RcsC is a hybrid histidine kinase that forms part of a phospho-relay signal transduction pathway with RcsD and RcsB. Besides the typical domains of a sensor kinase, i.e. the periplasmic (P), linker (L), dimerization and H-containing (A), and ATP-binding (B) domains, RcsC possesses a receiver domain (D) at the carboxy-terminal domain. To study the role played by each of the RcsC domains, four plasmids containing several of these domains were constructed (PLAB, LAB, AB and ABD) and transformed into K-12 strain BW25113. Different amounts of biofilm were produced, depending on the RcsC domains expressed: the plasmid expressing the ABD subdomains produced the highest amount of biofilm. This phenotype was also observed when the plasmids were transformed in a Δ strain. Biofilm formation was abolished in the and backgrounds. The results indicate the existence of a novel signalling pathway that depends on RcsC, yet independent of RcsD and RcsB, that activates the operon and, as a consequence, biofilm formation. This signalling pathway involves the secondary metabolite acetyl phosphate and the response regulator OmpR.


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