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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Oct;65(10):2364-7.

Characterization of the RcsC-->YojN-->RcsB phosphorelay signaling pathway involved in capsular synthesis in Escherichia coli.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, School of Agriculture, Nagoya University, Japan.


Escherichia coli and other enteric microorganisms produce an extracellular polysaccharide capsule, called colanic acid, under certain environmental conditions. This capsular synthesis is regulated by the RcsC (sensor kinase)-->YojN (phosphotransfer intermediate)-->RcsB (response regulator) phosphorelay signal transduction under certain growth conditions. Nonetheless, little is known about signals that exaggerate the Rcs-system. To gain insight into signals that activate the Rcs-system, here we searched for genes that activate the Rcs-system, provided that those on a multicopy plasmid were introduced into E. coli. We identified several such genes, namely, rcsB, rcsA, djlA, lolA, and ompG. The DjlA, LolA, and OmpG proteins are particularly interesting in that they are all located on the cell surface, where the primary sensor RcsC histidine-kinase is localized. Implications of these findings are discussed with special reference to the mechanism by which RcsC perceives external signals.

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