MrpJ Directly Regulates Proteus mirabilis Virulence Factors, Including Fimbriae and Type VI Secretion, during Urinary Tract Infection.
ABSTRACT: Proteus mirabilis is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and urolithiasis. The transcriptional regulator MrpJ inversely modulates two critical aspects of P. mirabilis UTI progression: fimbria-mediated attachment and flagellum-mediated motility. Transcriptome data indicated a network of virulence-associated genes under MrpJ's control. Here, we identify the direct gene regulon of MrpJ and its contribution to P. mirabilis pathogenesis, leading to the discovery of novel virulence targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used for the first time in a CAUTI pathogen to probe for in vivo direct targets of MrpJ. Selected MrpJ-regulated genes were mutated and assessed for their contribution to UTI using a mouse model. ChIP-seq revealed a palindromic MrpJ binding sequence and 78 MrpJ-bound regions, including binding sites upstream of genes involved in motility, fimbriae, and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). A combinatorial mutation approach established the contribution of three fimbriae (fim8A, fim14A, and pmpA) to UTI and a new pathogenic role for the T6SS in UTI progression. In conclusion, this study (i) establishes the direct gene regulon and an MrpJ consensus binding site and (ii) led to the discovery of new virulence genes in P. mirabilis UTI, which could be targeted for therapeutic intervention of CAUTI.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urolithiasis. The transcriptional regulator MrpJ inversely modulates two critical aspects of P. mirabilis UTI progression: fimbria-mediated attachment to the urinary tract, and flagella-mediated motility. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used for the first time in a CAUTI pathogen to probe for in vivo direct targets of MrpJ. ChIP-seq revealed 81 78 direct MrpJ targets, including genes for motility, fimbriae and a type VI secretion system (T6SS), and the putative MrpJ binding sequence ACnCnnnnnnnGnGT. Overall design: Four types of P. mirabilis samples were sequenced:1) empty vector with no ChIP antibody (control); 2) pMrpJ (produces His-tagged MrpJ) with no ChIP antibody (control); 3) empty vector with anti-His ChIP (control) and 4) pMrpJ with anti-His ChIP (experimental sample). Two biological replicates were sequenced for each sample type, for a total of 8 samples.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis is a common uropathogen in patients with long-term catheterization or with structural or functional abnormalities in the urinary tract. The mannose-resistant, Proteus-like (MR/P) fimbriae and flagellum are among virulence factors of P.mirabilis that contribute to its colonization in a murine model of ascending urinary tract infection. mrpJ, the last of nine genes of the mrp operon, encodes a 107 amino acid protein that contains a putative helix-turn-helix domain. Using transcriptional lacZ fusions integrated into the chromosome and mutagenesis studies, we demonstrate that MrpJ represses transcription of the flagellar regulon and thus reduces flagella synthesis when MR/P fimbriae are produced. The repression of flagella synthesis by MrpJ is confirmed by electron microscopy. However, a gel mobility shift assay indicates that MrpJ does not bind directly to the regulatory region of the flhDC operon. The isogenic mrpJ null mutant of wild-type P.mirabilis strain HI4320 is attenuated in the murine model. Our data also indicate that PapX encoded by a pap (pyelonephritis- associated pilus) operon of uropathogenic Escherichia coli is a functional homolog of MrpJ.
Project description:The enteric bacterium Proteus mirabilis is associated with a significant number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs). Strict regulation of the antagonistic processes of adhesion and motility, mediated by fimbriae and flagella, respectively, is essential for disease progression. Previously, the transcriptional regulator MrpJ, which is encoded by the mrp fimbrial operon, has been shown to repress both swimming and swarming motility. Here we show that MrpJ affects an array of cellular processes beyond adherence and motility. Microarray analysis found that expression of mrpJ mimicking levels observed during UTIs leads to differential expression of 217 genes related to, among other functions, bacterial virulence, type VI secretion, and metabolism. We probed the molecular mechanism of transcriptional regulation by MrpJ using transcriptional reporters and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Binding of MrpJ to two virulence-associated target gene promoters, the promoters of the flagellar master regulator flhDC and mrp itself, appears to be affected by the condensation state of the native chromosome, although both targets share a direct MrpJ binding site proximal to the transcriptional start. Furthermore, an mrpJ deletion mutant colonized the bladders of mice at significantly lower levels in a transurethral model of infection. Additionally, we observed that mrpJ is widely conserved in a collection of recent clinical isolates. Altogether, these findings support a role of MrpJ as a global regulator of P. mirabilis virulence.
Project description:This series of microarrays compares gene expression by the bacterial pathogen Proteus mirabilis when the transcriptional regulator mrpJ is deleted or induced to levels found during experimental urinary tract infection. The enteric bacterium Proteus mirabilis is associated with a significant number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Strict regulation of the antagonistic processes of adhesion and motility, mediated by fimbriae and flagella, respectively, is essential for successful disease progression. Previously, the transcriptional regulator MrpJ, which is encoded by the mrp fimbrial operon, has been shown to repress both swimming and swarming motility. Here we show that MrpJ affects a wide array of cellular processes beyond adherence and motility. Microarray analysis found that expression of mrpJ mimicking expression levels that occur during UTI leads to differential expression of 217 genes related to, among others, bacterial virulence, type VI secretion and metabolism. We probed the molecular mechanism of transcriptional regulation through MrpJ using reporter assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Two virulence-associated target genes, the flagellar master regulator flhDC and mrp itself, appear to be regulated through a binding site proximal to the transcriptional start, complemented by a more distantly situated enhancer site. Furthermore, an mrpJ deletion mutant colonized the bladders of mice at significantly lower levels in a transurethral model of infection. Additionally, we observe that mrpJ is widely conserved in a collection of recent clinical isolates, leading us to conclude that our results elucidate an unanticipated role of MrpJ as a global regulator of P. mirabilis virulence. Four biological replicates were analyzed for each set of arrays (P. mirabilis HI4320 wild type vs. ΔmrpJ, and vector pLX3607 vs. mrpJ plasmid pLX3805).
Project description:Proteus mirabilis is a model organism for urease-producing uropathogens. These diverse bacteria cause infection stones in the urinary tract and form crystalline biofilms on indwelling urinary catheters, frequently leading to polymicrobial infection. Recent work has elucidated how P. mirabilis causes all of these disease states. Particularly exciting is the discovery that this bacterium forms large clusters in the bladder lumen that are sites for stone formation. These clusters, and other steps of infection, require two virulence factors in particular: urease and MR/P fimbriae. Highlighting the importance of MR/P fimbriae is the cotranscribed regulator, MrpJ, which globally controls virulence. Overall, P. mirabilis exhibits an extraordinary lifestyle, and further probing will answer exciting basic microbiological and clinically relevant questions.
Project description:The Gram-negative bacterium Proteus mirabilis is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), which are often polymicrobial. Numerous prior studies have uncovered virulence factors for P. mirabilis pathogenicity in a murine model of ascending UTI, but little is known concerning pathogenesis during CAUTI or polymicrobial infection. In this study, we utilized five pools of 10,000 transposon mutants each and transposon insertion-site sequencing (Tn-Seq) to identify the full arsenal of P. mirabilis HI4320 fitness factors for single-species versus polymicrobial CAUTI with Providencia stuartii BE2467. 436 genes in the input pools lacked transposon insertions and were therefore concluded to be essential for P. mirabilis growth in rich medium. 629 genes were identified as P. mirabilis fitness factors during single-species CAUTI. Tn-Seq from coinfection with P. stuartii revealed 217/629 (35%) of the same genes as identified by single-species Tn-Seq, and 1353 additional factors that specifically contribute to colonization during coinfection. Mutants were constructed in eight genes of interest to validate the initial screen: 7/8 (88%) mutants exhibited the expected phenotypes for single-species CAUTI, and 3/3 (100%) validated the expected phenotypes for polymicrobial CAUTI. This approach provided validation of numerous previously described P. mirabilis fitness determinants from an ascending model of UTI, the discovery of novel fitness determinants specifically for CAUTI, and a stringent assessment of how polymicrobial infection influences fitness requirements. For instance, we describe a requirement for branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis by P. mirabilis during coinfection due to high-affinity import of leucine by P. stuartii. Further investigation of genes and pathways that provide a competitive advantage during both single-species and polymicrobial CAUTI will likely provide robust targets for therapeutic intervention to reduce P. mirabilis CAUTI incidence and severity.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis is a Gram-negative bacterium and is well known for its ability to robustly swarm across surfaces in a striking bulls'-eye pattern. Clinically, this organism is most frequently a pathogen of the urinary tract, particularly in patients undergoing long-term catheterization. This review covers P. mirabilis with a focus on urinary tract infections (UTI), including disease models, vaccine development efforts, and clinical perspectives. Flagella-mediated motility, both swimming and swarming, is a central facet of this organism. The regulation of this complex process and its contribution to virulence is discussed, along with the type VI-secretion system-dependent intra-strain competition, which occurs during swarming. P. mirabilis uses a diverse set of virulence factors to access and colonize the host urinary tract, including urease and stone formation, fimbriae and other adhesins, iron and zinc acquisition, proteases and toxins, biofilm formation, and regulation of pathogenesis. While significant advances in this field have been made, challenges remain to combatting complicated UTI and deciphering P. mirabilis pathogenesis.
Project description:Proteus mirabilis alternates between motile and adherent forms. MrpJ, a transcriptional regulator previously reported to repress motility, is encoded at the 3' end of the mrp fimbrial operon in P. mirabilis. Sequencing of the P. mirabilis genome revealed 14 additional paralogues of mrpJ, 10 of which are associated with fimbrial operons. Twelve of these genes, when overexpressed, repressed motility; several distinct patterns of swarming motility were noted. Expression of 10 of the 14 mrpJ paralogues repressed flagellin (FlaA) synthesis. Alignment of the predicted amino acid sequences of MrpJ and its 14 paralogues revealed a conserved consensus motif (SQQQFSRYE) within the helix-turn-helix domain. Site-directed mutagenesis of these residues coupled with linker insertion mutagenesis of MrpJ confirmed the importance of this domain for repression of motility. Gel shift assays demonstrated that MrpJ and another paralogue UcaJ bind directly to the promoter region of the flagellar master regulator flhDC. Thus, P. mirabilis appears to use a related mechanism to inhibit motility during the production of at least 10 of its predicted fimbriae.
Project description:Urinary catheter use is prevalent in health care settings, and polymicrobial colonization by urease-positive organisms, such as Proteus mirabilis and Providencia stuartii, commonly occurs with long-term catheterization. We previously demonstrated that coinfection with P. mirabilis and P. stuartii increased overall urease activity in vitro and disease severity in a model of urinary tract infection (UTI). In this study, we expanded these findings to a murine model of catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI), delineated the contribution of enhanced urease activity to coinfection pathogenesis, and screened for enhanced urease activity with other common CAUTI pathogens. In the UTI model, mice coinfected with the two species exhibited higher urine pH values, urolithiasis, bacteremia, and more pronounced tissue damage and inflammation compared to the findings for mice infected with a single species, despite having a similar bacterial burden within the urinary tract. The presence of P. stuartii, regardless of urease production by this organism, was sufficient to enhance P. mirabilis urease activity and increase disease severity, and enhanced urease activity was the predominant factor driving tissue damage and the dissemination of both organisms to the bloodstream during coinfection. These findings were largely recapitulated in the CAUTI model. Other uropathogens also enhanced P. mirabilis urease activity in vitro, including recent clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa We therefore conclude that the underlying mechanism of enhanced urease activity may represent a widespread target for limiting the detrimental consequences of polymicrobial catheter colonization, particularly by P. mirabilis and other urease-positive bacteria.
Project description:The gram-negative enteric bacterium Proteus mirabilis is a frequent cause of urinary tract infections in individuals with long-term indwelling catheters or with complicated urinary tracts (e.g., due to spinal cord injury or anatomic abnormality). P. mirabilis bacteriuria may lead to acute pyelonephritis, fever, and bacteremia. Most notoriously, this pathogen uses urease to catalyze the formation of kidney and bladder stones or to encrust or obstruct indwelling urinary catheters. Here we report the complete genome sequence of P. mirabilis HI4320, a representative strain cultured in our laboratory from the urine of a nursing home patient with a long-term (> or =30 days) indwelling urinary catheter. The genome is 4.063 Mb long and has a G+C content of 38.88%. There is a single plasmid consisting of 36,289 nucleotides. Annotation of the genome identified 3,685 coding sequences and seven rRNA loci. Analysis of the sequence confirmed the presence of previously identified virulence determinants, as well as a contiguous 54-kb flagellar regulon and 17 types of fimbriae. Genes encoding a potential type III secretion system were identified on a low-G+C-content genomic island containing 24 intact genes that appear to encode all components necessary to assemble a type III secretion system needle complex. In addition, the P. mirabilis HI4320 genome possesses four tandem copies of the zapE metalloprotease gene, genes encoding six putative autotransporters, an extension of the atf fimbrial operon to six genes, including an mrpJ homolog, and genes encoding at least five iron uptake mechanisms, two potential type IV secretion systems, and 16 two-component regulators.