Serine hydroxymethyltransferase ShrA (PA2444) controls rugose small-colony variant formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Mingming Pu, Lili Sheng, Sooyeon Song, Ting Gong, Thomas K. Wood

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11 Scopus citations


Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes many biofilm infections, and the rugose small-colony variants (RSCVs) of this bacterium are important for infection. We found here that inactivation of PA2444, which we determined to be a serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), leads to the RSCV phenotype of P. aeruginosa PA14. In addition, loss of PA2444 increases biofilm formation by two orders of magnitude, increases exopolysaccharide by 45-fold, and abolishes swarming. The RSCV phenotype is related to higher cyclic diguanylate concentrations due to increased activity of the Wsp chemosensory system, including diguanylate cyclase WspR. By characterizing the PA2444 enzyme in vitro, we determined the physiological function of PA2444 protein by relating it to S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) concentrations and methylation of a membrane bound methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein WspA. A whole transcriptome analysis also revealed PA2444 is related to the redox state of the cells, and the altered redox state was demonstrated by an increase in the intracellular NADH/NAD+ ratio. Hence, we provide a mechanism for how an enzyme of central metabolism controls the community behavior of the bacterium, and suggest the PA2444 protein should be named ShrA for serine hydroxymethyltransferase related to rugose colony formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number315
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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