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Microbiology. 1997 Nov;143 ( Pt 11):3473-80.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis: role of mucC in the regulation of alginate production and stress sensitivity.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan, Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0620, USA.


Alginate production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the associated mucoid phenotype of isolates from cystic fibrosis patients are under the control of the algU mucABCD cluster. This group of genes encodes AlgU, the P. aeruginosa equivalent of the extreme heat shock sigma factor sigma E in Gram-negative bacteria, the AlgU-cognate anti-sigma factor MucA, the periplasmic protein MucB and a serine protease homologue, MucD. While mucA, mucB or mucD act as negative regulators of AlgU, the function of mucC is not known. In this study the role of mucC in P. aeruginosa physiology and alginate production has been addressed. Insertional inactivation of mucC in the wild-type P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 did not cause any overt effects on alginate synthesis. However, it affected growth of P. aeruginosa under conditions of combined elevated temperature and increased ionic strength or osmolarity. Inactivation of mucC in mucA or mucB mutant backgrounds resulted in a mucoid phenotype when the cells were grown under combined stress conditions of elevated temperature and osmolarity. Each of the stress factors tested separately did not cause comparable effects. The combined stress factors were not sufficient to cause phenotypically appreciable enhancement of alginate production in mucA or mucB mutants unless mucC was also inactivated. These findings support a negative regulatory role of mucC in alginate production by P. aeruginosa, indicate additive effects of muc genes in the regulation of mucoidy in this organism and suggest that multiple stress signals and recognition systems participate in the regulation of algU-dependent functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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