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Investigation of the roles of AgrA and σB regulators in Listeria monocytogenes adaptation to roots and soil

Abstract : Little is known about the regulatory mechanisms that ensure the survival of the food-borne bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in the telluric environment and on roots. Earlier studies have suggested a regulatory overlap between the Agr cell–cell communication system and the general stress response regulator σB. Here, we investigated the contribution of these two systems to root colonisation and survival in sterilised and biotic soil. The ability to colonise the roots of the grass Festuca arundinacea was significantly compromised in the double mutant (∆agrA∆sigB). In sterile soil at 25°C, a significant defect was observed in the double mutant, suggesting some synergy between these systems. However, growth was observed and similar population dynamics were shown in the parental strain, ΔagrA and ΔsigB mutants. In biotic soil at 25°C, viability of the parental strain declined steadily over a two-week period highlighting the challenging nature of live soil environments. Inactivation of the two systems further decreased survival. The synergistic effect of Agr and σB was stronger in biotic soil. Transcriptional analysis confirmed the expected effects of the mutations on known Agr- and σB-dependent genes. Data highlight the important role that these global regulatory systems play in the natural ecology of this pathogen.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 3:00:22 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 30, 2020 - 10:46:02 AM

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Catarina Marinho, Dominique Garmyn, Laurent Gal, Maja Brunhede, Conor O'Byrne, et al.. Investigation of the roles of AgrA and σB regulators in Listeria monocytogenes adaptation to roots and soil. FEMS Microbiology Letters, Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, 367 (3), ⟨10.1093/femsle/fnaa036⟩. ⟨hal-02549479⟩

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