A Second Quorum-Sensing System Regulates Cell Surface Properties but Not Phenazine Antibiotic Production inPseudomonas aureofaciens Academic Article uri icon


  • The root-associated biological control bacterium Pseudomonas aureofaciens 30-84 produces a range of exoproducts, including protease and phenazines. Phenazine antibiotic biosynthesis by phzXYFABCD is regulated in part by the PhzR-PhzI quorum-sensing system. Mutants defective in phzR or phzI produce very low levels of phenazines but wild-type levels of exoprotease. In the present study, a second genomic region of strain 30-84 was identified that, when present in trans, increased beta-galactosidase activity in a genomic phzB::lacZ reporter and partially restored phenazine production to a phzR mutant. Sequence analysis identified two adjacent genes, csaR and csaI, that encode members of the LuxR-LuxI family of regulatory proteins. No putative promoter region is present upstream of the csaI start codon and no lux box-like element was found in either the csaR promoter or the 30-bp intergenic region between csaR and csaI. Both the PhzR-PhzI and CsaR-CsaI systems are regulated by the GacS-GacA two-component regulatory system. In contrast to the multicopy effects of csaR and csaI in trans, a genomic csaR mutant (30-84R2) and a csaI mutant (30-84I2) did not exhibit altered phenazine production in vitro or in situ, indicating that the CsaR-CsaI system is not involved in phenazine regulation in strain 30-84. Both mutants also produced wild-type levels of protease. However, disruption of both csaI and phzI or both csaR and phzR eliminated both phenazine and protease production completely. Thus, the two quorum-sensing systems do not interact for phenazine regulation but do interact for protease regulation. Additionally, the CsaI N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) signal was not recognized by the phenazine AHL reporter 30-84I/Z but was recognized by the AHL reporters Chromobacterium violaceum CV026 and Agrobacterium tumefaciens A136(pCF240). Inactivation of csaR resulted in a smooth mucoid colony phenotype and formation of cell aggregates in broth, suggesting that CsaR is involved in regulating biosynthesis of cell surface components. Strain 30-84I/I2 exhibited mucoid colony and clumping phenotypes similar to those of 30-84R2. Both phenotypes were reversed by complementation with csaR-csaI or by the addition of the CsaI AHL signal. Both quorum-sensing systems play a role in colonization by strain 30-84. Whereas loss of PhzR resulted in a 6.6-fold decrease in colonization by strain 30-84 on wheat roots in natural soil, a phzR csaR double mutant resulted in a 47-fold decrease. These data suggest that gene(s) regulated by the CsaR-CsaI system also plays a role in the rhizosphere competence of P. aureofaciens 30-84.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Z., & Pierson, L. S.

citation count

  • 112

publication date

  • September 2001