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J Bacteriol. Feb 1996; 178(4): 1154–1161.
PMCID: PMC177779

Multicopy suppressors of prc mutant Escherichia coli include two HtrA (DegP) protease homologs (HhoAB), DksA, and a truncated R1pA.


We have isolated three multicopy suppressors of the conditional lethal phenotype of a prc (tsp) null strain of Escherichia coli. One of these suppressors included two novel putative protease genes in tandem that map to 3400 kb or 72.5 centisomes on the chromosome. We propose the names hhoA and hhoB, for htrA homolog, to denote that these genes encode proteins that are 58 and 35% identical, respectively, to the HtrA (DegP) serine protease and 36% identical to each other. The HhoA and HhoB proteins are predicted to be 455 and 355 amino acids, respectively, in length. The mature HhoA protein is periplasmic in location, and amino-terminal sequencing shows that it arises following cleavage of a 27-amino-acid signal peptide. Searches of the protein and DNA databases reveal a rapidly growing family of homologous genes in a variety of other bacteria, including several which are required for virulence in their host. Deletion of the hhoAB genes shows that they are not required for viability at high temperatures like the homologous htrA but grow more slowly than wild-type strains. A second multicopy prc suppressor is the dksA (dnaK suppressor) gene, which is also a multicopy suppressor of defects in the heat shock genes dnaK, dnaJ, and grpE. The dksA gene was independently isolated as a multicopy suppressor of a mukB mutation, which is required for chromosomal partitioning. A third dosage-dependent prc suppressor includes a truncated rare lipoprotein A (rlpA) gene.

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