[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hfq is an RNA-binding protein that functions in post-transcriptional gene regulation by mediating interactions between mRNAs and small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs). Two proteins encoded by BAB1_1794 and BAB2_0612 are highly over-produced in a Brucella abortus hfq mutant compared with the parental strain, and recently, expression of orthologues of these proteins in Agrobacterium tumefaciens was shown to be regulated by two sRNAs, called AbcR1 and AbcR2. Orthologous sRNAs (likewise designated AbcR1 and AbcR2) have been identified in B. abortus 2308. In Brucella, abcR1 and abcR2 single mutants are not defective in their ability to survive in cultured murine macrophages, but an abcR1 abcR2 double mutant exhibits significant attenuation in macrophages. Additionally, the abcR1 abcR2 double mutant displays significant attenuation in a mouse model of chronic Brucella infection. Quantitative proteomics and microarray analyses revealed that the AbcR sRNAs predominantly regulate genes predicted to be involved in amino acid and polyamine transport and metabolism, and Northern blot analyses indicate that the AbcR sRNAs accelerate the degradation of the target mRNAs. In an Escherichia coli two-plasmid reporter system, overexpression of either AbcR1 or AbcR2 was sufficient for regulation of target mRNAs, indicating that the AbcR sRNAs from B. abortus 2308 perform redundant regulatory functions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The type IV secretion system encoded by the virB operon is required for full virulence of Brucella sp., and the present study links the RNA chaperone Hfq to wild-type expression of virB in Brucella abortus 2308. Studies employing virB-lacZ fusions, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, and immunoblot analysis showed that both transcription and translation of virB are decreased in an isogenic hfq mutant compared to those in the parental strain. These results led to the hypothesis that Hfq regulation of virB is mediated through an intermediate transcriptional regulator. Subsequent experiments determined that expression of the gene encoding the putative Brucella quorum-sensing regulator BabR (also known as BlxR), a known virB regulator, is also controlled by Hfq at the posttranscriptional level, and a cis-acting element in the 5' untranslated region of the babR transcript responsible for this regulation was identified. Consistent with its role as a virB regulator, recombinant Brucella BabR binds to the virB promoter region in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. However, experiments employing a babR mutant strain determined that BabR is a repressor, not an activator, of virB transcription. These findings suggest that Hfq regulates virB expression through both BabR-dependent and BabR-independent pathways.
Journal of bacteriology 01/2012; 194(1):3-14. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Irr and RirA, rather than Fur, serve as the major iron-responsive regulators in the alphaproteobacteria. With only a few exceptions, however, the relative contributions of these transcriptional regulators to the differential expression of specific iron metabolism genes in Brucella strains are unclear. The gene encoding the outer membrane heme transporter BhuA exhibits maximum expression in Brucella abortus 2308 during growth under iron-deprived conditions, and mutational studies indicate that this pattern of bhuA expression is mediated by the iron-responsive regulator Irr. Specifically, a bhuA-lacZ transcriptional fusion does not produce elevated levels of β-galactosidase in response to iron deprivation in the isogenic irr mutant BEA5, and, unlike the parental strain, B. abortus BEA5 cannot utilize heme as an iron source in vitro and is attenuated in mice. A derivative of the bhuA-lacZ transcriptional fusion lacking the predicted Irr binding site upstream of the bhuA promoter does not produce elevated levels of β-galactosidase in response to iron deprivation in the parental B. abortus 2308 strain, and a direct and specific interaction between a recombinant version of the Brucella Irr and the bhuA promoter region was observed in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Despite the fact that it lacks the heme regulatory element linked to the iron-responsive degradation of its counterpart in Bradyrhizobium japonicum, readily detectable levels of Irr were found only in B. abortus 2308 cells by Western blot analysis following growth under iron-deprived conditions.
Journal of bacteriology 07/2011; 193(19):5359-64. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gram-negative bacteria belonging to the Brucella species cause chronic infections that can result in undulant fever, arthritis, and osteomyelitis in humans. Remarkably, Brucella sp. genomes encode a protein, named TcpB, that bears significant homology with mammalian Toll/IL-1 receptor domains and whose expression causes degradation of the phosphorylated, signal competent form of the adapter MyD88-adapter-like (MAL). This effect of TcpB is mediated through its box 1 region and has no effect on other TLR adapter proteins such as MyD88 or TIR-domain containing adapter protein-inducing IFNbeta. TcpB also does not affect a mutant, signal-incompetent form of MAL that cannot be phosphorylated. Interestingly, the presence of TcpB leads to enhanced polyubiquitination of MAL, which is likely responsible for its accelerated degradation. A Brucella abortus mutant lacking TcpB fails to reduce levels of MAL in infected macrophages. Therefore, TcpB represents a unique pathogen-derived molecule that suppresses host innate-immune responses by specifically targeting an individual adapter molecule in the TLR signaling pathway for degradation.
The Journal of Immunology 12/2009; 184(2):956-64. · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brucella strains produce abortion and infertility in their natural hosts and a zoonotic disease in humans known as undulant fever. These bacteria do not produce classical virulence factors, and their capacity to successfully survive and replicate within a variety of host cells underlies their pathogenicity. Extensive replication of the brucellae in placental trophoblasts is associated with reproductive tract pathology in natural hosts, and prolonged persistence in macrophages leads to the chronic infections that are a hallmark of brucellosis in both natural hosts and humans. This review describes how Brucella strains have efficiently adapted to their intracellular lifestyle in the host.
Medical Microbiology and Immunology 09/2009; 198(4):221-38. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gene designated BAB1_1460 in the Brucella abortus 2308 genome sequence is predicted to encode the manganese transporter MntH. Phenotypic analysis of an isogenic mntH mutant indicates that MntH is the sole high-affinity manganese transporter in this bacterium but that MntH does not play a detectable role in the transport of Fe(2+), Zn(2+), Co(2+), or Ni(2+). Consistent with the apparent selectivity of the corresponding gene product, the expression of the mntH gene in B. abortus 2308 is repressed by Mn(2+), but not Fe(2+), and this Mn-responsive expression is mediated by a Mur-like repressor. The B. abortus mntH mutant MWV15 exhibits increased susceptibility to oxidative killing in vitro compared to strain 2308, and a comparative analysis of the superoxide dismutase activities present in these two strains indicates that the parental strain requires MntH in order to make wild-type levels of its manganese superoxide dismutase SodA. The B. abortus mntH mutant also exhibits extreme attenuation in both cultured murine macrophages and experimentally infected C57BL/6 mice. These experimental findings indicate that Mn(2+) transport mediated by MntH plays an important role in the physiology of B. abortus 2308, particularly during its intracellular survival and replication in the host.
Infection and immunity 07/2009; 77(8):3466-74. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experiments requiring strong repression and precise control of cloned genes can be difficult to conduct because of the relatively high basal level of expression of currently employed promoters. We report the construction of a family of vectors that contain a reengineered lacI(q)-lac promoter-operator complex in which cloned genes are strongly repressed in the absence of inducer. The vectors, all based on the broad-host-range plasmid pBBR1, are mobilizable and stably replicate at moderate copy number in representatives of the alpha- and gammaproteobacteria. Each vector contains a versatile multiple cloning site that includes an NdeI site allowing fusion of the cloned gene to the initiation codon of lacZalpha. In each tested bacterium, a uidA reporter fused to the promoter was not expressed at a detectable level in the absence of induction but was inducible by 10- to 100-fold, depending on the bacterium. The degree of induction was controllable by varying the concentration of inducer. When the vector was tested in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a cloned copy of the traR gene, the product of which is needed at only a few copies per cell, did not confer activity under noninducing conditions. We used this attribute of very tight and variably regulatable control to assess the relative amounts of TraR required to activate the Ti plasmid conjugative transfer system. We identified levels of induction that gave wild-type transfer frequencies, as well as levels that induced correspondingly lower frequencies of transfer. We also used this system to show that the antiactivator TraM sets the level of intracellular TraR required for tra gene activation.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 08/2008; 74(16):5053-62. · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The level of environmental oxygen (EO) within various Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection sites is low (microaerobic), and this can affect the production of different virulence factors. Expression of the toxA gene, encoding exotoxin A (ETA), is regulated by regA, ptxR and pvdS. Moreover, the iron-starvation sigma factor PvdS directs the transcription of pyoverdine siderophore genes (e.g. pvdD). DNA-protein binding analysis using recombinant PvdS showed that the PvdS-RNA polymerase holoenzyme complex specifically bound the toxA, regA and ptxR promoter regions. All three promoters contain a PvdS-binding site, the iron-starvation box. To determine the relationship between these different genes and PvdS, we conducted a comparative analysis of toxA, regA, ptxR and pvdD transcription throughout the growth cycle of wild-type P. aeruginosa and its pvdS mutant in iron-deficient medium under aerobic-shaking (A-sh) and microaerobic-static (M-st) conditions. Under both EO conditions, optimal toxA, regA and pvdD expression and pyoverdine production required PvdS, while ptxR expression was moderately dependent on PvdS only under A-sh conditions. Expression of regA, pvdD and pyoverdine production in wild-type P. aeruginosa was significantly lower under M-st in comparison with A-sh conditions, while the opposite was observed for toxA and ptxR. Although low, the level of toxA expression and ETA production in the pvdS mutant were higher under M-st than under A-sh conditions. Transcription of pvdS and PvdS expression were also reduced by low EO. We propose that the regulation of toxA expression under aerobic conditions primarily involves PvdS, while an additional EO-responsive regulator(s) besides PvdS is required under low EO levels. Thus, PvdS may control the transcription of the ptxR, regA and toxA genes, and respond to EO by acting at different levels of the toxA regulatory cascade.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The expression of the exotoxin A gene (toxA) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a complicated process that involves several regulators, including ptxR, which enhances toxA expression by 4- to 5-fold. Available evidence suggests that ptxR is expressed from two separate promoters, P1 and P2. Previous evidence indicated the presence, within the ptxR upstream region, of binding sites for several regulatory proteins, including PtxS, which negatively regulates ptxR expression. We utilized nested deletion and in vitro transcription analyses to examine the regulation of ptxR expression. The results from nested deletion analysis suggest that under aerobic conditions in iron-deficient medium, ptxR expression follows a biphasic curve that involves the P1 promoter only. Iron eliminated the second peak of ptxR expression but did not affect expression from the P2 promoter. Under microaerobic conditions, iron represses ptxR expression from subclones that carry P1 alone or P2 alone at both early and late stages of growth. Under anaerobic conditions, ptxR expression increases considerably. In addition, our results suggest that different segments of the ptxR upstream region play specific roles in ptxR expression; their deletion caused variations in the level as well as the pattern of ptxR expression. Our results also indicate that negative regulation of ptxR expression by PtxS does not occur through the PtxS binding site within the ptxR-ptxS intergenic region. In vitro transcription analysis using sigma70-reconstituted P. aeruginosa RNA polymerase produced one transcript that closely resembles T1, indicating that P1 is recognized by sigma70. RNA polymerase reconstituted with either RpoS or AlgU produced no transcripts. However, a transcript was produced by RpoH-reconstituted RNA polymerase.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 05/2006; 52(4):343-56. · 1.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within certain infection sites, such as the lung of cystic fibrosis patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa grows statically under either decreased oxygen tension or anaerobic conditions, a situation that is likely to influence the production of virulence factors. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of static growth under microaerobic (decreased oxygen) and anaerobic conditions on the expression of the P. aeruginosa exotoxin A (ETA) gene toxA and its positive regulator ptxR. Using toxA-lacZ and ptxR-lacZ fusion plasmids, the level of toxA and ptxR expression was measured throughout the growth cycle of strain PAO1, which was grown in either iron-deficient or iron-sufficient medium under four different conditions: 20%-SH (aerobic, shaking), 20%-ST (aerobic, static), 10%-ST (microaerobic, static) and 0%-ST (anaerobic, static). In iron-deficient medium, toxA expression was higher under 20%-ST and 10%-ST than under 20%-SH. However, the highest level of toxA expression occurred under 0%-ST. Analysis of ETA protein using sandwich ELISA revealed that at time points between 8 and 24 h of the growth curve, PAO1 produced higher levels of ETA under 0%-ST than under 20%-SH. In iron-sufficient medium, toxA expression was significantly repressed under all conditions. Additional analyses using PAO1 strains that carry lacZ fusions with the toxA regulatory genes regA and pvdS revealed that the expression of regA and pvdS is reduced rather than increased at 0%-ST. ptxR expression under different conditions paralleled that of toxA expression, except that it was repressed by iron under 20 %-SH only. Between 6 and 24 h of growth, and under all conditions, the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) within the PAO1 cultures was sharply reduced. These results suggest that (1) the combined effect of static growth and anaerobic conditions produce a significant increase in toxA and ptxR expression in PAO1; (2) this effect appears to be unique to toxA and ptxR, since the level of regA and pvdS expression was reduced under the same conditions; (3) neither static growth nor anaerobic conditions interfere with the repression of toxA expression by iron, although static growth deregulates ptxR expression with respect to iron; and (4) the enhanced expression of toxA and ptxR is not related to the reduced levels of DO in PAO1 cultures.