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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Dec;58(5):1354-67.

Fur regulates acid resistance in Shigella flexneri via RyhB and ydeP.

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  • 1Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Shigella flexneri requires iron for survival, and the genes for iron uptake and homeostasis are regulated by the Fur protein. Microarrays were used to identify genes regulated by Fur and to study the physiological effects of iron availability in S. flexneri. These assays showed that the expression of genes involved in iron acquisition and acid response was induced by low-iron availability and by inactivation of fur. A fur null mutant was acid sensitive in media at pH 2.5, and acid sensitivity was also observed in the wild-type strain grown under iron-limiting conditions. Acid resistance of the fur mutant in minimal medium was restored by addition of glutamate during acid challenge, indicating that the glutamate-dependent acid resistance system was not defective. Inactivation of ryhB, a small regulatory RNA whose expression is repressed by Fur, restored acid resistance in the fur mutant, while overexpressing ryhB increased acid sensitivity in the wild-type strain. RyhB-regulated genes were identified by microarray analysis. The expression of one of the RyhB-repressed genes, ydeP, which encodes a putative oxidoreductase, suppressed acid sensitivity in the fur mutant. Furthermore, an S. flexneri ydeP mutant was defective for both glutamate-independent and glutamate-dependent acid resistance. The repression of ydeP by RyhB may be indirect, as real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) experiments indicated that RyhB negatively regulates evgA, which encodes an activator of ydeP. These results demonstrate that the acid sensitivity defect of the S. flexneri fur mutant is due to repression of ydeP by RyhB, most likely via repression of evgA.

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