomes between acute and chronic infections. P. aeruginosa acute infection characteristically involves the type III secretion systems (T3SS) while chronic infection is often associated with the formation of biofilms, a major cause of difficulties to eradicate chronic infections. The choice between acute and chronic infection or the switch between them by P. aeruginosa is controlled by regulatory pathways that control major virulence factors and genes associated with biofilm formation. In this study, we characterized a hybrid sensor kinase PA1611 that controls the expression of genes associated with acute and chronic infections in P. aeruginosa PAO1. Expression of PA1611 completely repressed T3SS and swarming motility while it promoted biofilm formation. The protein PA1611 regulates two small RNAs (sRNAs), rsmY and rsmZ which in turn control RsmA. Independent of phosphate relay, PA1611 interacts directly with RetS in vivo. The positive effect of RetS on factors associated with acute infection could presumably be restrained by PA1611 when chronic infection conditions are present. This RetS-PA1611 interaction, together with the known RetS-GacS interaction, may control disease progression and the lifestyle choice of P. aeruginosa.

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