Activation of CpxRA in Haemophilus ducreyi primarily inhibits the expression of Its targets, including major virulence determinants

Dharanesh Gangaiah, Xinjun Zhang, Kate R. Fortney, Beth Baker, Yunlong Liu, Robert S. Munson, Stanley M. Spinola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Haemophilus ducreyi causes chancroid, a genital ulcer disease that facilitates the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. In humans, H. ducreyi is surrounded by phagocytes and must adapt to a hostile environment to survive. To sense and respond to environmental cues, bacteria frequently use two-component signal transduction (2CST) systems. The only obvious 2CST system in H. ducreyi is CpxRA; CpxR is a response regulator, and CpxA is a sensor kinase. Previous studies by Hansen and coworkers showed that CpxR directly represses the expression of dsrA, the lspB-lspA2 operon, and the flp operon, which are required for virulence in humans. They further showed that CpxA functions predominantly as a phosphatase in vitro to maintain the expression of virulence determinants. Since a cpxA mutant is avirulent while a cpxR mutant is fully virulent in humans, CpxA also likely functions predominantly as a phosphatase in vivo. To better understand the role of H. ducreyi CpxRA in controlling virulence determinants, here we defined genes potentially regulated by CpxRA by using RNA-Seq. Activation of CpxR by deletion of cpxA repressed nearly 70% of its targets, including seven established virulence determinants. Inactivation of CpxR by deletion of cpxR differentially regulated few genes and increased the expression of one virulence determinant. We identified a CpxR binding motif that was enriched in downregulated but not upregulated targets. These data reinforce the hypothesis that CpxA phosphatase activity plays a critical role in controlling H. ducreyi virulence in vivo. Characterization of the downregulated genes may offer new insights into pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3486-3502
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume195
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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