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Vibrio cholerae VpsT Regulates Matrix Production and Motility by Directly Sensing Cyclic di-GMP

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Science  12 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5967, pp. 866-868
DOI: 10.1126/science.1181185

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Decoding a Second-Messenger's Message

Biofilms are aggregates of bacteria on a surface often associated with increased resistance to antibiotics and stress. In Vibrio cholerae, the bacterial species that causes cholera, biofilm formation is promoted by the bacterial second-messenger cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) and involves the transcription regulator, VpsT. Krasteva et al. (p. 866) show that VpsT is itself a receptor for c-di-GMP and that binding of the small signaling molecule promotes VpsT dimerization, which is required for DNA recognition and transcriptional regulation. As well as activating components of the biofilm pathway, VpsT also down-regulates motility genes in a c-di-GMP–dependent manner.

Abstract

Microorganisms can switch from a planktonic, free-swimming life-style to a sessile, colonial state, called a biofilm, which confers resistance to environmental stress. Conversion between the motile and biofilm life-styles has been attributed to increased levels of the prokaryotic second messenger cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP), yet the signaling mechanisms mediating such a global switch are poorly understood. Here we show that the transcriptional regulator VpsT from Vibrio cholerae directly senses c-di-GMP to inversely control extracellular matrix production and motility, which identifies VpsT as a master regulator for biofilm formation. Rather than being regulated by phosphorylation, VpsT undergoes a change in oligomerization on c-di-GMP binding.

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