Shifts from glucose to certain secondary carbon-sources result in activation of the extracytoplasmic function sigma factor sigma(E) in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium

WJ Kenyon, SM Thomas, E Johnson, Mark Pallen, MP Spector

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Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) elicits the starvation-stress response (SSR) due to starvation for an essential nutrient, e.g. a carbon/energy source (C-source). As part of the SSR, the alternative sigma factor sigma(E) is activated and induced. The authors suspect that this activation is, in part, triggered by changes in the S. Typhimurium cell envelope occurring during the adaptation from growth to carbon/energy starvation (C-starvation), and resulting in an increased need for sigma(E)-regulated factors involved in the proper folding and assembly of newly synthesized proteins destined for this extracytoplasmic compartment. This led to the hypothesis that a sigma(E) activation signal might arise during C-source shifts that cause the induction of proteins localized to the extracytoplasmic compartment, i.e. the outer membrane or periplasm, of the cell. To test this hypothesis, cultures were grown in minimal medium containing enough glucose to reach mid-exponential-phase, plus a non-limiting amount of a secondary 'less-preferred' but utilizable carbon/energy source. The sigma(E) activity was then monitored using plasmids carrying rpoEP1- and rpoEP2-lacZ transcriptional fusions, which exhibit sigma(E)-independent and -dependent /acZ expression, respectively. The secondary C-sources maltose, succinate and citrate, which have extracytoplasmic components involved in their utilization (e.g. LamB), resulted in a discernible diauxic lag period and a sustained increase in a E activity. Growth transition from glucose to other utilizable phosphotransferase (PTS) and non-PTS C-sources, such as trehalose, mannose, mannitol, fructose, glycerol, D-galactose or L-arabinose, did not cause a discernible diauxic lag period or a sustained increase in (T E activity. Interestingly, a shift from glucose to melibiose, which does not use an extracytoplasmic-localized protein for uptake, did cause an observable diauxic lag period but did not result in a sustained increase in a E activity. In addition, overexpression of LamB from an arabinose-inducible promoter leads to a significant increase in a E activity in the absence of a glucose to maltose shift or C-starvation. Furthermore, a Delta lamB::Omega-Km(r) mutant, lacking the LamB maltoporin, exhibited an approximately twofold reduction in the sustained sigma(E) activity observed during a glucose to maltose shift, again supporting the hypothesis. Interestingly, the LamB protein lacks the typical Y-X-F terminal tripeptide of the OmpC-like peptides that activate DegS protease activity leading to sigma(E) activation. It does, however, possess a terminal pentapeptide (Q-M-E-I-W-W) that may function as a ligand for a putative class II PDZ-binding site. The authors therefore propose that the sigma(E) regulon of S. Typhimurium not only is induced in response to deleterious environmental conditions, but also plays a role in the adaptation of cells to new growth conditions that necessitate changes in the extracytoplasmic compartment of the cell, which may involve alternative signal recognition and activation pathways that are independent of DegS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2373-2383
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


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