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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 30;8(4):e62735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062735. Print 2013.

The pvc operon regulates the expression of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa fimbrial chaperone/usher pathway (cup) genes.

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Department of Immunology and Molecular Microbiology, School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America.


The Pseudomonas aeruginosa fimbrial structures encoded by the cup gene clusters (cupB and cupC) contribute to its attachment to abiotic surfaces and biofilm formation. The P. aeruginosa pvcABCD gene cluster encodes enzymes that synthesize a novel isonitrile functionalized cumarin, paerucumarin. Paerucumarin has already been characterized chemically, but this is the first report elucidating its role in bacterial biology. We examined the relationship between the pvc operon and the cup gene clusters in the P. aeruginosa strain MPAO1. Mutations within the pvc genes compromised biofilm development and significantly reduced the expression of cupB1-6 and cupC1-3, as well as different genes of the cupB/cupC two-component regulatory systems, roc1/roc2. Adjacent to pvc is the transcriptional regulator ptxR. A ptxR mutation in MPAO1 significantly reduced the expression of the pvc genes, the cupB/cupC genes, and the roc1/roc2 genes. Overexpression of the intact chromosomally-encoded pvc operon by a ptxR plasmid significantly enhanced cupB2, cupC2, rocS1, and rocS2 expression and biofilm development. Exogenously added paerucumarin significantly increased the expression of cupB2, cupC2, rocS1 and rocS2 in the pvcA mutant. Our results suggest that pvc influences P. aeruginosa biofilm development through the cup gene clusters in a pathway that involves paerucumarin, PtxR, and different cup regulators.

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