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J Bacteriol 2016 Aug 25;198(18):2419-30

The ChrSA and HrrSA two-component systems are required for transcriptional regulation of the hemA promoter in Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

Burgos JM, Schmitt MP


Corynebacterium diphtheriae utilizes heme and hemoglobin (Hb) as iron sources for growth in low iron environments. In C. diphtheriae, the two-component signal transduction systems ChrSA and HrrSA are responsive to Hb levels, and regulate the transcription of promoters for hmuO, hrtAB and hemA ChrSA and HrrSA activate transcription at the hmuO promoter and repress transcription at hemA in a Hb-dependent manner. HrrSA is the predominant repressor at hemA and its activity results in transcriptional repression in the presence and absence of Hb, whereas repression of hemA by ChrSA is primarily responsive to Hb. ChrA and HrrA bind to the hemA promoter region at virtually identical sequences. ChrA binding was enhanced by phosphorylation, while binding to DNA by HrrA was independent of its phosphorylation state. ChrA and HrrA are phosphorylated in vitro by the sensor kinase ChrS, whereas no kinase activity was observed with HrrS in vitro Phosphorylated ChrA was not observed in vivo, even in the presence of Hb, which is likely due to the instability of the phosphate moiety on ChrA. However, phosphorylation of HrrA was observed in vivo regardless of the presence of the Hb inducer, and genetic analysis indicates that ChrS is responsible for most of the phosphorylation of HrrA in vivo Phosphorylation studies strongly suggest that HrrS primarily functions as a phosphatase, and has only minimal kinase activity. These findings collectively show a complex mechanism of regulation at the hemA promoter, where both two-component systems act in concert to optimize expression of heme biosynthetic enzymes. IMPORTANCE: Understanding the mechanism by which two-component signal transduction systems function to respond to environmental stimuli is critical to the study of bacterial pathogenesis. The current study expands on the previous analyses of the ChrSA and HrrSA TCSs in the human pathogen C. diphtheriae The findings here underscore the complex interactions between the ChrSA and HrrSA systems in the regulation of the hemA promoter, and demonstrate how the two systems complement one another to refine and control transcription in the presence and absence of Hb.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #27381918 DOI: 10.1128/JB.00339-16
PubMed Central ID: #PMC4999929
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2016-06-03 Entry Last Modified: 2017-06-04