The phosphoenopyruvate:carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS) enables Vibrio cholerae - and other bacteria - to recognize and transport exogenous carbon sources for energy, including the six-carbon sugar alcohol, mannitol. The mannitol-specific PTS transporter is encoded by mtlA and its expression is expected to be regulated by the putative repressor encoded by the mtlR gene. Here, we show that mtlR overexpression inhibits V. cholerae growth in medium supplied with mannitol as the sole carbon source and represses MtlA-mediated biofilm formation. We demonstrate that when V. cholerae is grown in non-mannitol medium, knocking out mtlR leads to both increased MtlA protein and mtlA mRNA levels, with these increases being especially pronounced in non-glucose sugars. We propose that in non-mannitol, non-glucose growth conditions, MtlR is a major regulator of mtlA transcription. Surprisingly, with regard to mtlR expression, transcript and protein levels are highest in mannitol medium, conditions where mtlA expression should not be repressed. We further show that MtlR levels increase during growth of the bacteria and linger in cells switched from mannitol to non-mannitol medium. Our data suggests an expression paradigm for mtlA where MtlR acts as a transcriptional repressor responsible for calibrating MtlA levels during environmental transitions.
Byer, T., Wang, J., Zhang, M. G., Vather, N., Blachman, A., Visser, B., & Liu, J. M. (2017). MtlR negatively regulates mannitol utilization by vibrio cholerae. Microbiology (United Kingdom), 163(12), 1902–1911. https://doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.000559