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Gene expression patterns and differential input into curli fimbriae regulation of all GGDEF/EAL domain proteins in Escherichia coli.

Sommerfeldt N., Possling A., Becker G., Pesavento C., Tschowri N., Hengge R.

Switching from the motile planktonic bacterial lifestyle to a biofilm existence is stimulated by the signalling molecule bis-(3'-5')-cyclic-diguanosine monophosphate (cyclic-di-GMP), which is antagonistically controlled by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs; characterized by GGDEF domains) and specific phosphodiesterases (PDEs; mostly featuring EAL domains). Here, we present the expression patterns of all 28 genes that encode GGDEF/EAL domain proteins in Escherichia coli K-12. Twenty-one genes are expressed in Luria-Bertani medium, with 15 being under sigma(S) control. While a small subset of GGDEF/EAL proteins (YeaJ and YhjH) is dominant and modulates motility in post-exponentially growing cells, a diverse battery of GGDEF/EAL proteins is deployed during entry into stationary phase, especially in cells grown at reduced temperature (28 degrees C). This suggests that multiple signal input into cyclic-di-GMP control is particularly important in growth-restricted cells in an extra-host environment. Six GGDEF/EAL genes differentially control the expression of adhesive curli fimbriae. Besides the previously described ydaM, yciR, yegE and yhjH genes, these are yhdA (csrD), which stimulates the expression of the DGC YdaM and the major curli regulator CsgD, and yeaP, which contributes to expression of the curli structural operon csgBAC. Finally, we discuss why other GGDEF/EAL domain-encoding genes, despite being expressed, do not influence motility and/or curli formation.

Microbiology 155:1318-1331(2009) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]