Send to

Choose Destination
J Bacteriol. 2007 May;189(9):3382-91. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

A pair of highly conserved two-component systems participates in the regulation of the hypervariable FIR proteins in different Legionella species.

Author information

Department of Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel.


Legionella pneumophila and other pathogenic Legionella species multiply inside protozoa and human macrophages by using the Icm/Dot type IV secretion system. The IcmQ protein, which possesses pore-forming activity, and IcmR, which functions as its chaperone, are two essential components of this system. It was previously shown that in 29 Legionella species, a large hypervariable-gene family (fir genes) is located upstream from a conserved icmQ gene, but although nonhomologous, the FIR proteins were found to function similarly together with their corresponding IcmQ proteins. Alignment of the regulatory regions of 29 fir genes revealed that they can be divided into three regulatory groups; the first group contains a binding site for the CpxR response regulator, which was previously shown to regulate the L. pneumophila fir gene (icmR); the second group, which includes most of the fir genes, contains the CpxR binding site and an additional regulatory element that was identified here as a PmrA binding site; and the third group contains only the PmrA binding site. Analysis of the regulatory region of two fir genes, which included substitutions in the CpxR and PmrA consensus sequences, a controlled expression system, as well as examination of direct binding with mobility shift assays, revealed that both CpxR and PmrA positively regulate the expression of the fir genes that contain both regulatory elements. The change in the regulation of the fir genes that occurred during the course of evolution might be required for the adaptation of the different Legionella species to their specific environmental hosts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center