Schilling J, Wagner K, Seekircher S, Greune L, Humberg V, Schmidt MA, Heusipp G
Transcriptional activation of the tad type IVb pilus operon by PypB in Yersinia enterocolitica.
J Bacteriol. 2010 Jul;192(14):3809-21
Authors: Schilling J, Wagner K, Seekircher S, Greune L, Humberg V, Schmidt MA, Heusipp G
Type IV pili are virulence factors in various bacteria and mediate, among other functions, the colonization of diverse surfaces. Various subclasses of type IV pili have been identified, but information on pilus expression, biogenesis, and the associated phenotypes is sparse for the genus Yersinia. We recently described the identification of PypB as a transcriptional regulator in Yersinia enterocolitica. Here we show that the pypB gene is associated with the tad locus, a genomic island that is widespread among bacterial and archaeal species. The genetic linkage of pypB with the tad locus is conserved throughout the yersiniae but is not found among other bacteria carrying the tad locus. We show that the genes of the tad locus form an operon in Y. enterocolitica that is controlled by PypB and that pypB is part of this operon. The tad genes encode functions necessary for the biogenesis of the Flp subfamily of type IVb pili initially described for Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans to mediate a tight-adherence phenotype. In Y. enterocolitica, the Flp pilin protein shows some peculiarities in its amino acid sequence that imply similarities as well as differences compared to typical motifs found in the Flp subtype of type IVb pili. Flp is expressed and processed after PypB overproduction, resulting in microcolony formation but not in increased adherence to biotic or abiotic surfaces. Our data describe the transcriptional regulation of the tad type IVb pilus operon by PypB in Y. enterocolitica but fail to show most previously described phenotypes associated with this type of pilus in other bacteria.
PMID: 20472801 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]