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    Light is known to trigger regulatory responses in diverse organisms, including slime molds, animals, plants, and phototrophic bacteria. However, light-dependent processes in nonphototrophic bacteria, and those of pathogens in particular, have received comparatively little research attention. In this study, we examined the impact of light on multicellular development in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a leading cause of biofilm-based bacterial infections. We grew P. aeruginosa strain PA14 in a colony morphology assay and found that growth under prolonged exposure to low-intensity blue light inhibited biofilm matrix production and thereby the formation of vertical biofilm structures (i.e., "wrinkles"). Light-dependent inhibition of biofilm wrinkling was correlated with low levels of cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP), consistent with the role of this signal in stimulating matrix production. A screen of enzymes with the potential to catalyze c-di-GMP synthesis or degradation identified c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases that contribute to light-dependent inhibition of biofilm wrinkling. One of these, RmcA, was previously characterized by our group for its role in mediating the effect of redox-active P. aeruginosa metabolites called phenazines on biofilm wrinkle formation. Our results suggest that an RmcA sensory domain that is predicted to bind a flavin cofactor is involved in light-dependent inhibition of wrinkling. Together, these findings indicate that P. aeruginosa integrates information about light exposure and redox state in its regulation of biofilm development.IMPORTANCE Light exposure tunes circadian rhythms, which modulate the immune response and affect susceptibility to infection in plants and animals. Though molecular responses to light are defined for model plant and animal hosts, analogous pathways that function in bacterial pathogens are understudied. We examined the response to light exposure in biofilms (matrix-encased multicellular assemblages) of the nonphotosynthetic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa We found that light at intensities that are not harmful to human cells inhibited biofilm maturation via effects on cellular signals. Because biofilm formation is a critical factor in many types of P. aeruginosa infections, including burn wound infections that may be exposed to light, these effects could be relevant for pathogenicity. Copyright © 2020 American Society for Microbiology.


    Lisa Juliane Kahl, Alexa Price-Whelan, Lars E P Dietrich. Light-Mediated Decreases in Cyclic di-GMP Levels Inhibit Structure Formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms. Journal of bacteriology. 2020 Jun 25;202(14)

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    PMID: 32366589

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