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1.  The Rcs Signal Transduction Pathway Is Triggered by Enterobacterial Common Antigen Structure Alterations in Serratia marcescens▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;193(1):63-74.
The enterobacterial common antigen (ECA) is a highly conserved exopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria whose role remains largely uncharacterized. In a previous work, we have demonstrated that disrupting the integrity of the ECA biosynthetic pathway imposed severe deficiencies to the Serratia marcescens motile (swimming and swarming) capacity. In this work, we show that alterations in the ECA structure activate the Rcs phosphorelay, which results in the repression of the flagellar biogenesis regulatory cascade. In addition, a detailed analysis of wec cluster mutant strains, which provoke the disruption of the ECA biosynthesis at different levels of the pathway, suggests that the absence of the periplasmic ECA cyclic structure could constitute a potential signal detected by the RcsF-RcsCDB phosphorelay. We also identify SMA1167 as a member of the S. marcescens Rcs regulon and show that high osmolarity induces Rcs activity in this bacterium. These results provide a new perspective from which to understand the phylogenetic conservation of ECA among enterobacteria and the basis for the virulence attenuation detected in wec mutant strains in other pathogenic bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3019949  PMID: 20971912
2.  mgtA Expression Is Induced by Rob Overexpression and Mediates a Salmonella enterica Resistance Phenotype▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(14):4951-4958.
Rob is a member of the Sox/Mar subfamily of AraC/XylS-type transcriptional regulators implicated in bacterial multidrug, heavy metal, superoxide, and organic solvent resistance phenotypes. We demonstrate that, in Salmonella enterica, Rob overexpression upregulates the transcription of mgtA, which codes for the MgtA Mg2+ transporter. mgtA was previously characterized as a member of the Mg2+-modulated PhoPQ regulon. Here we demonstrate that Rob (but not its paralog protein SoxS or MarA) is able to induce mgtA transcription in a PhoP-independent fashion by binding to a conserved Mar/Sox/Rob motif localized downstream of the PhoP-box and overlapping the PhoP-dependent transcriptional start site. We found that Rob-induced mgtA expression confers low-level cyclohexane resistance on Salmonella. Because mgtA intactness is required for Rob-induced cyclohexane resistance, provided the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump can be expressed, we postulate that MgtA is involved in the AcrAB-mediated cyclohexane detoxification mechanism promoted by Rob in Salmonella.
PMCID: PMC2447000  PMID: 18487336
3.  Enterobacterial Common Antigen Integrity Is a Checkpoint for Flagellar Biogenesis in Serratia marcescens▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;190(1):213-220.
Serratia marcescens strains are ubiquitous bacteria isolated from environmental niches, such as soil, water, and air, and also constitute emergent nosocomial opportunistic pathogens. Among the numerous extracellular factors that S. marcescens is able to produce, the PhlA phospholipase is the only described exoprotein secreted by the flagellar apparatus while simultaneously being a member of the flagellar regulon. To gain insight into the regulatory mechanism that couples PhlA and flagellar expression, we conducted a generalized insertional mutagenesis and screened for PhlA-deficient strains. We found that three independent mutations in the wec cluster, which impaired the assembly of enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), provoked the inhibition of PhlA expression. Swimming and swarming assays showed that in these strains, motility was severely affected. Microscopic examination and flagellin immunodetection demonstrated that a strong defect in flagellum expression was responsible for the reduced motility in the wec mutant strains. Furthermore, we determined that in the ECA-defective strains, the transcriptional cascade that controls flagellar assembly was turned off due to the down-regulation of flhDC expression. These findings provide a new perspective on the physiological role of the ECA, providing evidence that in S. marcescens, its biosynthesis conditions the expression of the flagellar regulon.
PMCID: PMC2223741  PMID: 17981971
4.  Induction of RpoS Degradation by the Two-Component System Regulator RstA in Salmonella enterica▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(20):7335-7342.
Bacterial survival in diverse and changing environments relies on the accurate interplay between different regulatory pathways, which determine the design of an adequate adaptive response. The proper outcome depends on a precise gene expression profile generated from the finely tuned and concerted action of transcriptional factors of distinct regulatory hierarchies. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium harbors multiple regulatory systems that are crucial for the bacterium to cope with harsh extra- and intracellular environments. In this work, we found that the expression of Salmonella RstA, a response regulator from the two-component system family, was able to downregulate the expression of three RpoS-controlled genes (narZ, spvA, and bapA). Furthermore, this downregulation was achieved by a reduction in RpoS cellular levels. The alternative sigma factor RpoS is critical for bacterial endurance under the most-stressful conditions, including stationary-phase entrance and host adaptation. Accordingly, RpoS cellular levels are tightly controlled by complex transcriptional, translational, and posttranslational mechanisms. The analysis of each regulatory step revealed that in Salmonella, RstA expression was able to promote RpoS degradation independently of the MviA-ClpXP proteolytic pathway. Additionally, we show that RstA is involved in modulating Salmonella biofilm formation. The fact that the RpoS-modulated genes affected by RstA expression have previously been demonstrated to contribute to Salmonella pathogenic traits, which include biofilm-forming capacity, suggests that under yet unknown conditions, RstA may function as a control point of RpoS-dependent pathways that govern Salmonella virulence.
PMCID: PMC2168453  PMID: 17704217
5.  Activation of Multiple Antibiotic Resistance in Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Strains by Aryloxoalcanoic Acid Compounds 
Clofibric and ethacrynic acids are prototypical pharmacological agents administered in the treatment of hypertrigliceridemia and as a diuretic agent, respectively. They share with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (the widely used herbicide known as 2,4-D) a chlorinated phenoxy structural moiety. These aryloxoalcanoic agents (AOAs) are mainly excreted by the renal route as unaltered or conjugated active compounds. The relatedness of these agents at the structural level and their potential effect on therapeutically treated or occupationally exposed individuals who are simultaneously undergoing a bacterial urinary tract infection led us to analyze their action on uropathogenic, clinically isolated Escherichia coli strains. We found that exposure to these compounds increases the bacterial resistance to an ample variety of antibiotics in clinical isolates of both uropathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli strains. We demonstrate that the AOAs induce an alteration of the bacterial outer membrane permeability properties by the repression of the major porin OmpF in a micF-dependent process. Furthermore, we establish that the antibiotic resistance phenotype is primarily due to the induction of the MarRAB regulatory system by the AOAs, while other regulatory pathways that also converge into micF modulation (OmpR/EnvZ, SoxRS, and Lrp) remained unaltered. The fact that AOAs give rise to uropathogenic strains with a diminished susceptibility to antimicrobials highlights the impact of frequently underestimated or ignored collateral effects of chemical agents.
PMCID: PMC90551  PMID: 11353631
6.  Phosphorylated PmrA Interacts with the Promoter Region of ugd in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(13):3874-3876.
The Salmonella PmrA-PmrB system controls the expression of genes necessary for polymyxin B resistance. Four loci were previously identified as part of the regulon, and interaction of PmrA with the promoter region of three of them was observed. Here we characterized the interaction of PmrA with the promoter region of ugd, previously suggested to be regulated indirectly by PmrA. Our results indicate that PmrA controls the expression of ugd by interacting with a specific sequence in the promoter region of this gene.
PMCID: PMC94567  PMID: 10851011

Results 1-6 (6)