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1.  The contribution of PmrAB to the virulence of a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli 
Virulence  2013;4(7):634-637.
Previous data from our laboratory suggest a relationship between increased pmrAB expression and virulence in an Escherichia coli mouse infection model of pyelonephritis. Competitive infections with wild type and pmrAB mutants showed that disruption of pmrAB caused decreased persistence of E. coli within the mouse kidney. These results were confirmed with plasmid-mediated complementation of the pmrAB mutant. Additionally, increased expression of pmrAB from this complementing plasmid in a previously attenuated marA-rob-soxS triple mutant displayed increased bacterial persistence in the infection when compared with the triple mutant alone. These findings suggest a role for this two-component regulatory system in the virulence of E. coli in a murine pyelonephritis model.
PMCID: PMC3906297  PMID: 23921442
E. coli; pmrAB; kidney; infection
2.  Involvement of MarR and YedS in Carbapenem Resistance in a Clinical Isolate of Escherichia coli from China 
A carbapenem-resistant clinical isolate of Escherichia coli, which lacked OmpF and OmpC porins, carried a marR mutation and expressed a functional yedS, a normally nontranslated gene. MarR and YedS are described here as having effects on the ability of this strain to resist carbapenems. Additionally, expression of YedS was regulated by the small RNA MicF in a MarA-dependent way. These findings illustrate how broadly bacteria can mutate within a selective clinical setting, in this case, resistance to carbapenems, by altering three porin genes and one regulatory gene.
PMCID: PMC3623324  PMID: 23318808
3.  SoxS Increases the Expression of the Zinc Uptake System ZnuACB in an Escherichia coli Murine Pyelonephritis Model 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(5):1177-1185.
Paralogous transcriptional regulators MarA, Rob, and SoxS act individually and together to control expression of more than 80 Escherichia coli genes. Deletion of marA, rob, and soxS from an E. coli clinical isolate prevents persistence beyond 2 days postinfection in a mouse model of pyelonephritis. We used microarray analysis to identify 242 genes differentially expressed between the triple deletion mutant and its parent strain at 2 days postinfection in the kidney. One of these, znuC of the zinc transport system ZnuACB, displayed decreased expression in the triple mutant compared to that in the parental strain, and deletion of znuC from the parental strain reduced persistence. The marA rob soxS triple deletion mutant was less viable in vitro under limited-Zn and Zn-depleted conditions, while disruption of znuC caused a reduction in the growth rates for the parental and triple mutant strains to equally low levels under limited-Zn or Zn-depleted conditions. Complementation of the triple mutant with soxS, but not marA or rob, restored the parental growth rate in Zn-depleted medium, while deletion of only soxS from the parental strain led to low growth in Zn-depleted medium. Both results suggested that SoxS is a major regulator responsible for growth under Zn-depleted conditions. Gel shift experiments failed to show direct binding of SoxS to the znuCB promoter, thus suggesting indirect control of znuCB expression by SoxS. While SoxS expression in the triple mutant fully restored persistence, increased expression of znuACB via a plasmid in this mutant only partially restored wild-type levels of persistence in the kidney. This work implicates SoxS control of znuCB expression as a key factor in persistence of E. coli in murine pyelonephritis.
PMCID: PMC3294818  PMID: 22210763
4.  Different effects of transcriptional regulators MarA, SoxS and Rob on susceptibility of Escherichia coli to cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs): Rob-dependent CAMP induction of the marRAB operon 
Microbiology  2010;156(Pt 2):570-578.
Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs), a component of the mammalian immune system, protect the host from bacterial infections. The roles of the Escherichia coli transcriptional regulators MarA, SoxS and Rob in susceptibility to these peptides were examined. Overexpression of marA, either in an antibiotic-resistant marR mutant or from a plasmid, decreased bacterial susceptibility to CAMPs. Overexpression of the soxS gene from a plasmid, which decreased susceptibility to antibiotics, unexpectedly caused no decrease in CAMP susceptibility; instead it produced increased susceptibility to different CAMPs. Deletion or overexpression of rob had little effect on CAMP susceptibility. The marRAB operon was upregulated when E. coli was incubated in sublethal amounts of CAMPs polymyxin B, LL-37 or human β-defensin-1; however, this upregulation required Rob. Deletion of acrAB increased bacterial susceptibility to polymyxin B, LL-37 and human β-defensin-1 peptides. Deletion of tolC yielded an even greater increase in susceptibility to these peptides and also led to increased susceptibility to human α-defensin-2. Inhibition of cellular proton-motive force increased peptide susceptibility for wild-type and acrAB deletion strains; however, it decreased susceptibility of tolC mutants. These findings demonstrate that CAMPs are both inducers of marA-mediated drug resistance through interaction with Rob and also substrates for efflux in E. coli. The three related transcriptional regulators show different effects on bacterial cell susceptibility to CAMPs.
PMCID: PMC2890090  PMID: 19926649
5.  Clinically Relevant Mutations that Cause Derepression of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae MtrC-MtrD-MtrE Efflux Pump System Confer Different Levels of Antimicrobial Resistance and In Vivo Fitness 
Molecular microbiology  2008;70(2):462-478.
The MtrC-MtrD-MtrE efflux pump system confers resistance to macrolide antibiotics and antimicrobial substances of the host innate defense. Clinical isolates with increased resistance to erythromycin and azithromycin frequently harbor mutations in the mtrR structural gene, which encodes a repressor of the mtrCDE operon, or the mtrR promoter region. The MtrC-MtrD-MtrE system is important for gonococcal survival in the murine genital tract, and derepression of the mtrCDE operon via deletion of mtrR confers increased fitness in vivo. Here we compared isogenic strains with naturally occurring mtrR locus mutations for differences in mtrCDE expression and pump-related phenotypes. Mutations upstream of mtrC, including those within the MtrR binding region and a novel mutation that increases mtrC RNA stability conferred the highest levels of derepression as measured by mtrCDE transcription and resistance to antibiotics, progesterone, and antimicrobial peptides. In contrast, mutations within the mtrR coding sequence conferred low to intermediate levels of derepression. In vivo, the mtr mutants were more fit than the wild type strain, the degree to which paralleled in vitro resistance gradients. These studies establish a hierarchy of mtrR locus mutations with regard to regulation of pump efflux, and suggest selection for more derepressed mutants may occur during mixed infections.
PMCID: PMC2602950  PMID: 18761689
Neisseria gonorrhoeae; active efflux; MtrC-MtrD-MtrE efflux pump; antibiotic resistance; in vivo fitness; antimicrobial peptides; genital tract
6.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Analyses of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates That Express Frequently Recovered PorB PIA Variable Region Types Suggest that Certain P1a Porin Sequences Confer a Selective Advantage for Urogenital Tract Infection▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(8):3700-3709.
Typing of the porB variable region (VR) is an epidemiological tool that classifies gonococcal strains based on sequence differences in regions of the porB gene that encode surface-exposed loops. The frequent isolation of certain porB VR types suggests that some porin sequences confer a selective advantage during infection and/or transmission. Alternatively, certain porin types may be markers of strains that are successful due to factors unrelated to porin. In support of the first hypothesis, here we show urogenital tract isolates representing the most common PIA VR types identified in an urban clinic in Baltimore, MD, over a 10-year period belonged to several different clonal types, as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Serum resistance, which was confirmed by factor H and C4b-binding protein binding studies, was more often associated with gonococcal the most common VR types. In contrast, three porin-independent phenotypes, namely, lactoferrin utilization, β-lactamase production, and multiple transferable resistance (Mtr), were segregated with the PFGE cluster and not with the VR type. Data combined with another PIA strain collection showed a strong correlation between serum resistance and the most common VR types. A comparison of VR typing hybridization patterns and nucleotide sequences of 12 porB1a genes suggests that certain porin loop 1, 3, 6, and/or 7 sequences may play a role in the serum resistance phenotype. We conclude that some PorB PIA sequences confer a survival or transmission advantage in the urogenital tract, perhaps via increased resistance to complement-mediated killing. The capacity of some porin types to evade a porin-specific adaptive immune response must also be considered.
PMCID: PMC2493220  PMID: 18541655

Results 1-6 (6)