Genetic and molecular characterization of the polar flagellum of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus possesses two alternate flagellar systems adapted for movement under different circumstances. A single polar flagellum propels the bacterium in liquid (swimming), while multiple lateral flagella move the bacterium over surfaces (swarming). Energy to rotate the polar flagellum is derived from the sodium membrane potential, whereas lateral flagella are powered by the proton motive force. Lateral flagella are arranged peritrichously, and the unsheathed filaments are polymerized from a single flagellin. The polar flagellum is synthesized constitutively, but lateral flagella are produced only under conditions in which the polar flagellum is not functional, e.g., on surfaces. This work initiates characterization of the sheathed, polar flagellum. Four genes encoding flagellins were cloned and found to map in two loci. These genes, as well as three genes encoding proteins resembling HAPs (hook-associated proteins), were sequenced. A potential consensus polar flagellar promoter was identified by using upstream sequences from seven polar genes. It resembled the enterobacterial sigma 28 consensus promoter. Three of the four flagellin genes were expressed in Escherichia coli, and expression was dependent on the product of the fliA gene encoding sigma 28. The fourth flagellin gene may be different regulated. It was not expressed in E. coli, and inspection of upstream sequence revealed a potential sigma 54 consensus promoter. Mutants with single and multiple defects in flagellin genes were constructed in order to determine assembly rules for filament polymerization. HAP mutants displayed new phenotypes, which were different from those of Salmonella typhimurium and most probably were the result of the filament being sheathed.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus has dual flagellar systems adapted for locomotion under different circumstances. A single, sheathed polar flagellum propels the swimmer cell in liquid environments. Numerous unsheathed lateral flagella move the swarmer cell over surfaces. The polar flagellum is produced continuously, whereas the synthesis of lateral flagella is induced under conditions that impede the function of the polar flagellum, e.g., in viscous environments or on surfaces. Thus, the organism possesses two large gene networks that orchestrate polar and lateral flagellar gene expression and assembly. In addition, the polar flagellum functions as a mechanosensor controlling lateral gene expression. In order to gain insight into the genetic circuitry controlling motility and surface sensing, we have sought to define the polar flagellar gene system. The hierarchy of regulation appears to be different from the polar system of Caulobacter crescentus or the peritrichous system of enteric bacteria but is pertinent to many Vibrio and Pseudomonas species. The gene identity and organization of 60 potential flagellar and chemotaxis genes are described. Conserved sequences are defined for two classes of polar flagellar promoters. Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of mutant strains with defects in swimming motility coupled with primer extension analysis of flagellar and chemotaxis transcription provides insight into the polar flagellar organelle, its assembly, and regulation of gene expression.
Project description:Mesophilic Aeromonas strains express a polar flagellum in all culture conditions, and certain strains produce lateral flagella on semisolid media or on surfaces. Although Aeromonas lateral flagella have been described as a colonization factor, little is known about their organization and expression. Here we characterized the complete lateral flagellar gene cluster of Aeromonas hydrophila AH-3 containing 38 genes, 9 of which (lafA-U) have been reported previously. Among the flgLL and lafA structural genes we found a modification accessory factor gene (maf-5) that is involved in formation of lateral flagella; this is the first time that such a gene has been described for lateral flagellar gene systems. All Aeromonas lateral flagellar genes were located in a unique chromosomal region, in contrast to Vibrio parahaemolyticus, in which the analogous genes are distributed in two different chromosomal regions. In A. hydrophila mutations in flhAL, lafK, fliJL, flgNL, flgEL, and maf-5 resulted in a loss of lateral flagella and reductions in adherence and biofilm formation, but they did not affect polar flagellum synthesis. Furthermore, we also cloned and sequenced the A. hydrophila AH-3 alternative sigma factor sigma54 (rpoN); mutation of this factor suggested that it is involved in expression of both types of flagella.
Project description:Vibrio species are Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria that are ubiquitous and often highly motile in aqueous environments. Vibrio swimming motility is driven by a polar flagellum covered with a membranous sheath, but this sheathed flagellum is not well understood at the molecular level because of limited structural information. Here, we use Vibrio alginolyticus as a model system to study the sheathed flagellum in intact cells by combining cryoelectron tomography (cryo-ET) and subtomogram analysis with a genetic approach. We reveal striking differences between sheathed and unsheathed flagella in V. alginolyticus cells, including a novel ring-like structure at the bottom of the hook that is associated with major remodeling of the outer membrane and sheath formation. Using mutants defective in flagellar motor components, we defined a Vibrio-specific feature (also known as the T ring) as a distinctive periplasmic structure with 13-fold symmetry. The unique architecture of the T ring provides a static platform to recruit the PomA/B complexes, which are required to generate higher torques for rotation of the sheathed flagellum and fast motility of Vibrio cells. Furthermore, the Vibrio flagellar motor exhibits an intrinsic length variation between the inner and the outer membrane bound complexes, suggesting the outer membrane bound complex can shift slightly along the axial rod during flagellar rotation. Together, our detailed analyses of the polar flagella in intact cells provide insights into unique aspects of the sheathed flagellum and the distinct motility of Vibrio species.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus possesses two distinct motility systems, the polar system used for swimming in liquid environments and the lateral system used for swarming over surfaces. Growth on surfaces induces swarmer cell differentiation and expression of the lateral motility system. Mutants, created by transposon mutagenesis of a clone expressing lateral flagellin and gene disruption in V. parahaemolyticus, were unable to swarm and failed to make lateral flagellin; therefore, unlike the case for the polar system, there is one gene (lafA) encoding lateral flagellin. In addition to lafA, other genes required for swarming but not for swimming were identified by gene replacement mutagenesis. The nucleotide sequence of the clone determined open reading frames (ORFs) and deduced amino acid sequences showed similarities to flagellar components of other bacteria: flagellin, hook-associated protein (HAP2), motor components, and flagellar sigma factor (sigma 28). Many sigma 28 factors have been shown to recognize cognate promoters; however, expression of lafA in Escherichia coli required LafS, and E. coli sigma 28 did not substitute. Also, there were no sequences preceding genes encoding flagellin or HAP2 resembling the sigma 28 consensus promoter. The product of the sigma-like gene seems to be a unique member of the sigma 28 cluster. It appears the result of requiring expression for immunodetection of flagellin clones was that the sigma locus was fortuitously cloned, since the sigma and lafA loci were not contiguous in the chromosome. This work initiates identification and placement of genes in a scheme of control for swarmer cell differentiation; three levels have been identified in the transcriptional hierarchy.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus possesses dual flagellar systems adapted for movement under different circumstances. A single polar flagellum propels the bacterium in liquid (i.e., swimming) with a motor that is powered by the sodium motive force. Multiple proton-driven lateral flagella enable translocation over surfaces (i.e., swarming). The polar flagellum is produced continuously, while production of lateral flagella is induced when the organism is grown on surfaces. This work describes the isolation of mutants with insertions in the structural and regulatory laf genes. A Tn5-based lux transcriptional reporter transposon was constructed and used for mutagenesis and subsequent transcriptional analysis of the laf regulon. Twenty-nine independent insertions were distributed within 16 laf genes. DNA sequence analysis identified 38 laf genes in two loci. Among the mutants isolated, 11 contained surface-induced lux fusions. A hierarchy of laf gene expression was established following characterization of the laf::lux transcriptional fusion strains and by mutational and primer extension analyses of the laf regulon. The laf system is like many enteric systems in that it is a proton-driven, peritrichous flagellar system; however, laf regulation was different from the Salmonella-Escherichia coli paradigm. There is no apparent flhDC counterpart that encodes master regulators known to control flagellar biosynthesis and swarming in many enteric bacteria. A potential sigma(54)-dependent regulator, LafK, was demonstrated to control expression of early genes, and a lateral-specific sigma(28) factor controls late flagellar gene expression. Another notable feature was the discovery of a gene encoding a MotY-like product, which previously had been associated only with the architecture of sodium-type polar flagellar motors.
Project description:Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens, a soybean N2-fixing symbiont, possesses a dual flagellar system comprising a constitutive subpolar flagellum and inducible lateral flagella. Here, we analyzed the genomic organization and biosynthetic regulation of the lateral-flagellar genes. We found that these genes are located in a single genomic cluster, organized in two monocistronic transcriptional units and three operons, one possibly containing an internal transcription start site. Among the monocistronic units is blr6846, homologous to the class IB master regulators of flagellum synthesis in Brucella melitensis and Ensifer meliloti and required for the expression of all the lateral-flagellar genes except lafA2, whose locus encodes a single lateral flagellin. We therefore named blr6846 lafR (lateral-flagellar regulator). Despite its similarity to two-component response regulators and its possession of a phosphorylatable Asp residue, lafR behaved as an orphan response regulator by not requiring phosphorylation at this site. Among the genes induced by lafR is flbTL , a class III regulator. We observed different requirements for FlbTL in the synthesis of each flagellin subunit. Although the accumulation of lafA1, but not lafA2, transcripts required FlbTL, the production of both flagellin polypeptides required FlbTL Moreover, the regulation cascade of this lateral-flagellar regulon appeared to be not as strictly ordered as those found in other bacterial species.IMPORTANCE Bacterial motility seems essential for the free-living style in the environment, and therefore these microorganisms allocate a great deal of their energetic resources to the biosynthesis and functioning of flagella. Despite energetic costs, some bacterial species possess dual flagellar systems, one of which is a primary system normally polar or subpolar, and the other is a secondary, lateral system that is produced only under special circumstances. Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens, an N2-fixing symbiont of soybean plants, possesses dual flagellar systems, including the lateral system that contributes to swimming in wet soil and competition for nodulation and is expressed under high energy availability, as well as under requirement for high torque by the flagella. The structural organization and transcriptional regulation of the 41 genes that comprise this secondary flagellar system seem adapted to adjust bacterial energy expenditures for motility to the soil's environmental dynamics.
Project description:The bacterial flagellum has evolved as one of the most remarkable nanomachines in nature. It provides swimming and swarming motilities that are often essential for the bacterial life cycle and pathogenesis. Many bacteria such as <i>Salmonella</i> and <i>Vibrio</i> species use flagella as an external propeller to move to favorable environments, whereas spirochetes utilize internal periplasmic flagella to drive a serpentine movement of the cell bodies through tissues. Here, we use cryo-electron tomography to visualize the polar sheathed flagellum of <i>Vibrio alginolyticus</i> with particular focus on a <i>Vibrio</i>-specific feature, the H-ring. We characterized the H-ring by identifying its two components FlgT and FlgO. We found that the majority of flagella are located within the periplasmic space in the absence of the H-ring, which are different from those of external flagella in wild-type cells. Our results not only indicate the H-ring has a novel function in facilitating the penetration of the outer membrane and the assembly of the external sheathed flagella but also are consistent with the notion that the flagella have evolved to adapt highly diverse needs by receiving or removing accessary genes.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Flagellum is the major organelle for motility in many bacterial species. While most bacteria possess external flagella, such as the multiple peritrichous flagella found in <i>Escherichia coli</i> and <i>Salmonella enterica</i> or the single polar sheathed flagellum in <i>Vibrio</i> spp., spirochetes uniquely assemble periplasmic flagella, which are embedded between their inner and outer membranes. Here, we show for the first time that the external flagella in <i>Vibrio alginolyticus</i> can be changed as periplasmic flagella by deleting two flagellar genes. The discovery here may provide new insights into the molecular basis underlying assembly, diversity, and evolution of flagella.
Project description:Bacteria with a dual flagellar system, which consists of a polar flagellum (PF) and several lateral flagella (LF), have been identified in diverse environments. Nevertheless, whether and how these two flagellar systems interact with each other is largely unknown. In the present study, the relationship between the structural genes for the PF and LF of the deep-sea bacterium Shewanella piezotolerans WP3 was investigated by genetic, phenotypic and phylogenetic analyses. The mutation of PF genes induced the expression of LF genes and the production of LF in liquid medium, while the defective LF genes led to a decrease in PF gene transcription. However, the level of PF flagellin remained unchanged in LF gene mutants. Further investigation showed that the flgH2 gene (encoding LF L-ring protein) can compensate for mutations of the flgH1 gene (encoding PF L-ring protein), but this compensation does not occur between the flagellar hook-filament junction proteins (FlgL1, FlgL2). Swarming motility was shown to specifically require LF genes, and PF genes cannot substitute for the LF genes in the lateral flagella synthesis. Considering the importance of flagella-dependent motility for bacterial survival in the abyssal sediment, our study thus provided a better understanding of the adaptation strategy of benthic bacteria.
Project description:The expression of flagellin genes in most bacteria is typically regulated by the flagellum-specific sigma(28) factor FliA, and an anti-sigma(28) factor, FlgM. However, the regulatory hierarchy in several bacteria that have multiple flagellins is more complex. In these bacteria, the flagellin genes are often transcribed by at least two different sigma factors. The flagellar filament in spirochetes consists of one to three FlaB core proteins and at least one FlaA sheath protein. Here, the genetically amenable bacterium Brachyspira hyodysenteriae was used as a model spirochete to investigate the regulation of its four flagellin genes, flaA, flaB1, flaB2, and flaB3. We found that the flaB1 and flaB2 genes are regulated by sigma(28), whereas the flaA and flaB3 genes are controlled by sigma(70). The analysis of a flagellar motor switch fliG mutant further supported this proposition; in the mutant, the transcription of flaB1 and flaB2 was inhibited, but that of flaA and flaB3 was not. In addition, the continued expression of flaA and flaB3 in the mutant resulted in the formation of incomplete flagellar filaments that were hollow tubes and consisted primarily of FlaA. Finally, our recent studies have shown that each flagellin unit contributes to the stiffness of the periplasmic flagella, and this stiffness directly correlates with motility. The regulatory mechanism identified here should allow spirochetes to change the relative ratio of these flagellin proteins and, concomitantly, vary the stiffness of their flagellar filament.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Helicobacter pylori is the causative agent for gastritis, and peptic and duodenal ulcers. The bacterium displays 5-6 polar sheathed flagella that are essential for colonisation and persistence in the gastric mucosa. The biochemistry and genetics of flagellar biogenesis in H. pylori has not been fully elucidated. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that the gene HP0256, annotated as hypothetical, was a FliJ homologue. In Salmonella, FliJ is a chaperone escort protein for FlgN and FliT, two proteins that themselves display chaperone activity for components of the hook, the rod and the filament. RESULTS:Ablation of the HP0256 gene in H. pylori significantly reduced motility. However, flagellin and hook protein synthesis was not affected in the HP0256 mutant. Transmission electron transmission microscopy revealed that the HP0256 mutant cells displayed a normal flagellum configuration, suggesting that HP0256 was not essential for assembly and polar localisation of the flagella in the cell. Interestingly, whole genome microarrays of an HP0256 mutant revealed transcriptional changes in a number of genes associated with the flagellar regulon and the cell envelope, such as outer membrane proteins and adhesins. Consistent with the array data, lack of the HP0256 gene significantly reduced adhesion and the inflammatory response in host cells. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that HP0256 is not a functional counterpart of FliJ in H. pylori. However, it is required for full motility and it is involved, possibly indirectly, in expression of outer membrane proteins and adhesins involved in pathogenesis and adhesion.