Involvement of AlgQ in transcriptional regulation of pyoverdine genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1.

Research paper by Cecilia C Ambrosi, Federica F Tiburzi, Francesco F Imperi, Lorenza L Putignani, Paolo P Visca

Indexed on: 21 Jul '05Published on: 21 Jul '05Published in: Journal of bacteriology


In response to iron limitation, Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces the fluorescent siderophore pyoverdine. Transcription of pyoverdine biosynthetic (pvd) genes is driven by the iron starvation sigma factor PvdS, which is negatively regulated by the Fur-Fe(II) holorepressor. We studied the effect of AlgQ, the Escherichia coli Rsd orthologue, on pyoverdine production by P. aeruginosa PAO1. AlgQ is a global regulatory protein which activates alginate, ppGpp, and inorganic polyphosphate synthesis through a cascade involving nucleoside diphosphate kinase (Ndk). AlgQ is also capable of interacting with region 4 of RpoD. In a reconstituted E. coli system, PvdS-dependent transcription from the pvdA promoter was doubled by the multicopy algQ gene. The P. aeruginosa DeltaalgQ mutant exhibited a moderate but reproducible reduction in pyoverdine production compared with wild-type PAO1, as a result of a decline in transcription of pvd genes. PvdS expression was not affected by the algQ mutation. Single-copy algQ fully restored pyoverdine production and expression of pvd genes in the DeltaalgQ mutant, while ndk did not. An increased intracellular concentration of RpoD mimicked the DeltaalgQ phenotype, whereas PvdS overexpression suppressed the algQ mutation. E. coli rsd could partially substitute for algQ in transcriptional modulation of pvd genes. We propose that AlgQ acts as an anti-sigma factor for RpoD, eliciting core RNA polymerase recruitment by PvdS and transcription initiation at pvd promoters. AlgQ provides a link between the pyoverdine and alginate regulatory networks. These systems have similarities in responsiveness and physiological function: both depend on alternative sigma factors, respond to nutrient starvation, and act as virulence determinants for P. aeruginosa.