In vivo dissection of the Helicobacter pylori Fur regulatory circuit by genome-wide location analysis.
ABSTRACT: Iron homeostasis is particularly important in pathogenic bacteria, which need to compete with the host for this essential cofactor. In Helicobacter pylori, a causative agent of several gastric pathologies, iron uptake and storage genes are regulated at the transcriptional level by the ferric uptake regulator Fur. The regulatory circuit of Fur has recently come under focus because of an intimate interlink with a broader regulatory network governing metal homeostasis, acidic response, and virulence. To dissect the Fur regulatory circuit and identify in vivo targets of regulation, we developed a genome-wide location analysis protocol which allowed the identification of 200 genomic loci bound by Fur as well as the investigation of the binding efficiency of the protein to these loci in response to iron. Comparative analysis with transcriptomes of wild-type and fur deletion mutant strains allowed the distinction between targets associated with Fur regulation and genes indirectly influenced by the fur mutation. The Fur regulon includes 59 genes, 25 of which appear to be positively regulated. A case study conducted by primer extension analysis of two oppositely regulated genes, hpn2 and flaB, suggests that negative regulation as well as positive regulation occurs at the transcriptional level. Furthermore, the results revealed the existence of 13 Fur targeted loci within polycistronic operons, which were associated with transcript deregulation in the fur mutant strain. This study provides a systematic insight of Fur regulation at the genome-wide level in H. pylori and points to regulatory functions extending beyond the classical Fur repression paradigm.
Project description:In Helicobacter pylori, iron balance is controlled by the Ferric uptake regulator (Fur), an iron-sensing repressor protein that typically regulates expression of genes implicated in iron transport and storage. Herein, we carried out extensive analysis of Fur-regulated promoters and identified a 7-1-7 motif with dyad symmetry (5'-TAATAATnATTATTA-3'), which functions as the Fur box core sequence of H. pylori. Addition of this sequence to the promoter region of a typically non-Fur regulated gene was sufficient to impose Fur-dependent regulation in vivo. Moreover, mutation of this sequence within Fur-controlled promoters negated regulation. Analysis of the H. pylori chromosome for the occurrence of the Fur box established the existence of well-conserved Fur boxes in the promoters of numerous known Fur-regulated genes, and revealed novel putative Fur targets. Transcriptional analysis of the new candidate genes demonstrated Fur-dependent repression of HPG27_51, HPG27_52, HPG27_199, HPG27_445, HPG27_825 and HPG27_1063, as well as Fur-mediated activation of the cytotoxin associated gene A, cagA (HPG27_507). Furthermore, electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed specific binding of Fur to the promoters of each of these genes. Future experiments will determine whether loss of Fur regulation of any of these particular genes contributes to the defects in colonization exhibited by the H. pylori fur mutant.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulator Fur is a well-known iron-responsive repressor of gene transcription, which is used by many bacteria to respond to the low-iron environment that pathogens encounter during infection. In this study we used comparative transcriptome analysis to define the role of the Fur protein in the global control of gene transcription and iron regulation in Neisseria meningitidis. By using the Fur-null mutant and its complemented derivative, we identified 83 genes whose transcription is controlled by Fur. We report that Fur may control differential expression of these genes by binding directly to their promoters or through indirect mechanisms. In addition, mutation of the fur gene resulted in the induction of the heat shock response, and transcription of these genes does not respond to iron limitation. Furthermore, analysis of the iron starvation stimulon in the Fur-null mutant provided evidences of iron-responsive regulation that is independent of Fur. We began to dissect the regulatory networks of Fur and the heat shock (stress) response in N. meningitidis, and the observed interlink between the two circuits is discussed.
Project description:In Helicobacter pylori, the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) has evolved additional regulatory functions not seen in other bacteria; it can repress and activate different groups of genes in both its iron-bound and apo forms. Because little is understood about the process of apo-Fur repression and because only two apo-Fur-repressed genes (pfr and sodB) have previously been identified, we sought to expand our understanding of this type of regulation. Utilizing published genomic studies, we selected three potential new apo-Fur-regulated gene targets: serB, hydA, and the cytochrome c553 gene. Transcriptional analyses confirmed Fur-dependent repression of these genes in the absence of iron, as well as derepression in the absence of Fur. Binding studies showed that apo-Fur directly interacted with the suspected hydA and cytochrome c553 promoters but not that of serB, which was subsequently shown to be cotranscribed with pfr; apo-Fur-dependent regulation occurred at the pfr promoter. Alignments of apo-regulated promoter regions revealed a conserved, 6-bp consensus sequence (AAATGA). DNase I footprinting showed that this sequence lies within the protected regions of the pfr and hydA promoters. Moreover, mutation of the sequence in the pfr promoter abrogated Fur binding and DNase protection. Likewise, fluorescence anisotropy studies and binding studies with mutated consensus sequences showed that the sequence was important for apo-Fur binding to the pfr promoter. Together these studies expand the known apo-Fur regulon in H. pylori and characterize the first reported apo-Fur box sequence.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori is an important human pathogen. However, the study of this organism is often limited by a relative shortage of genetic tools. In an effort to expand the methods available for genetic study, an endogenous H. pylori plasmid was modified for use as a transcriptional reporter and as a complementation vector. This was accomplished by addition of an Escherichia coli origin of replication, a kanamycin resistance cassette, a promoterless gfpmut3 gene, and a functional multiple cloning site to form pTM117. The promoters of amiE and pfr, two well-characterized Fur-regulated promoters, were fused to the promoterless gfpmut3, and green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression of the fusions in wild-type and delta fur strains was analyzed by flow cytometry under iron-replete and iron-depleted conditions. GFP expression was altered as expected based on current knowledge of Fur regulation of these promoters. RNase protection assays were used to determine the ability of this plasmid to serve as a complementation vector by analyzing amiE, pfr, and fur expression in wild-type and delta fur strains carrying a wild-type copy of fur on the plasmid. Proper regulation of these genes was restored in the delta fur background under high- and low-iron conditions, signifying complementation of both iron-bound and apo Fur regulation. These studies show the potential of pTM117 as a molecular tool for genetic analysis of H. pylori.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulator (Fur) is a predominant bacterial regulator controlling the iron assimilation functions in response to iron availability. Our previous microarray analysis on Yersinia pestis defined the iron-Fur modulon. In the present work, we reannotated the iron assimilation genes in Y. pestis, and the resulting genes in complementation with those disclosed by microarray constituted a total of 34 genome loci (putative operons) that represent the potential iron-responsive targets of Fur. The subsequent real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) in conjunction with the primer extension analysis showed that 32 of them were regulated by Fur in response to iron starvation. A previously predicted Fur box sequence was then used to search against the promoter regions of the 34 operons; the homologue of the above box could be predicted in each promoter tested. The subsequent electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) demonstrated that a purified His(6) tag-fused Fur protein was able to bind in vitro to each of these promoter regions. Therefore, Fur is a global regulator, both an activator and a repressor, and directly controls not only almost all of the iron assimilation functions but also a variety of genes involved in various non-iron functions for governing a complex regulatory cascade in Y. pestis. In addition, real-time RT-PCR, primer extension, EMSA, and DNase I footprinting assay were used to elucidate the Fur regulation of the ybt locus encoding a virulence-required iron uptake system. By combining the published data on the YbtA regulation of ybt, we constructed a concise Fur/YbtA regulatory network with a map of the Fur-promoter DNA interactions within the ybt locus. The data presented here give us an overview of the iron-responsive Fur regulon in Y. pestis.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulator (Fur) plays a critical role in the transcriptional regulation of iron metabolism. However, the full regulatory potential of Fur remains undefined. Here we comprehensively reconstruct the Fur transcriptional regulatory network in Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655 in response to iron availability using genome-wide measurements. Integrative data analysis reveals that a total of 81 genes in 42 transcription units are directly regulated by three different modes of Fur regulation, including apo- and holo-Fur activation and holo-Fur repression. We show that Fur connects iron transport and utilization enzymes with negative-feedback loop pairs for iron homeostasis. In addition, direct involvement of Fur in the regulation of DNA synthesis, energy metabolism and biofilm development is found. These results show how Fur exhibits a comprehensive regulatory role affecting many fundamental cellular processes linked to iron metabolism in order to coordinate the overall response of E. coli to iron availability.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulator (Fur) of the medically important pathogen Helicobacter pylori is unique in that it has been shown to function as a repressor both in the presence of an Fe2+ cofactor and in its apo (non-Fe2+-bound) form. However, virtually nothing is known concerning the amino acid residues that are important for Fur functioning. Therefore, mutations in six conserved amino acid residues of H. pylori Fur were constructed and analyzed for their impact on both iron-bound and apo repression. In addition, accumulation of the mutant proteins, protein secondary structure, DNA binding ability, iron binding capacity, and the ability to form higher-order structures were also examined for each mutant protein. While none of the mutated residues completely abrogated the function of Fur, we were able to identify residues that were critical for both iron-bound and apo-Fur repression. One mutation, V64A, did not alter regulation of any target genes. However, each of the five remaining mutations showed an effect on either iron-bound or apo regulation. Of these, H96A, E110A, and E117A mutations altered iron-bound Fur regulation and were all shown to influence iron binding to different extents. Additionally, the H96A mutation was shown to alter Fur oligomerization, and the E110A mutation was shown to impact oligomerization and DNA binding. Conversely, the H134A mutant exhibited changes in apo-Fur regulation that were the result of alterations in DNA binding. Although the E90A mutant exhibited alterations in apo-Fur regulation, this mutation did not affect any of the assessed protein functions. This study is the first for H. pylori to analyze the roles of specific amino acid residues of Fur in function and continues to highlight the complexity of Fur regulation in this organism.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori's Fur regulatory protein controls transcription of dozens of genes in response to iron availability, acidity and oxidative stress, and affects the vigor of infection and severity of disease. It is unusual among Fur family proteins in being active both when iron-loaded and iron-free. METHOLODOLGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We tested if H. pylori fur mutations could affect resistance to metronidazole (Mtz), an anti-H. pylori prodrug rendered bactericidal by chemical reduction. Point mutations were made by PCR in DNA containing fur and a downstream chloramphenicol resistance gene, and were placed in the H. pylori chromosome by transformation of a fur-deletion (?fur) strain. Several substitutions affecting H. pylori Fur's ?10 residue N terminal arm, which has no counterpart in prototype (E. coli-type) Fur proteins, increased Mtz resistance, as did mutations affecting the region between DNA binding and dimerization domains. Three types of mutations decreased resistance more than did ?fur: substitutions affecting the N-terminal arm; substitutions affecting the metal binding pocket; and nonsense mutations that resulted in a truncated Fur protein with no C-terminal dimerization domain. Most metal binding pocket mutations were obtained only in fur genes with additional inactivating mutations, and thus seemed deleterious or lethal because they.These results establish that H. pylori Fur's distinctive N terminal arm is functional, and more generally illustrate that point mutations can confer informative phenotypes, distinct from those conferred by null mutations. We propose that fur mutations can affect Mtz susceptibility by altering the balance among Fur's several competing activities, and thereby the expression of genes that control cellular redox potential or elimination of bactericidal Mtz activation products. Further analyses of selected mutants should provide insights into Fur interactions with other cellular components, metabolic circuitry, and how H. pylori thrives in its special gastric niche.
Project description:Iron is both essential for bacterial growth and toxic at higher concentrations; thus, iron homeostasis is tightly regulated. In Neisseria meningitidis the majority of iron-responsive gene regulation is mediated by the ferric uptake regulator protein (Fur), a protein classically defined as a transcriptional repressor. Recently, however, microarray studies have identified a number of genes in N. meningitidis that are iron and Fur activated, demonstrating a new role for Fur as a transcriptional activator. Since Fur has been shown to indirectly activate gene transcription through the repression of small regulatory RNA molecules in other organisms, we hypothesized that a similar mechanism could account for Fur-dependent, iron-activated gene transcription in N. meningitidis. In this study, we used a bioinformatics approach to screen for the presence of Fur-regulated small RNA molecules in N. meningitidis MC58. This screen identified one small RNA, herein named NrrF (for neisserial regulatory RNA responsive to iron [Fe]), which was demonstrated to be both iron responsive and Fur regulated and which has a well-conserved orthologue in N. gonorrhoeae. In addition, this screen identified a number of other likely, novel small RNA transcripts. Lastly, we utilized a new bioinformatics approach to predict regulatory targets of the NrrF small RNA. This analysis led to the identification of the sdhA and sdhC genes, which were subsequently demonstrated to be under NrrF regulation in an nrrF mutant. This study is the first report of small RNAs in N. meningitidis and the first to use a bioinformatics approach to identify, a priori, regulatory targets of a small RNA.
Project description:Iron is limiting in the human host, and bacterial pathogens respond to this environment by activating genes required for bacterial virulence. Transcriptional regulation in response to iron in Gram-negative bacteria is largely mediated by the ferric uptake regulator protein Fur, which in the presence of iron binds to a specific sequence in the promoter regions of genes under its control and acts as a repressor. Here we describe DNA microarray, computational and in vitro studies to define the Fur regulon in the human pathogen Neisseria meningitidis group B (strain MC58). After iron addition to an iron-depleted bacterial culture, 153 genes were up-regulated and 80 were down-regulated. Only 50% of the iron-regulated genes were found to contain Fur-binding consensus sequences in their promoter regions. Forty-two promoter regions were amplified and 32 of these were shown to bind Fur by gel-shift analysis. Among these genes, many of which had never been described before to be Fur-regulated, 10 were up-regulated on iron addition, demonstrating that Fur can also act as a transcriptional activator. Sequence alignment of the Fur-binding regions revealed that the N. meningitidis Fur-box encompasses the highly conserved (NATWAT)3 motif. Cluster analysis was effective in predicting Fur-regulated genes even if computer prediction failed to identify Fur-box-like sequences in their promoter regions. Microarray-generated gene expression profiling appears to be a very effective approach to define new regulons and regulatory pathways in pathogenic bacteria.