RmpA2, an activator of capsule biosynthesis in Klebsiella pneumoniae CG43, regulates K2 cps gene expression at the transcriptional level

Yi Chyi Lai, Hwei-Ling Peng, Hwan You Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations

Abstract

The rmpA2 gene, which encodes an activator for capsular polysaccharide (CPS) synthesis, was isolated from a 200-kb virulence plasmid of Klebsiella pneumoniae CG43. Based on the sequence homology with LuxR at the carboxyl-terminal DNA-binding motif, we hypothesized that RmpA2 exerts its effect by activating the expression of cps genes that are responsible for CPS biosynthesis. Two luxAB transcriptional fusions, each containing a putative promoter region of the K. pneumoniae K2 cps genes, were constructed and were found to be activated in the presence of multicopy rmpA2. The activation is likely due to direct binding of RmpA2 to the cps gene promoter through its C-terminal DNA binding motif. Moreover, the loss of colony mucoidy in a K. pneumoniae strain deficient in RcsB, a regulator for cps gene expression, could be recovered by complementing the strain with a multicopy plasmid carrying rmpA2. The CPS production in Lon protease-deficient K. pneumoniae significantly increased, and the effect was accompanied by an increase of RmpA2 stability. The expression of the rmpA2 gene was negatively autoregulated and could be activated when the organism was grown in M9 minimal medium. An IS3 element located upstream of the rmpA2 was required for the full activation of the rmpA2 promoter. In summary, our results suggest that the enhancement of K2 CPS synthesis in K. pneumoniae CG43 by RmpA2 can be attributed to its transcriptional activation of K2 cps genes, and the expression level of rmpA2 is autoregulated and under the control of Lon protease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-800
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume185
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003

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