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Open Access Research article

A connecter-like factor, CacA, links RssB/RpoS and the CpxR/CpxA two-component system in Salmonella

Akinori Kato*, Hironori Hayashi, Wataru Nomura, Haruka Emori, Kei Hagihara and Ryutaro Utsumi

Author Affiliations

Department of Advanced Bioscience, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kinki University, Nakamachi, Nara 631–8505, 3327-204, Japan

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:224  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-224

Published: 2 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Bacteria integrate numerous environmental stimuli when generating cellular responses. Increasing numbers of examples describe how one two-component system (TCS) responds to signals detected by the sensor of another TCS. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain poorly defined.

Results

Here, we report a connector-like factor that affects the activity of the CpxR/CpxA two-component system in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We isolated a clone that induced the expression of a cpxP-lac gene fusion from a high-copy-number plasmid pool of random Salmonella genomic fragments. A 63-amino acid protein, CacA, was responsible for the CpxA/CpxR-dependent activation of the cpxP gene. The CpxR-activated genes cpxP and spy exhibited approximately 30% and 50% reductions in transcription, respectively, in a clean cacA deletion mutant strain in comparison to wild-type. From 33 response regulator (RR) deletion mutants, we identified that the RssB regulator represses cacA transcription. Substitution mutations in a conserved -10 region harboring the RNA polymerase recognition sequence, which is well conserved with a known RpoS -10 region consensus sequence, rendered the cacA promoter RpoS-independent. The CacA-mediated induction of cpxP transcription was affected in a trxA deletion mutant, which encodes thioredoxin 1, suggesting a role for cysteine thiol-disulfide exchange(s) in CacA-dependent Cpx activation.

Conclusions

We identified CacA as an activator of the CpxR/CpxA system in the plasmid clone. We propose that CacA may integrate the regulatory status of RssB/RpoS into the CpxR/CpxA system. Future investigations are necessary to thoroughly elucidate how CacA activates the CpxR/CpxA system.

Keywords:
Two-component system; Connector; Network; RssB; RpoS; CacA; CpxR/CpxA