Title

The Stringent Response Induced by Phosphate Limitation Promotes Purine Salvage in Agrobacterium fabrum

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-31-2017

Abstract

© 2017 American Chemical Society. Agrobacterium fabrum induces tumor growth in susceptible plant species. The upregulation of virulence genes that occurs when the bacterium senses plant-derived compounds is enhanced by acidic pH and limiting inorganic phosphate. Nutrient starvation may also trigger the stringent response, and purine salvage is among the pathways expected to be favored under such conditions. We show here that phosphate limitation induces the stringent response, as evidenced by production of (p)ppGpp, and that the xdhCSML operon encoding the purine salvage enzyme xanthine dehydrogenase is upregulated ∼15-fold. The xdhCSML operon is under control of the TetR family transcription factor XdhR; direct binding of ppGpp to XdhR attenuates DNA binding, and the enhanced xdhCSML expression correlates with increased cellular levels of (p)ppGpp. Xanthine dehydrogenase may also divert purines away from salvage pathways to form urate, the ligand for the transcription factor PecS, which in the plant pathogen Dickeya dadantii is a key regulator of virulence gene expression. However, urate levels remain low under conditions that produce increased levels of xdhCSML expression, and neither acidic pH nor limiting phosphate results in induction of genes under control of PecS. Instead, expression of such genes is induced only by externally supplemented urate. Taken together, our data indicate that purine salvage is favored during the stringent response induced by phosphate starvation, suggesting that control of this pathway may constitute a novel approach to modulating virulence. Because bacterial purine catabolism appears to be unaffected, as evidenced by the absence of urate accumulation, we further propose that the PecS regulon is induced by only host-derived urate.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Biochemistry

First Page

5831

Last Page

5843

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