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Keywords:

  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus;
  • type III secretion system 1;
  • virulence regulation

Abstract

Vibrio parahaemolyticus, one of the human pathogenic vibrios, causes gastroenteritis, wound infections and septicemia. Genomic sequencing of this organism revealed that it has two distinct type III secretion systems (T3SS1 and T3SS2). T3SS1 plays a significant role in lethal activity in a murine infection model. It was reported that expression of the T3SS1 gene is controlled by a positive regulator, ExsA, and a negative regulator, ExsD, which share a degree of sequence similarity with Pseudomonas aeruginosa ExsA and ExsD, respectively. However, it is unknown whether T3SS1 is regulated by a mechanism similar to that demonstrated for P. aeruginosa, because functional analysis of VP1701, which is homologous to ExsC, is lacking and there is no ExsE homologue in the T3SS1 region. Here, we demonstrate that vp1701 and vp1702 are functional orthologues of exsC and exsE, respectively, of P. aeruginosa. VP1701 was required for the production of T3SS1-related proteins. VP1702 was a negative regulator for T3SS1-related protein production and was secreted by T3SS1. We also found that H-NS represses T3SS1-related gene expression by suppressing exsA gene expression. These findings indicate that the transcription of V. parahaemolyticus T3SS1 genes is regulated by a dual regulatory system consisting of the ExsACDE regulatory cascade and H-NS.