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Keywords:

  • Yersinia enterocolitica ;
  • H-NS regulation;
  • biofilm

Abstract

Horizontal gene transfer plays an important role in bacterial evolution. DNA acquired by horizontal gene transfer has to be incorporated into existing regulatory networks. The histone-like nucleoid structuring protein H-NS acts as a silencer of horizontally acquired genes to avoid potential damage. However, specific regulators can overcome H-NS repression, resulting in the integration of newly acquired genes into existing regulatory networks. Here, we analyzed the influence of H-NS on the transcription of the Yersinia enterocolitica hreP gene and its regulators pypA, pypB, and pypC by establishing a dominant-negative H-NS version. Using transcriptional fusions and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we show that H-NS silences hreP, pypA, pypB, and pypC by direct interactions. While the H-NS antagonist RovA activates pypC, it has no effect on pypA and pypB. Furthermore, H-NS affects biofilm formation in Y. enterocolitica.