Rossi RM, Yum L, Agaisse H, Payne SM. Cardiolipin Synthesis and Outer Membrane Localization Are Required for Shigella flexneri Virulence. mBio [Internet]. 8 (4). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Cardiolipin, an anionic phospholipid that resides at the poles of the inner and outer membranes, is synthesized primarily by the putative cardiolipin synthase ClsA in Shigella flexneri. An S. flexneri clsA mutant had no cardiolipin detected within its membrane, grew normally in vitro, and invaded cultured epithelial cells, but it failed to form plaques in epithelial cell monolayers, indicating that cardiolipin is required for virulence. The clsA mutant was initially motile within the host cell cytoplasm but formed filaments and lost motility during replication and failed to spread efficiently to neighboring cells. Mutation of pbgA, which encodes the transporter for cardiolipin from the inner membrane to the outer membrane, also resulted in loss of plaque formation. The S. flexneri pbgA mutant had normal levels of cardiolipin in the inner membrane, but no cardiolipin was detected in the outer membrane. The pbgA mutant invaded and replicated normally within cultured epithelial cells but failed to localize the actin polymerization protein IcsA properly on the bacterial surface and was unable to spread to neighboring cells. The clsA mutant, but not the pbgA mutant, had increased phosphatidylglycerol in the outer membrane. This appeared to compensate partially for the loss of cardiolipin in the outer membrane, allowing some IcsA localization in the outer membrane of the clsA mutant. We propose a dual function for cardiolipin in S. flexneri pathogenesis. In the inner membrane, cardiolipin is essential for proper cell division during intracellular growth. In the outer membrane, cardiolipin facilitates proper presentation of IcsA on the bacterial surface.
Peng ED, Payne SM. Vibrio cholerae VciB Mediates Iron Reduction. Journal of Bacteriology [Internet]. 199 (12). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of the severe diarrheal disease cholera. V. cholerae thrives within the human host, where it replicates to high numbers, but it also persists within the aquatic environments of ocean and brackish water. To survive within these nutritionally diverse environments, V. cholerae must encode the necessary tools to acquire the essential nutrient iron in all forms it may encounter. A prior study of systems involved in iron transport in V. choleraerevealed the existence of vciB, which, while unable to directly transport iron, stimulates the transport of iron through ferrous (Fe2+) iron transport systems. We demonstrate here a role for VciB in V. cholerae in which VciB stimulates the reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+, which can be subsequently transported into the cell with the ferrous iron transporter Feo. Iron reduction is independent of functional iron transport but is associated with the electron transport chain. Comparative analysis of VciB orthologs suggests a similar role for other proteins in the VciB family. Our data indicate that VciB is a dimer located in the inner membrane with three transmembrane segments and a large periplasmic loop. Directed mutagenesis of the protein reveals two highly conserved histidine residues required for function. Taken together, our results support a model whereby VciB reduces ferric iron using energy from the electron transport chain.
Stevenson B, Wyckoff EE, Payne SM. Vibrio cholerae FeoA, FeoB, and FeoC Interact To Form a Complex. Journal of Bacteriology [Internet]. 198 (7). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Feo is the major ferrous iron transport system in prokaryotes. Despite having been discovered over 25 years ago and found to be widely distributed among bacteria, Feo is poorly understood, as its structure and mechanism of iron transport have not been determined. The feo operon in Vibrio cholerae is made up of three genes, encoding the FeoA, FeoB, and FeoC proteins, which are all required for Feo system function. FeoA and FeoC are both small cytoplasmic proteins, and their function remains unclear. FeoB, which is thought to function as a ferrous iron permease, is a large integral membrane protein made up of an N-terminal GTPase domain and a C-terminal membrane-spanning region. To date, structural studies of FeoB have been carried out using a truncated form of the protein encompassing only the N-terminal GTPase region. In this report, we show that full-length FeoB forms higher-order complexes when cross-linked in vivo in V. cholerae. Our analysis of these complexes revealed that FeoB can simultaneously associate with both FeoA and FeoC to form a large complex, an observation that has not been reported previously. We demonstrate that interactions between FeoB and FeoA, but not between FeoB and FeoC, are required for complex formation. Additionally, we identify amino acid residues in the GTPase region of FeoB that are required for function of the Feo system and for complex formation. These observations suggest that this large Feo complex may be the active form of Feo that is used for ferrous iron transport.
Fisher CR, Wyckoff EE, Peng ED, Payne SM. Identification and Characterization of a Putative Manganese Export Protein in Vibrio cholerae. Journal of Bacteriology [Internet]. 198 (20). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Manganese plays an important role in the cellular physiology and metabolism of bacterial species, including the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae. The intracellular level of manganese ions is controlled through coordinated regulation of the import and export of this element. We have identified a putative manganese exporter (VC0022), named mneA (manganese exporter A), which is highly conserved among Vibrio spp. An mneA mutant exhibited sensitivity to manganese but not to other cations. Under high-manganese conditions, the mneA mutant showed an almost 50-fold increase in intracellular manganese levels and reduced intracellular iron relative to those of its wild-type parent, suggesting that the mutant's manganese sensitivity is due to the accumulation of toxic levels of manganese and reduced iron. Expression of mneA suppressed the manganese-sensitive phenotype of an Escherichia coli strain carrying a mutation in the nonhomologous manganese export gene, mntP, further supporting a manganese export function for V. cholerae MneA. The level of mneA mRNA was induced approximately 2.5-fold after addition of manganese to the medium, indicating regulation of this gene by manganese. This study offers the first insights into understanding manganese homeostasis in this important pathogen.
Kazi MI, Conrado AR, Mey AR, Payne SM, Davies BW. ToxR Antagonizes H-NS Regulation of Horizontally Acquired Genes to Drive Host Colonization. PLoS Pathogens [Internet]. 12 (4). Publisher's VersionAbstract
The virulence regulator ToxR initiates and coordinates gene expression needed by Vibrio cholerae to colonize the small intestine and cause disease. Despite its prominence in Vcholerae virulence, our understanding of the direct ToxR regulon is limited to four genes: toxTompTompU and ctxA. Here, we determine ToxR’s genome-wide DNA-binding profile and demonstrate that ToxR is a global regulator of both progenitor genome-encoded genes and horizontally acquired islands that encode Vcholerae’s major virulence factors and define pandemic lineages. We show that ToxR shares more than a third of its regulon with the histone-like nucleoid structuring protein H-NS, and antagonizes H-NS binding at shared binding locations. Importantly, we demonstrate that this regulatory interaction is the critical function of ToxR in Vcholerae colonization and biofilm formation. In the absence of H-NS, ToxR is no longer required for Vcholerae to colonize the infant mouse intestine or for robust biofilm formation. We further illustrate a dramatic difference in regulatory scope between ToxR and other prominent virulence regulators, despite similar predicted requirements for DNA binding. Our results suggest that factors in addition to primary DNA structure influence the ability of ToxR to recognize its target promoters.
Payne SM, Mey AR, Wyckoff EE. Vibrio Iron Transport: Evolutionary Adaptation to Life in Multiple Environments. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 80 (1) :69-90.Abstract
Iron is an essential element for Vibrio spp., but the acquisition of iron is complicated by its tendency to form insoluble ferric complexes in nature and its association with high-affinity iron-binding proteins in the host. Vibrios occupy a variety of different niches, and each of these niches presents particular challenges for acquiring sufficient iron. Vibrio species have evolved a wide array of iron transport systems that allow the bacteria to compete for this essential element in each of its habitats. These systems include the secretion and uptake of high-affinity iron-binding compounds (siderophores) as well as transport systems for iron bound to host complexes. Transporters for ferric and ferrous iron not complexed to siderophores are also common to Vibrio species. Some of the genes encoding these systems show evidence of horizontal transmission, and the ability to acquire and incorporate additional iron transport systems may have allowed Vibrio species to more rapidly adapt to new environmental niches. While too little iron prevents growth of the bacteria, too much can be lethal. The appropriate balance is maintained in vibrios through complex regulatory networks involving transcriptional repressors and activators and small RNAs (sRNAs) that act posttranscriptionally. Examination of the number and variety of iron transport systems found in Vibrio spp. offers insights into how this group of bacteria has adapted to such a wide range of habitats.
Wyckoff EE, Allred BE, Raymond KN, Payne SM. Catechol Siderophore Transport by Vibrio cholerae. J Bacteriol. 197 (17) :2840-9.Abstract
UNLABELLED: Siderophores, small iron-binding molecules secreted by many microbial species, capture environmental iron for transport back into the cell. Vibrio cholerae synthesizes and uses the catechol siderophore vibriobactin and also uses siderophores secreted by other species, including enterobactin produced by Escherichia coli. E. coli secretes both canonical cyclic enterobactin and linear enterobactin derivatives likely derived from its cleavage by the enterobactin esterase Fes. We show here that V. cholerae does not use cyclic enterobactin but instead uses its linear derivatives. V. cholerae lacked both a receptor for efficient transport of cyclic enterobactin and enterobactin esterase to promote removal of iron from the ferrisiderophore complex. To further characterize the transport of catechol siderophores, we show that the linear enterobactin derivatives were transported into V. cholerae by either of the catechol siderophore receptors IrgA and VctA, which also transported the synthetic siderophore MECAM [1,3,5-N,N',N″-tris-(2,3-dihydroxybenzoyl)-triaminomethylbenzene]. Vibriobactin is transported via the additional catechol siderophore receptor ViuA, while the Vibrio fluvialis siderophore fluvibactin was transported by all three catechol receptors. ViuB, a putative V. cholerae siderophore-interacting protein (SIP), functionally substituted for the E. coli ferric reductase YqjH, which promotes the release of iron from the siderophore in the bacterial cytoplasm. In V. cholerae, ViuB was required for the use of vibriobactin but was not required for the use of MECAM, fluvibactin, ferrichrome, or the linear derivatives of enterobactin. This suggests the presence of another protein in V. cholerae capable of promoting the release of iron from these siderophores. IMPORTANCE: Vibrio cholerae is a major human pathogen and also serves as a model for the Vibrionaceae, which include other serious human and fish pathogens. The ability of these species to persist and acquire essential nutrients, including iron, in the environment is epidemiologically important but not well understood. In this work, we characterize the ability of V. cholerae to acquire iron by using siderophores produced by other organisms. We resolve confusion in the literature regarding its ability to use the Escherichia coli siderophore enterobactin and identify the receptor and TonB system used for the transport of several siderophores. The use of some siderophores did not require the ferric reductase ViuB, suggesting that an uncharacterized ferric reductase is present in V. cholerae.
Peng ED, Wyckoff EE, Mey AR, Fisher CR, Payne SM. Non-redundant roles of iron acquisition systems in Vibrio cholerae. Infect Immun.Abstract
Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the severe diarrheal disease cholera, thrives in both marine environments and the human host. To do so, it must encode the tools necessary to acquire essential nutrients, including iron, under these vastly different conditions. A number of V. cholerae iron acquisition systems have been identified; however, the precise role of each system is not fully understood. To test the roles of individual systems, we generated a series of mutants in which only one of the four systems that support iron acquisition on unsupplemented LB agar, Feo, Fbp, Vct, and Vib, remains functional. Analysis of these mutants under different growth conditions showed that these systems are not redundant. The strain carrying only the ferrous iron transporter Feo grew well at acidic, but not alkaline, pH, whereas the ferric iron transporter Fbp promoted better growth at alkaline than at acidic pH. A strain defective in all four systems (null mutant) had a severe growth defect under aerobic conditions, but accumulated iron and grew as well as the wild type in the absence of oxygen, suggesting the presence of an additional, unidentified iron transporter in V. cholerae. In support of this, the null mutant was only moderately attenuated in an infant mouse model of infection. While the null mutant used heme as an iron source in vitro, we demonstrate that heme is not available to V. cholerae in the infant mouse intestine.
Mey AR, Butz HA, Payne SM. Vibrio cholerae CsrA Regulates ToxR Levels in Response to Amino Acids and Is Essential for Virulence. MBio. 6 (4) :e01064.Abstract
UNLABELLED: ToxR is a major virulence gene regulator in Vibrio cholerae. Although constitutively expressed under many laboratory conditions, our previous work demonstrated that the level of ToxR increases significantly when cells are grown in the presence of the 4 amino acids asparagine, arginine, glutamate, and serine (NRES). We show here that the increase in ToxR production in response to NRES requires the Var/Csr global regulatory circuit. The VarS/VarA two-component system controls the amount of active CsrA, a small RNA-binding protein involved in the regulation of a wide range of cellular processes. Our data show that a varA mutant, which is expected to overproduce active CsrA, had elevated levels of ToxR in the absence of the NRES stimulus. Conversely, specific amino acid substitutions in CsrA were associated with defects in ToxR production in response to NRES. These data indicate that CsrA is a positive regulator of ToxR levels. Unlike previously described effects of CsrA on virulence gene regulation, the effects of CsrA on ToxR were not mediated through quorum sensing and HapR. CsrA is likely essential in V. cholerae, since a complete deletion of csrA was not possible; however, point mutations in CsrA were tolerated well. The CsrA Arg6His mutant had wild-type growth in vitro but was severely attenuated in the infant mouse model of V. cholerae infection, showing that CsrA is critical for pathogenesis. This study has broad implications for our understanding of how V. cholerae integrates its response to environmental cues with the regulation of important virulence genes. IMPORTANCE: In order to colonize the human host, Vibrio cholerae must sense and respond to environmental signals to ensure appropriate expression of genes required for pathogenesis. Uncovering how V. cholerae senses its environment and activates its virulence gene repertoire is critical for our understanding of how V. cholerae transitions from its natural aquatic habitat to the human host. Here we demonstrate a previously unknown link between the global regulator CsrA and the major V. cholerae virulence gene regulator ToxR. The role of CsrA in the cell is to receive input from the environment and coordinate an appropriate cellular response. By linking environmental sensing to the ToxR regulon, CsrA effectively acts as a switch that controls pathogenesis in response to specific signals. We demonstrate that CsrA is critical for virulence in the infant mouse model of V. cholerae infection, consistent with its role as an in vivo regulator of virulence gene expression.
Marman HE, Mey AR, Payne SM. Elongation factor P and modifying enzyme PoxA are necessary for virulence of Shigella flexneri. Infect Immun. 82 (9) :3612-21.Abstract
Elongation factor P (EF-P) is a universally conserved bacterial translation factor. In many bacteria, EF-P is posttranslationally modified by PoxA, which covalently attaches a β-lysine to a conserved lysine residue of EF-P. Here we show that both EF-P and PoxA are necessary for virulence of the human diarrheal pathogen Shigella flexneri. Loss of either EF-P or PoxA leads to an impaired ability of S. flexneri to invade epithelial cells and form plaques in an epithelial cell monolayer. Proteomic analysis of efp and poxA deletion mutants revealed decreased levels of several virulence effector proteins, including IpaA, -B, and -C and IcsA. Additionally, mRNA levels of virB and virF, which encode master virulence regulators, were decreased in the efp mutant. The reduction in virF transcription was at least partially due to decreased levels of CpxA, which activates virF through the response regulator CpxR. The role of CpxAR in reduced synthesis of VirF and its downstream effectors was indicated by restoration of invasion when a mutation resulting in constitutively activated CpxR was introduced into the efp mutant. Thus, modified EF-P is required for appropriate synthesis of proteins involved in the virulence of this bacterial pathogen.
Carpenter C, Payne SM. Regulation of iron transport systems in Enterobacteriaceae in response to oxygen and iron availability. J Inorg Biochem. 133 :110-7.Abstract
Iron is an essential nutrient for most bacteria. Depending on the oxygen available in the surrounding environment, iron is found in two distinct forms: ferrous (Fe(II)) or ferric (Fe(III)). Bacteria utilize different transport systems for the uptake of the two different forms of iron. In oxic growth conditions, iron is found in its insoluble, ferric form, and in anoxic growth conditions iron is found in its soluble, ferrous form. Enterobacteriaceae have adapted to transporting the two forms of iron by utilizing the global, oxygen-sensing regulators, ArcA and Fnr to regulate iron transport genes in response to oxygen.
Waligora EA, Fisher CR, Hanovice NJ, Rodou A, Wyckoff EE, Payne SM. Role of intracellular carbon metabolism pathways in Shigella flexneri virulence. Infect Immun. 82 (7) :2746-55.Abstract
Shigella flexneri, which replicates in the cytoplasm of intestinal epithelial cells, can use the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas, Entner-Doudoroff, or pentose phosphate pathway for glycolytic carbon metabolism. To determine which of these pathways is used by intracellular S. flexneri, mutants were constructed and tested in a plaque assay for the ability to invade, replicate intracellularly, and spread to adjacent epithelial cells. Mutants blocked in the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway (pfkAB and pykAF mutants) invaded the cells but formed very small plaques. Loss of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway gene eda resulted in small plaques, but the double eda edd mutant formed normal-size plaques. This suggested that the plaque defect of the eda mutant was due to buildup of the toxic intermediate 2-keto-3-deoxy-6-phosphogluconic acid rather than a specific requirement for this pathway. Loss of the pentose phosphate pathway had no effect on plaque formation, indicating that it is not critical for intracellular S. flexneri. Supplementation of the epithelial cell culture medium with pyruvate allowed the glycolysis mutants to form larger plaques than those observed with unsupplemented medium, consistent with data from phenotypic microarrays (Biolog) indicating that pyruvate metabolism was not disrupted in these mutants. Interestingly, the wild-type S. flexneri also formed larger plaques in the presence of supplemental pyruvate or glucose, with pyruvate yielding the largest plaques. Analysis of the metabolites in the cultured cells showed increased intracellular levels of the added compound. Pyruvate increased the growth rate of S. flexneri in vitro, suggesting that it may be a preferred carbon source inside host cells.
Carpenter CD, Cooley BJ, Needham BD, Fisher CR, Trent SM, Gordon V, Payne SM. The Vps/VacJ ABC transporter is required for intercellular spread of Shigella flexneri. Infect Immun. 82 (2) :660-9.Abstract
The Vps/VacJ ABC transporter system is proposed to function in maintaining the lipid asymmetry of the outer membrane. Mutations in vps or vacJ in Shigella flexneri resulted in increased sensitivity to lysis by the detergent sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and the vpsC mutant showed minor differences in its phospholipid profile compared to the wild type. vpsC mutants were unable to form plaques in cultured epithelial cells, but this was not due to a failure to invade, to replicate intracellularly, or to polymerize actin via IcsA for movement within epithelial cells. The addition of the outer membrane phospholipase gene pldA on a multicopy plasmid in a vpsC or vacJ mutant restored its resistance to SDS, suggesting a restoration of lipid asymmetry to the outer membrane. However, the pldA plasmid did not restore the mutant's ability to form plaques in tissue culture cells. Increased PldA levels also failed to restore the mutant's phospholipid profile to that of the wild type. We propose a dual function of the Vps/VacJ ABC transporter system in S. flexneri in both the maintenance of lipid asymmetry in the outer membrane and the intercellular spread of the bacteria between adjacent epithelial cells.
Pieper R, Fisher CR, Suh M-J, Huang S-T, Parmar P, Payne SM. Analysis of the proteome of intracellular Shigella flexneri reveals pathways important for intracellular growth. Infect Immun. 81 (12) :4635-48.Abstract
Global proteomic analysis was performed with Shigella flexneri strain 2457T in association with three distinct growth environments: S. flexneri growing in broth (in vitro), S. flexneri growing within epithelial cell cytoplasm (intracellular), and S. flexneri that were cultured with, but did not invade, Henle cells (extracellular). Compared to in vitro and extracellular bacteria, intracellular bacteria had increased levels of proteins required for invasion and cell-to-cell spread, including Ipa, Mxi, and Ics proteins. Changes in metabolic pathways in response to the intracellular environment also were evident. There was an increase in glycogen biosynthesis enzymes, altered expression of sugar transporters, and a reduced amount of the carbon storage regulator CsrA. Mixed acid fermentation enzymes were highly expressed intracellularly, while tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle oxidoreductive enzymes and most electron transport chain proteins, except CydAB, were markedly decreased. This suggested that fermentation and the CydAB system primarily sustain energy generation intracellularly. Elevated levels of PntAB, which is responsible for NADPH regeneration, suggested a shortage of reducing factors for ATP synthesis. These metabolic changes likely reflect changes in available carbon sources, oxygen levels, and iron availability. Intracellular bacteria showed strong evidence of iron starvation. Iron acquisition systems (Iut, Sit, FhuA, and Feo) and the iron starvation, stress-associated Fe-S cluster assembly (Suf) protein were markedly increased in abundance. Mutational analysis confirmed that the mixed-acid fermentation pathway was required for wild-type intracellular growth and spread of S. flexneri. Thus, iron stress and changes in carbon metabolism may be key factors in the S. flexneri transition from the extra- to the intracellular milieu.
Weaver EA, Wyckoff EE, Mey AR, Morrison R, Payne SM. FeoA and FeoC are essential components of the Vibrio cholerae ferrous iron uptake system, and FeoC interacts with FeoB. J Bacteriol. 195 (21) :4826-35.Abstract
The ferrous iron transport system Feo is widely distributed among bacterial species, yet its physical structure and mechanism of iron transport are poorly understood. In Vibrio cholerae, the feo operon consists of three genes, feoABC. feoB encodes an 83-kDa protein with an amino-terminal GTPase domain and a carboxy-terminal domain predicted to be embedded in the inner membrane. While FeoB is believed to form the pore for iron transport, the roles of FeoA and FeoC are unknown. In this work, we show that FeoA and FeoC, as well as the more highly conserved FeoB, are all required for iron acquisition by V. cholerae Feo. An in-frame deletion of feoA, feoB, or feoC eliminated iron acquisition. The loss of transport activity in the feoA and feoC mutants was not due to reduced transcription of the feo operon, suggesting that these two small proteins are required for activity of the transporter. feoC was found to encode a protein that interacts with the cytoplasmic domain of FeoB, as determined using the BACTH bacterial two-hybrid system. Two conserved amino acids in FeoC were found to be necessary for the interaction with FeoB in the two-hybrid assay, and when either of these amino acids was mutated in the context of the entire feo operon, iron acquisition via Feo was reduced. No interaction of FeoA with FeoB or FeoC was detected in the BACTH two-hybrid assay.
Ma L, Payne SM. AhpC is required for optimal production of enterobactin by Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol. 194 (24) :6748-57.Abstract
Escherichia coli alkyl hydroperoxide reductase subunit C (AhpC) is a peroxiredoxin that detoxifies peroxides. Here we show an additional role for AhpC in cellular iron metabolism of E. coli. Deletion of ahpC resulted in reduced growth and reduced accumulation of iron by cells grown in low-iron media. Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (LC-MS) analysis of culture supernatants showed that the ahpC mutant secreted much less enterobactin, the siderophore that chelates and transports ferric iron under iron-limiting conditions, than wild-type E. coli did. The ahpC mutant produced less 2,3-dihydroxybenzoate, the intermediate in the enterobactin biosynthesis pathway, and providing 2,3-dihydroxybenzoate restored wild-type growth of the ahpC mutant. These data indicated that the defect was in an early step in enterobactin biosynthesis. Providing additional copies of entC, which functions in the first dedicated step of enterobactin biosynthesis, but not of other enterobactin biosynthesis genes, suppressed the mutant phenotype. Additionally, providing either shikimate or a mixture of para-aminobenzoate, tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine, which, like enterobactin, are synthesized from the precursor chorismate, also suppressed the mutant phenotype. These data suggested that AhpC affected the activity of EntC or the availability of the chorismate substrate.
Mey AR, Craig SA, Payne SM. Effects of amino acid supplementation on porin expression and ToxR levels in Vibrio cholerae. Infect Immun. 80 (2) :518-28.Abstract
Vibrio cholerae responds to environmental changes by altering the protein composition of its outer membrane. In rich medium, V. cholerae expresses almost exclusively the outer membrane porin OmpU, whereas in minimal medium, OmpT is the dominant porin. The supplementation of a minimal medium with a mixture of asparagine, arginine, glutamic acid, and serine (NRES) promotes OmpU production and OmpT repression at levels similar to those seen with rich media. Here we show that the altered Omp profile is not due to an increase in the growth rate in the presence of supplemental amino acids but requires the addition of specific amino acids. The effects of the NRES mix on Omp production were mediated by ToxR, a known regulator of omp gene expression. No changes in the Omp profile were detected in a toxR mutant. Supplementation with the NRES mix resulted in significantly higher levels of ToxR, and the elevated ToxR levels were sufficient to cause a switch in Omp synthesis. The increase in the level of the ToxR protein correlated with an increase in toxR mRNA levels and was observed only when toxR was expressed from its native promoter. ToxS, which is required for ToxR activity, was necessary for NRES-mediated omp gene regulation but not for the increase in ToxR levels. The growth of V. cholerae in the presence of bile acids also resulted in Omp switching, and this required ToxR. However, unlike the NRES mix, bile acids did not increase either ToxR protein or toxR mRNA levels, suggesting a different mechanism of omp gene regulation by bile than that by amino acids.
Caballero VC, Toledo VP, Maturana C, Fisher CR, Payne SM, Salazar JC. Expression of Shigella flexneri gluQ-rs gene is linked to dksA and controlled by a transcriptional terminator. BMC Microbiol. 12 :226.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Glutamyl queuosine-tRNA(Asp) synthetase (GluQ-RS) is a paralog of the catalytic domain of glutamyl-tRNA synthetase and catalyzes the formation of glutamyl-queuosine on the wobble position of tRNA(Asp). Here we analyze the transcription of its gene in Shigella flexneri, where it is found downstream of dksA, which encodes a transcriptional regulator involved in stress responses. RESULTS: The genomic organization, dksA-gluQ-rs, is conserved in more than 40 bacterial species. RT-PCR assays show co-transcription of both genes without a significant change in transcript levels during growth of S. flexneri. However, mRNA levels of the intergenic region changed during growth, increasing at stationary phase, indicating an additional level of control over the expression of gluQ-rs gene. Transcriptional fusions with lacZ as a reporter gene only produced β-galactosidase activity when the constructs included the dksA promoter, indicating that gluQ-rs do not have a separate promoter. Using bioinformatics, we identified a putative transcriptional terminator between dksA and gluQ-rs. Deletion or alteration of the predicted terminator resulted in increased expression of the lacZ reporter compared with cells containing the wild type terminator sequence. Analysis of the phenotype of a gluQ-rs mutant suggested that it may play a role in some stress responses, since growth of the mutant was impaired in the presence of osmolytes. CONCLUSIONS: The results presented here, show that the expression of gluQ-rs depends on the dksA promoter, and strongly suggest the presence and the functionality of a transcriptional terminator regulating its expression. Also, the results indicate a link between glutamyl-queuosine synthesis and stress response in Shigella flexneri.
Broach WH, Egan N, Wing HJ, Payne SM, Murphy ER. VirF-independent regulation of Shigella virB transcription is mediated by the small RNA RyhB. PLoS One. 7 (6) :e38592.Abstract
Infection of the human host by Shigella species requires the coordinated production of specific Shigella virulence factors, a process mediated largely by the VirF/VirB regulatory cascade. VirF promotes the transcription of virB, a gene encoding the transcriptional activator of several virulence-associated genes. This study reveals that transcription of virB is also regulated by the small RNA RyhB, and importantly, that this regulation is not achieved indirectly via modulation of VirF activity. These data are the first to demonstrate that the regulation of virB transcription can be uncoupled from the master regulator VirF. It is also established that efficient RyhB-dependent regulation of transcription is facilitated by specific nucleic acid sequences within virB. This study not only reveals RyhB-dependent regulation of virB transcription as a novel point of control in the central regulatory circuit modulating Shigella virulence, but also highlights the versatility of RyhB in controlling bacterial gene expression.
Craig SA, Carpenter CD, Mey AR, Wyckoff EE, Payne SM. Positive regulation of the Vibrio cholerae porin OmpT by iron and fur. J Bacteriol. 193 (23) :6505-11.Abstract
The transcription factor Fur regulates the expression of a number of genes in Vibrio cholerae in response to changes in the level of available iron. Fur usually acts as a repressor, but here we show that Fur positively regulates the expression of ompT, which encodes a major outer membrane porin. OmpT levels increased when the bacteria were grown in medium containing relatively high levels of iron, and this effect required Fur. The level of ompT mRNA also is increased in the presence of iron and Fur. The effect of iron on OmpT levels was independent of the known ompT regulators ToxR and Crp, and it did not require RyhB, which has been shown to be responsible for positive regulation by iron of some V. cholerae genes. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that Fur binds upstream of the ompT transcription start site in a region overlapping known binding sites for ToxR and Crp. These data suggest that Fur and iron positively regulate ompT expression through the direct binding of Fur to the ompT promoter.