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Title: The role of post-transcriptional regulators in pathogenesis and secondary metabolite production in Serratia sp. ATCC 39006
Author: Wilf, Nabil M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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Serratia sp. ATCC 39006 (S39006) is a Gram-negative bacterium that is virulent in plant (potato) and animal (Caenorhabditis elegans) models. It produces two secondary metabolite antibiotics, prodigiosin and a carbapenem, and the plant cell wall degrading exoenzymes, pectate lyase and cellulase. A complex regulatory network controls production of prodigiosin, including a quorum sensing (QS) system, and the role of post-transcriptional regulation was investigated. It was hypothesized that Hfq-dependent small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) might also play a role. Hfq is an RNA chaperone involved in post-transcriptional regulation that plays a key role in stress response and virulence in other bacterial species. An S39006 ∆hfq mutant was constructed and in the mutants production of prodigiosin and carbapenem was abolished, while production of the QS molecule, butanoyl homoserine lactone (BHL), was unaffected. Using transcriptional fusions, it was found that Hfq regulated the QS response regulators, SmaR and CarR. Additionally, exoenzyme production and swimming motility were decreased in the ∆hfq mutant, and virulence was attenuated in potato and C. elegans. It was also shown that the phenotype of an hfq mutant is independent of its role in regulating the stationary phase sigma factor, rpoS. In order to define the complete regulon of Hfq and identify relevant potential sRNAs, deep sequencing of strand-specific cDNAs (RNA-seq) was used to analyse the whole transcriptome of S39006 WT and the ∆hfq mutant. The regulon of another post-transcriptional regulator, RsmA, also involved in regulating prodigiosin production, was investigated by performing RNA-seq on an rsmA mutant. Moreover, global changes in the proteome of the hfq mutant was analysed using an LC-MS/MS approach with isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ). This study confirms a role for Hfq in pathogenesis and the regulation of antibiotic production in S39006, and begins to provide a systems-level understanding of Hfq and RsmA regulation using a combination of transcriptomics and proteomics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Cambridge ; BBSRC ; Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Serratia ; antibiotics ; prodigiosin ; virulence ; Hfq ; RsmA ; RpoS ; small RNA ; prophage ; pathogenicity island