The LovK-LovR Two-Component System Is a Regulator of the General Stress Pathway in Caulobacter crescentus

Committee on Microbiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Journal of bacteriology (Impact Factor: 2.81). 03/2012; 194(12):3038-49. DOI: 10.1128/JB.00182-12
Source: PubMed


A conserved set of regulators control the general stress response in Caulobacter crescentus, including σ(T), its anti-σ factor NepR, the anti-anti-σ factor PhyR, and the transmembrane sensor kinase PhyK. We report that the soluble histidine kinase LovK and the single-domain response regulator LovR also function within the C. crescentus general stress pathway. Our genetic data support a model in which LovK-LovR functions upstream of σ(T) by controlling the phosphorylation state and thus anti-anti-σ activity of PhyR. Transcription of lovK and lovR is independently activated by stress through a mechanism that requires sigT and phyR. Conversely, lovK and lovR function together to repress transcription of the general stress regulon. Concordant with a functional role of the LovK-LovR two-component system as a negative regulator of the general stress pathway, lovK-lovR-null mutants exhibit increased cell survival after osmotic stress, while coordinate overexpression of lovK and lovR attenuates cell survival relative to that of the wild type. Notably, lovK can complement the transcriptional and cell survival defects of a phyK-null mutant when lovR is deleted. Moreover, in this same genetic background, σ(T)-dependent transcription is activated in response to osmotic stress. This result suggests that flavin-binding LOV (light, oxygen, or voltage) histidine kinases are competent to perceive cytoplasmic signals in addition to the environmental signal blue light. We conclude that the PhyK-PhyR and LovK-LovR two-component signaling systems coordinately regulate stress physiology in C. crescentus.

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