Integrated activities of two alternative sigma factors coordinate iron acquisition and uptake by Pseudomonas aeruginosa Academic Article uri icon


  • Alternative sigma (σ) factors govern expression of bacterial genes in response to diverse environmental signals. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa σPvdS directs expression of genes for production of a siderophore, pyoverdine, as well as a toxin and a protease. σFpvI directs expression of a receptor for ferripyoverdine import. Expression of the genes encoding σPvdS and σFpvI is iron-regulated and an antisigma protein, FpvR20 , post-translationally controls the activities of the sigma factors in response to the amount of ferripyoverdine present. Here we show that iron represses synthesis of σPvdS to a far greater extent than σFpvI . In contrast ferripyoverdine exerts similar effects on the activities of both sigma factors. Using a combination of in vivo and in vitro assays we show that σFpvI and σPvdS have comparable affinities for, and are equally inhibited by, FpvR20 . Importantly, in the absence of ferripyoverdine the amount of FpvR20 per cell is lower than the amount of σFpvI and σPvdS , allowing basal expression of target genes that is required to activate the signalling pathway when ferripyoverdine is present. This complex interplay of transcriptional and post-translational regulation enables a co-ordinated response to ferripyoverdine but distinct responses to iron.

publication date

  • 2017