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Regulation of bacterial surface attachment by a network of sensory transduction proteins.


ABSTRACT: Bacteria are often attached to surfaces in natural ecosystems. A surface-associated lifestyle can have advantages, but shifts in the physiochemical state of the environment may result in conditions in which attachment has a negative fitness impact. Therefore, bacteria employ numerous mechanisms to control the transition from an unattached to a sessile state. The Caulobacter crescentus protein HfiA is a potent developmental inhibitor of the secreted polysaccharide adhesin known as the holdfast, which enables permanent attachment to surfaces. Multiple environmental cues influence expression of hfiA, but mechanisms of hfiA regulation remain largely undefined. Through a forward genetic selection, we have discovered a multi-gene network encoding a suite of two-component system (TCS) proteins and transcription factors that coordinately control hfiA transcription, holdfast development and surface adhesion. The hybrid HWE-family histidine kinase, SkaH, is central among these regulators and forms heteromeric complexes with the kinases, LovK and SpdS. The response regulator SpdR indirectly inhibits hfiA expression by activating two XRE-family transcription factors that directly bind the hfiA promoter to repress its transcription. This study provides evidence for a model in which a consortium of environmental sensors and transcriptional regulators integrate environmental cues at the hfiA promoter to control the attachment decision.

SUBMITTER: Reyes Ruiz LM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6530869 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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