The Legionella pneumophila response regulator LqsR promotes host cell interactions as an element of the virulence regulatory network controlled by RpoS and LetA.

TitleThe Legionella pneumophila response regulator LqsR promotes host cell interactions as an element of the virulence regulatory network controlled by RpoS and LetA.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsTiaden, A, Spirig, T, Weber, SS, Brüggemann, H, Bosshard, R, Buchrieser, C, Hilbi, H
JournalCell Microbiol
Volume9
Issue12
Pagination2903-20
Date Published2007 Dec
ISSN1462-5814
KeywordsAcanthamoeba castellanii, Animals, Bacterial Proteins, Cell Division, Cell Line, Dictyostelium, Gene Deletion, Gene Dosage, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Humans, Legionella pneumophila, Locomotion, Macrophages, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Sigma Factor, Transcription Factors, Virulence
Abstract

Legionella pneumophila is an opportunistic human pathogen that replicates within environmental amoebae including Acanthamoeba castellanii and Dictyostelium discoideum. The Icm/Dot type IV secretion system promotes phagocytosis and intracellular replication of L. pneumophila in an endoplasmic reticulum-derived 'Legionella-containing vacuole' (LCV). L. pneumophila adopts a biphasic life cycle consisting of a replicative growth phase and a transmissive (stationary) phase, the latter of which is characterized by the preferential expression of genes required for motility and virulence. A bioinformatic analysis of the L. pneumophila genome revealed a gene cluster homologous to the Vibrio cholerae cqsAS genes, encoding a putative quorum sensing autoinducer synthase (lqsA) and a sensor kinase (lqsS), which flank a novel response regulator (lqsR). We report here that an L. pneumophila lqsR deletion mutant grew in broth with the same rate as wild-type bacteria, but entered the replicative growth phase earlier. Overexpression of lqsR led to an elongated morphology of the bacteria. The lqsR mutant strain was found to be more salt-resistant and impaired for intracellular growth in A. castellanii, D. discoideum and macrophages, formation of the ER-derived LCV and toxicity. Moreover, L. pneumophila lacking LqsR, as well as strains lacking the stationary sigma factor RpoS or the two-component response regulator LetA, were phagocytosed less efficiently by A. castellanii, D. discoideum or macrophages. The expression of lqsR was dependent on RpoS and, to a lesser extent, also on LetA. DNA microarray experiments revealed that lqsR regulates the expression of genes involved in virulence, motility and cell division, consistent with a role for LqsR in the transition from the replicative to the transmissive (virulent) phase. Our findings indicate that LqsR is a novel pleiotropic regulator involved in RpoS- and LetA-controlled interactions of L. pneumophila with phagocytes.

DOI10.1111/j.1462-5822.2007.01005.x
Alternate JournalCell. Microbiol.