DOI: 10.1128/mbio.02474-23 ISSN: 2150-7511

A two-component system serves as a central hub for connecting energy metabolism and plasmid dissemination in bacteria

Tomoko Kubori
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


Mobile genetic elements such as conjugative plasmids play a key role in the acquisition of antibiotic resistance by pathogenic bacteria. Resistance genes on plasmids can be transferred between bacteria using specialized conjugation machinery. Acinetobacter baumannii , the most common bacterium associated with nosocomial infections, harbors a large conjugative plasmid that encodes a type IV secretion system (T4SS). Feng et al. recently found that the A. baumannii T4SS is specialized for plasmid transfer, suggesting that it may be involved in multidrug resistance (Z. Feng, L. Wang, Q. Guan, X. Chu, and Z.-Q. Luo , mBio e02276-23, 2023, ), T4SS-encoding genes are shown to be controlled by a versatile GacA/S two-component regulatory system. GacA/S is also found to regulate genes involved in central metabolism. The coordinated regulation of metabolism and plasmid conjugation may be a bacterial strategy for adapting to selective pressure from antibiotics.

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