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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2011 Feb;99(2):381-94. doi: 10.1007/s10482-010-9503-8. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

OmpR controls Yersinia enterocolitica motility by positive regulation of flhDC expression.

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  • 1Department of Applied Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, Warsaw, Poland.

Abstract

Flagella and invasin play important roles during the early stages of infection by the enteric pathogen Yersinia enterocolitica. Our previous study demonstrated that OmpR negatively regulates invasin gene expression at the transcriptional level. The present study focused on the role of OmpR in the regulation of flagella expression. Motility assays and microscopic observations revealed that an ompR mutant strain exhibits a non-motile phenotype due to the lack of flagella. An analysis of flhDC::lacZYA chromosomal fusions demonstrated a decrease in flhDC expression in ompR mutant cells, suggesting a role for OmpR in the positive control of flagellar master operon flhDC, which is in contrast to the negative role it plays in Escherichia coli. Moreover, high temperature or osmolarity and low pH decreased flhDC expression and OmpR was not required for the response to these factors. Evidence from an examination of the DNA binding properties of OmpR in vitro indicated that the mechanism by which OmpR regulates flhDC is direct. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed that OmpR binds specifically to the flhDC promoter region and suggested the presence of more than one OmpR-binding site. In addition, phosphorylation of OmpR by acetyl-P appeared to stimulate the binding abilities of OmpR. Together with the results of our previous studies revealing the negative role of OmpR in the regulation of invasin expression, these findings support a model in which invasion and motility might be reciprocally regulated by OmpR.

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