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1.  Phenotypic and transcriptional analysis of the osmotic regulator OmpR in Yersinia pestis 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:39.
The osmotic regulator OmpR in Escherichia coli regulates differentially the expression of major porin proteins OmpF and OmpC. In Yersinia enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis, OmpR is required for both virulence and survival within macrophages. However, the phenotypic and regulatory roles of OmpR in Y. pestis are not yet fully understood.
Y. pestis OmpR is involved in building resistance against phagocytosis and controls the adaptation to various stressful conditions met in macrophages. The ompR mutation likely did not affect the virulence of Y. pestis strain 201 that was a human-avirulent enzootic strain. The microarray-based comparative transcriptome analysis disclosed a set of 224 genes whose expressions were affected by the ompR mutation, indicating the global regulatory role of OmpR in Y. pestis. Real-time RT-PCR or lacZ fusion reporter assay further validated 16 OmpR-dependent genes, for which OmpR consensus-like sequences were found within their upstream DNA regions. ompC, F, X, and R were up-regulated dramatically with the increase of medium osmolarity, which was mediated by OmpR occupying the target promoter regions in a tandem manner.
OmpR contributes to the resistance against phagocytosis or survival within macrophages, which is conserved in the pathogenic yersiniae. Y. pestis OmpR regulates ompC, F, X, and R directly through OmpR-promoter DNA association. There is an inducible expressions of the pore-forming proteins OmpF, C, and × at high osmolarity in Y. pestis, in contrast to the reciprocal regulation of them in E. coli. The main difference is that ompF expression is not repressed at high osmolarity in Y. pestis, which is likely due to the absence of a promoter-distal OmpR-binding site for ompF.
PMCID: PMC3050692  PMID: 21345178
2.  Regulatory effects of cAMP receptor protein (CRP) on porin genes and its own gene in Yersinia pestis 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:40.
The cAMP receptor protein (CRP) is a global bacterial regulator that controls many target genes. The CRP-cAMP complex regulates the ompR-envZ operon in E. coli directly, involving both positive and negative regulations of multiple target promoters; further, it controls the production of porins indirectly through its direct action on ompR-envZ. Auto-regulation of CRP has also been established in E. coli. However, the regulation of porin genes and its own gene by CRP remains unclear in Y. pestis.
Y. pestis employs a distinct mechanism indicating that CRP has no regulatory effect on the ompR-envZ operon; however, it stimulates ompC and ompF directly, while repressing ompX. No transcriptional regulatory association between CRP and its own gene can be detected in Y. pestis, which is also in contrast to the fact that CRP acts as both repressor and activator for its own gene in E. coli. It is likely that Y. pestis OmpR and CRP respectively sense different signals (medium osmolarity, and cellular cAMP levels) to regulate porin genes independently.
Although the CRP of Y. pestis shows a very high homology to that of E. coli, and the consensus DNA sequence recognized by CRP is shared by the two bacteria, the Y. pestis CRP can recognize the promoters of ompC, F, and X directly rather than that of its own gene, which is different from the relevant regulatory circuit of E. coli. Data presented here indicate a remarkable remodeling of the CRP-mediated regulation of porin genes and of its own one between these two bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3050693  PMID: 21345179
3.  Direct and negative regulation of the sycO-ypkA-ypoJ operon by cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP) in Yersinia pestis 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:178.
Pathogenic yersiniae, including Y. pestis, share a type III secretion system (T3SS) that is composed of a secretion machinery, a set of translocation proteins, a control system, and six Yop effector proteins including YpkA and YopJ. The cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), a global regulator, was recently found to regulate the laterally acquired genes (pla and pst) in Y. pestis. The regulation of T3SS components by CRP is unknown.
The sycO, ypkA and yopJ genes constitute a single operon in Y. pestis. CRP specifically binds to the promoter-proximate region of sycO, and represses the expression of the sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon. A single CRP-dependent promoter is employed for the sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon, but two CRP binding sites (site 1 and site 2) are detected within the promoter region. A CRP box homologue is found in site 1 other than site 2. The determination of CRP-binding sites, transcription start site and core promoter element (-10 and -35 regions) promotes us to depict the structural organization of CRP-dependent promoter, giving a map of CRP-promoter DNA interaction for sycO-ypkA-yopJ.
The sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon is under the direct and negative regulation of CRP in Y. pestis. The sycO-ypkA-yopJ promoter-proximate regions are extremely conserved in Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis and Y. enterocolitica. Therefore, data presented here can be generally applied to the above three pathogenic yersiniae.
PMCID: PMC2738681  PMID: 19703315
4.  Characterization of Zur-dependent genes and direct Zur targets in Yersinia pestis 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:128.
The zinc uptake regulator Zur is a Zn2+-sensing metalloregulatory protein involved in the maintenance of bacterial zinc homeostasis. Up to now, regulation of zinc homeostasis by Zur is poorly understood in Y. pestis.
We constructed a zur null mutant of Y. pestis biovar microtus strain 201. Microarray expression analysis disclosed a set of 154 Zur-dependent genes of Y. pestis upon exposure to zinc rich condition. Real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR was subsequently used to validate the microarray data. Based on the 154 Zur-dependent genes, predicted regulatory Zur motifs were used to screen for potential direct Zur targets including three putative operons znuA, znuCB and ykgM-RpmJ2. The LacZ reporter fusion analysis verified that Zur greatly repressed the promoter activity of the above three operons. The subsequent electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) demonstrated that a purified Zur protein was able to bind to the promoter regions of the above three operons. The DNase I footprinting was used to identify the Zur binding sites for the above three operons, verifying the Zur box sequence as predicted previously in γ-Proteobacteria. The primer extension assay was further used to determine the transcription start sites for the above three operons and to localize the -10 and -35 elements. Zur binding sites overlapped the -10 sequence of its target promoters, which was consistent with the previous observation that Zur binding would block the entry of the RNA polymerase to repress the transcription of its target genes.
Zur as a repressor directly controls the transcription of znuA, znuCB and ykgM-RpmJ2 in Y. pestis by employing a conserved mechanism of Zur-promoter DNA association as observed in γ-Proteobacteria. Zur contributes to zinc homeostasis in Y. pestis likely through transcriptional repression of the high-affinity zinc uptake system ZnuACB and two alternative ribosomal proteins YkgM and RpmJ2.
PMCID: PMC2706843  PMID: 19552825
5.  Comparative transcriptomics in Yersinia pestis: a global view of environmental modulation of gene expression 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:96.
Environmental modulation of gene expression in Yersinia pestis is critical for its life style and pathogenesis. Using cDNA microarray technology, we have analyzed the global gene expression of this deadly pathogen when grown under different stress conditions in vitro.
To provide us with a comprehensive view of environmental modulation of global gene expression in Y. pestis, we have analyzed the gene expression profiles of 25 different stress conditions. Almost all known virulence genes of Y. pestis were differentially regulated under multiple environmental perturbations. Clustering enabled us to functionally classify co-expressed genes, including some uncharacterized genes. Collections of operons were predicted from the microarray data, and some of these were confirmed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Several regulatory DNA motifs, probably recognized by the regulatory protein Fur, PurR, or Fnr, were predicted from the clustered genes, and a Fur binding site in the corresponding promoter regions was verified by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA).
The comparative transcriptomics analysis we present here not only benefits our understanding of the molecular determinants of pathogenesis and cellular regulatory circuits in Y. pestis, it also serves as a basis for integrating increasing volumes of microarray data using existing methods.
PMCID: PMC2231364  PMID: 17963531

Results 1-5 (5)