Stress-responsively modulatedymdAB-clsCoperon plays a role in biofilm formation and apramycin susceptibility inEscherichia coli

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The YmdB protein, an inhibitor of biofilm formation and an inducer of apramycin susceptibility in Escherichia coli (E. coli), is part of a putative operon. However, transcription of this operon and its subsequent effects on biological pathways has not been fully studied. Here, we characterized the operon in terms of promoter activity, transcription and function. Promoter activity assays identified two new growth- and cold-shock-responsive upstream (PymdA) and inner (PclsC) promoters, respectively. Moreover, investigation of the operon-derived transcripts identified different polycistronic transcripts harboring multiple heterogeneous 3′ ends. Overexpression of YmdA or ClsC proteins inhibited biofilm formation and affected apramycin susceptibility, a process dependent on the sucA gene, suggesting that the operon genes or their encoded proteins are functionally linked. Additional investigation of the effects of polycistronic transcripts on the response of E. coli cells to apramycin revealed that transcripts containing ymdA (-213 to +27) are required for apramycin susceptibility. Thus, ymdAB-clsC is a new stress-responsive operon that plays a role in inhibiting undesired biofilm forming and antibiotic-resistant bacterial populations.

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