Hfq virulence regulation in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain 86-24.
ABSTRACT: Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC) causes bloody diarrhea and hemolytic-uremic syndrome. EHEC encodes the sRNA chaperone Hfq, which is important in posttranscriptional regulation. In EHEC strain EDL933, Hfq acts as a negative regulator of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), which encodes most of the proteins involved in type III secretion and attaching and effacing (AE) lesions. Here, we deleted hfq in the EHEC strain 86-24 and compared global transcription profiles of the hfq mutant and wild-type (WT) strains in exponential growth phase. Deletion of hfq affected transcription of genes common to nonpathogenic and pathogenic strains of E. coli as well as pathogen-specific genes. Downregulated genes in the hfq mutant included ler, the transcriptional activator of all the LEE genes, as well as genes encoded in the LEE2 to -5 operons. Decreased expression of the LEE genes in the hfq mutant occurred at middle, late, and stationary growth phases. We also confirmed decreased regulation of the LEE genes by examining the proteins secreted and AE lesion formation by the hfq mutant and WT strains. Deletion of hfq also caused decreased expression of the two-component system qseBC, which is involved in interkingdom signaling and virulence gene regulation in EHEC, as well as an increase in expression of stx(2AB), which encodes the deadly Shiga toxin. Altogether, these data indicate that Hfq plays a regulatory role in EHEC 86-24 that is different from what has been reported for EHEC strain EDL933 and that the role of Hfq in EHEC virulence regulation extends beyond the LEE.
Project description:Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a food-borne pathogen that causes bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Hfq is an sRNA chaperone protein that is involved in post-transcriptional regulation of virulence genes in pathogenic bacteria. In EHEC strain EDL933, Hfq acts a negative regulator of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) that encodes most of the proteins involved in type three secretion and attaching and effacing lesions. We deleted hfq in E. coli O157:H7 strain 86-24 and compared global transcription profiles of the hfq mutant to the wild type strain in exponential growth phase. Deletion of hfq affected transcription of genes common to nonpathogenic and pathogenic strains of E. coli as well as pathogen-specific genes. Downregulated genes in the hfq mutant included ler as well as genes encoded in LEE2-5 that encode for type three secretion and AE lesion formation. Decreased expression of the LEE genes in the hfq mutant occurred at mid-, late, and stationary growth phases in both LB and DMEM media as detected by qRT-PCR. We also confirmed decreased regulation of the LEE genes by examining secreted proteins and AE lesion formation by the hfq mutant and WT strains. Deletion of hfq also caused decreased expression of the two-component system qseBC involved in inter-kingdom signaling and virulence gene regulation in EHEC as well as an increase in stx2AB expression that encodes for the deadly Shiga toxin. Altogether, these data indicate that Hfq plays a different regulatory role in EHEC 86-24 from what has been reported for EHEC strain EDL933 and that the role of Hfq in EHEC virulence regulation extends beyond the LEE. Comparison of transcriptional regulation of the WT 86-24 isolate and the hfq mutant for the identification of regulated targets that were followed up by functional analysis.
Project description:The locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) is a chromosomal pathogenicity island that encodes the proteins involved in the formation of the attaching and effacing lesions by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). The LEE comprises 41 open reading frames organized in five major operons, LEE1, LEE2, LEE3, tir (LEE5), and LEE4, which encode a type III secretion system, the intimin adhesin, the translocated intimin receptor (Tir), and other effector proteins. The first gene of LEE1 encodes the Ler regulator, which activates all the other genes within the LEE. We previously reported that the LEE genes were activated by quorum sensing through Ler (V. Sperandio, J. L. Mellies, W. Nguyen, S. Shin, and J. B. Kaper, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96:15196-15201, 1999). In this study we report that a putative regulator in the E. coli genome is itself activated by quorum sensing. This regulator is encoded by open reading frame b3243; belongs to the LysR family of regulators; is present in EHEC, EPEC, and E. coli K-12; and shares homology with the AphB and PtxR regulators of Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, respectively. We confirmed the activation of b3243 by quorum sensing by using transcriptional fusions and renamed this regulator quorum-sensing E. coli regulator A (QseA). We observed that QseA activated transcription of ler and therefore of the other LEE genes. An EHEC qseA mutant had a striking reduction of type III secretion activity, which was complemented when qseA was provided in trans. Similar results were also observed with a qseA mutant of EPEC. The QseA regulator is part of the regulatory cascade that regulates EHEC and EPEC virulence genes by quorum sensing.
Project description:Transcription of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) genes in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is regulated by the LEE-encoded Ler and GrlR/GrlA proteins as well as the non-LEE-encoded regulator QseA. This work demonstrates that GrlR/GrlA activate LEE2 transcription in a Ler-independent fashion, whereas transcription of grlRA is activated by QseA in both Ler-dependent and -independent manners.
Project description:The pathogenicity island termed locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) encodes a type 3 protein secretion system, whose function is required for full virulence of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). GrlR and GrlA are LEE-encoded negative and positive regulators, respectively, for controlling transcription of the ler gene, which encodes a central activator of LEE gene expression. We previously reported that the GrlR-GrlA regulatory system controls not only the LEE genes but also flagellar gene expression in EHEC (S. Iyoda et al., J. Bacteriol. 188:5682-5692, 2006). In order to further explore virulence-related genes under the control of the GrlR-GrlA regulatory system, we characterized a grlR-deleted EHEC O157 strain, which was found to have high and low levels of expression of LEE and flagellar genes, respectively. We report here that the grlR deletion significantly induced enterohemolysin (Ehx) activity of EHEC O157 on plates containing defibrinated sheep erythrocytes. Ehx levels were not induced in the grlR grlA double mutant strain but increased markedly by overexpression of GrlA even in the ler mutant, indicating that GrlA is responsible for this regulation. Ehx of the EHEC O157 Sakai strain is encoded by the ehxCABD genes, which are carried on the large plasmid pO157. The expression of ehxC fused with FLAG tag or a promoterless lacZ gene on pO157 was significantly induced under conditions in which GrlA was overproduced. These results together suggest that GrlA acts as a positive regulator for the ehx transcription in EHEC.
Project description:The pathogenicity island termed the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) is found in diverse attaching and effacing pathogens associated with diarrhea in humans and other animal species. To explore the relation of variation in LEE sequences to host specificity and genetic lineage, we determined the nucleotide sequence of the LEE region from a rabbit diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strain RDEC-1 (O15:H-) and compared it with those from human enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC, O127:H6) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC, O157:H7) strains. Differing from EPEC and EHEC LEEs, the RDEC-1 LEE is not inserted at selC and is flanked by an IS2 element and the lifA toxin gene. The RDEC-1 LEE contains a core region of 40 open reading frames, all of which are shared with the LEE of EPEC and EHEC. orf3 and the ERIC (enteric repetitive intergenic consensus) sequence present in the LEEs of EHEC and EPEC are absent from the RDEC-1 LEE. The predicted promoters of LEE1, LEE2, LEE3, tir, and LEE4 operons are highly conserved among the LEEs, although the upstream regions varied considerably for tir and the crucial LEE1 promoter, suggesting differences in regulation. Among the shared genes, high homology (>95% identity) between the RDEC-1 and the EPEC and EHEC LEEs at the predicted amino acid level was observed for the components of the type III secretion apparatus, the Ces chaperones, and the Ler regulator. In contrast, more divergence (66 to 88% identity) was observed in genes encoding proteins involved in host interaction, such as intimin (Eae) and the secreted proteins (Tir and Esps). A comparison of the highly variable genes from RDEC-1 with those from a number of attaching and effacing pathogens infecting different species and of different evolutionary lineages was performed. Although RDEC-1 diverges from some human-infecting EPEC and EHEC, most of the variation observed appeared to be due to evolutionary lineage rather than host specificity. Therefore, much of the observed hypervariability in genes involved in pathogenesis may not represent specific adaptation to different host species.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a food-borne cause of bloody diarrhea and the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans. Most strains of EHEC belong to a group of bacterial pathogens that cause distinctive lesions on the host intestine termed attaching-and-effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E strains of EHEC, including the predominant serotype, O157:H7, are responsible for the majority of HUS outbreaks worldwide. However, several serotypes of EHEC are not A/E pathogens because they lack the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. Nevertheless, such strains have been associated with sporadic cases and small outbreaks of hemorrhagic colitis and HUS. Of these LEE-negative organisms, O113:H21 is one of the most commonly isolated EHEC serotypes in many regions. Clinical isolates of LEE-negative EHEC typically express Shiga toxin 2 and carry an approximately 90-kb plasmid that encodes EHEC hemolysin, but in the absence of LEE, little is known about the way in which these pathogens colonize the host intestine. In this study we describe the identification of a novel fimbrial gene cluster related to long polar fimbriae in EHEC O113:H21. This chromosomal region comprises four open reading frames, lpfA to lfpD, and has the same location in the EHEC O113:H21 genome as O island 154 in the prototype EHEC O157:H7 strain, EDL933. In a survey of EHEC of other serotypes, homologues of lpfA(O113) were found in 26 of 28 LEE-negative and 8 of 11 non-O157:H7 LEE-positive EHEC strains. Deletion of the putative major fimbrial subunit gene, lpfA, from EHEC O113:H21 resulted in decreased adherence of this strain to epithelial cells, suggesting that lpf(O113) may function as an adhesin in LEE-negative isolates of EHEC.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), an emerging food- and water-borne hazard, is highly pathogenic to humans. In the environment, EHEC must survive phosphate (Pi) limitation. The response to such Pi starvation is an induction of the Pho regulon including the Pst system that senses Pi variation. The interplay between the virulence of EHEC, Pho-Pst system and environmental Pi remains unknown. To understand the effects of Pi deprivation on the molecular mechanisms involved in EHEC survival and virulence under Pho regulon control, we undertook transcriptome profiling of the EDL933 wild-type strain grown under high Pi and low Pi conditions and its isogenic ?phoB mutant grown in low Pi conditions. The differentially expressed genes included 1067 Pi-dependent genes and 603 PhoB-dependent genes. Of these 131 genes were both Pi and PhoB-dependent. Differentially expressed genes that were selected included those involved in Pi homeostasis, cellular metabolism, acid stress, oxidative stress and RpoS-dependent stress responses. Differentially expressed virulence systems included the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) encoding the type-3 secretion system (T3SS) and its effectors, as well as BP-933W prophage encoded Shiga toxin 2 genes. Moreover, PhoB directly regulated LEE and stx2 gene expression through binding to specific Pho boxes. However, in Pi-rich medium, constitutive activation of the Pho regulon decreased LEE gene expression and reduced adherence to HeLa cells. Together, these findings reveal that EHEC has evolved a sophisticated response to Pi limitation involving multiple biochemical strategies that contribute to its ability to respond to variations in environmental Pi and to coordinating the virulence response.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a significant human pathogen and is the cause of bloody diarrhea and hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The virulence repertoire of EHEC includes the genes within the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) that are largely organized in five operons, LEE1 to LEE5, which encode a type III secretion system, several effectors, chaperones, and regulatory proteins. In addition, EHEC also encodes several non-LEE-encoded effectors and fimbrial operons. The virulence genes of this pathogen are under a large amount of posttranscriptional regulation. The small RNAs (sRNAs) GlmY and GlmZ activate the translation of glucosamine synthase (GlmS) in E. coli K-12, and in EHEC they destabilize the 3' fragments of the LEE4 and LEE5 operons and promote translation of the non-LEE-encoded effector EspFu. We investigated the global changes of EHEC gene expression governed by GlmY and GlmZ using RNA sequencing and gene arrays. This study extends the known effects of GlmY and GlmZ regulation to show that they promote expression of the curli adhesin, repress the expression of tryptophan metabolism genes, and promote the expression of acid resistance genes and the non-LEE-encoded effector NleA. In addition, seven novel EHEC-specific sRNAs were identified using RNA sequencing, and three of them--sRNA56, sRNA103, and sRNA350--were shown to regulate urease, fimbria, and the LEE, respectively. These findings expand the knowledge of posttranscriptional regulation in EHEC.
Project description:Gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria sense diverse environmental signals as cues for differential gene regulation and niche adaptation. Pathogens such as enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), which causes bloody diarrhea, use these signals for the temporal and energy-efficient regulation of their virulence factors. One of the main virulence strategies employed by EHEC is the formation of attaching and effacing (AE) lesions on enterocytes. Most of the genes necessary for the formation of these lesions are grouped within a pathogenicity island, the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), whose expression requires the LEE-encoded regulator Ler. Here we show that growth of EHEC in glycolytic environments inhibits the expression of ler and consequently all other LEE genes. Conversely, growth within a gluconeogenic environment activates expression of these genes. This sugar-dependent regulation is achieved through two transcription factors: KdpE and Cra. Both Cra and KdpE directly bind to the ler promoter, and Cra's affinity to this promoter is catabolite dependent. Moreover, we show that the Cra and KdpE proteins interact in vitro and that KdpE's ability to bind DNA is enhanced by the presence of Cra. Cra is important for AE lesion formation, and KdpE contributes to this Cra-dependent regulation. The deletion of cra and kdpE resulted in the ablation of AE lesions. One of the many challenges that bacteria face within the GI tract is to successfully compete for carbon sources. Linking carbon metabolism to the precise coordination of virulence expression is a key step in the adaptation of pathogens to the GI environment. IMPORTANCE An appropriate and prompt response to environmental cues is crucial for bacterial survival. Cra and KdpE are two proteins found in both nonpathogenic and pathogenic bacteria that regulate genes in response to differences in metabolite concentration. In this work, we show that, in the deadly pathogen enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7, which causes bloody diarrhea, these two proteins influence important virulence traits. We also propose that their control of one or more of these virulence traits is due to the direct interaction of the Cra and KdpE proteins with each other, as well as with their DNA targets. This work shows how EHEC coopts established mechanisms for sensing the metabolites and stress cues in the environment, to induce virulence factors in a temporal and energy-efficient manner, culminating in disease. Understanding how pathogens commandeer nonpathogenic systems can help us develop measures to control them.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC) is a foodborne pathogen that causes bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome throughout the world. A defining feature of EHEC pathogenesis is the formation of attaching and effacing (AE) lesions on colonic epithelial cells. Most of the genes that code for AE lesion formation, including a type three secretion system (T3SS) and effectors, are carried within a chromosomal pathogenicity island called the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE). In this study, we report that a putative regulator, which is encoded in the cryptic E. coli type three secretion system 2 (ETT2) locus and herein renamed EtrB, plays an important role in EHEC pathogenesis. The etrB gene is expressed as a monocistronic transcript, and EtrB autoregulates expression. We provide evidence that EtrB directly interacts with the ler regulatory region to activate LEE expression and promote AE lesion formation. Additionally, we mapped the EtrB regulatory circuit in EHEC to determine a global role for EtrB. EtrB is regulated by the transcription factor QseA, suggesting that these proteins comprise a regulatory circuit important for EHEC colonization of the gastrointestinal tract.