J. Biol. Chem. 2019 294: 13789-. doi:10.1074/jbc.RA119.009009
The second messenger cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) plays a prominent role in regulating flagellum-dependent motility in the single-flagellated pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The c-di-GMP–mediated signaling pathways and mechanisms that control flagellar output remain to be fully unveiled. Studying surface-tethered and free-swimming P. aeruginosa PAO1 cells, we found that the overexpression of an exogenous diguanylate cyclase (DGC) raises the global cellular c-di-GMP concentration and thereby inhibits flagellar motor switching and decreases motor speed, reducing swimming speed and reversal frequency, respectively. We noted that the inhibiting effect of c-di-GMP on flagellar motor switching, but not motor speed, is exerted through the c-di-GMP–binding adaptor protein MapZ and associated chemotactic pathways. Among the 22 putative c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases, we found that three of them (DipA, NbdA, and RbdA) can significantly inhibit flagellar motor switching and swimming directional reversal in a MapZ-dependent manner. These results disclose a network of c-di-GMP–signaling proteins that regulate chemotactic responses and flagellar motor switching in P. aeruginosa and establish MapZ as a key signaling hub that integrates inputs from different c-di-GMP–signaling pathways to control flagellar output and bacterial motility. We rationalized these experimental findings by invoking a model that postulates the regulation of flagellar motor switching by subcellular c-di-GMP pools.
This work was supported by ARC Tier II Grant MOE2015-T2-2-026 (to Z.-X. L.) from the Ministry of Education of Singapore. The research is also supported by National Basic Research Program of China Program 973 Grant number 2015CB150600 (to L. X.) and Guangdong technological innovation strategy of special funds key areas of research and development program Grant 2018B020205003.