Journal of bacteriology

The diguanylate cyclase SadC is a central player in Gac/Rsm-mediated biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

PMID 25225264


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative opportunistic human pathogen and a threat for immunocompromised and cystic fibrosis patients. It is responsible for acute and chronic infections and can switch between these lifestyles upon taking an informed decision involving complex regulatory networks. The RetS/LadS/Gac/Rsm network and the cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP) signaling pathways are both central to this phenomenon redirecting the P. aeruginosa population toward a biofilm mode of growth, which is associated with chronic infections. While these two pathways were traditionally studied independently from each other, we recently showed that cellular levels of c-di-GMP are increased in the hyperbiofilm retS mutant. Here, we have formally established the link between the two networks by showing that the SadC diguanylate cyclase is central to the Gac/Rsm-associated phenotypes, notably, biofilm formation. Importantly, SadC is involved in the signaling that converges onto the RsmA translational repressor either via RetS/LadS or via HptB/HsbR. Although the level of expression of the sadC gene does not seem to be impacted by the regulatory cascade, the production of the SadC protein is tightly repressed by RsmA. This adds to the growing complexity of the signaling network associated with c-di-GMP in P. aeruginosa. While this organism possesses more than 40 c-di-GMP-related enzymes, it remains unclear how signaling specificity is maintained within the c-di-GMP network. The finding that SadC but no other diguanylate cyclase is related to the formation of biofilm governed by the Gac/Rsm pathway further contributes to understanding of this insulation mechanism.