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Pseudomonas aeruginosa AlgB, a two-component response regulator of the NtrC family, is required for algD transcription.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


Most strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from the respiratory tracts of cystic fibrosis patients have a mucoid colony morphology due to the synthesis of an expolysaccharide called alginate. The algB gene product (AlgB) is necessary for the high-level production of alginate in mucoid P. aeruginosa. In this study, AlgB was shown to be involved in the transcription of algD, a gene previously demonstrated to be activated in mucoid P. aeruginosa. In vitro and in vivo expression studies reveal that algB encodes a protein with a molecular size of 49 kDa. The DNA sequence of a 2.2-kb P. aeruginosa fragment containing algB was also determined. The amino-terminal domain of AlgB was found to be conserved with the amino-terminal domains of the response regulator class of two-component regulatory proteins. The central domain of AlgB has sequences highly conserved with those in the NtrC subfamily of transcriptional activators (NtrC, NifA, HydG, DctD, FlbD, TyrR, and PgtA). The central domain of AlgB also contains a potential nucleotide binding site. AlgB is the first NtrC homolog described from P. aeruginosa. At the carboxy terminus of AlgB, a helix-turn-helix motif was observed, suggesting that AlgB is a DNA-binding protein. The strongly conserved NtrC-like central domain of AlgB is not present in AlgR, another alginate response regulator. This study therefore identifies and characterizes the second of at least two unique response regulators used by P. aeruginosa to control alginate gene expression.

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