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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Apr;48(2):507-21.

Co-ordination of pathogenicity island expression by the BipA GTPase in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC).

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Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Bassett Crescent East, Southampton SO16 7PX, UK.


BipA is a novel member of the ribosome binding GTPase superfamily and is widely distributed in bacteria and plants. We report here that it regulates -multiple cell surface- and virulence-associated -components in the enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) strain E2348/69. The regulated components include bacterial flagella, the espC pathogenicity island and a type III secretion system specified by the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE). BipA positively regulated the espC and LEE gene clusters through transcriptional control of the LEE-encoded regulator, Ler. Additionally, it affected the pattern of proteolysis of intimin, a key LEE-encoded adhesin specified by the LEE. BipA control of the LEE operated independently of the previously characterized regulators Per, integration host factor and H-NS. In contrast, it negatively regulated the flagella-mediated motility of EPEC and in a Ler-independent manner. Our results indicate that the BipA GTPase functions high up in diverse regulatory cascades to co-ordinate the expression of key pathogenicity islands and other virulence-associated factors in E. coli.

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