The Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Two-Component Regulator AlgR Directly Activates rsmA Expression in a Phosphorylation-Independent Manner

Document Type


Publication Date



Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important pathogen of the immunocompromised, causing both acute and chronic infections. In cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, P. aeruginosa causes chronic disease. The impressive sensory network of P. aeruginosa allows the bacterium to sense and respond to a variety of stimuli found in diverse environments. Transcriptional regulators, including alternative sigma factors and response regulators, integrate signals changing gene expression, allowing P. aeruginosa to cause infection. The two-component transcriptional regulator AlgR is important in P. aeruginosa pathogenesis in both acute and chronic infections. In chronic infections, AlgR and the alternative sigma factor AlgU activate the genes responsible for alginate production. Previous work demonstrated that AlgU controls rsmA expression. RsmA is a posttranscriptional regulator that is antagonized by two small RNAs, RsmY and RsmZ. In this work, we demonstrate that AlgR directly activates rsmA expression from the same promoter as AlgU. In addition, phosphorylation was not necessary for AlgR activation of rsmA using algR and algZ mutant strains. AlgU and AlgR appear to affect the antagonizing small RNAs rsmY and rsmZ indirectly. RsmA was active in a mucA22 mutant strain using leader fusions of two RsmA targets, tssA1 and hcnA. AlgU and AlgR were necessary for posttranscriptional regulation of tssA1 and hcnA. Altogether, our work demonstrates that the alginate regulators AlgU and AlgR are important in the control of the RsmA posttranscriptional regulatory system. These findings suggest that RsmA plays an unknown role in mucoid strains due to AlgU and AlgR activities.