Characterization of the transcriptional regulation of the tariJKL locus involved in ribitol-containing wall teichoic acid biosynthesis in Lactobacillus plantarum

S. Tomita, I.C. Lee, I.I. van Swam, S. Boeren, Jacques Vervoort, P.A. Bron, M. Kleerebezem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lactobacillus plantarum strains produce either glycerol (Gro)- or ribitol (Rbo)-backbone wall teichoic acid (WTA) (Gro-WTA and Rbo-WTA, respectively). The strain WCFS1 has been shown to be able to activate the tarIJKL locus involved in Rbo-WTA synthesis when the tagD1F1F2 locus for Gro-WTA synthesis was mutated, resulting in switching of the native Gro-WTA into Rbo-WTA. Here, we identify a regulator involved in the WTA backbone alditol switching and activation of the tarIJKL locus. Promoter reporter assays of the tarI promoter (Ptar) demonstrated its activity in the Rbo-WTA-producing mutant derivative (ΔtagF1—2) but not in the parental strain WCFS1. An electrophoresis mobility shift assay using a Ptar nucleotide fragment showed that this fragment bound to Ptar-binding protein(s) in a cell-free extract of WCFS1. Three proteins were subsequently isolated using Ptar bound to magnetic beads. These proteins were isolated efficiently from the lysate of WCFS1 but not from the lysate of its ΔtagF1—2 derivative, and were identified as redox-sensitive transcription regulator (Lp_0725), catabolite control protein A (Lp_2256) and TetR family transcriptional regulator (Lp_1153). The role of these proteins in Ptar regulation was investigated by knockout mutagenesis, showing that the Δlp_1153 mutant expressed the tarI gene at a significantly higher level, supporting its role as a repressor of the tarIJKL locus. Notably, the Δlp_1153 mutation also led to reduced expression of the tagF1 gene. These results show that Lp_1153 is a regulatory factor that plays a role in WTA alditol switching in Lb. plantarum WCFS1 and we propose to rename this gene/protein wasR/WasR, for WTA alditol switch regulator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000229
Pages (from-to)420-432
JournalMicrobiology
Volume162
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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