Members of the Sinorhizobium meliloti ChvI regulon identified by a DNA binding screen
1 Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
2 Present address: Prevtec microbia inc., Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada
BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:132 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-132Published: 13 June 2013
The Sinorhizobium meliloti ExoS/ChvI two component regulatory system is required for N2-fixing symbiosis and exopolysaccharide synthesis. Orthologous systems are present in other Alphaproteobacteria, and in many instances have been shown to be necessary for normal interactions with corresponding eukaryotic hosts. Only a few transcriptional regulation targets have been determined, and as a result there is limited understanding of the mechanisms that are controlled by the system.
In an attempt to better define the members of the regulon, we have applied a simple in vitro electrophoretic screen for DNA fragments that are bound by the ChvI response regulator protein. Several putative transcriptional targets were identified and three were further examined by reporter gene fusion experiments for transcriptional regulation. Two were confirmed to be repressed by ChvI, while one was activated by ChvI.
Our results suggest a role for ChvI as both a direct activator and repressor of transcription. The identities and functions of many of these genes suggest explanations for some aspects of the pleiotropic phenotype of exoS and chvI mutants. This work paves the way for in depth characterization of the ExoS/ChvI regulon and its potential role in directing bacteria-host relationships.