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Foraging Signals Promote Swarming in Starving Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Badal, D and Jayarani, AV and Kollaran, MA and Prakash, D and Monisha, P and Singh, V (2021) Foraging Signals Promote Swarming in Starving Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In: mBio, 12 (5).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02033-21


The opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known for exhibiting diverse forms of collective behaviors, like swarming motility and bio-film formation. Swarming in P. aeruginosa is a collective movement of the bacterial population over a semisolid surface, but specific swarming signals are not clear. We hypothesize that specific environmental signals induce swarming in P. aeruginosa. We show that under nutrient-limiting conditions, a low concentration of ethanol provides a strong ecological motivation for swarming in P. aeruginosa strain PA14. Ethanol serves as a signal and not a source of carbon under these conditions. Moreover, ethanol-driven swarming relies on the ability of the bacteria to metabolize ethanol to acetaldehyde using a periplasmic quinoprotein alcohol dehydrogenase, ExaA. We found that ErdR, an orphan response regulator linked to ethanol oxidation, is necessary for the transcriptional regulation of a cluster of 17 genes, including exaA, during swarm lag. Further, we show that P. aeruginosa displays characteristic foraging motility on a lawn of Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast species, in a manner dependent on the ethanol dehydrogenase ErdR and on rhamnolipids. Finally, we show that ethanol, as a volatile, could induce swarming in P. aeruginosa at a distance, suggesting long-range spatial effects of ethanol as a signaling molecule.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: mBio
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: acetaldehyde; alcohol; alcohol dehydrogenase; carbon; protein ErdR; protein ExaA; regulator protein; rhamnolipid; unclassified drug; volatile agent; bacterial protein, alcohol oxidation; Article; bacterial gene; bacterial metabolism; bacterial strain; carbon source; concentration (parameter); conceptual framework; controlled study; Cryptococcus neoformans; environmental factor; exaA gene; foraging; gene cluster; microbial activity; nonhuman; nutrient limitation; periplasm; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; starvation; surface property; swarming motility; transcription regulation; cytology; flagellum; gene expression regulation; genetics; metabolism; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacterial Proteins; Carbon; Ethanol; Flagella; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Centre for Biosystems Science and Engineering
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2023 09:10
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2023 09:10
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/81763

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