Streptococcus mutans is particularly well-adapted for high-affinity, high-capacity catabolism of multiple carbohydrate sources. S. mutans EIILev, a fructose/mannose permease encoded by the levDEFG genes, and fruA, which encodes a hydrolase that releases fructose from fructan polymers, are transcriptionally regulated by the LevQRST four-component signal transduction system. Here, we demonstrate that (1) levDEFGX are co-transcribed and the levE/F intergenic region is required for optimal expression of levFGX; (2) D-mannose is a potent inducer of the levD and fruA operons; (3) CcpA regulates levD expression in a carbohydrate-specific manner; (4) deletion of the genes for the fructose/mannose-EII enzymes of S. mutans (manL, fruI, and levD) enhances levD expression; (5) repression of the LevQRST regulon by EII enzymes depends on the presence of their substrates and requires LevR, but not LevQST; and (6) CcpA inhibits expression of the manL and frul genes to indirectly control the LevQRST regulon. Further, the manL, ccpA, frul/fruCD and levD gene products differentially exert control over the cellobiose and lactose operons. Collectively, the results reveal the existence of a global regulatory network in S. mutans that governs the utilization of non-preferred carbohydrates in response to the availability and source of multiple preferred carbohydrates.
Sugar:phosphotransferase system; β-D-fructosidase; Catabolite repression; CcpA; Gene regulation
In Gram-positive bacteria, the transcriptional regulator CcpA is at the core of catabolite control mechanisms. In the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae, links between CcpA and virulence have been established, but its role as a master regulator in different nutritional environments remains to be elucidated. Thus, we performed whole-transcriptome and metabolic analyses of S. pneumoniae D39 and its isogenic ccpA mutant during growth on glucose or galactose, rapidly and slowly metabolized carbohydrates presumably encountered by the bacterium in different host niches. CcpA affected the expression of up to 19% of the genome covering multiple cellular processes, including virulence, regulatory networks and central metabolism. Its prevalent function as a repressor was observed on glucose, but unexpectedly also on galactose. Carbohydrate-dependent CcpA regulation was also observed, as for the tagatose 6-phosphate pathway genes, which were activated by galactose and repressed by glucose. Metabolite analyses revealed that two pathways for galactose catabolism are functionally active, despite repression of the Leloir genes by CcpA. Surprisingly, galactose-induced mixed-acid fermentation apparently required CcpA, since genes involved in this type of metabolism were mostly under CcpA-repression. These findings indicate that the role of CcpA extends beyond transcriptional regulation, which seemingly is overlaid by other regulatory mechanisms. In agreement, CcpA influenced the level of many intracellular metabolites potentially involved in metabolic regulation. Our data strengthen the view that a true understanding of cell physiology demands thorough analyses at different cellular levels. Moreover, integration of transcriptional and metabolic data uncovered a link between CcpA and the association of surface molecules (e.g. capsule) to the cell wall. Hence, CcpA may play a key role in mediating the interaction of S. pneumoniae with its host. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that S. pneumoniae optimizes basic metabolic processes, likely enhancing in vivo fitness, in a CcpA-mediated manner.
A ccpA gene that encodes global catabolite control protein A (CcpA) in Streptococcus bovis was identified and characterized, and the involvement of CcpA in transcriptional control of a gene (ldh) encoding lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and a gene (pfl) encoding pyruvate formate-lyase (PFL) was examined. The ccpA gene was shown to be transcribed as a monocistronic operon. A catabolite-responsive element (cre) was found in the promoter region of ccpA, suggesting that ccpA transcription in S. bovis is autogenously regulated. CcpA required HPr that was phosphorylated at the serine residue at position 46 (HPr-[Ser-P]) for binding to the cre site, but glucose 6-phosphate, fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, and NADP had no effect on binding. Diauxic growth was observed when S. bovis was grown in a medium containing glucose and lactose, but it disappeared when ccpA was disrupted, which indicates that CcpA is involved in catabolite repression in S. bovis. The level of ccpA mRNA was higher when cells were grown on glucose than when they were grown on lactose, which was in line with the level of ldh mRNA. When cells were grown on glucose, the ldh mRNA level was lower but the pfl mRNA level was higher in a ccpA-disrupted mutant than in the parent strain, which suggests that ldh transcription is enhanced and pfl transcription is suppressed by CcpA. The ccpA-disrupted mutant produced less lactate and more formate than the parent, probably because the mutant had reduced LDH activity and elevated PFL activity. In the upper region of both ldh and pfl, a cre-like sequence was found, suggesting that the complex consisting of CcpA and HPr-[Ser-P] binds to the possible cre sites. Thus, CcpA appears to be involved in the global regulation of sugar utilization in S. bovis.
CcpA is the global mediator of carbon catabolite repression (CCR) in gram-positive bacteria, and growing evidence from several pathogens, including the group A streptococcus (GAS), suggests that CcpA plays an important role in virulence gene regulation. In this study, a deletion of ccpA in an invasive M1 GAS strain was used to test the contribution of CcpA to pathogenesis in mice. Surprisingly, the ΔccpA mutant exhibited a dramatic “hypervirulent” phenotype compared to the parental MGAS5005 strain, reflected as increased lethality in a model of systemic infection (intraperitoneal administration) and larger lesion size in a model of skin infection (subcutaneous administration). Expression of ccpA in trans from its native promoter was able to complement both phenotypes, suggesting that CcpA acts to repress virulence in GAS. To identify the CcpA-regulated gene(s) involved, a transcriptome analysis was performed on mid-logarithmic-phase cells grown in rich medium. CcpA was found to primarily repress 6% of the GAS genome (124 genes), including genes involved in sugar metabolism, transcriptional regulation, and virulence. Notably, the entire sag operon necessary for streptolysin S (SLS) production was under CcpA-mediated CCR, as was SLS hemolytic activity. Purified CcpA-His bound specifically to a cre within sagAp, demonstrating direct repression of the operon. Finally, SLS activity is required for the increased virulence of a ΔccpA mutant during systemic infection but did not affect virulence in a wild-type background. Thus, CcpA acts to repress SLS activity and virulence during systemic infection in mice, revealing an important link between carbon metabolism and GAS pathogenesis.
The catabolite control protein CcpA is a central regulator in low-G+C-content gram-positive bacteria. It confers carbon catabolite repression to numerous genes required for carbon utilization. It also operates as a transcriptional activator of genes involved in diverse phenomena, such as glycolysis and ammonium fixation. We have cloned the ccpA region of Lactobacillus pentosus. ccpA encodes a protein of 336 amino acids exhibiting similarity to CcpA proteins of other bacteria and to proteins of the LacI/GalR family of transcriptional regulators. Upstream of ccpA was found an open reading frame with similarity to the pepQ gene, encoding a prolidase. Primer extension experiments revealed two start sites of transcription for ccpA. In wild-type cells grown on glucose, mRNA synthesis occurred only from the promoter proximal to ccpA. In a ccpA mutant strain, both promoters were used, with increased transcription from the distant promoter, which overlaps a presumptive CcpA binding site called cre (for catabolite responsive element). This suggests that expression of ccpA is autoregulated. Determination of the expression levels of CcpA in cells grown on repressing and nonrepressing carbon sources revealed that the amounts of CcpA produced did not change significantly, leading to the conclusion that the arrangement of two promoters may ensure constant expression of ccpA under various environmental conditions. A comparison of the genetic structures of ccpA regions revealed that lactic acid bacteria possess the gene order pepQ-ccpA-variable while the genetic structure in bacilli and Staphylococcus xylosus is aroA-ccpA-variable-acuC.
A bacterial transcriptome of the primary etiological agent of human dental caries, Streptococcus mutans, is described here using deep RNA sequencing. Differential expression profiles of the transcriptome in the context of carbohydrate source, and of the presence or absence of the catabolite control protein CcpA, revealed good agreement with previously-published DNA microarrays. In addition, RNA-seq considerably expanded the repertoire of DNA sequences that showed statistically-significant changes in expression as a function of the presence of CcpA and growth carbohydrate. Novel mRNAs and small RNAs were identified, some of which were differentially expressed in conditions tested in this study, suggesting that the function of the S. mutans CcpA protein and the influence of carbohydrate sources has a more substantial impact on gene regulation than previously appreciated. Likewise, the data reveal that the mechanisms underlying prioritization of carbohydrate utilization are more diverse than what is currently understood. Collectively, this study demonstrates the validity of RNA-seq as a potentially more-powerful alternative to DNA microarrays in studying gene regulation in S. mutans because of the capacity of this approach to yield a more precise landscape of transcriptomic changes in response to specific mutations and growth conditions.
Previous studies have suggested that the transcription factor CcpA, as well as the coeffectors HPr and Crh, both phosphorylated by the HprK kinase/phosphorylase, are primary mediators of catabolite repression and catabolite activation in Bacillus subtilis. We here report whole transcriptome analyses that characterize glucose-dependent gene expression in wild-type cells and in isogenic mutants lacking CcpA, HprK, or the HprK phosphorylatable serine in HPr. Binding site identification revealed which genes are likely to be primarily or secondarily regulated by CcpA. Most genes subject to CcpA-dependent regulation are regulated fully by HprK and partially by serine-phosphorylated HPr [HPr(Ser-P)]. A positive linear correlation was noted between the dependencies of catabolite-repressible gene expression on CcpA and HprK, but no such relationship was observed for catabolite-activated genes, suggesting that large numbers of the latter genes are not regulated by the CcpA-HPr(Ser-P) complex. Many genes that mediate nitrogen or phosphorus metabolism as well as those that function in stress responses proved to be subject to CcpA-dependent glucose control. While nitrogen-metabolic genes may be subject to either glucose repression or activation, depending on the gene, almost all glucose-responsive phosphorus-metabolic genes exhibit activation while almost all glucose-responsive stress genes show repression. These responses are discussed from physiological standpoints. These studies expand our appreciation of CcpA-mediated catabolite control and provide insight into potential interregulon control mechanisms in gram-positive bacteria.
The catabolite control protein CcpA is a transcriptional regulator conserved in many Gram-positives, controlling the efficiency of glucose metabolism. Here we studied the role of Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579 CcpA in regulation of metabolic pathways and expression of enterotoxin genes by comparative transcriptome analysis of the wild-type and a ccpA-deletion strain.
Comparative analysis revealed the growth performance and glucose consumption rates to be lower in the B. cereus ATCC 14579 ccpA deletion strain than in the wild-type. In exponentially grown cells, the expression of glycolytic genes, including a non-phosphorylating glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase that mediates conversion of D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate to 3-phospho-D-glycerate in one single step, was down-regulated and expression of gluconeogenic genes and genes encoding the citric acid cycle was up-regulated in the B. cereus ccpA deletion strain. Furthermore, putative CRE-sites, that act as binding sites for CcpA, were identified to be present for these genes. These results indicate CcpA to be involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism, thereby optimizing the efficiency of glucose catabolism. Other genes of which the expression was affected by ccpA deletion and for which putative CRE-sites could be identified, included genes with an annotated function in the catabolism of ribose, histidine and possibly fucose/arabinose and aspartate. Notably, expression of the operons encoding non-hemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) and hemolytic enterotoxin (Hbl) was affected by ccpA deletion, and putative CRE-sites were identified, which suggests catabolite repression of the enterotoxin operons to be CcpA-dependent.
The catabolite control protein CcpA in B. cereus ATCC 14579 is involved in optimizing the catabolism of glucose with concomitant repression of gluconeogenesis and alternative metabolic pathways. Furthermore, the results point to metabolic control of enterotoxin gene expression and suggest that CcpA-mediated glucose sensing provides an additional mode of control in moderating the expression of the nhe and hbl operons in B. cereus ATCC 14579.
Inactivation of ccpA in Enterococcus faecalis leads to reduction of the growth rate, derepression of the galKETR operon in the presence of a mixture of glucose and galactose, and reduction of transcription of ldh in the presence of glucose. Moreover, the E. faecalis ccpA gene fully complements a Bacillus subtilis ccpA mutant, arguing for similar functions of these two homologous proteins. Protein comparison on two-dimensional gels from the wild-type cells and the ccpA mutant cells revealed a pleiotropic effect of the mutation on gene expression. The HPr protein of the carbohydrate-phosphotransferase system was identified by microsequencing, and a modification of its phosphorylation state was observed between the wild-type and the mutant strains. Moreover, at least 16 polypeptides are overexpressed in the mutant, and 6 are repressed. Interestingly, 13 of the 16 polypeptides whose synthesis is enhanced in the mutant were also identified as glucose starvation proteins. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of four of them match sequences deduced from genes coding for l-serine dehydratase, dihydroxyacetone kinase (two genes), and a protein of unknown function from Deinococcus radiodurans.
Streptococcus thermophilus, unlike many other gram-positive bacteria, prefers lactose over glucose as the primary carbon and energy source. Moreover, lactose is not taken up by a phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (PTS) but by the dedicated transporter LacS. In this paper we show that CcpA plays a crucial role in the fine-tuning of lactose transport, β-galactosidase (LacZ) activity, and glycolysis to yield optimal glycolytic flux and growth rate. A catabolite-responsive element (cre) was identified in the promoter of the lacSZ operon, indicating a possible role for regulation by CcpA. Transcriptional analysis showed a sevenfold relief of repression in the absence of a functional CcpA when cells were grown on lactose. This CcpA-mediated repression of lacSZ transcription did not occur in wild-type cells during growth on galactose, taken up by the same LacS transport system. Lactose transport during fermentation was increased significantly in strains carrying a disrupted ccpA gene. Moreover, a ccpA disruption strain was found to release substantial amounts of glucose into the medium when grown on lactose. Transcriptional analysis of the ldh gene showed that expression was induced twofold during growth on lactose compared to glucose or galactose, in a CcpA-dependent manner. A reduced rate of glycolysis concomitant with an increased lactose transport rate could explain the observed expulsion of glucose in a ccpA disruption mutant. We propose that CcpA in S. thermophilus acts as a catabolic regulator during growth on the preferred non-PTS sugar lactose. In contrast to other bacteria, S. thermophilus possesses an overcapacity for lactose uptake that is repressed by CcpA to match the rate-limiting glycolytic flux.
The catabolite control protein CcpA is a pleiotropic regulator that mediates the global transcriptional response to rapidly catabolizable carbohydrates, like glucose in Gram-positive bacteria. By whole transcriptome analyses, we characterized glucose-dependent and CcpA-dependent gene regulation in Clostridium difficile. About 18% of all C. difficile genes are regulated by glucose, for which 50% depend on CcpA for regulation. The CcpA regulon comprises genes involved in sugar uptake, fermentation and amino acids metabolism, confirming the role of CcpA as a link between carbon and nitrogen pathways. Using combination of chromatin immunoprecipitation and genome sequence analysis, we detected 55 CcpA binding sites corresponding to ∼140 genes directly controlled by CcpA. We defined the C. difficile CcpA consensus binding site (creCD motif), that is, ‘RRGAAAANGTTTTCWW’. Binding of purified CcpA protein to 19 target creCD sites was demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. CcpA also directly represses key factors in early steps of sporulation (Spo0A and SigF). Furthermore, the C. difficile toxin genes (tcdA and tcdB) and their regulators (tcdR and tcdC) are direct CcpA targets. Finally, CcpA controls a complex and extended regulatory network through the modulation of a large set of regulators.
Transcription of the genes for a fructan hydrolase (fruA) and a
fructose/mannose sugar:phosphotransferase permease (levDEFG) in
Streptococcus mutans is activated by a four-component
regulatory system consisting of a histidine kinase (LevS), a response regulator
(LevR) and two carbohydrate-binding proteins (LevQT). The expression of the
fruA and levD operons was at baseline in a
levQ mutant and substantially decreased in a
levT null mutant, with lower expression with the cognate
inducers fructose or mannose, but slightly higher expression in glucose or
galactose. A strain expressing levQ with two point mutations
(E170A/F292S) did not require inducers to activate gene expression and displayed
altered levD expression when growing on various carbohydrates,
including cellobiose. Linker-scanning (LS) mutagenesis was used to generate
three libraries of mutants of levQ, levS and
levT that displayed various levels of altered substrate
specificity and of fruA/levD gene expression. The data support
that LevQ and LevT are intimately involved in the sensing of carbohydrate
signals, and that LevQ appears to be required for the integrity of the signal
transduction complex, apparently by interacting with the sensor kinase LevS.
Carbon catabolite control protein A (CcpA) is the main regulator involved in carbon catabolite repression in gram-positive bacteria. Time series gene expression analyses of Lactococcus lactis MG1363 and L. lactis MG1363ΔccpA using DNA microarrays were used to define the CcpA regulon of L. lactis. Based on a comparison of the transcriptome data with putative CcpA binding motifs (cre sites) in promoter sequences in the genome of L. lactis, 82 direct targets of CcpA were predicted. The main differences in time-dependent expression of CcpA-regulated genes were differences between the exponential and transition growth phases. Large effects were observed for carbon and nitrogen metabolic genes in the exponential growth phase. Effects on nucleotide metabolism genes were observed primarily in the transition phase. Analysis of the positions of putative cre sites revealed that there is a link between either repression or activation and the location of the cre site within the promoter region. Activation was observed when putative cre sites were located upstream of the hexameric −35 sequence at an average position of −56.5 or further upstream with decrements of 10.5 bp. Repression was observed when the cre site was located in or downstream of putative −35 and −10 sequences. The highest level of repression was observed when the cre site was present at a defined side of the DNA helix relative to the canonical −10 sequence. Gel retardation experiments, Northern blotting, and enzyme assays showed that CcpA represses its own expression and activates the expression of the divergently oriented prolidase-encoding pepQ gene, which constitutes a link between regulation of carbon metabolism and regulation of nitrogen metabolism.
Streptococcus gordonii is an important member of the oral biofilm community. As oral commensal streptococci, S. gordonii is considered beneficial in promoting biofilm homeostasis. CcpA is known as central regulator of carbon catabolite repression in Gram-positive bacteria and is also involved in the control of virulence gene expression. To further establish the role of CcpA as central regulator in S. gordonii, the effect of CcpA on biofilm formation and natural competence of S. gordonii was investigated. These phenotypic traits have been suggested to be important to oral streptococci in coping with environmental stress. Here we demonstrate that a CcpA mutant was severely impaired in its biofilm forming ability, showed a defect in extracellular polysaccharide production and reduced competence. The data suggest that CcpA is involved in the regulation of biofilm formation and competence development in S. gordonii.
We used 2D protein gel electrophoresis and DNA microarray technologies
to systematically analyze genes under glucose repression in Bacillus
subtilis. In particular, we focused on genes expressed after
the shift from glycolytic to gluconeogenic at the middle logarithmic
phase of growth in a nutrient sporulation medium, which remained
repressed by the addition of glucose. We also examined whether or
not glucose repression of these genes was mediated by CcpA, the
catabolite control protein of this bacterium. The wild-type and ccpA1 cells were grown with and without glucose, and their proteomes and transcriptomes were compared. 2D gel electrophoresis
allowed us to identify 11 proteins, the synthesis of which was under
glucose repression. Of these proteins, the synthesis of four (IolA,
I, S and PckA) was under CcpA-independent control. Microarray analysis enabled
us to detect 66 glucose-repressive genes, 22 of which (glmS, acoA, C, yisS, speD, gapB, pckA, yvdR, yxeF, iolA, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, R, S and yxbF ) were at least partially under CcpA-independent control. Furthermore, we found that CcpA and IolR, a repressor of the iol divergon,
were involved in the glucose repression of the synthesis of inositol
dehydrogenase encoded by iolG included in the above
list. The CcpA-independent glucose repression of
the iol genes appeared to be explained by inducer
We report the characterization of the ccpA gene of Lactobacillus plantarum, coding for catabolite control protein A. The gene is linked to the pepQ gene, encoding a proline peptidase, in the order ccpA-pepQ, with the two genes transcribed in tandem from the same strand as distinct transcriptional units. Two ccpA transcription start sites corresponding to two functional promoters were found, expression from the upstream promoter being autogenously regulated through a catabolite-responsive element (cre) sequence overlapping the upstream +1 site. During growth on ribose, the upstream promoter showed maximal expression, while growth on glucose led to transcription from the downstream promoter. In a ccpA mutant strain, the gene was transcribed mainly from the upstream promoter in both repressing and non repressing conditions. Expression of two enzyme activities, β-glucosidase and β-galactosidase, was relieved from carbon catabolite repression in the ccpA mutant strain. In vivo footprinting analysis of the catabolite-controlled bglH gene regulatory region in the ccpA mutant strain showed loss of protection of the cre under repressing conditions.
We characterized the role of catabolite control protein A (ccpA) in the physiology and virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae. S. pneumoniae has a large percentage of its genome devoted to sugar uptake and metabolism, and therefore, regulation of these processes is likely to be crucial for fitness in the nasopharynx and may play a role during invasive disease. In many bacteria, carbon catabolite repression (CCR) is central to such regulation, influencing hierarchical sugar utilization and growth rates. CcpA is the major transcriptional regulator in CCR in several gram-positive bacteria. We show that CcpA functions in CCR of lactose-inducible β-galactosidase activity in S. pneumoniae. CCR of maltose-inducible α-glucosidase, raffinose-inducible α-galactosidase, and cellobiose-inducible β-glucosidase is unaffected in the ccpA strain, suggesting that other regulators, possibly redundant with CcpA, control these systems. The ccpA strain is severely attenuated for nasopharyngeal colonization and lung infection in the mouse, establishing its role in fitness on these mucosal surfaces. Comparison of the cell wall fraction of the ccpA and wild-type strains shows that CcpA regulates many proteins in this compartment that are involved in central and intermediary metabolism, a subset of which are required for survival and multiplication in vivo. Both in vitro and in vivo defects were complemented by providing ccpA in trans. Our results demonstrate that CcpA, though not a global regulator of CCR in S. pneumoniae, is required for colonization of the nasopharynx and survival and multiplication in the lung.
The phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) is the major carbohydrate transport system in oral streptococci. The mannose-PTS of Streptococcus mutans, which transports mannose and glucose, is involved in carbon catabolite repression (CCR) and regulates the expression of known virulence genes. In this study, we investigated the role of EIIGlc and EIIABMan in sugar metabolism, gene regulation, biofilm formation, and competence. The results demonstrate that the inactivation of ptsG, encoding a putative EIIGlc, did not lead to major changes in sugar metabolism or affect the phenotypes of interest. However, the loss of EIIGlc was shown to have a significant impact on the proteome and to affect the expression of a known virulence factor, fructan hydrolase (fruA). JAM1, a mutant strain lacking EIIABMan, had an impaired capacity to form biofilms in the presence of glucose and displayed a decreased ability to be transformed with exogenous DNA. Also, the lactose- and cellobiose-PTSs were positively and negatively regulated by EIIABMan, respectively. Microarrays were used to investigate the profound phenotypic changes displayed by JAM1, revealing that EIIABMan of S. mutans has a key regulatory role in energy metabolism, possibly by sensing the energy levels of the cells or the carbohydrate availability and, in response, regulating the activity of transcription factors and carbohydrate transporters.
Carbon catabolite protein A (CcpA) is known to function as a major regulator of gene expression in different gram-positive organisms. Deletion of the ccpA homologue (saCOL1786) in Staphylococcus aureus was found to affect growth, glucose metabolization, and transcription of selected virulence determinants. In liquid culture, deletion of CcpA decreased the growth rate and yield; however, the effect was only transient during the exponential-growth phase as long as glucose was present in the medium. Depletion of glucose and production of lactate was delayed, while the level of excretion of acetate was less affected and was even higher in the mutant culture. On solid medium, in contrast, growth of the ΔccpA mutant resulted in smaller colonies containing a lower number of CFU per colony. Deletion of CcpA had an effect on the expression of important virulence factors of S. aureus by down-regulating RNAIII, the effector molecule of the agr locus, and altering the transcription patterns of hla, encoding α-hemolysin, and spa, encoding protein A. CcpA inactivation markedly reduced the oxacillin resistance levels in the highly methicillin-resistant S. aureus strain COLn and the teicoplanin resistance level in a glycopeptide-intermediate-resistant S. aureus strain. The presence of CcpA in the capsular polysaccharide serotype 5 (CP5)-producing strain Newman abolished capsule formation and decreased cap operon transcription in the presence of glucose. The staphylococcal CcpA thus not only is involved in the regulation of carbon metabolism but seems to function as a modulator of virulence gene expression as well.
Analysis of Listeria monocytogenes ptsH, hprK, and ccpA mutants defective in carbon catabolite repression (CCR) control revealed significant alterations in the expression of PrfA-dependent genes. The hprK mutant showed high up-regulation of PrfA-dependent virulence genes upon growth in glucose-containing medium whereas expression of these genes was even slightly down-regulated in the ccpA mutant compared to the wild-type strain. The ptsH mutant could only grow in a rich culture medium, and here the PrfA-dependent genes were up-regulated as in the hprK mutant. As expected, HPr-Ser-P was not produced in the hprK and ptsH mutants and synthesized at a similar level in the ccpA mutant as in the wild-type strain. However, no direct correlation was found between the level of HPr-Ser-P or HPr-His-P and PrfA activity when L. monocytogenes was grown in minimal medium with different phosphotransferase system (PTS) carbohydrates. Comparison of the transcript profiles of the hprK and ccpA mutants with that of the wild-type strain indicates that the up-regulation of the PrfA-dependent virulence genes in the hprK mutant correlates with the down-regulation of genes known to be controlled by the efficiency of PTS-mediated glucose transport. Furthermore, growth in the presence of the non-PTS substrate glycerol results in high PrfA activity. These data suggest that it is not the component(s) of the CCR or the common PTS pathway but, rather, the component(s) of subsequent steps that seem to be involved in the modulation of PrfA activity.
Biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus under in vitro growth conditions is generally promoted by high concentrations of sugar and/or salts. The addition of glucose to routinely used complex growth media triggered biofilm formation in S. aureus strain SA113. Deletion of ccpA, coding for the catabolite control protein A (CcpA), which regulates gene expression in response to the carbon source, abolished the capacity of SA113 to form a biofilm under static and flow conditions, while still allowing primary attachment to polystyrene surfaces. This suggested that CcpA mainly affects biofilm accumulation and intercellular aggregation. trans-Complementation of the mutant with the wild-type ccpA allele fully restored the biofilm formation. The biofilm produced by SA113 was susceptible to sodium metaperiodate, DNase I, and proteinase K treatment, indicating the presence of polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA), protein factors, and extracellular DNA (eDNA). The investigation of several factors which were reported to influence biofilm formation in S. aureus (arlRS, mgrA, rbf, sarA, atl, ica, citZ, citB, and cidABC) showed that CcpA up-regulated the transcription of cidA, which was recently shown to contribute to eDNA production. Moreover, we showed that CcpA increased icaA expression and PIA production, presumably over the down-regulation of the tricarboxylic acid cycle genes citB and citZ.
The chromosomal ccpA gene from Lactobacillus casei ATCC 393 has been cloned and sequenced. It encodes the CcpA protein, a central catabolite regulator belonging to the LacI-GalR family of bacterial repressors, and shows 54% identity with CcpA proteins from Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus megaterium. The L. casei ccpA gene was able to complement a B. subtilis ccpA mutant. An L. casei ccpA mutant showed increased doubling times and a relief of the catabolite repression of some enzymatic activities, such as N-acetylglucosaminidase and phospho-beta-galactosidase. Detailed analysis of CcpA activity was performed by using the promoter region of the L. casei chromosomal lacTEGF operon which is subject to catabolite repression and contains a catabolite responsive element (cre) consensus sequence. Deletion of this cre site or the presence of the ccpA mutation abolished the catabolite repression of a lacp::gusA fusion. These data support the role of CcpA as a common regulatory element mediating catabolite repression in low-GC-content gram-positive bacteria.
Many Gram-positive pathogens link the expression of virulence genes to the presence of carbon source substrates using overlapping pathways for global control of carbon catabolite regulation. However, how these pathways are integrated to control the behavior of the transcriptome in time- and compartment-specific patterns is typically not well understood. In the present study, global transcriptome profiling was used to determine the extent to which glucose alters gene expression in Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) and the contributions of the CcpA and LacD.1 catabolite control pathways to the regulation of this response in vitro. This analysis revealed that the expression of as many as 15% of the genes examined was regulated and that CcpA and LacD.1 together contribute to the regulation of 60% of this subset. However, numerous patterns were observed, including both CcpA- and LacD.1-specific and independent regulation, coregulation, and regulation of genes by these pathways independently of glucose. In addition, CcpA and LacD.1 had antagonistic effects on most coregulated genes. To resolve the roles of these regulators during infection, the expression of selected transcripts representative of different regulatory patterns was examined in a murine model of soft tissue infection. This revealed distinct patterns of misregulation with respect to time in CcpA− versus LacD.1− mutants. Taken together, these data support an important role for carbohydrate in the regulation of the transcriptome in tissue and suggest that the CcpA and LacD.1 pathways are organized to function at different times during the course of an infection.
Carbon catabolite repression (CCR) allows bacteria to alter metabolism in response to the availability of specific sugar sources, and increasing evidence suggests that CCR is involved in regulating virulence gene expression in many pathogens. A scan of the M1 SF370 group A streptococcus (GAS) genome using a Bacillus subtilis consensus identified a number of potential catabolite-responsive elements (cre) important for binding by the catabolite control protein A (CcpA), a mediator of CCR in gram-positive bacteria. Intriguingly, a putative cre was identified in the promoter region of mga upstream of its distal P1 start of transcription. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that a His-CcpA fusion protein was capable of binding specifically to the cre in Pmga in vitro. Deletion analysis of Pmga using single-copy Pmga-gusA reporter strains found that Pmga P1 and its upstream cre were not required for normal autoregulated mga expression from Pmga P2 as long as Mga was produced from its native locus. In fact, the Pmga P1 region appeared to show a negative influence on Pmga P2 in these studies. However, deletion of the cre at the native Pmga resulted in a reduction of total mga transcripts as determined by real-time reverse transcription-PCR, supporting a role for CcpA in initial expression. Furthermore, normal transcriptional initiation from the Pmga P1 start site alone was dependent on the presence of the cre. Importantly, inactivation of ccpA in the M6 GAS strain JRS4 resulted in a reduction in Pmga expression and Mga protein levels in late-logarithmic-phase cell growth. These data support a role for CcpA in the early activation of the mga promoter and establish a link between CCR and Mga regulation in the GAS.
Clostridium perfringens is the cause of several human diseases, including gas gangrene (clostridial myonecrosis), enteritis necroticans, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and acute food poisoning. The symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and acute food poisoning are due to sporulation-dependent production of C. perfringens enterotoxin encoded by the cpe gene. Glucose is a catabolite repressor of sporulation by C. perfringens. In order to identify the mechanism of catabolite repression by glucose, a mutation was introduced into the ccpA gene of C. perfringens by conjugational transfer of a nonreplicating plasmid into C. perfringens, which led to inactivation of the ccpA gene by homologous recombination. CcpA is a transcriptional regulator known to mediate catabolite repression in a number of low-G+C-content gram-positive bacteria, of which C. perfringens is a member. The ccpA mutant strain sporulated at a 60-fold lower efficiency than the wild-type strain in the absence of glucose. In the presence of 5 mM glucose, sporulation was repressed about 2,000-fold in the wild-type strain and 800-fold in the ccpA mutant strain compared to sporulation levels for the same strains grown in the absence of glucose. Therefore, while CcpA is necessary for efficient sporulation in C. perfringens, glucose-mediated catabolite repression of sporulation is not due to the activity of CcpA. Transcription of the cpe gene was measured in the wild-type and ccpA mutant strains grown in sporulation medium by using a cpe-gusA fusion (gusA is an Escherichia coli gene encoding the enzyme β-glucuronidase). In the exponential growth phase, cpe transcription was two times higher in the ccpA mutant strain than in the wild-type strain. Transcription of cpe was highly induced during the entry into stationary phase in wild-type cells but was not induced in the ccpA mutant strain. Glucose repressed cpe transcription in both the wild-type and ccpA mutant strain. Therefore, CcpA appears to act as a repressor of cpe transcription in exponential growth but is required for efficient sporulation and cpe transcription upon entry into stationary phase. CcpA was also required for maximum synthesis of collagenase (kappa toxin) and acted as a repressor of polysaccharide capsule synthesis in the presence of glucose, but it did not regulate synthesis of the phospholipase PLC (alpha toxin).