Kin cell lysis is a danger signal that activates antibacterial pathways of pseudomonas aeruginosa

Michele LeRoux, Robin L. Kirkpatrick, Elena I. Montauti, Bao Q. Tran, S. Brook Peterson, Brittany N. Harding, John C. Whitney, Alistair B. Russell, Beth Traxler, Young A h Goo, David R. Goodlett, Paul A. Wiggins, Joseph D. Mougous*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The perception and response to cellular death is an important aspect of multicellular eukaryotic life. For example, damage-associated molecular patterns activate an inflammatory cascade that leads to the removal of cellular debris and the promotion ofhealing. Here we demonstrate that lysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells triggers a program in the remaining population that confers fitness in interspecies co-culture. We find that this program, termed P. aeruginosa response to antagonism (PARA), involves rapid deployment of antibacterial factors and is mediated by the Gac/Rsm posttranscriptional global regulatory pathway. Type VI secretion, and, unexpectedly, conjugative type IV secretion within competing bacteria, induce P. aeruginosa lysis and activate PARA, thus providing a mechanism for the enhanced capacity of P. aeruginosa to target bacteria that elaborate these factors. Our finding that bacteria sense damaged kin and respond via a widely distributed pathway to mount a complex response raises the possibility that danger sensing is an evolutionarily conserved process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere05701
Pages (from-to)1-65
Number of pages65
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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