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The opportunistic human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii senses and responds to light.

Mussi MA, Gaddy JA, Cabruja M, Arivett BA, Viale AM, Rasia R, Actis LA
J Bacteriol. 2010 192 (24): 6336-45

PMID: 20889755 · PMCID: PMC3008525 · DOI:10.1128/JB.00917-10

Light is a ubiquitous environmental signal that many organisms sense and respond to by modulating their physiological responses accordingly. While this is an expected response among phototrophic microorganisms, the ability of chemotrophic prokaryotes to sense and react to light has become a puzzling and novel issue in bacterial physiology, particularly among bacterial pathogens. In this work, we show that the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii senses and responds to blue light. Motility and formation of biofilms and pellicles were observed only when bacterial cells were incubated in darkness. In contrast, the killing of Candida albicans filaments was enhanced when they were cocultured with bacteria under light. These bacterial responses depend on the expression of the A. baumannii ATCC 17978 A1S_2225 gene, which codes for an 18.6-kDa protein that contains an N-terminal blue-light-sensing-using flavin (BLUF) domain and lacks a detectable output domain(s). Spectral analyses of the purified recombinant protein showed its ability to sense light by a red shift upon illumination. Therefore, the A1S_2225 gene, which is present in several members of the Acinetobacter genus, was named blue-light-sensing A (blsA). Interestingly, temperature plays a role in the ability of A. baumannii to sense and respond to light via the BlsA photoreceptor protein.

MeSH Terms (12)

Acinetobacter baumannii Amino Acid Sequence Bacterial Proteins Biofilms Color Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial Humans Light Photoreceptors, Microbial Phototropism Protein Structure, Tertiary Temperature

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