The serine protease autotransporters of the Enterobacteriaceae (SPATEs) are a large family of virulence factors commonly found in enteric bacteria. These secreted virulence factors have diverse functions during bacterial infection, including adhesion, aggregation and cell toxicity. One such SPATE, the Pic mucinase (protein involved in colonisation) cleaves mucin, allowing enteric bacterial cells to utilise mucin as a carbon source and to penetrate the gut mucus lining, thereby increasing mucosal colonisation. The pic gene is widely distributed within the Enterobacteriaceae, being found in human pathogens, such as enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC), uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) and Shigella flexneri 2a. As the pic promoter regions from EAEC strain 042 and UPEC strain CFT073 differ, we have investigated the regulation of each promoter. Here, using in vivo and in vitro techniques, we show that both promoters are activated by the global transcription factor, CRP (cyclic AMP receptor protein), but the architectures of the EAEC and the UPEC pic promoter differ. Expression from both pic promoters is repressed by the nucleoid-associated factor, Fis, and maximal promoter activity occurs when cells are grown in minimal medium. As CRP activates transcription in conditions of nutrient depletion, whilst Fis levels are maximal in nutrient-rich environments, the regulation of the EAEC and UPEC pic promoters is consistent with Pic's nutritional role in scavenging mucin as a suitable carbon source during colonisation and infection.
|Number of pages
|Early online date
|16 Aug 2022
|Published - Dec 2022
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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