The causative agent of plague, Yersinia pestis, contains a 75-kb plasmid, pCD1, which carries a virulence-related stimulon called the low-Ca2+ response stimulon (LCRS). LCRS operons are regulated by the environmental signals of temperature and Ca2+. This study characterized a portion of the lcrB region of pCD1, known to contain at least one gene necessary for the regulation of LCRS operons by Ca2+. The sequence of a 2-kb region revealed three open reading frames, designated yscQ, yscR, and yscS, predicted to encode acidic proteins of 34.4, 24.4, and 8.5 kDa. All three proteins were homologous to proteins involved in flagellar function or virulence. An antipeptide antibody specific for YscR was used to localize YscR to the inner membrane of Y. pestis. Analysis of yscR-phoA fusions supported a model for yscR which predicts four transmembrane regions and a large, central hydrophilic domain. In-frame deletion mutations of yscQ and yscR were constructed and moved into Y. pestis. Both mutants failed to show the restriction of growth that normally accompanies maximal LCRS induction. Unlike the parent Y. pestis, the yscR mutant did not respond to the absence of Ca2+ by increasing the net transcription or translation of the LCRS- encoded V antigen, YopM, or LcrG. The yscR mutant also was defective for secretion of V antigen, YopM, and LcrG. These findings implicate a dual role for YscR in regulation of LCRS operons and secretion of LCRS proteins and add to the developing picture of how secretion of virulence proteins may be coupled to transcriptional regulation in yersiniae.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology