Image_6_Hfq-Assisted RsmA Regulation Is Central to Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Polysaccharide PEL Expression.TIF
To appropriately switch between sessile and motile lifestyles, bacteria control expression of biofilm-associated genes through multiple regulatory elements. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the post-transcriptional regulator RsmA has been implicated in the control of various genes including those related to biofilms, but much of the evidence for these links is limited to transcriptomic and phenotypic studies. RsmA binds to target mRNAs to modulate translation by affecting ribosomal access and/or mRNA stability. Here, we trace a global regulatory role of RsmA to inhibition of the expression of Vfr—a transcription factor that inhibits transcriptional regulator FleQ. FleQ directly controls biofilm-associated genes that encode the PEL polysaccharide biosynthesis machinery. Furthermore, we show that RsmA alone cannot bind vfr mRNA but requires the assistance of RNA chaperone protein Hfq. This is the first example where a RsmA protein family member requires another protein for binding to its target RNA.