Leucine-responsive regulatory protein (Lrp) is known to be an indirect activator of type 1 fimbriae synthesis in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium via direct regulation of FimZ, a direct positive regulator for type 1 fimbriae production. Using RT-PCR, we have shown previously that fimA transcription is dramatically impaired in both lrp-deletion (Δlrp) and constitutive-lrp expression (lrp C) mutant strains. In this work, we used chromosomal P fimA-lacZ fusions and yeast agglutination assays to confirm and extend our previous results. Direct binding of Lrp to P fimA was shown by an electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and DNA footprinting assay. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that the Lrp-binding motifs in P fimA play a role in both activation and repression of type 1 fimbriae production. Overproduction of Lrp also abrogates fimZ expression. EMSA data showed that Lrp and FimZ proteins independently bind to P fimA without competitive exclusion. In addition, both Lrp and FimZ binding to P fimA caused a hyper retardation (supershift) of the DNA-protein complex compared to the shift when each protein was present alone. Nutrition-dependent cellular Lrp levels closely correlated with the amount of type 1 fimbriae production. These observations suggest that Lrp plays important roles in type 1 fimbriation by acting as both a positive and negative regulator and its effect depends, at least in part, on the cellular concentration of Lrp in response to the nutritional environment.
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