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PLoS Genet. 2018 May 31;14(5):e1007398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007398. eCollection 2018 May.

Distinct domains of Escherichia coli IgaA connect envelope stress sensing and down-regulation of the Rcs phosphorelay across subcellular compartments.

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WELBIO, Brussels, Belgium.
de Duve Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Biology Department, Biotechnology Graduate Program and YJ-Science and Technology Research Center, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.


In enterobacteria, the Rcs system (Regulator of capsule synthesis) monitors envelope integrity and induces a stress response when damages occur in the outer membrane or in the peptidoglycan layer. Built around a two-component system, Rcs controls gene expression via a cascade of phosphoryl transfer reactions. Being particularly complex, Rcs also involves the outer membrane lipoprotein RcsF and the inner membrane essential protein IgaA (Intracellular growth attenuator). RcsF and IgaA, which are located upstream of the phosphorelay, are required for normal Rcs functioning. Here, we establish the stress-dependent formation of a complex between RcsF and the periplasmic domain of IgaA as the molecular signal triggering Rcs. Moreover, molecular dissection of IgaA reveals that its negative regulatory role on Rcs is mostly carried by its first N-terminal cytoplasmic domain. Altogether, our results support a model in which IgaA regulates Rcs activation by playing a direct role in the transfer of signals from the cell envelope to the cytoplasm. This remarkable feature further distinguishes Rcs from other envelope stress response systems.

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