IS5 inserts upstream of the master motility operon flhDC in a quasi-Lamarckian way.
ABSTRACT: Mutation rates may be influenced by the environment. Here, we demonstrate that insertion sequence IS5 in Escherichia coli inserts into the upstream region of the flhDC operon in a manner that depends on whether the environment permits motility; this operon encodes the master regulator of cell motility, FlhDC, and the IS5 insertion increases motility. IS5 inserts upstream of flhD(+) when cells are grown on soft-agar plates that permit swimming motility, but does not insert upstream of this locus on hard-agar plates that do not permit swimming motility or in planktonic cultures. Furthermore, there was only one IS5 insertion event on soft-agar plates, indicating insertion of IS5 into flhDC is not due to general elevated IS5 transposition throughout the whole genome. We also show that the highly motile cells with IS5 upstream of flhD(+) have greater biofilm formation, although there is a growth cost due to the energetic burden of the enhanced motility as these highly motile cells have a lower yield in rich medium and reduced growth rate. Functional flagella are required for IS5 insertion upstream of flhD(+) as there was no IS5 insertion upstream of flhD(+) for flhD, flgK and motA mutants, and the mutation is stable. Additionally, the IS5 mutation occurs during biofilm formation, which creates genetic and phenotypic diversity. Hence, the cells appear to 'sense' whether motility is feasible before a sub-population undergoes a mutation to become hypermotile; this sensing appears related to the master transcription regulator, FlhDC.
Project description:The flagellar system in Escherichia coli K12 is expressed under the control of the flhDC-encoded master regulator FlhDC. Transposition of insertion sequence (IS) elements to the upstream flhDC promoter region up-regulates transcription of this operon, resulting in a more rapid motility. Wang and Wood (ISME J 2011;5:1517-1525) provided evidence that insertion of IS5 into upstream activating sites occurs at higher rates in semi-solid agar media in which swarming behaviour is allowed as compared with liquid or solid media where swarming cannot occur. We confirm this conclusion and show that three IS elements, IS1, IS3 and IS5, transpose to multiple upstream sites within a 370?bp region of the flhDC operon control region. Hot spots for IS insertion correlate with positions of stress-induced DNA duplex destabilization (SIDD). We show that IS insertion occurs at maximal rates in 0.24?% agar, with rates decreasing dramatically with increasing or decreasing agar concentrations. In mixed cultures, we show that these mutations preferentially arise from the wild-type parent at frequencies of up to 3×10-3 cell-1 day-1 when the inoculated parental and co-existing IS-activated mutant cells are entering the stationary growth phase. We rigorously show that the apparent increased mutation frequencies cannot be accounted for by increased swimming or by increased growth under the selective conditions used. Thus, our data are consistent with the possibility that appropriate environmental conditions, namely those that permit but hinder flagellar rotation, result in the activation of a mutational pathway that involves IS element insertion upstream of the flhDC operon.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>Motility is a beneficial attribute that enables cells to access and explore new environments and to escape detrimental ones. The organelle of motility in Escherichia coli is the flagellum, and its production is initiated by the activating transcription factors FlhD and FlhC. The expression of these factors by the flhDC operon is highly regulated and influenced by environmental conditions. The flhDC promoter is recognized by ?(70) and is dependent on the transcriptional activator cyclic AMP (cAMP)-cAMP receptor protein complex (cAMP-CRP). A number of K-12 strains exhibit limited motility due to low expression levels of flhDC. We report here a large number of mutations that stimulate flhDC expression in such strains. They include single nucleotide changes in the -10 element of the promoter, in the promoter spacer, and in the cAMP-CRP binding region. In addition, we show that insertion sequence (IS) elements or a kanamycin gene located hundreds of base pairs upstream of the promoter can effectively enhance transcription, suggesting that the topology of a large upstream region plays a significant role in the regulation of flhDC expression. None of the mutations eliminated the requirement for cAMP-CRP for activation. However, several mutations allowed expression in the absence of the nucleoid organizing protein, H-NS, which is normally required for flhDC expression.<h4>Importance</h4>The flhDC operon of Escherichia coli encodes transcription factors that initiate flagellar synthesis, an energetically costly process that is highly regulated. Few deregulating mutations have been reported thus far. This paper describes new single nucleotide mutations that stimulate flhDC expression, including a number that map to the promoter spacer region. In addition, this work shows that insertion sequence elements or a kanamycin gene located far upstream from the promoter or repressor binding sites also stimulate transcription, indicating a role of regional topology in the regulation of flhDC expression.
Project description:The MarR-like protein PapX represses the transcription of the flagellar master regulator genes flhDC in uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the primary cause of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). PapX is encoded by the pap operon, which also encodes the adherence factors termed P fimbriae. Both adherence and motility are critical for productive colonization of the urinary tract. However, the mechanisms involved in coordinating the transition between adherence and motility are not well characterized. UPEC strain CFT073 carries both papX and a homolog, focX, located in the foc operon encoding F1C fimbriae. In this study, we characterized the dose effects of "X" genes on flagellar gene expression and cross talk between focX and papX We found that both FocX and PapX repress flhD transcription. However, we determined that the ?papX mutant was hypermotile, while the loss of focX did not affect motility. We further investigated this phenotype and found that FocX functions as a repressor of papX Additionally, we identified a proximal independent promoter upstream of both focX and papX and assessed the expression of focX and papX during culture in human urine and on LB agar plates compared to LB medium. Finally, we characterized the contributions of PapX and FocX to fitness in the ascending murine model of UTI and observed a subtle, but not statistically significant, fitness defect in colonization of the kidneys. Altogether, these results expand our understanding of the impact of carrying multiple X genes on the coordinated regulation of motility and adherence in UPEC.
Project description:Xenorhabdus is a major insect pathogen symbiotically associated with nematodes of the family Steinernematidae. This motile bacterium displays swarming behavior on suitable media, but a spontaneous loss of motility is observed as part of a phenomenon designated phase variation which involves the loss of stationary-phase products active as antibiotics and potential virulence factors. To investigate the role of one of the transcriptional activators of flagellar genes, FlhDC, in motility and virulence, the Xenorhabdus nematophilus flhDC locus was identified by functional complementation of an Escherichia coli flhD null mutant and DNA sequencing. Construction of X. nematophilus flhD null mutants confirmed that the flhDC operon controls flagellin expression but also revealed that lipolytic and extracellular hemolysin activity is flhDC dependent. We also showed that the flhD null mutant displayed a slightly attenuated virulence phenotype in Spodoptera littoralis compared to that of the wild-type strain. Thus, these data indicated that motility, lipase, hemolysin, or unknown functions controlled by the flhDC operon are involved in the infectious process in insects. Our investigation expands the view of the flagellar regulon as a checkpoint coupled to a major network involving bacterial physiological aspects as well as motility.
Project description:These series of experiments compares the expression profile of the motility variants of E.coli MG1655 ( Motile and NonMotile isolates) to an isogenic E.coli MG1655 strain in which the IS5 upstream of flhDC has been deleted. The expression profiles of genes in the E.coli MG1655 motile isolate and E.coli MG1655 Non_Motile isolate also compared. Keywords: parallel sample
Project description:These series of experiments compares the expression profile of the motility variants of E.coli MG1655 ( Motile and NonMotile isolates) to an isogenic E.coli MG1655 strain in which the IS5 upstream of flhDC has been deleted. The expression profiles of genes in the E.coli MG1655 motile isolate and E.coli MG1655 Non_Motile isolate also compared.
Project description:The distribution and location of insertion elements in a genome is an excellent tool to track the evolution of bacterial strains and a useful molecular marker to distinguish between closely related bacterial isolates. The information about the genomic locations of IS elements is available in public sequence databases. However, the locations of mobile elements may vary from strain to strain and within the population of an individual strain. Tools that allow de novo localization of IS elements and are independent of existing sequence information are essential to map insertion elements and advance our knowledge of the role that such elements play in gene regulation and genome plasticity in bacteria.In this study, we present an efficient and reliable method for linear mapping of mobile elements using whole-genome DNA microarrays. In addition, we describe an algorithm for analysis of microarray data that can be applied to find DNA sequences physically juxtaposed with a target sequence of interest. This approach was used to map the locations of the IS5 elements in the genome of Escherichia coli K12. All IS5 elements present in the E. coli genome known from GenBank sequence data were identified. Furthermore, previously unknown insertion sites were predicted with high sensitivity and specificity. Two variants of E. coli K-12 MG1655 within a population of this strain were predicted by our analysis. The only significant difference between these two isolates was the presence of an IS5 element upstream of the main flagella regulator, flhDC. Additional experiments confirmed this prediction and showed that these isolates were phenotypically distinct. The effect of IS5 on the transcriptional activity of motility and chemotaxis genes in the genome of E. coli strain MG1655 was examined. Comparative analysis of expression profiles revealed that the presence of IS5 results in a mild enhancement of transcription of the flagellar genes that translates into a slight increase in motility.In summary, this work presents a case study of an experimental and analytical application of DNA microarrays to map insertion elements in bacteria and gains an insight into biological processes that might otherwise be overlooked by relying solely on the available genome sequence data.
Project description:Insertion sequence elements (IS elements) are proposed to play major roles in shaping the genetic and phenotypic landscapes of prokaryotic cells. Recent evidence has raised the possibility that environmental stress conditions increase IS hopping into new sites, and often such hopping has the phenotypic effect of relieving the stress. Although stress-induced targeted mutations have been reported for a number of E. coli genes, the glpFK (glycerol utilization) and the cryptic bglGFB (?-glucoside utilization) systems are among the best characterized where the effects of IS insertion-mediated gene activation are well-characterized at the molecular level. In the glpFK system, starvation of cells incapable of utilizing glycerol leads to an IS5 insertion event that activates the glpFK operon, and enables glycerol utilization. In the case of the cryptic bglGFB operon, insertion of IS5 (and other IS elements) into a specific region in the bglG upstream sequence has the effect of activating the operon in both growing cells, and in starving cells. However, a major unanswered question in the glpFK system, the bgl system, as well as other examples, has been why the insertion events are promoted at specific locations, and how the specific stress condition (glycerol starvation for example) can be mechanistically linked to enhanced insertion at a specific locus. In this paper, we show that a specific DNA structural feature (superhelical stress-induced duplex destabilization, SIDD) is associated with "stress-induced" IS5 insertion in the glpFK, bglGFB, flhDC, fucAO and nfsB systems. We propose a speculative mechanistic model that links specific environmental conditions to the unmasking of an insertional hotspot in the glpFK system. We demonstrate that experimentally altering the predicted stability of a SIDD element in the nfsB gene significantly impacts IS5 insertion at its hotspot.
Project description:Bacterial motility shows a strong evolvable feature depending on the environment. Hyper-motile E. coli could be isolated by evolving non-motile E. coli due to the mutations that enhanced transcriptional expression of the master regulator of the flagellum biosynthesis, FlhDC. These hyper-motile isolates showed reduced growth fitness but with the molecular mechanisms unrevealed. Here we obtained a novel type of hyper-motile isolates by evolving a weakly-motile E. coli K12 strain on the soft agar plates. These isolates carried high accumulated FlhDC proteins and they shared one single point mutation of ClpXV78F. The V78F affected the ATP binding to ClpX via steric repulsive effect and the mutated ClpXP protease lost most of its ability to degraded FlhDC and some other of its known targets. The signal tag of FlhDC for ClpXP recognition was also characterized. Intriguingly, in the hyper-motile strains, the highly enhanced expression of the motility genes was accompanied by the reduced expression of stress resistance genes relating to the reduced fitness of these isolates. Hence, ClpX appeared to be a novel and hot locus during the evolution of bacterial motility and the molecular mechanism of the trade-off between motility and growth was proposed for the first time.
Project description:Small Hfq-dependent non-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) that alter mRNA stability and expression by pairing with target mRNAs have increasingly been shown to be important in influencing the behaviour of bacteria. In Escherichia coli, flhD and flhC, which encode the master regulator of flagellar synthesis, are co-transcribed from a promoter that is regulated by multiple transcription factors that respond to different environmental cues. Here, we show that the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of the flhDC mRNA also serves as a hub to integrate additional environmental cues into the decision to make flagella. Four sRNAs, ArcZ, OmrA, OmrB and OxyS, negatively regulated and one sRNA, McaS, positively regulated motility and flhDC expression by base-pairing with the 5' UTR of this mRNA. Another sRNA, MicA, positively regulated motility independent of regulation of flhDC. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the regulation of motility by the ArcB/A two component system is in part due to its regulation of ArcZ. flhDC is the first mRNA that has been shown to be both positively and negatively regulated by direct pairing to sRNAs. Moreover, both positive regulation by McaS and negative regulation by ArcZ require the same binding site in the flhDC mRNA.