Fur-mediated activation of gene transcription in the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
ABSTRACT: It is well established that the ferric uptake regulatory protein (Fur) functions as a transcriptional repressor in diverse microorganisms. Recent studies demonstrated that Fur also functions as a transcriptional activator. In this study we defined Fur-mediated activation of gene transcription in the sexually transmitted disease pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Analysis of 37 genes which were previously determined to be iron induced and which contained putative Fur boxes revealed that only 30 of these genes exhibited reduced transcription in a gonococcal fur mutant strain. Fur-mediated activation was established by examining binding of Fur to the putative promoter regions of 16 Fur-activated genes with variable binding affinities observed. Only ?50% of the newly identified Fur-regulated genes bound Fur in vitro, suggesting that additional regulatory circuits exist which may function through a Fur-mediated indirect mechanism. The gonococcal Fur-activated genes displayed variable transcription patterns in a fur mutant strain, which correlated with the position of the Fur box in each (promoter) region. These results suggest that Fur-mediated direct transcriptional activation is fulfilled by multiple mechanisms involving either competing with a repressor or recruiting RNA polymerase. Collectively, our studies have established that gonococcal Fur functions as an activator of gene transcription through both direct and indirect mechanisms.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulatory protein, Fur, functions as a global regulatory protein of gene transcription in the mucosal pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. We have shown previously that several N. gonorrhoeae Fur-repressed genes are expressed in vivo during mucosal gonococcal infection in men, which suggests that this organism infects in an iron-limited environment and that Fur is expressed under these conditions. In this study we have demonstrated expression of the gonococcal fur gene in vitro, in human cervical epithelial cells, and in specimens from female subjects with uncomplicated gonococcal infection. In vitro studies confirmed that the expression of the gonococcal fur gene was repressed during growth under iron-replete growth conditions but that a basal level of the protein was maintained. Using GFP transcriptional fusions constructed from specific Fur binding sequences within the fur promoter/operator region, we determined that this operator region was functional during N. gonorrhoeae infection of cervical epithelial cells. Furthermore, reverse transcription-PCR analysis, as well as microarray analysis, using a custom Neisseria Fur and iron regulon microarray revealed that several Fur- and iron-regulated genes were expressed during N. gonorrhoeae infection of cervical epithelial cells. Microarray analysis of specimens obtained from female subjects with uncomplicated gonococcal infection corroborated our in vitro findings and point toward a key role of gonococcal Fur- and iron-regulated genes in gonococcal disease.
Project description:The Ferric uptake regulatory protein (Fur) is a transcriptional regulatory protein that functions to control gene transcription in response to iron in a number of pathogenic bacteria. In this study, we applied a label-free, quantitative and high-throughput analysis method, Interferometric Reflectance Imaging Sensor (IRIS), to rapidly characterize Fur-DNA interactions in vitro with predicted Fur binding sequences in the genome of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. IRIS can easily be applied to examine multiple protein-protein, protein-nucleotide and nucleotide-nucleotide complexes simultaneously and demonstrated here that seventy percent of the predicted Fur boxes in promoter regions of iron-induced genes bound to Fur in vitro with a range of affinities as observed using this microarray screening technology. Combining binding data with mRNA expression levels in a gonococcal fur mutant strain allowed us to identify five new gonococcal genes under Fur-mediated direct regulation.
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 Fe2+-dependent Fur protein serves as a negative regulator of iron uptake in bacteria. As only metallo-Fur acts as an autogeneous repressor, Fe2+scarcity would direct fur expression when continued supply is not obviously required. We show that in Escherichia coli post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms ensure that Fur synthesis remains steady in iron limitation. Our studies revealed that fur translation is coupled to that of an upstream open reading frame (uof), translation of which is downregulated by the non-coding RNA (ncRNA) RyhB. As RyhB transcription is negatively controlled by metallo-Fur, iron depletion creates a negative feedback loop. RyhB-mediated regulation of uof-fur provides the first example for indirect translational regulation by a trans-encoded ncRNA. In addition, we present evidence for an iron-responsive decoding mechanism of the uof-fur entity. It could serve as a backup mechanism of the RyhB circuitry, and represents the first link between iron availability and synthesis of an iron-containing protein.
Project description:The Neisseria gonorrhoeae ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein controls expression of iron homeostasis genes in response to intracellular iron levels. In this study, using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of an N. gonorrhoeae fur strain, we defined the gonococcal Fur and iron regulons and characterized Fur-controlled expression of an ArsR-like DNA binding protein. We observed that 158 genes (8% of the genome) showed differential expression in response to iron in an N. gonorrhoeae wild-type or fur strain, while 54 genes exhibited differential expression in response to Fur. The Fur regulon was extended to additional regulators, including NrrF and 13 other small RNAs (sRNAs), and two transcriptional factors. One transcriptional factor, coding for an ArsR-like regulator (ArsR), exhibited increased expression under iron-replete conditions in the wild-type strain but showed decreased expression across iron conditions in the fur strain, an effect that was reversed in a fur-complemented strain. Fur was shown to bind to the promoter region of the arsR gene downstream of a predicted ?(70) promoter region. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) analysis confirmed binding of the ArsR protein to the norB promoter region, and sequence analysis identified two additional putative targets, NGO1411 and NGO1646. A gonococcal arsR strain demonstrated decreased survival in human endocervical epithelial cells compared to that of the wild-type and arsR-complemented strains, suggesting that the ArsR regulon includes genes required for survival in host cells. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the N. gonorrhoeae Fur functions as a global regulatory protein to repress or activate expression of a large repertoire of genes, including additional transcriptional regulatory proteins.Gene regulation in bacteria in response to environmental stimuli, including iron, is of paramount importance to both bacterial replication and, in the case of pathogenic bacteria, successful infection. Bacterial DNA binding proteins are a common mechanism utilized by pathogens to control gene expression under various environmental conditions. Here, we show that the DNA binding protein Fur, expressed by the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, controls the expression of a large repertoire of genes and extends this regulon by controlling expression of additional DNA binding proteins. One of these proteins, an ArsR-like regulator, was required for N. gonorrhoeae survival within host cells. These results show that the Fur regulon extends to additional regulatory proteins, which together contribute to gonococcal mechanisms of pathogenesis.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, can infect and colonize multiple mucosal sites in both men and women. The ability to cope with different environmental conditions requires tight regulation of gene expression. In this study, we identified and characterized a gonococcal transcriptional regulatory protein (Neisseria phage repressor [Npr]) that was previously annotated as a putative gonococcal phage repressor protein. Npr was found to repress transcription of NGNG_00460 to NGNG_00463 (NGNG_00460-00463), an operon present within the phage locus Ngo?4. Npr binding sites within the NGNG_00460-00463 promoter region were found to overlap the -10 and -35 promoter motifs. A gonococcal npr mutant demonstrated increased adherence to and invasion of human endocervical epithelial cells compared to a wild-type gonococcal strain. Likewise, the gonococcal npr mutant exhibited enhanced colonization in a gonococcal mouse model of mucosal infection. Analysis of the gonococcal npr mutant using RNA sequence (RNA-seq) analysis demonstrated that the Npr regulon is limited to the operon present within the phage locus. Collectively, our studies have defined a new gonococcal phage repressor protein that controls the transcription of genes implicated in gonococcal pathogenesis.
Project description:The pathogenic Neisseria spp. produce a number of iron-regulated gene products that are thought to be important in virulence. Iron-responsive regulation of these gene products has been attributed to the presence in Neisseria spp. of the Fur (ferric uptake regulation) protein. Evidence for the role of Fur in neisserial iron regulation has been indirect because of the inability to make fur null mutations. To circumvent this problem, we used manganese selection to isolate missense mutations of Neisseria gonorrhoeae fur. We show that a mutation in gonococcal fur resulted in reduced modulation of expression of four well-studied iron-repressed genes and affected the iron regulation of a broad range of other genes as judged by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). All 15 of the iron-repressed spots observed by two-dimensional PAGE were at least partially derepressed in the fur mutant, and 17 of the 45 iron-induced spots were affected by the fur mutation. Thus, Fur plays a central role in regulation of iron-repressed gonococcal genes and appears to be involved in regulation of many iron-induced genes. The size and complexity of the iron regulons in N. gonorrhoeae are much greater than previously recognized.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In the alpha subclass of proteobacteria iron homeostasis is controlled by diverse iron responsive regulators. Caulobacter crescentus, an important freshwater ?-proteobacterium, uses the ferric uptake repressor (Fur) for such purpose. However, the impact of the iron availability on the C. crescentus transcriptome and an overall perspective of the regulatory networks involved remain unknown. RESULTS: In this work we report the identification of iron-responsive and Fur-regulated genes in C. crescentus using microarray-based global transcriptional analyses. We identified 42 genes that were strongly upregulated both by mutation of fur and by iron limitation condition. Among them, there are genes involved in iron uptake (four TonB-dependent receptor gene clusters, and feoAB), riboflavin biosynthesis and genes encoding hypothetical proteins. Most of these genes are associated with predicted Fur binding sites, implicating them as direct targets of Fur-mediated repression. These data were validated by ?-galactosidase and EMSA assays for two operons encoding putative transporters. The role of Fur as a positive regulator is also evident, given that 27 genes were downregulated both by mutation of fur and under low-iron condition. As expected, this group includes many genes involved in energy metabolism, mostly iron-using enzymes. Surprisingly, included in this group are also TonB-dependent receptors genes and the genes fixK, fixT and ftrB encoding an oxygen signaling network required for growth during hypoxia. Bioinformatics analyses suggest that positive regulation by Fur is mainly indirect. In addition to the Fur modulon, iron limitation altered expression of 113 more genes, including induction of genes involved in Fe-S cluster assembly, oxidative stress and heat shock response, as well as repression of genes implicated in amino acid metabolism, chemotaxis and motility. CONCLUSIONS: Using a global transcriptional approach, we determined the C. crescentus iron stimulon. Many but not all of iron responsive genes were directly or indirectly controlled by Fur. The iron limitation stimulon overlaps with other regulatory systems, such as the RpoH and FixK regulons. Altogether, our results showed that adaptation of C. crescentus to iron limitation not only involves increasing the transcription of iron-acquisition systems and decreasing the production of iron-using proteins, but also includes novel genes and regulatory mechanisms.
Project description:Upon oxygen limitation, the Bacillus subtilis ResE sensor kinase and its cognate ResD response regulator play primary roles in the transcriptional activation of genes functioning in anaerobic respiration. The nitric oxide (NO)-sensitive NsrR repressor controls transcription to support nitrate respiration. In addition, the ferric uptake repressor (Fur) can modulate transcription under anaerobic conditions. However, whether these controls are direct or indirect has been investigated only in a gene-specific manner. To gain a genomic view of anaerobic gene regulation, we determined the genome-wide in vivo DNA binding of ResD, NsrR, and Fur transcription factors (TFs) using in situ DNase I footprinting combined with chromatin affinity precipitation sequencing (ChAP-seq; genome footprinting by high-throughput sequencing [GeF-seq]). A significant number of sites were targets of ResD and NsrR, and a majority of them were also bound by Fur. The binding of multiple TFs to overlapping targets affected each individual TF's binding, which led to combinatorial transcriptional control. ResD bound to both the promoters and the coding regions of genes under its positive control. Other genes showing enrichment of ResD at only the promoter regions are targets of direct ResD-dependent repression or antirepression. The results support previous findings of ResD as an RNA polymerase (RNAP)-binding protein and indicated that ResD can associate with the transcription elongation complex. The data set allowed us to reexamine consensus sequence motifs of Fur, ResD, and NsrR and uncovered evidence that multiple TGW (where W is A or T) sequences surrounded by an A- and T-rich sequence are often found at sites where all three TFs competitively bind.IMPORTANCE Bacteria encounter oxygen fluctuation in their natural environment as well as in host organisms. Hence, understanding how bacteria respond to oxygen limitation will impact environmental and human health. ResD, NsrR, and Fur control transcription under anaerobic conditions. This work using in situ DNase I footprinting uncovered the genome-wide binding profile of the three transcription factors (TFs). Binding of the TFs is often competitive or cooperative depending on the promoters and the presence of other TFs, indicating that transcriptional regulation by multiple TFs is much more complex than we originally thought. The results from this study provide a more complete picture of anaerobic gene regulation governed by ResD, NsrR, and Fur and contribute to our further understanding of anaerobic physiology.
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.