1887

Abstract

The environmental bacterium survives and replicates in a variety of diverse ecological niches that range from the soil to the cytosol of infected mammalian cells. The ability of to replicate within an infected host requires the expression of a number of secreted bacterial gene products whose expression is regulated by the transcriptional activator PrfA. PrfA becomes activated following bacterial entry into host cells; however, the mechanism by which this activation occurs remains unknown. Here we describe a novel C-terminal mutation that results in the high-level constitutive activation of PrfA and yet, in contrast with other described activation mutations, only modestly increases PrfA DNA binding affinity. strains containing the P219S mutation exhibited high levels of PrfA-dependent virulence gene expression, were hyperinvasive in tissue culture models of infection, were fully motile and were hypervirulent in mice. In contrast with PrfA G145S and other mutationally activated PrfA proteins, the PrfA P219S protein readily formed homodimers and did not exhibit a dramatic increase in its DNA-binding affinity for target promoters. Interestingly, the P219S mutation is located adjacent to the K220 residue that has been previously reported to contribute to PrfA DNA binding activity. P219S therefore appears to constitutively activate PrfA via a novel mechanism which minimally affects PrfA DNA binding .

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2011-11-01
2019-12-12
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