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Genetics. Dec 2002; 162(4): 1513–1523.
PMCID: PMC1462382

Regulation of capsule synthesis and cell motility in Salmonella enterica by the essential gene igaA.


Mutants of Salmonella enterica carrying the igaA1 allele, selected as able to overgrow within fibroblast cells in culture, are mucoid and show reduced motility. Mucoidy is caused by derepression of wca genes (necessary for capsule synthesis); these genes are regulated by the RcsC/YojN/RcsB phosphorelay system and by the RcsA coregulator. The induction of wca expression in an igaA1 mutant is suppressed by mutations in rcsA and rcsC. Reduced motility is caused by lowered expression of the flagellar master operon, flhDC, and is suppressed by mutations in rcsB or rcsC, suggesting that mutations in the igaA gene reduce motility by activating the RcsB/C system. A null igaA allele can be maintained only in an igaA(+)/igaA merodiploid, indicating that igaA is an essential gene. Lethality is suppressed by mutations in rcsB, rcsC, and yojN, but not in rcsA, suggesting that the viability defect of an igaA null mutant is mediated by the RcsB/RcsC system, independently of RcsA (and therefore of the wca genes). Because all the defects associated with igaA mutations are suppressed by mutations that block the RcsB/RcsC system, we propose a functional interaction between the igaA gene product and either the Rcs regulatory network or one of its regulated products.

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