Student project

Mechanism of DegU-dependent activation of flagellar gene transcription in Listeria monocytogenes

Flagellar motility is an important process for bacterial survival. It allows bacteria to move to aquire nutrients or to retreat from unfavorable environments. In the Gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, flagellar motility is a temperature-dependent process, being restricted to temperatures below 37°C. This regulation is mediated by the activities of the DegU response regulator, the MogR transcriptional repressor and GmaR, the MogR antirepressor. Transcriptional regulation of the fliN-gmaR promoter is central to flagellar motility regulation as pfliN-gmaR is transcriptionally activated by DegU and is also MogR repressed. However, the mechanism by which DegU mediates transcriptional activation of the fliN-gmaR promoter is not well understood. In this study, we further investigated the mechanisms controlling transcription initiating at the fliN-gmaR promoter by performing two comprehensive transposon mutagenesis screens to identify any additional factors involved in the activation and repression of pfliN-gmaR. The mutagenesis screen performed at 30°C to identify factors involved in pfliN-gmaR transcriptional activation led to the identification of a novel factor. We demonstrated that Lmo0866, a protein from the DEAD-box protein family, is required for transcriptional activation of pfliN-gmaR and therefore flagellar motility. Moreover, we identified CodY as being involved in the repression of pfliN-gmaR at 37°C.

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