Cyclic AMP-Independent Control of Twitching Motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Journal Articles uri icon

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  • ABSTRACT FimV is a Pseudomonas aeruginosa inner membrane hub protein that modulates levels of the second messenger, cyclic AMP (cAMP), through the activation of adenylate cyclase CyaB. Although type IVa pilus (T4aP)-dependent twitching motility is modulated by cAMP levels, mutants lacking FimV are twitching impaired, even when exogenous cAMP is provided. Here we further define FimV's cAMP-dependent and -independent regulation of twitching. We confirmed that the response regulator of the T4aP-associated Chp chemotaxis system, PilG, requires both FimV and the CyaB regulator, FimL, to activate CyaB. However, in cAMP-replete backgrounds—lacking the cAMP phosphodiesterase CpdA or the CheY-like protein PilH or expressing constitutively active CyaB— pilG and fimV mutants failed to twitch. Both cytoplasmic and periplasmic domains of FimV were important for its cAMP-dependent and -independent roles, while its septal peptidoglycan-targeting LysM motif was required only for twitching motility. Polar localization of the sensor kinase PilS, a key regulator of transcription of the major pilin, was FimV dependent. However, unlike its homologues in other species that localize flagellar system components, FimV was not required for swimming motility. These data provide further evidence to support FimV's role as a key hub protein that coordinates the polar localization and function of multiple structural and regulatory proteins involved in P. aeruginosa twitching motility. IMPORTANCE Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a serious opportunistic pathogen. Type IVa pili (T4aP) are important for its virulence, because they mediate dissemination and invasion via twitching motility and are involved in surface sensing, which modulates pathogenicity via changes in cAMP levels. Here we show that the hub protein FimV and the response regulator of the Chp system, PilG, regulate twitching independently of their roles in the modulation of cAMP synthesis. These functions do not require the putative scaffold protein FimL, proposed to link PilG with FimV. PilG may regulate asymmetric functioning of the T4aP system to allow for directional movement, while FimV appears to localize both structural and regulatory elements—including the PilSR two-component system—to cell poles for optimal function.


  • Buensuceso, Ryan NC
  • Daniel-Ivad, Martin
  • Kilmury, Sara LN
  • Leighton, Tiffany L
  • Harvey, Hanjeong
  • Howell, P Lynne
  • Burrows, Lori

publication date

  • August 15, 2017