1887

Abstract

In this study we characterized a genetic locus that is predicted to encode one of the three AraC-like regulators of a homologue of MpeR of which is specific to the pathogenic species. Previous microarray studies have suggested that this gene is a member of the Fur regulon. In strain MC58, it is a pseudogene (annotated as two ORFs, NMB1879 and NMB1878) containing a frameshift mutation which we show is common to all strains tested belonging to the ST-32 hypervirulent clonal complex. Using primer extension and S1 nuclease protection assays, we mapped two promoters in the upstream intergenic region: the promoter and the NMB1880 promoter. The latter promoter drives transcription of the divergent upstream locus, which is predicted to encode a high-affinity iron uptake system. We demonstrated that both promoters are induced during iron limitation and that this regulation is also mediated by the Fur regulator. DNA-binding studies with the purified MpeR protein revealed that it binds to a region directly upstream of the NMB1880 divergent promoter, suggesting a role in its regulation. Mutants of strains lacking MpeR or overexpressing MpeR showed no significant differences in expression of the P promoter, nor did global transcriptional profiling of an MpeR knockout identify any deregulated genes, suggesting that the MpeR protein is inactive under the conditions used in these experiments. The presence of MpeR in a regulatory cascade downstream of the Fur master iron regulator implicates it as being expressed in the iron-limiting environment of the host, where it may in turn regulate a group of genes, including the divergent iron transport locus, in response to signals important for infection.

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2011-08-01
2020-09-20
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