A conservative amino acid change alters the function of BosR, the redox regulator of Borrelia burgdorferi

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, 407 Reynolds Medical Building, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA.
Molecular Microbiology (Impact Factor: 5.03). 01/2005; 54(5):1352-63. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2004.04352.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Borrelia burgdorferi, the aetiologic agent of Lyme disease, modulates gene expression in response to changes imposed by its arthropod vector and mammalian hosts. As reactive oxygen species (ROS) are known to vary in these environments, we asked how B. burgdorferi responds to oxidative stress. The B. burgdorferi genome encodes a PerR homologue (recently designated BosR) that represses the oxidative stress response in other bacteria, suggesting a similar function in B. burgdorferi. When we tested the sensitivity of B. burgdorferi to ROS, one clonal non-infectious B. burgdorferi isolate exhibited hypersensitivity to t-butyl hydroperoxide when compared with infectious B. burgdorferi and other non-infectious isolates. Sequence analysis indicated that the hypersensitive non-infectious isolates bosR allele contained a single nucleotide substitution, converting an arginine to a lysine (bosRR39K). Mutants in bosRR39K exhibited an increase in resistance to oxidative stressors when compared with the parental non-infectious strain, suggesting that BosRR39K functioned as a repressor. Complementation with bosRR39K and bosR resulted in differential sensitivity to t-butyl hydroperoxide, indicating that these alleles are functionally distinct. In contrast to BosR, BosRR39K did not activate transcription of a napA promoter-lacZ reporter in Escherichia coli nor bind the napA promoter/operator domain. However, we found that both BosR and BosRR39K bound to the putative promoter/operator region of superoxide dismutase (sodA). In addition, we determined that cells lacking BosRR39K synthesized fourfold greater levels of the decorin binding adhesin DbpA suggesting that BosRR39K regulates genes unrelated to oxidative stress. Based on these data, we propose that the single amino acid substitution, R39K, dramatically alters the activity of BosR by altering its ability to bind DNA at target regulatory sequences.


Available from: Jenny Hyde, Oct 06, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Borrelia burgdorferi regulates gene expression in response to environmental conditions, including temperature, pH, redox potential and host factors. B. burgdorferi encodes a PerR homologue designated BosR, which presumably serves as a global regulator of genes involved in the oxidative stress response. Infectious B. burgdorferi strain B31 is resistant to oxidative stressors in vitro, whereas the non-infectious isolate was sensitive due, in part, to a point mutation that converts an arginine to a lysine at residue 39 of BosR. Subsequent insertional inactivation of this bosRR39K allele (bosRR39K : : kan(R)) restored resistance to oxidative stressors. These observations suggest that the B. burgdorferi non-infectious bosRR39K : : kan(R) strain may transcribe genes that are also expressed in infectious B. burgdorferi cells, but are repressed in the bosRR39K background, thus explaining the different oxidative stress phenotypes observed between these isolates. To test this hypothesis, macroarray technology and quantitative RT-PCR were utilized to compare the transcriptional profiles from the isogenic bosRR39K and bosRR39K : : kan(R) isolates. Array data indicated that 88 ORFs were significantly expressed in the absence of BosRR39K. Since most affected genes mapped to the chromosome, it is likely that these genes define an important physiologic response for B. burgdorferi. Included within the genes identified was the detoxification gene sodA, as well as other loci not overtly linked to oxidative stress. These results suggest that a putative BosR regulon, as defined by the bosRR39K allele, is required to combat toxic oxidative intermediates, but may also be involved in adaptive strategies that are independent of reactive oxygen species.
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