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J Bacteriol. 2003 Aug;185(16):4908-19.

Identification of CpxR as a positive regulator of icm and dot virulence genes of Legionella pneumophila.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel.

Abstract

To date, 24 Legionella pneumophila genes (icm and dot genes) have been shown to be required for intercellular growth and host cell killing. A previous report indicated that the regulation of these genes is complicated and probably involves several regulatory proteins. In this study, a genetic screen performed in Escherichia coli identified the CpxR response regulator as an activator of the L. pneumophila icmR gene. Construction of an L. pneumophila cpxR insertion mutant showed that the expression of icmR is regulated by CpxR. In addition, a conserved CpxR binding site (GTAAA) was identified in the icmR regulatory region and L. pneumophila His-tagged CpxR protein was shown to bind to the icmR regulatory region using a mobility shift assay. Besides its dramatic effect on the icmR level of expression, the CpxR regulator was also found to affect the expression of the icmV-dotA and icmW-icmX operons, but to a lesser extent. The role of CpxA, the cognate sensor kinase of CpxR, was also examined and its effect on the icmR level of expression was found to be less pronounced than the effect of CpxR. The RpoE sigma factor, which was shown to coregulate genes together with CpxR, was examined as well, but it did not influence icm and dot gene expression. In addition, when the cpxR mutant strain, in which the expression of the icmR gene was dramatically reduced, and the cpxA and rpoE mutant strains were examined for their ability to grow inside Acanthamoeba castellanii and HL-60-derived human macrophages, no intracellular growth defect was observed. This study presents the first evidence for a direct regulator (CpxR) of an icm-dot virulence gene (icmR). The CpxR regulator together with other regulatory factors probably concerts with the expression of icm and dot genes to result in successful infection.

PMID:
12897011
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC166489
Free PMC Article
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