Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of bacterial diarrheal disease and a frequent commensal of the intestinal tract in poultry and other animals. For optimal growth and colonization of hosts, C. jejuni employs two-component regulatory systems (TCSs) to monitor environmental conditions and promote proper expression of specific genes. We analyzed the potential of C. jejuni Cjj81176_1484 (Cjj1484) and Cjj81176_1483 (Cjj1483) to encode proteins of a cognate TCS that influences expression of genes possibly important for C. jejuni growth and colonization. Transcriptome analysis revealed that the regulons of the Cjj81176_1484 (Cjj1484) histidine kinase and the Cjj81176_1483 (Cjj1483) response regulator contain many common genes, suggesting that these proteins likely form a cognate TCS. We found that this TCS generally functions to repress expression of specific proteins with roles in metabolism, iron/heme acquisition, and respiration. Furthermore, the TCS repressed expression of Cjj81176_0438 and Cjj81176_0439, which had previously been found to encode a gluconate dehydrogenase complex required for commensal colonization of the chick intestinal tract. However, the TCS and other specific genes whose expression is repressed by the TCS were not required for colonization of chicks. We observed that the Cjj1483 response regulator binds target promoters in both unphosphorylated and phosphorylated forms and influences expression of some specific genes independently of the Cjj1484 histidine kinase. This work further expands the signaling mechanisms of C. jejuni and provides additional insights regarding the complex and multifactorial regulation of many genes involved in basic metabolism, respiration, and nutrient acquisition that the bacterium requires for optimal growth in different environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology