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A novel cyanide-inducible gene cluster helps protect Pseudomonas aeruginosa from cyanide

Authors

  • Emanuela Frangipani,

    Corresponding author
    1. Département de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dipartimento di Scienze, Università Roma Tre, Roma, Italy
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  • Isabel Pérez-Martínez,

    1. Département de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Area de Genetica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain
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  • Huw D. Williams,

    1. Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
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  • Gaëtan Cherbuin,

    1. Département de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
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  • Dieter Haas

    1. Département de Microbiologie Fondamentale, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
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Summary

Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces the toxic secondary metabolite hydrogen cyanide (HCN) at high cell population densities and low aeration. Here, we investigated the impact of HCN as a signal in cell-cell communication by comparing the transcriptome of the wild-type strain PAO1 to that of an HCN-negative mutant under cyanogenic conditions. HCN repressed four genes and induced 12 genes. While the individual functions of these genes are unknown, with one exception (i.e. a ferredoxin-dependent reductase), a highly inducible six-gene cluster (PA4129-PA4134) was found to be crucial for protection of P. aeruginosa from external HCN intoxication. A double mutant deleted for PA4129-PA4134 and cioAB (encoding cyanide-insensitive oxidase) did not grow with 100 μM KCN, whereas the corresponding single mutants were essentially unaffected, suggesting a synergistic action of the PA4129-PA4134 gene products and cyanide-insensitive oxidase.

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