Transcriptome analysis of the Mg2+-responsive PhoP regulator in Yersinia pestis

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Sep 1;250(1):85-95. doi: 10.1016/j.femsle.2005.06.053.


PhoP was previously shown to be important for Yersinia pestis survival in macrophage and under macrophage-induced stresses. In this work, a phoP disruptant of Y. pestis 201 was generated using the Red cloning procedure. The transcription profile of the wild-type Y. pestis was then compared with that of the phoP mutant under Mg2+-limiting conditions. It was revealed that PhoP/PhoQ governed a wide set of cellular pathways in Y. pestis, especially including the positive regulation of many metabolic processes, Mg2+ transport, peptidoglycan remodeling, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) modification and various stress-protective functions. The Mg2+ transport system regulated by PhoP may make Y. pestis to maintain the magnesium homeostasis under low Mg2+ environments. The PhoP-controlled stress-protective functions likely constitute the molecular basis for the observation that mutation of the phoP gene rendered the bacteria more sensitive to various macrophage-induced stresses. Modification of LPS mediated by PhoP is hypothesized to not only neutralize negative charges as normally done by Mg2+ ions, but also mediate the resistance of Y. pestis to antimicrobial peptides. The microarray results provide a population of candidate genes or pathways, and further biochemical experiments are needed to elucidate the PhoP-dependent mechanisms by which Y. pestis survives the antibacterial strategies employed by host macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Transport
  • Lipopolysaccharides / chemistry
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Peptidoglycan / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Yersinia pestis / genetics*
  • Yersinia pestis / metabolism*
  • Yersinia pestis / pathogenicity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Peptidoglycan
  • PhoP protein, Bacteria
  • Magnesium