Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1051087)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Comparative Analysis of the σB-Dependent Stress Responses in Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria innocua Strains Exposed to Selected Stress Conditions▿ † 
The alternative sigma factor σB contributes to transcription of stress response and virulence genes in diverse gram-positive bacterial species. The composition and functions of the Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria innocua σB regulons were hypothesized to differ due to virulence differences between these closely related species. Transcript levels in stationary-phase cells and in cells exposed to salt stress were characterized by microarray analyses for both species. In L. monocytogenes, 168 genes were positively regulated by σB; 145 of these genes were preceded by a putative σB consensus promoter. In L. innocua, 64 genes were positively regulated by σB. σB contributed to acid stress survival in log-phase cells for both species but to survival in stationary-phase cells only for L. monocytogenes. In summary, (i) the L. monocytogenes σB regulon includes >140 genes that are both directly and positively regulated by σB, including genes encoding proteins with importance in stress response, virulence, transcriptional regulation, carbohydrate metabolism, and transport; (ii) a number of L. monocytogenes genes encoding flagellar proteins show higher transcript levels in the ΔsigB mutant, and both L. monocytogenes and L. innocua ΔsigB null mutants have increased motility compared to the respective isogenic parent strains, suggesting that σB affects motility and chemotaxis; and (iii) although L. monocytogenes and L. innocua differ in σB-dependent acid stress resistance and have species-specific σB-dependent genes, the L. monocytogenes and L. innocua σB regulons show considerable conservation, with a common set of at least 49 genes that are σB dependent in both species.
PMCID: PMC2223194  PMID: 18024685
2.  Refinement of the Listeria monocytogenes σB regulon through quantitative proteomic analysis 
Microbiology  2013;159(Pt 6):1109-1119.
σB is an alternative σ factor that regulates stress response and virulence genes in the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. To gain further insight into σB-dependent regulatory mechanisms in L. monocytogenes, we (i) performed quantitative proteomic comparisons between the L. monocytogenes parent strain 10403S and an isogenic ΔsigB mutant and (ii) conducted a meta-analysis of published microarray studies on the 10403S σB regulon. A total of 134 genes were found to be significantly positively regulated by σB at the transcriptomic level with >75 % of these genes preceded by putative σB-dependent promoters; 21 of these 134 genes were also found to be positively regulated by σB through proteomics. In addition, 15 proteins were only found to be positively regulated by σB through proteomics analyses, including Lmo1349, a putative glycine cleavage system protein. The lmo1349 gene is preceded by a 5′ UTR that functions as a glycine riboswitch, which suggests regulation of glycine metabolism by σB in L. monocytogenes. Herein, we propose a model where σB upregulates pathways that facilitate biosynthesis and uptake of glycine, which may then activate this riboswitch. Our data also (i) identified a number of σB-dependent proteins that appear to be encoded by genes that are co-regulated by multiple transcriptional regulators, in particular PrfA, and (ii) found σB-dependent genes and proteins to be overrepresented in the ‘energy metabolism’ role category, highlighting contributions of the σB regulon to L. monocytogenes energy metabolism as well as a role of PrfA and σB interaction in regulating aspects of energy metabolism in L. monocytogenes.
PMCID: PMC3709693  PMID: 23618998
3.  Cell-type specific analysis of translating RNAs in developing flowers reveals new levels of control 
Combining translating ribosome affinity purification with RNA-seq for cell-specific profiling of translating RNAs in developing flowers.Cell type comparisons of cell type-specific hormone responses, promoter motifs, coexpressed cognate binding factor candidates, and splicing isoforms.Widespread post-transcriptional regulation at both the intron splicing and translational stages.A new class of noncoding RNAs associated with polysomes.
What constitutes a differentiated cell type? How much do cell types differ in their transcription of genes? The development and functions of tissues rely on constant interactions among distinct and nonequivalent cell types. Answering these questions will require quantitative information on transcriptomes, proteomes, protein–protein interactions, protein–nucleic acid interactions, and metabolomes at cellular resolution. The systems approaches emerging in biology promise to explain properties of biological systems based on genome-wide measurements of expression, interaction, regulation, and metabolism. To facilitate a systems approach, it is essential first to capture such components in a global manner, ideally at cellular resolution.
Recently, microarray analysis of transcriptomes has been extended to a cellular level of resolution by using laser microdissection or fluorescence-activated sorting (for review, see Nelson et al, 2008). These methods have been limited by stresses associated with cellular separation and isolation procedures, and biases associated with mandatory RNA amplification steps. A newly developed method, translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP; Zanetti et al, 2005; Heiman et al, 2008; Mustroph et al, 2009), circumvents these problems by epitopetagging a ribosomal protein in specific cellular domains to selectively purify polysomes. We combined TRAP with deep sequencing, which we term TRAP-seq, to provide cell-level spatiotemporal maps for Arabidopsis early floral development at single-base resolution.
Flower development in Arabidopsis has been studied extensively and is one of the best understood aspects of plant development (for review, see Krizek and Fletcher, 2005). Genetic analysis of homeotic mutants established the ABC model, in which three classes of regulatory genes, A, B and C, work in a combinatorial manner to confer organ identities of four whorls (Coen and Meyerowitz, 1991). Each class of regulatory gene is expressed in a specific and evolutionarily conserved domain, and the action of the class A, B and C genes is necessary for specification of organ identity (Figure 1A).
Using TRAP-seq, we purified cell-specific translating mRNA populations, which we and others call the translatome, from the A, B and C domains of early developing flowers, in which floral patterning and the specification of floral organs is established. To achieve temporal specificity, we used a floral induction system to facilitate collection of early stage flowers (Wellmer et al, 2006). The combination of TRAP-seq with domain-specific promoters and this floral induction system enabled fine spatiotemporal isolation of translating mRNA in specific cellular domains, and at specific developmental stages.
Multiple lines of evidence confirmed the specificity of this approach, including detecting the expression in expected domains but not in other domains for well-studied flower marker genes and known physiological functions (Figures 1B–D and 2A–C). Furthermore, we provide numerous examples from flower development in which a spatiotemporal map of rigorously comparable cell-specific translatomes makes possible new views of the properties of cell domains not evident in data obtained from whole organs or tissues, including patterns of transcription and cis-regulation, new physiological differences among cell domains and between flower stages, putative hormone-active centers, and splicing events specific for flower domains (Figure 2A–D). Such findings may provide new targets for reverse genetics studies and may aid in the formulation and validation of interaction and pathway networks.
Beside cellular heterogeneity, the transcriptome is regulated at several steps through the life of mRNA molecules, which are not directly available through traditional transcriptome profiling of total mRNA abundance. By comparing the translatome and transcriptome, we integratively profiled two key posttranscriptional control points, intron splicing and translation state. From our translatome-wide profiling, we (i) confirmed that both posttranscriptional regulation control points were used by a large portion of the transcriptome; (ii) identified a number of cis-acting features within the coding or noncoding sequences that correlate with splicing or translation state; and (iii) revealed correlation between each regulation mechanism and gene function. Our transcriptome-wide surveys have highlighted target genes transcripts of which are probably under extensive posttranscriptional regulation during flower development.
Finally, we reported the finding of a large number of polysome-associated ncRNAs. About one-third of all annotated ncRNA in the Arabidopsis genome were observed co-purified with polysomes. Coding capacity analysis confirmed that most of them are real ncRNA without conserved ORFs. The group of polysome-associated ncRNA reported in this study is a potential new addition to the expanding riboregulator catalog; they could have roles in translational regulation during early flower development.
Determining both the expression levels of mRNA and the regulation of its translation is important in understanding specialized cell functions. In this study, we describe both the expression profiles of cells within spatiotemporal domains of the Arabidopsis thaliana flower and the post-transcriptional regulation of these mRNAs, at nucleotide resolution. We express a tagged ribosomal protein under the promoters of three master regulators of flower development. By precipitating tagged polysomes, we isolated cell type-specific mRNAs that are probably translating, and quantified those mRNAs through deep sequencing. Cell type comparisons identified known cell-specific transcripts and uncovered many new ones, from which we inferred cell type-specific hormone responses, promoter motifs and coexpressed cognate binding factor candidates, and splicing isoforms. By comparing translating mRNAs with steady-state overall transcripts, we found evidence for widespread post-transcriptional regulation at both the intron splicing and translational stages. Sequence analyses identified structural features associated with each step. Finally, we identified a new class of noncoding RNAs associated with polysomes. Findings from our profiling lead to new hypotheses in the understanding of flower development.
PMCID: PMC2990639  PMID: 20924354
Arabidopsis; flower; intron; transcriptome; translation
4.  Proteomic Analyses of a Listeria monocytogenes Mutant Lacking σB Identify New Components of the σB Regulon and Highlight a Role for σB in the Utilization of Glycerol▿  
In Listeria monocytogenes the alternative sigma factor σB plays important roles in both virulence and stress tolerance. In this study a proteomic approach was used to define components of the σB regulon in L. monocytogenes 10403S (serotype 1/2a). Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and the recently developed isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation technique, the protein expression profiles of the wild type and an isogenic ΔsigB deletion strain were compared. Overall, this study identified 38 proteins whose expression was σB dependent; 17 of these proteins were found to require the presence of σB for full expression, while 21 were expressed at a higher level in the ΔsigB mutant background. The data obtained with the two proteomic approaches showed limited overlap (four proteins were identified by both methods), a finding that highlights the complementarity of the two technologies. Overall, the proteomic data reaffirmed a role for σB in the general stress response and highlighted a probable role for σB in metabolism, especially in the utilization of alternative carbon sources. Proteomic and physiological data revealed the involvement of σB in glycerol metabolism. Five newly identified members of the σB regulon were shown to be under direct regulation of σB using reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), while random amplification of cDNA ends-PCR was used to map four σB-dependent promoters upstream from lmo0796, lmo1830, lmo2391, and lmo2695. Using RT-PCR analysis of known and newly identified σB-dependent genes, as well as proteomic analyses, σB was shown to play a major role in the stationary phase of growth in complex media.
PMCID: PMC2227729  PMID: 18065622
5.  Role of ςB in Heat, Ethanol, Acid, and Oxidative Stress Resistance and during Carbon Starvation in Listeria monocytogenes 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2001;67(10):4454-4457.
To determine the contribution of sigma B (ςB) to survival of stationary-phase Listeria monocytogenes cells following exposure to environmental stresses, we compared the viability of strain 10403S with that of an isogenic nonpolar sigB null mutant strain after exposure to heat (50°C), ethanol (16.5%), or acid (pH 2.5). Strain viabilities were also determined under the same conditions in cultures that had been previously exposed to sublethal levels of the same stresses (45°C, 5% ethanol, or pH 4.5). The ΔsigB and wild-type strains had similar viabilities following exposure to ethanol and heat, but the ΔsigB strain was almost 10,000-fold more susceptible to lethal acid stress than its parent strain. However, a 1-h preexposure to pH 4.5 yielded a 1,000-fold improvement in viability for the ΔsigB strain. These results suggest the existence in L. monocytogenes of both a ςB-dependent mechanism and a pH-dependent mechanism for acid resistance in the stationary phase. ςB contributed to resistance to both oxidative stress and carbon starvation in L. monocytogenes. The ΔsigB strain was 100-fold more sensitive to 13.8 mM cumene hydroperoxide than the wild-type strain. Following glucose depletion, the ΔsigB strain lost viability more rapidly than the parent strain. ςB contributions to viability during carbon starvation and to acid resistance and oxidative stress resistance support the hypothesis that ςB plays a role in protecting L. monocytogenes against environmental adversities.
PMCID: PMC93189  PMID: 11571142
6.  Identification of Sigma Factor σB-Controlled Genes and Their Impact on Acid Stress, High Hydrostatic Pressure, and Freeze Survival in Listeria monocytogenes EGD-e 
The gene encoding the alternative sigma factor σB in Listeria monocytogenes is induced upon exposure of cells to several stresses. In this study, we investigated the impact of a sigB null mutation on the survival of L. monocytogenes EGD-e at low pH, during high-hydrostatic-pressure treatment, and during freezing. The survival of ΔsigB mutant exponential-phase cells at pH 2.5 was 10,000-fold lower than the survival of EGD-e wild-type cells. Moreover, the ΔsigB mutant failed to show an acid tolerance response. Upon preexposure for 1 h to pH 4.5, the survival at pH 2.5 was 100,000-fold lower for the ΔsigB mutant than for the wild type. The glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) acid resistance system is important in survival and adaptation of L. monocytogenes in acidic conditions. The σB dependence of the gad genes (gadA, gadB, gadC, gadD, and gadE) was analyzed in silico. Putative σB-dependent promoter sites were found upstream of the gadCB operon (encoding a glutamate/γ-aminobutyrate antiporter and a glutamate decarboxylase, respectively) and the lmo2434 gene (gadD, encoding a putative glutamate decarboxylase). Reverse transcriptase PCR revealed that expression of the gadCB operon and expression of gadD are indeed σB dependent. In addition, a proteomics approach was used to analyze the protein expression profiles upon acid exposure. Although the GAD proteins were not recovered, nine proteins accumulated in the wild type but not in the ΔsigB strain. These proteins included Pfk, GalE, ClpP, and Lmo1580. Exposure to pH 4.5, in order to preload cells with active σB and consequently with σ B-dependent general stress proteins, also provided considerable protection against high-hydrostatic-pressure treatment and freezing. The combined data argue that the expression of σB-dependent genes provides L. monocytogenes with nonspecific multiple-stress resistance that may be relevant for survival in the natural environment as well as during food processing.
PMCID: PMC427741  PMID: 15184144
7.  σB-and PrfA-Dependent Transcription of Genes Previously Classified as Putative Constituents of the Listeria monocytogenes PrfA Regulon 
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease  2008;5(3):281-293.
Mounting evidence suggests that σB and PrfA coregulate transcription of multiple genes in Listeria monocytogenes, therefore, the relative contributions of σB and PrfA to transcript levels of genes identified previously as differentially regulated by PrfA were measured. Group I genes are recognized virulence genes that are positively regulated by PrfA; group II genes were reported previously as negatively regulated by PrfA; and multiple group III genes were proposed to be coregulated by σB and PrfA. Transcript levels for selected genes were measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in L. monocytogenes 10403S as well as in otherwise isogenic ΔsigB, ΔprfA, and ΔsigBΔprfA strains grown under conditions demonstrated to induce either PrfA activity (0.2% activated charcoal) or both PrfA and σB activity (stationary phase). Although the Group I gene plcA was positively regulated by PrfA, transcript levels for the group II genes lmo0278 and lmo0178 were not affected by the prfA deletion. While the sigB deletion significantly affected transcript levels for the selected group III genes (i.e., lmo0596, lmo0654, bsh, and opuCA), with lower transcript levels in the ΔsigB strains under all conditions tested, transcript levels for these genes were not significantly affected by the prfA deletion. Our results suggest that the regulatory interactions between PrfA and σB contribute to PrfA's predominant role as a direct regulator of virulence genes critical for invasion and intracellular survival in L. monocytogenes 10403S, while σB regulates a wider range of virulence and stress response genes.
PMCID: PMC3186697  PMID: 18564909
8.  Exploration of the Role of the Non-Coding RNA SbrE in L. monocytogenes Stress Response 
SbrE is a ncRNA in Listeria monocytogenes, reported to be up-regulated by the alternative sigma factor σB. Initial quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments on parent strains and isogenic ΔsigB strains demonstrated σB-dependent expression of SbrE across the four L. monocytogenes lineages and in L. innocua. Microarray and proteomics (MDLC/MS/MS with iTRAQ labeling) experiments with the L. monocytogenes parent strain and an isogenic ΔsbrE strain identified a single gene (lmo0636) and two proteins (Lmo0637 and Lmo2094) that showed lower expression levels in the ΔsbrE strain. qRT-PCR demonstrated an increase in SbrE transcript levels in stationary phase L. monocytogenes and in bacteria exposed to oxidative stress (mean log2 transcript levels 7.68 ± 0.57 and 1.70 ± 0.71 greater than in mid-log phase cells, respectively). However, no significant differences in growth or survival between the parent strain and ΔsbrE strain were confirmed under a variety of environmental stress conditions tested. Our data suggest that σB-dependent transcription of SbrE represents a conserved mechanism that contributes, across Listeria species, to fine-tuning of gene expression under specific environmental conditions that remain to be defined.
PMCID: PMC3565269  PMID: 23263668
non-coding RNA; Listeria monocytogenes; sigma B
9.  The Listeria monocytogenes σB Regulon and Its Virulence-Associated Functions Are Inhibited by a Small Molecule 
mBio  2011;2(6):e00241-11.
The stress-responsive alternative sigma factor σB is conserved across diverse Gram-positive bacterial genera. In Listeria monocytogenes, σB regulates transcription of >150 genes, including genes contributing to virulence and to bacterial survival under host-associated stress conditions, such as those encountered in the human gastrointestinal lumen. An inhibitor of L. monocytogenes σB activity was identified by screening ~57,000 natural and synthesized small molecules using a high-throughput cell-based assay. The compound fluoro-phenyl-styrene-sulfonamide (FPSS) (IC50 = 3.5 µM) downregulated the majority of genes previously identified as members of the σB regulon in L. monocytogenes 10403S, thus generating a transcriptional profile comparable to that of a 10403S ΔsigB strain. Specifically, of the 208 genes downregulated by FPSS, 75% had been identified previously as positively regulated by σB. Downregulated genes included key virulence and stress response genes, such as inlA, inlB, bsh, hfq, opuC, and bilE. From a functional perspective, FPSS also inhibited L. monocytogenes invasion of human intestinal epithelial cells and bile salt hydrolase activity. The ability of FPSS to inhibit σB activity in both L. monocytogenes and Bacillus subtilis indicates its utility as a specific inhibitor of σB across multiple Gram-positive genera.
The σB transcription factor regulates expression of genes responsible for bacterial survival under changing environmental conditions and for virulence; therefore, this alternative sigma factor is important for transmission of L. monocytogenes and other Gram-positive bacteria. Regulation of σB activity is complex and tightly controlled, reflecting the key role of this factor in bacterial metabolism. We present multiple lines of evidence indicating that fluoro-phenyl-styrene-sulfonamide (FPSS) specifically inhibits activity of σB across Gram-positive bacterial genera, i.e., in both Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus subtilis. Therefore, FPSS is an important new tool that will enable novel approaches for exploring complex regulatory networks in L. monocytogenes and other Gram-positive pathogens and for investigating small-molecule applications for controlling pathogen transmission.
PMCID: PMC3225968  PMID: 22128349
10.  Phenotypic and Transcriptomic Analyses Demonstrate Interactions between the Transcriptional Regulators CtsR and Sigma B in Listeria monocytogenes▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(24):7967-7980.
Listeria monocytogenes σB positively regulates the transcription of class II stress response genes; CtsR negatively regulates class III stress response genes. To identify interactions between these two stress response systems, we constructed L. monocytogenes ΔctsR and ΔctsR ΔsigB strains, as well as a ΔctsR strain expressing ctsR in trans under the control of an IPTG (isopropyl-β-d-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible promoter. These strains, along with a parent and a ΔsigB strain, were assayed for motility, heat resistance, and invasion of human intestinal epithelial cells, as well as by whole-genome transcriptomic and quantitative real-time PCR analyses. Both ΔctsR and ΔctsR ΔsigB strains had significantly higher thermotolerances than the parent strain; however, full heat sensitivity was restored to the ΔctsR strain when ctsR was expressed in trans. Although log-phase ΔctsR was not reduced in its ability to infect human intestinal cells, the ΔctsR ΔsigB strain showed significantly lower invasion efficiency than either the parent strain or the ΔsigB strain, indicating that interactions between CtsR and σB contribute to invasiveness. Statistical analyses also confirmed interactions between the ctsR and the sigB null mutations in both heat resistance and invasion phenotypes. Microarray transcriptomic analyses and promoter searches identified (i) 42 CtsR-repressed genes, (ii) 22 genes with lower transcript levels in the ΔctsR strain, and (iii) at least 40 genes coregulated by both CtsR and σB, including genes encoding proteins with confirmed or plausible roles in virulence and stress response. Our data demonstrate that interactions between CtsR and σB play an important role in L. monocytogenes stress resistance and virulence.
PMCID: PMC2168136  PMID: 17933929
11.  Identification of Components of the Sigma B Regulon in Listeria monocytogenes That Contribute to Acid and Salt Tolerance ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(22):6848-6858.
Sigma B (σB) is an alternative sigma factor that controls the transcriptional response to stress in Listeria monocytogenes and is also known to play a role in the virulence of this human pathogen. In the present study we investigated the impact of a sigB deletion on the proteome of L. monocytogenes grown in a chemically defined medium both in the presence and in the absence of osmotic stress (0.5 M NaCl). Two new phenotypes associated with the sigB deletion were identified using this medium. (i) Unexpectedly, the strain with the ΔsigB deletion was found to grow faster than the parent strain in the growth medium, but only when 0.5 M NaCl was present. This phenomenon was independent of the carbon source provided in the medium. (ii) The ΔsigB mutant was found to have unusual Gram staining properties compared to the parent, suggesting that σB contributes to the maintenance of an intact cell wall. A proteomic analysis was performed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, using cells growing in the exponential and stationary phases. Overall, 11 proteins were found to be differentially expressed in the wild type and the ΔsigB mutant; 10 of these proteins were expressed at lower levels in the mutant, and 1 was overexpressed in the mutant. All 11 proteins were identified by tandem mass spectrometry, and putative functions were assigned based on homology to proteins from other bacteria. Five proteins had putative functions related to carbon utilization (Lmo0539, Lmo0783, Lmo0913, Lmo1830, and Lmo2696), while three proteins were similar to proteins whose functions are unknown but that are known to be stress inducible (Lmo0796, Lmo2391, and Lmo2748). To gain further insight into the role of σB in L. monocytogenes, we deleted the genes encoding four of the proteins, lmo0796, lmo0913, lmo2391, and lmo2748. Phenotypic characterization of the mutants revealed that Lmo2748 plays a role in osmotolerance, while Lmo0796, Lmo0913, and Lmo2391 were all implicated in acid stress tolerance to various degrees. Invasion assays performed with Caco-2 cells indicated that none of the four genes was required for mammalian cell invasion. Microscopic analysis suggested that loss of Lmo2748 might contribute to the cell wall defect observed in the ΔsigB mutant. Overall, this study highlighted two new phenotypes associated with the loss of σB. It also demonstrated clear roles for σB in both osmotic and low-pH stress tolerance and identified specific components of the σB regulon that contribute to the responses observed.
PMCID: PMC2583506  PMID: 18806006
12.  Detection of Very Long Antisense Transcripts by Whole Transcriptome RNA-Seq Analysis of Listeria monocytogenes by Semiconductor Sequencing Technology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108639.
The Gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, a severe food-borne infection characterised by abortion, septicaemia, or meningoencephalitis. L. monocytogenes causes outbreaks of febrile gastroenteritis and accounts for community-acquired bacterial meningitis in humans. Listeriosis has one of the highest mortality rates (up to 30%) of all food-borne infections. This human pathogenic bacterium is an important model organism for biomedical research to investigate cell-mediated immunity. L. monocytogenes is also one of the best characterised bacterial systems for the molecular analysis of intracellular parasitism. Recently several transcriptomic studies have also made the ubiquitous distributed bacterium as a model to understand mechanisms of gene regulation from the environment to the infected host on the level of mRNA and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). We have used semiconductor sequencing technology for RNA-seq to investigate the repertoire of listerial ncRNAs under extra- and intracellular growth conditions. Furthermore, we applied a new bioinformatic analysis pipeline for detection, comparative genomics and structural conservation to identify ncRNAs. With this work, in total, 741 ncRNA locations of potential ncRNA candidates are now known for L. monocytogenes, of which 611 ncRNA candidates were identified by RNA-seq. 441 transcribed ncRNAs have never been described before. Among these, we identified novel long non-coding antisense RNAs with a length of up to 5,400 nt e.g. opposite to genes coding for internalins, methylases or a high-affinity potassium uptake system, namely the kdpABC operon, which were confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis. RNA-seq, comparative genomics and structural conservation of L. monocytogenes ncRNAs illustrate that this human pathogen uses a large number and repertoire of ncRNA including novel long antisense RNAs, which could be important for intracellular survival within the infected eukaryotic host.
PMCID: PMC4186813  PMID: 25286309
13.  Listeria monocytogenes σB Regulates Stress Response and Virulence Functions 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(19):5722-5734.
While the stress-responsive alternative sigma factor σB has been identified in different species of Bacillus, Listeria, and Staphylococcus, the σB regulon has been extensively characterized only in B. subtilis. We combined biocomputing and microarray-based strategies to identify σB-dependent genes in the facultative intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Hidden Markov model (HMM)-based searches identified 170 candidate σB-dependent promoter sequences in the strain EGD-e genome sequence. These data were used to develop a specialized, 208-gene microarray, which included 166 genes downstream of HMM-predicted σB-dependent promoters as well as selected virulence and stress response genes. RNA for the microarray experiments was isolated from both wild-type and ΔsigB null mutant L. monocytogenes cells grown to stationary phase or exposed to osmotic stress (0.5 M KCl). Microarray analyses identified a total of 55 genes with statistically significant σB-dependent expression under the conditions used in these experiments, with at least 1.5-fold-higher expression in the wild type over the sigB mutant under either stress condition (51 genes showed at least 2.0-fold-higher expression in the wild type). Of the 55 genes exhibiting σB-dependent expression, 54 were preceded by a sequence resembling the σB promoter consensus sequence. Rapid amplification of cDNA ends-PCR was used to confirm the σB-dependent nature of a subset of eight selected promoter regions. Notably, the σB-dependent L. monocytogenes genes identified through this HMM/microarray strategy included both stress response genes (e.g., gadB, ctc, and the glutathione reductase gene lmo1433) and virulence genes (e.g., inlA, inlB, and bsh). Our data demonstrate that, in addition to regulating expression of genes important for survival under environmental stress conditions, σB also contributes to regulation of virulence gene expression in L. monocytogenes. These findings strongly suggest that σB contributes to L. monocytogenes gene expression during infection.
PMCID: PMC193959  PMID: 13129943
14.  High-Resolution Transcriptome Maps Reveal Strain-Specific Regulatory Features of Multiple Campylobacter jejuni Isolates 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(5):e1003495.
Campylobacter jejuni is currently the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans. Comparison of multiple Campylobacter strains revealed a high genetic and phenotypic diversity. However, little is known about differences in transcriptome organization, gene expression, and small RNA (sRNA) repertoires. Here we present the first comparative primary transcriptome analysis based on the differential RNA–seq (dRNA–seq) of four C. jejuni isolates. Our approach includes a novel, generic method for the automated annotation of transcriptional start sites (TSS), which allowed us to provide genome-wide promoter maps in the analyzed strains. These global TSS maps are refined through the integration of a SuperGenome approach that allows for a comparative TSS annotation by mapping RNA–seq data of multiple strains into a common coordinate system derived from a whole-genome alignment. Considering the steadily increasing amount of RNA–seq studies, our automated TSS annotation will not only facilitate transcriptome annotation for a wider range of pro- and eukaryotes but can also be adapted for the analysis among different growth or stress conditions. Our comparative dRNA–seq analysis revealed conservation of most TSS, but also single-nucleotide-polymorphisms (SNP) in promoter regions, which lead to strain-specific transcriptional output. Furthermore, we identified strain-specific sRNA repertoires that could contribute to differential gene regulation among strains. In addition, we identified a novel minimal CRISPR-system in Campylobacter of the type-II CRISPR subtype, which relies on the host factor RNase III and a trans-encoded sRNA for maturation of crRNAs. This minimal system of Campylobacter, which seems active in only some strains, employs a unique maturation pathway, since the crRNAs are transcribed from individual promoters in the upstream repeats and thereby minimize the requirements for the maturation machinery. Overall, our study provides new insights into strain-specific transcriptome organization and sRNAs, and reveals genes that could modulate phenotypic variation among strains despite high conservation at the DNA level.
Author Summary
Many species have evolved into diverse strains with phenotypic and genotypic variations that facilitate adaptation to different ecological niches and, in the case of pathogens, to different hosts. Whereas comparison of genome sequences reveals differences and similarities among strains, the consequences of genomic variations can be tracked by studying the functional output from the genome. RNA sequencing has been revolutionizing transcriptome analyses of both pro- and eukaryotes. However, the bioinformatics-based analysis is still lagging behind, and transcriptome features are often manually annotated, which is laborious and time-consuming. This is even more compounded for the analyses of multiple strains. Here we compared the primary transcriptomes of four isolates of Campylobacter jejuni, the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans, and provide genome-wide transcriptional start site (TSS) maps using a novel automated annotation method. Our comparative RNA–seq showed that most TSS are conserved in multiple strains, but we also observed SNP–dependent promoter usage. Furthermore, we identified a novel minimal RNA–based CRISPR immune system as well as strain-specific small RNA repertoires. Our automated, comparative TSS annotation will facilitate and improve transcriptome annotation for a wider range of organisms and provides insights into the contribution of transcriptome differences to phenotypic variation among closely related species.
PMCID: PMC3656092  PMID: 23696746
15.  σB-Dependent and σB-Independent Mechanisms Contribute to Transcription of Listeria monocytogenes Cold Stress Genes during Cold Shock and Cold Growth▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(19):6019-6029.
The role of the stress response regulator σB (encoded by sigB) in directing the expression of selected putative and confirmed cold response genes was evaluated using Listeria monocytogenes 10403S and an isogenic ΔsigB mutant, which were either cold shocked at 4°C in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth for up to 30 min or grown at 4°C in BHI for 12 days. Transcript levels of the housekeeping genes rpoB and gap, the σB-dependent genes opuCA and bsh, and the cold stress genes ltrC, oppA, and fri were measured using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. Transcriptional start sites for ltrC, oppA, and fri were determined using rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR. Centrifugation was found to rapidly induce σB-dependent transcription, which necessitated the use of centrifugation-independent protocols to evaluate the contributions of σB to transcription during cold shock. Our data confirmed that transcription of the cold stress genes ltrC and fri is at least partially σB dependent and experimentally identified a σB-dependent ltrC promoter. In addition, our data indicate that (i) while σB activity is induced during 30 min of cold shock, this cold shock does not induce the transcription of σB-dependent or -independent cold shock genes; (ii) σB is not required for L. monocytogenes growth at 4°C in BHI; and (iii) transcription of the putative cold stress genes opuCA, fri, and oppA is σB independent during growth at 4°C, while both bsh and ltrC show growth phase and σB-dependent transcription during growth at 4°C. We conclude that σB-dependent and σB-independent mechanisms contribute to the ability of L. monocytogenes to survive and grow at low temperatures.
PMCID: PMC2074989  PMID: 17675428
16.  The Primary Transcriptome of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium and Its Dependence on ppGpp during Late Stationary Phase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92690.
We have used differential RNA-seq (dRNA-seq) to characterise the transcriptomic architecture of S. Typhimurium SL1344, and its dependence on the bacterial alarmone, guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp) during late stationary phase, (LSP). Under LSP conditions we were able to identify the transcriptional start sites (TSSs) for 53% of the S. Typhimurium open reading frames (ORFs) and discovered 282 candidate non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). The mapping of LSP TSSs enabled a detailed comparison with a previous dRNA-seq study of the early stationary phase (ESP) transcriptional architecture of S. Typhimurium SL1344 and its dependence on ppGpp. For the purposes of this study, LSP was defined as an aerobic LB culture grown to a later optical density reading (OD600 = 3.6) compared to ESP (OD600 = 2.3). The precise nucleotide positions of the majority of S. Typhimurium TSSs at LSP agreed closely with those identified at ESP. However, the identification of TSSs at different positions, or where additional or fewer TSSs were found at LSP compared to ESP enabled the genome-wide categorisation of growth phase dependent changes in promoter structure, the first time such an analysis has been done on this scale. Comparison of the ppGpp-dependency LSP and ESP TSSs for mRNAs and ncRNAs revealed a similar breadth of ppGpp-activation and repression. However, we note several ncRNAs previously shown to be involved in virulence were highly ppGpp-dependent at LSP. Finally, although SPI1 was expressed at ESP, we found SPI1 was not as highly expressed at LSP, instead we observed elevated expression of SPI2 encoded genes. We therefore also report an analysis of SPI2 transcriptional architecture at LSP resulting in localisation of SsrB binding sites and identification of a previously unreported SPI2 TSS. We also show that ppGpp is required for nearly all of SPI2 expression at LSP as well as for expression of SPI1 at ESP.
PMCID: PMC3963941  PMID: 24664308
17.  σB and σL Contribute to Listeria monocytogenes 10403S Response to the Antimicrobial Peptides SdpC and Nisin 
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease  2009;6(9):1057-1065.
The ability of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to survive antimicrobial treatments is a public health concern; therefore, this study was designed to investigate genetic mechanisms contributing to antimicrobial response in L. monocytogenes. In previous studies, the putative bacteriocin immunity gene lmo2570 was predicted to be regulated by the stress responsive alternative sigma factor, σB. As the alternative sigma factor σL controls expression of genes important for resistance to some antimicrobial peptides, we hypothesized roles for lmo2570, σB, and σL in L. monocytogenes antimicrobial response. Results from phenotypic characterization of a L. monocytogenes lmo2570 null mutant suggested that this gene does not contribute to resistance to nisin or to SdpC, an antimicrobial peptide produced by some strains of Bacillus subtilis. While lmo2570 transcript levels were confirmed to be σB dependent, they were σL independent and were not affected by the presence of nisin under the conditions used in this study. In spot-on-lawn assays with the SdpC-producing B. subtilis EG351, the L. monocytogenes ΔsigB, ΔsigL, and ΔsigB/ΔsigL strains all showed increased sensitivity to SdpC, indicating that both σB and σL regulate genes contributing to SdpC resistance. Nisin survival assays showed that σB and σL both affect L. monocytogenes sensitivity to nisin in broth survival assays; that is, a sigB null mutant is more resistant than the parent strain to nisin, while a sigB null mutation in ΔsigL background leads to reduced nisin resistance. In summary, while the σB-dependent lmo2570 does not contribute to resistance of L. monocytogenes to nisin or SdpC, both σB and σL contribute to the L. monocytogenes antimicrobial response.
PMCID: PMC3145169  PMID: 19642919
18.  Role of Listeria monocytogenes σB in Survival of Lethal Acidic Conditions and in the Acquired Acid Tolerance Response 
The food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes can acquire enhanced resistance to lethal acid conditions through multiple mechanisms. We investigated contributions of the stress-responsive alternative sigma factor, σB, which is encoded by sigB, to growth phase-dependent acid resistance (AR) and to the adaptive acid tolerance response in L. monocytogenes. At various points throughout growth, we compared the relative survival of L. monocytogenes wild-type and ΔsigB strains that had been exposed to either brain heart infusion (pH 2.5) or synthetic gastric fluid (pH 2.5) with and without prior acid adaptation. Under these conditions, survival of the ΔsigB strain was consistently lower than that of the wild-type strain throughout all phases of growth, ranging from 4 orders of magnitude less in mid-log phase to 2 orders of magnitude less in stationary phase. Survival of both ΔsigB and wild-type L. monocytogenes strains increased by 6 orders of magnitude upon entry into stationary phase, demonstrating that the L. monocytogenes growth phase-dependent AR mechanism is σB independent. σB-mediated contributions to acquired acid tolerance appear to be greatest in early logarithmic growth. Loss of a functional σB reduced the survival of L. monocytogenes at pH 2.5 to a greater extent in the presence of organic acid (100 mM acetic acid) than in the presence of inorganic acid alone (HCl), suggesting that L. monocytogenes protection against organic and inorganic acid may be mediated through different mechanisms. σB does not appear to contribute to pHi homeostasis through regulation of net proton movement across the cell membrane or by regulation of pHi buffering by the GAD system under the conditions examined in this study. In summary, a functional σB protein is necessary for full resistance of L. monocytogenes to lethal acid treatments.
PMCID: PMC154505  PMID: 12732538
19.  Programmed fluctuations in sense/antisense transcript ratios drive sexual differentiation in S. pombe 
Strand-specific RNA sequencing of S. pombe reveals a highly structured programme of ncRNA expression at over 600 loci. Functional investigations show that this extensive ncRNA landscape controls the complex programme of sexual differentiation in S. pombe.
The model eukaryote S. pombe features substantial numbers of ncRNAs many of which are antisense regulatory transcripts (ARTs), ncRNAs expressed on the opposing strand to coding sequences.Individual ARTs are generated during the mitotic cycle, or at discrete stages of sexual differentiation to downregulate the levels of proteins that drive and coordinate sexual differentiation.Antisense transcription occurring from events such as bidirectional transcription is not simply artefactual ‘chatter', it performs a critical role in regulating gene expression.
Regulation of the RNA profile is a principal control driving sexual differentiation in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Before transcription, RNAi-mediated formation of heterochromatin is used to suppress expression, while post-transcription, regulation is achieved via the active stabilisation or destruction of transcripts, and through at least two distinct types of splicing control (Mata et al, 2002; Shimoseki and Shimoda, 2001; Averbeck et al, 2005; Mata and Bähler, 2006; Xue-Franzen et al, 2006; Moldon et al, 2008; Djupedal et al, 2009; Amorim et al, 2010; Grewal, 2010; Cremona et al, 2011).
Around 94% of the S. pombe genome is transcribed (Wilhelm et al, 2008). While many of these transcripts encode proteins (Wood et al, 2002; Bitton et al, 2011), the majority have no known function. We used a strand-specific protocol to sequence total RNA extracts taken from vegetatively growing cells, and at different points during a time course of sexual differentiation. The resulting data redefined existing gene coordinates and identified additional transcribed loci. The frequency of reads at each of these was used to monitor transcript abundance.
Transcript levels at 6599 loci changed in at least one sample (G-statistic; False Discovery Rate <5%). 4231 (72.3%), of which 4011 map to protein-coding genes, while 809 loci were antisense to a known gene. Comparisons between haploid and diploid strains identified changes in transcript levels at over 1000 loci.
At 354 loci, greater antisense abundance was observed relative to sense, in at least one sample (putative antisense regulatory transcripts—ARTs). Since antisense mechanisms are known to modulate sense transcript expression through a variety of inhibitory mechanisms (Faghihi and Wahlestedt, 2009), we postulated that the waves of antisense expression activated at different stages during meiosis might be regulating protein expression.
To ask whether transcription factors that drive sense-transcript levels influenced ART production, we performed RNA-seq of a pat1.114 diploid meiosis in the absence of the transcription factors Atf21 and Atf31 (responsible for late meiotic transcription; Mata et al, 2002). Transcript levels at 185 ncRNA loci showed significant changes in the knockout backgrounds. Although meiotic progression is largely unaffected by removal of Atf21 and Atf31, viability of the resulting spores was significantly diminished, indicating that Atf21- and Atf31-mediated events are critical to efficient sexual differentiation.
If changes to relative antisense/sense transcript levels during a particular phase of sexual differentiation were to regulate protein expression, then the continued presence of the antisense at points in the differentiation programme where it would normally be absent should abolish protein function during this phase. We tested this hypothesis at four loci representing the three means of antisense production: convergent gene expression, improper termination and nascent transcription from an independent locus. Induction of the natural antisense transcripts that opposed spo4+, spo6+ and dis1+ (Figures 3 and 7) in trans from a heterologous locus phenocopied a loss of function of the target protein. ART overexpression decreased Dis1 protein levels. Antisense transcription opposing spk1+ originated from improper termination of the sense ups1+ transcript on the opposite strand (Figure 3B, left locus). Expression of either the natural full-length ups1+ transcript or a truncated version, restricted to the portion of ups1+ overlapping spk1+ (Figure 3, orange transcripts) in trans from a heterologous locus phenocopied the spk1.Δ differentiation deficiency. Convergent transcription from a neighbouring gene on the opposing strand is, therefore, an effective mechanism to generate RNAi-mediated (below) silencing in fission yeast. Further analysis of the data revealed, for many loci, substantial changes in UTR length over the course of meiosis, suggesting that UTR dynamics may have an active role in regulating gene expression by controlling the transcriptional overlap between convergent adjacent gene pairs.
The RNAi machinery (Grewal, 2010) was required for antisense suppression at each of the dis1, spk1, spo4 and spo6 loci, as antisense to each locus had no impact in ago1.Δ, dcr1.Δ and rdp1.Δ backgrounds. We conclude that RNAi control has a key role in maintaining the fidelity of sexual differentiation in fission yeast. The histone H3 methyl transferase Clr4 was required for antisense control from a heterologous locus.
Thus, a significant portion of the impact of ncRNA upon sexual differentiation arises from antisense gene silencing. Importantly, in contrast to the extensively characterised ability of the RNAi machinery to operate in cis at a target locus in S. pombe (Grewal, 2010), each case of gene silencing generated here could be achieved in trans by expression of the antisense transcript from a single heterologous locus elsewhere in the genome.
Integration of an antibiotic marker gene immediately downstream of the dis1+ locus instigated antisense control in an orientation-dependent manner. PCR-based gene tagging approaches are widely used to fuse the coding sequences of epitope or protein tags to a gene of interest. Not only do these tagging approaches disrupt normal 3′UTR controls, but the insertion of a heterologous marker gene immediately downstream of an ORF can clearly have a significant impact upon transcriptional control of the resulting fusion protein. Thus, PCR tagging approaches can no longer be viewed as benign manipulations of a locus that only result in the production of a tagged protein product.
Repression of Dis1 function by gene deletion or antisense control revealed a key role this conserved microtubule regulator in driving the horsetail nuclear migrations that promote recombination during meiotic prophase.
Non-coding transcripts have often been viewed as simple ‘chatter', maintained solely because evolutionary pressures have not been strong enough to force their elimination from the system. Our data show that phenomena such as improper termination and bidirectional transcription are not simply interesting artifacts arising from the complexities of transcription or genome history, but have a critical role in regulating gene expression in the current genome. Given the widespread use of RNAi, it is reasonable to anticipate that future analyses will establish ARTs to have equal importance in other organisms, including vertebrates.
These data highlight the need to modify our concept of a gene from that of a spatially distinct locus. This view is becoming increasingly untenable. Not only are the 5′ and 3′ ends of many genes indistinct, but that this lack of a hard and fast boundary is actively used by cells to control the transcription of adjacent and overlapping loci, and thus to regulate critical events in the life of a cell.
Strand-specific RNA sequencing of S. pombe revealed a highly structured programme of ncRNA expression at over 600 loci. Waves of antisense transcription accompanied sexual differentiation. A substantial proportion of ncRNA arose from mechanisms previously considered to be largely artefactual, including improper 3′ termination and bidirectional transcription. Constitutive induction of the entire spk1+, spo4+, dis1+ and spo6+ antisense transcripts from an integrated, ectopic, locus disrupted their respective meiotic functions. This ability of antisense transcripts to disrupt gene function when expressed in trans suggests that cis production at native loci during sexual differentiation may also control gene function. Consistently, insertion of a marker gene adjacent to the dis1+ antisense start site mimicked ectopic antisense expression in reducing the levels of this microtubule regulator and abolishing the microtubule-dependent ‘horsetail' stage of meiosis. Antisense production had no impact at any of these loci when the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery was removed. Thus, far from being simply ‘genome chatter', this extensive ncRNA landscape constitutes a fundamental component in the controls that drive the complex programme of sexual differentiation in S. pombe.
PMCID: PMC3738847  PMID: 22186733
antisense; meiosis; ncRNA; S. pombe; siRNA
20.  Identification of new noncoding RNAs in Listeria monocytogenes and prediction of mRNA targets 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(3):962-974.
To identify noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, we analyzed the intergenic regions (IGRs) of strain EGD-e by in silico-based approaches. Among the twelve ncRNAs found, nine are novel and specific to the Listeria genus, and two of these ncRNAs are expressed in a growth-dependent manner. Three of the ncRNAs are transcribed in opposite direction to overlapping open reading frames (ORFs), suggesting that they act as antisense on the corresponding mRNAs. The other ncRNA genes appear as single transcription units. One of them displays five repeats of 29 nucleotides. Five of these new ncRNAs are absent from the non-pathogenic species L. innocua, raising the possibility that they might be involved in virulence. To predict mRNA targets of the ncRNAs, we developed a computational method based on thermodynamic pairing energies and known ncRNA–mRNA hybrids. Three ncRNAs, including one of the putative antisense ncRNAs, were predicted to have more than one mRNA targets. Several of them were shown to bind efficiently to the ncRNAs suggesting that our in silico approach could be used as a general tool to search for mRNA targets of ncRNAs.
PMCID: PMC1807966  PMID: 17259222
21.  Differential Regulation of Listeria monocytogenes Internalin and Internalin-Like Genes by σB and PrfA as Revealed by Subgenomic Microarray Analyses 
Foodborne pathogens and disease  2008;5(4):417-435.
The Listeria monocytogenes genome contains more than 20 genes that encode cell surface–associated internalins. To determine the contributions of the alternative sigma factor σB and the virulence gene regulator PrfA to internalin gene expression, a subgenomic microarray was designed to contain two probes for each of 24 internalin-like genes identified in the L. monocytogenes 10403S genome. Competitive microarray hybridization was performed on RNA extracted from (i) the 10403S parent strain and an isogenic ΔsigB strain; (ii) 10403S and an isogenic ΔprfA strain; (iii) a (G155S) 10403S derivative that expresses the constitutively active PrfA (PrfA*) and the ΔprfA strain; and (iv) 10403S and an isogenic ΔsigBΔprfA strain. σB- and PrfA-dependent transcription of selected genes was further confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. For the 24 internalin-like genes examined, (i) both σB and PrfA contributed to transcription of inlA and inlB, (ii) only σB contributed to transcription of inlC2, inlD, lmo0331, and lmo0610; (iii) only PrfA contributed to transcription of inlC and lmo2445; and (iv) neither σB nor PrfA contributed to transcription of the remaining 16 internalin-like genes under the conditions tested.
PMCID: PMC2688707  PMID: 18713061
22.  Differential Regulation of Listeria monocytogenes Internalin and Internalin-Like Genes by σB and PrfA as Revealed by Subgenomic Microarray Analyses 
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease  2008;5(4):417-435.
The Listeria monocytogenes genome contains more than 20 genes that encode cell surface–associated internalins. To determine the contributions of the alternative sigma factor σB and the virulence gene regulator PrfA to internalin gene expression, a subgenomic microarray was designed to contain two probes for each of 24 internalin-like genes identified in the L. monocytogenes 10403S genome. Competitive microarray hybridization was performed on RNA extracted from (i) the 10403S parent strain and an isogenic ΔsigB strain; (ii) 10403S and an isogenic ΔprfA strain; (iii) a (G155S) 10403S derivative that expresses the constitutively active PrfA (PrfA*) and the ΔprfA strain; and (iv) 10403S and an isogenic ΔsigBΔprfA strain. σB- and PrfA-dependent transcription of selected genes was further confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. For the 24 internalin-like genes examined, (i) both σB and PrfA contributed to transcription of inlA and inlB, (ii) only σB contributed to transcription of inlC2, inlD, lmo0331, and lmo0610; (iii) only PrfA contributed to transcription of inlC and lmo2445; and (iv) neither σB nor PrfA contributed to transcription of the remaining 16 internalin-like genes under the conditions tested.
PMCID: PMC2688707  PMID: 18713061
23.  Listeria monocytogenes σB Has a Small Core Regulon and a Conserved Role in Virulence but Makes Differential Contributions to Stress Tolerance across a Diverse Collection of Strains▿ † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(13):4216-4232.
Listeria monocytogenes strains are classified in at least three distinct phylogenetic lineages. There are correlations between lineage classification and source of bacterial isolation; e.g., human clinical and food isolates usually are classified in either lineage I or II. However, human clinical isolates are overrepresented in lineage I, while food isolates are overrepresented in lineage II. σB, a transcriptional regulator previously demonstrated to contribute to environmental stress responses and virulence in L. monocytogenes lineage II strains, was hypothesized to provide differential abilities for L. monocytogenes survival in various niches (e.g., food and human clinical niches). To determine if the contributions of σB to stress response and virulence differ across diverse L. monocytogenes strains, ΔsigB mutations were created in strains belonging to lineages I, II, IIIA, and IIIB. Paired parent and ΔsigB mutant strains were tested for survival under acid and oxidative stress conditions, Caco-2 cell invasion efficiency, and virulence using the guinea pig listeriosis infection model. Parent and ΔsigB mutant strain transcriptomes were compared using whole-genome expression microarrays. σB contributed to virulence in each strain. However, while σB contributed significantly to survival under acid and oxidative stress conditions and Caco-2 cell invasion in lineage I, II, and IIIB strains, the contributions of σB were not significant for these phenotypes in the lineage IIIA strain. A core set of 63 genes was positively regulated by σB in all four strains; different total numbers of genes were positively regulated by σB in the strains. Our results suggest that σB universally contributes to L. monocytogenes virulence but specific σB-regulated stress response phenotypes vary among strains.
PMCID: PMC2897421  PMID: 20453120
24.  Directional RNA-seq reveals highly complex condition-dependent transcriptomes in E. coli K12 through accurate full-length transcripts assembling 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:520.
Although prokaryotic gene transcription has been studied over decades, many aspects of the process remain poorly understood. Particularly, recent studies have revealed that transcriptomes in many prokaryotes are far more complex than previously thought. Genes in an operon are often alternatively and dynamically transcribed under different conditions, and a large portion of genes and intergenic regions have antisense RNA (asRNA) and non-coding RNA (ncRNA) transcripts, respectively. Ironically, similar studies have not been conducted in the model bacterium E coli K12, thus it is unknown whether or not the bacterium possesses similar complex transcriptomes. Furthermore, although RNA-seq becomes the major method for analyzing the complexity of prokaryotic transcriptome, it is still a challenging task to accurately assemble full length transcripts using short RNA-seq reads.
To fill these gaps, we have profiled the transcriptomes of E. coli K12 under different culture conditions and growth phases using a highly specific directional RNA-seq technique that can capture various types of transcripts in the bacterial cells, combined with a highly accurate and robust algorithm and tool TruHMM ( for assembling full length transcripts. We found that 46.9 ~ 63.4% of expressed operons were utilized in their putative alternative forms, 72.23 ~ 89.54% genes had putative asRNA transcripts and 51.37 ~ 72.74% intergenic regions had putative ncRNA transcripts under different culture conditions and growth phases.
As has been demonstrated in many other prokaryotes, E. coli K12 also has a highly complex and dynamic transcriptomes under different culture conditions and growth phases. Such complex and dynamic transcriptomes might play important roles in the physiology of the bacterium. TruHMM is a highly accurate and robust algorithm for assembling full-length transcripts in prokaryotes using directional RNA-seq short reads.
PMCID: PMC3734233  PMID: 23899370
RNA-seq; Prokaryote; E. coli; Transcriptome; Assembly; Transcription start site; Alternative operon; Antisense RNA; Non-coding RNA
25.  RsbT and RsbV Contribute to σB-Dependent Survival under Environmental, Energy, and Intracellular Stress Conditions in Listeria monocytogenes 
Sigma B (σB) is a stress-responsive alternative sigma factor that has been identified in various gram-positive bacteria. Seven different regulators of sigma B (Rsbs) are located in the sigB operons of both Bacillus subtilis and Listeria monocytogenes. In B. subtilis, these proteins contribute to regulation of σB activity by conveying environmental and energy stress signals through two well-established branches of a signal transduction pathway. RsbT contributes to regulation of σB activity in response to environmental stresses, while RsbV contributes to σB activation under both environmental and energy stresses in B. subtilis. To probe L. monocytogenes Rsb roles in σB-mediated responses to various stresses, in-frame deletions were created in rsbT and rsbV. Phenotypic characterization of the L. monocytogenes rsbT and rsbV null mutants revealed that both mutants were similar to the ΔsigB strain in their abilities to survive under environmental stress conditions (exposure to synthetic gastric fluid, pH 2.5, acidified brain heart infusion broth [BHI], or oxidative stress [13 mM cumene hydroperoxide]). Under energy stress conditions (carbon starvation in defined media, entry into stationary phase, or reduced intracellular ATP), both ΔrsbT and ΔrsbV showed survival reductions similar to that of the ΔsigB strain. These observations suggest that the pathways for Rsb-dependent regulation of σB activity differ between L. monocytogenes and B. subtilis. As σB also activates transcription of the L. monocytogenes prfAP2 promoter, we evaluated virulence-associated characteristics of ΔprfAP1rsbT and ΔprfAP1rsbV double mutants in hemolysis and tissue culture assays. Both double mutants showed identical phenotypes to ΔprfAP1P2 and ΔprfAP1sigB double mutants, i.e., reduced hemolysis activity and reduced plaque size in mouse fibroblast cells. These findings indicate that RsbT and RsbV both contribute to σB activation in L. monocytogenes during exposure to environmental and energy stresses as well as during tissue culture infection.
PMCID: PMC520851  PMID: 15345420

Results 1-25 (1051087)