Characterization of the promoter, MxiE box and 5′ UTR of genes controlled by the activity of the type iii secretion apparatus in Shigella flexneri

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Abstract

Activation of the type III secretion apparatus (T3SA) of Shigella flexneri, upon contact of the bacteria with host cells, and its deregulation, as in ipaB mutants, specifically increases transcription of a set of effector-encoding genes controlled by MxiE, an activator of the AraC family, and IpgC, the chaperone of the IpaB and IpaC translocators. Thirteen genes carried by the virulence plasmid (ospB, ospC1, ospD2, ospD3, ospE1, ospE2, ospF, ospG, virA, ipaH1.4, ipaH4.5, ipaH7.8 and ipaH9.8) and five genes carried by the chromosome (ipaHa-e) are regulated by the T3SA activity. A conserved 17-bp MxiE box is present 5' of most of these genes. To characterize the promoter activity of these MxiE box-containing regions, similar ∼67-bp DNA fragments encompassing the MxiE box of 14 MxiE-regulated genes were cloned 5' of lacZ in a promoter probe plasmid; β-galactosidase activity detected in wild-type and ipaB strains harboring these plasmids indicated that most MxiE box-carrying regions contain a promoter regulated by the T3SA activity and that the relative strengths of these promoters cover an eight-fold range. The various MxiE boxes exhibiting up to three differences as compared to the MxiE box consensus sequence were introduced into the ipaH9.8 promoter without affecting its activity, suggesting that they are equally efficient in promoter activation. In contrast, all nucleotides conserved among MxiE boxes were found to be involved in MxiE-dependent promoter activity. In addition, we present evidence that the 5' UTRs of four MxiE-regulated genes enhance expression of the downstream gene, presumably by preventing degradation of the mRNA, and the 5' UTRs of two other genes carry an ancillary promoter.

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Bongrand, C., Sansonetti, P. J., & Parsot, C. (2012). Characterization of the promoter, MxiE box and 5′ UTR of genes controlled by the activity of the type iii secretion apparatus in Shigella flexneri. PLoS ONE, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032862

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