Transcriptional regulation of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis pH 6 antigen adhesin by two envelope-associated components


Ralph R. Isberg E-mail RISBERG@opal.tufts. edu; Tel. (617) 636 1392; Fax (617) 636 0337.


The Yersinia pseudotuberculosis pH 6 antigen mediates haemagglutination and adhesion to cultured mammalian cells. The synthesis of pH 6 antigen requires the products of the psaEFABC genes in both Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Escherichia coli. In-frame deletion mutations of psaE and psaF caused defective haemagglutination. In contrast, we showed that the psaABC genes were sufficient for haemagglutination if they were expressed by a heterologous promoter. Environmental regulation of pH 6 antigen by temperature and pH occurs via regulation of the major pilus protein PsaA at the transcriptional level. Northern blot analyses indicate that the psaA transcript was absent in either psaE or psaF mutant strains. Primer extension analyses indicate that, in Y. pseudotuberculosis, the transcription of the psaE and psaF genes is constitutive. Alkaline phosphatase fusion studies confirm the topology prediction that PsaE and PsaF are both inner-membrane-associated proteins. PsaE consists of an N-terminal cytoplasmic domain, containing sequence similarity to transcriptional regulators found in two-component systems as well as to the Salmonella typhimurium HilA protein, with a C-terminal domain that is periplasmically localized. PsaF is predicted to be oriented with most of the protein in the periplasm, the hydrophobic N-terminus being either integrated in the inner membrane or cleaved as a signal peptide.