• Journal Article

Evidence that Ralstonia eutropha (Alcaligenes eutrophus) contains a functional homologue of the Ralstonia solanacearum Phc cell density sensing system

Citation

Garg, R. P., Yindeeyoungyeon, W., Gilis, A., Denny, T. P., van der Lelie, D., & Schell, M. A. (2000). Evidence that Ralstonia eutropha (Alcaligenes eutrophus) contains a functional homologue of the Ralstonia solanacearum Phc cell density sensing system. Molecular Microbiology, 38(2), 359-367.

Abstract

In the phytopathogen Ralstonia (Pseudomonas) solanacearum, control of many virulence genes is partly mediated by the Phc cell density sensing system. Phc uses a novel self-produced signal molecule [3-hydroxypalmitic acid methyl ester (3-OH PAME)], an atypical two-component system (PhcS/PhcR), and a LysR-type activator (PhcA) to regulate a reversible switching between two different physiological states. While Phc is present in most R. solanacearum strains, it is apparently absent from other pseudomonad plant pathogens and prokaryotic genomes that have been sequenced. Here, we report discovery of a phcA orthologue in the non-pathogenic, facultative chemolithoautotroph Ralstonia eutropha (Alcaligenes eutrophus) that fully complements R. solanacearum phcA mutants. We also demonstrate that some R. eutropha produce an extracellular factor that complements R. solanacearum mutants deficient in production of the 3-OH PAME signal molecule that controls phcA. Additionally, Southern blot hybridization analysis suggested that R. eutropha harbours other Phc components, such as PhcB (a biosynthetic enzyme for 3-OH PAME) and PhcS (a 3-OH PAME-responsive sensor kinase). Analysis of a phcA-null mutant of R. eutropha showed that phcA (and probably Phc) positively activates motility, in contrast to R. solanacearum where it represses motility. Similarly, the R. eutropha phcA mutant was unaffected in siderophore production, whereas inactivation of phcA in R. solanacearum increases siderophore production. Although our data strongly suggest that R. eutropha has a functional Phc-like system and support the phylogeny of Ralstonia, it implies that Phc may have a different physiological and ecological function in R. eutropha