Global regulator MorA affects virulence-associated protease secretion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1

Ayshwarya Ravichandran, Malarmathy Ramachandran, Tanujaa Suriyanarayanan, Chui Ching Wong, Sanjay Swarup

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial invasion plays a critical role in the establishment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and is aided by two major virulence factors - surface appendages and secreted proteases. The second messenger cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is known to affect bacterial attachment to surfaces, biofilm formation and related virulence phenomena. Here we report that MorA, a global regulator with GGDEF and EAL domains that was previously reported to affect virulence factors, negatively regulates protease secretion via the type II secretion system (T2SS) in P. aeruginosa PAO1. Infection assays with mutant strains carrying gene deletion and domain mutants show that host cell invasion is dependent on the active domain function of MorA. Further investigations suggest that the MorA-mediated c-di-GMP signaling affects protease secretion largely at a post-translational level. We thus report c-di-GMP second messenger system as a novel regulator of T2SS function in P. aeruginosa. Given that T2SS is a central and constitutive pump, and the secreted proteases are involved in interactions with the microbial surroundings, our data broadens the significance of c-di-GMP signaling in P. aeruginosa pathogenesis and ecological fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0123805
Pages (from-to)1 - 17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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