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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Jul;284(2):191-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01216.x. Epub 2008 May 28.

The rpoE operon regulates heat stress response in Burkholderia pseudomallei.

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Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Burkholderia pseudomallei is a gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of melioidosis, one of the important lethal diseases in tropical regions. In this article, we demonstrate the crucial role of the B. pseudomallei rpoE locus in the response to heat stress. The rpoE operon knockout mutant exhibited growth retardation and reduced survival when exposed to a high temperature. Expression analysis using rpoH promoter-lacZ fusion revealed that heat stress induction of rpoH, which encodes heat shock sigma factor (sigma(H)), was abolished in the B. pseudomallei rpoE mutant. Analysis of the rpoH promoter region revealed sequences sharing high homology to the consensus sequence of sigma(E)-dependent promoters. Moreover, the putative heat-induced sigma(H)-regulated heat shock proteins (i.e. GroEL and HtpG) were also absent in the rpoE operon mutant. Altogether, our data suggest that the rpoE operon regulates B. pseudomallei heat stress response through the function of rpoH.

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