This study focused on the connection between the EnvZ/OmpR two-component regulatory system and the iron homeostasis system in Escherichia coli, specifically how a mutant form of EnvZ11/OmpR is able to reduce the expression of fepA::lacZ, a reporter gene fusion in E. coli. FepA is one of several outer membrane siderophore receptors that allow extracellular siderophores bound to iron to enter the cells to power various biological processes. Previous studies have shown that in E. coli cells that expressed a mutant allele of envZ, called envZ11, which led to altered expression of various iron genes including down regulation of fepA::lacZ. The wild type EnvZ/OmpR system is not considered to regulate iron genes, but because these envz11 strains had downregulated fepA::lacZ, this study was undertaken to understand the connection and mechanisms of this downregulation. A large number of Lac+ revertants were obtained from the B32-2483 strain (envz11 and fepA::lacZ) and 7 Lac+ revertants that had reversion mutations not directly correcting the envZ11 allele were further characterized. With P1 phage transduction genetic mapping that involved moving a kanamycin resistance marker linked to fepA::lacZ, two Lac+ revertants were found to have their reversion mutations in the fepA promoter region, while the other five revertants had their mutations mapping outside the fepA region. These two revertants underwent DNA sequencing and found to carry two different single base pair mutations in two different locations of the fepA promoter region. Each one is in the Fur repressor binding region, but one also may have affected the Shine-Dalgarno region involved in translation initiation. All 7 reveratants underwent beta-galactosidase assays to measure fepA::lacZ expression. The two revertants that had mutations in the fepA promoter region had significantly increased fepA activity, with the revertant with the Shine-Dalgarno mutation having the most elevated fepA expression. The other 5 revertants that did not map in the fepA region had fepA expression elevated to the same level as that found in the wild type EnvZ/OmpR background. The data suggest that the negative effect of envZ11 can be overcome by multiple mechanisms, including directly correcting the envZ11 allele or changing the fepA promoter region.
- How the EnvZ/OmpR Two-component Regulatory System Affects fepA Gene Expression in Escherichia coli
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