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Mol Microbiol. 2007 Nov;66(3):814-25. Epub 2007 Oct 4.

GolS controls the response to gold by the hierarchical induction of Salmonella-specific genes that include a CBA efflux-coding operon.

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Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Departamento de Microbiología, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Suipacha 531, S2002LRK-Rosario, Argentina.


Salmonella employs a specific set of proteins that allows it to detect the presence of gold salts in the environment and to mount the appropriate resistance response. This includes a P-type ATPase, GolT, and a small cytoplasmic metal binding protein, GolB. Their expression is controlled by a MerR-like sensor, GolS, which is highly selective for Au ions. Here, we identify a new GolS-controlled operon named gesABC which codes for a CBA efflux system, and establish its role in Au resistance. GesABC can also mediate drug resistance when induced by Au in a GolS-dependent manner, in a strain deleted in the main drug transporter acrAB. The GolS-controlled transcription of gesABC differs from the other GolS-regulated loci. It is activated by gold, but not induced by copper, even in a strain deleted of the main Cu transporter gene copA, which triggers a substantial GolS-dependent induction of golTS and golB. We demonstrate that the Au-dependent induction of gesABC transcription requires higher GolS levels than for the other members of the gol regulon. This correlates with a divergent GolS operator in the gesABC promoter. We propose that the hierarchical induction within the gol regulon allows Salmonella to cope with Au-contaminated environments.

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