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Environ Microbiol. 2013 Feb;15(2):557-69. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12005. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

A type VI secretion system regulated by OmpR in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis functions to maintain intracellular pH homeostasis.

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State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China.


Type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) which widely distributed in Gram-negative bacteria have been primarily studied in the context of cell interactions with eukaryotic hosts or other bacteria. We have recently identified a thermoregulated T6SS4 in the enteric pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Here we report that OmpR directly binds to the promoter of T6SS4 operon and regulates its expression. Further, we observed that the OmpR-regulated T6SS4 is essential for bacterial survival under acidic conditions and that its expression is induced by low pH. Moreover, we showed that T6SS4 plays a role in pumping H(+) out of the cell to maintain intracellular pH homeostasis. The acid tolerance phenotype of T6SS4 is dependent on the ATPase activity of ClpV4, one of the components of T6SS4. These results not only uncover a novel strategy utilized by Y. pseudotuberculosis for acid resistance, but also reveal that T6SS, a bacteria secretion system known to be functional in protein transportation has an unexpected function in H(+) extrusion under acid conditions.

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