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Microbiology. 2009 Jul;155(Pt 7):2288-95. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.027755-0. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

A two-component system is required for colonization of host cells by meningococcus.

Author information

1
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 570, F-75015 Paris, France.

Abstract

In order to adapt to changing environments, bacteria have evolved two-component systems (TCSs) that are able to sense and respond to environmental stimuli. The signal perception relies on a sensor protein whose activation allows rapid adaptation through transcriptional regulation achieved by the regulatory protein. The ability to adhere to and grow on the surface of human host cells is an absolute requirement for many pathogens, including Neisseria meningitidis, in order to colonize new hosts and to disseminate inside their host. Among the four TCSs encoded in the meningococcus genome, only the PhoQ (MisS)/PhoP (MisR) system has been shown to constitute a functional signal transduction circuit. To investigate the involvement of this TCS in the adaptation process requisite for host cell colonization, we have tested the ability to grow on host cells of a mutant inactivated for the sensor of the TCS. Our results demonstrate the involvement of the TCS in the adaptation of the meningococcus to growth on host cells. We show that the expression of the PhoQ (MisS)/PhoP (MisR) TCS is cell-contact controlled. Furthermore, this TCS controls the regulation of a group of genes, the REP2 regulon, previously shown to be cell-contact regulated and to encode functions crucial for the adaptation of the bacterium to host cell colonization. Thus, we provide evidence that one of the four TCSs existing in N. meningitidis contributes to the adaptation of the pathogen to growth on host cells.

PMID:
19389768
DOI:
10.1099/mic.0.027755-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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