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Mol Microbiol. 2003 May;48(3):699-712.

Regulatory network of acid resistance genes in Escherichia coli.

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1
Department of Genetics, Warren Alpert Building, Room 513, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Overexpression of the response regulator EvgA confers an acid-resistant phenotype to exponentially growing Escherichia coli. This acid resistance is partially abolished by deletion of ydeP, yhiE or ydeO, genes induced by EvgA overexpression. Microarray analysis identified two classes of operons (genes). The first class contains seven operons induced by EvgA overexpression in the absence of ydeO, an AraC/XylS regulator gene. The second class contains 12 operons induced by YdeO overexpression. Operons in the second class were induced by EvgA overexpression only in the presence of ydeO. EvgA is likely to directly upregulate operons in the first class, and indirectly upregulate operons in the second class via YdeO. Analysis using the motif-finding program alignace identified an 18 bp inverted repeat motif in six upstream regions of all seven operons directly regulated by EvgA. Gel mobility shift assays showed the specific binding of EvgA to the six sequences. Introduction of mutations into the inverted repeats upstream of ydeP and b1500-ydeO resulted in reduction in EvgA-induced ydeP and ydeO expression and acid resistance. These results suggest that EvgA binds to the inverted repeats and upregulates the downstream genes. Overexpression of YdeP, YdeO and YhiE conferred acid resistance to exponentially growing cells, whereas GadX overexpression did not. Microarray analysis also identified several GadX-activated genes. Several genes induced by overexpression of YdeO and GadX overlapped; however, yhiE was induced only by YdeO. The acid resistance induced by YdeO overexpression was abolished by deletion of yhiE, gadC, slp-yhiF, hdeA or hdeD, genes induced by YdeO overexpression, suggesting that several genes orchestrate YdeO-induced acid resistance. We propose a model of the regulatory network of the acid resistance genes.

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