Circuitry linking the catabolite repression and Csr global regulatory systems of Escherichia coli

Archana Pannuri, Christopher A. Vakulskas, Tesfalem Zere, Louise C. McGibbon, Adrianne N. Edwards, Dimitris Georgellis, Paul Babitzke, Tony Romeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Cyclic AMP (cAMP) and the cAMP receptor protein (cAMP-CRP) and CsrA are the principal regulators of the catabolite repression and carbon storage global regulatory systems, respectively. cAMP-CRP controls the transcription of genes for carbohydrate metabolism and other processes in response to carbon nutritional status, while CsrA binds to diverse mRNAs and regulates translation, RNA stability, and/or transcription elongation. CsrA also binds to the regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) CsrB and CsrC, which antagonize its activity. The BarA-UvrY two-component signal transduction system (TCS) directly activates csrB and csrC (csrB/C) transcription, while CsrA does so indirectly. We show that cAMP-CRP inhibits csrB/C transcription without negatively regulating phosphorylated UvrY (P-UvrY) or CsrA levels. A crp deletion caused an elevation in CsrB/C levels in the stationary phase of growth and increased the expression of csrB-lacZ and csrClacZ transcriptional fusions, although modest stimulation of CsrB/C turnover by the crp deletion partially masked the former effects. DNase I footprinting and other studies demonstrated that cAMP-CRP bound specifically to three sites located upstream from the csrC promoter, two of which overlapped the P-UvrY binding site. These two proteins competed for binding at the overlapping sites. In vitro transcription-translation experiments confirmed direct repression of csrC-lacZ expression by cAMP-CRP. In contrast, cAMP-CRP effects on csrB transcription may be mediated indirectly, as it bound nonspecifically to csrB DNA. In the reciprocal direction, CsrA bound to crp mRNA with high affinity and specificity and yet exhibited only modest, conditional effects on expression. Our findings are incorporated into an emerging model for the response of Csr circuitry to carbon nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3000-3015
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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