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The Salmonella Membrane Protein IgaA Modulates the Activity of the RcsC-YojN-RcsB and PhoP-PhoQ Regulons†

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Molecular Biology Of Pathogens
  • Biology


The Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium membrane protein IgaA and the PhoP-PhoQ two-component system are used by this pathogen to attenuate the intracellular growth rate within fibroblasts. IgaA has also recently been shown to contribute to virulence by exerting tight repression of the RcsC-YojN-RcsB phosphorelay in host tissues. Here we show that loss of repression of the RcsC-YojN-RcsB system, linked to an R188H mutation in the IgaA protein (igaA1 allele), is accompanied by altered expression of PhoP-PhoQ-activated (pag) genes. The changes in gene expression were different depending on the specific pag gene analyzed. Thus, transcription of ugd, which is required for lipopolysaccharide modification and colanic acid capsule synthesis, was enhanced in the igaA1 mutant. RcsB and its coregulator RcsA promoted this alteration in a PhoP-PmrA-independent manner. Unlike ugd, activation of the RcsC-YojN-RcsB phosphorelay negatively affected the expression of all other pag genes tested. In this case, RcsB alone was responsible for this effect. We also found that PhoP, but not PmrA, negatively modulates the expression of gmm, a gene required for colanic acid synthesis that is regulated positively by RcsC-YojN-RcsB. Finally, it was observed that the fine regulation of pag genes exerted by RcsB requires the RpoS protein and that an active RcsB, but not RcsA, diminishes expression of the phoP gene. These data support the hypothesis that in Salmonella there is an intimate regulatory circuit between the PhoP-PhoQ and RcsC-YojN-RcsB phosphorelays, which is revealed only when the RcsC-YojN-RcsB signaling route is derepressed. Consistent with the phenotypes observed in fibroblast cells, IgaA is predicted to favor expression of the entire PhoP-PhoQ regulon based on its repression of the RcsC-YojN-RcsB phosphorelay.

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