Integration of multiple stimuli-sensing systems to regulate HrpS and type III secretion system in Erwinia amylovora

Jae Hoon Lee, Youfu Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bacterial enhancer binding protein (bEBP) HrpS is essential for Erwinia amylovora virulence by activating the type III secretion system (T3SS). However, how the hrpS gene is regulated remains poorly understood in E. amylovora. In this study, 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends and promoter deletion analyses showed that the hrpS gene contains two promoters driven by HrpX/HrpY and the Rcs phosphorelay system, respectively. Electrophoretic mobility shift and gene expression assays demonstrated that integration host factor IHF positively regulates hrpS expression through directly binding the hrpX promoter and positively regulating hrpX/hrpY expression. Moreover, hrpX expression was down-regulated in the relA/spoT ((p)ppGpp-deficient) mutant and the dksA mutant, but up-regulated when the wild-type strain was treated with serine hydroxamate, which induced (p)ppGpp-mediated stringent response. Furthermore, the csrA mutant showed significantly reduced transcripts of major hrpS activators, including the hrpX/hrpY, rcsA and rcsB genes, indicating that CsrA is required for full hrpS expression. On the other hand, the csrB mutant exhibited up-regulation of the rcsA and rcsB genes, and hrpS expression was largely diminished in the csrB/rcsB mutant, indicating that the Rcs system is mainly responsible for the increased hrpS expression in the csrB mutant. These findings suggest that E. amylovora recruits multiple stimuli-sensing systems, including HrpX/HrpY, the Rcs phosphorelay system and the Gac–Csr system, to regulate hrpS and T3SS gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Gene regulatory network
  • T3SS
  • Two-component system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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