Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29633391
Mol. Microbiol. 2018 Apr;
Leptospira spp. comprise both pathogenic and free-living saprophytic species. Little is known about the environmental adaptation and survival mechanisms of Leptospira. Alternative sigma factor, σ (RpoN) is known to play an important role in environmental and host adaptation in many bacteria. In this study, we constructed an rpoN mutant by allele exchange, and the complemented strain in saprophytic L. biflexa. Transcriptome analysis revealed that expression of several genes involved in nitrogen uptake and metabolism, including amtB1, glnB-amtB2, ntrX and narK, were controlled by σ . While wild-type L. biflexa could not grow under nitrogen-limiting conditions but was able to survive under such conditions and recover rapidly, the rpoN mutant was not. The rpoN mutant also had dramatically reduced ability to survive long-term in water. σ appears to regulate expression of amtB1, glnK-amtB2, ntrX and narK in an indirect manner. However, we identified a novel nitrogen-related gene, LEPBI_I1011, whose expression was directly under the control of σ (herein renamed as rcfA for RpoN-controlled factor A). Taken together, our data reveal that the σ regulatory network plays an important role in the long-term environmental survival of Leptospira spp.