Krishnan, K, and Duncan, M J, Role of Sodium in the Rpry-Dependent Stress Response in Porphyromonas Gingivalis. PLoS ONE, 2013. 8(5): e63180.


Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative oral anaerobe which is strongly associated with periodontal disease. Environmental changes in the gingival sulcus trigger the growth of P. gingivalis and a concurrent shift from periodontal health to disease. Bacteria adjust their physiology in response to environmental changes and gene regulation by two-component phospho-relay systems is one mechanism by which such adjustments are effected. In P. gingivalis RprY is an orphan response regulator and previously we showed that the RprY regulon included genes associated with oxidative stress and sodium metabolism. The goals of the present study were to identify environmental signals that induce rprY and clarify the role of the regulator in the stress response. In Escherichia coli an RprY-LacZ fusion protein was induced in sodium- depleted medium and a P. gingivalis rprY mutant was unable to grow in similar medium. By several approaches we established that sodium depletion induced up-regulation of genes involved in oxidative stress. In addition, we demonstrated that RprY interacted directly with the promoters of several molecular chaperones. Further, both genetic and transcription data suggest that the regulator acts as a repressor. We conclude that RprY is one of the regulators that controls stress responses in P. gingivalis, possibly by acting as a repressor since an rprY mutant showed a superstress reponse in sodium-depleted medium which we propose inhibited growth.

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