Spatial Structure Formation by RsmE-Regulated Extracellular Secretions in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Bacteriology








biosurfactants, cell-cell interaction, extracellular matrix, mutational studies, variable phenotypes


Cells in microbial communities on surfaces live and divide in close proximity, which greatly enhances the potential for social interactions. Spatiogenetic structures are manifested through competitive and cooperative interactions among the same and different genotypes within a shared space, and extracellular secretions appear to function dynamically at the forefront. A previous experimental evolution study utilizing Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 colonies demonstrated that diverse mutations in the rsmE gene were repeatedly and exclusively selected through the formation of a dominant spatial structure. RsmE's primary molecular function is translation repression, and its homologs regulate various social and virulence phenotypes. Pseudomonas spp. possess multiple paralogs of Rsm proteins, and RsmA, RsmE, and RsmI are the most prevalent. Here, we demonstrate that the production of a mucoid polymer and a biosurfactant are exclusively regulated through RsmE, contradicting the generalized notion of functional redundancy among the Rsm paralogs. Furthermore, we identified the biosurfactant as the cyclic lipopeptide gacamide A. Competition and microscopy analyses showed that the mucoid polymer is solely responsible for creating a space of low cellular density, which is shared exclusively by the same genotype. Gacamide A and other RsmE-regulated products appear to establish a physical boundary that prevents the encroachment of the competing genotype into the newly created space. Although cyclic lipopeptides and other biosurfactants are best known for their antimicrobial properties and reducing surface tension to promote the spreading of cells on various surfaces, they also appear to help define spatial structure formation within a dense community.

Open Access

Green Final