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Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Bacteriology


Geisel School of Medicine


The second messenger cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is an important regulator of motility in many bacterial species. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, elevated levels of c-di-GMP promote biofilm formation and repress flagellum-driven swarming motility. The rotation of P. aeruginosa's polar flagellum is controlled by two distinct stator complexes, MotAB, which cannot support swarming motility, and MotCD, which promotes swarming motility. Here we show that when c-di-GMP levels are elevated, swarming motility is repressed by the PilZ domain-containing protein FlgZ and by Pel polysaccharide production. We demonstrate that FlgZ interacts specifically with the motility-promoting stator protein MotC in a c-di-GMP-dependent manner and that a functional green fluorescent protein (GFP)-FlgZ fusion protein shows significantly reduced polar localization in a strain lacking the MotCD stator. Our results establish FlgZ as a c-di-GMP receptor affecting swarming motility by P. aeruginosa and support a model wherein c-di-GMP-bound FlgZ impedes motility via its interaction with the MotCD stator.