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Recent Publication

Fitting Pieces Into the Puzzle of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Type III Secretion System Gene Expression

Type III secretion systems (T3SS) are widely distributed in Gram-negative microorganisms and critical for host-pathogen and host-symbiont interactions with plants and animals. Central features of the T3SS are a highly conserved set of secretion and translocation genes and contact dependence wherein host-pathogen interactions trigger effector protein delivery and serve as an inducing signal for T3SS gene expression. In addition to these conserved features, there are pathogen-specific properties that include a unique repertoire of effector genes and mechanisms to control T3SS gene expression. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa T3SS serves as a model system to understand transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms involved in the control of T3SS gene expression. The central regulatory feature is a partner-switching system that controls the DNA-binding activity of ExsA, the primary regulator of T3SS gene expression. Superimposed upon the partner-switching mechanism are cyclic AMP and cyclic di-GMP signaling systems, two-component systems, global regulators, and RNA-binding proteins that have positive and negative effects on ExsA transcription and/or synthesis. In the present review, we discuss advances in our understanding of how these regulatory systems orchestrate the activation of T3SS gene expression in the context of acute infections and repression of the T3SS as P. aeruginosa adapts to and colonizes the cystic fibrosis airways.

  • Emily A Williams McMackin, Louise Djapgne, Jodi M Corley, Timothy L Yahr