The hdrRM operon of Streptococcus mutans encodes a novel regulatory system for coordinated competence development and bacteriocin production

Toshinori Okinaga, Guoqing Niu, Zhoujie Xie, Fengxia Qi, Justin Merritt

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40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Streptococcus mutans hdrRM operon encodes a novel two-gene regulatory system induced by high cell density. Previous studies identified hdrM as the only known negative regulator of competence development in S. mutans. In the present study, we demonstrated that the HdrRM system bypasses the prototypical competence gene regulators ComC and ComDE in the transcriptional regulation of the competence-specific sigma factor comX and the late competence genes. Similarly, the HdrRM system can abrogate the requirement for ComE to produce the bacteriocin mutacin IV. To further probe the regulatory mechanism of hdrRM, we created an hdrR overexpression strain and showed that it could reproduce each of the hdrM competence and mutacin phenotypes, indicating that HdrM acts as a negative regulator of HdrR activity. Using a mutacin IV-luciferase reporter, we also demonstrated that the hdrRM system utilizes the same promoter elements recognized by ComE and thus appears to comprise a novel regulatory pathway parallel to ComCDE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1844-1852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume192
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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