The opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is able to survive under a variety of often harmful environmental conditions due to a multitude of intrinsic and adaptive resistance mechanisms, including biofilm formation as one important survival strategy. Here, we investigated the adaptation of P. aeruginosa PAO1 to hypochlorite (HClO), a phagocyte-derived host defense compound and frequently used disinfectant. In static biofilm assays, we observed a significant enhancement in initial cell attachment in the presence of sublethal HClO concentrations. Subsequent LC-MS analyses revealed a strong increase in cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP) levels suggesting a key role of this second messenger in HClO-induced biofilm development. Using DNA microarrays, we identified a 26-fold upregulation of ORF PA3177 coding for a putative diguanylate cyclase (DGC), which catalyzes the synthesis of the second messenger c-di-GMP - an important regulator of bacterial motility, sessility and persistence. This DGC PA3177 was further characterized in more detail demonstrating its impact on P. aeruginosa motility and biofilm formation. In addition, cell culture assays attested a role for PA3177 in the response of P. aeruginosa to human phagocytes. Using a subset of different mutants, we were able to show that both Pel and Psl exopolysaccharides are effectors in the PA3177-dependent c-di-GMP network.

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Keywords Bacterial stress response, Biofilm formation, C-di-GMP, Oxidative stress, Pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
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Journal Frontiers in Microbiology
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Strempel, N. (Nikola), Nusser, M. (Michael), Neidig, A. (Anke), Brenner-Weiss, G. (Gerald), & Overhage, J. (2017). The oxidative stress agent hypochlorite stimulates c-di-GMP synthesis and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(NOV). doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.02311