[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintaining cell envelope integrity is critical for bacterial survival, including bacteria living in a complex and dynamic environment such as the human oral cavity. Streptococcus mutans, a major etiological agent of dental caries, uses two-component signal transduction systems (TCSTSs) to monitor and respond to various environmental stimuli. Previous studies have shown that the LiaSR TCSTS in S. mutans regulates virulence traits such as acid tolerance and biofilm formation. Although not examined in streptococci, homologs of LiaSR are widely disseminated in Firmicutes and function as part of the cell envelope stress response network. We describe here liaSR and its upstream liaF gene in the cell envelope stress tolerance of S. mutans strain UA159. Transcriptional analysis established liaSR as part of the pentacistronic liaFSR-ppiB-pnpB operon. A survey of cell envelope antimicrobials revealed that mutants deficient in one or all of the liaFSR genes were susceptible to Lipid II cycle interfering antibiotics and to chemicals that perturbed the cell membrane integrity. These compounds induced liaR transcription in a concentration-dependent manner. Notably, under bacitracin stress conditions, the LiaFSR signaling system was shown to induce transcription of several genes involved in membrane protein synthesis, peptidoglycan biosynthesis, envelope chaperone/proteases, and transcriptional regulators. In the absence of an inducer such as bacitracin, LiaF repressed LiaR-regulated expression, whereas supplementing cultures with bacitracin resulted in derepression of liaSR. While LiaF appears to be an integral component of the LiaSR signaling cascade, taken collectively, we report a novel role for LiaFSR in sensing cell envelope stress and preserving envelope integrity in S. mutans.
Journal of bacteriology 03/2009; 191(9):2973-84. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria in their natural ecosystems preferentially grow as polysaccharide-encased biofilms attached to surfaces. Although quorum-sensing (QS) systems directing the 'biofilm phenotype' have been extensively described in Gram-negative bacteria, there is little understanding of the importance of these systems in Gram-positive biofilm formation. Streptococci are a diverse group of Gram-positive bacteria that colonize epithelial, mucosal and tooth surfaces of humans. In several streptococci, competence-stimulating peptide (CSP)-mediated QS has been connected with competence development for genetic transformation. Recent work, especially with bacteria that inhabit the biofilm of dental plaque, has linked CSP stimuli to other cell-density adaptations, such as biofilm formation.
Trends in Microbiology 02/2005; 13(1):3-6. · 8.43 Impact Factor