Ca2+-Induced Two-Component System CvsSR Regulates the Type III Secretion System and the Extracytoplasmic Function Sigma Factor AlgU in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000

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Two-component systems (TCSs) of bacteria regulate many different aspects of the bacterial life cycle, including pathogenesis. Most TCSs remain uncharacterized, with no information about the signal(s) or regulatory targets and/or role in bacterial pathogenesis. Here, we characterized a TCS in the plant-pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 composed of the histidine kinase CvsS and the response regulator CvsR. CvsSR is necessary for virulence of P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000, since Delta cvsS and Delta cvsR strains produced fewer symptoms than the wild type (WT) and demonstrated reduced growth on multiple hosts. We discovered that expression of cvsSR is induced by Ca2+ concentrations found in leaf apoplastic fluid. Thus, Ca2+ can be added to the list of signals that promote pathogenesis of P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 during host colonization. Through chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next-generation sequencing (ChIP-seq) and global transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq), we discerned the CvsR regulon. CvsR directly activated expression of the type III secretion system regulators, hrpR and hrpS, that regulate P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 virulence in a type III secretion system-dependent manner. CvsR also indirectly repressed transcription of the extracytoplasmic sigma factor algU and production of alginate. Phenotypic analysis determined that CvsSR inversely regulated biofilm formation, swarming motility, and cellulose production in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Overall, our results show that CvsSR is a key regulatory hub critical for interaction with host plants.


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  • Escherichia coli
  • Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae
  • Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato
  • Salmonella
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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