Enteric pathogens, such as Salmonella, have evolved to thrive in the inflamed gut. Genes located within the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1) mediate the invasion of cells from the intestinal epithelium and the induction of an intestinal inflammatory response. Alternative electron acceptors become available in the inflamed gut and are utilized by Salmonella for luminal replication through the metabolism of propanediol and ethanolamine, using the enzymes encoded by the pdu and eut genes. The RNA-binding protein CsrA inhibits the expression of HilD, which is the central transcriptional regulator of the SPI-1 genes. Previous studies suggest that CsrA also regulates the expression of the pdu and eut genes, but the mechanism for this regulation is unknown. In this work, we show that CsrA positively regulates the pdu genes by binding to the pocR and pduA transcripts as well as the eut genes by binding to the eutS transcript. Furthermore, our results show that the SirA-CsrB/CsrC-CsrA regulatory cascade controls the expression of the pdu and eut genes mediated by PocR or EutR, which are the positive AraC-like transcriptional regulators for the pdu and eut genes, respectively. By oppositely regulating the expression of genes for invasion and for luminal replication, the SirA-CsrB/CsrC-CsrA regulatory cascade could be involved in the generation of two Salmonella populations that cooperate for intestinal colonization and transmission. Our study provides new insight into the regulatory mechanisms that govern Salmonella virulence. IMPORTANCE The regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of virulence genes are essential for bacteria to infect hosts. Salmonella has developed diverse regulatory mechanisms to colonize the host gut. For instance, the SirA-CsrB/CsrC-CsrA regulatory cascade controls the expression of the SPI-1 genes, which are required for this bacterium to invade intestinal epithelium cells and for the induction of an intestinal inflammatory response. In this study, we determine the mechanisms by which the SirACsrB/ CsrC-CsrA regulatory cascade controls the expression of the pdu and eut genes, which are necessary for the replication of Salmonella in the intestinal lumen. Thus, our data, together with the results of previous reports, indicate that the SirA-CsrB/CsrC-CsrA regulatory cascade has an important role in the intestinal colonization by Salmonella.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Cell Biology
- Infectious Diseases