Dissecting psa locus regulation in yersinia pestis

Peng Li, Xiuran Wang, Carol Smith, Yixin Shi, Joseph T. Wade, Wei Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pH 6 antigen (PsaA) of Yersinia pestis is a virulence factor that is expressed in response to high temperature (37°C) and low pH (6.0). Previous studies have implicated the PsaE and PsaF regulators in the temperature- and pH-dependent regulation of psaA. Here, we show that PsaE levels are themselves controlled by pH and temperature, explaining the regulation of psaA. We identify hundreds of binding sites for PsaE across the Y. pestis genome, with the majority of binding sites located in intergenic regions bound by the nucleoid-associated protein H-NS. However, we detect direct regulation of only two transcripts by PsaE, likely due to displacement of H-NS from the corresponding promoter regions; our data suggest that most PsaE binding sites are nonregulatory or that they require additional environmental cues. We also identify the precise binding sites for PsaE that are required for temperature- and pH-dependent regulation of psaA and psaE. Thus, our data reveal the critical role that PsaE plays in the regulation of psaA and suggest that PsaE may have many additional regulatory targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00237-21
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • PsaA (pH 6 antigen)
  • PsaE
  • Yersinia pestis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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