During infection, pathogens are starved of essential nutrients such as iron and tryptophan by host immune effectors. Without conserved global stress response regulators, how the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis arrives at a physiologically similar ‘persistent’ state in response to starvation of either nutrient remains unclear. Here, we report on the iron-dependent regulation of the trpRBA tryptophan salvage pathway in C. trachomatis. Iron starvation specifically induces trpBA expression from a novel promoter element within an intergenic region flanked by trpR and trpB. YtgR, the only known iron-dependent regulator in Chlamydia, can bind to the trpRBA intergenic region upstream of the alternative trpBA promoter to repress transcription. Simultaneously, YtgR binding promotes the termination of transcripts from the primary promoter upstream of trpR. This is the first description of an iron-dependent mechanism regulating prokaryotic tryptophan biosynthesis that may indicate the existence of novel approaches to gene regulation and stress response in Chlamydia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology