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ppGpp Controlled by the Gac/Rsm Regulatory Pathway Sustains Biocontrol Activity in Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0

November 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  11
Pages  1,440 - 1,449

Kasumi Takeuchi,1 Kosumi Yamada,2 and Dieter Haas3

1Division of Plant Sciences, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, 2-1-2 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan; 2Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan; 3Département de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

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Accepted 8 July 2012.

In Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0 and other fluorescent pseudomonads, the Gac/Rsm signal transduction pathway is instrumental for secondary metabolism and biocontrol of root pathogens via the expression of regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs). Furthermore, in strain CHA0, an imbalance in the Krebs cycle can affect the strain's ability to produce extracellular secondary metabolites, including biocontrol factors. Here, we report the metabolome of wild-type CHA0, a gacA-negative mutant, which has lost Gac/Rsm activities, and a retS-negative mutant, which shows strongly enhanced Gac/Rsm-dependent activities. Capillary electrophoresis-based metabolomic profiling revealed that the gacA and retS mutations had opposite effects on the intracellular levels of a number of central metabolites, suggesting that the Gac/Rsm pathway regulates not only secondary metabolism but also primary metabolism in strain CHA0. Among the regulated metabolites identified, the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp) was characterized in detail by the construction of relA (for ppGpp synthase) and spoT (for ppGpp synthase/hydrolase) deletion mutants. In a relA spoT double mutant, ppGpp synthesis was completely abolished, the expression of Rsm sRNAs was attenuated, and physiological functions such as antibiotic production, root colonization, and plant protection were markedly diminished. Thus, ppGpp appears to be essential for sustaining epiphytic fitness and biocontrol activity of strain CHA0.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society