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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2018 Mar;31(3):299-310. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-07-17-0187-R. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

MarR-Family Transcription Factor HpaR Controls Expression of the vgrR-vgrS Operon of Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris.

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1 State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
2 School of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China; and.
3 Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


MarR (multiple antibiotic resistance regulator)-family transcription factors (TFs), which regulate the expression of virulence factors and other physiological pathways in pathogenic bacteria, are regarded as ideal molecular targets for the development of novel antimicrobial strategies. In the plant bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, HpaR, a typical MarR-family TF, is associated with bacterial virulence, but its mechanism of virulence regulation remains unclear. Here, we dissected the HpaR regulon using high-throughput RNA sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing. HpaR directly or indirectly controls the expression of approximately 448 genes; it acts both as a transcriptional activator and a repressor to control the expression of downstream genes by directly binding to their promoter regions. The consensus HpaR-binding DNA motifs contain imperfect palindromic sequences similar to [G/T]CAACAATT[C/T]TTG. In-depth analysis revealed that HpaR positively modulates transcription level of the vgrR-vgrS operon that encodes an important two-component signal transduction system to sense iron depletion and regulate bacterial virulence. Epistasis analysis demonstrated that vgrR-vgrS is a core downstream component of HpaR regulation, as overexpression of vgrR restored the phenotypic deficiencies caused by a hpaR mutation. This dissection of the HpaR regulon should facilitate future studies focused on the activating mechanism of HpaR during bacterial infection.

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