Dataset Information


Conditional Essentiality of vicK (walKSpn) Histidine Kinase for Anaerobic Growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae D39

ABSTRACT: The VicRK two-component system of S. pneumoniae (Pneumococcus) is a member of the essential WalRK (YycFG) family found in low G+C gram positive bacteria. Previously, we showed that phosphorylated VicR response regulator (RR) is essential, because of its strong positive regulation of the pcsB gene, which mediates cell division. Little is known about the signals sensed by the VicK or WalK histidine kinases (HK), and it is unknown why pneumococcal VicK is not essential under aerobic growth conditions, whereas other the WalK HKs in other species are essential. VicK contains the only PAS domain in the Pneumococcal genome. PAS domains in other HKs have been shown to sense oxygen or other metabolic signals, such as NAD+, and it has been speculated that VicK may be involved in sensing oxygen in S. pneumoniae. Contrary to previous reports, we found that delta vicK mutants do not grow anaerobically, implying a conditional requirement for the VicK HK. Point mutations and domain deletions in vicK indicated that the autokinase activity of VicK is required for anaerobic growth, whereas the PAS domain and VicK phosphatase activity are not required. These combined results are consistent with the idea that maintenance of VicR~P level is required for anaerobic growth. The inability of delta vicK mutants to grow anaerobically was suppressed by spontaneous high- and low-growth yield mutants. Spontaneous suppressor mutants were still VicR dependent and did not result in bypass of the VicR signaling pathway. The genome of a high yield suppressor was sequenced using the Illumina method, which identified three mutations in the suppressor, two of which are predicted to play roles in phosphate transport (pnpR RR and phosphate ABC transporter). Manual sequencing of regions in additional independently isolated ΔvicK suppressor mutants identified similar mutations, and deletion of the pnpR RR gene in the ΔvicK background fully suppressed the anaerobic growth requirement for the VicK HK. Ongoing experiments will determine whether this suppression requires the PnpS HK or is mediated through changes in signaling. Finally, Western blotting showed that the level of VicK during anaerobic growth is about 3-fold less than that of aerobic cultures. This result suggests that the level of VicRKX operon expression is lower anaerobically, which may prevent crosstalk that occurs during aerobic culture to phosphorylate VicR. Overall design: Three independent hybridizations using independent RNA preparations from the strain IU1781 (reference strain) and strain IU1896 (a strain with vicK deletion) were performed. Dye swap was performed with the reference strain labeled with Cy3 in two hybridizations and Cy5 in one hybridization.

INSTRUMENT(S): MWG Streptococcus pneumoniae Array

ORGANISM(S): Streptococcus pneumoniae  

SUBMITTER: Ho-Ching Tiffany Tsui  




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