SawR a new regulator controlling pyomelanin synthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) were previously shown to inhibit biofilm formation, increase bacterial susceptibility to antibiotic treatment and alter the transcription pattern of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here we characterize one gene, sawR (PA3133), that is highly overexpressed when P. aeruginosa is exposed to SAW. SawR is a putative transcription factor belonging to the TetR regulator family. When overexpressed sawR causes numerous phenotypes, including the accumulation of a brown pigment which we identified as pyomelanin. In this study we describe how sawR regulates pyomelanin synthesis. We show that sawR down-regulates the expression levels of hmgA and this causes the accumulation of homogentisic acid which in turn undergoes oxidation and polymerization to pyomelanin. Using bioinformatics, we were able to identify a specific amino acid, arginine 23, which is found within the sawR DNA binding domain and is crucial for its regulatory activity. Our results indicate that sawR does not affect any other genes in the phenylalanine/tyrosine metabolic pathway and its repressive ability on hmgA is not mediated by the hmgA repressor PA2010 (i.e. hmgR). Taken together, our results shed light on the regulatory cascade controlling pyomelanin synthesis and uncover yet another unknown regulator involved in its regulation.