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Summary

Cyclic-diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a widespread bacterial signal molecule that plays a major role in the modulation of cellular surface components, such as exopolysaccharides and fimbriae, and in the establishment of a sessile life style. Here, we report that intracellular c-di-GMP levels influence cupA-encoded fimbriae expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In an autoaggregative P. aeruginosa small colony variant (SCV) CupA fimbriae and the intracellular c-di-GMP concentration were found to be enhanced as compared with the clonal wild-type. The SCV morphology and the expression of CupA fimbriae were dependent on a functional PA1120 and morA gene both encoding a GGDEF domain. Overexpression of the GGDEF domain protein PA1120 complemented the PA1120 and the morA mutant with respect to CupA fimbriae expression. In agreement with these findings, overexpression of the EAL domain containing phenotypic variance regulator (PvrR) in the SCV resulted in a decreased intracellular level of c-di-GMP, a reduced cupA fimbriae expression and a switch to wild-type colony morphology.