The Small RNA MicC Downregulates hilD Translation to Control the Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1 Type III Secretion System in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium

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Abstract

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium invades the intestinal epithelium and induces inflammatory diarrhea using the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI1) type III secretion system (T3SS). Expression of the SPI1 T3SS is controlled by three AraC-like regulators, HilD, HilC, and RtsA, which form a feed-forward regulatory loop that leads to activation of hilA, encoding the main transcriptional regulator of the T3SS structural genes. This complex system is affected by numerous regulatory proteins and environmental signals, many of which act at the level of hilD mRNA translation or HilD protein function. Here, we show that the sRNA MicC blocks translation of the hilD mRNA by base pairing near the ribosome binding site. MicC does not induce degradation of the hilD message. Our data indicate that micC is transcriptionally activated by SlyA, and SlyA feeds into the SPI1 regulatory network solely through MicC. Transcription of micC is negatively regulated by the OmpR/EnvZ two-component system, but this regulation is dependent on SlyA. OmpR/EnvZ control SPI1 expression partially through MicC but also affect expression through other pathways, including an EnvZ-dependent, OmpR-independent mechanism. MicC-mediated regulation plays a role during infection, as evidenced by an SPI1 T3SS-dependent increase in Salmonella fitness in the intestine in the micC deletion mutant. These results further elucidate the complex regulatory network controlling SPI1 expression and add to the list of sRNAs that control this primary virulence factor. IMPORTANCE The Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI1) type III secretion system (T3SS) is the primary virulence factor required for causing intestinal disease and initiating systemic infection. The system is regulated in response to a large variety of environmental and physiological factors such that the T3SS is expressed at only the appropriate time and place in the host during infection. Here, we show how the sRNA MicC affects expression of the system. This work adds to our detailed mechanistic studies aimed at a complete understanding of the regulatory circuit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00378-21
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume204
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • EnvZ
  • MicC
  • OmpR
  • SPI1
  • Salmonella
  • SlyA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology

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