Identifying the suite of genes central to swimming in the biocontrol bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5

B. K. Fabian, C. Foster, A. Asher, K. A. Hassan, I. T. Paulsen*, S. G. Tetu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Swimming motility is a key bacterial trait, important to success in many niches. Biocontrol bacteria, such as Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5, are increasingly used in agriculture to control crop diseases, where motility is important for colonization of the plant rhizosphere. Swimming motility typically involves a suite of flagella and chemotaxis genes, but the specific gene set employed for both regulation and biogenesis can differ substantially between organisms. Here we used transposon-directed insertion site sequencing (TraDIS), a genome-wide approach, to identify 249 genes involved in P. protegens Pf-5 swimming motility. In addition to the expected flagella and chemotaxis, we also identified a suite of additional genes important for swim-ming, including genes related to peptidoglycan turnover, O-antigen biosynthesis, cell division, signal transduction, c-di-GMP turnover and phosphate transport, and 27 conserved hypothetical proteins. Gene knockout mutants and TraDIS data suggest that defects in the Pst phosphate transport system lead to enhanced swimming motility. Overall, this study expands our knowledge of pseudomonad motility and highlights the utility of a TraDIS-based approach for analysing the functions of thousands of genes. This work sets a foundation for understanding how swimming motility may be related to the inconsistency in biocontrol bacteria performance in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001212
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2024. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • biocontrol
  • motility
  • plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria
  • swimming
  • TraDIS
  • transposon insertion sequencing


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