ColRS two-component system prevents lysis of subpopulation of glucose-grown Pseudomonas putida

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SummaryColRS two-component system is well conserved in pseudomonads, but its exact role has remained obscure. Here, we report that Pseudomonas putida deficient in ColR experiences serious carbon source-specific stress that leads to the lysis of a subpopulation of bacteria growing on solid glucose medium. We observed that on glucose medium colR-deficient bacteria aggregated, produced a Congo Red-binding substance and had enhanced membrane permeability. Detection of a large amount of cytoplasmic β-galactosidase and other proteins as well as chromosomal DNA in the growth medium of a colR mutant indicated that cell lysis took place if ColR was absent. Investigation of colony morphology revealed concavities in the centre of the colonies of colR mutant suggesting that cell lysis occurred mainly in the areas of the highest cell density. Analysis of bacteria at a single cell level by flow cytometry showed that population of glucose-grown colR-deficient cells was heterogeneous. In addition to the wild type-like population, we detected a subpopulation of cells with damaged membrane permeable to propidium iodide. Interestingly, inactivation of oprB1 encoding a glucose porin eliminated the cell lysis as well as autoaggregation and membrane leakiness of a colR mutant indicating that glucose influx could be responsible for membrane stress in the absence of ColRS system.

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