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Bacterial-Chromatin Structural Proteins Regulate the Bimodal Expression of the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement (LEE) Pathogenicity Island in Enteropathogenic .

TitleBacterial-Chromatin Structural Proteins Regulate the Bimodal Expression of the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement (LEE) Pathogenicity Island in Enteropathogenic .
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLeh, H, Khodr, A, Bouger, M-C, Sclavi, B, Rimsky, S, Bury-Moné, S
JournalMBio
Volume8
Issue4
Date Published2017 08 08
ISSN2150-7511
KeywordsBacterial Proteins, Chromatin, Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Epigenesis, Genetic, Escherichia coli Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Genomic Islands, Operon, Phosphoproteins, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Transcription Factors, Virulence
Abstract

In enteropathogenic (EPEC), the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) encodes a type 3 secretion system (T3SS) essential for pathogenesis. This pathogenicity island comprises five major operons ( to ), with the operon encoding T3SS effectors involved in the intimate adherence of bacteria to enterocytes. The first operon, , encodes Ler (LEE-encoded regulator), an H-NS (nucleoid structuring protein) paralog that alleviates the LEE H-NS silencing. We observed that the and promoters present a bimodal expression pattern, depending on environmental stimuli. One key regulator of bimodal and expression is expression, which fluctuates in response to different growth conditions. Under conditions considered to be equivalent to nonoptimal conditions for virulence, the opposing regulatory effects of H-NS and Ler can lead to the emergence of two bacterial subpopulations. H-NS and Ler share nucleation binding sites in the promoter region, but H-NS binding results in local DNA structural modifications distinct from those generated through Ler binding, at least Thus, we show how two nucleoid-binding proteins can contribute to the epigenetic regulation of bacterial virulence and lead to opposing bacterial fates. This finding implicates for the first time bacterial-chromatin structural proteins in the bimodal regulation of gene expression. Gene expression stochasticity is an emerging phenomenon in microbiology. In certain contexts, gene expression stochasticity can shape bacterial epigenetic regulation. In enteropathogenic (EPEC), the interplay between H-NS (a nucleoid structuring protein) and Ler (an H-NS paralog) is required for bimodal and expression, leading to the emergence of two bacterial subpopulations (with low and high states of expression). The two proteins share mutual nucleation binding sites in the promoter region. , the binding of H-NS to the promoter results in local structural modifications of DNA distinct from those generated through Ler binding. Furthermore, expression is a key parameter modulating the variability of the proportions of bacterial subpopulations. Accordingly, modulating the production of Ler into a nonpathogenic strain reproduces the bimodal expression of Finally, this study illustrates how two nucleoid-binding proteins can reshape the epigenetic regulation of bacterial virulence.

DOI10.1128/mBio.00773-17
Alternate JournalMBio
PubMed ID28790204
PubMed Central IDPMC5550750