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Transcriptional regulation of galF by RcsAB affects capsular polysaccharide formation in Klebsiella pneumoniae NTUH-K2044

Peng, Dan, Li, Xuan, Liu, Pin, Zhou, Xipeng, Luo, Mei, Su, Kewen, Chen, Shuai, Zhang, Zhongshuang, He, Qiang, Qiu, Jingfu, Li, Yingli
Microbiological research 2018 v.216 pp. 70-78
Klebsiella pneumoniae, binding sites, biofilm, biosynthesis, deoxyribonuclease I, exopolysaccharides, genes, plasmids, promoter regions, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, transcription (genetics), virulence
RcsAB is an atypical two-component regulatory system that can regulate exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and is involved in the virulence of K. pneumoniae. The gene galF is well known as a gene involved in the biosynthesis of capsular polysaccharide (CPS). The specific DNA identification sequence for transcriptional regulation of RcsAB was found to be present in the promoter region of galF. This study aimed to detect the function of RcsAB in virulence and in biofilm and CPS formation. In addition, the transcriptional regulation of the galF gene in K. pneumoniae was studied. To determine the function of rcsAB gene, the wild-type K. pneumoniae strain NTUH-K2044 and the rcsAB knockout and complemented strains were used. The results showed decreased virulence, biofilm formation, and CPS levels in the rcsAB knockout strain. Complementation of the knockout by introducing an rcsAB fragment on an expression plasmid partially restored the virulence, biofilm, and CPS functions of the knockout strain. It indicated that the rcsAB genes might affect CPS formation and virulence of K. pneumonia. RT-qPCR, EMSA and DNase I footprinting assays were conducted to identify the transcriptional regulation of galF by RcsAB. RcsAB was seen to bind to the galF promoter-proximal region, and the binding site was further identified to be located from -177 bp to -152 bp upstream of the galF promoter. In conclusion, RcsAB could regulate the transcription of the galF gene positively by binding to the galF promoter DNA directly, and then affects the CPS formation of K. pneumonia.