Identification of genes encoding components of the swarmer cell flagellar motor and propeller and a sigma factor controlling differentiation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
ABSTRACT: 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 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:Motility is important for virulence, biofilm formation, and the environmental adaptation of many bacteria. Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) contains two flagellar systems that are responsible for motility, and are tightly regulated by transcription regulators and sigma factors. In this study, we identified a novel transcription factor, VPA1701, which regulates the swarming motility of V. parahaemolyticus. The VPA1701 deletion mutant (?VPA1701) eliminated the swarming motility on the surface of BHI agar plates and reduced colonization in infant rabbits. RNA-seq assays, confirmed by qRT-PCR, indicated that VPA1701 regulated the expression of lateral flagellar cluster genes. Further analyses revealed that VPA1701 directly binds to the promoter region of the flgBCDEFGHIJKL cluster to regulate the expression of lateral flagellar genes. CalR was originally identified as a repressor for the swarming motility of V. parahaemolyticus, and it was inhibited by calcium. In this study, we found that VPA1701 could inhibit the expression of the calR gene to increase the swarming motility of V. parahaemolyticus. Calcium downregulated the expression of calR, indicating that calcium could increase swarming motility of ?VPA1701 by inhibiting calR. Thus, this study illustrates how the transcription factor VPA1701 regulates the expression of lateral flagellar genes and calR to control the swarming motility of V. parahaemolyticus.
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:Swarming is an adaptation of many bacteria to growth on surfaces. A search for genes controlling swarmer cell differentiation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus identified a novel three-gene operon that potentially encodes a pyridoxal-phosphate-dependent enzyme, an extracellular solute-binding protein, and a membrane-bound GGDEF- and EAL-motif sensory protein. The functions of these motifs, which are named after conserved amino acid sequences, are unknown, although the domains are found singly and in combination in a variety of bacterial signaling proteins. Studies with translational fusions supported the predicted localization of the gene products. When the operon was overexpressed, swarmer cell gene transcription was induced in liquid culture. Mutants with defects in any of the three genes exhibited decreased swarming and lateral flagellar (laf) gene expression. Complementation studies confirmed an operon organization and suggested that all three genes participated in laf regulation. The lesions that decreased swarming increased capsular polysaccharide (CPS) production, and overexpression of the operon inhibited transcription of the CPS gene cpsA. Thus, the scrABC locus appears to inversely regulate two gene systems that are pertinent to colonization of surface swarming and CPS.
Project description:Escherichia coli swarm on semi-solid surfaces with the aid of flagella. It has been hypothesized that swarmer cells overcome the increased viscous drag near surfaces by developing higher flagellar thrust and by promoting surface wetness with the aid of a flagellar switch. The switch enables reversals between clockwise (CW) and counterclockwise (CCW) directions of rotation of the flagellar motor. Here, we measured the behavior of flagellar motors in swarmer cells. Results indicated that although the torque was similar to that in planktonic cells, the tendency to rotate CCW was higher in swarmer cells. This suggested that swarmers likely have a smaller pool of phosphorylated CheY. Results further indicated that the upregulation of the flagellin gene was not critical for flagellar thrust or swarming. Consistent with earlier reports, moisture added to the swarm surface restored swarming in a CCW-only mutant, but not in a FliG mutant that rotated motors CW-only (FliGCW). Fluorescence assays revealed that FliGCW cells grown on agar surfaces carried fewer flagella than planktonic FliGCW cells. The surface-dependent reduction in flagella correlated with a reduction in the number of putative flagellar preassemblies. These results hint toward a possibility that the conformational dynamics of switch proteins play a role in the proper assembly of flagellar complexes and flagellar export, thereby aiding bacterial swarming.
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:In this study, we describe wosA, a Proteus mirabilis gene identified by its ability to increase swarming motility when overexpressed. At various times during the swarming cycle, the increased expression of wosA resulted in a 4- to 16-fold upregulation of the transcription of flhDC, encoding the master regulator of the flagellar cascade. In turn, the expression of flaA, encoding flagellin, was substantially increased in wosA-overexpressing strains. The overexpression of wosA also resulted in constitutive swarmer cell differentiation in liquid medium, a normally nonpermissive condition. However, in wosA-overexpressing strains, the onset of swarming was not altered. A null wosA allele resulted in a slight decrease in swarming motility. The expression of wosA was growth phase dependent during growth in liquid and on agar plates during swarmer cell differentiation. Increasing the viscosity of liquid medium by the addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone induced swarmer cell differentiation and resulted in a fourfold increase in wosA transcription. A fliL mutation that results in constitutive swarmer cell elongation also increased wosA transcription. In this study, we discuss the possible role of the wosA gene product in signal transduction from solid surfaces to induce swarmer cell differentiation, possibly via alterations in the motor switch complex. This study also suggests that despite constitutive swarmer cell differentiation in wosA-overexpressing strains, there are additional regulatory and/or environmental conditions that may control the onset of swarming migration.
Project description:The overproduction of flagella is a distinguishing characteristic of Proteus mirabilis swarmer cell differentiation. The synthesis of flagellin, the principal protein composing the flagellar filament, is coordinately regulated as part of a larger regulon of genes whose expression is a prerequisite in urinary pathogenesis. In this report, the regulation of expression of the flaA locus, comprising flaA and flaB, two tandemly linked and nearly identical copies of flagellin-encoding genes, is examined. Transcriptional expression studies reveal that flaA, but not flaB, is expressed by wild-type cells, and flaA transcription increases eightfold during differentiation. The flaA transcriptional start site for both swimmer and swarmer cells was determined to be located at a guanine, 8 bases downstream of the flaA sigma 28 promoter. FlaA- mutants are nonmotile and undifferentiated and do not synthesize flagellin, while FlaB- mutants are wild type, thus verifying that FlaA is the sole flagellin produced by wild-type cells and that flaB is silent. FlaA- mutants frequently revert to a Mot+ phenotype that is antigenically distinct from that of wild-type cells. Southern blot analysis of the flaA Mot+ revertants reveals a deletion of between 2 and 7kb in the flaA locus. Biochemical analyses of revertant flagellin indicate major changes in protein size and composition but conservation of the first 28 N-terminal residues. The result of this process is to produce an antigenically distinct flagellum that may be significant in ensuring the survival of P. mirabilis during pathogenesis.
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:Gene organization and hierarchical regulation of the polar flagellar genes of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio cholerae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa appear highly similar, with one puzzling difference. Two sigma(54)-dependent regulators are required to direct different classes of intermediate flagellar gene expression in V. cholerae and P. aeruginosa, whereas the V. parahaemolyticus homolog of one of these regulators, FlaK, appears dispensable. Here we demonstrate that there is compensatory activation of polar flagellar genes by the lateral flagellar regulator LafK.