Phenazines are bacterial secondary metabolites and play important roles in the antagonistic activity of the biological control strain P. chlororaphis 30-84 against take-all disease of wheat. The expression of the P. chlororaphis 30-84 phenazine biosynthetic operon (phzXYFABCD) is dependent on the PhzR/PhzI quorum sensing system located immediately upstream of the biosynthetic operon as well as other regulatory systems including Gac/Rsm. Bioinformatic analysis of the sequence between the divergently oriented phzR and phzX promoters identified features within the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of phzX that are conserved only among 2OHPCA producing Pseudomonas. The conserved sequence features are potentially capable of producing secondary structures that negatively modulate one or both promoters. Transcriptional and translational fusion assays revealed that deletion of 90-bp of sequence at the 5'-UTR of phzX led to up to 4-fold greater expression of the reporters with the deletion compared to the controls, which indicated this sequence negatively modulates phenazine gene expression both transcriptionally and translationally. This 90-bp sequence was deleted from the P. chlororaphis 30-84 chromosome, resulting in 30-84Enh, which produces significantly more phenazine than the wild-type while retaining quorum sensing control. The transcriptional expression of phzR/phzI and amount of AHL signal produced by 30-84Enh also were significantly greater than for the wild-type, suggesting this 90-bp sequence also negatively affects expression of the quorum sensing genes. In addition, deletion of the 90-bp partially relieved RsmE-mediated translational repression, indicating a role for Gac/RsmE interaction. Compared to the wild-type, enhanced phenazine production by 30-84Enh resulted in improvement in fungal inhibition, biofilm formation, extracellular DNA release and suppression of take-all disease of wheat in soil without negative consequences on growth or rhizosphere persistence. This work provides greater insight into the regulation of phenazine biosynthesis with potential applications for improved biological control.
- 5' Untranslated RegionsConserved SequenceGene Expression Regulation, BacterialOperonPhenazinesPromoter Regions, GeneticProtein BiosynthesisPseudomonas ChlororaphisQuorum SensingTranscription, Genetic