Previous studies have demonstrated that PAO1 is chemotactic towards proteinogenic amino acids, however, the chemotaxis response of this strain towards non-proteinogenic amino acids and the specific chemoreceptors involved in this response are essentially unknown. In this study, we analysed the chemotactic response of PAO1 towards two degradation products of elastin, the lysine-rich, non-proteinogenic amino acids, desmosine and isodesmosine. We observed that isodesmosine, a potential biomarker for different diseases, served as a chemoattractant for PAO1. A screen of 251methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins mutants of PAO1 identified PctA as the chemoreceptor for isodesmosine. We also showed that the positive chemotactic response to isodesmosine is potentially common by demonstrating chemoattraction in 12 of 15 diverse (in terms of source of isolation) clinical isolates, suggesting that the chemotactic response to this non-proteinogenic amino acid might be a conserved feature of acute infection isolates and thus could influence the colonization of potential infection sites.


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