Journal of Bacteriology
For Pseudomonas aeruginosa, levels of cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) govern the transition from the planktonic state to biofilm formation. Type IV pili (T4P) are crucial determinants of biofilm structure and dynamics, but it is unknown how levels of c-di-GMP affect pilus dynamics. Here, we scrutinized how c-di-GMP affects molecular motor properties and adhesive behavior of T4P. By means of retraction, T4P generated forces of ∼30 pN. Deletion mutants in the proteins with known roles in biofilm formation, swarming motility, and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production (specifically, the diguanylate cyclases sadC and roeA or the c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase bifA) showed only modest effects on velocity or force of T4P retraction. At high levels of c-di-GMP, the production of exopolysaccharides, particularly of Pel, is upregulated. We found that Pel production strongly enhances T4P-mediated surface adhesion of P. aeruginosa, suggesting that T4P-matrix interactions may be involved in biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa. Finally, our data support the previously proposed model of slingshot-like “twitching” motility of P. aeruginosa.
Ribbe, Jan; Baker, Amy E.; Euler, Sebastian; O'Toole, George A.; and Maier, Berenike, "Role of Cyclic Di-GMP and Exopolysaccharide in Type IV Pilus Dynamics" (2017). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 3176.