When and where? Pathogenic Escherichia coli differentially sense host D-serine using a universal transporter system to monitor their environment

Connolly, J. P.R. and Roe, A. J. (2016) When and where? Pathogenic Escherichia coli differentially sense host D-serine using a universal transporter system to monitor their environment. Microbial Cell, 3(4), pp. 181-184. (doi: 10.15698/mic2016.04.494) (PMID:28357351) (PMCID:PMC5349093)

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Sensing environmental stimuli is critically important for bacteria when faced with the multitude of adversities presented within the host. Responding appropriately to these signals and in turn integrating these responses into the regulatory network of the cell allows bacteria to control precisely when and where they should establish colonization. D-serine is an abundant metabolite of the human urinary tract but is a toxic metabolite for Escherichia coli that lack a D-serine tolerance locus. Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) cannot catabolize D-serine for this reason and colonize the large intestine specifically, an environment low in D-serine. EHEC can however use D-serine sensing to repress colonization thus signaling the presence of an unfavorable environment. In our recent work (Connolly, et al. PLoS Pathogens (2016) 12(1): e1005359), we describe the discovery of a functional and previously uncharacterized D-serine uptake system in E. coli. The genes identified are highly conserved in all E. coli lineages but are regulated differentially in unique pathogenic backgrounds. The study identified that EHEC, counter-intuitively, increase D-serine uptake in its presence but that this is a tolerated process and is used to increase the transcriptional response to this signal. It was also found that the system has been integrated into the transcriptional network of EHEC-specific virulence genes, demonstrating an important pathotype-specific adaptation of core genome components.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:D-serine, E. coli, niche adaptation, regulation, sensing, type III secretion, virulence.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Roe, Professor Andrew and Connolly, Dr James
Authors: Connolly, J. P.R., and Roe, A. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:Microbial Cell
Publisher:Shared Science Publishers OG
ISSN (Online):2311-2638
Published Online:31 March 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Connolly and Roe
First Published:First published in Microbial Cell 3(4):181-184
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
580941MRC Doctoral Training Grant 2011-2015Mary Beth KneafseyMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/J50032X/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE