Negative regulation of germination-arrest factor production in Pseudomonas fluorescens WH6 by a putative extracytoplasmic function sigma factor

Rachel A. Okrent, Anne B. Halgren, Mark D. Azevedo, Jeff H. Chang, Jeff H. Chang, Dallice I. Mills, Maciej Maselko, Donald J. Armstrong, Gary M. Banowetz, Kristin M. Trippe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas fluorescens WH6 secretes a germination-arrest factor (GAF) that we have identified previously as 4-formylaminooxyvinylglycine. GAF irreversibly inhibits germination of the seeds of numerous grassy weeds and selectively inhibits growth of the bacterial plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora. WH6-3, a mutant that has lost the ability to produce GAF, contains a Tn5 insertion in prtR, a gene that has been described previously in some strains of P. fluorescens as encoding a transmembrane regulator. As in these other pseudomonads, in WH6, prtR occurs immediately downstream of prtI, which encodes a protein homologous to extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors. These two genes have been proposed to function as a dicistronic operon. In this study, we demonstrated that deletion of prtI in WT WH6 had no effect on GAF production. However, deletion of prtI in the WH6-3 mutant overcame the effects of the Tn5 insertion in prtR and restored GAF production in the resulting double mutant. Complementation of the double prtIR mutant with prtI suppressed GAF production. This overall pattern of prtIR regulation was also observed for the activity of an AprX protease. Furthermore, reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that alterations in GAF production were mirrored by changes in the transcription of two putative GAF biosynthetic genes. Thus, we concluded that PrtI exerted a negative regulatory effect on GAF production, although the mechanism has not yet been determined. In addition, evidence was obtained that the transcription of prtI and prtR in WH6 may be more complex than predicted by existing models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number080317
Pages (from-to)2432-2442
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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