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BvgAS is sufficient for activation of the Bordetella pertussis ptx locus in Escherichia coli

BvgAS is sufficient for activation of the Bordetella pertussis ptx locus in Escherichia coli

Journal of Bacteriology 177(22): 6477-6485

BvgA and BvgS, which regulate virulence gene expression in Bordetella pertussis, are members of the two-component signal transduction family. The effects of growth conditions on the ability of BvgAS to activate transcription of fhaB (encoding filamentous hemagglutinin) and ptxA (encoding the SI subunit of pertussis toxin) were assessed in Escherichia coli by using chromosomal fhaB-lacZYA and ptxA-lacZYA fusions. Although it had previously been reported that a ptxA-lacZYA transcriptional fusion A as not activated by bvgAS in E. coli (J. F. Miller, C. R. Roy, and S. Falkow, J. Bacteriol. 171:6345-6348, 1989). we now present evidence that ptxA is activated by bvgAS in E. coli in a manner that is highly dependent on the growth conditions. Higher levels of beta-galactosidase were produced by ptxA-lacZYA in the presence of bvgAS during growth in Stainer-Scholte medium or M9 minimal salts medium with glucose than in Luria-Bertani medium. In contrast, the level of fhaB-lacZYA expression was high during growth in all media. Addition of modulating stimuli which inhibit BvgAS function eliminated expression of ptxA-lacZYA. Levels of beta-galactosidase expressed from the ptx-lacZYA fusion correlated with growth rate and with the final optical density at 600 nm, suggesting that the lower growth rate in M9-glucose and Stainer-Scholte media was responsible for greater accumulation of beta-galactosidase than was seen in Luria-Bertani medium. Overproduction of BvgA was not sufficient for activation of ptxA expression but was sufficient for fhaB expression. However, overproduction of a constitutive BvgA allele (bvgA-C1) or overproduction of BvgA in the presence of BvgS was able to activate ptxA. Our results demonstrate Bvg-dependent activation of a ptxA-lacZYA fusion in E. coli and indicate that bvg is the only Bordetella locus required for ptxA activation in this heterologous system.

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Accession: 008248671

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PMID: 7592423

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