Activation of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa lasI gene by LasR and the Pseudomonas autoinducer PAI: an autoinduction regulatory hierarchy.
In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the transcriptional activator LasR and the Pseudomonas autoinducer PAI, are necessary for efficient transcriptional activation of the lasB gene, encoding elastase (L. Passador, J. M. Cook, M.J. Gambello, L. Rust, and B. H. Iglewski, Science 260:1127-1130, 1993). The transcriptional start points of lasI in Escherichia coli and P. aeruginosa were determined by S1 nuclease mapping. In the presence of both LasR and PAI, the start site, T1, is located at position -25 relative to the ATG translational start codon. A minor transcriptional start, T2, is found at position -13 when lasI is transcribed in the absence of either LasR or PAI in P. aeruginosa and E. coli, respectively. To begin to closely examine the regulation of lasI, whose product is involved in the synthesis of PAI, a lasI-lacZ fusion on a lambda phage was constructed to form monolysogens of E. coli MG4. Lysogens supplied only with either lasI or lasR via multicopy plasmids demonstrated no significant increase in beta-galactosidase expression compared with control levels. Lysogens in which both lasR and lasI were supplied in multicopy exhibited a 62-fold increase in expression, and a lysogen in which lasR was supplied in trans and which was grown in the presence of exogenous PAI exhibited a 60-fold increase. Thus, LasR and PAI are necessary for the full expression of lasI in E. coli. The interchangeability of the P. aeruginosa and Vibrio fischeri homologs LasR and LuxR and their respective autoinducers, PAI and VAI, as activators of lasI-lacZ was examined. Only the combination of LasR and PAI significantly increased the expression of lasI. The comparison of lasI-lacZ and lasB-lacZ expression lysogens grown in the presence of lasR and PAI revealed that half-maximal expression of lasI required 0.1 nM PAI, in contrast to the 1.0 nM PAI necessary for lasB half-maximal expression. These results suggest an autoinduction regulatory hierarchy in which LasR and low PAI concentrations primarily activate lasI expression in a regulatory loop. With the accumulation of PAI, secondary activation of virulence product genes such as lasB occurs.
Seed, PC; Passador, L; Iglewski, BH
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