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Summary

In Pseudomonas aeruginosa carbon catabolite repression (CCR) is exerted by the CbrA/B-CrcZ-Crc global regulatory system. Crc is a translational repressor that, in the presence of preferred carbon sources, such as C4-dicarboxylates, impairs the utilization of less preferred substrates. When non-preferred substrates are present, the CrcZ sRNA levels increase leading to Crc capture, thereby allowing growth of the bacterium at the expense of the non-preferred substrates. The C4-dicarboxylate transport (Dct) system in P. aeruginosa is composed of two main transporters: DctA, more efficient at mM succinate concentrations, and DctPQM, more important at μM. In this study, we demonstrate that the Dct transporters are differentially regulated by Crc, depending on the concentration of succinate. At high concentrations, Crc positively regulates the expression of the dctA transporter gene and negatively regulates dctPQM post-transcriptionally. The activation of dctA is explained by a Crc-mediated repression of dctR, encoding a transcriptional repressor of dctA. At low succinate concentrations, Crc regulation is impaired. In this condition, CrcZ levels are higher and therefore more Crc proteins are sequestered, decreasing the amount of Crc available to perform CCR on dctR and dctPQM. As a result, expression of dctA is reduced and that of dctPQM is increased.