Pseudomonas species are ubiquitous in plant-associated environments and produce an array of volatiles, enzymes and antimicrobials. The biosynthesis of many metabolites is regulated by the GacS/GacA two-component regulatory system. Transcriptome analysis of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 revealed that 702 genes were differentially regulated (fold change>4, P<0.0001) in a gacS::Tn5 mutant, with 300 and 402 genes up- and down-regulated, respectively. Genes that were significantly down-regulated are involved in viscosin biosynthesis (viscABC), protease production (aprA), motility, biofilm formation, and secretory systems. Genes that were significantly up-regulated are involved in siderophore biosynthesis and oxidative stress. In contrast to previous studies with gac-mutants of other Pseudomonas species/strains, the gacS mutant of SBW25 inhibited growth of oomycete, fungal and bacterial pathogens significantly more than parental strain SBW25. A potential candidate for this enhanced antimicrobial activity was a large nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) gene cluster predicted to encode for an 8-amino-acid ornicorrugatin-like peptide. Site-directed mutagenesis of an NRPS gene in this cluster, however, did not lead to a reduction in the antimicrobial activity of the gacS mutant. Collectively these results indicate that a mutation in the GacS/GacA regulatory system causes major transcriptional changes in P. fluorescens SBW25 and significantly enhances its antimicrobial activities by yet unknown mechanisms.
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