Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major cause of nosocomial infections, particularly in immunocompromised patients or in individuals with cystic fibrosis. Genome sequences reveal that most P. aeruginosa strains contain a significant number of accessory genes gathered in genomic islands. Those genes are essential for P. aeruginosa to invade new ecological niches with high levels of antibiotic usage, like hospitals, or to survive during host infection by providing pathogenicity determinants. P. aeruginosa pathogenicity island 1 (PAPI-1), one of the largest genomic islands, encodes several putative virulence factors, including toxins, biofilm genes and antibiotic-resistance traits. The integrative and conjugative element (ICE) PAPI-1 is horizontally transferable by conjugation via a specialized GI-T4SS, but the mechanism regulating this transfer is currently unknown. Here, we show that this GI-T4SS conjugative machinery is directly induced by TprA, a regulator encoded within PAPI-1. Our data indicate that the nucleotide associated protein NdpA2 acts in synergy with TprA, removing a repressive mechanism exerted by MvaT. In addition, using a transcriptomic approach, we unravelled the regulon controlled by Ndpa2/TprA and showed that they act as major regulators on the genes belonging to PAPI-1. Moreover, TprA and NdpA2 trigger an atypical biofilm structure and enhance ICE PAPI-1 transfer.

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By Dangla-Pélissier G, Roux N, Schmidt V, Chambonnier G, Ba M, Sebban-Kreuzer C, de Bentzmann S, Giraud C, Bordi C

Published on October 18, 2021

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