Through the eyes of a pathogen: light perception and signal transduction in Acinetobacter baumannii
Sunlight is a ubiquitous environmental stimulus for the great majority of living organisms on Earth; therefore it is logical to expect the development of “seeing mechanisms” which lead them to successfully adapt to particular ecological niches. Although these mechanisms were recognized in photosynthetic organisms, it was not until recent years that the scientific community found out about light perception in chemotrophic ones. In this review we summarize the current knowledge about the mechanism of light sensing through the blue light receptor BlsA in Acinetobacter baumannii. We highlight its function as a global regulator that pleiotropically modulates a large number of physiological processes, many of which are linked to the ability of this opportunist pathogen to persist in adverse intrahospital environments. Moreover, we describe with some specific examples the molecular basis of how this photoregulator senses blue light and translates this physical signal by modulating gene expression of target regulons. Finally, we discuss the possible course of these investigations needed to dissect this complex regulatory network, which ultimately will help us better understand the A. baumannii physiology.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 Perspective article collection