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Mol Genet Genomics. 2014 Feb;289(1):63-75. doi: 10.1007/s00438-013-0790-4. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

Co-regulation of polysaccharide production, motility, and expression of type III secretion genes by EnvZ/OmpR and GrrS/GrrA systems in Erwinia amylovora.

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  • 1Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1201W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA.


The EnvZ/OmpR and GrrS/GrrA systems, two widely distributed two-component systems in gamma-Proteobacteria, negatively control amylovoran biosynthesis in Erwinia amylovora, and the two systems regulate motility in an opposing manner. In this study, we examined the interplay of EnvZ/OmpR and GrrS/GrrA systems in controlling various virulence traits in E. amylovora. Results showed that amylovoran production was significantly higher when both systems were inactivated, indicating that the two systems act as negative regulators and their combined effect on amylovoran production appears to be enhanced. In contrast, reduced motility was observed when both systems were deleted as compared to that of grrA/grrS mutants and WT strain, indicating that the two systems antagonistically regulate motility in E. amylovora. In addition, glycogen accumulation was much higher in envZ/ompR and two triple mutants than that of grrS/grrA mutants and WT strain, suggesting that EnvZ/OmpR plays a dominant role in regulating glycogen accumulation, whereas levan production was significantly lower in the grrS/grrA and two triple mutants as compared with that of WT and envZ/ompR mutants, indicating that GrrS/GrrA system dominantly controls levan production. Furthermore, both systems negatively regulated expression of three type III secretion (T3SS) genes and their combined negative effect on hrp-T3SS gene expression increased when both systems were deleted. These results demonstrated that EnvZ/OmpR and GrrS/GrrA systems co-regulate various virulence factors in E. amylovora by still unknown mechanisms or through different target genes, sRNAs, or proteins, indicating that a complex regulatory network may be involved, which needs to be further explored.

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