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PLoS One 2019 Aug 27;14(8):e0221711

Identification of zinc and Zur-regulated genes in Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

Peng ED, Schmitt MP


Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen and the causative agent of diphtheria, a severe disease of the upper respiratory tract of humans. Factors required for C. diphtheriae to survive in the human host are not well defined, but likely include the acquisition of essential metals such as zinc. In C. diphtheriae, zinc-responsive global gene regulation is controlled by the Zinc Uptake Regulator (Zur), a member of the Fur-family of transcriptional regulators. In this study, we use transcriptomics to identify zinc-regulated genes in C. diphtheriae by comparing gene expression of a wild-type strain grown without and with zinc supplementation. Zur-regulated genes were identified by comparing wild-type gene expression with that of an isogenic zur mutant. We observed zinc repression of several putative surface proteins, the heme efflux system hrtBA, various ABC transporters, and the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase/polyketide synthase cluster sidAB. Furthermore, increased gene expression in response to zinc was observed for the alcohol dehydrogenase, adhA. Zinc and Zur regulation were confirmed for several genes by complementing the zur deletion and subsequent RT-qPCR analysis. We used MEME to predict Zur binding sites within the promoter regions of zinc- and Zur-regulated genes, and verified Zur binding by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Additionally, we characterized cztA (dip1101), which encodes a putative cobalt/zinc/cadmium efflux family protein. Deletion of cztA results in increased sensitivity to zinc, but not to cobalt or cadmium. This study advances our knowledge of changes to Zur-dependent global gene expression in response to zinc in C. diphtheriae. The identification of zinc-regulated ABC transporters herein will facilitate future studies to characterize zinc transport in C. diphtheriae.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #31454392 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221711
PubMed Central ID: #PMC6711530
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2019-08-25 Entry Last Modified: 2019-10-06