The chromosome contains a seven-gene polycistronic unit (the operon) whose products share extensive homologies with their counterparts in serovar Typhimurium (), another Gram-negative bacterial enteropathogen. This gene cluster is essential for addition of 4-aminoarabinose to the lipid moiety of LPS, as demonstrated by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry of lipid A from both wild-type and -mutated strains. As in , 4-aminoarabinose substitution of lipid A contributes to resistance of to the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B. Whereas expression in is mediated by both the PhoP–PhoQ and PmrA–PmrB two-component regulatory systems, it appears to be PmrA–PmrB-independent in , with the response regulator PhoP interacting directly with the operon promoter region. This result reveals that the ubiquitous PmrA–PmrB regulatory system controls different regulons in distinct bacterial species. In addition, inactivation in has no effect on bacterial virulence in the mouse, again in contrast to the situation in . The marked differences in operon regulation in these two phylogenetically close bacterial species may be related to their dissimilar lifestyles.


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