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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 21;9(3):e92243. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092243. eCollection 2014.

LcrQ blocks the role of LcrF in regulating the Ysc-Yop type III secretion genes in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.

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Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China.


Pathogenic Yersinia species employ the Ysc-Yop type III secretion system (T3SS) encoded by a highly conserved pYV virulence plasmid to export the virulence effectors into host cells. The Ysc-Yop T3SS is tightly regulated by multiple contributing proteins that function at different levels. However, systematic transcriptional regulation analysis of Ysc-Yop T3SS is lacking and the detailed mechanism under this regulation process is still elusive. Aimed at systematically characterizing transcriptional regulations of all T3SS genes in Y. pseudotuberculosis, we amplified 97 non-coding fragments from the pYV plasmid and analyzed transcriptional responses of the T3SS genes under different growth conditions. Transcriptions of T3SS genes were induced at 37°C and genes encoding T3SS effectors were highly induced by further depletion of Ca2+. The temperature induced gene transcription process is mediated by modules encoded on the chromosome, while the Ca2+ depletion-induced process is controlled by the positive regulatory protein LcrF as well as the negative regulatory protein LcrQ. In this process, LcrQ shares the same targets with LcrF and the effect of LcrQ is dependent on the presence of LcrF. Furthermore, over-expression of LcrF showed the same phenotype as that of the lcrQ mutant strain and intracellular amount balance of LcrQ and LcrF is important in T3SS regulation. When the expression level of LcrF exceeds LcrQ, expression of the Ysc-Yop T3SS genes is activated and vice versa. Together, these data support a model in which LcrQ blocks the activation role of LcrF in regulating the transcription of T3SS genes in Yersinia.

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