Dual expression of the Salmonella effector SrfJ in mammalian cells and plants

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Abstract

SrfJ is an effector of the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2-encoded type III secretion system. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium expresses srfJ under two disparate sets of conditions: media with low Mg2+ and low pH, imitating intravacuolar conditions, and media with myo-inositol (MI), a carbohydrate that can be used by Salmonella as sole carbon source. We investigated the molecular basis for this dual regulation. Here, we provide evidence for the existence of two distinct promoters that control the expression of srfJ. A proximal promoter, PsrfJ, responds to intravacuolar signals and is positively regulated by SsrB and PhoP and negatively regulated by RcsB. A second distant promoter, PiolE, is negatively regulated by the MI island repressor IolR. We also explored the in vivo activity of these promoters in different hosts. Interestingly, our results indicate that the proximal promoter is specifically active inside mammalian cells whereas the distant one is expressed upon Salmonella colonization of plants. Importantly, we also found that inappropriate expression of srfJ leads to reduced proliferation inside macrophages whereas lack of srfJ expression increases survival and decreases activation of defense responses in plants. These observations suggest that SrfJ is a relevant factor in the interplay between Salmonella and hosts of different kingdoms.

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Aguilera-Herce, J., Zarkani, A. A., Schikora, A., & Ramos-Morales, F. (2017). Dual expression of the Salmonella effector SrfJ in mammalian cells and plants. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(DEC). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.02410

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