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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 21;8(10):e76030. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076030. eCollection 2013.

Divergent control of two type VI secretion systems by RpoN in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Macromoléculaires (UMR7255), CNRS & Aix-Marseille Univ, Marseille, France.


Three Type VI Secretion System (T6SS) loci called H1- to H3-T6SS coexist in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. H1-T6SS targets prokaryotic cells whereas H2-T6SS mediates interactions with both eukaryotic and prokaryotic host cells. Little is known about the third system, except that it may be connected to H2-T6SS during the host infection. Here we show that H3-T6SS is required for P. aeruginosa PAO1 virulence in the worm model. We demonstrate that the two putative H3-T6SS operons, called "left" and "right", are coregulated with H2-T6SS by the Las and Rhl Quorum Sensing systems. Interestingly, the RpoN σ54 factor has divergent effects on the three operons. As for many T6SSs, RpoN activates the expression of H3-T6SS left. However, RpoN unexpectedly represses the expression of H3-T6SS right and also H2-T6SS. Sfa2 and Sfa3 are putative enhancer binding proteins encoded on H2-T6SS and H3-T6SS left. In other T6SSs EBPs can act as σ54 activators to promote T6SS transcription. Strikingly, we found that the RpoN effects of H3-T6SS are Sfa-independent while the RpoN mediated repression of H2-T6SS is Sfa2-dependent. This is the first example of RpoN repression of a T6SS being mediated by a T6SS-encoded EBP.

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